Tag Archive | English villages

Handspun merino yarn project, completed.


I have now completed the first project of 2015, which is a handspun/handknitted merino yarn jacket. I blogged about it here and have made other things in between but it was really nice to make something completely from scratch.

This is the back detail, which I made in a mixture of the purple and grey yarn. I’m pleased with the way it turned out.

The collar is large, but it lies comfortably on my shoulders and will give extra warmth. I will have to wear a higher collared something or other underneath though or else I’ll get a cold neck come the Autumn onwards!

Here is the pattern I used:

and these are the yarns:

so now I can think about the next project!

Date and Banana Cake


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This is a delightful cut and come again cake using healthy main ingredients, i.e. dates and banana.

Here are the ingredients:

8 ozs self raising flour

pinch of salt

4 ozs of soft margarine

4 ozs caster sugar

1 large banana

4 ozs of chopped dates

1 large egg

4 tablespoons milk

For the topping:

1/2 oz of chopped walnuts (optional)

2 level tablespoons demarara sugar

Method:

Measure out the self raising flour and put into a large bowl.

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Measure the soft margarine and add it to the flour.

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Take the stones out of the dates and chop them up.

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Then measure out the sugar and add it.

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Rub the flour mixture into the fat and the sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs. I usually add the sugar after the fat.

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Mash the banana and add it to the mixture with the chopped dates.

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Add an egg.

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Add 4 tablespoons of milk and mix together all the ingredients with a fork.

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Put a paper lining into a 2 lb loaf tin. No need to grease.

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Smooth the top with the fork or a knife and sprinkle with the demarara sugar and/or the chopped walnuts.

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Bake the cake for one hour at gas mark 4 or equivalent on the medium shelf of the oven.

When it is done it should look like this:

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Leave to cool, then turn out onto an oblong plate.

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We like to eat ours with a cup of tea on Sundays. The outside of the cake is crisp and the inside is soft. This cake will keep for two or three days under cling film or in a tin.

Have a wonderful Sunday; Oma

Snow is forecast.


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There has been a lot of hoo-haa in the news about the snow storm in America and now over here in England, we are told we will be getting some snow too. For most people, this is bad news, but for some it is very exciting. I’m talking children now.

In her book ‘Village Affairs’ Miss Read is describing how her class of Infants react to snow in Fairacre…

‘Cruel weather,’ said Mr. Willet. ‘My greens look fair shrammed. What with the weather, and the pigeons, and all them other birds, I sometimes wonder why I bothers to grow them.  If I had my way I’d stick to root crops, but my old woman says we must have a bit of winter greens, so I doos my best.  ‘Tis a thankless task though, when the winter’s like this.’

‘As long as we don’t get snow,’ I said.

Mr. Willet looked surprised.  ‘You’ll get that aplenty, my dear, and afore the week’s out too.’

As usual, he was right.

It began during the dinner hour, while the children were tearing about digesting, I hoped, steak and kidney pie and pink blancmange.  Hilary was on playground duty, and I was cutting up painting paper for the afternoon sessions, when the classroom door burst open to reveal a knot of panting children, proudly displaying the spatters of snow on their clothes.

‘Snowing, miss! Ennit lovely? It’s snowing! And it’s laying too.’

They were much too excited to have understood the different uses of the verbs ‘to lie’ and ‘to lay’, and anyway I have almost given up hope of any success in that direction.

I contented myself with telling them to let Miss Norman know that they must all come in to school.

They clanged over the door scraper with enough noise for a mechanized army, and I went to the window to see the worst.

The snowflakes were coming down in great flurries, whirling and turning until the eyes of the beholder were dazzled.  The icy playground was white already and the branches of the elm trees would soon carry an edging of snow several inches deep.  Across the playground, sitting inside the window of my dining-room, I could see Tibby watching the twirling flakes as interestedly as I was doing.

The snow hissed against the glass, but that sibilant sound was soon drowned in the stamping of feet in the lobby and the excited voices of the children.  I could see we were in for a boisterous afternoon.  Wind is bad enough for raising children’s spirits to manic level.  Snow is even more potent a force.

I judged it best to give out the paints and paper as soon as the register had been called, for it was quite apparent that my voice could never compete with the drama that was going on outside the windows.

‘You can paint a snow scene,’ I said, working on the principle that if you can’t beat your rival, you join him.

‘What like?’ said Ernest.

Our Fairacre children are chary of anything involving the imagination.  If I had told them to paint the tasteful arrangement of dried flowers and leaves, concocted by Amy and kept on my desk, they would have set to without a word.  But to be asked to create a picture from nothing, as it were, filled them with dismay.’

Did that passage from Miss Read’s book stir any memories of your own childhood in snowtime?

Oma

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Merry Christmas everyone.


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My turkey is defrosting in the shed; my mince pies are ready and waiting to be eaten and some of the other jobs have been done. Others are still waiting (mops brow). So it just remains for me to wish all my followers a very Happy Christmas. I appreciate your visits day by day throughout the past year. It means a lot to me to see your comments and I hope you will continue to dip into my life, here in England, during 2015.

Tale care!

Oma x

Tea-time


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My pansy teapot

 

The ‘Divine Harvester’

The discovery of tea is said to go back to Shen Nung, the deity with a bull’s head and the father of agriculture, who ruled in China in about 2737 BC.  Resting at the foot of a bush and being thirsty, he is said to have asked a servant to boil him some water.  A few leaves fell from the bush into his cup.

Seduced by the sweet and restorative beverage thus produced, he is said to have ordered this plant to be cultivated throughout the land.

from ‘The Book of Tea’ by Annie Perrier-Robert

+++

Tea-time in our cottage is between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. depending on how hungry/thirsty we are, but tea drinking is an occupation that goes on all day. It starts for me at 7 a.m. when I have my first mug of tea. Then coffee at mid morning break, followed by more tea at lunch-time. Water with lunch, then coffee and another cup of tea at 2 p.m.  The next cup is made at 4 p.m and again at 6 p.m. At 9 o’clock it’s cocoa these days but sometimes tea again. Do you think that is excessive!

Just lately I have become hooked on Red Bush Tea.

Red Bush Tea

This tea has a unique flavour. It’s quite strong and definitely an acquired taste, but if you like your tea strong and I do! this could be the one for you. It’s certainly worth a try. Now I have an admission to make: if it wasn’t for the fabulous books by Alexander McCall Smith about the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, I don’t suppose I would ever have tried that tea; but it is a favourite of Mma Ramotswe. Mma Ramotswe sets up a Ladies Detective Agency in Botswana and with the capable help of her secretary, Mma Makutsi, she has lots of adventures. I am hooked, totally hooked on the doings of the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency and cannot wait to read each new book. Mma Ramotswe drinks Red Bush Tea all the time so I thought I must try it. When I saw it on the shelves in Sainsburys, I picked some up. Since then I haven’t looked back and I’ve also noticed that more and more of it has been appearing on the shelves.

Mma Makutsi on the left and Mma Ramotswe waiting for the kettle to boil:

Mma Makutsi and Mma Ramotswe

Assam is supposed to be the finest tea, but nowadays I find that lacking in flavour. No doubt my taste buds are getting old as well as the rest of me.

Do try it and let me know what you think of it.

Oma

 

A Walk in the Bluebell Wood – bliss.


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Click on the title of the poem to hear the words while you look at the pictures 🙂

The BlueBell Wood

We walked within an ancient wood
Beside the Heart-of-England way
Where oak and beech and hazel stood,
Their leaves the pale shades of May.

By bole and bough, still black with rain,
The sunlight filtered where it would
Across a glowing, radiant stain—
We stood within a bluebell wood!

And stood and stood, both lost for words,
As all around the woodland rang
And echoed with the cries of birds
Who sang and sang and sang and sang…

My mind has marked that afternoon
To hoard against life’s stone and sling;
Should I go late, or I go soon,
The bluebells glow— the birds still sing.
Poem Published in the following books: Tales from The Woods

 

 

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This the beautiful bluebell wood near my cottage. Yesterday morning, Larry and I went for a walk there enjoying the birdsong and the lovely scent of the bluebells. Come share with me our walk…

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Busy Hands


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While I was in America, I introduced Larry to rug making. I didn’t know if he would like it, but he certainly did. We started him off with the rug of the deer, see above. It’s now hanging on his bedroom wall, right above his bed and looks wonderful, don’t you think?

After making about five other rugs of varying sizes whilst he was waiting to come over here, he decided to design one for himself. This is it below and I think he’s done a great job of it too. He plotted out the chart in Excel and then ordered the back-cloth and the yarns to make it. It took a while because it is very thick and luxurious, but now he has something he can be truly proud of.


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I’ll be showing you some more crafty items that Larry has made. He really is very talented.

Meanwhile I progress with my patchwork. Here are some squares I made recently. When joined together they will be a table runner.

I chose pinks and purples because I had quite a few bits and pieces of fabric left over from making the quilt for Larry’s bed.

Here is the quilt:

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The picture turned out a bit dark, but you get the idea, and here are the squares I’m making:


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So we keep ourselves busy. Busy hands don’t get into trouble, do they!

Have a lovely Sunday 🙂

Oma