Thursday, 25 February 2016

Coronation advertising

I have always had a fascination for advertising. So much so, that when I did a dissertation for my English degree, I wrote about the language of advertising in the airlines.

I recently purchased the Coronation edition of "Country Life" (June 1953) and decided to share some of the adverts for your delight and delectation. I enjoy the straightforward communication about the product, and the complete absence of cynicism. Lovely to have illustrations instead of photographs too - although the boy in the bottom left of the McVitie's advert is a tad scary!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Thoughts on missing

There aren't many things I miss about living in the N. Hemisphere, but the occasional random thing does give me pangs of nostalgia. One of these is sunflowers. I miss seeing the French or Romanian fields of sunflowers. I keep meaning to plant them myself, but being the useless gardener that I am, I remember half way through the summer.......

This morning on my morning wobbly bike ride, I rode past our neighbours shed and this lovely sight greeted me.

More of a sunshine scattering, but appreciated nonetheless.

Later this morning we popped out for coffee and spotted these cabbage white butterflies on a kitchen garden. The context immediately reminded me of my Dad's allotment and grandpa's vegetable patch. The butterflies were always evidence that on one row or more there would be chomp marks on the leaves from the voracious caterpillars. I guess you can't have the fluttery beauty without sacrificing a cabbage or two.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Caterpillar plants

Our local cafe, The Quarter Acre, has a number of swan plants in the garden. Hence our morning coffee is usually accompanied by the faint flutter of a Monarch butterfly or two. The caterpillars are hungry little munchkins, and the swan plants truly beautiful.

The hairy gooseberry / Chinese lantern parts of the swan plant are so delicate and hang so precariously to the stem of the plant, it is amazing they endure in the maritime winds. I'll get photos of those next time.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A little craftiness

I enjoy hand sewing, but don't like using a sewing machine. Therefore, if any crafting is done in this house, it is done with a simple needle and thread.

My challenge to myself this year is to make lots of Christmas tree decorations to sell in aid of a project I am linked with in Tanzania. Here are a few Christmas trees I have made to start with (they are around 10cm high). I haven't put the hanging loops on them yet (that is a fiddly thing to do at one sitting)

If you are interested in purchasing one, let me know in the comments section and we can arrange something.

On a totally different topic, it has been blisteringly hot at Coneysthorpe in the month of February. It has even been too hot to "verandah" as the temperature has regularly tipped 30c plus. The cats have flaked out anywhere in the shade, only venturing out at dusk. Unusually, our nervous and wild tabby hung around with the kitten (all 6.2kgs of him - another story there entirely). Here they are watching the birds on the lawn.

10 minutes later, it had all been too much for the kitten. The chair is known as the King of Tonga, due to its size, and here is our baby in deep camouflage snoozing - all 6.2kgs of him!

In praise of mushrooms (not perhaps what you are thinking)

I am trying to reduce my consumption of meat. This was never huge, and indeed I was a vegetarian for most of my 20s. Now I am becoming conscious again of the amount of land we need to produce beef, and how many drugs I consume (antibiotics especially) via the meat at my table. I have also discovered that my stomach doesn't like processing beef any more, so I eat it at the peril of indigestion and sleepless nights.

So, it is chicken, fish and occasionally lamb for me (I don't eat pork).

Oh, and mushrooms! How I wish I lived close to a Russian forest or two, so I could forage for the fantastical and epicurian. Meanwhile, I am enjoying experimenting with this alternative form of protein. Here is today's lunch dish (served to friends). It comprises pasta, pesto, mushies, onions, runner beans from the garden and toasted pumpkin seeds. No recipe - just went for it!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Tree hugger

Before Mango showed up one very cold June morning, we had considered getting a Norwegian Forest cat - that was until we realised that we probably wouldn't see it much, as our property is covered in trees, and they like climbing them. Rather get a lap cat / basic moggy / street special.

Enter Mango, who loves to run up trees, swing from high branches, and generally behave like a Barnham Circus trapeze artist. I can seldom catch him on camera, because he is too swift. But I can usually get a shot or two of him whistling at the bottom, pretending he is just polishing his nails!

Here he is a split second before launch up the cabbage tree