Autumnal feeling

A stroll of a couple of miles, mainly along the canal, as an afternoon’s “constitutional” on this Bank Holiday Monday. It feels like autumn – the hips and haws are brightly coloured (though not yet attacked by mould or birds), and the acorns are starting to fall.





acorn cluster, with one empty cup

Fan – part one

My (recirculating) cooker hood has given up the ghost – not that it was much good to start with. So I’m about to try an extractor fan. I’m starting with a small (4-inch) fan on the opposite side of the kitchen – if that doesn’t work, I’ll fit ducting to extract from directly over the cooker.
All of which means knocking a hole through the solid 9″ brick wall of the kitchen, carefully avoiding the downpipe on the outside and the water pipes on the inside … Everything got covered in brick dust, of course, but the hole is now there. I think I’ve made a reasonable job of it …
in progress - outside
hole - from outside
hole - from inside


It’s chutney time !

Normally, I reckon on making chutney at the end of the season, to use up green tomatoes that are never going to ripen. this year, I’ve got too much of a glut of red tomatoes, as both Latah and Urbikany are in full flow at the same time. Fortunately, there was a pint of pickling vinegar in the cupboard …

I made 2/3rds of the recipe (I think I usually make half), which was enough for five jars of chutney and a “taster”. Recipe says to simmer for 90-120 minutes, but it actually took closer to three hours before it was done.  The chutney now goes into a cupboard to mature, until at least Christmas – I have several jars of last year’s still, so won’t be tempted to raid them early, though there’s a couple of spoonfuls as a “taster jar” to try out with the tail-end of pot-roast beef currently in the fridge.

tomatoes, apples, onions, sultanas, vinegar


5 jars of chutney, and a "taster"


We’ve had the best part of a month with no significant rain, and for the past week daytime temperatures have been over 30C. I’ve been spending part of every afternoon in a cool bath!

It’s now still very hot, but thunderstorms are becoming “a thing”. They finally hit us here last night. The initial deluge only lasted about fifteen minutes, but was most welcome, and an hour later there was a long period of more gentle rain.

Click the link for a short video: 20200812 P1010684

garden bits

Today’s theme in the garden is pale pinky-lilac. Flowers on the lemon-scented geranium (which smells lovely, but not especially lemony!), the Prairie Gayfeather (liatris spicata), and the lovely naked flowers of the cyclamen.
I’m especially fond of these latter – originally taken from my Grandfather’s garden in Windsor Great Park to my flat in London, thence to my first house in Worcester, and now to my current home: a pleasing continuity.

lemon-scented geranium flower


gayfeather flower


cyclamen flowers

garden bits

The first sunflower is now flowering, and very splendid it is too. Down the side of the house (grown in a container to prevent the escape of these invasive plants) the Chinese Lanterns are ready to cut and finish drying.



Chinese lantern

Garden bits

The gladioli were sold as “Mon Amour”, which are delicate pastel shades of peach and apricot. This is definitely not that! I’ve no idea what it actually is, but over the five years I’ve had them I’ve come to appreciate their somewhat strident cheerfulness.

cosmos and gladiolus flowers

Visiting Mum

Over at my Mum’s for the weekend due to covid, my first visit for five months! Sadly, I was too late for any of the orchids on the common, but I did catch the very last of the orchids that are gradually colonising her lawns! Early Purple, Pyramid, and Bee orchids have all staked their claim over the past few years.

On the Common, harebells were dancing in a gentle breeze. I do love them!

I’m used to a wide variety of birdlife in the garden there, deep in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, but it gave me quite a shock when I opened the front door this morning to encounter these two! They seemed to want to come indoors, but I persuaded them otherwise. After about five minutes, a farmer came up the drive, with loud exclamations of “there they are!”, and asked if it was OK to take them away. So they were last seen being gently encouraged down the road and then up the bridleway.



two hen turkeys
two hen turkeys