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Showing posts from May, 2014

stop a while and join me for elevenses …

Why don’t you pull up a chair … and we will have a chat … before I go on holiday next week.  Can I interest you in a cup of coffee and a cocoanut macaroon … or maybe a ginger snap.I have picked a nice little posy for the table; chive flowers, sweet rocket, nepeta and a cornflower, all looking a little bedraggled  after all the heavy rain we have endured just lately.Elevenses is a quintessentially British ritual and a highly civilising one, at that.  So it amuses me that it takes a bear from Darkest Peru to remind us of the pleasure of that moment halfway between breakfast and lunch that is perfect for a little sit down and a reward.  Paddington, never one to miss an opportunity to eat (he carries marmalade sandwiches in his suitcase in case he should ever run short of sustenance), enjoys his elevenses of bun, cocoa and chat with Mr. Gruber in his antiques shop on Portobello Road.  It’s wonderfully cosy and irresistible, and a fine example of civilised living to all readers.Winnie-the-…

life in the slow lane … strawberry ponderings …

The modern strawberry is a tale of disappointment and delight.  I have learned to treat each punnet of really good berries I encounter as a box of fleeting, precious jewels, a treat to be enjoyed with unalloyed pleasure; no cream, sugar or splash of Beaujolais, just the warm berry in all its scarlet glory.  That perfect fruit is a rare find, but once you chance upon it life seems, for an instant, to stand still.  Eyes closed, you are briefly lost in buttercup meadows, with bees buzzing on the heavy afternoon air.  It is then, breathing in their honey-sweet scent, the prickle of their yellow seeds on my lips, that I wish they could always be like this – Nigel Slater.I have been savouring the delights of my greenhouse strawberries … biting into the soft flesh … still warm … and shiny.  Opening the greenhouse door on a sunny morning … the fragrance of the fruits is overpowering.Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet, with leafy green wings reaching heavenward - Terr…

the summer switchover …

First it’s the wardrobe … putting away the heavy winter clothes … and bringing the summer ones out of storage.  Checking to see if everything still fits after eating heartily over winter … luckily they still do.  Saying hello to old favourites that will give me another years’ wear … making mental lists of replacements needed.Then comes the garden switchover … pulling out the last of the spring flowers to make way for the summer ones that have been waiting in pots for the right planting time.  With such a glorious week of weather … and knowing that rain was on its way … I have been working like a demon to get as much planted out as I could.  Going to bed exhausted each evening … a nice kind of tired … with a feeling of something achieved.Trundling up and down the garden path with trugs full of compost to revitalise the garden beds … heavy work … I feel just a little muscle-bound … frequent cups of tea were needed sitting in the shade … to keep me going.  I almost finished  … just a bat…

the end of a perfect day …

The day had been hot … tired after a busy day … we drove down the hill to the lake … in search of the cool evening.So quiet … and tranquil … the water still.A swan puffed its wings … pushed hard … and glided past.   A family of geese … startled by our presence scuttled into the water.The sun slowly sinking … sending golden rays shimmering into the dying light …Peaceful …Just the birds singing their last song …Cooled by the gentle breeze off the water …
We headed home …The end of a perfect day.

a single moment … the week in pictures

Sometimes words just aren’t enough to describe the rosy tint of the sky at dusk …or the sound of the buzzard flying high, circling and mewling … chased by crows …or the sight of the fields … hedgerows crowned in May blossomor  hearing the bleat of lambs calling for their mothers … distant white specks on the horizonSometimes words just aren’t enough to describe my joy at finding lots of tiny pear fruitlets … more than ever before … I have yet to taste the juicy flesh of my very own pears … will they hang on this year, flesh out and mature … I can only wait and hope.Joy comes in all shapes and sizes … even in a floral china cream jug and sugar bowl with a lovely apricot rose design … new to my collection.or a Peony in full bloom …or the first of many breakfasts sitting outside in the sun eating my own fresh strawberries …and lastly … who wouldn’t enjoy an afternoon cup of tea after a hard day in the garden … I have a lot to be thankful for.Finding joy in the little things … ‘til next t…

a woman of the soil … the kitchen garden in May

the kitchen garden July 2013“ I want streams and hills, rivers and seas, mountains and pastures.  I want a whole, happy, earth.  And when I’m not being overly ambitious about my environmental desires, I also want a garden with a little bit of everything in it.  These two desires are not unconnected, my happy earth will, in part, be by my ability to grow a large percentage of food in my garden, in a way that does not devour resources.”  Alys Fowler – The Edible Garden.the kitchen garden July 2013I have to agree with Alys on this one.  I want a flower garden but I also want to grow my own food.  My garden is medium sized and about two-thirds of it is for growing flowers and fruit trees.  The other third I use for growing vegetables.  And it isn’t enough.  There is no way I can squeeze everything I want to grow into this small space.  Even with additional containers.   I don’t want to dig up the lawn or get rid of  a couple of flower borders and put them down to veg – there has to be a b…