Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And I will give to you summer wine

After the required 48 hours had passed I dutifully strained the elderflower cordial through muslin to remove all the flowers and lemon and decanted it into sterilised bottles.

I was rather surprised this morning to find that it's started fermenting, which isn't at all what I'd intended; my plan was to have a soft drink and not an alcoholic one! It's been put in the fridge to slow it down for the moment (I really don't need glass bottles exploding!) but the fridge isn't really very big, so that can only be a temporary measure. I don't really want to haul out a demijohn and all the winemaking paraphernalia to fail to make a drinkable wine. I might have to add a little vodka or gin to stop it, but again that rather defeats the object. Drat.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

To adorn and perfume those sweet meadows in June.

I love this time of year. The honeysuckle's in full bloom

and filling the air with its sweet scent; it's especially lovely in the cool of the late evening, round about ten o'clock when it's not yet quite dark. It's a shame that it's determined to flower at the back of the trees and not the side facing the house, but there you go. The roses are glorious, as well as the lavender, although the philadelphus (the variety we grow smells exactly like Juicy Fruit chewing gum) is dropping its petals, like confetti in a churchyard after a wedding.

Following the blackthorn blossom of early April and the hawthorn (mayflowers) of May, where the hedges looked as though someone had thrown muslin curtains over them now in the hedgerows there are the wild dog roses - some white, some palest pink and some really quite determinedly rosy. Not forgetting, of course, the foamy umbrella flowers of elder with their cool scent,

so many this year that we decided to seize the moment and have a bash at making elderflower cordial; grown-up squash which is a delicious long drink, with ice, on a hot summer day.

We decided to use a recipe from a blog I regularly follow, called the Cottage Smallholder; a real feel-good site.

So we gathered together all the ingredients

and put them all together.

Now we wait for 48 hours before straining and bottling it. Fingers crossed it will be as good as I hope!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sitting on a fence is a man who drinks real ale

So we took the rickety old fence away and wondered what would be the best replacement. With it open the garden looked bigger, but it made it easier for the local foxes to poo on the grass which isn't pleasant.

A hedge was a possibility but would mean I couldn't grown many flowers that I'd be able to see from the house. So a new fence was the best compromise - one that allowed more light to get the garden yet still gave us a bit of privacy.

The posts were duly concreted in (using markedly less concrete than the ones we removed!) last weekend, which meant that this weekend, weather permitting, we hoped to be able to finish it. The weather did indeed permit, so in the morning the rails were added to the posts

then in the afternoon the pales were nailed in place, and a great improvement it is too. A good day's work; now, where's that beer?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The football it has taken away the wee bit of sense he had

Let's get one thing clear from the outset: I'm the first person to admit that my knowledge of, and indeed interest in, football is slightly less than zero and I have absolutely no intention of changing that, no matter what tournament is being fought over played for. It's a tedious winter game with no summer respite, but thankfully our TV is allergic to it and is incapable of showing any, other than isolated incidents shown on the news. So that's good.

Okay, having made that clear I have a query. In the world cup match against the USA I gather that someone from the England team scored a goal early on, and that later on someone from the US team scored. So why is the England goalkeeper being blamed for the TEAM failure to win, when there were another 10 members of the team who had 75 minutes or so to score again? Why were the rest of the team not preventing the opposition getting the ball down to the England goal in the first place? Surely the goalkeeper is the last defender, not the only one.

Friday, June 11, 2010

When your feet just can't keep still

I thought a particular style of footwear was hideous the first time I clapped eyes on them a long time ago, and nothing in the intervening years has changed my mind on that point. But I thought that they might be useful for trudging across a dew-soaked campsite at first light rather than donning wellies, so I tried on a pair in the shop (as well as you can try on shoes that are fastened together with a security tie, making actual walking in them impossible) and my neuroma didn't immediately have hysterics, which was a plus. So I bought them.

What a mistake. Why on earth did I think that a normal-shaped pair of feet (yes, they are normal!)

would ever be comfortable in something designed for ducks?

Just look at the difference in width!

How on earth are they meant to stay on, short of actually stapling them to your feet? Yes, I know there's a heel-strap, but that's much shorter than the shoe itself

which forces your foot forward and makes them agonisingly uncomfortable. In fact the only way to get them to stay on your feet is to wear a couple of pairs of thick hiking socks ... which rather defeats the object, because the dewy grass will soak the socks.

Now, if I had feet shaped like this they'd fit like a ...

I wonder if I can get my money back.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Breathe, breathe in the air

At last the year has begun! For the first time in 2010 there's been enough daylight and warmth for me to spend enough time out of doors to throw off the effects of SAD and start to live again. Perhaps this is why I feel so much better when we go camping, even if the weather's shit. When we come home the house is stuffy and airless and I feel trapped. But now my brain is clear, I can think as quickly as I used to (I'd begun seriously to think I was in the early throes of dementia), as if a fog has lifted. This is fantastic. The Real Me, who's been smothered under a suffocating blanket of nebulous nothingness, has fought her way free! Hooray! Hooray for sunshine! Hooray for air!