Tuesday 14 September 2010

Journal - update

The story so far is here

Lucinda has been pretty busy since she last looked at her scrap book.  It's summer time and she has been busy from dawn to dusk, growing fruit, and vegetables in her cottage garden - and of course she manages to fit in some flowers here and there.

There's not been much time for idleness, but when she has worked herself to a standstill, nothing makes her happier than to sit in her little room, pull out her old scrap book, and re-read, and re-live those long ago days of youth.

She turns over the next page to reveal ..................................


Kate's wealthy beau. Did she really find him handsome - or was she swept away by his charm.  Oh yes he was charming, there is no denying that.

Lucinda allowed herself a chuckle, which turned into a giggle, which exploded into such a long loud laugh that her cat woke up and walked off with a disgusted look on his face and his tail high in the air!

"Well", she said, as she dried her eyes with her dainty lace hankie," if you can't laugh out loud in your own house, then where can  you?"

She kept looking at Claude wondering why he looked so stern, and what Kate could have possibly seen in him - that she herself could not!

She lifted her book right up to her nose to read the scrap of paper she had glued on the page.   It was something Kate had written in one of her letters to her.

'Oh Lucinda - Claude is so utterly romantic and charming, he sent me a little note from his Chateau near the Seine whilst I was in Paris visiting the dressmakers, and Monet's garden'

Lucinda started chuckling again as she re-read the passage that she almost knew by heart.

"Oh Kate, the hours I spend with you, I look upon as a sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it.  You and you alone make me feel that I am alive"

Then she quickly turned the page for something more attractive to look at.

The pretty little pouch that Kate had sent her - beautifully embroidered and  hand stitched.  There was a gorgeous brooch, made from some of the trimmings of her first ball gown.   She unpinned it and wistfully brought it to her nose - and yes - there was still the faint smell of lavender - despite its age and condition.

On the reverse of the pouch was another brooch, of Kate when she got engaged, she looked so young and beautiful - but the memories were too painful to dwell on, so she swiftly turned to the next page.

Oh how Lucinda loved this page in the scrapbook.  Over the years she had saved a lot of the samples of materials that Kate had sent showing her the colours of her ball gowns.

She had layers and layers of them.

Each with the original handwritten tags of the designs and dressmakers

She closed her eyes, and ran her fingers over strips of velvet, silk, laces, and allowed herself to be swept away in a daydream of what it must have been like all those years ago to be clothed in such finery.

Sincere thanks to Ati  I have photographed the labels, printed them out and attached them to scraps of materials I had.   The originals are saved for a special project - hopefully to be worked on over the winter.

One hundred pennies well spent

What can you buy for one pound that will make you feel like a million dollars and bring a smile to your face for a week?
A bunch of dahlias which I have arranged in what will now be a vintage vase, with foliage from my garden.

It is pure sunshine on a rainy and dull day.

Not only that but also

A full on, really clashing, bunch of  hot reds and pinks Zinnias.
They look really, really bright in the kitchen and just make me smile so much - unfortunately with the light coming in from the conservatory at the back, they don't photograph well.

I bought them last Friday - when it was tipping it down with rain and they still look wonderfully fresh!

Do flowers make you feel great and make you smile too?

Mine come from Andrew up the allotments.

Monday 13 September 2010

I have been busy making edible art

For weeks now my art work has consisted of harvesting borlotti, cherokee, climbing, dwarf, haricot and lots of other varieties of beans.  Added to which I have been pulling up onions, garlic, golf ball carrots, orange beetroot, potatoes, courgettes, squash and adding peppers, and tomatoes and anything I else I can pick from my garden or allotment....
Cutting them up, adding a tad bit of oil, and roasting them in my big oven, weighing them, and vacuum packing, and popping them in my freezer.  Each pack holds at least 700gr 1lb 8oz.  Can you imagine how long it takes to create the packs I did just one day last week?

But in the middle of winter, when I'm feeling 'blue' and can't decide what to cook - I pop out to the freezer and grab a bag of instant sunshine - and boy oh boy what a joy - and all the aches and pains and hard work of digging, weeding, growing, harvesting, washing, etc are forgotten.

Fast food?

I think I must have about 30 bags of sunshine in my freezer - so far!

Allotment Diary - Me 72hrs. He 71hrs.

Well, it has been quite a time since I have posted - thank you for all your requests for an update.

I haven't been able to spend much time up my allotment this year - the absolute bare minimum to maintain it - but I have been growing veggies at home - where it has been easier for me to garden late evenings when the sun has gone down and it has been cooler

Just as well really as the heat and drought over the summer, has played havoc with the crops on the plots - especially the beans, broadbeans, sweetcorn, and root veggies.

Here is a quick up date with some photos taken during the visits that I did make. 
These photos were taken at the end of July

The main crop of potatoes were almost in full leaf

All the potatoes were looking really  well at this point, but my neighbour had blight

I popped in a couple of late pumpkins as we were forecast rain in  August

July was also the month of high egg yield - and playing the 'hunt the egg' game with the bantams to see who could outwit us the most.
Giant muffins were made and frozen by the dozens

These are chunky chocolate - but there were so many varieties.....Date and walnut, black cherries, to name a few.

Then along came August

The pumpkins grew and grew
And burst out of the compost bins
The main crop potatoes flowered
And I started digging up the rows of early potatoes
And each time I dug up a row, they were bigger and bigger and bigger.
These are the smaller ones.
The grass was short and looked lush, and the dark clouds gathered
The lovely farmer next door decided it was time to retire
The fields have been sold off to local farms, and barns are being demolished to make way for some new houses
And I fell in love with some babies
Meanwhile my little treasures were still playing hide and seek with the eggs
And I kept finding them - albeit 16 at a time covered in mud, but they passed the float test, and the taste test, and I have lots of lovely slices of cake in the freezer for cold winter nights.

And here we are in September - more of that later in the week!

And ecky thunk - I posted this on the wrong blog - but I can't be bothered to type it all up again on my Allotment Lady blog

So - if you want to read any back posts of my allotment life you can see them here