Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Cutting the apron strings . . .

At first glance, the above picture and my title today will seem a little confusing.  You may be thinking - what IS she going to make?

Well, our youngest child, our son, now 21, is setting off on the adventure of a lifetime, going solo backpacking in Europe, starting in Budapest in Hungary and making his way through Croatia, Italy, Spain and France.  He has done a lot of saving, much research and planning, and when he gave us a copy of his travel plans yesterday, I was delighted to see that all those formative years of dragging the children around castles, old house and archaeological sites seems to have made a favourable impression as he has castles, museums, a Fleamarket (all those years of car boot sales!), and climbing Vesuvius,  visiting Pompeii and Herculaneum on his list.

Needless to say, his adventures are also viewed with some trepidation by his mother, as I am inclined to get my knickers in a twist and imagine worst-case scenarios (something which needs to be swiftly nipped in the bud for the sake of my sanity over the next 4 or 5 weeks!), so I took myself off to the friendly little wool and sewing shop in Llandeilo yesterday.  I had ordered a zip so I could mend my middle daughter G's skirt.  Then I wanted some sand or sky coloured material to edge my seaside patchwork blocks which I hand-sewed a few weeks back when this chest infection stapled me to the sofa.  I ended up choosing this bright and cheerful yellow which echoes the colour of some of the beach huts in the material, but have made a rod for my back by deciding to do Mitred corners - the hard way.  The two skeins of pretty embroidery floss were to repair  a cushion, and I would have sworn they were the right colours, but when I got them home they are too jade and not enough deep turquoise/marine blue.  What a shame - I will have to pop in there again then!

Anyway, I have plenty to keep me busy.  He has phoned to say he'd reached London yesterday, then Stanstead last night, and this morning phoned to say he was about to board his plane.  Now I won't get to speak to him until he is on his way home next month, and will have to make do with e-mails from him.  I was NOT allowed to get a Facebook account as that would infringe his privacy!!!  It is very hard, giving them their freedom and waving them goodbye, but I am so proud of him for having the guts to do this on his own as I know he had his own reservations over travelling alone.  I am sure he will make friends for life at the youth hostels along the way, which will be full of young folk from all over the world, doing just what he is doing.  The hard part is sitting at home and letting him do it.

Edited to add a recipe for you to try.  I need to keep busy today, so I have a three seed plaited loaf rising, and this is in the slow cooker:  


1 pound minced beef
2 medium sized onions, chopped
1 green pepper, halved, seeded and choppped
2 tblspns vegetable oil
1 16 oz can whole tomatoes, with liquid
1 can (14 1/2 oz) condensed beef consomme (I just used a beef stock cube and 1 pt water)
2 tspns chilli powder
1 can (3 1/2 oz) pitted black olives, sliced (I omit this)
1 cup long-grain uncooked rice
4 oz Cheddar cheese, grated

Saute beef, onions and green pepper in oil in a large pan until meat all browned - about 5 minutes.  Pour off excess fat.  Add tomatoes, consomme, chilli powder and half the olives.  Bring slowly to boiling, stir in rice and cook for 5 minutes.  Cover dish.

Bake in casserole dish (I use my Le Creuset) in a moderate oven (375 deg.) for 30 mins.  Uncover, stir, top with remaining olives and cheese.  Continue to bake for 15 mins longer.


  1. I know what you mean about trepidation. My grand-daughter, who is very adventurous, last year went to Lebanon and Syria without telling us all. Her dad (my son) phoned her and she said she couldn't talk now as she was on the Syria/Lebanon border! She had a wonderful time and told of how delightful the Syrians were - if only she had known what this year would bring for them. So keep busy with all those sewing jobs!

  2. When I first started reading, I thought you were planning to make your son a stylish patchwork back-pack for his travells!

    It's hard to watch them spread their wings isn't it. Thank heavens we have the internet and mobile phones now days.

  3. Love is a joyously painful wonderful difficult journey, is it not my friend?!? While especially difficult with the chicks, it's complex beyond measure to blance ones own feelings/needs alongside the feelings/needs of those we love in all relationships. As life winds its way along I discover similar clashes of pride and worry, fear and joy, cheering and concern rebounding willy-nilly in my mind and heart over husband, parents, a dear friend as each seeks their path, changing of direction, seeking new directions. Watching on the other side of the window as it were, I resist (with grand difficulty) the urge to tap-tap-tap on the glass with the voice of my worries, my angst. It takes a profound degree of bravery, I'm continually discovering, to let those we love ever-so-much seek what THEY need. (if only they'd seek less vexing adventures/choices lol). Yet love reqests and requires the gift of freedom, encouragement and approval (whilst you and I fret ourselves silly quietly on the sidelines, lol)

    No doubt he'll have the journey of a lifetime, create memories that will form a corner of who he will be the remainder of his life and will always be closer to you for not disuading him in this adventure of his dreams.

    Stay busy yes :-) And a pint or a wine as needed perhaps? (lol)

    Hugs a plenty on their way to you!


  4. He'll be fine:) Neil went off to Nepal and India for 15 months at that age and had a great time.
    The slo cooker thing sounds good and I may well try it next week, like you I shall be omitting the olives!

  5. Try not to worry too much. Easy to say I know! I dread my son getting to the age where he wants to go away for any length of time. I don't know if I'd be more worried about a girl.

    Love the look of that going to cut and paste it now....

  6. It is always hard to let our children go off on their own especially today. But at lest you have e-mail. When mine when away there was no cell phones and computers. Just the odd pay phone.
    I am sure he will be fine.
    The recipe sounds good I might try it but with out the meat.

    cheers, parsnip

  7. Thank you for all your comforting comments. I am sure he is goin to have the time of his life but he is going to come back and be even more determined to get a better job than the one he's in at the moment (which started off at a Christmas job and was not of his choosing).

    I have to say, hearing about where various other intrepid children or grandchildren have travelled, D has chosen a less stressful itinerary (for me!)