The Golden Egg


I know that there are some sweet souls who have been following Pete’s and my journey for quite a few years now and I am humbled and full of gratitude for the support and solidarity that you have shown to us as we go from one adventure to another. You will already be familiar with the highs and lows, twists and turns that we have taken but recently there have been some new followers to this blog (Thank you!)and they may not have read the story of the bandit builders and the resulting loss of most of our savings. I don’t particularly want to dwell on that time but it needs to be said that financial loss and suffering the humiliation of going through that whole experience has been a big lesson for both of us. Odd though this may seem, I’ve come to understand that this lesson was maybe one that I in particular needed to learn. And, painful as this lesson has been, I’ve discovered more about myself and what it is that I want from life and what is really important to me than if we’d never encountered these problems and struggles.

The Red House June 2021
Free ranging turkeys
The chicken house and Mr Nev at work in the chicken’s field.

In fact, knowing what I know now, I realise that the whole experience of moving here and everything that has subsequently happened has not been an accident. There is no doubt in my mind that when I made the decision to move up to Galicia and then manifested that we could live here at The Red House, the wheels of fortune and fate were already in motion. Little wonder that things moved so fast and so smoothly and everything seemed to fall into place so effortlessly to grant us our desire.

Summer in the garden at The Red House 2021 lottie nevin

What has been revealed is The Red House IS a place of healing, and I have been asking for healing for years. I guess that the part that I’d conveniently forgotten was that the healing process can and often does come with a certain amount of pain and discomfort. To heal we need to face our demons and do the shadow work. This means addressing all that is uncomfortable, hard, and painful. Giving permission and allowing and acknowledging the negative aspects of ourselves, admitting to them, and then consciously and intentionally starting work on the ‘Self’ to heal. This understanding then allows us slowly and surely to work our way back towards the Light.

Wildflowers at Loiba watercolour lottie nevin

Which then begs the question, how did a load of crooked builders and their successful scam to drain our bank account end in this not being a sob story but a story of joy and personal growth? Well, strangely I’ve got our chickens to thank for that.

Chicken associated linocuts and drawings, lottie nevin

When we moved here in 2018, one of the first things that I was keen that we should do was to keep poultry. Not since my days at Gillbeck Farm have I had the pleasure of hearing the ‘chanson d’oeuf’, my name for the sweet and happy song that a chicken proudly sings when she’s just laid an egg. It’s as if she wants all the world to know and why not! It must be quite an eye-popping experience squeezing out a large brown egg each day so it’s definitely something to sing and dance about!

Cockerel 2021 watercolour

Dolores came first, a bossy little brown hen with attitude followed by the grey girls and then a couple of raven feathered beauties and our bantam cockerel, Mr Cock a leekie. From the start, our little flock has provided us with hours of entertainment, subjects to draw/paint, wonderful observations of chicken psychology, First-class pest control for the veg patch, and of course lots and lots of very delicious, fresh eggs.

Milk jug and eggs in the afternoon sun

Sometimes though it’s easy to lose sight of what we actually have and focus instead of what we don’t have and last summer for whatever reason, I was feeling a certain amount of despair about our finances. I can’t remember exactly what it was that got me into such a state but I’d allowed myself to get really anxious about stuff and that’s not good. It was when I was in a bit of a low mood one afternoon that I had this rather lovely moment of epiphany.

Eggs eggs glorious eggs

For some weeks we’d been having this incredible glut of eggs. The six original hens had now been joined by seven youngsters and once they started to lay after a few weeks, we were getting at least a dozen eggs each day. Now that´s a lot of eggs for two people to get through! Naturally, I gifted away as many of these eggs as I could but so many of our friends around here keep chickens themselves that I was hard-pressed to find anyone who actually wanted them. The dogs dined on omelets and Pete and I had eggs in some shape or form every single day for weeks. I scoured cookbooks and the internet for ideas of what to do with them and I cooked, and baked, whisked, whipped, beat and stirred until I’d run through every single egg recipe that I could possibly think of but, it was in a bowl of custard that I was reminded of the truth of my reality.

Somewhere over the rainbow …

If you have ever been fortunate enough to keep chickens yourself, you will already know of the untold joy of eating eggs fresh from the coop and of the extraordinary taste that they have. But it’s not just the taste or the freshness, it’s the colour. That golden, silken yolk is like nothing else, it is glorious! To my mind, nothing quite shows off the colour, beauty, and taste of those yolks like custard does and as I was feeling so flat, I decided to try out a recipe that I’d never felt quite brave enough to try before.

Iles Flotanttes, goodness I must have eaten this dish a hundred times or more in France and I adore it but I’d never quite had the courage to try making it myself. However, with the abundance of eggs we had, I felt that I could afford a few mistakes if necessary and as the promise of good food never fails to lift my spirits With nothing to lose, I set to and followed the instructions of Michel Roux to the letter.

I don’t believe a dessert has ever bought me such joy! It was beyond delicious and full of calories and I don’t give a stuff because dear friends, our fortunes may come and go but if we can find joy in the simple things and appreciate what we have and delight in the bounty and beauty of nature, then surely these are the true riches of life?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/floating_islands

recipe for Iles Flottantes (floating islands)

iles flottantes without caramel
Blueberry pancakes

15 thoughts on “The Golden Egg

    1. Martha, I hear you! I’ve had this post in my head for quite some time, months in fact. It really was one of those moments when we wake up and say ‘Ok!, I get the message Loud and Clear!’ and we need these little prompts sometimes from the Universe. we need to do a rain check and actually see what the truth is. I’m happy that you found it helpful, life is full of blessings if we open our eyes and our hearts to them xxx

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  1. My dear friend Lottie,
    I always love your stories, i will send you all my egg recipes. I have a glorious simple orange cake by Claudia Roden lots of eggs and 3 other ingredients make a delightful moist gluten free cake. Im very jealous of your beautiful freshly laid free range eggs. Sending much love xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your message made me SO happy! I really cannot have enough egg recipes!! I could, I would so love to give you eggs every single day… I think they are really quite an incredible gift and chickens are really quite incredible souls. LOTS of love to you, dear Emma xxx

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    1. Thank you, dear Amit, yes, the joys of gastronomy and the comfort that good food brings should never ever be underestimated. Many a time I’ve been saved from despair by a slice of cake (or three or more)!

      Fresh eggs and being in the privileged position of being able to keep chickens and to be able to give them space to roam is a blessing for sure and I don’t take it for granted. I’m not sure what the future holds for us here at The Red House, Brexit and now Covid has forced us to rethink our future plans. I strongly feel the need to get back to the UK to be closer to my family, I’m a grandmother x 4 now and my heart is pulling me back, it’s been agony not seeing my family for so long. Lots to think about and decisions to make. We will find our way, Inshallah . Sending you love across the airwaves xxx

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  2. Between your art and your photograph, I’m drooling!
    Painful lessons – life has a way of pulling us up short at times. It’s tough to be grateful for the hard bumps. But as you wrote, that’s where the greatest opportunities for growth are. The sooner we align with what the Universe wants us to learn, the sooner we’ll realize that the hardship was a gift in disguise.

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    1. You’ve hit the nail on the head, dear Sherry. Bless you, thanks for your lovely comment and for your wisdom. I know that you know a thing or two about life and what it teaches us. Through your wise words and good humour, I’ve learned much from you over the past decade, Thank you. I hope that Mexico is proving good fun and that you are having a ball! Lots of love xxx

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  3. Hello Lottie. I, somehow, found your blog again. It’s always a pleasure to read your writings for the life lessons they provide. I still cannot forget the day we walked to Pasar Tebet in 2013 and that was my first lesson of down to earth life in Jakarta. I’d walked to it many times, mostly on Saturdays, after that and I still think of it fondly even after having left Jakarta in 2016. You and Pete are certainly living the real life we will be missing until we decide to call it quits. Only then we will live life the way we should be living – closer to nature, animals and in the countryside. I will be following your blog again now that I have left my full-time jobs (3 jobs since Sampoerna). Will pursue some of the things that will bring me more peace (not yet the countryside but still exploring) better health and enjoy the life of being away from the hum drums of routine and all. Thank you again for sharing your lessons about life.

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    1. Dear Zoraini, you’ve no idea how happy I was to see your comment this morning when I opened up my phone to check messages. Goodness! What a wonderful surprise, it bought tears to my eyes and Oh so many happy memories of Jakarta, and of meeting you .

      Yes! I too have very fond memories of Pasar Tebet, it was quite something, what a place! and I used to so enjoy walking there from the apartment, I never quite knew what would happen as it was ALWAYS an adventure! weaving my way along the wonky ‘footpaths’ and open sewers, fighting cocks in baskets, distinctly unsavory smells and kaki limas selling Baso and krupuk. It sounds crazy but there are days when I long to visit that market again. it was a melting pot of humanity, it taught me SO much about life. It was vital in a way that forces one to be brave and step right out of one’s comfort zone and really engage with all one’s senses. That’s the only way to really be, to experience, and to live fully. I’m so glad that I took that plunge and I know you are too.

      I’m over the moon thrilled to be back in touch with you. I’m excited to hear more about your plans for the future and I’m delighted that you’ll be having more time for yourself to pursue your dreams and enjoy doing the things that you love. Thank you, Zoriani for making my day. Lots of love to you xxx

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      1. Hello again Lottie, so good to read your reply. I’m glad to have met you and visited the Pasar together. I visited Jakarta a few times after my departure in 2016. And, I had found a good tailor there too. He made quite a lot of stuff for me and stitched my daughter’s wedding outfit which she loved. Anyway, yes…the Pasar and you too have led to many lessons in life for me. I’m not living the down to earth life at your level yet. But tending to a garden (currently a balcony garden in Penang) on the ground and eating fresh chicken eggs are one of those things I look forward to. My future plans will unravel slowly. I am just about 2 weeks since I left my career behind. Time to smell the roses and time to make up for all those lost hours of sleep (so I feel). Thank you Lottie. Lot of love you you too.

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    1. Im so glad that you want more! That’s wonderful! Thank you, dear Maria. I shall write another story very soon, I promise. I already have one ‘up my sleeve’ so to speak xxx

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