Saturday, 29 November 2014

A cosy room

Our (as opposed to the guest) living room is now rather full with two sofas and two armchairs so that Dave has room to decorate the other living room.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Sun setting

There was a lovely sky tonight as the sun set and all the clouds had pink edges. It was amazing how fast though it disappeared and now its really dark by just after 4. Less than a month to the shortest day.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Harry the hare

This lunch time I looked out in search of little puss (who we haven't seen for the last couple of days) and there in her place was Harry our hare (named by Dave!) He insisted on posing behind the flower stems in the border but still it was obliging of him to sit still while I grabbed the camera!

A frosty start

It was a chilly start to this morning but made beautiful by mist drifting across the field opposite. Dave complained that I opened the window to photograph it while he was still getting dressed, but it was just as well that I did as minutes later it had gone.

Monday, 24 November 2014

New moon

Just as Joe got home from work we noticed the moon, which was new on Saturday and showed itself as a tiny sliver in the late afternoon sky.

Stocking up

We may not yet have bought a 4 x 4 or emergency calor gas to cook on but my pantry is well stocked with all the essentials as you can see!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Stir up Sunday

I have spent all day with my puddings simmering on the range and my Christmas cake in the oven. The house smells wonderful and I have put them in my pantry to keep them out of harms way for the next few weeks.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A golden lining

Here even the clouds manage to have golden linings! I've started to prepare supper early each night so I can watch the sun set from the kitchen window. I love being able to see these wide open skies. When I got up in the night the stars were amazing and there were so many of them that the constellations that I know were filled with masses of additional stars.

Christmas cooking

Today I started to get everything ready for steaming my Christmas puddings so that everyone could have a lucky stir before I cook them tomorrow. Tom couldn't make it to us so I had a stir on his behalf. The kitchen smells of citrus and spice. I worked quietly whilst the other were at football, cheering Burton on to success.

Before and after

These are 'before' and 'after' for one of the bedrooms. Also thanks to the architects for the 'before' image.


Redesign, the architectural practice involved in our project from before we bought the house, have just been preparing an item for their blog about Hill Farm. These are their 'before' pictures. The picture below was the earliest one they could find and dates from 1985. No wonder people in the village are pleased with our improvements!

Thursday, 20 November 2014


In the summer the garden was full of butterflies but now that the leaves have largely fallen we can see a huge number of birds and consequently this blog seems suddenly to feature lots of bird photographs! The thrush was loving the ground that I'd recently dug, making quick work of any snails foolish enough to linger.

A woodpecker

This morning I was distracted from making the first porridge of the winter by the sight of this Great Spotted Woodpecker. I'd heard him while I was digging last week but now he was clearly visible although when pecking his head moved so fast that I couldn't get that bit in focus!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


The sun is setting early now. I decided to get on with making supper at 3.30 and by the time I'd finished 30 minutes later the sun was already dropping behind the clouds. Although still relatively mild for November the air feels crisper and this evening I notice that the heating is working harder.


Dave is now ready for the last major task: decorating what will become our guest living room. The only problem is that we have to relocate all the furniture already in here. The result is many, many trips upstairs to put most things in the bedroom above, whilst the sofa and armchair jam into the other living room, where it is now only possible to squeeze around the abundance of soft furnishings! First job is scraping the horrible loose lime plaster on the ceiling.

Christmas cooking

It's time to get started on my Christmas cooking and I make, and then after 24 hours, bottle my mincemeat. It's fantastic to have the pantry to store it in. I also make our first batch of mince pies, but as mine still needs to mature I use shop mincemeat with added nuts and apple. My old recipe book is getting a little tatty now but it's done around 40 years of service!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


Today I noticed lots of bird activity in the holly hedge. Fetching the camera, I then had to fetch my bird book to check that these were indeed Redwing. Winter visitors to us they are obviously making the most of the fantastic berries that we have this year. I hope they leave me some to decorate with at Christmas but somehow I doubt it!

Monday, 17 November 2014

A perfect autumn day

I know really we are heading out of autumn and towards winter but today the weather is glorious. The early sunshine, which came after an even earlier mist, is catching the leaves that remain on the oaks and everywhere is bathed in golden light. As usual I gaze at our fabulous view with a sense of disbelief that we actually live here and this isn't just some brief weekend away. We are so lucky to have this special place.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Under surveillance

All day little puss has been sitting outside the back door. She has had cat food, milk and a treat stick so there is definitely no more to come, but that hasn't stopped her jumping up onto the seat outside so she can maintain eye contact with me while I prepare our lunch. Afterwards, Dave heads outside and looks up ... to his amazement she has changed her surveillance point to the top of the barn roof - with an excellent view of our comings and goings! Yes that dot on the roof apex is puss!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

November flowers

Now my dahlias are over I have had to be more creative in finding flowers to arrange for the house. Even this late in the year I have little heartsease pansies, marigolds, a self seeded borage and roses (just). For foliage my beetroot is throwing up healthy leaves at the moment, obviously liking the moister soil. I've put everything in a little jug to keep by me in the kitchen. It's very drab and dreary outside so they brighten things up.

Friday, 14 November 2014


This pair were spotted leaving our garden and heading for the field opposite. They look like black pheasant in appearance but I wonder if they are grouse. They spent a long time just mooching about but as the grass is quite long, proved difficult to photograph again.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Golfing success

Despite all the work on the farm and limited opportunities to play golf, Dave managed to win both the trophies this year! Congratulations!

Hard labour

We've worked very hard cutting back the overgrown parts of the hedge this week, removing loads of brambles and nettles from the ditch and now finally can move the gate. We wanted to be able to open it slightly more as it was potentially something of a hazard (and now of course we can shut it too!)

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Hedge pruning aka extreme gardening

I have been making full use of my new pruning shears to cut down dead and overgrown wood from the boundary hedge. There is a large amount of holly which I love and which was being buried under huge twisting strands of bramble. I worked until dark which unfortunately comes now before 5pm.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014


This robin decided to go for the traditional pose on the handle of my watering can! If only we'd had snow I could have used the image for our Christmas cards.

Early morning

Pulling back the bedroom curtains this morning I saw a fox in the field opposite. At first he was sitting down and it took me a moment to realise what I was looking at.

Sunday, 9 November 2014


This picture is blurry as it was taken at dusk looking out from our field and down to the church. There was a remembrance service tonight and walking back home the moon was huge, orange and low but not providing much light to see our way by and our torch needs new batteries. I managed to lose my poppy between home and church and so, as in most years, ended up by buying another!

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Excuse me!

Dave was on the phone when he looked out the window and saw our hare, large as life, nibbling the leaves from the hedging that is still growing in our vegetable garden. He obviously thought he looked very photogenic set in front of my little pansies.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

A cold start

Today, as forecast, began with a light frost on the ground. Unfortunately it also feels jolly chilly inside too as a problem with the heat pump means we are waiting for a service visit which has so far been cancelled three times - not good.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Indoor fireworks

We are forecast a frost tonight and so I have picked lots of my dahlias and arranged them on the mantelpiece for an indoor firework display! Later I retire to the bath which provides me with the perfect vantage point to watch real fireworks heading into the skies above Uttoxeter.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Family fun

For once life hasn't just been confined to working on the farm (which is just as well as Dave pulled something in his back moving his maturing wine). We've enjoyed birthday celebrations here with his mother and travelled to Wales to catch up with Robin, Ran and Harry and explore the hilly countryside surrounding their new home (my thighs are still recovering).

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Mushroom time

With the arrival of some rain we have a variety of mushrooms appearing. I wish I was better at identifying them, maybe I'd then feel confident to eat some. At the moment though I am happy to just record them.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Busy planting

I finally, after so much necessary ground preparation, get round to planting up my flower bed. I also put in a lot of allium and tulip bulbs. The weather helps too by sending gentle rain during the night. I am glad to have finished this task as it is supposed to get a lot colder during next week. I've also planted a couple of rows narcissus along with the vegetables so I can have cut flowers for the spring. While putting these in I notice that the seed leaves of the winter salad have also come though.

In bloom

Despite it being the start of November the rose by the front door is determined to continue to flower, no doubt spurred on by just how much it clashes with the red brick! The hips though are lovely and so I look forward to seeing just them against the wall.

November !st

November starts for us with the hunt coming across our land. The hounds are very keen and make quite a sight. It is a glorious day, clear and sunny. While we watch the horses the buzzards are calling high above.

The history of the Meynell & South Staffordshire Hunt can be traced back to 1793 and the Vernon family from Sudbury, in Derbyshire. Lord Vernon died in 1813 and the Meynell family took over the hounds, changing the name from Sudbury Hunt to Hoar Cross Hunt. In 1872 the present kennels were built at Sudbury and it became a subscription pack called the Meynell Hunt. It wasn't until 1970 that the name changed again, when the Meynell amalgamated with the South Staffordshire.

I was amazed to see that the first slide in the history of the hunt (use the link above) shows them in front of Rolleston Hall.