Sunday, 30 August 2009

Summer Loving

It has to be said, it's beginning to feel a touch on the autumnal side around here. Yes, already! But there is still a few last joys of summer to be relished. One of which is a local Flower Show, which took place yesterday. It's a small but wonderful exhibition of prize tomatoes, enormous leeks, sweetpeas, flower arrangements and pots of homemade jam, chocolate cake and gloriously sweet tablet. The competition is good humoured, but I suspect at heart the winners are quietly jubilant. I entered the 'Pot or Vase of Herbs' category with a mug filled with eight different variety of herbs from my garden (the courgettes having steadfastly ignored my encouragements and pleading) - and yes, I too was able to be quietly jubilant! A first! The certificate is now proudly on the kitchen wall, and prize money spent on a plateful of homemade cakes for the boys and...

all these fabulous local vegetables, grown by much better gardeners than myself. Don't they look great? Any suggestions for the beetroots? They are something I know I probably should be brave and eat, and will probably love, but memories of beetroots in jars of vinegar, brought out at childhood teatimes, has rather put me off. But I love the fabulous colour of the beetroot stalks, and the wonderful red-purple tomatoes with the red-skinned potatoes.

Despite not producing masses of glorious veg, the wee raised bed has done pretty well for our first year together, and we have eaten salad from it for ages, had some sweet little dwarf beans and a few courgettes, so I'm pretty happy. But the best things grown from seed have been flowers, and I think my private first prize would have to go to the humble cornflower. That blue! Summer's not finished until the cornflowers are.

Do you have any prizewinners you are loving in your garden right now?
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Monday, 24 August 2009

Images to Savour

In the bump-back-to-earth that is the return to our usual routines, the holidays already seem so far away. Going away with two wee chaps full of life and energy, and going to stay with other families doesn't make for the most relaxing of holidays - but oh, lots of fun! And lots of simple goodness; messing around on beaches, tramping through woods, visiting agricultural and horticultural shows, and the chance to explore the gardens and toys of our wonderful and welcoming friends and family.

But for us, the parents, there were also moments of sustenance, relaxation and revival. Lazy breakfasts. Newspapers and coffee. Evenings of treats and great conversations. Wine... Tiree art galleries (briefly! And thank you so much to Colin at Blue Beyond for providing the boys with absorbing lengths of bubblewrap to pop! And Dorinda Johnston for having the great wisdom to site her studio just by the beach, with its' harbour and old boats - perfect! ) We came back with quite a few ceramic goodies...But above all, the beauty of Britain, in all its variety and richness; from a Scottish island, and a Somerset wood, to a Mersyside beach or a Buckinghamshire manor house, leaves impressions that will nourish us in the days ahead.

" i thank You God for most this amazing

day for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a true blue dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes"

e. e. cummings

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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Celebrating Ourselves

A quick hello! We're finally back from holidays, and had a marvellous, mad time wandering the breadth and width of the British Isles, begging hospitality from kindly friends. We have plunged straight back into school and work, and a garden gone completely bonkers, so I haven't had a pause to take a good look at the many photos of our travels. But I will! So, just for today, a picture taken of the two of us - which is kind of a rare thing, as I'm usually behind the lens.

Our first stop was on the island of Tiree, a wonderful wee place off the west coast of Scotland, where I used to live, a long time ago. You may be able to tell that it is a slighty windy place! We went to see old friends, but also to renew our wedding vows, on our 10th anniversary. It was a very simple, but really lovely moment during a Sunday morning service in the tiny Baptist church, with the same minister who married us. When we married we had no money at all, and my beloved engraved a little silver ring for me, for our engagement. To mark this anniversary, he made and engraved a white gold ring with a celtic seal swimming around it. It's really beautiful and I'm even more happy to be married to him, ten years on.
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