Friday, 28 November 2014

Winter Foraging …

Each afternoon I take a walk – if the sun is out it becomes more of a saunter, an amble.  Sometimes I stop and hold my face up to the sun, close my eyes, and feel its warmth on my skin.  Passing motorists must wonder what I am doing.  I am savouring these brief moments in an otherwise dull and overcast day.  When the fog lifts it is cause for celebration, to see a little blue sky, the sun shining on the leaves that are still hanging on precariously, ready to fall.  Watch glistening raindrops teetering on the edge of red berries giving a Christmas tree feel to the hedgerows.  I am looking for colour, checking out what is available, what Mother Nature will provide for me to bring indoors to decorate the house for the Christmas period.  I like to keep things simple – twigs and branches, vases of berries, holly and ivy, candles and a few baubles – are all that is needed to complete the festive feel.

The bulbs that I planted earlier in the year are all now pushing through – bringing them indoors into the warmth will soon have them growing away, and they too will add a little colour and fragrance to the room.











The garden still hasn’t died back completely despite one or two frosts



and even though I have missed a few sunrises catching up on sleep that has evaded me during the night due to my cold and the constant coughing – I did manage to capture this beautiful sunset.


I  have even started to think about a Christmas wish list

top of the list is a warm winter coat – my old one has seen better days and must be over fifteen years old – I have found a fur-lined parka-type one on line that will be just the job – now all I have to do is convince the husband to pay for it and we’re all set.

“In winter, the kitchen is always warm, and, always, there are smells: of roasting meat and stewing soups, frying onions and baking bread.  There is the chop-shop-chop of the knife, through carrots and turnips and mounds of fresh leeks, and the rhymthic pulse of the electric beater.  And, in the sudden silence after it has stopped, the ticking of the clock.  Outside, early dark, rain like a whip lash, gale and hail, rattling the latch, or ice, sealing it tight.  But inside, all is bright, warm, savoury, companionable.” ~ Susan Hill Through the Kitchen Window



I came across this book by Anna Pavord in a second hand bookshop, which will come in handy as I start to plan my vegetable garden for next year


and this one by Sarah Raven – full of interesting and delicious ideas.

So all I can say is – Christmas, you don’t frighten me – I’m not going to be dragged in to all the hype and spending frenzy – I’m going to do it my way – keeping it simple – just the way I like it.

Friday, 21 November 2014

November … The Ghost of Autumn


I have been feeling slightly under the weather this week, nothing serious, just a head cold – I don’t think the weather has helped the situation much.


Grey, gunmetal skies … mists and fogs … have given the landscape an eerie quality, sounds have been deadened and figures loom out of nowhere.


So it has been this past week … the fields around have been hidden from us … the sound of cawing rooks the only indication of life – rare glimpses snatched out of the gloom. 

"So dull and dark are the November days.
The lazy mist high up the evening curled,
And now the morn quite hides in smoke and haze;
The place we occupy seems all the world."
-   John Clare, November

But then there are moments of beauty … early morning mists rising from the fields … adding a magical atmosphere to the landscape with a lavender streaked sky.



Trying to find beauty in the everyday gets harder …


the slow decay of the garden


"November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.
With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.
The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."

-  Elizabeth Coatsworth





And then, briefly, the sun forces its way through the murk and we savour it … don boots and coats quickly… before it vanishes … relishing a walk with no drizzle and mist cloaking the views.







 “Walked for half an hour in the garden.  A fine rain was falling, and the landscape was that of autumn.  The sky was hung with various shades of grey, and mists hovered about the distant mountains – a melancholy nature.  The leaves were falling on all sides like the last illusions of youth under the tears of irremediable grief.  A brood of chattering birds were chasing each other through the shrubberies, and playing games amongst the branches, like a knot of hiding schoolboys.  Every landscape is, at it were, a state of the soul, and whoever penetrates into both is astonished to find how much likeness there is in each detail.” ~ Henri Frederic Amiel

And so it is with November – a month of rain, fog, mist and sunshine.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A Peek into my Week …

Now that the gardening season is drawing to a close I will be concentrating more on other things that go on in my life as a way of keeping the blog going over winter.  This is a little peek  into what is going on in my world this week.

I am reading …


The Book of Idle Pleasures

It is about throwing off the shackles of modern life and embracing  the pleasure of little things – to enjoy ourselves and indulge our inbuilt love of nature and sensuality and conviviality without breaking our backs or the bank.  Using the old idea of making our own fun, using our creativity and imagination rather than paying someone else to do it for us – simple things, the bare necessities – things that cost nothing.  Idle pleasures help to side step the commotion of a work-hard, shop-hard  world and enter a world of joy and freedom.  Written by Dan Kiernan and Tom Hodgkinson of The Idler.

I am watching …


In the aftermath of his father's death an artist (Ewan McGregor) meets and falls in love with a young woman (Melanie Laurent). The story proceeds through the first weeks of this relationship with flashbacks on memories of the artist's childhood and of his father's last days. The flashbacks help us understand why McGregor's character is having such a hard time building a relationship with someone who for many people would be a dream woman: McGregor's father, played beautifully by Christopher Plummer, was gay, who only came out after his wife died. McGregor's character frets constantly that all his relationships will become as passionless as his parent's and so, little by little, has sabotaged them.



This is a quirky film and one of my favourites, especially because of Arthur the dog, who builds a telepathic relationship with McGregor – the sound track is good too, with Hoagy Carmichael, Jelly Roll Morton and Josephine Baker.  Highly recommended  if you like your films a little left-field – oh and it is based loosely on a true story.

I am taking photos …






of the last few flowers in the garden that are hanging on through colder weather and rain that never seems to stop.  Bulbs are pushing through and I still have a tree full of apples.

One of my favourite things …


art pottery – picked up for a couple of pounds in a charity shop – I love the handmade feel about it – the colours – and how the centre is a little off skew and the abstract squiggle in the middle looks like a red pepper cut in half.

I am perusing …


the Gudren Sjoden catalogue here  for Scandi ideas for Christmas

I am thinking …

that I really need to lose a few pounds after I weighed myself this morning.

I am thankful …


that I am not one of the cows in the back field who are huddling in the hedgerow trying to keep dry.

In the kitchen …

I am enjoying making


Gypsy soup from The Yellow House see here for recipe

A favourite quote

A peek into my week.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Best Things in Life are Free …

“If we look at the world with a love of life, the world will reveal its beauty to us.” ~Daisaku Ikeda




Sycamore seeds

crab apples

Saddington Reservoir

Canada Geese







Bryony berries





Canada Geese flying in



Just a few photos taken on an early morning stroll.  The sun was out, the sky clear, the water still -  showing a perfect mirror image.  The church bells were ringing in the distance, early morning dog walkers,  fishermen, cyclists, horse riders – all taking advantage of the Sunday autumn sunshine a brief pause from the torrential rain.  This is what it  is all about for me – and yes, the best things in life are free.