Getting lost on the Blog trail

So there I was, looking at the blogs I like,  then looking at the blogs that the blogger whose blogs I like, likes and then finding that those blogs have links to other blogs….well, I’m sure you get the picture.  Anyway, I have twice found blogs I really like, and have wanted to follow, and got distracted, and ..lost it.  I’ve gone back through the history, but … So that’s why I can’t give you a link to the site where I found this delicious and incredibly easy biscotti recipe.   I do feel duty bound however  to pass on something so yummy and simple to make so I think Planet Penny needs a recipe page…Hmm, resident geek is away, can I do this all alone….?

biscotti

In which we search for culture, and eat Cromer crab on the way…

Well, we didn’t expect to meet HIM on a Norwich street!  I know nothing about him, who he is or where he came from, but it’s a really good way to top a bollard! We were ‘up the ci’y’ today combining hair cuts with an art exhibition.  (It’s Thursday again!) 

arcade00001

Our hairdresser is situated in the Royal Arcade in Norwich, which is a pretty good place to start to the day. While Kit was in the chair, I went off to the market where the nice lady on the wool stall was, as usual, able to supply exactly what I needed. 

In this case, the wherewithall for portable holiday knitting, and a start on Christmas presents for nearest and dearest! 

 Our intended destination was the King of Hearts, to see an exhibition by Louise Richardson and Andrew Campbell.  It was a really inspiring exhibition.  Although their work is very different in execution,  the overall effect in an exhibition situation blends beautifully, and the space at the King of Hearts works very well.

Gotto Collection

Gotto Collection

Some of the pieces were displayed behind glass, making it difficult to do them justice with a photograph,but I do have some particular favourites.  These by Louise…

 

and these by Andrew…

As well as an exhibition space, The King of Hearts has a music room for lunchtime concerts…

I would point out that the wonkiness is due, not to a faulty camera or even a liquid lunch, but to Tudor builders!  A shop full of beautiful craftsman (craftswoman, craftsperson?) made pieces…

And a sunny courtyard..

Where we ate lunch.

 Refreshed, both in body and spirit, we headed up Magdalen Street in search of the Park and Ride bus, but were distracted by a bargain set of curtains in the Oxfam shop anda wonderful Emporium of vintageness in the old Looses building…


At this point I would have been grateful to find a pair of Louise Richardson’s shoes to take me home, rather than a bus!

winged shoes

Garden Volunteers

I’ve aready confessed to having lost the plot in the garden this year.  But it does carry on regardless, doesn’t it?  Last year I battled through with tomatoes, staking, watering, feeding, pinching out, and had to contend with splitting, blossom-end rot and terminal green-ness so I vowed I’d only grow them in my mother’s greenhouse in future, or not at all.

Of course this didn’t happen, due to my mother’s new knee saga so, succumbing to a rush of blood to the head, I bought two hanging baskets of Tumbler tomatoes thinking they would be ornamental as well as useful.  Once hung in a prominent position by the back gate, all the leaves shrivelled up and died.  I’m not going to insult my post with a photo.  They were so hideous I removed them from sight, parked them by the shed and ignored them. There, watered by the rain running off the shed roof and without a drop of Tomorite, they produced a good crop of tasty unblemished tomatoes.

I did manage to sow a few salad leaves in the raised beds, where,  in amongst the rocket which had been sadly decimated by something unidentified and voracious, I found the offspring of all those disasterous tomatoes of last year.  These are now tall and healthy and just beginning to fruit.

I am now watering them and pinching out etc, but will my intervention now mean they are going to turn up their toes? Where’s Alan Titchmarsh when you need him?  If they start sulking now I may well be on here in a few weeks time showing the world my little pots of green tomato chutney.

Jamming Session

Plum blossom

Some years ago I received a  wild plum tree from Country Living magazine which we planted at the edge of the garden.  I’ve always loved the delicate blossoms of the sloe trees which froth along the road sides in early spring, and I  thought that wild plums were sloes,  only really useable in sloe gin, being small and rather bitter.  It was quite a surprise to find that my little tree had produced beautiful sweet miniature plums.

Even more surprising was being able to harvest two and a half pounds of them. 

Since Tim is away at work , I  felt that eating  that many  plums single handedly might have a slightly problematic effect, and I didn’t want them  to end up as a UFO (unidentified frozen object to you organised people out there who never create them) at the bottom of my freezer.  Jam is the answer… I had a sweet and sweaty session in the kitchen with David Tennant (Oh, all right, it was a rerun of Doctor Who – a girl can dream can’t she?) while testing and retesting for that scarily elusive setting point.  Eureka!  That’s it, and the jam is in the jars. 

One for Tim and me, and one each for Thomas, Will, and Aimee.  Now, where’s the toaster….?

All Bobbled out!

 

Last night saw the monthly meeting of the Knit and Stitch group that I started in our village.  There was quite a debate at its inception as to whether we could advertise a ‘Stitch and Bitch‘ group in the parish magazine.  In the end it was decided that it might, just possibly, cause a fit of the vapours amongst those of a nervous disposition.  We are very delicate here in Norfolk!  Still, it hasn’t stopped us all having a very jolly evening once a month with wine, tea, coffee,  gossip and laughter and even the odd stitch or two.   Although the basis for the group is that we use stitches of all persuasions –  knitting, crochet, needlepoint, crosstitch et al., we are currently working on a joint project making squares for a comfort blanket ahead of the Macmillan Coffee Morning at the end of September.  There are a variety of patterns from well known knitwear designers to be downloaded from the website and I happily started on the first of those, a rather lovely Debbie Bliss cabled square. 

Debbie Bliss

I have to report it’s complete unsuitabilty for  knitting  in company, especially with a nice glass of wine in the mix!  It is completely impossible to sit there muttering “Purl seven knit fifteen cable three back knit four make bobble knit two…. OH, *?!^$!*!!!? where was I?…” while every one else is chatting and having fun.  Carol sensibly opted for a straight moss stitch which looked great, and she didn’t rip it out once!  I got up this morning, made a cuppa and finished it in an hour.  I’ve now passed the pattern on to my mother, it may be the only Debbie Bliss one I make, the Martin Storey square looks quite relaxing!

Martin Storey Square

Although this colour really doesn’t do it for me!  To be continued… 

Sunny Sunday Afternoon…

 

With the press accusing the Met Office of causing disasterous holiday weather I must say here in Norfolk we’ve got off fairly lightly.  That’s not to say we haven’t had our moments, but in the spirit of  ‘making hay while the sun shines’, son William and I took our selves off the The Old Vicarage at East Ruston.  This is a wonderfully inspiring place for gardeners, formed as it is from a fairly unpromising plot on the Norfolk coast around an old empty Vicarage bought in the 1970s. The owners have transformed and added to the area, surrounding it with a belt of trees and creating a microclimate wherein a fabulous garden flourishes, with a plant sales area full of unusual treasures, and a tea room, and CAKE!  what more could you ask for a sunday afternoon?

I love the jungly feeling to the beginning of the walk…

From the cool of the trees we walked through the dry garden. The orange Californian Poppies look beautiful against the rocks and stones…

Then past the pond…

You can just see the amazing water snails under the lily pad.

I can never make up my mind if these are beautiful, or just a little bit spooky.

These too!

I wish I had  room to grow espalier style apples…

Then I was brought down to earth when I saw this, because it’s from Home Grown Revolution, and I have TWO and I was their first customer and I really have been rubbish in the vegetable garden this year!  Must try harder…

But then it was time for tea, Early Grey and lemon drizzle cake for me, coffee and something mapley and nutty for Will.  Oh dear, no photo, far too greedy, but we did leave a few crumbs, which were much appreciated.

We left via the plant shop with two Salvias, and a lot of inspiration.  That is the nice thing with gardens, there’s always next year!

Country Living

flower.

  Some years ago I had five hens, and it was lovely finding fresh warm eggs every day.  But they weren’t young when I had them (can you have second hand hens? If so, that’s what these were)  and one by one they keeled over and died till there was just the one, Tilly.    With just me and Henry the cat to boss about Tilly would bustle round the garden helping with the weeding.  Eventually she too passed on to that big hen house in the sky and I decided I was just too soppy to cope with animal husbandry. Earlier  this year however I found myself looking rather longingly at a very elegant hen house, and was about start practicing my wheedling voice. Then overnight  the young couple on the small holding down the road filled a field with hundreds of smart red hens and erected a little roadside stall. The hens keep this well stocked with  eggs of all sizes, including humungous double yolkers which must make their eyes water, thereby furnishing Tim with the perfect riposte should I start that wheedling I mentioned! Not only is it not that far to walk to buy new laid eggs, I get a big welcome from the girls when I do it!


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I have to admit to being completely useless in the garden this year.  I don’t know quite what happened but I can probably blame a long  saga around my long suffering mother, new knees and NHS inefficiency.  Anyway, I probably wasn’t around at the crucial time in the spring, and then BOING it had sprung and I rather missed the boat.  However, despite the chaos reigning in my little vegetable patch, you can’t hold back nature, and I am managing to harvest the odd vegetable edible.

So, from this…

…to this…

And from this…

…to this, with a little help from  the girls down the road!