Sunday, 31 January 2016

Burns lunch

We celebrated our first 'fifth Sunday' of the year with a Burns lunch in church. I made flower arrangements for the tables, along with shortbread and chocolate truffles with whiskey in them! It was a good event and well attended. As a parish we try and come up with something imaginative to do each time there is a 5th Sunday in the month.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Making marmalade

This year the marmalade making was a slow process ... I soaked the fruit for 24 hours as intended but then had to spend a day going to IKEA which meant that it was another 24 hours before I could complete the task. The marmalade tastes delicious and now just needs to be labelled.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Blood oranges

Last year I was given some delicious marmalade made from a mixture of blood oranges, pink grapefruit and lemons (courtesy of Robin and Ran) and I'm going to have a go at making something similar. I went to Ashbourne today hoping to find some blood oranges.The greengrocers had just what I wanted and even better they were wrapped in sheets of tissue paper. I used to collect fruit wrapping papers but now they are almost impossible to find, so this was a special treat. I laughed to see the Italian 'il sapore con amore' on the label - flavour with love - just what I like to do with all my cooking.

Monday, 25 January 2016


 I'd woken very early this morning and was amazed at how strong the moonlight was, making the garden and the fields clearly visible at 4am. Then again tonight the moon as it rises is reflected on the damp lane outside. The sky is also full of stars, it is a special privilege to have the opportunity to be able to quietly wonder at its beauty. Nature at its most inspiring.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

My giant bloom

My amaryllis is in flower, coming (as they always seem to) from just a few leaves to a triffid like flower in a matter of days. I have moved it from the bathroom windowsill so that we can make the most of its fleeting splendour. Outside I notice the warm weather has meant the first of the snowdrops are showing.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

So sweet

This morning one of the sheep stood at the gate of the field looking at me for ages. As I'd just fed puss I thought she was hoping to have a special breakfast too but when Dave went out to the car he saw that she'd just given birth to a little lamb. Mother and baby both seem fine but it was an unexpectedly early arrival as normally the sheep go back to be near the farm before they give birth.

Friday, 22 January 2016


After a pause in making home furnishings I finally got my act together and have finished these two cushions using my lovely fabric from Mark Hearld. It was expensive so it took a while to get up enough nerve to cut into it but I'm pleased with the results. I have enough to make another pair.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


Biscuits made to be photographed for the website and then eaten! I used my prize winning recipe for them which uses fresh ginger and experimented with various plates. A good way to use a very grey and miserable day.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

A special gift

Liz bought me this special mug as a belated birthday present (belated in the sense that it has spent months waiting to get safely to me!) It looks so pretty with these daffodils - a touch of spring on a cold and frosty day.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


There was an amazing red sun tonight. We went out for a brief walk up the lane and then saw this just as we'd come home. It is forecast to get jolly cold overnight but after such a mild winter frosts in January can hardly be a surprise (although listening to the weather forecast you'd believe they were unknown!)

Nesting time

The hedgerows are full of birds at the moment. I was watching a sparrow collecting a huge beak of fluff from the sheep in the field opposite. When I'd grabbed the camera he'd gone but there was a blackbird in his place.

King of the heap

This pheasant spent ages sitting and showing off on our heap of last year's grass cuttings. I put some of the berried holly there, that I'd used for Christmas decorations, but none of the birds seem interested in it ("us eat stale berries you've got to be joking").

Glorious sky

This morning we had a glorious sky, which changed in the matter of a minute from the top photo to the one beneath. I'm conscious of the 'red sky in the morning' ... saying so I hope the weather isn't about to take a turn for the worse!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

An ice necklace

We laughed to walk past this sheep with her necklace of ice although I don't suppose it was especially comfortable. Yesterday as the earlier frost melted a sheep in the field opposite us shook herself like a dog does and a huge spray of water from her fleece caught in the sunlight.

Winter wonderland

After a touch of snow on Friday we woke this morning to a more determined effort. There must have been at least an inch and it had settled thickly on all the branches much to the delight of our visitors coming from the snow less south!

Yum yum

I get to practice making a cooked breakfast using heritage tomatoes and amazing portobello mushrooms that my sister purchased on her way here at the Gloucester Services farm shop. I added sausage, bacon, free range eggs and a Staffordshire oatcake. After walking in the snow, brunch felt well earned.

Church this way

I had to laugh at this. Presumably a largish bird like a goose has walked across the road outside the church, but it looks for all the world like arrows pointing the way!

Saturday, 16 January 2016


Liz will be happy! I wake (yes at 3.55am) and see snow forecast on my phone and also outside. I just hope it lasts until everyone is up.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Under surveillance

Coming downstairs in the morning I find that we are under surveillance from the neighbours! Baa to you too!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Website photos

I've been busy trying to design our Hill Farm Bed and Breakfast website and have been out to take some more photos as although we have dozens we don't really have a good one showing the front of the property. Walking in the field opposite it is incredibly squishy from all the rain.

Saturday, 9 January 2016


The hunt seemed to get separated from the hounds and the followers today (they weren't even planning on coming down the lane) and what followed was chaos outside with cars and dogs everywhere. Eventually the horses and their riders caught up, leaving our poor verges terribly trampled.
Subsequently I discover that this meeting was held to celebrate the 200th anniversary of The Meynell Hunt and they began their day at Sudbury Hall where the hunt first met. Apparently there were 92 riders and horses so no wonder it seemed chaotic!

Friday, 8 January 2016


This is the first DIY task of the year. Dave has tiled the kitchen window sill, we had to wait until some re-plastering was done and having bought the tiles a while ago it was good to use them. My project is working on the design of our website ....

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Twelfth night

I have been busy taking down our Christmas decorations (which I always do on January 6th every year although I see from the internet that I may be a day late!) It seems a rather sad task as I adore having the Christmas tree and fairy lights on, but at least today we got our first glimpse of the sun in ages, although last night there was totally unexpected thunder and lightning. I really like how we re-arranged the guest living room and so I think it will be left with the two sofa's making an 'L' shape. Now we just need to get the last things in place (mainly carpet upstairs) and we can finally launch our business.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New beginnings

Last year I made for myself a diary based on photos from the farm and I loved using it so much that I decided I'd make another for 2016.  I've still to decide on my resolutions for this year, but last year saw planned things not happen and unplanned things bring results instead. Maybe I should just learn 'go with the flow'! Anyone who knows me will realise that this is exceedingly unlikely to happen!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

A pretty vase

Dave's Mum bought me this very pretty vase for Christmas and it's perfect next to the bed. I went to find some flowers for it, we still have a little berried holly in the garden but in the end I decided on rosemary for remembrance and pansies for thoughtfulness, a fitting way to start the new year.

Friday, 1 January 2016

First footing

First footing - with four feet! Hearing me outside taking photos, puss arrived as our first visitor of the year. She obviously didn't fancy perching on the very chilly metal gate and so having eaten went off exploring.

2016 dawns

There was a pink sky to welcome in 2016 and unusually for this winter a touch of frost. Last night if the fireworks were unexciting the stars were brilliant.