Loaf Of Bread. 26th May

Lockdown Mooring 5

That maple syrup and spoon of other flour had done the trick to my starter, this morning it had doubled in size and hadn’t sunk back down the jar. It was ready to bake with. I wasn’t prepared. I’d thought it might take until this evening for it to be ready to start a loaf and if I started a loaf now then I would end up baking it tonight at bed time!

That looks very good

I scanned through my recipes and found one that suggested it would rise and be ready to bake between 5 and 7pm. The recipe did have a touch of yeast added to it, but I thought it was well worth it as I didn’t want to waste the progress my starter had made. So a loaf of Chestnut and oat bread it was. My starter was so airy, the airiest it’s ever been. I ran out of white rice flour, so had to add some brown rice flour. Once mixed the sponge was left on the proving shelf for four hours to see what it did. It rose up and showed great promise.

Domed and cracked top even without the yeast

Time to get on with the portraits of the actors who would have been in the production of The Garden. I’ve been putting this painting off for a while, but it proved to be quite pleasurable to work on.

They look a touch like they need a good wash

Skin tone shadows were painted in for everyone and highlights washed back. Then I started to work up one face at a time.

Four finished only six more

Whilst painting we listened to Anno Domino the new Alan Ayckbourn play. Alan and Heather play all the characters and it is well worth a listen. Back in the 60’s Alan had a stint of being a Radio Drama Producer for the BBC. This showed as we both laughed out loud at images that simply wouldn’t have been as funny on stage. The sound effects (an Ayckbourn hobby) and atmosphere along with the multi track recording worked very well. It must have been great fun for them to make as it is great fun to listen to. Available until the 25th June.

Starting to prove itself

Final ingredients (including some yeast) were mixed into the sponge. Then it was poured into a lined tin and left of the proving shelf for an hour and a half to rise. It gained about a third in height, time to bake it. Mick was requested not to step on and off the boat for a few minutes whilst I transferred the tin into the hot oven. Any knock right now would end with a very flat loaf. Transfer completed Mick could continue to mend one of our tyre fenders that has developed a puncture.

Up by a third

I’d spent all day sat at the dinette table working, so after dinner I headed up the towpath for a walk. I’d spotted a footpath on the offside of the canal which would bring me alongside Oleanna as the sun started to set.

You get a lot of sky round here

Quite a beautiful evening.

The bottom lock

I walked up to Hack Green Locks. The field beside them had the now rotund lambs/teenagers we’d seen back in March. They still played and demanded milk from their Mum’s teets. One old lady just stood and stared at me until I moved away.

What you lookin at?!

I crossed over the bridge between the locks and started to walk back towards Oleanna. This side of Nantwich the fields are all pasture where as to the north they are more arable. Blimey the long grass was hard to walk through and there was no obvious footpath.


A murder of Crows circled the nearby wood, cawing to each other. I found my way into the second field and walked round it’s perimeter trying to find the way ahead. Nettles and brambles stopped my progress. By now I felt like I’d walked through miles of deep snow, my calf and thigh muscles complaining.

I found a narrow bridge across a ditch into another field with more long grass but decided to turn back and head to the bottom lock where a pathway had been worn to the bottom gates. The bywash here was just narrow enough to hop over and I was back on shorter grass.


Tonights sunset was beautiful. A good Shropie sunset is hard to beat. Not having Hurleston Reservoir in the way helped to get the full effect.

0 locks, 2 walked to, 0 miles, 1 frothy starter, 1 loaf, 84th play, 4 portraits finished, 1 Sainsburys order completed, 9 hours, 2 friends consumed at least, 1 tyre mended, 1 stunning sunset.

It works today!