Saturday, 22 February 2014

River Cottage Canteen Axminster

I went down to Axminster this afternoon for tea and cake at the River Cottage Canteen; can thoroughly recommend it.  Lovely place, pleasant and helpful, friendly staff, excellent food. We had a big pot of tea (4 generous cups) and two slices of parsnip, apricot and walnut cake ( will be trying this at home, nice change from the usual carrot cake) for under £!0, which is pretty good value these days. I don't mind paying a bit more for good food and drink, it's when it's crap that I get annoyed!  I then fell foul of the deli counter, conveniently situated by the door lol  Came out with some smoked goat's cheddar, some Beenleigh Blue and a decent sized lump of my all-time favourite Sharpham Rustic ewe's milk cheese, plus four bottle of beer from the Town Mill Brewery n Lyme Regis - Ven and Revenge, both excellent.

Earlier in the day I had breakfast out ( had a lovely break from cooking today :)  ) at the Engine Room at Poundbury -  cheese on toast and a large cappuccino.  Bargain of the day here - a beautiful gold-laced polyanthus for only £2 in the garden centre, was so pleased with that. :)

After that we found a really good antiques/vintage place, where I picked up some useful bargains - the two herbal books were only £1 each, knitting needles 30p a pair, the wee pastry cutter £4. I couldn't resist the little purple heart necklace at only £4 too. So much beauty and loveliness for not many pennies at all.  I added in a very useful vintage knitting pattern for gloves at 20 p.  I am now hoping to be able to save up for the antique French cupboard I fell inn love with, for my new home.  I know I'll go back there again when I have some more spare cash

 intended to go to the Hive CafĂ© at Burton Bradstock, but it was stowed out, so had half an hour of very fresh sea air to replenish me before heading off to Axminster.


Friday, 21 February 2014

More spring flowers..................

I bought these beautiful British-grown tulips today, my favourite colours


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Blewbury Tart

Not a pudding, but a snowdrop. I bought this several years ago at Snape Cottage, when I went on a very cold Sunday to look round at the collections of snowdrops and hellebores grown there.  I only bought one plant, but wanted it to be special and went for Blewbury Tart, a variety discovered in Oxfordshire back in 1975.  A distinguishing feature is its propensity to hold the flower heads more erect than other snowdrops; it's a very pretty double.  It has taken a long time to establish here, and ironically I will be digging it up after flowering, to pot u in the green and move it with me to my new garden, where I hope it may flourish and be happier.


Snowdrops and hellebores


Tuesday, 18 February 2014


SHE is neither pink nor pale,
    And she never will be all mine;
She learned her hands in a fairy-tale,
    And her mouth on a valentine.
She has more hair than she needs;        
    In the sun ’tis a woe to me!
And her voice is a string of colored beads,
    Or steps leading into the sea.
She loves me all that she can,
    And her ways to my ways resign;        
But she was not made for any man,
    And she never will be all mine

Edna St Vincent Millay


Monday, 17 February 2014

My heart's desires

It will be a small and cosy home, filled with light and love, laughter and peace; a place where my authentic self can settle and live. I will continue to live by and in the seasons, with natural materials, home grown and cooked food, handmade clothes and leave a light footprint on the earth.

There will be a wood cook stove in the kitchen, with a neat pile of logs and kindling beside, replenished daily; a singing  kettle on the top and a collection of vintage saucepans, bread tins, baking tins and kitchen implements, enamel and wood, hand carved wooden spoons in a wooden rack.  There will be a hand made rag rug in front of the stove, and a rocking char, a drying pulley above . Tea towels will be pretty and neatly ironed, and handknitted dishcloths will be stored in a wicker basket. There will be tea cosies and egg cosies, doilies, tray cloths, tablecloths of great beauty and age, lace trimmed shelves, painted cupboards and my beautiful very old pine kitchen table with a variety of interesting chairs, having hand sewn cushions on them and painted in wonderful colours. The floor will be tiles or wood with rugs, the dishes a hotch potch of mixed and matched, likewise the cutlery. All equipment will be to hand - the butter churn and the grain grinder, the mincers, the knives, the colanders, the baskets and mixing bowls.  There will be the scent of fresh coffee, spices and baking, and my big candle lit daily, flickering on the side.

 The windows will have patchwork curtains and geraniums on the sills in summer.

The living room will have comfy old sofas and a big arm chair, an open fire, log basket, rugs, crocheted and knitted throws,  hand-made cushions. A radio, many full-to-bursting bookshelves, baskets of projects being worked on, a beautiful mantelpiece, pictures of my choice and some by my own hand; pretty curtains, a candle in the window, oil lamps, small tables, bowls of shells and sea glass, found objects and bowls of fresh air so that the beauty of the bowls tells its own song. There will be a piano, painted in cream and decorated with pink roses, and my fiddles and guitars. My bureau will be neat and tidy, with pretty writing paper and a drawer full of recycled envelopes and brown wrapping paper; there will be stamps in the cubby holes, and a pretty pot to hold pens and pencils on the top. My looms and wheels will go in a separate room where I can have all my craft and drawing and painting materials to hand - it will be light and airy and full of optimism and creative thoughts.

The bed will have wool blankets, hand made throws and a patchwork quilt; hot water bottles with knitted covers, cotton and linen sheets and beautiful pillowcases scented with lavender and dried woodruff. There will be a pretty chair for clothes to pile on, and hat boxes on top of the wardrobe; plants and fresh flowers,  a bedside candle and a small pile of books on the bedside cabinet. Floorboards and rugs, a stunning mirror on the wall, hats on display, and jewellery too. There will be cotton covered coathangers and those with knitted covers, lavender bags and gorgeous nightdresses.

The bathroom will be scented with homemade soap; have soft towels, abundant greenery, white painted woodwork, pictures and candles, beautiful bottles of bubblebath and oils. The airing cupboard will contain neatly stacked bed linen and towels, and baskets to store soaps and hand knitted cotton washcloths in.

There will be a store room with lines of bottled fruits, packets and tins, equipment, sacks of bird food and beans, flour and grain, homemade washing powder and ripening cheeses, demi-johns bubbling and neat rows of prettily labelled home made wine, beer and mead, brewing equipment and bee keeping gear, piles of interesting magazines for reference and boxes of apples and vegetables in store

The garden will have a long washing line, and there will be a floral cotton peg bag swinging cheerfully from it, full of wooden dolly pegs and proper split gypsy pegs. The washing will smell of sunshine and fresh air.

 (painting by Jenny Jones, Rowles Fine Art)

And the garden - oh the garden!  It will be jam packed with preciousness and beauty - my favourite old roses, snowdrops, hellebores, auricular theatres, fritillaries, flowering currants, tulips, irises and paeonies. There will be fruit trees - apples of all kinds, greengage, mulberries, quince and medlar, hazelnuts................   a small stand of willows for basket making, more hazels for coppicing. There will be colour and life throughout the year. Fruit and vegetable and herb beds, chickens, ducks, bees.......................... A small greenhouse with wooden staging, plenty of shelves for flowering plants as well as starting off seedlings; terracotta pots and wooden plant labels, tins of colourful seed packets, old tools, water butts, planted sinks.  A pond or two, with irises and water lilies, bulrushes and duckweed - dragonflies and frogs.

There will be a beautiful front door made of wood, with flowers and roses and a welcome sign nearby, the steps will be swept with a real brush and the knocker polished and kept shining. The porch will have a doormat and a hanging rack for coats and hats, shoes underneath; a shelf to display seasonal flowers, small pictures on the wall and a light to welcome folk in the darkness. There will be a big key for the door.

This is the life I want for myself, this is the authentic me, and it's a life I shall have. The home may not yet exist in this form, but it will.