Thursday 21 October 2010

Escaping to Exmoor

Autumn has me in it's glorious grip. Every morning I scan the sky, watching for the geese coming in for the winter on the northerly wind. Colours are deepening every day and I don't want it to whizz by too fast.

Do you like my chrysanths? Funny how your tastes can change. I always thought of them as a little bit grannyish - but that's just the sort of thing I can't get enough of these days! The teeny purple asters are especially nice and look lovely on our mantle piece, chopped shorter and packed together in a green enamel jug.

Best of all is where they came from - the lovely market in Ludlow. Our annual trip to the Welsh Marches has become a bit of a tradition. A day away, pootling about the vintage shops, shopping for delicious local fruit and veg in the market, stopping for coffee and enjoying something tasty for lunch is bliss for Woody and me.
We came home with a fabulous bag of local apples, six varieties in all and we celebrated apple day a day early yesterday with a bit of a taste test (Russets are definitely our favourites, but Lord Lambourne won the prize for the best name).

And on Saturday we're off again, this time back to the wonderful South West, hurrah, for a week in North Devon on the western edge of Exmoor. This holiday has crept up on us a little but after a busy few weeks back at school the boys are ready for a rest and I'm so excited about curling up in this beautiful looking farm cotttage with a log burning stove and peace & quiet.

So I'll be back soon, full of tales of moorland walks, seashore safaris and glimpses of red deer too if we're lucky. Have a lovely week.

Monday 11 October 2010

The Year is Turning

Oh dear. No camera = no blog for weeks on end. It's always been the images and memories made by them that's inspired my blog and so a bit of a camera problem has led to a bit of a break in the blogging too. However, all is now fixed and I'm catching up, capturing the turning year and life feels rather good. Well apart from a stinking cold but you can’t have it all can you?

Things are getting rather cosy here at No 25. There are cats on blankets, conkers and acorns on the ground, the scent of wood smoke in the air and the first of my winter squashes is ripening on the kitchen window sill.

I’ve had my winter coat on a few times and now I'm looking forward to the colder weather forecast for later in the week. I’m not good in the warmth and much prefer being cosied up against the elements. Nearly time for scarves and woolly tights - hurrah.
The garden is looking pretty glorious, in a faded, relaxed, mellow sort of fashion. It’s a time to just enjoy the garden for what it is, rather than seeing problems that need fixing or weeds needing pulling. Not much point now, the weather will do a better job than me at sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

I’ve got some small gardening to do, lots of lovely bulbs to put to sleep, ready to burst into life by the front door when the days begin to lengthen again. These are some of the last blast of summer blooms, just about to disappear for another year.

These past few weeks I’ve been relishing autumn cooking. Now our boys are a little bit older and engrossed in their own games, (or some elaborate shared adventure for which mummy is expressly not needed),  I’m getting to spend a little more time in the kitchen for an hour or so after school.

Homemade casseroles, baked fish, spicy stir frys to warm chilly evenings have appeared on the kitchen table recently. Much inspiration has been gleaned from the new River Cottage series (more recipe ideas, less “help, I’ve never cooked before” spods,which is rather good and I still have Nigella’s new thing to watch too, (we’ll see, I can't decide if she really irritates me or not!
It's also the season to pick a few choice things out of the tv guide, set them to record and then curl up when the time is right for a cosy evening of enjoyment. Autumnwatch is back and we will all be enjoying tracking the season as the weeks whizz by. Already we’ve seen the first geese fly down the valley to settle on the watermeadows and the housemartins have all flown on.

And there’s a new Sunday night treat to enjoy, the marvellous Downton Abbey is knocking spots of Larkrise to Candleford (the last series of which was incredibly dull if I’m honest) A bit of upstairs and downstairs is more up my street. So time to draw the new cosy, winter curtains I made with help from mum (with new but thrifted fabric, £6 for 6 gorgeous metres) and settle in.
Thank you for all the lovely Christmas comments btw and all the inspiring ideas. Good to know I'm not alone!