Friday, 25 September 2009

Berries and Stone

Phew it's been a busy week! I have been enjoying the dry fine weather and spent much of Monday and Tuesday gleaning the hedgerows of their bounty. Very well we did too! Sloe gin is now hidden away under the stairs working it's magic, alongside a generous jar of blackberry brandy - just the tonic for a cold night in around the fire. Then it was time for some slightly more vitamin packed syrups so I busied myself stripping elderberries from their stems and gathering rose hips. I gathered rather more than just rose hips during my outing and spent an evening removing thorns from my fingers, nature does find some fantastic ways of preventing you from stealing all her goodies.

The elderberry syrup that I made is great for coughs, colds and sore throats, it's very yummy and should the lack of alcohol disappoint it really is quite delicious topped up with champagne! An autumnal Kir Royale!!!

It's very easy to make you just need to strip elderberries from their stems (I had a kilo), put them in a large saucepan with a few chunks of fresh ginger and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25/30mins until the berries are soft. Strain the liquid through a plastic sieve, squeezing/pressing the berries to get as much as you can. At this point remember that whatever this liquid touches it will stain, it's very purple! Then add 1lb of sugar and 10 cloves for every pint of liquid. Bring this to the boil, stiring to disolve the sugar and boil hard for 10mins. Remove from the heat and remove the cloves. Your syrup is ready to bottle and can be enjoyed in hot or cold water as you would a cordial - yum!

I will post the rosehip syrup recipe over the weekend.

Wednesday was the day I was most looking forward to as I was to meet two great friends in Tetbury, much tea, cake and chatter had been planned, alas many plans do not quite go as planned and Wednesday was no exception. We have been waiting for wooden floor boards for our bathroom and some work surface for our utility room to be delivered - it has taken weeks and weeks so of course a phone call Tuesday confirmed that they would deliver on Wednesday - ARRRRAAGGGHHH, I couldn't say no so, tea, cake and chatter disappeared and I sat and waited and waited and finally they arrived...........

The floor boards were as expected - wooden! But the worksurface WOW, I am sooooo very excited. We have planned the utility to look rather rustic with the stone trough as the sink, so we found a salvage yard who would cut some HUGE pieces of york stone for the work surface, this will sit on some red brick piers - ambitious I agree but if it works it will be just fab. To finally see the work top was like the missing piece of the puzzle I could finally visualise our room -now it was time for Mr H to work some magic and get them in situe......this could take a little while so watch this space!

Mstr B and Miss A decided that they make the perfect outside workspace for all their autumn collections.

Of course this was all too much excitement for Bumble, who dug a perfect Bumble shaped hole and snuggled down in it, a perfect spot for a tummy rub....!

Thursday brought with it my dose of tea, cake and chatter, just one special friend could make this outing so there is still one to be planned! Exploring Tetbury is always fun and on this day the yarn shop was open! Oh it was fantastic, I confess that I did not leave empty handed but you will have to wait to see my goodies, they are already being admired, bundled up and snuggled, the ideas are running wild, once I have tamed them slightly I promise to share!

Have a wonderful weekend xxx

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Silence & Sinks!

Our summer has been full of unsilence! Rose Cottage turned into a vibrant hub of activity, the school holidays has, as always raced past in a blink. The two young dependent children I started the holidays with have grown so much in so many ways, shooting skywards (not surprising judging by the volume of food consumed - I was seriously worried at points that their jaws would need oiling because of over use). Our new village has given them wings, they are able to tentatively explore independence, playing at the park without me sitting on the park bench. They take Bumble for walks across the fields and cycle to the post box, small steps that left me pacing around like a cat on a hot tin roof to begin with and now they feel suprisingly normal.

Mr H has spent hours sawing, drilling, hammering and cursing as the utility room and little loo is well underway. Laying a reclaimed clay tile floor in the utility room was such a huge step forward although it's so effective that to the untrained eye it looks like we really need to replace the floor!!!! Mr H spent some father and son time sulking around the reclamation yard to return home with the most perfect sink imaginable. So now this old stone trough has become the centre of the design. Easy to achieve it has not been, but we are edging closer.........

And me, what have I achieved, well thankfully I haven't grown too much! Order is appearing in tiny corners of our cottage, hooks and yarn have been unpacked and a few crocheted cloths are appearing. I have a new love of string, the texture it creates when you crochet with it is incredible, I love it and can't wait to do more with it, but the creative brain needs some time to find it's voice, it's been quiet most of the summer and now it needs some silence to find strength and allow the ideas to flow.

School is back and the cottage is changing. The light is different, sloes are ripening, hedgerows groaning with their delicious bounty and there is that autumnal feel to the morning air as we scurry to school.

I love the change of summer to autumn, the colours that I am using to crochet with have changed, my clothes are changing, layering with cosy wraps and sweaters, snuggly socks, wellies and boots are making an appearance and soon so soon the crackle of the logs in the hearth - well that is if I ever find a chimney sweep, they are like hens teeth!

So with school back I have my silence, after a summer of noise and excitement I find the silence comforting, restoring, a wonderful place to allow my mind to speak. Time then to make a brew and sit in the slowly sinking sun light and hope that something comes to mind.......