Advent Calendar …
In the summer I drank this diluted with soda water. Nobody else did. The rest of the family pulled faces and wouldn’t even try it. Tonight I shall drink it diluted with hot water. Alone of course. If I had a sore throat I’d mix it half and half with hot water and sip it very slowly. Somehow the sting of the vinegar counteracts the soreness of the throat. As I don’t have a sore throat, I’ll use more hot water to make a warming fruity drink.
Made in the autumn using the recipe from Preserves by Pam Corbin.
The recipe is based on one issued by the Ministry of Defence during WWII when vitamin C rich rosehip syrup was fed to the nation’s children and I feel I should line up the family and give them a spoonful of Rosehip Syrup every morning, like a School Nurse.
Diluted with water, this makes a good cordial or it can be added to fruit salads or drizzled over ice cream. Tonight I think we may have a hot toddy. Pour a dram of whisky, the juice of half a lemon and a measure of rosehip syrup into a small glass and top up with just boiled water. Putting a spoon into the glass helps prevent it cracking, should it be of a fragile nature. Add a slither of lemon peel for decoration if you think it needs it. Wait for it to cool a little so you don’t burn yourself.
Advent Calendar day 10 …
Not the pink variety – but hey, it’s the middle of winter and I need a boost of summer sun so that’s the picture. We don’t drink much squash during the winter, but it’s always good to have some non alcoholic drinks to hand over Christmas and this fits the bill. Made to the same recipe my grandmother used, though with less sugar. Gran used to keep her lemon squash in a blue green glass bottle that had little bumpy spots (as opposed to dimples). It was always a big thrill to be allowed to use the soda syphon to make a fizzy lemonade, though I seem to remember we had to top it up with plain water (thrift runs in the family).
Tonight I shall push the boat out and top the glass completely with soda water.
Advent Calendar Day 2
marmalade gin …
… just a shot glass full
My mother is one of those people who cuts things out of newspapers that she thinks will be of use to all and everyone. This is one of her cuttings. I have no idea why I was the recipient and not any of my sisters, but it has been well used (thank you Mr Moore). I usually make a bottle of this just before the Seville oranges come into the shops in an effort to clear any jars of old marmalade so that I can eat freshly made without guilt.
Perhaps I should point out that not all my Advent Calendar drinks are gin.
River Meadow (imaginatively named as it’s bounded by two small rivers) is prone to flooding and as it makes no sense to grow cereal crops on it, a small willow tree plantation has been established. We went over to check the trees this afternoon and to make sure that Bill will be able to get in to the field to mow the grass next week. Access is down a small lane, through a locked barrier, then a locked gate, alongside the river as it goes under the dual carriageway and past a nature reserve. The Town Council put up the barrier and gate to stop people driving onto the nature reserve but give us a key so that we can get through with the tractor. Unfortunately, the locks get cut off or vandalised quite regularly and when the council replace them, they forget to tell us we need a new key. It’s very frustrating to drive ten miles on a tractor only to find the lock changed and then spend ages trying to find someone with a key, so nowadays Bill does a pre check in the landrover each time he needs to get through. It’s a waste of time and fuel, but one of the joys of farming on the edge of the town. Today, Bill’s keys still fitted the locks (good) but the tractor might not get under the bridge because the recent rain has silted up the underpass (not so good).
After growing for about fifteen to twenty years the trees are cut down and taken away to make cricket bats. A condition of the felling licence is that each tree is replaced by another and you can see in the photo that there are trees of different maturity throughout the plantation.
Apparently, they’re ready to be felled when your fingertips don’t quite meet as you hug the tree, so this one has a way to go yet.
We went to check some of the fields yesterday. A small river runs through Frenches Farm; it’s not usually very full and if we’re too lazy to walk down to the bridge and brave enough to jump, there are places where we can get over it in one leap. Well, actually I always manage to get my foot wet but people with longer legs and/or better jumping ability can do it.
But yesterday it was full. In fact it was overflowing. There was water running down the tramlines in the wheat and one small seven acre field was completely submerged. Apparently at this time of year wheat starts to suffer after two days under water so we’re hoping that the water disappears quickly.
This is Morris the fox terrier walking up the tramline in the wheat.The tramlines are normally the bare areas of earth you see up and down fields where the machinery travels. Morris isn’t keen to go forwards because he really wants to get back to the river where he saw something moving the other side.
I know it’s not impressive in a big river way but it’s not what the field usually looks like and we aren’t used to this in Essex.
looks like the remains of a nest - I wonder if anything's still lurking
Easter is nearly here and spring has swept in on a tide of blossom and sunshine. The central heating has been switched off and I’m hoping that the daily ritual of lighting the woodburner will soon be over. As we get nearer the back of the log heap I’m always a bit wary moving the last bits as I’m not sure what will be underneath them. This time nothing ran out and and the only mice I found were dried up corpses hidden in the debris on the floor.
all cleaned out and ready for refilling
Our wood is kept in a little curved brick shed on the side of the house though I have no idea of its original use. Somebody has cut through the bricks to make a doorway, which is slightly worrying as this is at the base of a chimney, although it’s probably been like this for over a hundred years and nothing untoward has happened yet. But it is very dark in the woodshed, so if I have to fetch wood at night, Ada Doom’s words hang in the air as I open the door, just in case there’s something nasty in the woodshed.
marker at the end of the Greenwich Meridian Trail
At the weekend a message from Elizabeth at Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse dropped into my comments box telling me I’ve been tagged. Like Elizabeth, I don’t really understand the etiquette of these things. Or indeed (dare I say it) the point of it. It’s interesting to find out a little more about people and it’s good to stretch out a hand of friendship but did it start as a ploy someone devised to boost their readers? Like those bloggers who comment on scores of blogs so that people track them back to their own blog where they publicly proclaim their popularity with a hit counter or list of followers. Maybe I’m just cynical.
Maybe Obviously I don’t have hundreds of readers. If I’ve commented on your blog, it’s because it genuinely inspired me and I know that most readers comment for exactly the same reason.
It would be churlish to ignore the tagging and I know that this tagging was one of friendship so of course I shall join in. But there are rules. The first rule is: Post these rules. I’m not very good at rules. As the eldest of four children I made up rules for our games and I “read” from the printed rules of a game thus propelling my counter to the finish. (All families have their own quirky rules for card and board games and I blame it on the eldest child manipulating them for their own gain.) So although I shall follow Rule 1, I will of course adapt the others to suit myself.
These are the rules:
- Post these rules
- Post 11 things about yourself
- Answer the questions provided by the one who tagged you
- Create 11 new questions for the people you tag
- Go to their blog and tell them they’ve been tagged!
Two things about myself
- I’ve walked from Peacehaven in East Sussex to Sand Le Mer in East Yorkshire along the Greenwich Meridian Trail, which is a 273 mile trail following the line of the Prime Meridian. But not in one go.
- I get very cross when supermarkets sell foreign strawberries in the height of the English strawberry season.
In answer to two of Elizabeth’s questions
- Do you have things you “don’t do” like my wheelie bins and if so, what are they? Sadly I have relented over lots of things I “don’t do”. But I have put my foot down over skinning rabbits. I don’t skin rabbits.
- What is your favourite perfume? Insolence by Guerlain
I’m going to create two questions for the person I tag and pass on the rest of Elizabeth’s questions.
- Do you buy new or vintage for your home?
- Why do you blog?
- If you were invited to make a piece of art, what medium would you use?
- What clothes are you most comfortable in?
- If you had an unexpected afternoon to yourself and not a care in the world, how would you spend it?
- What do you panic most about losing?
- What is your favourite quotation?
- What is your ideal holiday?
- If you wear lipstick, what shape is the end, once it’s no longer new? (I dimly remember this should tell you something about someone but I can’t for the life of me remember what! My lipsticks, however they start, always become flattened off, to an almost completely level surface. If anyone knows what this signifies, please tell me!)
- Do you have a habit you would like to drop or one you would like to adopt?
- What everyday article would you most miss if it were suddenly unavailable?
I’m going to tag Jo at Daisyley because she will either embrace this tagging thing wholeheartedly and write a really interesting post or she’ll send me a rude comment.
This post has been slightly ammended.
It’s been a beautiful day on the farm today. Read more here.