Sunday, 17 August 2014

OUR STAY HOME VACATION PART 2

So our stay home vacation moved on through the week and on Wednesday we enjoyed a lovely lunch with my parents and later in the day and on Thursday morning as boat building resumed I caught up with some knitting.


A baby blanket that now just need it's crocheted border


and a pair of socks that I've started knitting for my Aunt who is in hospital and suffers with cold feet.
I found the yarn in my stash (Drops Delight) and the pattern is, as Drops patterns are at first, hard going on the mind.


Thursday afternoon saw us popping out for tea and cake but a trip to RHS Hyde Hall was more of a swim, tea and cake adventure. Especially when some kind soul picked up our large umbrella in the cafe and took it on a jaunt around the gardens leaving us to run back down to the entrance in the rain!
Did get it back though eventually, husband tracked down the people and swopped it for a Hyde Hall umbrella.


On Thursday evening our son's dog Simba arrived for a couple of days.
We thought it was going to take him a while to settle as
he took one look at our kitchen floor and decided, "I'm not walking on that!"
and took equal dislike to the hall flooring as well, deciding to perch on the stairs.


Eventually Michael managed to coax him out of the front door, around to the back garden, through the patio doors and into the lounge.
At bedtime we had to do everything in reverse and he slept on the landing 'till morning when, he followed me down the stairs, along the hallway, through the kitchen and out of the back door!!!

On Friday, as we had Simba with us we thought we'd go out on one of our favourite walks


along the sea wall to Goldhanger.


We did get caught in the rain but luckily we weren't too far from our destination and managed to get to the pub and enjoy our lunch on a table outside with the biggest umbrella we could find to shelter us.


Walking back home later, the sun shone and the tide was in.


Simba ran virtually all the way home and loved swimming in the river.


Nearing home, it was good to see this family of swans swimming down the river.

Simba went home to his own house yesterday and today the weather is being quite kind.
I've been sitting in the garden which is fairly sheltered from the breeze and taking in some sunshine.
I've finally got to grasp with this new sock pattern I'm knitting and I'm making some slow progress.
In another hour or so our son and daughter in law and grandchildren will be joining us for dinner.
Perfect!

Our stay home vacation has been different but enjoyed by us both.

Back to normal next week!


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

OUR STAY HOME VACATION PART 1

Michael has decided to take holiday this week to get some jobs done at home and to make progress with his new venture.

Behind this door there is


the makings of a new boat.When it's finished it will be a Stony Lake rowing boat.
(That's one of his other boats, sitting underneath!)


His intention is to divide his time, between garage and boat, jobs around the house and spending time with his wife, thats me!

On Sunday we ignored the wet weather and set off for Harwich. Eventually the rain did stop and we spent a very blustery afternoon taking a short walk along the seafront before having a very nice late lunch in here.



Considering the remnants of hurricane Bertha were bearing down on us over the weekend, I was quite surprised to find that this dove was nesting in the very top branches of a tree in our garden. 


She sat tight as the wind bent the branch as it swooshed around in the wind and on Monday morning, I was quite surprised to find the bird and its nest still clinging on in the tree.


As Michael was sawing and planing in the garage on Monday, I tidied the garden and mowed the lawn. I thought it looked really nice when I'd finished.

On Tuesday morning,there was much activity in the garage, more planing, more sawing.
(we have very understanding neighbours)
and then in the afternoon we set off to have our supper by the sea.


For those of you who know this area, can you guess where we where?


Well, here is the view from our virtual table!


Here is our scrummy dinner!


Here is someone who wanted to join our table, not so likely,


and as we strolled along the seafront walking off some of those delicious chips we spied this rainbow in the distance.
Yes, we were in Aldeburgh!

Part 2 will follow shortly!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

WILDFLOWERS AND BUTTERFLIES AT THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM

We really like to take the grandchildren into London when they're on their school holidays but sometimes we do try to do too much  in a day.

On Thursday we planned it differently. Kate and I decided to take Charlotte and Jessica to the Natural History Museum. As it was so hot we decided to drive up to Westfield Stratford where it's so easy to park and then just take the 30 minute journey on the tube to South Kensington.

We arrived at the museum at about 11 o'clock and went straight into the dinosaur gallery, which was busy and quite warm. We had a quick visit to the dinosaur shop afterwards where we bought a dinosaur for baby Jack and then headed outside to find somewhere cool to eat out picnic.

After we'd eaten we then took a stroll around the wildflower garden which we all really enjoyed. 
Staff were on hand to show the children and adults what species live in the pond and we all spent quite a while looking through magnifying glasses at the pond life they had collected earlier.

The garden was such a quiet, peaceful place!


At 1.45pm we had tickets to go into the butterfly house.
The children were really looking forward to this and they weren't disappointed.
It was obviously really hot in there but because we had tickets for an allocated time slot, it wasn't too crowded.

There were so many butterflies to see and some managed to settle long enough so I could take some photos.
The children, loved taking a closer look at the beautiful colours with their magnifying glasses.






We all left the butterfly house warm but happy. Another trip, this time to the butterfly shop, a well deserved ice-cream devoured in the shade and then back to the underground  station for our return journey on a very hot tube train.

Leaving stratford, in our air conditioned car, as the children dozed, Kate and I agreed that we'd done just enough and we'd all had a perfect day. 


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

AN AFTERNOON IN THE GARDENS OF BEELEIGH ABBEY.

On Friday afternoon, Kate and I dodged some stormy weather and visited the gardens of Beeleigh Abbey which is close by for both of us.

The Abbey was first constructed as a monastery in 1180 so really has some history attached to it. During the 18th C the building was apparently used as a public house but by the late 19th C the building was in a ruinous condition and it wasn't until 1912 that a Captain F.W. Grantham began restoration work. Then, in 1943 the abbey was purchased by William Foyle owner of Foyles Bookshop.


I first visited Beeleigh Abbey about 30 years ago when Kate was a little girl and I got myself a little job, just a handful of hours a week, working from home for the owner at that time, Christina Foyle.
Occasionally then, I was able to see the gardens and sometimes fortunate enough to go into the house and the abbey. It is a really lovely building and whilst the current owners, Catherine and Christopher Foyle now allow the public to view the gardens on specific open days, the house remains private and closed but that is understandable, after all, it is there home!



On this visit we missed seeing the peacocks that used to wander across the lawns. We did ask the lady  at the entrance but she said that the last one had passed away recently.

The housekeeper who used to work there for Miss Foyle told me once that she used to cook fillet steak to feed to the the foxes. The idea being that if the foxes were happy and well fed they would leave the peacocks in peace.

Whether this actually really worked or not, I have no idea. Although at a guess, I would think most foxes at that time residing in that vicinity knew exactly where they'd be heading for dinner.


The new owners have spent quite a lot of time restoring the garden and it was lovely that we could spend a couple of hours just wandering in the peace and quiet.
A small marquee was in the garden where we were able to sit and enjoy a cup of tea and some homemade cakes.

Here are just a few photos so that you can enjoy the gardens with us!












I thought I'd finish this post by showing you Kate's scarf that is now my scarf.
Remember, she wasn't keen!
Well, I really love the colours of this one and I'm looking forward to wearing it when we do have some cool evenings.


I've still got some sewing on the go and some knitting on the needles but, as we are having such a lovely sunny, lazy, summer, everything is on a go slow!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

SUPERGRAN'S "ANGRY MESS!"

Recipe Ingredients

4 peaches
1 tbsp castor sugar
punnet of raspberries
50 grams icing sugar
homemade sponge flan using 2 egg mix
a couple of spoons of warmed apricot jam
1 pt custard 
Hundreds and thousands


Recipe Method

1. Poach peaches with castor sugar for 10 mins then cool, skin and slice.
 ( Don't worry if the skins don't come completely off and they go mushy!)

2. Sprinkle icing sugar over the raspberries and leave for 20 mins

3. Make your sponge flan, remember to use a tin that you haven't used in yonks but make sure it is  well greased and floured!

4. When your perfect sponge flan is cooked, let it cool slightly and tip it out onto a wire rack.
 (Don't worry if half of the flan remains stuck in the tin, just hook that out with your finger and eat it!)

5.  Stuff, or should I say place, your broken pieces of sponge flan into a dish and drizzle the warmed apricot jam over the top in a frantic action.

6. At this stage you should sieve the raspberries and icing sugar through a fine sieve to make a coulis  
but to be honest at this stage why bother. Why do one thing right when the rest is all so not right! Spread the raspberries over the jammy sponge.

7. Spread your peach slices or mushy peaches over the top of the jammy, raspberry, sponge.

8. Conceal the whole lot with a covering of at least 1 pt of custard.

9. Finally, sprinkle with hundreds and thousands and pop in the fridge to hopefully set.

And so there you have it, a

de- constructed 

fresh peach sponge flan with raspberry coulis



I'm thinking of applying for master chef, what do you think?

Thursday, 17 July 2014

SUMMER BIRTHDAYS, SUMMER COLOURS!

Firstly I'd like to thank Hawthorn for nominating me for a Liebster Award this week. This is still w.i.p. but I'm hoping to spend some time on it this afternoon while I'm sitting outside in the shade.

Our family have had a busy week, my son Robert celebrated his birthday on Monday and today is my grand daughter Charlotte's 8th birthday.
So a very happy sunny birthday to them!

I made this indulgent strawberry, cream and chocolate cake for Rob's birthday.
I used Lurpak from their new baking range, for the first time, recommended by my friend Diane and it turned out to be an exceedingly good, delicious cake.


I've knitted a few rows here and there this week and have now nearly finished this scarf which I was making for my daughter Kate but when I showed it to her on Monday ......... well, you know that look?
As it goes, I really like it, so she won't be getting it!


What could be better, on the hottest day of the year so far, I thought, than share some summer colours from my garden.

Enjoy!











Sunday, 6 July 2014

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK!

Coral coloured roses for our 35th wedding anniversary!


Waiting for this sunflower to burst fully into flower.
A gift from my grandchildren that arrived in a tiny pot, with just a couple of spoonfuls of earth and looking more like a trailing variety as it wound itself around the outside of the pot.


Home sown sweet peas, with such a lovely perfume,


that I'm cutting and bringing inside and popping them in these pretty vases that were presents on my special birthdays.
This one, on my 21st birthday,


and this one, on my 40th.
So not only do I get to enjoy my sweet peas but also I think about the people that gave me these lovely gifts.


The start of a new knitting project, another baby blanket, this time in Drops Fabel.


Spending our Sunday afternoon with our grandchildren as the two girls celebrate their birthdays with their friends at their "Frozen" themed party and joining in with the singing of "Let it go!"



Fortunately the party planner, Elsa, remembered to pop into Tesco on her way and pick up the cake!


Hope you all have a lovely week ahead of you!