Wednesday, 30 October 2013

At the dying of the sun

Sunset, Petworth Park (West Sussex) October 30th 2013.
Flocks of jewelled Goldfinch twitter and swirl in the high branches of lake-side Linden trees. They flit to the ground, like autumn leaves blown from the whispering trees. Beneath the Chestnut trees a carpet of spiky cases and glossy plump nuts. The park is growing misty and shadows are long. The distant downs are turning a moody purple and clouds scud, break, regroup, shadow the sun. Against the sky of sepia clouds and golden light, a windhover hangs, falcon-gaze watching for betraying movement of small mammal prey in the tussocky grass.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Afternoon Tea

A few hours off work this afternoon were a looked-forward-to treat. Light and time did not allow for an extensive session of nature or garden photography, so a girl-y afternoon poking around independent shops and sharing a pot of tea with my lovely Mum was an attractive proposition.
We pottered through the Sussex countryside to the delightful town of Petworth, famed for its high class antiques. Our main destination however was an independent sewing and material shop, called "The Cotton Wool Store" filled with the most wonderful selection of sewing essentials, fabric, accessories and embelishments. Heaven! I was also keen to visit "The Hungry Guest", a fantastic supplier of artesian and local food from bread to cheese, but also including meats and herbs, oils, vinegars and vegetables. the level of knowledge and service from the staff is first class, a prefect place to visit for that special treat, or those luxury food items you persuade yourself really are an everyday necessity! In my case, Parmesan cheese, something I always wish to have in the kitchen. I could of course pick up a mass produced piece from almost any supermarket but I somehow feel I will enjoy this hand cut, authentic cheese sold with such friendly and professional service, so much more.
A few doors along the narrow street from "The Hungry Guest", a colourful tearoom caught our eye. We were soon ensconced at a small table enjoying a toasted tea cake and pot of Assam tea. A cheerful place of miss-matched china and happy friendly staff, "Tiffins tearooms" was a delightful discovery and I will certainly be returning to explore the range of sandwiches and cakes available! (they also do gluten free for those who are intolerant to gluten)    

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Fruit Fantastic

The weather has been uniquely generous to Britain's fruit growers this year. A long cold winter followed by a warm summer with high levels of sunshine has encouraged the fruit trees of our orchards, farms and secret hedgerow corners to produce, from confetti like petals of softest pink and snow white in spring, a bumper harvest that weighs heavy on gnarled branches in the mellow mists of autumn. 

One star of the show at this year's "Grow, Cook, Eat!" plant and food festival at West Dean Gardens (West Sussex) was the celebration of the country's fantastic history of fruit. With a mind boggling array of varieties, extensive expert knowledge on hand, and beautiful lovingly displayed examples, it was a fascinating experience  worthy I think you will agree, of a dedicated blog post all to itself. 

Here's to the glory of Apples and all of autumn's bounty!


Food and flowers; the essentials of life...

...for best results, both should be enjoyed when the sun is shining. Add in friends or family, music, laughter, and the great outdoors, in quantities appropriate to mood and tastes!

A selection of photos taken on a visit to "Cook, Grow, Eat!" event at West Dean Gardens, West Sussex, Sunday 6th October 2013


A Day of Dahlias

A carnival of colour greeted me at West Dean Gardens today. In the walled gardens, between the brick and flint walls, and the white glinting glasshouses, the flower bed burst forth with a voluptuous display of dahlias. After a walk through the soft-hued autumnal orchard, these kaleidoscopic flowers seemed almost effervescent in the bright crystal sunshine. Soft sweet pinks blushed, jostling for space with brazen neighbours of sassy scarlet, temptress tangerine and flirtatious fuchsia. Flowers of pale lemon yellow beamed blissfully at the clear blue sky, whilst sophisticated pearl-whites looked down their petals at their audacious relations.