Friday, 6 November 2009

Things are looking rosy.................

Big excitement here, as my long-awaited David Austen roses have arrived. I ordered them some months back from a special offer in Country Living magazine, where they were half price.

I ordered four, and half the fun this morning was making a note of what I'd ordered - I'd long forgotten the names of them! So - we have William Lobb, madame Hardy, Tuscany Superb and Charles de Milles.

William Lobb:

Madame Hardy:

Tuscany Superb:

Charles de Milles:

I shall get out at the weekend and get them in, when I've finally decided where they will go - still thinking about that, but at least two will go out the front I think.
In the meantime, here's a rarity for you - the Green Rose, rosa chinensis.

Definitely a curiosity, but a rose none the less. I had to order it specially from Cranborne Manor Garden Centre (they are well knwon for their old roses). I nearly lost it last year when MrL inadvertently hoiked it out when clearing a bed in the front; it was squashed and battered, but I potted it up and nurtured it, and it seems to be doing well now, and I can get it back in the ground soon. He was just as gald as I was that it survived when I told him it cost *him* over twenty pounds!!! LOL I know, a bit of a luxury, but this econo-wife doesn't ask for much, and sometimes you see something that you've just got to have - this was one of those :)

Friday in the Vale

This is how it looked this morning, pretty stunning..................

Another Friday...............The tail lights in the photo are actually those of my OH wending his way across the county to work! I like Friday, it has an ambience all of its own, as does each day here, the way I live my life.
Monday is get up and go day - do most of the housework, the washing, the bits that need to be done promptly and definitely before the end of the week. Tuesday a bit less hectic, but floors and windows are done, and the ironing, baking too. Wednesday is for mending and any other bits; Thursday is winding down a bit towards the weekend, where I do tidying, extra jobs, anything else that needs doing. Thence to Friday - clean the fridge and write a shopping list, sfood shopping in the evening is usually all that's left to do at the end of the week. Weekday afternoons are spent knitting, sewing, reading, gardening, etc. Saturday is out and about - into town if we need to, animal food, hay, visit palces and events, etc. Sunday is a "day off" - I tend to knti and read or similar, sometimes gardening or cooking, whatever takes my fancy. Most evenings are spent reading, knitting, spinning, doing jigsaws, sewing, on the computer etc.
It's a quiet life, but prouductive and satisfying.
My latest spinning efforts, done last night:

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

October Giveaway winner

The winner of the October giveaway for choice of hat is:


Well done to Karen, can you contact me and let me know what you would like please? Thankyou!

Look out for the November giveaway soon. Thanks to all for reading and taking part.



Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Damh the Bard - new album

Latest album is called Tales from the Crowman. It's got one of my all-time favourites on it - Wild Mountain Thyme. I've known this song for many, many years, and I'm thrilled to bits to find it on here! Will be ordering it soon, I think. Have a listen:

-go the website and select the track.

Two good books to recommend

I always like being recommended a book or two - it's nice to get someone else's opinion on a book, and to know they've thought of you when reading one as well.
The Garden Cottage Diaries was one that was recommended on CL forum back in June, and I ordered it from Amazon. I sat down and read straight the way through it that afternoon! It really is a terrific book, about a woman who spends a year living as much as possible and as close to possible as was done in the 1790s - clothing, food, shelter, light, walking everywhere. What made it more special for me is that she is Scottish, and carried out he year's living in Scoltand, near the area whaere I was brought up. As it says on the back cover - "Her quirky, lively and down top earth account is packed with hsitory, folklore, facts, practical tips and curiosities" - and so it is. There's a lot in there I want to try out for myself - recipes, the rush lights, some of the clothing, all sorts of things. A great book for anyone interested in domestic history, I found it hugely inspiring, and with a good range of skills that we may need in the not too distant future waiting to be tried and re-discovered.
The other book is very different: Home - chronicle of a North Country Life, by Beth Powning. This one was recommended to me on an American forum; a book about a woman and her relationship with the land. The writing is top notch - spare, evocative, one to be read again and again, each time gaining more from the additional reading. The last chapter on the storm is wonderful, for me, a perfect piece of writing. The book is illustrated by beautiful photographs, marrying superbly with the prose. I couldn't recommend this one highly enough, and have read it twice now.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Apples and pears

Nothing quite like them at the end of the autumn; I think the colours in the apples are stunning, their scent deliciously and nostalgically familiar - they're some surplus I was lucky enough to get from a friend up the road. I got bags of them, and other types - the best are saved for eating, the rest are now chopped into the cider bucket!
As for the pears - well, I'm stupidly proud of those! They are the first pears I've ever grown; the tree is a Beth (Bean's real name is Bethany, so I thought it appropriate :) ), bought from Woolworths in town a couple of years back. This, its first harvest yielded 11 beautiful and perfect pears - now baking in the oven, some for crumble tonight, some for storing for the depths of winter.
There really is nothing to match the thrill of bringing home grown produce into the kitchen; even if you are the only one to see and taste it, all the effort and care gone into the growing is repaid manyfold.
I'm looking forward to my crumble.................

My first teddy bear

- yes, at the age of 48! I can never remember having a teddy bear when I was small; I may well have done, but it wasn't kept, and I can't recall anything about having I bought myself one. From the charity shop, he cost only 50p.I've knitted him a nice smart pullover (Rowan wool, nothing but the best for MY and he'll sit upstairs on the landing when it's painted and the chairs for up there are renovated.
I think he's rather handsome, and has a lovely

Sunday, 1 November 2009


I woke up to a very wild and wet part of Dorset this morning - I can't see across the Vale at all; it's still blowing out there, with driving rain. A dismal start to a new month, but hey-ho, it's almost winter. The beasties at the top of the garden will be well fed up with it, having to stay in their houses most of the day - the doors are left open, but they won't venture out into this! There's nothing quite like a bedgraggled wet chicken looking sorry for itself............. I haven't seen the bees for days now, so they must be tucked up ready for winter; fingers crossed they come through again.

In nature, November is the time of transition into winter - the last leaves fall, hibernation for creatures begins, and it has always marked a period of final preparations for the colder months ahead, especially so for those who live close to the land and feel the seasons. I'm grateful for the fact we are settled for the winter mostly, although we need to get some more wood. The cupboards are full, there are plenty of lamps ready to go, and I'm well-stocked up with matches and candles, tea and reading material- all essentials for the longer winter evenings; outside chores are hurried through, all livestock double checked for food,water and bedding, hearty evening meals are lingered over - there's usually nowhere to go in weather like November's in the evening! Half finished projects are brought out and dusted down for finishing; thicker curtains are hung, the rug replaced on the sitting room floor; thoughts turn towards Christmas now, the making of presents and cards, thoughts of friends and familiy, celebration, time with loved ones. Thoughts too for the wild creatures-I bought new seed feeders for thegarden yesterday to replace the very battered ones. I'll get them ready and filled and put out tomorrow hopefully. I look forward to being entertained by bird antics outside the kitchen window again!
A time for drawing on inner strengths and thoughts, staying inside both physically and mentally, winding down, getting ready, but with an eye to spring - the bulbs will be starting to stir under the cold soil already. Nature doesn't stop whilst man warms his hand-knitted stockinged toes by the fire!
I love November for all the above reasons, and am grateful for being exactly where I am in many senses of the words.