Sunday, 22 September 2013


If you've been followers of this blog for a while you would have realised that I have three obsessions: France; food and interior design. There are subsets to some of these - textiles for example would come under the design obsession (particularly quilts & blankets). But I've never mentioned Andrew's obsession. And there is only one.


When we returned from sailing we spent a few weeks in the Lot valley and did a lot of walking, coming across huge stacks of cut logs. Andrew took photos by the dozen. He gifted one to me the following year as a personalised Christmas card.

I'm not entirely sure when this obsession started but I think it was when we owned a draughty Victorian cottage with an open fire. We got to know our neighbour quite well and one day he came round to see Andrew, looking very shifty. A conversation in hushed tones was followed by an "I'll be out for a couple of hours". It transpired that our neighbour knew of a fallen oak tree and had permission to cut it but needed help. We'd been accepted into the community - a log source had been shared.

After that we went sailing and briefly lived in a modern house so Andrew had to be content with admiring from a distance, until we moved here and installed a multi-fuel burner. No dog walk was complete until a log had been found to add to the pile. A neighbour's log pile was monitored from afar and there was talk about buying a trailer. I started to get a little concerned when he said that our walnut tree needed a serious prune as I sensed an ulterior motive. I'm still not convinced I was wrong.

After pruning
And there were mutterings when I was taking photographs of the lichen and not of the ever growing log pile.

Walnut prunings
So imagine his delight when for his birthday in April he was given this:

It's a moisture meter for logs, it allows you to choose the optimum time to burn. Every month or so Andrew goes to the two wood piles (the logs for burning are in the wood shed) and tests them. He has been known to test the moisture content of myself & Mortimer.

Best to keep moving Mr M
Andrew doesn't read blogs but does know some of the ones I follow as I chat  about them and occasionally he looks over my shoulder. Like when Margaret wrote about her log delivery. This morning I got up early, sat with a cup of tea and caught up with some blog reading, discovering that Walt had also had a recent delivery, a fact I mentioned to Andrew over breakfast (I know - we have to get out more!). Next thing I know the laptop's on the table and Andrew is going through my browser history. Hmmmm.

As for me I still like taking the photographs.

Apple log

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Summer visitors

We were lucky this summer to have lots of friends and family to stay, some of whom we hadn't seen for a couple of years. It's nice for us as it gives us a break from working on the house and we get to go exploring. These photgraphs give a flavour of summer 2013.

Lots of these were prepared.

Which resulted in quite a lot of these.

So you weren't hungry then?
We spent time on the beach at Old Hunstanton, which Mortimer and friend Ben thoroughly enjoyed. You've no idea how tired they were that evening!

Old Hunstanton beach

We did the tour at Elgoods Brewery and gardens and managed not to get stuck in the maze. Their logo is taken from the family crest which includes a black dog holding a key. Is it me or does it really look like a big bone?
Elgoods Brewery, Wisbech

Which did inspire us to take a couple of trips to the Beers of Europe warehouse. This is a fabulous place which not only sells beers, ciders & perrys from the U.K, Europe and all over the world but also has a huge range of spirits.

Beers of Europe warehouse

On one of the few overcast days that we had we visited Ely, spending a very long time in an antiques centre.

And Andrew mastered the art of making the perfect mojito.

What's the use of a herb garden if you don't use the herbs?
So with summer nearly spent we're welcoming the first of our autumn guests in a couple of weeks. Now where shall we go?

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Bees & birthdays

We were quite worried about the butterflies and bees earlier in the year. 2012 had not been good weather for them and with a really wet and cold spring we noticed fewer hives in the orchards. But the long hot spell seems to have improved matters and although I can't compete with Margaret's butterfly photographs, we did get close to some of the bees collecting pollen from the hibiscus' in the front garden.

Last year Mortimer gave me a bag of dog biscuits for my birthday, which didn't go down too well with me. However this year he, allegedly, baked me a chocolate cake, although he had to have some help from Andrew when the ganache split. It was definitely better than dog treats!

Autumn seems to be heading towards us with a rush, our lane is populated in the evenings with people picking blackberries, the pickers have arrived for the apple harvest and Andrew took this shot of the field next door being cut.

I'll have to start sorting out the woolly jumpers soon.