It’s been a while.
During the summer of 2018, I went with my friends Denise Ditto Satterfield and her kind husband, Frank, to London, England. It was a research trip for me for my working manuscript, a prequel to Deadly Thyme. The novel is set in 2007 Harrow and there is a parallel story set in 1940. Of course a couple of murders have DS Jon Graham confused and angry.
This photo is from a tourist station in the heart of London. My Scottish cousins (my mother’s side) as we wait to board the red double-decker you can’t see. Fiona is my third cousin. I’m wearing the hat. Seriously, we look like we’re related.
Here is a photo of my distant cousin in York. He is from my father’s side. If you knew my grandfather Robert Thompson Sr. You would say they look alike. Matt is (I’m pretty sure) my grandfather’s great-grand nephew.
Now, here’s where things get really interesting. I thought part of my book would be set in York. Turns out that (very interesting) storyline detracted from the general forward pace of the story. So, the York storyline is going to be it’s own book in the series. WhooHoo! Here’s a picture of the cathedral. We didn’t go in, but standing outside trying to imagine how the workers put it together centuries ago.
Just after our train trip from London to York, I got news that my big dog, my best bud, the sweet Big Boy had died at home. Devastated does not describe how I felt. I lost my stuffing for a while.
Slipping in a good photo of my daughter and the big guy.
But not to be left out is the picture of Harrow school because most of Deadly Haste takes place around and near it. Remember that, I have no idea when the final draft will be ready to publish, but I’m working on it.
So, after returning to Houston and the empty house, I don’t know how I moved past that. The house was a grief echo chamber. My husband, who stayed home to care for the animals, was as bad off as I was. (Thank you, Frank and Denise for putting up with my sad self in England. The bike tour was fantastic, really!)
The decision to move elsewhere wasn’t a hard one. So we began renovating our 1910 house to sell. Yes, they are using the neighbor’s yard to take and replace siding and windows on that side.
It was a huge project. Huge. There has never been a bigger project in the history of anywhere! Trust me. Everything on the outside was made new, the kitchen made better, a new bathroom upstairs. Original flooring sanded and polished. It was so pretty inside and out. Goodbye old beautiful lady…
Hello apartment living while my husband took care of his aging parents.
His mother passed away and his step-brother moved his step-father to Tyler, TX.
So things were really quiet for a while, but our apartment was nice and there were a ton of amenities to enjoy. Then came the monster from the East, Covid. No more amenities for you, my pretties! Apartment living turned a bit claustrophobic. I learned to do watercolors.
I finished a painting I’d been working on a while.
Our son got married. He and the wife live in Fort Worth. The daughter’s family (and four grandkids) live in Lafayette, LA. My husband’s brother moved away to Arkansas. So we decided with most of the family living away, let’s move to Louisiana to be near the grands. Goodness! The mean virus really helped a lot of people to realize we all need loved ones near. Perhaps my son and his wife will see the light and move over here, too. Ha! Ha! Doubt it.
I don’t know, I love nostalgia. I guess you knew that, what with all my blog posts, an all.
The top photo is our house now and the bottom photo is my grandparent’s Iowa house back in the 1940s. I remember the arched garden entrance on the right on my grandparents house. I don’t know why I was so enamored with that feature as a child, but I was. I don’t know if you can see it in the feature photo behind my mother.
Oh, but I forgot the OTHER highlight of moving to LA. (besides getting to play with my precious grands throughout the week.)
Meet George Bailey! Big Boy 2.0 He’s about to have a wonderful life!
All these photos are to answer, where have you been for over two years?
I know. I know. You didn’t sign on here to hear all about me. PishShaw! You want a recipe from my mother.
You tuned in for a vintage recipe and you will have the best, right here.
Prince of Wales cake (recipe from 1941)
I chose the Prince of Wales cake because I remember my mother making it often because it’s a good basic spice cake. Here is a picture of the recipe from her cookbook.
It’s not readable. Here is the recipe:
1 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter (full) – that might mean real as opposed to margarine, which was the popular choice in her day.
1 1/2 cup sour milk (surely that means sour cream). I used sour cream. Maybe that’s why both times the cake seemed dry. Perhaps I should have used buttermilk. What do you think?
1 full cup ground raisons
1/2 t. grnd nutmeg
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. grnd cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 t. grnd. cloves
1/2 t. allspice
Smear cake pan with crisco and then dust with flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream the sugar and butter.
Beat the eggs and add the soda to the sour milk/cream. Mix all dry spices into the flour. Mix wet ingredients into dry ingredients and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 30 minutes, depending on the pan. The Bundt pan I used extended that time to 45 minutes. Honestly, it’s anyone’s guess. I think my mother must have assumed anyone who attempted this cake would know how to bake one.
Me? I’ve never been exceptionally good at following directions. I tried this cake recipe two times and both times the cake was dry. But that isn’t how my mother’s cake was, so please try this and get back to me on how I can make it better. Here’s a picture of the finished product. It did TASTE good!