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Quiet in the House…

Lovely Daughter #2 went away to Year 8 Camp this morning.  They all boarded a coach to Wales and left at 11.30am… about an hour later a message came through on the school blog from one of the children saying, “This journey is taking aaaageeees.”  After another six hours (and I assume about a hundred queries of “Are we there yet?”) a post came through from the teacher in charge saying that they had arrived.

The only contact we’ll have with our children this week is through the official blog, updated by the teacher or authorised students.  They will be living for a week in tents without phones and electronic devices, which I think is a good thing.  Instead of the usual indoor focussed activities, they will be abseiling, caving, climbing and walking in the countryside.  They also often make new friends when they go away to camp for a week, as they get to know different people in the year group better, perhaps people they don’t share lessons or friendship groups with.

I’m sure she is having a wonderful time, but for the two of us left behind, it’s very quiet in the house…  l miss having someone to chat to, and I will miss the way LD comes home every day with a tale that begins, “Something really funny happened at school today!”  She seems to have a nice bunch of people in her year, and she always sees the funny side of things.

One advantage of LD#2 being away though is that LD#1 and I can eat some different types of food, the types that LD#2 complains about.  In particular, LD#2 doesn’t like sour food, which includes anything lemon flavoured, and salad dressing.  This is going to be the week that I experiment with salads.

While in Tesco looking for ingredients, I found a “1litre of Pimms for £12” promotion.  Now, if there were such a thing as being able to live healthily off one foodstuff for the rest of my life, my choice would be Pimms and lemonade (in the summer, at least) so I had to have a bottle.

I thought I’d try this beautifully labelled Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms.  I had plans that went beyond lemonade…


During the colder weather, I got into making reduced cider syrup to go with roast pork.  (I’d recommend bog standard Stella for this, as once I tried it with some fancy artisan cider and the result was foul.) It’s really straightforward, as all you do is boil the stuff for about 15 minutes, until it turns into a thickened syrup.  So I thought I’d try the same with this blackberry and elderflower and mix it in with a 50/50 olive oil/balsamic dressing.

Add to some salad leaves, with scallops fried in butter, and serve with boiled buttered potatoes.

LD#2 doesn’t know what she’s missing.  She’ll just have finished eating a meal of “brown and white food”, as described by their teacher – food to keep them fuelled for a week of high intensity activities.  Year 8 Camp two years ago was the week that LD#1 officially turned vegetarian, not fancying the unidentified varieties of “meat” on offer in the mess tent…




  1. Ooooh you don’t have Pimms!

    Actually “What is Pimms” on one level is a simple question: you mix it with lemonade and made a sweet and slightly herby summer drink.

    On another level “What is Pimms” is quite complex because on the label it says “spirit drink”. It’s one of these things with a secret mystery recipe. The Winter Pimms tastes like watered down brandy. The blackberry one tastes like watered down cordial. The normal one tastes – herby.

  2. Oh that sounds fantastic. I’ve had a Pimms Cup (that’s what it’s called right?) before but have never seen this blackberry and elderflower version. It sounds just lovely and summery!

  3. Well LD 2 couldn’t go to a better place than Wales. God’s own country. And without a phone too. Good for her. Pimms is simply Britishness in a bottle. Ideal for quaffing over a game of croquet or watching polo. We had scallops last night. Delicious. Only the dog missed out. I hope the week passes safely and with no scares.

    • It’s big business, many of the schools in East Sussex go to this place in Wales during the summer term. It’s a long way but they all think it’s worth it.

  4. I love the idea of the kids being forced to go a week without gadgets! Not sure I’d be so keen on the brown and white foods though…

    Scallops sound delish, my favourite 🙂

    • Last time I bought scallops they were the previously frozen ones and they went all shrivelled and hard in the pan. The fresh were much better.

      I wish kids had the opportunity to go away together like that more, no gadgets, just enjoying each other’s company…

  5. She’ll have a lovely time. If she finds things funny I’m sure she’ll have plenty to laugh about and report home. She might even try salad dressing …

    • They already seemed to have had a total hoot just looking forward to going – planning what to take along for midnight feasts in the tents… discouraging the girl who wanted to take sardines… they are really quite an eccentric bunch and who knows what they’ll get up to??

  6. I’ve got to say this sounds heavenly Denise! I got a bottle of the Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms to try, same deal as you at Tesco for £12 (did you get the free jug too?). I love it! But I would never think to use it as a dressing, what a great idea, will definitely have to try it. Thanks for the recipe! Aspie D loves that kind of thing but not hubby. Lucky he enjoys cheese sandwiches!!!
    Sure your daughter will have a super time and nice for you and your other daughter to have some quiet time together… enjoy 🙂

    • I think the free jugs had run out by the time I got there! It’s amazing how different all the Pimms are – last week I got the one labelled Winter, half price (obviously totally out of season!) I hadn’t realised that many of the different flavours have been around for ages, I thought they were new gimmicks. I think this blackberry one is new though and very welcome it is. The picture on the label is very pretty too.

      • Well, you didn’t miss much so no worries! That’s a great idea to get Winter Pimms now while half price. You give out great tips Denise, thank you 🙂 Yes, as you say, worth buying the new blackberry one just for label 😉

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