Most precious of all

If I were ever to have an engagement ring, the stone will be some tiny fossil that my beloved finds.

This is because when I was young, I used to go fossil-hunting with my parents. We live on the fossil-rich coastline of Southern England and you can find some lovely fossils here (especially on the Dorset coast and Isle of Wight).

Later, when I became a mother, I would take my children fossil-hunting. I taught them to love fossils, because isn’t it amazing that we can hold thousands (even millions) years of our history in our hands?


An old lady went on a long journey, and along the way, she found a beautiful piece of rock. She thought her family would love the rock – it would look lovely on the mantelpiece of their simple home to remind them of her when she is gone.

Later in her journey, she met a man.

The man was hungry and she shared her food with him. When the man saw the rock, he asked if he could have it.

Though it broke her heart to give the rock away, she nodded and handed it to him.

The next day, the man came looking for the old lady. He gave the rock back to her.

“I want something more precious than this beautiful rock from you,” he said. “I want to know what’s in your heart that makes it possible for you to give beautiful things away.”


For more information on where to go fossil-hunting in Hampshire, click here.  UKAFH organises fossil hunts.

Main photo from Isle of Wight Fossil Museum

Harvest From The Roadside

Driving along the rural roads of Phuket, we chanced upon a tiny stall in front of a small house selling chopping boards made from tree trunks, pumpkins, limes and a handful of local greens.  I do not have the vocabulary to ask, “Is it organic?”. But within 10 yards from the stall, an elderly man was tending the smallholding.  I assumed it was as organic as we are going to get. The pumpkin cost us all of U$1.50. Pumpkins are incredibly rich in vital antioxidants, and vitamins (especially vitamin A). I have a rapidly growing teenager, and she needs her vitamin A, which is instrumental for cell growth as well as immune system maintenance (and of course, good eyesight). Because pumpkins are root vegetables, they are fillers, but unlike other fillers (white rice, white bread), pumpkins fill you with goodness, too. I made pumpkin soup with the pumpkin I bought today. pumpkin soup Here’s my recipe: Olive oil 4 cloves garlic, chopped About as much pumpkin as you see in the photo, cubed 1/2 an avocado a handful of cashews salt and pepper Distilled water Method: Saute the chopped garlic in olive oil until soft. Add the pumpkin and 1/2 cup of distilled water. Simmer until soft. Pour into a powerful blender. Add avocado (for creaminess) and cashews (for the nutty taste). Blend until smooth. You may wish to add more water to the desired consistency. Season to taste. I served my pumpkin soup always with the following garnishing: Chilli jam Fresh lime Sunflower seeds And of course, good warm bread with lashings of butter. toppings   Footnote: I had a spare pumpkin at home (I am in the habit of collecting roadside pumpkins) which I will make into baked pumpkin crisps. I have also roasted some for a quiche and probably an antipasti. By the end of the weekend, G will be squealing, “Please, no more pumpkin!” But it’s all good. Either eat pumpkin or liver, dear girl. Your choice.   This was the roasted pumpkin platter. The only luxury was the landana cheese with white truffle.roasted veggies