Tuesday 27 June 2017

Growing season

Some poor deluded soul was on the radio last week saying that houses didn't need kitchens, that cooking was drudgery and the expense of a kitchen, he quoted the figure of fifty thousand, ridiculous. Well, I agree with his last point, there's no need to spend anything like that amount to get a decent kitchen. But on all other points the man was talking rubbish and possibly eating rubbish quite often as well since all his food, he told us, is, 'bought in'. More money than sense, obviously.I don't know why they gave him air time.
We are eating like kings from food harvested from the garden. The pleasures that man has no concept of - there's no food that tastes as good as a freshly picked and prepared food, it's organic, untouched by other hands and makes sense financially as well.

The carrots are a healthy crop
with seed waiting to be collected from last season's carrots.
Their flower heads are so attractive.
Parsley is seeding amongst the asparagus
and as crops are lifted they create a space for more planting
well netted against the pigeons!
The mangetout flourished in the sunshine while we were away from home and were well past picking by the time we returned so they also are being left and the seed collected once ripe to keep for next year's planting. I've sown another row in the space left by some of the lifted (and eaten!) 'Charlotte' potatoes.
The whole garden is in a state of lush chaos. There's lots that needs doing, but the temperature is pleasant, the days are long and it's the time just to enjoy the space that we are in.

Vines and clematis on the shed roof
and 'Raubritter' looking over the wall.
In the greenhouse
the 'Red Cherry' tomatoes are growing,

although still small and green.
Only 'Cinderella' is unhappy. Go to the ball? That's all she's done. The least bit of wind and rain and she refuses to open, her top petals close, the whole flower head forms a tight ball and drops off. She's a fair weather creature and a great disappointment.

Friday 23 June 2017


On Sunday we drove over the North York Moors to Whitby to stay with brother and sister-in-law. It was another lovely warm and sunny day for strolling around the town.
Too late to buy kippers from the famous kipper shop
it had just closed for the day.
We walked to the headland
for a view over the town.

People were exploring the shoreline under the cliffs. Perhaps they were looking for pieces of jet, made popular when Queen Victoria wore it as her mourning jewellery.
We walked along the harbour wall 
watching the day tripper boats come and go.
Usually, once the boats leave the calm waters of the harbour it's a bucking ride. But today the water beyond the harbour mouth was as calm as a mill pond. Time to climb aboard and go to sea ourselves!
Now other folks can look at us.
And we can see a different view of the Abbey.

We passed several small clinker-built  boats anchored out at sea with no-one aboard. "The salmon are running," the captain explained, a simple statement that means that the fish are making their way up river from the sea to their annual spawning ground. No fishing is allowed on Sundays but the boats are left in position to mark their spot.
Back on dry land we wandered round the streets. These old fishing towns are characterful places. Some of the street names in Whitby give you an idea of what the people must have been like. No holding back in Yorkshire!

After all the fresh sea air and sunshine it was time to eat and in Whitby that means one thing,
fish and chips and mushy peas... and scraps!
Then we walked back over the bridge
to sit in the living room
and watch the sun go down.
With a lovely afterglow

Thursday 22 June 2017

Up North

Last week we stayed overnight in the Midlands en route to a family funeral. The hotel building dates from 1640. It was damaged in the Civil War by Cromwell's army. The owners sent a bill to parliament and Cromwell paid up!

A lovely studded old oak door.
Replicas on display of the legal paperwork relating to the house.
We had an early morning start, leaving, we thought, at least an hour and a half of extra time before the morning service. I thought we would be kicking our heels in the graveyard and all seemed fine as we drove along the toll road. Then came the roadworks, followed by every light at red and the gates closed on the level crossing! We  arrived only just before the hearse.
After the service (and a catch-up with cousins who are spread far and wide) it was on to our bolthole in the Dales for a few nights. We usually go in and out of the house via the French windows but a bird flew past us in panic as we arrived. Spotted flycatchers had built a nest in the climbing rose to the left of the doors.
I put a notice on the gate and wired it shut. Both parents were busy from morning 'til night feeding their chicks, catching insects on the wing beneath the trees above the beck. They are elegant little birds, as one parent fed the chicks the other one sat on the railings waiting it's turn to arrive with a morsel.
We came and went by the front door
which we normally hardly ever use
as it leads straight out onto the road.
The garden was a tad overgrown!

I counted over a dozen bees on this plant.
It was glorious weather for walking.
I love it when I'm 'home'!
At the weekend it was Leyburn's Festival of Food and Drink and we popped along to see what was on offer. 
There were a number of stalls selling artisan gin and others with all manner of flavoured vinegars - what's that all about?!

I loved 
the Butternut baskets stall 
with baskets imported from various African countries.
Here's 'Mrs Butternut' talking to Himself.
I want one!
Not much to do with Yorkshire I hear you say. Well, that's what I thought. There were stalls selling turros from Spain, Tai food, Russian pies, food and drink from all over the place. 
Let's check out the Wensleydale Creamery, makers of my favourite Coverdale cheese (I'm not biased!) Ah, that's more like it!