Tuesday 31 August 2010

five a day

At first glance you may be thinking I'm going to remind you you should be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. But I'm not - you're off the hook.

I set myself a little challenge for August: getting rid of five things a day - so that's one hundred and fifty five less things by the end of the month (today). I wanted to give myself a serious start to a serious clear out and this seemed a good way to go. I've kept a list of everything that has been discarded just so I can keep focus, and it's worked. The only downside is that this feels like the tip of the iceberg. But it's a positive start, and I feel better already - definitely less stifled by stuff. I just need to keep going. Thank goodness for Freecycle, and an abundance of local charity shops who are happy to have my stuff. I also have a little pile destined for Ebay. Very little has ended up in the bin, which pleases me greatly. Of course, the key to having a pared-down house means not bringing the stuff inside in the first place....

And these little beauties? They were allowed in from the garden, especially as they'll be eaten.

Friday 20 August 2010


The box of stamps my father gave me has been emptied out on my dining room table for several weeks now. Every so often, I stop and have a little random sort through the various piles, looking at all these vintage treasures. There is no order to any of this, I'm just drawn to the papers and the images, and the slightly worn and faded colours. Of course, as I've already mentioned, the paper patterns on the inside of the envelopes are of just as much interest to me as the stamps. Yesterday I found these two airmail patterns - aren't they wonderful?

These are just an example of some of the styles I'm coming across. I suspect there are at least a thousand stamps in the box, with 1940 being the earliest postmark I've come across so far.

I've not yet got around to doing anything more creative with these beauties than admire them. I think I may do some small collages, and I have another idea too which I will share when I've tried it out.

Sunday 15 August 2010

about last night

The weather has been kind these last two days, with some gentle evening sun and a hint of warmth still in the air. Last night I cut some dahlias to bring inside, and had a little play with my camera at the same time.

Seems to be a good year for dahlias - the 'Rip City' is particularly abundant.

Continuing on the same colour theme, I made this soup for my supper. It's simple and delicious - try it if you love beetroot. I used chopped thyme in my dumplings, instead of fennel fronds.

And I watched this film. It was achingly beautiful. I was tempted to watch it all over again once the credits had rolled, but I could feel the evening slipping away from me, and knew it was time to switch off. I feel like I'm drifting at the moment and am having difficulty in focusing on the necessary, if you know what I mean.

Monday 9 August 2010


The recent news headlines about giving free milk to the under fives reminded me of a favourite recent acquisition.

A child-size vintage milk bottle, measuring exactly one third of a pint. I didn't buy this to put milk in, but it has plenty of other uses - chunky little vase, pencil pot, container for my dpns, for salad dressing... and so on. Ironically, I loathe milk on its own, and although it was supplied at my primary school, I never drank it. I will happily drink it in coffee and definitely in hot chocolate, but I prefer soya milk in tea. Given the availability and choice, I also prefer my milk straight from the cow - raw and untreated.

So, any other suggested uses for my wee milk bottle?

* * * * *

I've been without email for most of the last week, so haven't had an opportunity yet to respond to all my lovely comments! Thank you, everyone - especially for all those lovely compliments on my post about 'The Deep' - needless to say, I was glued to iplayer, but there wasn't even a tiny glimpse of photos....maybe tomorrow's episode! I know if/when it happens, it will be fleeting...

Also, for those who like a good blackberry and apple pie, my friend Liz left a couple of great tips in the comments of my last post.

Thursday 5 August 2010


I picked a handful of blackberries on an evening walk earlier in the week. It seems to me they're rather early this year. I always think of September as the month to raid the bramble patches, but in fact checking my foraging books out of curiosity, they're appearing right on cue.

I've just bought a new foraging book - another in the River Cottage Handbook series. Simply titled 'Hedgerow' and written by John Wright (who also wrote Edible Seashore), it's full of information, tips, clear photographs, and recipes.

I really enjoy foraging - the more plants I learn to identify, the more I want to be outside making the most of all nature has to offer. Doesn't this photograph inspire you?

How do you like to eat your blackberries? I'll be making some bramble jelly, and I'm sure once the weather has cooled a little, a blackberry and apple crumble (or two...).

Monday 2 August 2010


Summer has all but disappeared from the far south west these last few weeks. Today it re-appeared, and brightened my morning.

I never tire of looking at the sea, but some days it just stops me in my tracks.

Sunday 1 August 2010

deeply excited

Eight months ago, back in the depths of winter, I had an email from Caireen asking me if I would be willing to let her use some of my photographs on a new television series she was working on. The brief was for 60 - 70 photographs of the coast, nature at the coast, and seascapes, all with a personal feel. Caireen was using some of her own photographs, and she also asked our friend Ginny for some images. All the chosen photographs were going to be used on the set depicting the home of one of the characters.

The series is called 'The Deep', starring James Nesbitt, Minnie Driver and Goran Visnijc, and the first episode is this tuesday, 3 August at 9pm on BBC1. As I don't have a television I will be glued to iplayer a little later on, hoping to catch a glimpse of our photos, with my finger poised on the pause button...

As a 'thank you' Caireen made me this wonderful framed mosaic of my coastal photos, which I love. For me it captures the essence of my blog and life by the sea. Thanks Caireen for asking me to participate!

As you can imagine, I'm a little bit excited....