Thursday, 30 August 2012

Flowers in the house

It always surprises me that even the most bedraggled flowers display themselves well once they have been brought into the house. Slugs have had a good chew at these gladioli but with a few other blooms popped  in around them it doesn't seem to matter.

Jessica came today
and brought me this lovely bouquet of roses.
For Flower Jane at Small but Charming.

Sunday, 26 August 2012


Yesterday we went to Topsham, a village in Devon on the estuary of the river Exe, near to the cathedral city of Exeter.
We were attending a private view of paintings and drawings at 'The Art Room' on the Strand.

The artist Robert Hurdle is ninety-four years old, still active, producing beautiful paintings. This exhibition was showing examples of his early work.
Robert and Himself taught together at art school.
Robert's style has changed over the years. 
I particularly liked this period
and would have very happily taken this little one home!
These two paintings, from the late 30's have their sitters standing before them.
"You looked like Johnny Depp" I told Robert of his self-portrait.
"Never heard of him" he replied.

'The Art Room' is on the Strand, a narrow road that runs parallel to the river estuary. The houses are on one side of the road and their gardens, beside the water, on the other.
Many of the houses are very beautiful and Dutch in style, due to the trade links with that country. 


The doorway of Shell House.

One of the gardens with a glimpse of the estuary beyond.

Some of the houses  have large upper windows to take advantage of the view.


(A huge block of flats has been built right by the water and they must have a wonderful outlook. But the building is so ugly that I have chosen to ignore it. Town planners, what were they thinking of!!!)

We went to Topsham's small, friendly museum, run by volunteers, for tea and a slice of cake.

Salmon caught in the Exe!
A recreation of Miss Holman's sitting room. She was the founder of the museum.

You can tell from the photos out of doors that it was yet another dull, wet day, but, in spite of it, we had a lovely time.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


After such lovely weather last weekend it has been a return to unrelenting downpours and depressingly low light levels. No chance to enjoy the garden properly, just a quick dash up the path beneath a brolly or a short foray in wellington boots to gather a few flowers or vegetables. Most of my garden viewing is through a plate glass window.
Thank goodness for a greenhouse
where we can sit with greenery around us while the rain falls on the roof.
But the battered summer flowers cheer up once I've brought them into the house.
This is 'Heritage', an early David Austin rose.
I don't know the name of this rose, planted by a previous owner.
Some plants are thriving in all the rain.

The phlox are happy.

And the perennial sweet pea seems to rampage whatever the weather. 
(My annual sweet peas are a complete failure this year.)
Tomatoes, even in the greenhouse are scarce, simply not enough sun.
And to compound matters the larger varieties have got a bit of blossom end rot.
The vegetable garden is a mixture of success and failure.
The mange tout  crop is excellent. 'Carouby de Maussane' seed from The Herbary.

But I'm still waiting for the carrots and beetroot to fatten up. The fennel has gone to seed along with my first row of coriander which has cropped well. I shall gather the seed for both cooking and replanting. This year's organic seed was from The Herbary, 161, Chapel Street, Horningsham, Wiltshire and I've had a good success rate with all their supplies. (From the seed swap in spring.)
 I have a glut of broad beans.
They get added to everything!
Also spinach, which is responding well to endless rain.
Veg. curry, anyone?
It's a mixed story with the courgettes. The seeds came from the spring seed swap. 'Goldy' would obviously prefer to be growing in the Mediterranean (wouldn't we all!) But 'Eights Bells' is prolific, doing the courgette thing of growing to a silly size overnight. 
I cut one in half, put it in boiling water to soften, scoop out the flesh and combine it with breadcrumbs, chopped onion and garlic that had been cooked to soften in a little oil, add mature Cheddar and parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and a generous amount of Italian herbs. Bake 'til golden brown.

Lunch is ready.