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.


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


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.



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.


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...


How did you get your hands in that state?

Happy weekend 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.


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.


Summer promise

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

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.



Morning dew collected on Alchemilla mollis.


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.


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.


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!   


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. 


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


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.   


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.


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.


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!