Thursday, 14 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar 13th December 2017

Joining in Julie's Advent Calendar.   See who else is participating  here

14  Christmas Crackers

This picture was taken a few years ago of our table ready for Christmas Eve dinner with all the family.

We always find that crackers are a bit of a disappointment, they look so pretty but don't have much in the way of exciting contents.  Over the past few years we have collected small little presents, pens, rubbers, chocolate Father Christmas sweets when the boys were younger, and then carefully opened the crackers and put extras inside. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar 13 December 2017

 See who else is joining in here

13  First Christmas Card arriving by post.

Our first card arriving by post is this one which arrived today............. a pretty little card with the address not quite right but as ever our fantastic postmen managed to deliver it correctly.

But when I opened it to see who is was from this is what I found........

nothing.....blank.....and what's more, neither of us or Hawthorn recognises the handwriting!!! 

Ah well, the thought was there.  It brought a smile to my face as it arrived just in time to make an interesting post!! 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Julile's Advent Calendar 12 December 2017

Joining in Julie's Advent Calendar.   See who else is participating  here

12  Christmas Angel

This pretty angel has not been in our collection for many years, perhaps about 6, but she has become part of our family tradition.  I love her old fashioned raggity look.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar 11th December 2017

Not sure where I have been these last few days....well actually I had set up my posts ready to go and then left them to get on with it.  But I had not realised I'd only gone until the 7th.  Better do some catch up.

11  Snowman

In spite of all the snow falling in the last couple of days, our little village has had very little so there are no snowmen around here.  We usually see them in the school playgrounds next door but nothing this time.  So searching through my archives I have found this one taken many year ago of our next door neighbour's son and his snowman.  The young man is now over 6ft tall and left school.  How time flies.  Not the most glamorous snowman.  

My second snowman I did myself, or at least I decorated from a choice of clothing and accessorries from the wonderful Jacqui Lawson Advent Calendar that I share with family and friends each Christmas.  It's not too late if you want to join in and play catch up at  jacquielawson

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar 7th December 2017

See who else is joining in   HERE    

7 Bells

I have used this picture and story before so apologise to those who remember it.  These bells have been in our family for many, many years.  The white ones are from a bunch my mother bought in 1959 when we lived in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, present day Harare, Zimbabwe but the yellow one is even older.  It is made of brittle plastic and is the only one left from a set of three that I remember from about 1955.  My mother bought them in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, present day Zambia.  They are tied together with a rusty bit of tinsel which I keep for sentimental reasons.  Each year the little bunch are put on our tree.  A bit of family history! 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Julie's Photo Advent Calendar Photo Hunt December 6th 2017

      See who else is joining in   HERE

6. Robin

This is one of Kate's Christmas cards  so what better that this one to use for my Robin picture.


Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar 5th December 2017

5. Stained Glass Window

I absolutely adore stained glass windows both traditional and modern.  Over the years I have taken quite a few photographs,  some more successful than others.  I love the beautiful rose window in York Minster but one of my favourites was taken in a little church in Newchurch in  Pendle, a village in Lancashire adjacent to Barley, at the foot of Pendle Hill.  Famous for the Demdike family of Pendle witches who lived there in the 17th century. This tiny village has this gorgeous little church  full of beautiful stained glass windows. 

Monday, 4 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar 4th December

See who else is joining in   HERE

4. Christmas Book  

        I don't have any Christmas Books now grandchildren have grown up but what I do have is the Original Christmas Story. ................

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Julie's Photo Advent Calendar Photo Hunt December 3rd 2017


See who else is joining in the fun.  Link to Julie's Scrapbook HERE

December 3rd – Favourite Christmas Recipe 

We are a divided family.....some carnivores and others vegi wimps!  So I cook traditional turkey, stuffing, gammon and roasties, all the usual sauces and vegetables but try to make something special for Hawthorn and now eldest grandson too.  I loved making this Potato, Leek and Stilton Pie from a recipe I found in the Daily Mail some years ago.If anyone is interested in making it don't be put off by the rather long looking instructions, there are really only four main ingredients and bought puff pastry.  Even the method is simple but the whole thing looks so good served up.  It also cuts well either heated or cold the next day.

Deep Midwinter Stilton Pie tu
     By Annie Bell

Serves 6

600g maincrop potatoes                       500 g bought puff pastry
75g unsalted butter                                Flour for rolling out
sea salt and black pepper                     200 g stilton
500 g leeks (trimmed weight)              l egg yolk blended with 1 tbs water
2 garlic cloves                                         1 tsp thyme leaves.

Have ready a 20cm loose bottom cake tine at least 6 cm deep

Peel potatoes, cut into even chunks and cook in a large pan of boiling salted water until tender. Drain in a colander, leave for a few minutes to steam-dry, then coarsely mash.  Stir in a third of the butter and some seasoning, transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Whilst potatoes are cooking,  thinly slice the leeks and peel and finely chop the garlic. Melt the remaining butter in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat, add the leeks, garlic and thyme. Season and fry for about 10 minutes until softened, stir occasionally.  Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C/180Fan?Gas 6

Set aside a third of the pastry.  Roll out the remainder on a floured surface into a circle big enough to line the cake tin with 5cm overhang all round. Lay pastry in tin.

Spoon in the mash and gently press down without over-compressing.  Crumble the cheese on top, and then spoon in the leaks
Roll out the remaining pastry and using the tin as a guide cut out a pie lid to sit on top of the leeks. Tuck this in place and brush top with beaten egg.  If you wish decorate the top with stars made from  pastry trimmings.  Cut a few slits in top of pie. Bake for 45 mins until risen and golden. Serve hot or warm.

NOTE:  You can make the pie up to a day in advance. In which case cover and chill and adjust the cooking time accordingly, allowing a little longer if necessary.

 ❅ ❅ 

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar Photo Hunt 2nd December 2017

   See who else is joining in the fun.  Link to Julie's Scrapbook here 

December 2nd  -  Something Handcrafted for Christmas

Some years ago now, Hawthorn made me this beautiful tree ornament out of felt and beads.  I love it so and it always has pride of place on our tree. Looking at the photograph I see that it was taken the  year one of the boys had made me a salt dough star.  

 ❅ ❅ 

Friday, 1 December 2017

Julie's Advent Calendar Picture Hunt December lst 2017

See who else is joining in the fun.  Link to Julie's Scrapbook here 

December 1st  -  Letter Box

I have searched my archives and I can't find a letter box anywhere so am having to cheat....
I love to see the original ideas our wild birds have when choosing a nesting site to safely rear their young.  

 Christmas Wishes ❅ 
 ❅ ❅  

Thursday, 30 November 2017

November Photo Treasure Hunt 2017

'A photograph inspired by a word,
words inspired by the photograph'

Another selection of words set by Hawthorn for us to match up with photographs.  I really had to dig deep for inspiration for these photographs. 

            To link up with others joining in the fun use this link  here to Hawthorns blog

1 Blue 

I could have looked for blue sky or seas but preferred to use this photograph taken whilst on holiday in Northumberland.  As you can see the tide is out at St Abbs Harbour. Scotland, but it made the blue show up more against the harbour bed.

2. Me

I will be interested to see how others interpret this heading.  Me has to be me so I dug out this old photograph taken by a professional photographer in St Albans many, many moons ago.  I don't usually look this happy and relaxed in photographs.  The innocence of youth, no posing, pouting or saying 'prune' as most young girls say now on their selfies. Just honest Me!! 

3. Starts with a ...... W...........waiting patiently!

This picture is taken of Jak, my namesake, our beloved old cat who passed away a few years ago now. He was able to communicate with us by his body language.    He would fetch us and say when something was wrong outside like a parcel delivered to our neighbour standing in our shared passage, or a strange car had arrived and parked in 'his driveway'  though his best one was pawing at a particular cupboard door which he could make rattle and that meant he wanted to go out.  This one says 'my food has been standing there for hours, I want fresh stuff!!  He just sat in silence a little way from his tray and said  nothing at all. No miaow just a look that said it all. 

4. Rainbow.

Again taken in Northumberland, this time from the farm cottage where we always stay in Lowick, in easy reach of  Bamburgh Castle and Lindisfarne.  There is a faint shadow rainbow here too

5. Arch

Until I managed to find the rainbow picture above I was going to cheat and link headings 4 and 5 together as this is the Rainbow Arch still standing in the ruins of the Priory on Lindisfarne or Holy Island as it is also known.  

6. Toy

I do not have any of my toys left as I passed them on to Kate and her brother so this is a picture of Jess, our son and his wife's yellow Labrador.  She is holding her favourite toy, a pheasant called Fezzi,  which of course has a squeak which she loves finding and biting on it to make it quack.

7. Swirl     

Here is a swirl with a difference - swirling roots of a celeriac.  I must say we enjoyed it mashed with potato on top of a cottage pie.  Delicious.

8. Brush

Beyond the brush is Mazabuka's only aircraft, runway and hanger!  My husband B spent much of his childhood, until he was old enough to go to boarding school aged 12, on a research station in Mazabuka, a small farming town near Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, the capital of present day Zambia. Picture taken C 1948.

9. Nail  or (s)nail

I am getting desperate here, could not use my own nails - nothing exciting there. Did not have any rusty old nails in the two old horse shoes I have in the garden.  No exciting nails in B's shed - except perhaps a few 6" nails so I started thinking about notices nailed up.  I remembered this, again taken in Northumberland, but when I found the picture there were no nails - only a couple of rusty drawing pins.  So I have cheated......can you see what is holding down the sign on the right side of the picture.....a (s)nail!!

10. My own choice

A few years ago now B and I took our grandchildren to see the collection of vintage planes at Carlisle Airport.  We were lucky enough to be allowed to climb into a beautiful Vulcan Bomber (XJ825) and Eldest and Youngest were invited to sit in the cockpit as they were the only children in our group. The boys were thrilled.  If you live near enough and are interested in aeroplanes, this is worth while visiting. There was a small museum attached to the display with many interesting aeronautic memorabilia.  

As this is the last of Hawthorn's Photo Treasure Hunt for 2017  I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and very successful bloggy 2018 
Hope you will be joining us at Julie's Advent Scavenger Hunt  here 

Friday, 27 October 2017

October 2017 Scavenger Photo Hunt

'A photograph inspired by a word,
words inspired by the photograph'

Another selection of words set by Hawthorn for us to match up with photographs, unusual  but fun to do.
To link up with others joining in the fun use this link  here to Hawthorns blog


1. Making........

Followers of the Photo Scavenger Hunt may recognise this scarf.  Last month Susan of grannysmithsquilting posted a picture of a beautiful scarf she had made.  She very kindly sent me the pattern and now I have found my knitting mojo and am making this simple but very pretty scarf.  The actual wool is a darker midnight blue with a little twinkle (not a sparkle, just a twinkle).  By the time this is posted I hope to be finished.  I plan to make it into an infinity scarf.   Thanks Susan. 

2.  It starts with an.......F

There is it, can you see it?  It is there on the table - between the Dundee cake and pretty bag.  Yes,  it is a jar of FUDGE made for his grandfather's birthday by Eldest.  The picture was taken in Hawthorns' new Studio where we had a lovely family tea party for B. The scones were delicious too.  

3.   Empty

Not only were the scones delicious but the fudge was scrumptious, yummy, delish and did not last long.


4. Paper

A couple of years ago we had a new bathroom installed.  Under the old bath was some screwed up newspaper.  It did not look as though it was deliberate like some sort of time capsule rather as though it had been wrapped round some fittings, all crumpled and discarded.  I carefully smoothed it out and then ironed it.  It was a few pages from the Daily Mirror dated Saturday, November 15, 1986. Those who know Steve Wright from original BBC Radio 1 and now Radio 2 will know he is as bald as a coot!  Funny to see him with all that hair!   As I am typing this I am listening to 'Steve Wright in the Afternoon'. I keep telling myself I should forward him a copy of the paper.

We replaced the old newspaper plus a copy of the newspaper of the day as well as the TV guide for that week in a properly sealed plastic bag and perhaps someone else will find them all some day.

5 Neat   

This was quite a difficult one for me.  Those who know me will agree - I'm not the neatest person. I hate untidiness but battle to keep things neat and tidy.  I call myself a 'professional stacker'.  I make piles of things - neat piles on the dining room table, another on my desk.  So I wracked my brains and then suddenly remembered this..................

Not bad for me!  

6  Street 

Some years ago we had a wonderful holiday staying in Hawkshead in the Lake District.  The little village had some wonderful little nooks and crannies to explore.  We particularly liked this old cobbled street - even more so when we saw what its original name had been and wondered what crafts had been practised in the little old houses.

'The cobbled street was once busy with cobblers, cloggers, saddlers, harness makers, putty makers and clockmakers.  William the Conqueror's grandson, later the last Norman king, Stephen 1, included Hawkshead and its environs in his 1137 endowment of Furness Abbey.'  
Wonderful what you can learn from Google.

 7.  Kettle

I wracked my brains for this one.  I have an ordinary bog standard kettle, I searched through possible places for a copper kettle and then remembered The Copper Kettle Cafe in Dartmouth, Devon, but that photograph was taken in the 1980's......where on earth would I find that old picture. (I had even considered Kettle Chips).  I then went into my neighbours kitchen and there on the worktop was a copper kettle, not an old one but a fashionable retro one, a much more interesting kettle than mine.  So I asked if I could borrow it for a few minutes to photograph. 

  8. Unexpected

This past month we have had to have all the Leylandii  trees removed from one end of our garden. They had become too tall for safety and were already losing large branches in the wind into the neighbouring school playing field.  As much as I have always disliked the trees they did help me develop my 'secret garden' in the shaded area and also gave some definition to the whole vista.  Our landlord and a friend of his came to remove them.  They had to be careful that the trees fell away from our garden as B has his shed and I have a greenhouse right next to them. On most days they had used a tractor with a raised bucket with ropes tied to it to guide the trees down in the right place.   I took lots of pictures of whole trees falling into the school grounds.  All this took a few days and eventually I got a bit blase about it all and stopped rushing out to film or photograph it all.  Then one lunchtime as I was standing at the kitchen window there was a huge crash and the latest tree to be felled had landed on our garden shed roof.  Our lumberjacks said a sudden gust of wind had lifted the falling tree and it twisted round onto the shed!   The one day they had not had use of the tractor to guide the falling trees this happened.  There is still one more tree to take down, it is right next to my greenhouse.  They are now waiting to the rain sodden playing field to dry out a bit so they can get the tractor in to guide this final tree - they are not taking any chances again!

Fortunately there was no damage to the actual shed except a tiny tear in the roofing felt and all that had happened was for things to bounce off the shelves inside onto the floor. It had smashed through the fence too.   Don't know which was more unexpected, the tree on the roof or the fact it did no damage!  (Excuse the washing on the line!)

9.  Vase

Well two actually.  They have mirror images on them so I am showing the back and front.  My mother's uncle was in the Merchant Navy during WW1 and was stationed in and around China.  He brought these two 5 inch Chinese vases back for my mother when she was about 14.  They are very well travelled as my parents moved around before and during the war then moved to Northern Rhodesia, leaving a couple of trunks containing wedding presents and other precious things with friends in St Albans.  When they had settled down in Lusaka the two trunks were sent out by sea, one of which was stolen so I am very lucky these survived.  They are only about 5 ins high and I love them.  We have  never had them valued so they may be worth only a few pounds or we might have a small fortune sitting on the shelf.  (Hope it is the latter.....I can dream, can't I?)

10.  My Own Choice

Every year I plant up pots of potatoes.  I buy seed potatoes from our local garden shop, carefully chit them then plant up three potato bags, several buckets with holes and one huge 60 litre pot. Their smallest bag usually has too many potatoes for my limited garden space so when I saw some seed potatoes in our local Lidl I bought it as it was half the size of my usual packet.  I planted up the three potato bags, one bucket with some new potatoes that had started to grow in my vegetable rack and the rest of the seed potatoes into the large 60l pot.  

Come harvest time we started on the three large potato bags and got just enough new potatoes for two meals from the three bags! 😕  The 5l bucket with the sprouting new potatoes was much more successful - enough from the one bucket for a further three meals. 😊 Eventually we got round to the large 60l pot.  It usually has a plentiful supply of new potatoes for us.   Below is the sum total of potatoes from the huge pot!  😞

At least this year we had a good harvest of runner beans!  I've learnt my lesson - buy seed potatoes from a proper garden shop or better still, let some new potatoes go to seed in the vegetable rack!!