Wednesday 31 December 2014

Hasty but heartfelt

(Free range Exmoor ponies in Sussex, so sweet.)

Happy New Year post, 
before we step through the door into 2015.
Thank you for your kind visits and messages during 2014.
Every one of them greatly appreciated.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Gathering in

The food is ready,
the presents wrapped,
the candles lit
the children and
grandchild are here.

Just one very important great-uncle to arrive
and then our Christmas can begin properly.

Monday 22 December 2014

Getting there slowly

Sweet orange pastry for the mince pies -
Josceline Dimblebey's recipe every year.

Red cabbage and apple with sausages and mash.

Winter walks of course
even if we nearly forget to get out in time.

A winter surprise.
But it has been very warm.

Advent windows,
(one of them mine).

The tree at last despite a hissy fit with the lights.

A shining light on these darkling days.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Christmas in the Spring

 A three hour transformation took place in my kitchen today.

The team - Art Director, Stylist, Photographer and Publisher
brought nearly everything they needed

(that tea pot got lucky)

to create an impression of a bright spring day in the country
on an exceptionally dull December one in town.

As far as I could tell,
all that was going to remain of the original location,
was a hazy impression of a 'country' garden in the background.

Even the table top was theirs,
carefully selected from a backgrounds rack
in a props warehouse.
Who knew?

The cake, though scrumptious looking,
was deemed to be a little too messy,
so I stepped forward with an offer of knives
to tidy it up.

Later someone found a plate of macarons in my fridge
and decided that they would be just perfect
for the Waitrose version of the advertisement.

Bunting was called for but later abandoned as 
too much in the way of the copy that had to be added later.

I believe this is one of the selected shots,
possibly destined for Sainsbury's or Tesco magazines
as I can't see any macarons in it.

Disappointingly no flowers or cakes were left behind.

I am not familiar with this author
so I have looked her up for you.

Now I can bring in the Christmas tree.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Christmas trees past

We never tire of this walk on the Sussex coast.
Every visit is different, dependant on tide, time of day, 
time of year and weather conditions.
Recently there have been storms and big tides which pushed all the shingle away 
to expose flat sand and

ancient preserved trees. 
Large chunks of a sunken forest have been torn up  
and thrown onto the beach.

Thought to be at least 6000 years old,
oak, birch and hazel have been identified in the peaty masses.
Sea levels here were about 100 feet lower than they are today
and the forest was preserved when sea levels rose and flooded the woodland.
What you see is not fossilised but the original spongy tree roots and branches.

Recent man made structures are also weathering
and present wonderfully sculptural eroded forms at low tide.

Thursday 11 December 2014

A trick of the light

The landing light super moon.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Taking a step back

Yesterday I surprised myself
by making three jars of blackberry jam.

 And where you might ask, 
are the seasonally appropriate pictures of
mincemeat making,
of pine tree felling,
of pudding stirring
of Christmas belling?

Are you trying to mess with my mind?
Will it be meringues and cream tomorrow?
Are you trying to cater more for your Antipodean reader?

Well yes, all of the above because there are six egg whites in there too
 but the day before yesterday
I applied Marie Kondo's theories to the freezer food category.
If it didn't spark joy, or leave room for my chicken stock to feel appreciated
out it went.
But then I couldn't bring myself to chuck the defrosted blackberry puree
down the plughole, 
so I made jam.
And the jam can be gifts
so we will be back in sync.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

All is calm. . .

. . .for now.
Although it has been an anxious time with granddaughter 
admitted to hospital for three nights 
to treat an infection with iv antibiotics.
She is home now and as cheerful as ever considering
the nasty tasting medicine she must still try to take.