Friday, August 12, 2016

Fish on the menu

"Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment." 
Elizabeth David

Pop to Aldeburgh first thing in the morning and you’ll see damp fishing boats parked on the pebbly beach next to small black huts advertising the day’s catch. Almost still flapping, silvery skins glistening you literally “won’t find anything fresher”, to borrow a chalked up phrase.

 Know your fishes...
"Plaice, sole and haddock join the crustacea as some of the month's best eating. Sea bass is a rare delicacy, steamed whole for a surprisingly short time." Jeremy Round

Friday, July 29, 2016

Always dress appropriately


Just back from two weeks in Japan where I learned a lot about bicycle etiquette.
Knitted armlets and fingerless gloves will prevent the forearms from being scorched in the midday sun.
Never leave the house without a hat and remember to adjust a floppy brim to ensure good visibility.
Lipstick to match your bike frame indicates thoughtful attention to detail.
Dismount at a busy crossing and be careful to not get your chiffon skirt caught in the spokes.
Hand covers come in all manner of designs, faux lace can add a touch of elegance to your profile.
A loose shirt allows for some air circulation in a sultry climate.
If you must read a text, (or find a Pokemon) mid-journey, stop and place one foot on the ground for stability.
Brolly for shade, brolly for rain, always carry a brolly.

(P.S. Potential fine 50,000 Yen however!)














Thursday, July 28, 2016

High summer

Been catching each of my new roses as they come into bloom. I will treasure 2016 as the summer of anticipation… especially for the one mystery rose that got separated from its label… really had to restrain myself from prising open a bud!
Just space on the page left for Madame Alfred Carriere which has kindly waited until my return from holiday.
Clockwise from top, Rosa pomifera, Rose de Rescht, Gertrude Jeykll, Buff Beauty, Rhapsody in Blue, Tuscany superb.




Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Garden maths

 I've been busy "adding" to my rose border.


Take an old paintbrush and a pot of black paint


and some old hoe heads that have been waiting for their moment of glory...

Friday, July 1, 2016

Suffolk skies

With Wimbledon fortnight well under way, what better excuse to relax and enjoy some changeable weather!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Fleeting flowers

After days of heavy showers I’m resigned that my irises are over for another year. They do not die gracefully. Rather than scattering faded petals on the whim of the breeze, each bloom coils into a slimy knot and then slowly atrophies. I will enjoy tidying up the spent stalks. 



A couple of weeks ago, while they still looked good I spent a glorious day painting outside... and I wasn’t the only one enjoying the warmth of summer on my back. 
Nearby, the chickens were so spreadeagled in the sun they looked as though they had been spatchcocked ready for the barbecue. Wings fanned and bodies sprawled, the only clue they were still alive was the sound of gentle communal purring. 

Now that’s what I call happy hens!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Open Farm Sunday

Last weekend we took advantage of Open Farm Sunday to go and have a poke around the local Kenton Hall Estate; a multi generational farm with with an inspiring enthusiasm for diversity which includes not only arable, beef and pigs but also wedding venue, glamping and cookery school! 

No wellies necessary, the weather was perfect; the tractors had been scrubbed up, lawns cut, there were teeny piglets to make us ooh and ahh, and magnificent Longhorn cattle with their suckling calves. Of course in the food tent there was also home reared ham to nibble, outstanding beef to savour and tasty bacon to bring home. 



There were dozens of local food producers, all rightly fanatical about their artisan wares. Breads, sauces, cakes, honey, and superb Baron Bigod brie, hand made from raw milk.
I had already met this young man from Fen Farm Dairy at a food festival last year... I just loved the way he cradled his brie with a tenderness normally reserved for new born babies!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May

May has been a month chock-full of blossom. 
First blackthorn in the hedgerows, pure white, starry clusters. 
Then the orchard fruits. Unashamedly frilly cherry, plum, pink flushed apple and delicate pear. 


Candy stripe buds on the quince uncoil with poise while the deep crimson crab-apple buds rush onto the stage with pantomime exuberance.


Horse chestnuts burst into leaf at an alarming rate and then throw out a spectacular firework display, which for a few glorious days is suspended mid explosion. Meanwhile hawthorn and honeysuckle weave their way nonchalantly along the lanes.

I have loved May.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Country pursuits

The other week I stopped to admire the knapped flint tower of a local country church. 

From where I stood between a row of craggy tree trunks I wouldn’t have been at all surprised to hear the hollow drumbeat of a woodpecker echoing around the churchyard. 

In fact, as I circled the church I felt sure I could detect a rhythmic tap. But it had an unusual muffled quality, which ruled out the woodpecker, and anyway it appeared to be seeping out of an inauspicious village hall across the road.

Mystery solved as I pressed my nose to the window. I had stumbled across a weekly Wednesday morning orchestra rehearsal. The players were chomping their way through Beethoven’s ninth with palpable application, and due consideration for arthritic fingers. 

The tap I had heard earlier was from the resonating skins of a pair of shiny kettle drums.
The timpanist stored her spare drumsticks in a vast wicker basket…. now that’s very country!  

And I've a sneaking suspicion there was room in that basket for some foraged wild garlic on her way home too!


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Early morning Yoga

Best hour of the day? 

Early morning, the sun just rising and I slip into the greenhouse to see how my seedlings are doing. 
Only today I mistimed it and caught them in the middle of a Yoga class!


Sun salutation

Bridge pose

Half moon pose

Forward fold

Tree pose

Hero pose

Scorpion pose

Riotous naked Yogis drawn by my daughter, Saskia Martindale…. 
art student at large, currently studying in Japan… always up for commissions! saskiamartindale.tumblr.com


I challenge you not to have a chuckle next time you water your own seedlings!