Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Blog Awards

I have been tagged 3 times in the last few weeks by Maisey's Attic, Jo at The Good Life  
and finally Sue , Lavinder Lady.
I have resisted so far largely because I am aware that some people dislike being tagged and I do not wish to offend anybody. However I have decided, in the spirit of the gesture, to list the 7 items about myself that the awards called for without actually tagging anybody. Hope that's OK.
So here goes.....

No 1: I am the eldest of seven.

No 2: I am the daughter of a dairy farmer who has bred an award winning herd of Ayrshire cows with international acclaim. He started with sixteen cows milked by hand in 1963. This is my brother  (with Sandyford Clover 10)  who has taken over now Dad has retired.

No 3: I was the lead violinist of the junior section of my local youth orchestra aged eight. (You would hardly believe it if you heard me play now.)

No 4: I would love to be able to play the harp.

No 5: My last baby weighed 10lbs 10oz and was born at home. Afterwards, the two midwives, who were both friends, sat on the bed eating bacon butties with me. It was the best experience.

No 6: I am fascinated with hot air balloons and would love to take a journey in one.

No 7: I once won a Radio 1 competition about John Lennon with my brother.

I hope you all found that entertaining!
Thanks to all who tagged me.

Forgotten to add....

...that I saw my first swallow over the weekend.

(not actually this one)
A heartwarming sight watching it dipping and swooping through the air.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Weekend: Part 2.....

Well it's all been a bit damp here today, very showery. So not much gardening I'm afraid. The plants have stayed in the cobbled together Heath Robinson affair outside my back door that is my porch-come-greenhouse.....

But we did manage to dodge the showers long enough for my girl cub to take part in the St. George's day Parade......

And the band were brill, real rousing-spine-tingling-glad that I'm English-and gladder that I'm Northern kind of music.....

(and just look at the lovely stone buildings on our cobbled high street, such beauty despite the rain!)

Even so, here is a picture of my lovely birthday bouquet earlier this week to cheer you as it has cheered me this week. 

Plus I'm showing off what I think is a bit of an arty farty photo for me!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Weekend: The Story So Far.....

Friday evening letting off a bit of steam...

Saturday morning sneaking a sip of Mums tea....

Saturday afternoon a spot of potting on.....

and planting out.....

and admiring the show so far.....

It's going quite well thus far. Hopefully more tomorrow.
Happy Saturday one and all.

Friday, 23 April 2010

St. George

Good old St. George, believed to be a Roman Christian from Cappadocia, when travelling across Libya in the 3rd century, came upon a town being terrorised by a dragon. In order to save their sheep, the townsfolk offered up their maidens to the dragon instead (big of them eh!) However, George arrived in time to save the kings daughter,Cleodolinda, from the jaws of the dragon and in honour, the town converted to Christianity.

Imagine being this patriotic.....

Now that's what I call a brave man!

St George he was for England,
And, before he killed the dragon,
He drank a pint of English ale
Out of an English flagon.

Happy St. George's Day.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Happy Birthday Ma'am

I think she is wonderful.
I'm proud to be British.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Knit and Crochet Combo

This is my lovely eldest wearing the first ever proper garment that I knitted as a teenager approx 30 years ago.
It is 100% pure acrylic purchased in Littlewoods.

I can't remember who I actually knitted it for but my Mum did wear it over jeans. She died two years ago and it was still amongst her things. She kept that tatty old sweater all those years I presume because she loved me and on this day 45 years ago I was her firstborn.

And the crochet....

These gorgeous little flowers, looped on a hair grip, which are quick and easy to do are courtesy of the fabulous Lucy over at Attic24. Check her out if you love colour and crochet. Her tutorials are the best I've seen for crochet. I keep urging her to write a book.

Footnote: She came home from school and had had so many comments about the sweater I am compelled to show you the pattern. 

 I think I chose it because the model resembles Nigel Havers who I have always fancied a bit!! 
Who would have thought acrylic would ever be vintage? 

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Where Has The Last Week Gone?

It's Sunday already and back to school in the morning. I do love the school hols and the house full of people, lots of cooking and playing and crafting and noise.
We did manage to plant the fruit trees at last. The apple and pear are to be trained on a wall, fingers crossed. The "Lizzie" plum has has been banished to the hens patch as not enough room in the garden....

...the girls were suitably impressed with the digging and managed to completely disperse the composted mulch.

Roller skates have been the bringers of much joy...

...I think she would wear them in bed if at all possible.

My favourite butchers, having sampled my legendary (in these parts) scones, requested the recipe to bake and sell in their shop. They have been a success and yesterday I was rewarded with a bag full of fresh lemons from the butcher's wife's Mum's lemon tree in Spain....

...they are the juiciest, zestiest lemons ever. Tonight we had a delish cheesecake from Sam Sterns cookbook...

...made by my 16year old daughter.
This is a fab recipe, click on the link above, but I am sure the luscious lemons made it even better.

A spot of gardening...

Inspired by the lovely Alys Fowler in "The Edible Garden," we have made a wigwam for the sweet peas from coppiced hazel and spent phormium leaves. Aren't we clever girls eh?

And finally, the weather has been lovely here. Even managed to sit out some evenings and enjoy the sinking of the sun....

Hope you all had a good holiday week. Just sending a few thoughts and prayers for all those stuck in the air traffic chaos, including my youngest sis on a two day work seminar in Copenhagen. She should have been home Thursday and has two little children whom she is missing desperately. Texted today she feels helpless, I want to cry for her. I once left mine for two days to go on a hen weekend to Dublin. I pined for them and was desperate to get home almost as soon as we arrived. My heart goes out to all those separated from loved ones.

Monday, 12 April 2010

A Courting We Will Go

I spotted this pair on the riverbank this weekend, all lovey dovey.

 Where are they in the winter?

I walk down this little road 6 mornings a week delivering newspapers. It gives me some exercise, the views are positively bucolic and I get paid for it too. Am I not a lucky girl?
Off to work now. Happy Monday.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Delicious, Delectible, Divine Miss Dahl

We don't actually have a TV so watch selected items on the iplayer. (BBC only as we detest adverts.)
My 9 year old and I are in love with Sophie, her cooking and most of all her kitchen!
Apparently, (somebody at work said) this programme has been slated. We think it is brill.
The styling is a bit Nigella copied I think but Sophie is more innocent and very appealing.

This is our version of the nostalgic orange cake for afternoon tea.
We filled it with fresh cream and homemade blackberry jam as we didn't have raspberries to make Sophies jam concoction for the filling. We reserved the buttercream for the top. It is a basic victoria sandwich recipe with come orange zest added. However I usually make 6oz with 3 eggs in 1 tin but this called for 8oz and 4 eggs in 2 tins and it did look rather impressive.

We also made the roasted tomato and thyme soup and it was delish and oh so easy. Even my 16yr old was impressed.

So if you haven't seen this and can access the BBC iplayer on line, we heartily recommend it, even if you only like to drool over the vintage crockery and kitchen utensils. It is so comforting!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Early Morning Windowsill

At weekends and also during school hols, things relax a little chez Ma Larkins. A little more wine (and in my case vintage cider) is quaffed than usual, bedtimes are later, snacking is prolific, dishes are left to languish, you get the picture? However, I always feel a bit narked in the morning. I get up very early as I currently do two paper rounds for a local paper shop and nobody is up when I get back. I am then faced with the preceding evenings detritus.
I am currently reading Flip It by Michael Heppell which encourages you to look at things differently and make the most of everyday situations etc. It is easy to read and simple to put into practice and...it really works.
So this morning (it being school hols at the moment) when I got home I ignored the dishes and empty crisp packets and wine bottle etc and instead was pleased with my kitchen window bottom .....

The tomatoes look lovely and vibrant against the green of the basil leaves. This is yesterdays cache of eggs waiting to be dated with a marker pen. The little statue of the virgin is a relic of my mums and reminds me of her (a devout RC and consequently all our family have plenty of plastic/plaster religious artefacts,) the jam jar holds paint and toothbrushes and a lovely Easter card in the middle.
This is a totally uncontrived (rather poor quality pic) and is a snapshot of now in my life and I am finding it very pleasing.
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Fruit Trees

My fruit tree collection arrived today from DT Browns.
I am hoping to espalier train them on a south facing wall.
I have a buerre hardy pear,


  a plum Lizzie,

and an apple Pinova for which I cannot find an image.
I have just heeled them in for now as I want to put the training wires up on the wall first and I was working this afternoon/evening.

Will I get fruit this year all you experts out there?

Happy Birthday

Today, one of my very few bestest friends is 70. We worked together as community midwives till she retired 10 years ago. We had lots of fun times and giggles (and a few moans too.) We took to each other immediately and made a great team. They were probably the best days of my working life so far.
She is a warm, funny, kind and compassionate person.

 And she has hardly any grey hairs at all. Lucky devil!

She loves chocolate cake so we made this for her this morning.

Thanks for being my very special friend.
We love you!!

Monday, 5 April 2010

The Egg Hunt

A great day was had by all.
This is a picture heavy post for my sis, Charlotte in sunny Perth Western Australia who has just started reading my blog. We all love and miss you girl!

This is my hubby, David, wearing what is referred to as the 7 year sweater in our house. I'm sure you can guess why.

A sneaky cream egg among the flowers.

A chicky hiding under an auricula.
It was great fun and the sun shone for a little while too.
Hey ho, back to weight watchers we go!

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Gaudia Paschalia

If you believe in the incredible,
The impossible can happen.
He is risen.

Happy Easter wishes to my readers, whatever your beliefs.


Finished knitting them at 10pm last night. Eyes and beaks with help this morning. Phew!

They are just awaiting their eggs. A Hunting We Will Go!

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Chicks in Progress

11.30 am

3 pyjama'd knitters. 5 ckicks down only 15 to go!

Chick,Chick,Chick,Chick.Chicky,...Lay a Little Egg for Me

It's Holy Saturday and the excitement is running high here...

Tomorrow we are celebrating with an Easter Egg Hunt (after church) for 18 children.
We have made these lovely little egg baskets as tutored here by the lovely Lilly.

So far I have knitted 1 of these cute little chicks as tutored here by the equally talented Michelle.
Only 17 more to go! Watch this space.