My quest to be better organised continues (inspired by www:// The latest thing I’ve tackled is the ‘library’ in our holiday cottage. When we used to go on holiday, pre llamas, I was always delighted to find a shelf of books offering some entertainment for quiet half hours, or if the weather was bad. So we’ve filled three bookshelves with books for our guests, making sure there’s plenty of children’s books (including some I wrote!).

But the shelves were constantly untidy and the books weren’t taken care of so I decided to create a more organised library. I’ve filled the shelves completely and put up book ends so the books won’t keep falling over and ending up in a heap. I’ve also labelled each book and given it a number – A1 etc for books by authors whose surname starts with A, and so on – and have an index book to record them all in. It took a lot of work, but finally, we know exactly what books we’ve got there! I’m working on the principle that if it looks like we value and take pride in our little library, then the guests are more likely to do so as well.

From shelves to shells. The hens are laying busily now that the sunshine has finally reached France. But, like every year, I was too parsimonious in my frozen egg usage over winter, not wanting to run out! So I have a lot of frozen eggs left, and now a new supply of fresh ones!

Freezing eggs works well. You can’t freeze them in their natural state though. You need to beat them for successful freezing. I do two at a time and store them in a yogurt pot with a plastic covering (cut from a bread bag or other recyclable plastic bag) held on by an elastic band. Lots of reusing there!

The egg looks a bit gunky when it defrosts, as you can see in the next photo, but it’s perfectly OK and works as well as fresh egg.

One hundred years ago there was an egg crisis in France. In 1905 a law had been brought in making it illegal to pass preserved eggs off as fresh ones. But six years later, the practice was still widespread. Eggs were preserved in lime in those days. The secret with any type of preserving is to keep air and bacteria out. For the lime method, 12 oz of quicklime was mixed into a gallon of water, together with small quantities of other chemicals (salt, soda, saltpetre, borax and tartar). This would be poured over eggs in a barrel, and the barrel was then covered with a cloth. The lime would tend to make the eggshell feel very rough, so that was one way of telling if an egg had been preserved. Eggs could keep for 6-9 months this way. Modern-day preserved eggs are known as century eggs and are common in Asian recipes. These are preserved using lime together with salt, tea and wood ash.

Give me fresh eggs straight from a chicken any day!

Limpychick, who was trodden on by a llama when tiny. She's fine - but limps!