Bricklayers Anonymous

   Yesterday, whilst wearing my regulation "it's November, it should be cold" outfit (three fleeces and a waterproof) I was wolf-whistled at by a man towing a cattle trailer.  I was as surprised as you are, but this can only mean one thing...bring on the mince pies!

   And no Verity, you cannot use shop bought pastry.  Save yourself some money and go crazy with some shortcrust.

Shortcrust pastry

8oz flour, pinch of salt, 2oz lard, 2oz marg, cold water to mix (approx 2tbsp), (1oz sugar for sweet pastry)

Mix flour and salt in basin, rub in fat.

Using a knife, to cut and stir, mix with cold water to form a stiff paste.

Turn dough on to a floured board/worktop and roll out.

- from the Be-Ro bible.

   Personally, I think lids are a waste of pastry (I am that cheap), so it's stars or dinosaurs, or whichever shape cutter/mould comes to hand - some still retaining the kryptonic strength of dried-on homemade play dough.  Or if you have that much time on your hands, you can create Edible Boggle (minus the shaking).  Way more rewarding than actual Boggle.

   In other news...progress on the barn restoration.  The brickwork is nearly completed thanks to Dad and Jack, our Master Bricklayer.

   Over the past two years, Mum and Dad have made incredible progress to ensure the barn remains standing for another few hundred years.  Through courses run by Essex Heritage and led by the excellent Richard Green of Green Restoration, we've been able to repair the rotten sole plate in three places and shore up the barn.  After the marathon effort of all the attendees on the last course, we've got a lot to do but it will be worth it!

We'll be adding more information and background to our website, but here is a quick photographic rundown to get you up to speed and show you our most recent progress.  And Richard, I'm not that good with Photoshop, the brickwork is real!

The race is on to get it shipshape before the weather turns...!