More word play…

I share this with you, but credit must go to Aaron Sorkin who wrote The West Wing and in ‘Mr Willis of Ohio’ (Season 1, Episode 6) had President Bartlet indulge in a little word play of his own:

“There are three words, and three words only in the English language that begin with the letters DW…. Can anyone name them for me, please?”

As aficionados of The West Wing and language buffs alike will know, these words are – in no particular order – dwell, dwarf and dwindle. Despite sticking like glue in my head, being a ‘belt and braces’ kind of girl (thanks Dad!) I’ve also created a mnemonic, which you should feel free to avail yourselves of (although don’t make that a reason not to watch the never-less-than-brilliant WW):

Snow White dwells with a dwindling number of dwarves.

You’re welcome.


I’ve been reminded several times recently how lengthy, non-linear and unpredictable the grieving process is.

I came across this article by Hilary Mantel (who I think of as being one of our most compassionate writers) not long after it was published and can clearly recall feeling if not better, certainly much less alone in my grief after reading it.

Italian shepherd’s pie

Friends over for dinner this evening and a riff on Nigella Lawson’s lamb ragu (, which I used as the base for what – topped with mashed butternut squash as a lower carb alternative to potato – I’m calling Italian shepherd’s pie.

Nigella’s recipe serves two, so I simply doubled the quantities (except the redcurrant jelly – the butternut squash adds sufficient additional sweetness), substituting a 680ml jar of passata for the chopped tomatoes and adding another 100 or so mls of water that I swished out the passata jar with.  Once it had plocked away gently on the hob for an hour or so, I decanted it into a lasagna dish, sprinkled it with some finely grated parmesan and then topped it with the butternut squash (which I’d steamed from frozen before mashing with a knob of butter).  Final touch was to top the mash with the remainder of the grated parmesan and pop it in the oven (fan, 150) for half an hour or so.  Served with some lightly steamed fine green beans, it served three (with seconds for my two guests and enough left over for lunch tomorrow).


New page on TLF

My new page, In praise of lists, is where I’ll be putting…well, as the name suggests, lists. Kicking off with a few of my favourite ‘comfort reads’ (thank you India Knight for introducing me to that concept), I’ll be adding more as I go along…

A dedication, if you will…

Let me begin with a thank you.

To my dear friend and running mate (for so she shall always be), Helen, whose belief in both me and The Languishing Fox has never waivered.

Thank you, H – you gave me your hand and got me over the line just as surely as you did when we ran the Great South together.

I can and I will.