Sunday, 22 April 2018


Friends had a party to celebrate thirty years in their home and the completion of an extension to their kitchen. I made a mocha cake, decorated with biscuits
and a bit of very shaky icing!
The extension is a great success, it floods light in from the Bristol Channel.

It's a lovely addition to the house
and a great place to chat!

As we chatted the tide crept up to the garden wall.
The combination of good food and friends is hard to beat!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Oh, really!

It was so dark at midday that we had to have the lights on. It's damp and drear outside, the sort of weather that chills me.
I've been spending days, and several evenings out, wearing my dressing gown. Oh, really, what a slob! A few years ago there was condemnation in the press for those uncouth people who fell out of bed and trundled round the supermarket in their pyjamas. Since then pjs have become quite a fashion item, seen on the glitterati all over the place. But dressing gowns have yet to become a 'thing'. Am I about to become a trailblazer? I've worn it out in the evening over a black silk shirt and black velvet trousers with a pop of yellow colour from an amber necklace that a daughter bought for me in Russia. (Sorry Chekhov, Tolstoy, Akhadulina and Yevtushenko but now I have REALLY fallen out with Russia.) I don't think that anyone thought, good grief, woman in a dressing gown. Perhaps they did, but I was warm and comfortable and couldn't care less.
It was made in India from soft recycled cotton and sold by Toast. It is blissfully comfy.
The different patterns are unified by a white running stitch over all the fabric. There are no buttons. (My fingers now find buttons tricky.)
And there are two generous pockets. What's not to like!
Joining Patti, who hosts Visible Monday.

Sunday, 4 March 2018


We are putting a lot of food out for the birds during this cold weather and also eating rather more than usual ourselves. A solitary fieldfare appeared on the lawn yesterday, we usually see them in flocks and I think that this one must have been blown off course by the stormy weather. We put out water and some apples from the store that were softening and it ate steadily away at one for much of the day. I thought perhaps it was injured, but when a blackbird and a robin came to share the food it put up a very spirited defence and sent them away. Like the birds, we also like to eat a good amount of seeds and nuts. I make  savoury biscuits with seeds based on a recipe in The Green Kitchen book. I'm not a strict recipe follower, I adapt quite freely with whatever happens to be in the house.
I keep everything very simple and omit the orange juice and honey. I tried it the first time I used the recipe and it was far too sweet for my taste. I'm also quite happy to leave out salt. I make half the quantities stated below, spread the mixture and break into random pieces when cooked.

My ingredients are
spelt flour
mixed seeds
olive oil
crushed linseed 
plus water to get the right gloopy consistency.
The result is a very crisp, thin and seedy biscuit. 
Lovely with soft cheese and a few grapes.

Monday, 12 February 2018

. Visible Monday winter wear.

It's cold out. What's the answer?  Cram on a beret, pull on some fur-lined boots, tootle about for a pair of cosy gloves. And a large cashmere Pashmina is a must.
I've got Pashminas in a range of cheery colours.
I've had this padded bomber jacket from Oasis for years. It isn't remotely elegant but it certainly keeps me warm.
And I do love a cardi, especially one with pockets.
Nicole Farhi cardi.
A white shirt, especially when it has an interesting collar, always cheers me up. SEE BYChloe.
Joining Patti who hosts Visible Monday.

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

One Hundred Years

Yesterday the country celebrated the day, one hundred years ago, when women got the vote.
It was hard won. Women of all classes were imprisoned and reviled for their attempts to create a fairer society.

And there is still some way to go.
Quite a difficult outfit to do much protesting in!
Last night a lantern procession of celebration wound it's way through the streets of Bristol, one of many similar events held throughout the country.

Several schools in Bristol, a city that was very active in the suffragette movement, made banners and rosettes in the suffragette colours. It's good to remind young girls and women today that great sacrifices were made in the past for what we now take for granted. It remains important to continue to make demands for equality.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Visible Monday - RED HAT

The poet Jenny Joseph died last week so it is most appropriate that I wear a red hat for Visible Monday to celebrate her work.
'Warning' was her most popular poem, written in 1961. The opening lines are,
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me.'

She didn't, in fact, like to wear the colour purple. "I can't stand purple. It doesn't suit me." She was also irritated by the success of this poem and the attention given to it over her later work which she considered more worthwhile. The poem was the inspiration for the founding of the Red Hat Society in America for women over fifty who want to meet up for fun.
With the proceeds from 'Warning' Jenny Joseph bought a cottage in the charming little town of Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire, which we visit in our book group. Here she wrote, 'Led by the Nose' a book inspired by the perfume of the flowers in her cottage garden. The popularity of 'Warning' gave her the opportunity to travel around the world giving lectures and recitals. "The old woman has been a very good passport," she said, but, "I must admit to finding her a bit of a bore."
Jenny Joseph, poet.  7.5.1932 - 8.01.2018

A friend sent the poem to me many years ago because I've always liked to wear purple. Many of my Visible Monday outfits testify to this. The red hat is more of a dressed-up beret. It's cosy and comfy and rather silly, just the thing to cram on when the weather is grim. After all the winter feasting my face resembles nothing so much as a clootie dumpling. (A Scottish recipe, a fruit pudding that's boiled in a cloth into a rather lumpen sphere.)
I'm joining Patti who hosts Visible Monday, where women from all around the world show the clothes that make them feel visible and have fun whether wearing a red hat or not!

Saturday, 16 December 2017

The American Museum at Christmas

We went to the American Museum in Bath today. The rooms have been decorated for Christmas in styles appropriate to the various periods. The entrance hall was filled with this tree covered with  golden ornaments and fringing.

It was the first of many lovely decorations.
A wreath with corn dollies.

This little tree was decorated with white paper quill-work. Very skilful!
And these small paper fir trees are a good idea to copy.

We went into the tavern where a small 'Puritan' posed obligingly in front of the fire.
(When we first came here in the 1960's the fire was real and gingerbread was made and sold to the visitors. Health and Safety have since put a stop to all that fun!)
Cooking utensils
and a rack of clay pipes hanging by the fire.

Light levels are low throughout all the building in order to preserve the fittings. 
This parlour is one of my favourite rooms.

The white paper chain is another simple idea to copy. I made chains with coloured paper as a child but now I think that all-white looks nicer.

Don't the iced cakes look good.

This little room is delightful.

It first started my interest in stencilling, patchwork and crochet! (And the garden, now closed for the winter, was where I fell in love with the idea of growing a herb garden.)

A doll's bed, echoing that of the child.
There's a grandfather clock in a corner of the room whose inner workings are made entirely of wood.
It's time to leave,
the museum is now closing for the winter.