Tuesday 26 July 2016

Traditional Devonshire Long Straw ... for thatching ...

Yesterday whilst we were out on our travels we were delighted to come upon this field of straw stooks. Whilst I'm not much of an expert on traditional thatching techniques I'm pretty sure that this is long straw, grown and harvested in the the time-honoured way, for thatching the local cottages to keep everyone weather-proof over the winter.

It always makes me smile when I come across something like this: a country scene that hasn't changed in a millennium. I'm not saying that I'd have liked to live under William the Conqueror, but in a rapidly changing world it's sort of reassuring to know that some things stand still.

And then I had a play to see whether I could turn the shot into something a little more atmospheric, fiddling with monochrome and sepia to make it feel like Michael Henchard, the Mayor of Casterbridge, might come marching out of the rows.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Sunday 24 July 2016

The Mid Devon Show 2016

One of our favourite days out in Devon in July is the annual Mid Devon Show. I'm a big fan of country shows that celebrate all the wonderful aspects of country life from the livestock on the farms to the wildlife in the fields to the country sports and the fabulous things that grow in our country gardens. They're a great day out for all the family, with something there for everyone. And you can bring your dog along. In fact I'm not sure they'll let you in to the Mid Devon if you don't have a pooch on your arm ...

Friday 22 July 2016

TGI Friday ...

And what a  week it's been. We've had a heatwave in Ireland. In Ireland! A heatwave! Who'd have thought? We showed up and brought the summer weather with us. It was brilliant. We had glorious afternoons of blue skies and sunshine as we walked our dogs. Being further north the days are so much longer at this time of the year, giving us lots of opportunities to enjoy the great out-of-doors into the late evenings.

Thursday 21 July 2016

St Patrick's Chair and Well ... a place of pagan wonder ...

The other day we headed off in search of an ancient druid site, where some of the old magic still lives on in the dappled light of the forest floor. Like many of Ireland's pre-Christian sites it had to reinvent itself when St. Patrick brought Christianity to these shores, but it was a fairly simple process. A few tweaks here and there and the new order was born.

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Wild Raspberry Jam ...

... is a really tasty thing. I jest you not. Here in Ireland in the month of July wild raspberries grow at the fringes of the forest that are the sweetest, most raspberriest raspberries in the world. One of our favourite summer afternoon activities is going for a walk, and picking the wild raspberries as we wander. It's our thing in July. And yesterday we went armed with little buckets to harvest enough fruit to make some jam.

Sunday 17 July 2016

Emma Bridgewater's motorway stopover

On Friday we had an unexpectedly enjoyable lunch break whilst we were bombing up the M6toll on our way to the ferry. We took a 10 minute detour from the motorway to shoot into Emma Bridgewater's lovely factory in Stoke-on-Trent.  And it was a wonderful sight for road-weary eyes.

The Bridgewater factory is a joyful little spot of homestyle served up in a post-industrial setting. It's all about rejuvenation and turning things around so that, to coin own her strap-line, it feels like home. For hungry folk like ourselves, who'd had more than enough of the M6 traffic, it felt like an oasis in the desert.

Friday 15 July 2016

TGI Friday ...

And TGI the holidays!

Finally school's out for summer ... and we're already on the road! We're bombing up the motorway to Holyhead to catch the fast boat to Dublin. The weather doesn't look entirely congenial to sightseeing, and, as I'm incapable of not turning up 8 hours early for the ferry, we may have a soggy time exploring another epic Welsh castle. I'm really grateful to Edward I, back in the 13th century, for giving me so many stonking stop-off castles to kill the time until the Dublin Swift weighs anchor.

Wednesday 13 July 2016

Summer Pavlova ...

This is my go-to dessert whenever I have a brain freeze and can't think of anything else to make. It's so easy, and yet at the same time looks like it took a bit of effort to put together. For me it's the perfect dessert when the soft summer berries are in season. The sweetness of the meringue needs something slightly tart to cut across it and balance the flavours. In my book a mixture of alpine strawberries, raspberries, and blue berries would be a pretty perfect accompaniment, but you can add whatever works for you.

And if there was one recipe that I was to pass on to my son as a perfect keep-it-up-your-sleeve secret to impress any dinner guests with in the future, this would be it. Just read on for the details ...

Sunday 10 July 2016

The Basilica of Sant Feliu, Girona and a case of mistaken identity ...

The Basilica of Sant Feliu is an ancient place, a very ancient place indeed. It’s an older church than the Cathedral of Santa Maria on top of the hill, and arguably just as important in terms of its role in the history of the city. During the Moorish occupation it served as a cathedral for the city's Christian population, who were displaced when the Moors commandeered Santa Maria as their mosque. 

Basilica of Sant Feliu, Girona
Basilica of Sant Feliu, Girona on the banks of the River Onyar

Saturday 9 July 2016

Fibre East

We're going to Fibre East!

Come and join us! I'd love to see you there. You can find us in the Romney Marquee. 

Held at the Redborne School and Community College, Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2NU on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st July 2016, Fibre East will cover everything woolly from the sheep to the wool to the finished articles all knit-up, crocheted and felted to yarny perfection. It promises to be a great day out for all the family. You can check out the website here: Fibre East

Friday 8 July 2016

TGI Friday ...

... and the last Friday of the school term at that.

Boy I'm glad we're almost done, but kind of sad all at the same time. It always feels the same as we trudge towards the last day of term. Back in God's Own Country we wound up for the school holidays at the end of June, so this business of plodding on to the middle of July is a bit of a faff in my book, and by now it feels like the end is long overdue.