Saturday, 4 October 2014

An unplanned "day off"

Well, we are all packed up to go to an Antiques Fair today, but then the weather forecast got it wrong and the pelting down rain which was happening at 6 a.m. this morning (after the alarm failed to go off at 5.30 a.m.) was - according to the Met Office at 1.30 a.m. this morning, when I had been awake for an hour and was fretting - set to pour heavily until 10 o'clock.  At it happened it stopped a while after 8 a.m. so we could have gone after all.  We had a pot-luck outside stall, as we changed our minds about going only in the last week (having been offered a spare stand a couple of months back).  Ah well.

So today is going to involve Doing Things With Plums - I bought a box of Marjorie's Seedlings this week, and having wrestled with using up some very ripe Pears first and making Pear and Ginger Jam (the non-setting variety! - the recipe said it was a loose set), and then reluctant to set Pear and Ginger Chutney (no, not the jam reinvented), today will be plum day.  I may bottle the firmer ones (if there are any by now), otherwise I'll cook and freeze them for desserts.

We've been picking apples this week.  These are from the dual-purpose tree at the top of the drive.  It's not been a brilliant year for apples - they seem to rest after a good year, and last year was one of those.  There aren't many on our Bramley and we must pick the remaining ones today before the Jackdaws ruin every single apple.

I am still using my turn of the century (19th into 20th that is) stoneware jars for storage.  I bought them from auctions when we were still living in Dorset, so have had them over 30 years now.  I use them for storing dry goods such as flour, semolina and pulses.  I use the semolina when breadmaking, and also for coating roasties before they tumble into the hot fat in the oven.

A BIG tray bake of Chocolate Gingerbread, most of which is now in the freezer for the next time we have guests.

Here's a pretty vintage patchwork quilt with a valence which I bought last week for the Unit.  I just had to put a couple of stitches in where the valence had come lose, but that was a five minute job.  I have one in the same style (with the valence bottom) in a hexagon pattern too.

I also bought this gorgeous crochet roundal as a present for a friend.  Isn't it gorgeous?

So, today will be started with baking some chicken pasties for the freezer.  I bought a ready-cooked chicken yesterday (thinking we would be out all day today so no time to cook).  I had part of the breast in my chicken curry last night.  I am going to make up some cheesy pastry (with my lactose-free cheese), and mix up some more pre-cooked chicken breast with a tin of Baxter's Chicken and Vegetable soup - they had them on offer in Morrison's yesterday at 3 for £2.  It is a thick soup with good lumps of vegetables and will make a substantial filling.

More photos of the patchwork table runner later when I have sewn some more patches as I watch the racing this afternoon.

I hope to get a chance to sit down with this today.  Ivor Gurney was a First World War poet (and also called himself one of the Georgian poets, like ET) and a contemporary of Edward Thomas's in time and place - he was a Gloucestershire poet.  Unfortunately his mental health was badly affected by the War and he ended up in an Asylum around 1922, dieing in 1937 from TB.


  1. Where did you get your plums from, Marjorie's seedling are really full of flavour, the chocolate gingerbread looks good. I have not baked cake for a while, trying to watch the waistline, hmmm seems to be expanding rather than contracting. I buy a ready cooked chicken at times, it is a good short cut but I always cook it on as they are never cooked enough for me.

  2. I hope you have a lovely day off, still raining here. I bought some magazines and a newspaper this morning and intend to have a rest today. I've had nothing but poorly pets over these last 4 weeks, several visits to the vets, lost sleep and I'm very tired. So here's to a nice weekend!

  3. Pam - I got them from Chris Thomas at Abergwili. A 7 1/2 lb box cost me £2.50. I stewed up the ripest and bottled the other 5 lbs.

    Suzie - sorry about the poorly pets. An expensive and worrying time. I hope you enjoy your day off today.

  4. My friend S is busy like you dealing with all the produce from her garden - she is exhausted but doesn;'t want to waste anything.

  5. Hi Pat, I shall do it whilst I still can. I can feel my maternal gran at my elbow!

  6. The chocolate gingerbread looks absolutely scrumptious :) and I really like the patchwork quilt - so beautiful. Off to read up on the World War One poet now.