Hi everybody!  I’m Andrew-Paul (“And” to my friends) and I’m the nutter who had this crazy idea to make all of Mrs Beeton’s recipes!  Most of the time, I’m a courier for DHL’s distribution centre in Rogerstone, Gwent, driving my big, yellow van all over the south Wales valleys.  Which is a great job if you a) enjoy driving,  b) like the roar of a mighty engine and  c) love green, soaring countryside.

Andrew and Jana

Here I am with my wonderful (and long-suffering!) wife, Jana.  To be honest, this is a fairly old photo, but it’s one of my favourites.  Taken in the Tut & Shive in Cardiff (once famous for the most-eccentric decor in Wales, but tragically no longer with us) the night I introduced her to family and friends.

From Cardiff originally, I’ve lived the last ten years in the gorgeous Aber valley of south Wales, in a village that’s likely to be unpronounceable to anybody who doesn’t speak Welsh: Abertridwr (pronounced, roughly, Abba-tree-doo).  I absolutely love it here, sandwiched between the hills, and enveloped in village life, and I never want to leave.

And these are the girls, left to right: Esther 7, Ella 11, Bethan 3, and Seren 9.  My goodness, they’re a handful, but they’re the light of my whole universe.

Plus two chickens, Griven and Liven.  Don’t ask me where those names come from.  I came home from the Sennybridge country show one Sunday several years ago, opened the big box that i was carrying to show the girls what was inside, and Ella instantly named them Griven and Liven!  We’ve never really decided which is which.  But they’ve always been very close sisters.  Our other chickens have passed on now, but Griven and Liven always stuck together, even in the flock.

So what do I do when I’m not driving, cooking and presiding over chaos of this family?  Well, cooking, obviously!  I have aspirations to be a great gardener — and sometimes even do quite well!

But, truth be told, I haven’t the patience for it.  Unless I reach a point where I can afford a gardener, it will always be more a dream!  Otherwise, I love hiking through this glorious countryside that I have the privilege to enjoy.  I’m lucky to be surrounded by mountains, and live only about 15 miles from the Brecon Beacons National Park.  I love the history of south Wales, and I encourage the girls to do likewise.

And the kids, naturally, demand a lot of my time.

And of course, there’s the interest in history – which is why I got into the Mrs Beeton Project in the first place!  Enough about prime ministers and battles – how did our ancestors live?  What did they eat?  That’s what I want to know, and I really hope you’ll come along on this project with me.