Sunday, 29 March 2009

Peaceful things.

I'm not sure how much others feel the same about this, but I love old graveyards. There is something about the feeling of an ancient piece of ground with the beautiful headstones that sometimes tell such sad tales nestled quietly 'neath the boughs of twisted and tangled trees. I was in such a one only last week, one with a particularly serene and perfect setting in the nearby village of Mawnan. It overlooks the Helford River and has dear little grass pathways meandering through yew trees and buddleiah, holly and lilacs, all of which have that strange shorn-on-one-side growth pattern so typical of Cornwall with its prevailling seaward winds.

I found such lovely headstones of weathered granite that I went back to the car to collect the camera. The sun came out from behind pewter clouds, almost shy in its reluctance as Isabella and I wandered through searching for sage green and burnt orange lichens, the vibrancy of the colour softened by both age and the coolness of the winter-turned light.

Sometimes it is the epitaph that catches my eye and others the stone in all its shades and textures. Usually it is a combination of both, though in this instance it was more the setting with the ivy trailing over the words and the decorative edging making the whole reminiscent of a Gothic novel flysheet which appealed greatly to me - I am very much a fan of the Gothic genre it has to be said.

Some were almost too picturesque with swathes of primroses or, as in this case, arum lilies at the feet.

But most of them were resting that eternal rest with the birds singing in the treetops and the river gently sparkling on the shore below. Just so very peaceful.

Other things this last week: a trip to the fishing village of Porthscatho for chips and tea with Granny Mother and Isabella. It was freezing cold with a biting easterly wind and the tide was out nstead of crashing against the quay wall as it usually is, but we had fun nonetheless.

A couple of hours at the allotment this morning in much warmer, though still jolly cold, weather. The broad beans looked like this:

The cut-and-come again like this...

onions and garlic


and we even brought home some rhubarb for a crumble to go with the roast pork I am cooking for later on. It is slowly cooking in the oven and filling the house with wonderful smells - a meal to be shared with our eldest son and his girlfriend over chat and laughter, hopefully in fairly equal measures.

Oh, I have just realised I have uploaded all the pictures on a large setting. Ah well, too late to change it now, so apologies if they seem to shout at you!

Have a good Sunday x

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Of Eggs and Ducks...

Hurray, the ducks are back in lay! They took an extended break from laying - very extended - but today I found these in the duck pen. Beautiful and white and smooth. Wonderful for baking, though hopeless for meringues. I feel a cake or two coming on.

Next up were the hen eggs:

Perfect for meringues and cakes and soldiers and poaching get the picture. How pretty they look together in one of my favourite flowery plates.

Racing out between the showers I spotted these gorgeous narcissi with their orangey centres against moon-pale petals. Beautiful.

Well, I am off for a cup of this to fortify me before the Great Dinner Challenge (SO not in the mood for that tonight)...

and will leave you with pictures our lovely ducks. May I introduce Lemony the Aylesbury:

Biscuit the silver-cheeked Appleyard (on the left). She is a very pretty girl indeed. On the right is Maple, the Khaki Campbell x Indian Runner who is always up to mischief and sticking her over-long neck where it has no right to be. She is a duck with attitude.

And finally, Mustang the drake Silver-cheeked Appleyard. Named by the children I might add!

Have a lovely evening x

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

What pleases...

These are some of the things which are pleasing me at the moment:

A dresser filled to bursting with gorgeous china - some old and chipped, some new and pretty. All used constantly and loved.

A platter and a pig (which Davey bought from a junk shop because he reminded him of his brother - in the nicest way!).

Daffodils, bright and happy, lighting up every corner.

A greenhouse full of seeds which have already moved on since this picture.

A tray of basil seedlings in the front porch where we always grow it for endless pestos. I so love fresh pesto and the taste of summer which fills your mouth with every bite...yum.

Shells, shells, shells... and sea-smoothed pebbles and softened glass. All over the house, in jars and bowls and very often lying where they fall after games of Ship, ship sailing.

This book which is the bedtime story of the moment for Lucy and I snuggled together under her quilt. This is the fourth of the Laura Ingalls Wlder books and is every bit as good as the rest.

Knitting still pleses me greatly, though this little jacket of soft lilac has been so near completion for about a year now! I thought if I put it here and say it will be finished by the weekend I risk mortification if it is not! Well, we'll see.

And of course, the sea...


Happy Wednesday everyone x

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sunshine and shoreline

Another truly beautiful weekend. Brilliant sunshine and a soft forget-me-not sky - what more could you ask? A trip to the beach allowed for large pits to be dug...

paddling of toes in icy waters...

A well-wrapped young lady marches across the sands...

and my usual obsession with all things to do with the shore to be photographed. The brilliant hues of seaweed:

water surging over sea-smothed rock, the late afternoon sunlight creating patches of gold in the cooling light.

At home, bright jugs of yellow forsythia light each room from the kitchen...

to my dressing table (early morning photos hence the not so bright picture)

to the sitting room

and on to the girls' bedroom where the said forsythia billows right outside in a permanent patch of dazzling light. Garish it may be, but it provides so much cutting material for the house at this time of year and cheers every spot it sits upon. Lasts for ages too.

Hope all you Mums had a lovely and restful Mothering Sunday - I did!

Happy Monday x

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Stay Awhile.

The last few weeks have been busy with work on both products and website maintenance. I have been feeling that the site needed a tidy - nothing major, just a little streamlining and so have added a product page to the menu bar. This means you can now click on the product and be taken straight to the relevant page. I am still waiting to hear how to remove the annoying drop down bar from the menu as it is not needed now. I would really appreciate any feeback from those of you who may have browsed around my site before and thank you in advance! I think there are still adjustments to be made, but it is getting there. Now on to other things...

I have said before that I have been working on a new range which will work together more cohesively (almost used streamlined again there!). This is not because I don't want a broad range of products any longer - quite the contrary - but for wholesale it works a little better. It also means I get to use certain designs on a number of items, tweaking them a tad depending on the product or only using elements of the whole as I think it is needed. When you have spent time drawing, milling over ideas and producing endless samples before the right one jumps up at you it can be truly disheartening to rapidly move onto something new. A little love affair occurs when you pour so much of yourself into your work and to be able to work for longer with these pieces which by now are so familiar to you makes it all the more special. And so, my forget-me-not blue and pelargonium red embroidered flowers with their little patches of applique have wound their way over from the Hush Hearts which rather gratifyingly have already proved to be popular, to these pretty 'Stay awhile' Tea Cosies.

They are lined with wadding and a black & white ticking which I love both for its practicality and for the way it contrasts so perfectly with the delicate flowers.

And this time the words which drew me were 'stay awhile' because isn't that a nice thing to say when someone pops in for a visit or even to say to yourself when you find yourself rushing around? Hmm, I still seem to be on a certain theme here: hush, stay ...wonder what's next? Well, I know, but you'll have to wait awhile! I like the poetic slowing of the word 'awhile', so much nicer than the jumpiness that occurs when the words are split; try saying it and you'll see I haven't quite lost my mind.

Happy Thursday x

Monday, 16 March 2009

A Gardening Weekend.

What a beautiful weekend it has been. The sun shone brilliantly and Sunday brought such warmth I was almost thinking a swim at the beach was in order...almost.
We spent the entire weekend with the two girls in our garden reorganising, making new beds, sowing seeds and replanting. Even a trip to the allotment was squeezed in on Sunday morning. After an early pot of coffee in bed where we gazed at the dazzling yellow of the forsythia outside our window, we packed a picnic and were at the allotment by 8.45am. Dave planted nine blackcurrant bushes - a gift from very lovely friends - and two redcurrants. Another big crown of rhubarb was added to the fruit beds and I transplanted the broad beans which are now about six inches high and making my mouth water at the thought of the feasts to come. More were sown along with peas, carrots, parsnips and a sprinkling of something surprising thanks to Isabella who got carried away. Home again by 11.30 and ready to tackle our own garden. Let me take you on a tour....

This is the little wildlife pond I built quite a few years ago now. It had an enormoush rush which we moved into the duckpond much to the disgust of the ducks who swam around it silently and with deepest suspicion. It has left the butyl liner showing on the smaller pond and so a need to sort this has now arisen and is something I am looking forward to. Soon the delicate water forget-me-nots and water hyacinths will be in bloom giving the water a hazy effect and the dragon and shimmering damselflies will visit. The margins have clumps of different iris, lobelia, spirea and this wonderful marsh marigold which is flowering madly now and lighting up an otherwise shady patch.

We follow the path around the campfire area in front of the pond (which I can't show as the work this weekend has provided the most enormous pile of stuff to be burnt), past the new lawn areas which have sprouted with a vibrant haze and on to the woodland bed - so called because it tend sto get shaded by the huge fruiting cherry tree. I dug everything out of this bed on Saturday, moved the Merryweather damson (I love that name) from where it had outgrown a spot by the writing room and popped it into this one instead. After much replanting of herbaceous plants such as golden rod, ox-eye daisies, a Ballerina rose, bearded iris and clumps of tulips this is how it looked:

and from the other side you can see our very sweet but very tatty house! The paths are lined with bricks I dug out of the garden in the first years I lived here. Gooseberry bushes and another redcurrant were also replanted and I am most pleased with the result.

At the end of the path is Davey's writing room built by his own fair hands. It looks beautiful in the summer, but this is how awful it looked on Sunday (how embarrassing).

I dug out the damson and left the gorgeously tangled old apple tree and a Victoria plum bought for me on Mother's Day by my lovely son Tom when I was expecting Isabella.

It will now be underplanted with grass as I seeded it after much digging and replanted clumps of scarlet tulips to add to it all. Next year we will add daffodils and muscari too. And just in case you wonder how I could have lived in such disgrace, here is a picture to show how lovely it usually looks.

As does the rest of the garden (click on the image for a sunshiney burst of colour)...