Monday, 30 September 2013

'Game', Set, and Ploughing Match...

Ok I cheated. I liked the title but there is no actual game in this story. Unless you count my beautiful new stuffed squirrels. Do squirrels count as game?

So, my taxidermy collection count is now up to....hmm....lots! I am actually running out of room. I have this dream that one day I will have a house with a study/library so that I can display all of my stuffed loveliness alongside some weighty tomes and finish it all off with a wingback armchair, a sturdy desk and some important looking papers. Not to mention a whiskey.. or two!

The squirrels were a bargain find on a stall at the local Ploughing Match. I say 'stall' but this is allowing it to sound grander than it was. It was actually two blokes sat in the back of a car with the contents of a garage strewn around them on the ground. I suspect they made up prices on the spot - worked out from how genteel/poor you looked (hooray for us!). DS#2 got a bargain Mamod steam engine type thing and I spotted Blinky and Minky in their dusty case.

The Ploughing Match itself was a fun day out. A slice of English history where lots of people compete to create straight lines of ploughed field using a variety of methods. I always like to see the heavy horses. There's something so majestic about seeing these beautiful powerful beasts working in the fields like they have done for years. I also admit that I like the fancy bits and bobs that they dress them up in too!

A lot of time recently has also been spent creating lovely things from the fruits and veg that we have harvested. The blackberry whiskey has been made... I have some jams - damson, plum, bramble. We are keeping an eye on the sloes ready for gin, awaiting that important first frost!
I had a go at making some crab apple jelly too. I didn't have a recipe for my Tefal jam maker so I thought I would experiment.... I ended up with some very tasty crab apple candy. It's a lovely colour and the children have braved their teeth on it with the verdict that it does taste nice! I have found a more traditional recipe and so I will have another go in a more preserving pan type of a way.

Alongside this the coal bunker has been repaired ready to stock up, the chimmneys are about to be swept and I am reorganising the living room for the colder weather - I have to change furniture about so the open fire is accessible. It's a bit like the opposite of a Spring clean!! But there is something quite reassuring about all these preparations.. bring on the colder weather, we're ready!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A Tale of Two Cushions....

I had a couple of days holiday from work this week. I had planned to chill and relax and be creative, however none of this happened... The past few weeks have been a bit 'eventful' and I found myself just wanting to hide under my blankets and be miserable :-(
Still, that seems to be just what I needed and I am feeling in a more positive frame of mind at the moment!!

Sad Sunflowers!
I have been out collecting the first of the blackberries. We made some lovely blackberry whisky last year and I am sad to report it is quickly disappearing. Especially since I found out how nice it is topped up with chilled prosecco :-)
The recipe is simple - fill a bottle halfway up with blackberries - add some sugar and top up with cheap whisky. Shake every now and then, leave for as long as you can bear (ours was about 6 months) then strain out the blackberries (and use in boozy puddings) and Bob's your Uncle...

I have moved from 'blue' to 'red' on my photo prompts and am now entering 'yellow'! Still trying to take photographs everyday and still finding things close to me that I had never really looked at.

Autumn is so inspiring for colour and texture.
So is rust!!

DH took me to Blenheim Horse Trials today. His work had a stand there and so he got cheap entry. I was mostly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tweed and Hunter wellingtons. There were some nice stalls and some which clearly decided as you entered if you were likely to spend anything and so should they bother talking to you. Hmmmm.
However, I found the Thistles stall and was in Cushion Heaven (it's an actual place, honest!). They handmake tartan cushions with beautiful satin linings and also upholster furniture. I was in love with their whole range. The couple on the stall were very friendly, chatting away to us. I took a leaflet and then we walked back past the stall several times until I finally gave in and bought a pair of gorgeous brown and red cushions. We will be eating baked beans for the rest of this month but in fairness they are beautifully made, lined in stunning turquoise satin and worth every penny! And they have huge buttons on!!

Beautiful cushions. Am not letting the cats anywhere near these!
What more could a girl want? Maybe a throw to match.............!!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Wrong (way round) Trousers and other adventures!

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post - and what a whirl it has been! I have been going to the gym in a bid to stave off middle age spread (whatever that is). Any self confidence I was building up in terms of looking like I knew what I was doing was cruelly shattered in the 'inside out trousers' debacle. Only I could spend a whole hour with my tags dangling behind me like a big wavy tail and not notice. Oh well.......

In happier news, I have discovered a new eating place to go! It's called The Bobbin Bistro in Faringdon and is a most wonderful venue! It's sited in an old haberdashery and still has all the wooden shelving and drawers etc. They have added some gorgeous old vintage sewing machines and other ephemera and the whole place is just beautiful. DH and I attended their recent Burlesque evening which was great fun. The food was lovely and the ladies most entertaining!

Actual Bobbins!
A most delicious blackberry/prosecco cocktail!

The Bobbin also runs a classic film night every Tuesday. Last Tuesday DD and I draped ourselves in our finest and joined an enthralled audience for All About Eve - a classic Bette Davis movie. It's such a great setting and I would recommend it to anyone! Casablanca next Tues - Sadly I have no date, any offers??

No one can fail to have noticed how Autumn is slowly creeping up on us. I love it! Autumn is my absolute favouritist season and I have snuggly jumpers and fluffy blankets poised at the ready. We have had some spectacular misty mornings and I have plans for much blackberry whiskey and sloe gin this year.

Misty mornings at work.

It's also that time of year where I start to itch to begin new courses or studying. Must be a throw back to the new school year and the need for new pens and folders! I have a few ideas up my sleeve......

The August Break project is now well and truly over. I have really missed the daily prompt and found it hard to inspire myself. But.... I decided to go simple and use colour prompts to at least get me going and in the habit of taking pics everyday if possible. Blue was my first choice and this saw me starting to get more bold in not caring who watched whilst I took photos. Apologies to the young Homebase lad who thought I was in serious need of medical assistance whilst laying on the ground!




This coming week is 'red'. I'll see what ideas that can inspire.......