A double lace effect

Sunday morning in Stow was warm and fitfully sunny, the perfect weather for meandering round the garden with cup of tea in hand.  I noticed while exploring that the spiders have found a kindred spirit in the lacecap hydrangea and shown their appreciation by adorning it with copious lace of their own…

The delicacy of the plant up close is really astonishing.


A late-summer walk

Although the title of this blog was intended to reflect that I like walking in the countryside, I haven’t done very much of it recently what with one thing and another.  This weekend we were in Stow-on-the-Wold and while we didn’t go for a very big walk, we did toddle around Maugersbury which is the little village just south of Stow, and took some photos in the sunshine.

This is a view from the lane, and here is another one:

There is not much to beat a sun-dappled path on a clear, breezy summer day…

birthday cake

It’s not even my birthday yet but I’ve already had one birthday cake.  It was, however, possibly one of the best birthday cakes I’ve ever had…

My sister and I made it together.  I know traditionally one is not supposed to be involved in the making of one’s own birthday cake but I LIKE making cake so I overruled that objection.  This glorious confection was sour cream coffee and walnut sponge sandwiched with coffee buttercream, draped in coffee glaze icing.  Even three days later (I know, amazing it lasted that long!) it was so moist and lovely.  I haven’t got the recipe in front of me sadly but will fish it out later.


I am hungry just looking at it.

The cake stand, by the way, is from Linda Bloomfield.  She makes the most beautiful mugs as well, I have lots of them.  Pottery is not so easy to dabble in, I feel, as sewing or photography or cooking or what have you.  But I’d like to try all the same!

If you are wondering who Nutmeg is, that is a family secret…

A day in the life of Sid the frog

As I mentioned before I am taking an online photography course this month.  The course is with Nicole’s Classes and I am finally learning about manual exposure, f/stops, shutter speed, and all sorts of technological things!

Part of our homework for this week was to do creative shooting following a subject around for the day, framing shots in an interesting way, and practicing our manual exposure.  I planned to do my ‘day in the life’ on Sunday, and so of course it rained steadily all day (it hasn’t rained like that here for months!)

My subject was Sid the frog, who was my small furry companion on our travels around the world.  The series is informally titled “Sid’s rainy day”.

Sid reads the sunday papers.

A visit to the sweet shop…

Looking wistfully out at the rainy garden.

Trying on some welly boots…

Checking on the houseplants (they’re growing like gangbusters!)

A visit to Kelmscott Manor

Last week I went to Kelmscott Manor, which was William Morris’ home in the Cotswolds. It is full to the brim with wonderful textiles and objects, which is a dream for someone like me who is interested in textile arts and making things by hand. Unfortunately you can’t take photos in the house, but the garden has also been filled with plants that Morris might have had, and been inspired by.  For more detail of the contents of the house, do click on the link to its website as they’ve got lots of photos and videos of it.

The things I found most incredible were the embroideries done by May Morris (William’s daughter) and Jane Morris (his wife, and May’s mother). I have been inspired to do some stitching of my own in homage to the pieces I saw at Kelmscott, but will share it later as it’s still very much in the design phase at the moment!

A perfect Cotswold walk

After a week in Bristol, Mark and I headed back to the Cotswolds last weekend for Easter to spend some time relaxing in the countryside.  The weather on Saturday was absolutely glorious, so we put on some sunscreen (well, one of us did, ahem) and went for a long walk around the twin villages of Bibury and Arlington.  This particular spot is high up on the list of coach-stops for the Cotswold tours, for reasons we’ll get to in a moment.  But first, a fluffy duckling interlude (it was Easter, after all):

These little sweeties were toddling around by the stream in Arlington, charming the many visitors.  Mum was remaining very calm, all things considered.  You might almost say, unruffled.

Now, the reason for the tour buses:

These picturesque cottages are known as Arlington Row, and are owned by the National Trust.  They were weavers’ cottages once upon a time, and their occupants would not have been leading very pleasant lives being paid by the piece in these cramped little houses.  Now, however, they’re a big tourist draw.  Just out of the shot to the right are coachloads of tourists descending to partake of cream teas and the like.

We set off to escape the crowds on a ramble through the fields, and did for the most part, until we came to a crowd of cows.

I don’t know very much about cows, but I do know that walking inbetween mummy cows and baby cows isn’t a good idea.  None of the cows in this field were babies, but some were younger than others, so might have been teenager cows and their mums- in any event, we skirted around them carefully and were on our way again without trouble!

These smelled absolutely heavenly.

Back in Bibury we found a pub which wasn’t too busy that had a lovely garden and picnic tables in the shade.  We stopped for lunch and elderflower presse for me and a pint of real English ale for Mark (Cotswold ale in fact- Hook Norton or ‘Hooky’).

I had a little nap on the picnic bench, with a canopy of leaves and blossoms above me.

All in all, a perfect walk.