Thursday 31 December 2020

Goodbye to 2020

 This has been an unhappy year, one that I hope we shall never repeat. The day started crisp and clear with a clear blue sky and a light covering of frost.

I had a walk around the garden

and then to the lake to see if the water had frozen over.

Sun was already melting the frosted ground.

It was a quiet, reflective day, with no preparations for dancing and partying as on previous New Year's Eves. A full moon in the sky this evening seen through the window mixed in with our Christmas lights.

Dear friends and fellow bloggers I wish you all good health and happier times ahead.

Monday 28 December 2020

A walk

Boxing Day is usually when people leave their homes, the remains of their turkey, their sofas, t.v. and chocolates to get a breath of fresh air.  But not this year. We are not in an area of severest lock-down but I didn't put so much as my nose out of doors because the weather was so grim. Himself brought in a good supply of wood from the store and we lolled about in the warmth of the wood burner crunching on chocolate almonds.  Storm Bella rattled round the house throughout the night but then, hurray, we woke to frost and sunshine. Walking boots on, we would stretch our legs and go on the road to the next village.

The field paths looked inviting but, knowing how much rain had fallen,  we were not tempted and stuck to the road. Cyclists passed us, all with cheery greetings; they have relished the quiet roads that this pandemic has caused. The farrier came by on horseback with his family and stopped to chat. He was riding the horse that had foaled in the summer, all happening quickly before the vet could attend. He and his wife told us again about it, such a dramatic and moving experience for them, while their little son waited patiently on his pony.


It was good to be out. Even on the road we had to pick our way carefully every now and then.

Then it was back to the sofa and the chocolates!

Thursday 24 December 2020

Christmas Greetings


We are ready to celebrate an unusually quiet Christmas. New Covid restrictions mean that family members are keeping to their own homes, spread around different parts of the country. We shall join together digitally, but for once the house will not be awash with wrapping paper and there will be some semblance of order in the kitchen. We are a family who enjoy tradition, so there is no doubt about it, it is going to be strange. At six this evening we shall stand outside, as the other villagers intend to do, and ring bells to demonstrate our solidarity in dealing with this rampaging virus.

I've finished decorating the windows but when I stood on the kitchen steps to hang up the lantern and angel mobile I saw how mucky the white muslin shears had become. What a slattern!

 Down they came for a thorough wash. No chance to hang them on the line in constant rain. They were draped over the kitchen creel overnight.

Ah, that's better - and a bit of sunshine!

The table is ready for several days of feasting.



Monday 21 December 2020

Cause for concern?

There is a fireplace in our grandson's bedroom (along with a whole lot of toys!) 

There is never a fire in the grate so no-one is in danger of catching fire.  But it's quite a dainty fireplace, and that's the problem. Isn't Father Christmas rather large?

Do you think he will be able to fit down the chimney?

Saturday 19 December 2020

Getting ready


We are getting ready for a small, quiet Christmas. I've put lights up in various windows around the house and they are a welcome brightness because the days are dark and gloomy.  We are experiencing so much heavy rain that a spring appears to have sprung up in our drive! Himself is interested to explore but I just say that we should just walk carefully round it, that when the water table lowers we should get our drive back. We'll see!

We gathered pine branches and berries during a brief spell of sunshine. The sap from the cones is sticky but smells wonderful. We have several clumps of mistletoe growing on our apple trees but only leaves this year and no white berries. It's dark enough in this dull weather to have the fairy lights on all day.

I hope that, like my bear, you are well wrapped up and getting ready to celebrate, even if it is not going to be the usual rumbustious family gathering.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

A short walk

Today is dull and damp, the distance fades into mist and the light level is very low. But yesterday the sun shone briefly and we took a short walk along the top of the wood to make the most of it. Too muddy to struggle through the tracks lower down and the fields are also sodden so it was wellingtons on.

Sunlight transforms everything, it glinted through the trees turning the path to a brilliant green and the dried grasses on the woodland floor shimmered in the light.

Once out of the wood the undergrowth along the footpath is kept clear by the farrier's goats.

We call the small goats 'The Rugs' because their coats are similar to a goat rug that we bought in Portugal many years ago. The large white goat looks as though he has stepped straight out of a folk tale or fairy story. His horns look threatening but he is a friendly creature.

Our neighbour fitted an owl box in the horse chestnut tree and a mirror to see what might be happening inside. Now that the leaves have fallen we can see if anyone has taken up occupancy.

Yes, they have! Oh, what a cheek - it's a squirrel!

Sunday 15 November 2020

Mud and fish

 We've had some torrential downpours over the last few days but this morning didn't look too bad so we put on our wellington boots and walked across the fields. We hadn't walked here for several months because the sweetcorn crop had grown high and if the leaves were at all damp they gave you a thorough soaking. But now the fields have been cleared.

It wasn't a wise decision. It was treacherous underfoot and you can guess who tripped over a corn stalk, wearing her clean jacket and jeans, and fell in the mud!

We came back by the lake and, while I was not at all happy with my muddy state, one of the fishermen was absolutely delighted with his day!

It's the biggest one in the lake," he told us.

Cameras out to record the catch.

Rather an ugly brute in my opinion.

I had another ugly brute to deal with when I got home. One of the large squash had developed a soft spot and if I didn't cut it up and freeze the healthy flesh I would quickly lose it all.

 Now it has been chopped into cubes and bagged in the freezer.
I am in awe of nature - just one seed can produce all this!

Wednesday 11 November 2020

November lockdown

Rain and stiff bones have kept me out of the garden and when I walk out there now I can see how much there is to do. It's a mess, with fallen leaves and rotting vegetation that needs to be cleared away.


In amongst the chaos there are still some splashes of colour to enjoy.

In the veg garden the chard is putting on a good display - it's a pity that Himself is not too keen on eating the stuff! 

I'm still cropping a few mange tout and  the winter veg, leeks, sprouts and cabbage are all coming on stream.

Another flush of blossom on my climbing 'Iceberg' rose.

What a delight!

In the kitchen I'm still using the lemons. This is a favourite recipe.


Shortcrust pastry to line a flan case.

Cream 2 oz margarine with 4 oz sugar until light.

Add 4 oz cottage cheese,  1 oz flour, one egg yolk and the grated rind and juice of one lemon.

Whisk the white of egg until stiff and add to the mixture.

Spread into the pastry case and bake gas mark 6 for about half an hour.