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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Progress report

The surprises one is dealt in life sometimes come thick and fast.  A couple of years ago I would never have imagined my working life would have reached to such new and exciting markets.  As one window closes, another unexpectedly opens.  Sadly our manufacturer in Stoke is no longer making our English Creamware.  We still have some items for sale, but they are now in short supply.  They are listed on the right of this page.
Our next designs are now selling well in South Korea and in the future we aim to have these designs available in the UK too.  For a link to our new catalogue, click here.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lethal weapon

Armed with my new garden implement a -  wrotter - dutch for "weedy outy" thing, or in Old Frisian "tough worker", no dandelion is safe in my garden.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Too much of a good thing??

Winter snowdrops, am I weird for not liking carpets of them?  I like the few in a group growing beside the village brook just as they come out of bud.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Return of "Frankie"

Many thanks to our neighbours for crucial info on how to make one's weathervane accurate.  Now our sky running hare is absolutely on the button with the wind direction.  Admittedly he is now bolted together with lumps of lead to weights his head - hence him being re-christened after Mary Shelley's gothic character.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

how to distract myself from January

Dream of summer and sow some sweet pea seeds.  Snow still lying here, but I am planning ahead. Made newspaper tubes for long pea roots this morning and sowed seeds collected in autumn 2013, here they are on my kitchen window.  Then went out to try lunch at Powis Arms, and PINK BEEF!  Wonderful, why can't all pubs keep their beef rare, who wants to eat boot leather?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

14 jan 15

Not even "Fuji Blue", but as it was this morning on my Oakley Mynd walk.  A thin layer of snow defining the fine mesh of branches on an ancient ash tree.  Stunning blue sky, violet shadows in the snow and a brightness we only get here in winter.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

The start of a new photography project

This is for some of our new designs launched in South Korea.  Its funny how  nervy I get given that this is my idea of work heaven, but before I begin I feel schizophrenic, then suddenly it all gels and concentration sets in to the exclusion of all else.  This is maybe more of a challenge in that I only really like natural light for my photography and we are fast approaching the shortest day with light levels at their lowest.  Still the request comes from Seoul and I am eager to make it all stunning.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The interloper

Actually there were 2 of them that wandered into my garden this morning, vying for the most sumptuous plumage.  Not exactly subtle or camouflaged, these were beautiful plump sleek birds purple and coppery gold.  Here is one as he reached up to drink from my bird bath.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

There is really nothing good to be said about having a cold.  Feeling rather sorry for myself with sore throat and fever, so I'm a bit off my feed - which is never good.  2 weeks left to the shortest day then the wait through the dark months.  Should I be spending winters in the Antipodes?

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Sunday morning, view takes your breath away.  After days of fog Sunday dawned clear and we went up the Mynd to absorb the view.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

As if we ever wait that long















Our very nice new neighbours have been extremely generous with their apple harvest, knowing I am a total fruit bat.  There has been a wonderful mix of russets and James Grieves, and an unknown one which has stored very well, little but a good sweet acid balance.  And the bashed ones I used to make a very nice spiced chutney.
Here is the recipe
3kg sweet dessert apples, peeled and cored
6 tiny onions peeled and chopped
9 or 10 cloves garlic smashed and chopped roughly
400 ml malt vinegar
500g granulated sugar (could be a little less)
2 good tsp chilli flakes
1 x tbs black pepper corns
Seeds from 8 cardamon pods
2 x tsp salt
1 x big tsp mustard seed


3 x good tbs semi dried coriander seeds
Boil up, then simmer till thick and unctuous (1 and a half hours ish). Bottle into hot jars and seal.

KEEP 3 MONTHS BEFORE EATING

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

More like this please...

Not the French Riviera but South Shropshire on 5 November - not bad, but still dreaming of cycling through pine woods in Les Landes next summer.
Still I can thoroughly recommend eschewing the GMT nonsense, who want to have afternoon tea in the dark? be like us, stick to BST at least a few more weeks yet.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Food for the soul

Ribeye steak from British White cattle (old variety  - white as you'd expect, with black noses and ears known for their excellent eating).  This one from a Mr Plunkett (I kid you not).  Wood burner stoked in readiness for searing, griddle heating, Tenterden Chapel Down pinot noir airing, rocket leaf salad prepped, potato rosti ready to toast off.  And Autumn Bliss raspberries from the garden.  Can't wait...

Friday, 3 October 2014

How did you get your hands in that state?

Happy weekend spent...de-crudding my bike chain. Recently acquired and already a beloved part of the family is my new (second-hand) bike, despite the interesting colour. Having great fun  tearing about rough tracks and lanes, falling off in mud, ducking to miss low branches and tall brambles growing across paths not meant for biking and nearly killing myself on hills.  But tomorrow torrential rain is due and I will probably stay put.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Blink and it's gone...

Summer over and now into misty dawns.  Here is today's early walk.  I'm trying to make a smooth transition into autumn, but somehow its always a bit of a struggle to accept summer is gone.  Still walks like this are wonderful and pep the system for the day.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Summer promise

Summer is round the corner.  This is from our first barbie last month - many more to come??

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

May morning

Sunlight catches in the grass.  Ripening seed heads silvery in the early morning.  Damp ankles from walking through the dew.  The air full of bird song.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Dew

















Morning dew collected on Alchemilla mollis.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Corner of the room

Sometimes there is nothing in particular to say, but just a sense to feel; spring is here and life returns.  I can see colour again, have flowers in the house and breath again.
  

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Tulpen in the garden

Winter is over and the garden is waking up again.  Swallows have arrived and we have even managed to eat breakfast outside (just once!) in our east facing sun trap. 
And here are some of my favourite tulips this year I'm growing them with a particularly delicious smelling wall flower, its creamy colour reminiscent of its vanilla scent.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Bunyard's Exhibition

Spring is here??  Let's hope it's not an aberration, all the signs are good; leaf buds swelling on the cherry twigs, hearing a chiff chaff (that very accommodating little migrant who sings his name), and a warm-ish wind.

So next comes the seed sowing.  Here is my beautiful new seed box, fashioned by hand for my birthday, complete with dove-tailed joints and movable sections for my burgeoning seed collection.  Where ever I travel I can't resist buying the odd pack of seeds to try back home, plus the old favourites from here with those evocative names; Bunyard's Exhibition, a broad bean, or Excalibur, a parsnip!   

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Thrills and spills in Lydbury North

Who says living in a deeply rural place isn't exciting - not only do we have slide shows put on in the village hall, but we have the drama and adventure of power lines being caught in falling trees to boot!
There I was at my kitchen window watching our neighbour's dead tree wobbling in the gale whilst I waited for the kettle to boil, next thing the electric went kaput and when I looked out again the tree was gone too - and no coincidence about it.  2 days later, having survived by cooking on our woodburner and praying that my Kindle wouldn't run out of juice, this brave chappie solved our problem.  Here he is in action splicing together the cables.  Oh what joy Electricity!  I can turn on a light or turn it off again, I can decide at the drop of a hat to make a cup of tea, rather than having to plan half an hour in advance and getting lots of appropriate sticks together, or I can just enjoy that hum of transformers doing their bit. 
 

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Life imitating art

End of January, and admittedly a relatively mild winter, but we have had our fair share of windy, rainy stuff, definitely the feeling of being a very small island bobbing about in the middle of the Atlantic.  Still this is great material for Andrew's paintings.  Here is one - and if you click on this link below there are more, particularly if he updates with his latest works...!
Andrew's paintings

Friday, 24 January 2014

Why I love my village

Here is a classic piece of village life; from forth coming events in our community newsletter. 
"25th April David Evans has kindly agreed to present his slideshow on Lydbury North in Old Postcards.  If you have read his book Border Wanderings you know we are in for a treat."
Actually I can't wait, I will be there and wild horses couldn't keep me away.   

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Early morning walk

 

Now the mornings are becoming increasingly bright early on, we sometimes manage a "hoof up the hill" to start the day.  Today was wonderful atmospheric, trees looming out of the dense fog - beautiful shapes silhouetted against the thick air.  The ash tree here making a wonderful pattern of branches.

 
A marvellously tuneless cacophony, hundreds of birds chattering away in a sycamore becoming ever more vocal, until we were nearly underneath them, then the large flock of starlings took off,  and suddenly all was quiet again.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Sewing is not my greatest skill, but sometimes my enthusiasms carry me along.  My latest little task was to make this loose cover for a small armchair which used to be a doggy brown horror, but with potential.  It was at times like making a pair of pyjamas for a small elephant, but I got there in the end.  And now it looks perfectly sweet and is very inviting of a winter evening to sit and read in a comfy little armchair.
The oak chest is another story.  Last weekend, with Andrew's logistical capabilities which would have impressed the Imperial Romans we tied it up with sash cord and between the 2 of us lugged the hefty beast up our staircase, taking in its twists and turns and carried it along to our newly finished bedroom.  But having got it there, although the sense of achievement was great, I didn't like the look of it, and so the next day we did the process in reverse and brought it downstairs again.  Ironically it was only after the heaving it about the house that its new place struck me as possible. 

Still, it was worth the effort and fortunately I don't have to confess to my physio that I have undone all the good work she has done on my knee.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

First snowdrops of 2014

On a sparkly Saturday morning walk, after days if not weeks of torrential rain showers, finally we had a bright sun.  The swollen stream dazzling in the sunshine.  Its banks have been eroded with so much water, but here and there the first snowdrops were just visible at the water's edge.

Now the days are starting to be a little longer, but the cold might hit us soon. 
So far my Resolution for the new year has been off to a shaky start - with the odd burnt crust at breakfast, but perseverance is all!
 
 

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Year ending 2013

Time for a clear view of the New Year.  Out with the old decorations, this year boughs of fir and holly gathered from the hedges and fields after a particularly violent December storm, and now the last few thrown on the wood burner making an especially ferocious roar.  So here we are looking forward to a new year with all the excitements and struggles it might bring - but we will deal with them all, somehow. 
And this year's resolution, I'm done with all the too challenging ones  which I fail at, like "hoover more",  this time, in 2014 my aim is Don't Burn the Toast!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Shortest Day

How I love to reach this day.  Its 9pm and I am sitting in front of our log burner, hearing the wind and rain battering the windows but I don't mind because the days are now getting longer. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Home again

Just back from the most wonderful trip to South Korea.  We were guests of Zen company who are producing our brand for the Korean market, and doing it so very beautifully and very thoroughly that it completely took my breath away.  They were extremely kind hosts and gave us the chance to spend sometime travelling around the country.  Here are a few images from our visit. You can click on them to see larger versions.


















 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

When you go down to the woods today...

Deluges through the day and warm nights all add up to the perfect conditions for the beloved cep.  A magical woodland walk glimpsing these little chaps nestled in the moss in sunlit bosky glades, a little bird song and wind gently soughing in the trees, then home for tea with this very satisfying 2kg of porcini!   
 

Monday, 21 October 2013

Squally rain

Its nearly 5pm and the rain is now easing a little.  Rivulets were coursing down the window panes, and my rain gauge notching up to a hefty 17mm since this morning, so I spent the day tucked up in my workshop throwing on the wheel.  Then as I stopped for lunch a momentary glimmer outside reflected in the puddles and shone on the zinnias on the window ledge.  With their vivid colours they are a wonderful memento of summer.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

for world poetry day...

I have to admit that I'm not a great one for poetry , but this one, ironically as a confirmed insomniac I find wonderfully evocative.  A.S. Tessimond's Sleep.