Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Scenes From Cornwall.

I thought I would share a few scenes from Cornwall where the sun has finally arrived and all around the Cornish folk are already sporting gentle tans, though truth to say this probably has far more to do with the ever-present Cornish breeze (gales) than the presence of the sun. So, to start us off some bright forsythia which is shouting from just about every garden including our own.

From our garden we pop down to Falmouth town where, as I have said on many occasions, we are lucky enough to shop with the river running alongside us. This is one of the scenes we see regularly from the main town carpark where a little quay juts out and fields of golden gorse surge down to the sea on the opposite bank. I love the back of the buildings lining the water's edge as they look so quaint and higgeldy-piggledy as though they are climbing over one another to get the best spot. Well, in my mind anyway.

So many little boats are tied up to the quays and bob in the choppy tide as the larger vessels languish in deeper waters. The harbour is quiet at the moment waiting for the season to begin when it will once more play host to myriad boats, ships and ferries with bright sails and flapping flags hoist high on masts as they venture off in search of adventure. We shall be one of them on our little boat Mermaid and I can't wait!

We sail Mermaid all year round though it is infinitely more fun - to me anyway - with the hot sun on our backs. This image is typical of what we see as we make our way along the river toward the harbour.

A quick visit back to the garden as we are now spending so much time there grabbing the sunlight and longer days with both hands while we can after what felt a particularly long, grey winter. Not a cold one I know, but dreary enough to make the burst of colour draw us outdoors onto the courtyard for prolonged chats over pots of coffee in the weekend mornings, me knitting on one side and Davey doing the same on the other as the children race around. Evenings see us meet there after Isabella is in bed for a quiet wind down over a glass of something and though the air is chill by then, it still has a magic that I love with the birds singing goodnight and the breeze scented with hyacinths and daffodils.

A cuddle with Pecan who is in need of a new mate as we had a fox attack a while ago. We no longer have my beautiful Biscuit or her gorgeous daughter May, and even the loss of the ever-useless (bless him) Mustang who finally managed to produce some fertile eggs (!) has made me rather sad. I am very good at not dwelling on these things as there truly is little point in keeping livestock if you cannot take a somewhat pragmatic view, but sometimes it does snag a bit. Foxes are something I no longer think of as particularly wonderful as they indulge so often in senseless killing where bodies are left decimated and not taken for food. Obviously, this is nature though and I must accept it does not work on our thought process.

So, we are searching for a companion for her and my comfort is the fact that I watched two crows collect some of Biscuit's soft, downy feathers to line their nest. How pretty that must look unlike moi who is in definite need of a haircut...hmm.

Masses of pretty ladybirds appeared over the weekend drawn out of hibernation by the warm sun much like ourselves. Isabella is fascinated by bugs and often walks up holding some totally revolting specimen which I rather like to see. She is so much like me in this area and I will have to keep an eye out for empty cardboard boxes with no lids atop supposedly housing ants and being kept under beds - ahh, I remember doing this so well! Funny how the ants never stayed in their box... my poor Mum!

Luckily Isabella happily released this ladybird to wander on her way.

Well, this long post is drawing to a close (hurrah!) and I will leave you with some more Cornish coastal scenes including Porthleven Harbour on a rather less sunshiney day

A fishing trawler on its way to work, heading out around Pendennis Point and into Falmouth Bay

And a look at one of those boats I mentioned bobbing off of Falmouth town near the Prince of Wales Pier.

Well done if you got this far and thank you for reading my rambling if you did!

See you soon x

P.S. Sorry, that really was long!!!

Monday, 19 March 2012

A Good Life.

It has been so good to finally feel some sun in Cornwall at last. Sun with warmth in its rays and that bright zingyness that lights up the fresh greens of new growth. Yes, the winds have been cold but at last the mist has lifted and I can see further than the gate, far enough to want to venture out with vegetable plants, pots and seeds to hand.

My little helper set up the 'wicked chair' by the cutting patch and made sure her sunglasses were to hand...just in case. Of course, she hardly sat still for more than a brief moment before digging around in the dirt as is her wont.

In fact, she spent most of the afternoon in the hen pen digging earth for the 'poor girls' (her term, not mine, as she is convinced they need help) and they were quite happy to join in. I do love that she and all the other children have this experience of dealing with livestock in the form of our hens and ducks, though I do wish she would stop letting them out into the garden where they wreak havoc and claiming it was the cat that must have done it!

Love the way she moves them along with the back of her trowel or the boot of her welly just like her Mama....gently of course.

What can be better than mucking about in the soil with friends who enjoy it as much as you?

We finished off our session by gathering in some herbs from the courtyard ready for a casserole for dinner.

Totally delicious and a lovely way to end the day - digging around with chickens, sowing more veg

smelling beautiful spring flowers fresh from our very own garden and filling the house with their perfume

and popping down to make the most of the amazing Cornish coast we are so lucky to see every day.

Not a bad old life really is it x

Monday, 12 March 2012


A few things I have been noticing of late: how pretty spring flowers look when randomly popped into various containers. Camellias, muscari, hyacinth, forsythia and pale primroses - all so sweet and so much more me than hothouse flowers with their slightly forced air, though I would rather those flowers than none at all of course.

Onions: as I am told I say very frequently, I love onions in all their guises and varieties. Raw and juicy; red or white; spring, shallot, leek or whatever - they are all delicious and turn any dish into something exquisite (something else I used to say a lot according to my Mum.) Seeing a chopping board covered in onions ready for cooking quite honestly lifts my spirits just a little!

Seafood: I have noticed Mr Davey and I have been experiencing ravenous cravings for seafood lately. A sure sign that spring is here and the outdoors calls. I cooked these sardines with chillis, rosemary, garlic, white wine, onions (of course) and threw some rosemary & bay leaves in for good measure. Oh, they were good! Desperate for freshly gleaned mussels now so we must get going on dear mermaid while the season is right.

Isabella: I notice how proficient this little girl is in her cooking and cracking of eggs. I also notice how much I love her efficient hands which make me think of a lion cub's paws. So beautiful.

Lucy: I notice every day how beautiful our newly-turned-fourteen year old has become and wonder at the magic that takes them from tiny babies to this. I love that ever present smile and her wonderful sense of humour.

Cream: I notice I am drawn to the creaminess of all things just lately, whether the centre of this white camellia which turns to clotted cream against the window...

or the delicious hue of a Camembert in its little box, the top drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with thyme from the courtyard ready for baking where the creamy colour will become oozingly rich and dense, ready for crusty bread to dip into its unctuous centre. Mmmm...

Bees: I notice the bees are all around filling the air with their drowsy buzzing and hinting at the hotter weather to come - hopefully. This one was so drunk on pollen that it could barely move. Isabella and I moved it off the path and out of harm's way in the shape of Davey's boots!

Ethereal: I notice how often this word pops up in my head. It is another favourite of mine with its ghostly connotations and the misty coastline we have been experiencing in our part of Cornwall of late certainly makes it spring to mind. Shifting shapes emerge from out of the mist and form into vague outlines which may be cliffs or may be ghosts of another time...who knows as the mist rolls in once more before they are fully revealed.

Knitting: I am noticing how slowly my knitting is growing in the light of Davey's which will become a little stripy jumper for our grandaughter. It is already looking so sweet and reminds us of ice cream with raspberry sauce!

Pecan: I am definitely noticing the pesky Pecan waddling all over my garden when she should be in her pen! She is very large and rather clumsy, pushing through clumps of tulips and daffodils without a care in the world. There will be words.

And finally I am noticing how when there is only one slice of Davey's chocolate birthday cake left on the cake stand it get smaller and smaller without anyone cutting off the tiny slivers which render it so. Amazing isn't it really?

Nothing sadder in all the world than a lonely piece of chocolate cake is there?

What are you noticing? x

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Growing Indoors and Out.

The lighter mornings and longer days are bringing life and colour back to our garden once more, thank heavens. Today I found myself up with the lark and actually feeling awake instead of groggily fumbling for the coffee pot. Admin work was out of the way by seven thirty leaving time for a little look around the garden before beginning work and there, shining brightly and scenting the air with that dainty perfume, were clumps of primroses beginning to flower.

We have several borders which are starting to show signs of life too with the pretty mauve and pink of pulmonaria providing tiny flowers for eggcups as a change from the many jugs of daffodils with their bright gold.

The daphne is still flowering well and the scent is so delicious as I run up the steps to the front door. (Please note the knitting in the background - more on this in a mo!). There are many tasks catching my eye as I glance around just now and I am quite desperate to tidy through. A trip to the dump will be necessary I think as there seems to be rather a lot of broken bits - toys, tools and various other debris - scattered throughout making our patch look forlorn and unloved. We are notoriously bad at tidying things away at the end of the autumn!

So far the parsley plants Isabella and I potted up from our supermarket bargains are growing well and sit in a protected part of the courtyard avoiding the cold winds which are swirling around most of the time. They don't appear to have been checked at all by being re-potted even though I eased the roots apart to enable them to grow properly. I have used some in cooking to cut them back a little but other than this have left them pretty much alone for the moment. I am spurred on to do the same with these basil plants also bought from a bargain shelf, though I will keep these in the porch as it is far too cold outdoors for basil.

I think I mentioned the bright gold of the daffodils but did I tell you about the orange centres too? They are so like the colour of our hens' egg yolks in the spring when they eat so much fresh green stuff weeded from the borders. Omelettes and scrambled eggs take on a whole other appearance to the pale shop bought eggs we have been using lately.

I love pale lemony yellow in primroses but not in eggs!

Even Isabella's broad beans are breaking into flower...

and many of the seeds Lucy and I sowed less than a week ago are already through in my plastic box greenhouse.

And so, all is well in the garden and indoors my knitting project is growing nicely too. The pattern I am using is called Garnet by Jean Moss and is available on Ravelry. So sorry about the dreadful photo but obviously I am hoping to be transformed by this knit into a lithe young thing as per the picture!

I am using the Summer Tweed yarn I bought recently in this gorgeous summery shade of jade and have already finished the back.

This is one very easy, fast pattern as it is knitted on size 6 needles...perfect. The pattern is so simple that I have memorised it and can work on it as I watch telly and sip wine!

Hope we get a warm summer or I will be feeling the draughts through all those holes!

Well, that's me for new. Have a lovely rest of day x