Tuesday, 30 September 2008

light green jumper-beans

there is a definite nip in the air now, and finally after our first week without rain since may, i think winter is coming. we were out in the garden today picking the last of the beans. the ones that had previously been hiding behind foliage, now grown long knobbly and gnarled with age. despite this franc and i both enjoyed popping them open and fighting over the juicy bombs inside.

we also made this beautiful embroidered patch together.

and loved it so much i made a jumper for it to live on.

it's a little baggy around the neck but all in all we are feeling very pleased with the results. a good first effort.


Friday, 26 September 2008

mystery gifts and other lovely things

a few weeks ago i arrived back to the boat to find a bag of home grown tomatoes waiting for me. how lovely. i looked around to see if anyone was just leaving, or if there was some kind of clue as to who they were from, but nothing. leaving me wondering what kind soul had thought to give us such a tasty gift. for the next few days, my favourite thing to eat were these gorgeously ripe tomatoes on crusty white bread, rubbed with a touch of garlic, a pinch of sea salt and a generous glug of olive oil. so delicious and summery! i still don't know who they came from so i keep telling everyone how thoroughly i enjoyed them, just in case.

this was followed by a bag of pears from someones garden, that were so far removed from the unripe shop produce you so often find. i did discover that these were from our sailor friend whose boat is just opposite ours, (from his friends garden). we baked them with honey and chocolate and ate them topped with vanilla ice cream.

i feel very lucky to be surrounded by such a lovely community here at the marina. there's always someone on hand to give a bit of advice about varnishing or how to keep the rain out! swapping a bit of parsley for coriander or to lend a video to watch on a rainy night. and it's nice seeing friendly faces as you walk along the pontoons, stopping to find out how they are and what's going on. everyone always comes by to see how baby stan is getting on and he loves waving at everyone that passes by, including the 2 resident swans and all the seagulls that live down here! i remember when i was pregnant last year, receiving bags of cherries, freshly caught mackerel and baby advice! and j often shares a couple of beers and conversation on a sunny evening before dinner with a willing neighbour. another sea-faring friend caught some cod the other night and generously gave some to everyone on our pontoon. how nice is that! we had it that night dipped in seasoned flour and fried in olive oil with mashed potato, green beans and a cheese sauce. and of course a glass of red wine. very delicious!

now we, (my sister and i), had never heard of etsy before i bought this book for her birthday last year. i had spent my pregnant work lunch times in the local borders bookshop reading it and thinking how starting a blog would be the perfect outlet we needed to nurture our creativity and keep in touch with each other. so here we are. and then we discovered this wonderful site dedicated to all things handmade and sold by the actual people making them. what an antidote to all those large chain stores that have somehow forgotten the individual somewhere along the way.

well i decided to treat myself and baby stan. for him, i got the lovely map bricks from sparklepower. and for me, this gorgeous bag from tinyhappy. both so beautifully made and carefully wrapped, the gocco print below (now on my notice board!) was included with my bag from tinyhappy. it's such an experience receiving something in the post that has such a personal touch to it. if you haven't discovered etsy yet i recommend you do right away. it's a lovely place to buy gifts for people. we love it.


Thursday, 11 September 2008

baking and making

as the days are beginning to shorten, and the summer which was waited for, but never really appeared is coming to an end. i felt the need for warm slippers in lovely bright rainbow colours.
i have also been;
jam making,
and preserving like a woman possessed. as winter really does approach i am getting desperate to keep a little summer sweetness jared up for colder darker times.

blackberry and apple jelly,
hedgerow jelly,
hawthorn ketchup,
strawberry jam,
pontack, (a new recipe)
pickled beetroot,
mint syrup,

and mulled pears.

i have also been spending some quality time with my little artist who at the age of 2 and a half has finally managed to draw some beautiful pictures of his papa. i love the movement that small children bring to their art.


Monday, 1 September 2008

a beautiful spot

this is our new screen saver. i love this picture and it's a nice reminder that it is sunny sometimes! so far this british summer is turning into a major disappointment. all grey skies and showers. so on that rare occasion that is it a sunny day, i feel like we need to go out and really appreciate it. we always did mean to do some walking when little stan was born. but you know how it is, somehow you never get round to doing all those things you hoped to do, when making excited plans over a fat belly.

bright blue skies, sloping green hills and a secret picnic spot under a wind swept hawthorn tree. we felt as though we were all alone, just the three of us breathing in our beautiful surroundings. it was lovely. it made us think, times like these should be more of a regular part of our lives and that we should try our best to make the effort. as it was so restorative and peaceful. resting and basking in that comforting sun. such a good feeling.