Sunday, February 17, 2013


Writtle Cards at the Village Hall

Norman Thayer Jr, retired English Professor, is in Maine for the forty-eighth summer. He brings with him the long-suffering Mrs Norman Thayer Jr, his failing memory and his weak heart.
They rub along, welcome visitors, and watch the loons on Golden Pond.
Ernest Thompson's classic play was a good choice for Valentine's week, and for Writtle Cards, who have their very own iconic pond just outside their door.
Boot Banes made a superb Norman – grumpy, sardonic, and moving, too, as when he recalls losing his way in the woods. Clare Williams, as Ethel, also had her moving moments, clutching her childhood doll, and comforting her cantankerous old man as he collapses from over-exertion.
Good support from those passing through – Chris Rogerson as the cheery, chuckling postman, Jodee Goodwin as the daughter who finally wins her father's love, Chris Ivermee as her new man, The Dentist, and a nice cameo from Toby Harris as his young son, who is quick to learn from The Old Man of the Sea, and teaches him a thing or two along the way.
The picture-book setting made good use of limited space, though perhaps the board games and the fishing tackle, the mantlepiece and the hatrack, could have been two-dimensional paintings too, and Nick Caton's painstaking production used appropriate music tracks – Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle, for instance. Even the refreshments fitted the theme – heart-shaped biscuits and Loon Love Liquor …

Ethel's tollhouse cookie recipe

140g whole-wheat flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
120g unsalted butter, softened
200g brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1½ tsp vanilla extract
70g rolled oats
75g chocolate chips
70g chopped nuts
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a separate bowl and cream together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, beating thoroughly to combine then stir in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mix to the butter and egg mix and blend thoroughly to combine. Now stir in the rolled oats, chocolate chips and nuts. Grease your baking trays and drop the batter by the heaped teaspoon onto these, allowing enough space between them for the cookies to spread as they bake. Transfer to an oven pre-heated to 170°C and bake for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and serve or store in an air-tight tin.

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