Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Highclere Castle

Last Sunday I got up very early to join a coachtrip to Berkshire to visit Highclere Castle.  This is more well known to many as Downton Abbey, a  drama on ITV. Our Horticultural Society arrange a couple of trips each year to gardens and houses. 

The coach drove up the long drive way and took us right to the front door, where we were met by a guide who told us about our visit.

No photos are allowed to be taken inside the house, which is a pity, because it was lovely.  The rooms were not massive like some of the houses I have visited.  There were signs to show which rooms were used for the programme - I am looking forward to  watching it in the Autumn when the new series starts.

 The grounds and gardens were designed by Capability Brown and the 1st Earl of Canarvon.  Lots of trees and lawns, bet they take some mowing!

This old wall was quite lovely, with roses climbing up and a massive bed of penstamom.

A view of the house from below the wild flower meadow (saves on mowing)

The house framed by two trees.

This arched wall divided the lawns from the Monks garden, beyond this is the secret garden.  This was where they filmed The Secret Garden.

The most interesting part for me was the Egyptian Exhibition.  This is in the old servants area, downstairs.  The 5th Earl travelled to Egypt and in 1922 discovered the Tomb of Tutankhamun.  There were lots of real treasures on display and some replicas.  
The story of his travels was displayed along with some of his personal possessions.  

Mmmmm.... a Magnum mint, just what I needed on such a hot day.


July Scavenger Hunt

This month has flown by with lots happening. A wedding, The Tendring show, Alice coming home (hurrah!)  my sister back from HK for a holiday. We have been busy on the allotment too, lots of picking and watering.   The weather has been glorious, so hot and sunny.  The proper summer I had been hoping for.   But with no further ado, here are my photos for the July Scavenger Hunt:

BLACK: great big juicy blackberries growing on my allotment

11 - eleven Alliums, from the Chelsea Flower show

SOMETHING VERY OLD - Highclere Castle or more well known to many as Downton Abbey, the tv programme.  I visited last weekend, see here for the story of my day there.

SOMETHING BRIGHT - I have just polished the brass scales and weights

COINS - the contents of my purse £10.11

TECHNOLOGY  - my two monitors, one tells me how much electricity I am using and the other how much electricity the panels on my roof are producing.  Always hoping one is higher than the other!

NUMBERS - on my phone

WHEELS- our bikes in the shed

THE GREAT OUTDOORS - picking elderflowers to make the cordial and wine.


 SMILE - A very happy bride and groom

UMBRELLA - didn't think I was going to get this one, but it poured with rain the other morning and I rushed out side!

FEET - my feet, having a pedicure!

Well that is it for this month, off to start searching for the next one!  Thanks to Greenthumb at Made with Love!

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Phew! What a scorcher!

Phew! It's been hot this week, but I am not moaning!  After 10 months of cold, cloud and rain we should all be happy.  At the Horticultural meeting the other night the chairman said we could do with some rain - huh?  not yet thank you!!

This week I have been:

Baking hot!
Working in the baking hot heat!
Visiting the allotment and admiring these beautiful Sweet peas.  The seeds were from Sarah Raven and they are doing very well.

 They smell lovely too!   I have three jugs full of them.

I have picked pounds of strawberries 
And made this very retro flan.  The base is shop bought (oh horrors!) mash up a load of strawberries ( the not so good ones) in some sugar and lay over the base, then place some strawberries (the good ones) decoratively on the top.  Cover with a Greens quick gel, from a packet (more oh horrors!)  leave to get a soggy bottom and enjoy!  It's Mr HH's favourite!!!

Also made some Rhubarb and Strawberry cordial, delicious with some fizzy water.
Picked lots of veg - peas, french beans and the first courgettes

We opened the window and let some air in.  Lost the key some months ago, and we were sure it would turn up during the "great kitchen make-over", but it hasn't and this week I have been trying to work in this heat with it shut. That's it I announced, I am going to call a man in to replace the lock.  Mr HH disappeared into the garage this morning and I heard lots of grinding sounds.  You would never guess, but he had made a new key out of an old one and proudly opened the window and shut the window and opened the window and shut the window.............
He has added locksmith to his list of skills!  

But best of all...

We had a home grown dinner - potatoes, peas, carrots, french beans and kale- so proud!

Monday, 15 July 2013

The Tendring Show

2nd Saturday in July every year is the Tendring Show and I have gone most years since I was about 7. It is an agricultural show which is been held for almost 100 years!  Some things have changed over the years, but it is mostly the same. There are always lots of animals to see, goat and horses, sheep and cows.  The grand ring hosts various displays and there are many trade stands selling everything from crisps to hats to tractors  Lots of local organisations also give out information about things like recycling and bee keeping.   Last year it was knee deep in mud as it had rained non stop for weeks, but this year the sun blazed down and it was lovely.
 I met this little goose, who was happy to say hello
 and this beautifull bantam

 a beady eyed chicken
 I drank a lovely cup of Mocha
 made by these happy chaps!
 We drank our coffee while watching the heavy horses being judged.
 I had a chat with the goats
 We watched the horses and hounds
 Jenna bought a hat
 And we all had yogurt ice cream cones!

At the end our feet ached from walking so far, our arms ached from carrying so much shopping and our heads ached from being out in the sun for hours, but we had a lovely day and I am already looking forward to next year.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Birthday bouquet

Picked some flowers from the garden to give to friends for their birthdays

Sweet peas from the allotment with lots of fennel and ladies mantle, tied up with some raffia, they looked so pretty!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Tonights harvest

Popped to the allotment this evening, it was very quiet and peaceful there.  Someone over the way was having a bonfire and I could hear it crackling.  Bees were buzzing on the raspberries.  I didn't stay long just picked a few things and had a wander around.  Noticed that there is a pumpkin growing about the size of a golf ball at the moment and the courgettes will be ready soon.
This is what I picked

Strawberries, raspberries, sweetpeas, broccoli, french beans, dill and two pea pods!

Friday, 5 July 2013

return of the international traveller

Had my nails done yesterday!  Manicure and pedicure, fingers and toes matching - bright red with some littel black gems.  All ready for a family wedding on Saturday.

Alice is home from her travels, picked her up from the bus last night.  We all sat in the garden chatting and having pizza, it was the first time we had all been together since Jared's birthday back in January.  She has been working in Russia and then spent a month travelling home via China, HongKong and Dubai.  Hurray!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


I am a little late with the June Scavenger hunt photos.  Not had time to get out and take many this month, so some are from my archives, but here they are:

 PURPLE  - a lavender flower

60  - sixty elderflower heads, about to be made into elderflower cordial and wine.

LITTLE -  a little beetle that I spotted when weeding at the allotment, he didn't want to keep still to have his photo taken!

EYES - a pile of rusty eyes, taken out of the old posts that held up the raspberries.

ANIMAL -my girls, Henita, Marjory and Betty

   ARCHITECTUAL DETAIL - a constrution of posts and string to hold up the peas, covered with net held over hoops!  A major piece of work to keep the birds off!

 RING - or rings, Olympic rings seen on Tower Bridge last summer.

LIGHT - candle light

ROOFTOPS- the view from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, London

ICE CREAM - taken on holiday a few years ago (we don't have ice cream very often!!)

TOMBSTONE -   a church yard in Little Bentley,in the spring

ART  -  rusty drain pipes, in the art gallery, Firstsite, in Colchester

Well, off to start snapping ready for next month!