Monday, 30 November 2015

Mirror hanging

I've finally managed to get Dave to put up a mirror above our dining room table. It's very heavy as it has come off a dressing table but I knew it would look perfect here. It reflects light back into the room and I couldn't resist buying these roses so I could enjoy the doubling effect. Dave hadn't been keen on the task as he thought the mirror would be difficult to fix and would be too low down, but I'm delighted with it.

Sunday, 29 November 2015


Today we gathered in the church to decorate it with greenery for advent. I took a mass of holly and ivy down in the wheelbarrow but I had to battle the wind which was blowing at gale force. After the decorating we shared mulled wine, mince pies (I originally typed 'mice' pies) and sausage rolls. It was a very happy gathering, although I'm struggling a bit to realise it's almost December.

A clear start

This morning we had a touch of frost and it was windy and clear when I got up just before 6am! The moon was very bright, although what I thought was an animal sitting outside the kitchen was actually the watering can that Dave had left in an unexpected place! (At least I didn't try to feed it!)

Saturday, 28 November 2015


Dave has been doing a final bit of tiling, in this case using up a few of our original tiles in the cupboard under the stairs. This is where our wine and beer goes for fermentation and it now looks much smarter than the bare screed that was left by the building team. After grouting this Dave took his skills to Tom's to re-grout (and reseal) his bathroom.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Christmas cooking

Today I made my Christmas cake using eggs from the kiosk down the lane. To my amazement every one of the six had a double yolk! Very exciting but I'm not quite sure how it will impact on the cooking ....

Monday, 23 November 2015

My bedcover

Our own bedroom is also coming on well. Today I've been tacking together a bed cover which I am making from some beautifully embroidered curtains that I picked up in a jumble sale over 20 years ago. I am backing them with an old blue sheet and have finally worked out the method of construction. As with Dave's many projects, puzzling out what you are doing is more than half the battle!

Bedroom 2

The green bedroom
Today we've just collected a nice 'cheval' mirror for this room courtesy of ebay - it was one of the final touches that we needed here apart from a new duvet and a valance.

Bedroom 1

The blue bedroom
This room comes with the 'big' bathroom (complete with a shower not visible in my photograph. Here we just need a few additions like a soap dish and a kettle so again an 'almost' tick.
View from the bedroom

Really getting there - the living room

The guest living room
It finally seems as if the rooms are coming together. We've just put up a mirror in the guest living room and now I think we can tick this off as complete (although I'm still on the look out for a rug)!

A frosty start

The forecast frost came this morning and it was a chilly world outside. I was glad that we don't have to scrape ice off the car and head out early to work (unlike poor Joe!)

Sunday, 22 November 2015


A winter sky as the sun sets over Hill Farm. It's cold although the wind has dropped this evening. Indoors we are glad to have the log burner going.

Out running

I went out to see the sheep and photograph the pretty sky when I heard Joe running up the hill! He sometimes runs after work but it isn't much fun now the evenings are dark.

Stir Up Sunday

Today is 'stir up Sunday' - the last Sunday before the start of advent. I made my mincemeat but the rest of my Christmas cooking will have to happen over the next few days!

Here come the sheep

This afternoon the sheep got a bucket of water with a plastic ball in it to stop it freezing. They were very happy with this new addition to their field and when I woke this morning they were still gathered round it.

Saturday, 21 November 2015


This robin was posing in the holly as if to say 'don't I just look right for your Christmas cards?' Less welcome were the flock of pigeons trying to eat the berries. We need holly for decorating the church this Sunday so I've picked big bunches and put them (hopefully safely) in water in the barn.

First touch of winter

This morning I woke to the first dusting of winter snow. In the night we had strong winds again and you could hear what sounded like sleet dashing against the windows. Today, although there is a cold northerly blowing hard, the sky is blue and snug and warm indoors the landscape looks inviting in the sunshine. Sitting now at the computer I can see large patches of snow on the Weaver Hills to the NW of us.


Sunrise on a cold morning here at Hill Farm. It amazes me how much the trajectory of the sun moves over the course of the year, in summer it rises far to the left of where we see it now. It has taken until 8.30 for it to be high enough in the sky to be visible. I think of Tom taking an early morning flight today having only got home from another one last night, unfortunately it is so windy I think it will be a bumpy journey.

A barn owl at dawn

This morning as it first got light I noticed that the crows kept swooping down into the field opposite. Worried that something had happened to one of the sheep I ran upstairs for a better view and was caught in the magic of seeing a barn owl hovering above the frozen ground. It flew closer towards me but the camera couldn't catch it. As, when I'd seen it before, it flew slowly, almost hovering and so white against the dark of the hedges and trees.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Today we had a rainbow

This afternoon I worked outside briefly collecting the last of the apples before the forecast cold weather. Suddenly the sky darkened so I stopped for a cup of tea. Sudden heavy rain had me rushing back outside, struggling to manage both the camera and an umbrella (to stop the lens getting wet). There was a brilliant double rainbow and one of the arcs came right down into our field. Hopefully there's a pot of gold waiting to be discovered. After 10 minutes the sun set and the moment was gone.

Doors a plenty

Dave has finished fitting the third door to the 'blue' guest room. (Note the impressive surround that he also had to create from scratch.) When we saw the plans for three doors it struck us as crazy, but because they are all old and original we felt we needed to fit this last one to help reduce noise that travels up from the kitchen to the bedroom (and presumably vice versa).

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A last posy

Ahead of the latest storm I went and picked a bunch of flowers from the garden. All night the wind roared and I was glad I had rescued these late blooms. Luckily the only major damage (apart from a couple of barn tiles that flew off) was my poor Euphorbia, snapped clean off at the base.

Monday, 16 November 2015

A splendid bird

I much prefer the unassuming female pheasants who go quietly round the garden looking for tasty treats, but this morning there is a male bird out in the brief sunshine. I have to admit he is very splendid and as he pecks up grit I admire the amazing colours on his feathers. Generally though he is too strutting, preening and self important for my taste.

On patrol

Puss glimpsed through the window, patrolling the lane. She has to dash up here in windy weather as she really doesn't like it. She appears, bolts down her food and retreats again to the bottom of the hill where she spends time in someone else's garage! The days of sunbathing on our seat and lazing on the hay bales are over for another year.

Sunday, 15 November 2015


The wind harvested our apples for us, after huge gales in the night the apples were all deposited neatly on the grass for us to collect. In the picture are the deep red 'Spartan' and my 'Bramley' cooking apples. I love that Spartan is described as 'a simple unpretentious apple, and when eaten straight from the tree on a crisp cold morning is a real delight'.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Washed and blown dry

It was terribly wet and windy overnight and this morning the sheep all look very white after their enforced 'wash and blow dry'. Now they are sitting down so they don't blow over in the huge gusts of wind that make our weather today.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Project of the week

Dave has been thwarted for the moment on his two current projects: tiling the kitchen window sill needs to wait until the plasterer can visit to correct a problem and the bedroom door project is waiting for the steamed door to flatten (it's currently on the living room floor under a pile of heavy items!) So instead there is a new task: filling in the gap beneath the stairs. Presumably the timber here was destroyed by the previous owners rather heavy handed sandblasting. Just before fitting the newly cut pieces Dave found a strip of architrave that had been saved from here but forgotten about. After a bit of re-jigging it is now back in place (the conservation officer would be impressed) and it makes a huge difference to how the kitchen looks. A job begun and completed within a week!!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Winter wear

I've been busy sewing a skirt this week because everything I found in the shops for winter looked so drab. This is the first time I've tried just to copy an existing item of clothing rather than following a pattern. It took just 2 metres of cotton lawn and although I had to take the risk of buying the fabric online I'm very happy with the result.

A more curious item in my wardrobe this week was a pair of furry leopard print 'hot pants' with which I won our WI competition of 'an item of clothing for under £5 from a charity shop'. I'll spare you the sight of me actually wearing them, but I did - all meeting! They were incredibly cosy, just the thing for chilly winter days. My father always liked to say "winter drawers/draws on" and with these I'm ready for the forecast 'worst winter in 50 years'!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015


I've had a go at making some chutney for Christmas using apricots, oranges and cranberries. Delia describes it as 'a superlative chutney': 'Spiced Apricot and Orange Chutney'. My version was somewhat modified by  me as I missed out the garlic and added dried cranberries in place of the sultanas.  It's ages since I've made chutney and unlike jam you don't get the opportunity to check what you've created by sampling it, as it has to mature first but hopefully it's good. I ordered some more jam jars and lids which came promptly and beautifully packaged from Wares of Knutsford.

Late autumn

Late autumn, the gales have blown enough leaves from the trees for me to be able to see the church again. Dave managed to cut the grass which, with the mild temperatures, is still growing despite the wind and rain. Picked out in brief sunshine I enjoy just looking at our incredible view and once more think how very lucky I am to have this as my home.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Wide skies

The rough weather has brought us some striking skies in the last few days. The clouds have been racing and when a little sunshine breaks through it acts like a spotlight on the ground below.

Sunday, 8 November 2015


My dahlias were so late coming into flower this year but I am making the most of picking them now before the inevitable frosts. I had also forgotten how much the rain spoils them. Deep inside the flowers I have found drowsy bees, they must think they have found an ideal spot to spend the winter!

Remembrance Sunday

The lych gate at St Peter's was erected in 1923 as a memorial to the men of the parish who fell in the Great War and at the end of our service of remembrance we went and stood by the gate to place our wreath and remember all those from our little hamlet who fought in the war so we could be free. It is also a time for personal remembrance and reflection as this date also commemorates the day my parents got engaged.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Autumn colours

The trees look beautiful at this time of year particularly the oaks with their golden and bronze leaves enhanced by the dark wood of the trunks. We've had a few cold nights but no frosts and mild days. This is a very warm November so far.