Thursday 30 June 2016

I do love it...

When a difficult piece of family history comes together.

I have been searching for the parents of a child who was born 1774 in Garforth, West Yorkshire. I knew the parents names but the mother, Mary Smith, could have been one of 5 born in that area.

Someone else researching the same Mary Smith had gone with Isaac as a father and it certainly looked about right. Then I used an age calculator and realised she was born too early.

Despite numerous searches online on many occasions, I just could not fathom out which of the remaining 4 would be the correct one.

I widened my search to look at their other children, when they were born, if they diedearly, 3 did,  if the remaining ones had married. Finally, up popped a sibling (Mary!) who married in Tadcaster, a place I would never have looked at.

What finally clinched it was the lovely vicar, being one of those very rare chaps, who when a christening takes place, names not only the parents but the grandparents and where they were from. In this case, they also stated that the grandmother, Mary Smith, was born in Garforth to James Smith.

At last, problem solved and I can now move on again. Hoorah!

Tuesday 28 June 2016

Open Garden

Welcome to Jasmaine via Bloglovin. Well done also to Dan Evans for a great win despite a really bad fall halfway through the third set.

Over the weekend, we went to some Open Gardens at Barton Bendish. Unfortunately, they were not at their best as they had a hailstorm the previous day:(

We only took these photographs of Barton Bendish Hall and some of its attractions. The back of the hall overlooking its formal garden:
 Central flower bed with large pond - full of newts!
A view from either end of their 'hot house'

Some now defunct kennels - presumably for hunt dogs?

Monday 27 June 2016

Marcus Willis

Where have you been, a breath of tennis fresh air with hardly any funding behind him. This UK 772nd seed, has just won his first match on the main tour - AFTER - already playing 7 matches just to qualify!

Well done you, amazing!!!


One of our occasional walking buddies T., has just called round for a chat and brought 12 eggs with her - very nice gift!

I have just made my first gf Quiche, using this recipe. A couple of small adjustments were made, to take on board what we had, but all in all, for the first time of making, we enjoyed it:
Herewith a close up of 1/4:

Friday 24 June 2016

The EU and a tennis dishcloth

Wonder how long it will take us to leave the EU. According to this newspaper article, it could be 2020!

A 3 month period of 'calm' has been declared to allow the conservative government to elect a new leader, since David Cameron has decided to step down. A strange thing to do in the circumstances, as he, above anybody else, knows about negotiating with the EU member states.

I also seem to remember the hullabaloo from them, when Labour did the same thing after Tony Blair stepped down.

It will be days and days of more Brexit talk and I for one, am heartily sick of it already.

So then, on to the dishcloth. It isn't a dishcloth shaped like a racquet or even with a racquet on it. I decided to start crocheting it during Queens tennis, every time Andy was on, out it would come during sit down breaks.

Some days I forgot but it was completed just as he won:
I know, I talk about such interesting topis don't I. Today has also seen the winter quilt airing on the washing line before being put away. No doubt, it will go cold again overnight but there is a light blanket nearby just in case.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.

Thursday 23 June 2016

Voting and rubbish plants

Even if you never usually vote, today is an historic day SO PLEASE VOTE! You will probably never get another chance. If you are still undecided, ask yourself the question "if you were voting to join, would you do so?"

I don't know what is wrong with my spinach and beetroot plants this year. They have their seedling leaves and some have one set of true leaves but they are all stuck there! Normally, they romp away.

I don't usually have any luck with radish as they either go to seed or get eaten by beetles. This year though, the first ones sown have already been eaten by us for a change, and so far, the second lot are growing well, although they are getting nibbled, by slugs I presume.

The peony flowers have all rotted due to the rain and all in all, everything looks not very well. We managed to miss the first batch of storms but will probably get the next lot.

All this rain looks like it may have washed a lot of the food and goodness out of the soil.

Time to give whole garden a feed methinks.

Tuesday 21 June 2016

New tomato plants

I have mentioned this before but thought I would write about it again. I'm sure you know but if you don't, did you realise you can cultivate new tomato plants from the inter nodal removals?

If you grow cordon tomatoes, the little shoots that appear between the leaves and stems, have to be constantly removed. I have just done mine and amongst the various lengths, were two that are about 4" long.

These were potted on into individual pots, almost up to their leaves, watered and put into a light shady place:
They will droop in a while but don't panic. Leave them be, keep watering as and when needed and soon, they will grow roots and turn into new plants. I have covered them with a large plastic bag due to the heat and humidity. It  allows a bit of air circulation but I don't always do so.

These inter-nodal cuttings are full of hormones so quickly root. You must take them from healthy plants. I try to take them between 3" and 4" long for best results but ones up to 6" have also taken well.

The advantage of doing this is that it extends your season. I sometimes have to bring them indoors to ripen the fruit (the cutting are always put into pots for this reason, rather than the ground), as they are later to flower and fruit.

Last year, I trialled spraying my tomatoes with 1/2 a disprin in 1 pint of water to try and keep blight at bay. It seemed to work although it wasn't a big blight year around here. I am doing so again due to the amount of rain we have had. Time will tell it it helps.

Monday 20 June 2016

Asparagus Lettuce (Celtuce)

Welcome to Laura Gray via Bloglovin. Last year whilst out and about on holiday, we popped into Ryton Organic Garden Centre, see here, and purchased a few packets of seeds.

One of them was Asparagus Lettuce. It is a cooler weather crop, sown in Spring or Autumn. Early leaves are picked and eaten in salad. Later leaves are slightly tougher and are picked and used like spinach, from the growing stem.

Eventually, you end up with a tall, mainly leaveless stem, which is then harvested. It can be used like asparagus but apparently has a pea-like/celery flavour from what I have read. You can send for the seeds from here.

I sowed it too late last year so barely got a stem. However, an earlier sowing this year has produced its first stage of salad leaves:
With the wet weather of late, I am not yet picking them so we shall see how it fares.

Sunday 19 June 2016

Good Grief Andy...

A set and a break down, hardly able to get a look in at Raonic's huge serve. I thought you were down and out!

Then a hawk eye call turned everything around and off you went, slowly, slowly catchy monkey:)

Congratulations on winning The Queen's Club Tournament - for a record 5th time - the first person to do it - EVER!

Thursday 16 June 2016

Just outside the kitchen window

Are these 4 small wall tubs. I tried just alpines in them last year but they didn't make it to Spring. They have been replanted with several forms of houseleek. I hope to propagate some of them to fill in the gaps currently being filled by these little begonia's:

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Chocolate ginger loaf cake - economy version ...

Well done Andy and Alijaz, shame you will be playing each other next round!

Although this recipe uses GF flour, it could just as easily use normal plain flour. The GF version can be found here.

I only had a hazelnut chocolate bar so measured out 100g rather than the 75g, melted it with the butter then hoicked out the hazelnuts!

One teaspoon ground ginger was added rather than 1/2 teaspoon, as we love ginger, but to be honest, we couldn't taste it. Nor did I have any chocolate left over for the top:(

Here it is removed from the tin. I managed to hold it in my hand, just a tad too long and squashed it in one side. It sinks after removing from the oven so don't be alarmed by that:
And a slice of it:

As we had some fresh raspberries so I squished one handful through a sieve, added 1 tablespoon icing sugar and whisked them together. This was the prelim to a 'poke' loaf.

Using the blunt end of a clean pencil, poke holes into the loaf. Carefully spoon your chosen berry juice into each hole. I have a syringe so used that without the needle. Herewith two slices with juice in:
The rest was poured on the top:
And left to soak it. When eaten, it has the taste of a trifle to it - yum. You can make most sponge cakes into 'poke' cakes this way, something I shall be doing more of later.

Tuesday 14 June 2016

In the back garden

Growing in the 4 long troughs previously housing strawberries are these plants:

These troughs sit in front of the raised beds to give them some shelter from the hot midday sun and seem to be happily settled providing I remember to water them!

Monday 13 June 2016


Now that summer seems to have more or less arrived and seems fit to stay, the combination of heat and moisture have added further interest to the front gravel garden. It is at its best early summer, but each year, I try to add Autumn colour to extend the visual effectiveness for longer. Here is the view through our middle lounge window:
Walking around outside it can be found one of two clematis:
Many oriental poppies:
The most heavenly scented Abraham Derby rose:
Wedding Anniversary rose that has no scent:(
A lovely David Austin rose, heavy with scent:
There are loads more plants just beginning to open up so it will be colourful and full of scent shortly.

Thursday 9 June 2016

Winter Box Update

I am 28 weeks into saving food for our winter box of groceries, and thought it about time I gave you an update. This is a screen shot so is a little blurred:
I am trying not to spend much each week and only stock up on items that will be of use in the meals we prepare often throughout winter. Most of the above can be used in soups, casseroles, curries, chilli or bolognaise, common meals for us at that time of year.

Not got much more to report for this week so hope from tomorrow onwards, you all have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

About time

We recently watched the film "About Time", a really lovely and gentle film about a man who travels back in time, over and over, to get his love life sorted out. This is one of the songs from the film, I particularly love the mandolin and fiddle:

Hope you like it!

Welcome to Dawn via Bloglovin.

Tuesday 7 June 2016

Trialling some new recipes...

We felt like something new and nice to eat so off I went into the kitchen to do some baking. Besides, it was another way of keeping warm in the very cool weather we have had here.

First up, some flapjacks:
I used honey rather than golden syrup, pumpkin and linseeds, coconut, cranberries. They are lovely although I always find them so difficult to cut. We have since cut them all into half so they should last us a while.

A weird recipe is Cloud Bread. Not a bread at all and there are numerous recipes on t'internet. I used the recipe from here
It should have made 8 or 9 but I only got 5, not knowing how much to spoon onto the trays. They rose dramatically in the oven but sank back down once cold. I had planned on using them for cheese on 'toast' but they started to burn quickly. Anyway, we ate them as they were - verdict - edible! They tasted like cold omelette and I don't think I shall make them again.

Monday 6 June 2016


Yesterday, the bird box was full of exciting and also demanding twitter, from the family of blue tits. We could hear the parents calling for them to depart but they took several hours to do it. We sat and watched patiently. However, although managing to catch a sight of one thinking about it, we missed the exit. The box was made by DS when he was in cubs, needs a new lid soon:
 This may be the same fledgeling twice but we saw 2 and could hear more in the box:

Several days before we heard the cheeping, we had found a dead chick about 5' from the nest, nude except for a few wing feathers.

After all the babies had left the nest, I found two stuck between some netting near the water butts so picked them up and put them into the neighbours rose bush where the parents were. They found them, fed them and off they went.

All afternoon though, I heard cheeping from one individual but couldn't find it. The sound grew quieter and more intermittent. About 6pm I finally found it collaped, hiding under some greenery. I picked it up and kept it in my hands to warm it. There were by now, no parents around and I think they had left it, probably the runt as it was half the size of the others.

I think leaving the nest had almost been too much for it, it didn't even want to feed. Anyway, after about 10 minutes in my hands, it was a bit more upbeat but couldn't stand up so I put it into a small box with some nesting material and took it back outside, putting it near where I found it.

A couple of hours later it was dead. I actually felt quite sad, nature knew better but I like to feel I gave it a bit of love and warmth in its last few hours of life:(

Sunday 5 June 2016

Ne'er mind lad!

Close but no banana:(

I think your game peaked after Gasquet and Wawrinka and despite winning the 1st set, it was clear you were not in top form for today.

Thought you were going to make a final rally in the 4th set but it wasn't to be. Onwards and upwards my dear:)

Friday 3 June 2016

Well Done Andy...

The first British man to reach the final in Paris for 79 years and only the 10th player to reach the final in all 4 Grand Slams!

It was a well played match but certainly had me metaphorically 'biting my nails' at times. Now I can relax.

Wednesday 1 June 2016

Who would have thought....

By the 1st June, we would still be wrapping up warm? For the past few days, the temperatures here, have been around 10C during the day, with heavy rain, very strong and chilly winds and the night time temperatures are below 9C still - far too cold for my tomatoes to be put into the garden:(

Their roots are already showing out the base of their decent sized pots, they are tall but reasonably strong so hopefully, they will cope. Currently they are inside my mini greenhouse with the top open just a couple of inches, to keep out the driving rain and cold winds.

We have lit the woodburner twice in the last two days as well, although only the initial log was burnt, just to take the chill off.

Having caught up with all my washing, I now have a huge pile but it can't be put out due to the weather. Hopefully, by tomorrow, I might be able to get started.

Hardly any tennis coming from France as they have been just as badly hit by this low front. Might get some today hopefully.

The extra covers on the bed have been put back on, and for our weekly walk, we were in full, wet weather and winter gear, with boots so full of mud, we felt at times as though we were walking on muddy stilts:(

Ah well, things can only get better, can't they? As you might or might not know, East Anglia is supposed to be the driest area in the UK, with the least amount of rainfall!