Gold Award

Gold Award

David has done it again. He entered our garden in the Leeds in Bloom summer competition and won a Gold Award in the “Hotel” category. Thought you might like to see the judge’s comments:

“A stunning haven that captures times gone by and inspired your imagination. Well stocked flowering beds with variety and interest, statues and a totem pole to name a few of the well placed accessories. Overall well maintained and a sheer joy to judge. Well done.”

David works incredibly hard to make this happen (no, it’s definitely not “one of those gardens that takes care of itself”) and it’s nice when this is recognised.

Well done, David – big congratulations.

 

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Happy Birthday David

Happy Birthday David

It’s David’s 65th birthday today. With apologies to all the good folks who wanted to stay at Four Gables this weekend… we’ve taken the whole weekend off. Sometimes you have to do these things, especially when you’re 65 years old. But not to worry, we’re not retiring (completely) just yet, though we are aiming to take most Sundays and Mondays off. A novel new idea: working just 5 days a week.

Happy birthday, David!

 

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A New Sweep of Daffodils – Soon!

A New Sweep of Daffodils – Soon!

David worked hard to dig up part of the lawn, so that he could plant a new sweep of daffodils which will come through in the spring. We saw this to good effect in the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland. He lifted the sod and dug down, then planted the bulbs before replacing the sod on top. He put in several varieties which will bloom at different times, so the show should continue through most of the spring. Something else to look forward to.

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Figs!

Figs!

A good crop of figs this year – we are picking dozens every day; have had two days when more than 100 fruit came off our tree. When the cold weather hit a couple of weeks ago, we thought they were done with, but then it warmed up again, and they keep on coming. Today was one of the high-yield days: David brought two buckets full into the kitchen and left me a note that said, “No pressure!” (I was out with the dog).

The thing with figs is, they don’t freeze very well, at least not in their natural state – they change in texture and taste, and not in a good way. Once they’re cooked, however, they freeze just fine.

We are eating as many as we can (there are limits…) – they’re especially nice grilled with goat’s cheese as a starter. Had a fig clafoutis for dessert last night. Have also roasted some, sprinkled with rum, cinnamon, and brown sugar: they will go into the freezer, and by deepest winter we will be pleased to haul them out and have them with vanilla panna cotta, or just some ice cream or Greek yoghurt.

For the breakfast table – have made two big batches of fig and apple jam, same as last year, lightly spiced with aniseed, cinnamon, and orange peel. And I’m making plenty of compote, baked in the oven, which will freeze well.

 

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Berries from the Garden

Berries from the Garden

Before July passes into the distant memory, we should mention what we hauled out of the garden this year in terms of soft fruit:

3.5 kg gooseberries
3.5 kg. blackcurrants
4.3 kg red currants
2-3 kg wine berries (and counting)

So… plenty to go at in the jam-making department.

Tried a new combination for compote for the breakfast table, which has gone over well: rhubarb with blackcurrant. Our rhubarb is in a new league this year, by the way – threatening to become a forest.

The blackbirds are getting into the figs already – hope they leave us some. The apple tree is heaving.

The photo is of a black & red currant flan tart.

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July So Far

July So Far

19 July 2014

Welcome to our blog!

July has been quite an eventful month already.

4 July: our first grandchild was born. Annabel Lucia came into this world at 2.30 am – she must have wanted to make sure that there would be fireworks and celebrations all over the US to mark the day. She is, of course, gorgeous – all the parts are where they should be, good weight, Mum and Dad are fine, and we got to hold her just 12 hours later. What a feeling. We called it The Grand Arrival.

5 July: the Grand Départ of the Tour de France. Nearly as hotly anticipated as the Grand Arrival. We were booked up as of last year, so a busy time (instead of breakfast, we gave the guests a breakfast & lunch to go, as they all left the house between 5 and 6 am). David was one of the Tour Makers – the army of volunteers who assisted on the course and made it all happen. He was stationed in Buckden in the Dales and had a grand day.

6 July: second day of the Grand Départ. We cycled out to a spot along the route near Whixley and watched the Tour go by. Hundreds of people even on this remote stretch of country road – and nearer the major intersections there were thousands. Great atmosphere.

The whole Yorkshire Grand Départ was so well organised and executed – it made us all proud to be Yorkshire Folk. And the good news for any cyclists who may be considering visiting us: the route of the Tour is not far from us (David and his friends cycled the first day’s route in June), and as it is a circular route, it has the advantage that you don’t need to arrange for drivers. So… worth considering. If you want more information, please contact us.

13 July: Open Garden. This was a village event, with 11 gardens open on the day. As it happens, David was the driving force behind it under the auspices of Boston in Bloom – the volunteers who make the flower baskets all along the High Street happen every year. The weather was kind to us, and all the hard work getting the garden ready paid off; we had nearly 500 visitors to our garden, over 600 visitors in total, and a whopping £4,000 was raised. Well done, David.

16 July: A bit of a scare, with David taken ill and off to hospital in an ambulance. He is OK, was home again on the evening of the 18th. Poppy (our greyhound) was very pleased to have her pack back under one roof. He needs to rest now and take it easy, and I am prepared to thump him on the head to make sure he does.

19 July: Storm clouds brewing, but the garden will be happy to have some rain.

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