Thursday, 19 November 2015

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Yorkshire in the rain

We've just returned from a week in the Dales having a catch-up with friends before closing our bolt hole down for the winter, turning off the electricity and draining down the system so that we don't have to worry unduly about any storm damage. Our property borders a beck.
In the summer we open the sitting room windows and listen to the sound of the water as it falls over a small outcrop of stones.
But there was no need to open windows on this trip, the water was roaring down!

There's a small waterfall further upstream,

swollen to more than twice it's usual size.
Everywhere was dripping wet.

Water was thundering under the bridge at Aysgarth. We didn't stop to walk along the river side and look at the falls because it was treacherous underfoot.

It kindly stopped raining for one short morning during our week away, giving me the chance to plant some tulip bulbs in the front garden.
Gardeners always look forward!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Monday, 2 November 2015


We've had a couple of days of fog, it has been floating past the windows and hanging in the trees like smoke, virtually the whole country is blanketed under the stuff. This afternoon the mist rolled away for a short while so I went out with my camera. The farrier has put his goats on the overgrown bank beside the footpath, they are friendly little animals and are doing a good job of clearing the slope.
Perhaps the stag thought that the mist would hide him.
The fallen leaves have lost their crispness now
and are forming a soft mash and meld of colour under my boots.

Just the right sort of weather for fungi.
The damp air seeps into me.

It's good to get back to the warmth of the kitchen.
We picked our crop of pears a couple of weeks ago when they were still hard and put most of them in the cool so that they would ripen slowly. A basket was put in the kitchen to be ready earlier. That was the theory! But it would seem that pears don't do as they're told, they're not as accommodating as apples, pears always ripen at the same time whatever I try and once ripe they soon spoil. I made a tray bake but it didn't use as many fruits as I would have liked, I should have crammed them over the entire surface.
It's a fat-free recipe.
8oz self-raising flour
3oz soft light-brown sugar
2oz semolina
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons clear honey
2 tablespoons malt extract
4 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons sunflower oil
teaspoon vanilla essence
2 eggs.

Sift together flour, sugar, cocoa powder and semolina. Separate eggs and whisk whites until stiff.Add egg yolks and other ingredients to the flour mixture and combine until smooth. Fold in the egg whites and pour into a 7x11inch greased baking tray. Add pear slices and cook at 325F for half an hour.
Once the cake has cooled sprinkle with icing sugar. It will melt on the moist pears but stay on the cake.

Friday, 30 October 2015


This week, in rather unpromising weather, we drove across the bridge to Wales.
Our destination was Llandrindod Wells,a popular spa town in the Victorian era. The town, and the hotel where we stayed, has seen better days - this is polite English understatement!
The hotel was a huge great slab of uncompromising green with interior decor straight from the '50's and a view from our bedroom window that provided a new low in our experience of hotel accommodation. Oh, well, we kept the curtains closed, at least the bed was comfortable and the water hot!
The town is full of fine examples of Victorian architecture

and in the park in front of the hotel we were pleased to see a statue to the artist Thomas Jones (1742-1803), a local man whose Italian paintings we admire.
Victorian visitors once flocked to the town to take the restorative spa waters so we wandered down to Rock Park Spa to see what all the fuss was about.

At the fountain I cupped my hand to drink, the water promised all manner of improvements to my health.
Iron-rich, it tasted disgusting and lay in my stomach like lead!
'No wonder they're all dead!' quipped Himself.
Like the rest of the town, Rock Park was rather neglected and forlorn.

Two of the former Rock Park shops, attractively built in blue and cream brickwork.
The following day the weather gradually improved and we drove along a beautiful and very narrow minor road on our way to the Elan Valley. We stopped under these larch trees to drink from our flask. 
 There were no passing places along the road. Luckily we met no-one coming the other way!

The Elan Valley comprises 70 square miles of moor and woodland, rivers, dams and reservoirs. It is  run by Dwr Cymru  (Welsh Water) supplying water to the city of Birmingham. 
The threatening sky at Cabon Coch looked a promising subject for Skywatch Friday.

But when the sun shone at the Garreg Ddu dam the atmosphere became completely different.

There are six dams in the valley. (The Nant y Gro Dam was used for tests during WW2 in preparation for the Dambusters Raid.)
Pen y Garreg
The water levels were very low.

We reached the head of the valley just before the sun went down.
Perfect timing!