It’s a glorious day here in Stepford, NJ. I don’t take this for granted any more. Usually an East Coast summer consists of a series of unrelentingly humid and hot days, interspersed with the very occasional shower. Not this year. In June in New York there were only four days when it didn’t rain, and the thunderstorms in July were sensational – so long as you were indoors.

The water level in our swimming pool is nearly reaching the flood line after yesterday’s torrential rain and the lawns are still waterlogged. Finchley is very confused by this as he tries to wade across to the deck, his droopy Basset ears dragging behind him in the puddles.

Still, the rain hasn’t dropped the temperature in the pool much (it isn’t heated), and I spent thirty minutes this morning swimming laps, doing pull-ups on the diving board and various complicated water exercises with the help of my $1 fluorescent green foam pool noodle.


This exercise routine is not only enjoyable, it’s a necessity. After a month here I have gained a good six pounds of blubber: it’s impossible to keep to a regimen when you live with two men whose favourite activity is eating.

On Saturday afternoon, as I walked in the house from my Target mission, they presented me with a cookbook, with three pages marked: the recipes for pâte sablée, lemon cream, and individual tartes aux citrons. You’re making this tonight, they said with glee.

I sighed. How on earth can I not eat a tarte au citron when I’ve spent two hours making the bloody thing?

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Sometimes I find when I've spent a long time smelling,cooking, and tasting something that I am far less interested in eating the final results. Generally, that does only include savory items – cakes/puddings seem to escape that fate. Your sweet treats sound far more sophisicated than the blackcurrant rowntrees jelly I'm about to make, but a sore throat is my excuse!


I wish I had a pool like that! Unfortunately I don´t even have a backyard:-(


You make tarte au citron? You can come and stay with us any day.

PS. If I do make NYC in October (It keeps being put back though I'm trying to make 4th for the railway garden thingy opening), you're definitely on for SHNY drinks! xx

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