Saturday, 25 October 2014

A proper taste of Autumn

When I opened the door this morning to feed the outside cats, I was hit by a blast of chill air.  Even though I was fully dressed (I'm not a dressing gown person - it's just not practical in THIS house!) I gave a shudder and the realization that we have been lulled into a false sense of security with the Indian Summer temperatures lingering after the sun had left us.  The changing of the clocks was heralding the move downhill into Winter.

Driving around Carmarthenshire today (a car boot sale near the coast, an auction and mart at Ffairfach, and then another auction at Crosshands), the trees were noticably browner or barer, and the hazels were green and gold together, whilst the Rosebay Willowherb, which I notice a lot in our travels, especially when we head east to Brecon and beyond, and which has been the most amazing shades of coral-pink, butterscotch and Lucozade orange, has now turned a dull brown.

The car boot sale (last of the season) was a write-off, as we suspected it was going to be; Fairfach was dour, wet, and depressing, as it often is - chilled-looking men offering for sale piles of rusty tools, lengths of chain, gate fittings, buckets and the occasional escapee piece of china.

At the auction we bought a few pieces for the next Fleamarket, and left unsuccessful bids on two other lots.  One was a pile of things lumped together, but we just wanted the big tiled-top coffee table on the bottom, as G has managed to break the one she had.  However, as it came with some useful other pieces, it didn't come our way, though we left a good bid on it.  That's life.

Yesterday I decanted my first attempt at Cider Vinegar into three bottles.  It is definitely vinegar, but is pale and cloudy and my OH pulled a face at the thought of using THAT on his chips!  So I have it on one side for cleaning purposes, and have started the 2nd attempt, using brown sugar to give some colour.  We shall see how that turns out.  It has only cost me a small cup of sugar so there is no loss if it doesn't work out.

I had a lovely parcel arrive today from my dear friend Sharon in Kentucky, containing two sets of beautiful vintage pillowcases, which she knew I would love (and I do).  I was horrified at how much the postage was though - it seems that we are both paying through the teeth for postage and butter at present (butter in Kentucky seems to be a similar price to here).  I will put up photos tomorrow, but in the meantime, I can enjoy stroking them and marvelling at the work that went into them.  Thank you Sharon.  When I have your new NEW address (!) I will be in touch . . .

Now I need to go and do some Gluten-free baking as we have neighbours coming up tomorrow to watch the last three episodes of Game of Thrones which we recorded for them, and J can only eat gluten-free baking . . .  So, a batch of blueberry muffins using Coconut Flour coming up . . .


  1. Postage to the UK from US is crazy. I actually paid $120 to send Christmas gifts 2 years ago...I try now....
    A second suitcase on the plane used to be free...then it was $48, then $85 and last trip they wanted $100... I am afraid to ask now....

  2. The cider vinigar looks interesting, I would like to give that a go, I use Amazon for gifts abroad now, I hate getting stung for custom charges on things coming from the USA.

  3. I fear that postage for parcels destined for anywhere--as well as 'real butter'-- are becoming indulgences of the past. But, on reconnecting with the vintage pillowcases I felt they needed to live with you!

  4. Yes, indeed, the price of butter is out of sight, nearly. Certainly has cut down on how much i spread on my bagels. Over five dollars a pound... too dang much.

    The leaves are coloring up so beautifully here too. I saw the bright reds that I missed in the Tropics, the greenish gold that is so unusual anywhere I have been in past years and the solid oranges arching over the roadway on my way home from split pea soup lunch with a friend. They gather on the street edges and pile up against the wheels of the lesser moved cars. It's my favorite time of year except for the shortening days !~!

    Postage rates are just beyond the pale. I can't imagine sending something overseas these days. It costs a fortune to send to Canada, never mind across an ocean. It wasn't so long ago that a priority-mail tyvek envelope went for under three dollars. It's well over five now-makes phoning look ever so attractive. I like Morning Minion's phrase "indulgences of the past".

  5. I didn't know about coconut flour. That sounds so interesting.
    When I send packages to family in Japan it is always $ 60.00 that is quite a lot.

    cheers, parsnip

  6. I refuse to use the man made "butter"...I don't use that much, so will buy it. It goes on sale soon, for holiday baking, and will stock up and put it in the freezer....I have small things to send to the grandchildren in the UK, which I will post, and send the big gifts via Amazon UK....

  7. Sorry your trips out were not so successful. We forgot the clocks went back and went off to Dartmouth this morning...rather early, but it was so busy with half term and a food festival. I bought a blueberry muffin and it was delicious made with real butter, whole blueberries and lemon zest!

  8. Very early light here this morning meant that I saw the rooks pass the bedroom window while I was drinking my morning coffee - wheeling and whirling against a sharp west wind - I do so love them. But I would agree with you BB, there is a real nip in the air.

  9. How lovely to hear from you all - I think we can all agree on prices being SO steep on postage (to or from whatever country!) and butter. I use Stork margarine for baking, or else vegetable oil replacing the solid fat.

    Sharon - they are very happy with me now, and I am delighted with them, and will still use them when we have special guests : )

    Lynda M O - the leaves are starting to turn some pretty colours here, dependent on the tree. We have masses of ash trees and lots of oaks in Wales, so they aren't as pretty as the Field Maples and Birches but add their own hues to the turning of the year. We could do with some of America's Aspens, Cottonwoods and Maples en masse : )

    parsnip - using the Coconut Flour (along with Coconut Oil) was an act of faith, but the muffins turned out well.

    lynda - I refuse to buy the stuff which purports to be "spreadable butter" and so on. Yuk!

    Suzie - our friends today turned up an hour early, so lunch had to be abandoned and it was straight to the tea and cake!

    Pat - "wheeling and whirling against a sharp west wind" - that is so beautiful and evocative. I can just see the rooks in my mind's eye.