Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The lucky damsons, that escaped the sticky spoons of jam making, found a snug home in a charity shop teacup.

Monday, August 11, 2014

My New Best Friend

There is one thing that really, really irks me about jam making... apart from standing over a spitting cauldron in the middle of August, with cobwebs in my hair because I’ve just been searching for empty jam jars (and matching lids!!) in the outhouse... 

Yes, it’s that irritating rectangle of glue left smirking at me from the side of the jar once I’ve soaked the old label off. Am I alone?

Well, now I’m the one smiling. Meet my knight in shining armour, my solvent in a gleaming tin, who goes by the name of WD-40 and not only dissolves adhesive in a trice but also promises to ‘stop squeaks, drive out moisture, clean and protect, loosen rusted parts and free sticky mechanisms’. What a thoroughly decent gentleman!
P.S. Just in case our relationship doesn’t last, I've decided to make my labels out of gumstrip which will soak off easily next time around!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Change of Address

Hello, it's Hulanicki, guest blogging again, but oh my goodness me, where do I start? 

For the past month I’ve been a refugee in my own garden, shunted from camp to camp at the dead of night and waking up at dawn, holed up in another less than desirable accommodation.

It started around the time Mary set up a blind date for the cockerel. We all got up one morning to find the new girlfriend presumptuously making herself at home in the coop. To be honest she looked rather drab, (I thought Mary was more discerning), plain brown feathers all out of alignment, a pale face and a limp comb. I could see she’d got potential but I’d definitely have to give her some styling tips.

However, once we got chatting over breakfast and she’d explained her grim lineage I really began to warm to her. Her entire life, to date, had been spent shut in a barn with hundreds of other hens popping out eggs regular as clockwork. 
At one year old she’d been spared the impending journey to the dog meat factory because Mary offered to give her a home. She’d been singled out as the best looking bird in the flock; most of her friends had barely any feathers left at all! 
Well, of course I felt dreadful now, to think I’d called her drab!

For the next few days I really enjoyed hanging out with my new friend and showing her all my favourite nooks in the garden. Johns Junior the cockerel was pretty chuffed too. So, happy families. Until, horror of horrors, a greedy mean-eyed fox slinks up on us one fine afternoon and with a snap of his jaws snatches Johns Junior from under our beaks. Panic, where to go, what to do. In the time it took the rest of us to leg it back to the coop there were two more casualities.

So, that was the start of our incarceration. Mary didn’t dare let us out at all now. After a few days I was beginning to understand what my new brown friend had been through. I suppose in hindsight it’s given us a real bond. 

A few days later we suffered the indignity of being shoved into the catbox and transferred to the empty dog kennel. Mary thought we’d appreciate the small concrete run. Well, ahem, I’m not a dog! 

She must have heard me complaining because knock me down with a feather, a week later, she’s fenced (watch out it gives you a nasty jolt if you touch it) off a lovely big patch of grass between the house and her studio. There’s daisies twinkling in the sunshine, some lovely long swishy grass full of bugs and beasties and some dappled shade under a ginko tree. It’s heaven! I don’t even mind that we’re in temporary
accommodation... the rabbit hutch is quite cosy for four.

Mary says she’s going to move our coop down from the orchard eventually but it’s very heavy and she needs some help and anyway at the moment she’s too busy looking after her husband who’s just had a new knee fitted, or something. I don't know, men and their gadgets!

Hmmm, I suppose that’ll move us right down the pecking order for a bit! 



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mid summer madness

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; 
to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”  Henry James

Well, it’s curious how an English summer’s afternoon can be so blurred at the edges, that water, sky and shore become murkily indistinguishable... but in their own way beautiful.


And rest assured, if you're in Orford, the cafĂ© overlooking the harbour does a very good Macchiato.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tune in

Just heading off to Berlin for a few days…. 
thought you might like to turn the dial for a musical interlude in my absence. 


Enjoy being serenaded by eloquent arpeggios, 



 catch the drift of some improvised jazz 


or simply chill with the deckchair daydreamer!



Friday, June 20, 2014

An unlikely couple


A month or so ago a nasty fox came to torment our happy little troupe. There's just four of us left now; a trio of diminutive bantams and Johns Junior the cockerel. I’ve had to handle his unwanted attention all on my own. I’m afraid I find him a little too eager, a little too early in the morning, not to mention the fact he’s twice my size.

The two fluffy bantams are no help. Fluffy by name and fluffy by nature, they just hide in the henhouse all day, breasts plumped, downy feathers quivering and temperatures rising. They think they’re incubating eggs but are too daft to realise that they’re not actually sitting on any. I expect Mary will eventually give in and buy some fertilised eggs for them to hatch. That’s how I started life... swaddled in bubble wrap, entrusted to the Royal (Mail) Stork and then tucked under the very same breast.

Back to the point, I overheard Mary telling J J that she’s been looking on an internet dating site. She wants to find him a couple of ladies, in keeping with his stature, who WLTM a handsome cockerel with a GSOH.

I don’t know what he thinks about Mary’s matchmaking skills but I can’t wait!



(Hulanicki is standing in for Mary who is too busy to blog this week). 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

'Popping broad beans out of their skins can be therapeutic, but it isn't everybody's favourite waste of time.' 

After weeks of hard graft in the garden, what a joy (and a therapy) to pick (and pod) peas and beans for dinner!

In contrast, I only have to glance at the elderflower bushes for them to shake their huge blossoms in my face and shout ‘cordial’. hence the permanently sticky ‘no go’ area in the kitchen. 

The House Martins have been hard at work too and have successfully reared a chirruping family in the garage next to my studio. When I looked in this morning they were all lined up, swinging from the wire that is my internet connection.... hmmm that could scupper a deadline or two if I don’t take action!