Sunday, 13 September 2020

seasonal changes

We recently discovered Channel 5's documentary series "Our Yorkshire Farm" and have been captivated by the Owen family and their home, 2000 acre Ravenseat Farm. high in the Yorkshire Dales.
Parents Amanda (The Yorkshire Shepherdess) and Clive are raising 9 children (ages 1 through 16), over 1000 Swaledale sheep, a herd of 40 cows as well as assorted horses, ponies and dogs.
With the changing of the seasons, over three series, we've seen the children grow and learn new skills around the farm. 
From lambing to shearing to mending ancient farm equipment, restoring drystone walls, raising chickens and catering to passing hikers with hearty cream teas.
I took these photos in 2013 when we rented a cottage in the Yorkshire Dales village of Low Row which as it turns out is only about 10 miles away from Ravenseat Farm as the crow flies.

Here in Derbyshire the seasons are changing too.
Our farmer neighbour has been out cutting the wild meadows behind our home, making haylage for horses. As he no longer needs it for his own animals he sells it to raise money for his favourite local charity.
The view from our bedroom window.
This is our first Autumn here and I've been looking forward to seeing the fall colours as the landscape is quite different to what we've been used to seeing in Normandy. 
We are due some hot weather in the coming days according to the weatherman and so far the trees are remaining decidedly green, maybe next month will see a colour change.

Beef in ale
beef in ale

We've had the occasional grey rainy day and some mornings are quite chilly.
On days like these there's nothing better than a hearty homemade soup or casserole to warm this English girls heart.

Joining Angie for Mosaic Monday # 96

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Saturday morning Park Life

Up with the lark this morning so we decided to walk Fleur in Whitworth Park whilst the weather was still fine.

After a shaky start, Fleur heard a loud noise so decided to turn tail, we set off down past the Crown Bowling green to the ponds.

There were quite a few early morning dog walkers about, they seemed a friendly bunch, so whilst I took photos of Mama Duck and her 7 babies the SP and Fleur strolled over to get acquainted.

The three of us really enjoyed being out in the fresh air especially Fleur who is now "in with the in crowd" and also found a large stick to carry back to the car.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

throwback thursday

Martha @Seaside Simplicity and I met through Mosaic Monday and I thought it would be fun to join her for Throwback Thursday with this collection of autographed black and white photographs of MGM Studios Hollywood stars which I found over 20 years ago at a flea market in Le Mans, France.

Jane Powell, Walter Pidgeon,
 Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner,
Red Skelton, Judy Garland

Friday, 28 August 2020

always looking on/searching for the bright side

To quote Monty Python I am "always looking on/searching for the bright side of life" so I could quite easily have rustled up a very pretty mosaic of beautiful flowers to share for Mosaic Monday this week.
Like this.

It's been a funny couple of weeks since I last blogged, although I can't really put my finger on why.
The weather has been pretty unseasonal for a start, with howling gales and rain.
Plans for working in the garden have been put on hold as the tail end of Hurricane Laura kept us indoors and with Hurricane Lorenzo heading our way this Bank Holiday weekend looks set to be a washout too.
Still, ever optimistic we’ve treated ourselves to a beautiful new bench so that we can sit and enjoy the view should the sun peek out at anytime.

Covid-19 related lockdowns and quarantine are very much in the news.
The UK government is making so many U turns it's almost impossible to keep up with what can and can't be done, which countries are safe to travel to (not that we have plans to travel) when/where masks must be worn etc. etc.
Our nephew and his girlfriend finally got the keys to their first home together last week but because the town where they and the rest of our extended family live is in lockdown we can't go and visit them. Seeing photos and mini videos on whatsapp just isn't the same.
A post on a local FB group from a Reiki therapist starting once more to offer treatments had me reaching for the phone to make an appointment.
During the pre treatment chat she went over Covid related health concerns and it came as a bit of a shock to learn that as I turned 70 in June I am classed as "elderly and vulnerable" and according to the UK Reiki Federation cannot receive Reiki at this time.
I haven't wanted to share much about the situation regarding our house in Normandy since starting this new blog however as there has been a flurry of viewings in August, albeit with mixed results, I thought I'd bring you up to date.
One agent reported back, regarding some British clients who had seemed very keen to visit Le Presbytere, with what she called the best/worst excuse for not making an offer.
The client pointed out, in all seriousness, that " there are cows in the field behind the house, everyone knows that where there are cows there will be flies and if there are flies we wouldn't be able to eat out in the garden"!
The agent told me that she couldn't resist suggesting to them that if they thought that was a problem then looking for a home in the middle of the Normandy countryside was perhaps not a good idea.
Earlier this week one couple from the Netherlands did make an offer after a second viewing however in less than 24 hours they had retracted their bid as they have chosen another property that suits them better.
Needless to say their decision has left us feeling a bit deflated as we find ourselves back to square one but still looking on the bright side ..............

Linking to Mosaic Monday #94
with Angie
@ Letting Go of the Bay leaf

Sunday, 16 August 2020


I've long subscribed to the "Simple Abundance" way of living.

This week I've been enjoying picking fresh herbs from the overflowing pots outside my kitchen door, creating dressings and simple sauces to add flavour to our food.

Finding 3 large pots of organic Greek yogurt in the fridge, (no I don't know why either) had me googling for recipes.
I found Jennifer Segal's blog onceuponachef , choc a bloc with amazing recipes
I decided to make her creamy Greek Yogurt dressing and shamelessly imitated her food styling, of the finished result, in my photo.

With two basil plants going head to head to be the biggest and best I had a glut on my hands and once again found a simple basic pesto recipe on Jennifer’s blog.

Finally I tried my hand at drying sage and hung a big bunch up to dry naturally.

I also tried Eileen's (@viewingnaturewitheileen) suggestion of drying it in the microwave, so I did, and it worked a treat.

I couldn't resist crumbling some into our brunch omelette today, herbalicious!

Would love to hear what's been cooking at your place this week?

with Angie @ Letting Go of the Bay Leaf
see you there!

Sunday, 9 August 2020

bring me sunshine........

On what turned out to be the fifth hottest day ever recorded in the UK we drove over to Eastwood Hall, Ashover to pick sunflowers on Friday morning.

The farm there grows two crops which celebrate the seasons perfectly, sunflowers for Summer and pumpkins for Autumn.

It’s a PYO enterprise, you pay an entrance fee and then are free to explore several acres of sunflowers of all shapes and sizes cutting as many as you wish, paying for them when you leave.
The views across the fields are breath taking.

As I wandered off to capture some of these beauties to share with you today the Senior Partner armed with a pair of sharp secateurs borrowed from a very nice lady at the fields entrance (we forgot to take our own) chose some wonderful specimens to take home with us.

As we left families were starting to arrive armed with picnic baskets, secateurs and of course cameras, all looking forward to enjoying a lovely, perfectly instagrammable time.

Linking to Mosaic Monday # 92
hosted by Angie
@ Letting Go of the Bay Leaf

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Looking and learning

It’s been quiet around here since our visitors left, a lot of time spent indoors dashing out into the garden, between rain showers, to potter around.
I’m still learning about the plants growing out there and making tentative plans for making some changes before winter.

The young man who I thought would be available to help with my ideas hasn’t had much time to spare from his other landscaping duties so I spend my time keeping things tidy and nurturing tender new plants to hopefully plant out later in the year when the heavy work has been done.

This is how my garden has been growing this week.