Tuesday, 18 January 2011

puddles and puppies............................

The flooding caused by the weekend's torrential rain is slowly draining away although we still have a lot of water lying on the fields and after last night's frost, a lot of it has frozen over!  However, the sun shone today and we had a lovely walk down through the fields and round the great ponds which will hopefully disappear before too long.

Back in October I mentioned that our working beardie collie had his girlfriend to stay while she was in season, and in early December she produced a litter of eight puppies who are now almost seven weeks old.  The plan was always for us to have a puppy from this litter and after several visits we have finally made our choice although we wont bring him home until next week.  There are three dogs in the litter and it was a difficult decision to make as they're all lovely puppies.  A friend in the village is taking one of the bitches and at the moment there are still two puppies available.   We have a few ideas about names, but we'll wait until he's here to decide what really suits him best.


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

mist and magazines......................

What gloomy, murky weather we're having!  A chilly, damp fog has descended and walking the dogs this afternoon was like wandering through a strange, quiet, bluey-grey world full of  blurred, ghostly shapes.   Another couple of inches of snow fell through the night but it's very soft and damp with the rise in temperature so at least walking is a bit easier. 

What better way to cheer up a gloomy afternoon than to escape into pile of lovely new magazines and that's just what I did!   Not that there weren't masses of other jobs to do, but  the lure of  the February issue of Country Living was too strong.  I've been reading Country Living since it first appeared in the mid 80's and I still have every issue.  They're stored in various boxes, bags and piles and some day I would like to file them in chronological order but  I can't see that happening anytime soon!  

I think the February CL is better than the last few issues.  I felt the magazine had been going through a rather stale phase but this is a very bright, interesting and inspiring issue.  The Emporium pages feature lots of interesting bits and pieces and there's also a very good piece on food fraud which is something we should all be aware of as it happens a lot more than we might think.  I'm particularly delighted to see that Diana Henry is to be their new, regular, food writer  as I love her books especially Crazy Water Pickled Lemons which is full of wonderful recipes.  There are also lovely crafts, marbled paper, fascinating interiors  and all the other usual features.

I started to buy Country Homes & Interiors regularly in late 2009 and I've been enjoying it ever since.  I particularly like the food writing and have discovered lots of lovely new recipes over the months.  The February issue features egg recipes including what sounds like a delicious goat's cheese and leek souffle.   There's an interesting article about glove makers in Somerset  and some clever ideas for making bird feed cones, bells, hearts and trays which look really pretty and would no doubt go down well with the birds!    There are also the usual  interiors features  and a lovely article about a collection of snowdrops in Kent. 


Saturday, 8 January 2011

Persephone Books..................

I have just discovered The Persephone Catalogue, brought out by Persephone Books in London.  They specialise in reprints of novels, diaries, poetry and cookery books, mostly by women and mainly from the early to mid-twentieth century.   It just arrived in today's post and I haven't had time to study it carefully, but even after a quick flick through, I've spotted several titles which I'd like to read.  Throughout the catalogue there are photographs of beautiful vintage fabrics whose designs are reproduced in the endpapers of the books.  I will be placing an order very soon and for anyone else who's interested they can be found on  http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/  The catalogue itself is a work of art and will probably be my bedtime reading for the next couple of nights! 

Friday, 7 January 2011

last minute sky...................

The temperature is dropping again!  Last night it fell to minus 12 and today has been bitterly cold.  It was a particularly dull, colourless day and when I took the dogs out this afternoon I almost didn't bother to take the camera with me.  Thankfully I did and was rewarded with this spectacular skyscape which just seemed to appear from nowhere!  We hadn't seen the sun all day but suddenly a warm glow built up in the south west and this lovely sky transformed the afternoon!

Meanwhile, to the east something similar was happening although less fiery.  It was like a reflection in blue and pink and was quite amazing!

First footing continues well into January around here and we tend to get all the routine jobs done by early afternoon so that we can set off and visit friends and neighbours to wish them a happy new year.   When first footing someone, you take something to eat, something to drink and something for the fire.  We set off with a basket of bottles, jars of chutney, fruit cake, shortbread and lumps of peat and quite often the fiddle and guitar  just in case there's the chance of a tune!   It's a lovely custom and we've had our share of first feet as well.  Long may it continue.

feasting sheep