There is a crab apple tree in one of the hedges on my local run. For the past week, it has been dropping its fruit on the ploughed field and I've been jumping over the tiny speckled apples thinking I really must come and collect some for winter jelly. I remembered to do this over the weekend and today I made up two kilner jars of rosehip and crab apple jelly. It tastes lovely and the colour....oh my! Next stop...tomato and courgette chutney (once I have changed the gas canister over).
I have also finished F's going away to uni quilt today, with help from Chief Quilt Overseer, Poppy...
While Deputy Quilt Overseer Ted slept on oblivious on top of a double layer of beds. Poppy grumbled it was like the princess and the pea as she lay down on the floor watching me pin layers of fabric together, ignoring the occasional gentle swear as I pinned my finger instead.
I'm pleased with the way it's turned out, and quite tempted to make an identical one for us as there's enough fabric left over. It's very snuggly and warm, thanks to the wadding which is 50% cotton, 50% bamboo, so nice and soft.
I particularly love this dove fabric which is part of the quilt. The finished product has a faintly medieval feel which is perfect as F is off to study archeology....
We spent a chunk of the weekend punting on the Cherwell in Oxford with fifteen members of the family before all heading off to a hotel in the Cotswolds for the night to celebrate M's 50th and L's 16th. The punting has become something of a summer tradition since the children were little, and it's become obligatory for the three dads (M, his brother and cousin) to "fall" in. They duly obliged in style, much to the hilarity of everyone else (including complete strangers in other punts who nevertheless hastened past, clearly keen to establish a reasonable bit of watery distance between themselves and the loons in the three punts). The littlest boys (aged 11 and 8) were in ecstasy at the dunkings, particularly as the oldest pushed M in (no photo of that as M took ages re-emerging and I was starting to panic that he'd drowned). He discovered the hard way that if you're going to shove an uncle off a punt into a river you're quite likely to find yourself being taken along with him (see third pic down) :o)
The hotel, on the edge of the Cotswolds, was lovely. A proper old-fashioned place. The rooms were huge, light and airy and we had a dining room all to ourselves (probably wise- we're a raucous bunch) with the tables set out like a tudor banquet. M, L and I sat at the head with two long arms of family stretching down either side. The food was delicious and after supper we all retired to the bar snug where whiskey, brandy, port and baileys did several rounds amid much conversation and laughter from large old leather and fabric armchairs.
The following morning, after a leisurely breakfast, we headed off en masse (complete with helium filled silver birthday balloons, one of which had found its way into my car where it proceeded to drive me mad floating about on the back seat like a disembodied head) to visit Great Coxwell Barn, a 13th century Cotswold stone barn that was once part of a monastic farm complex. M and I had been before, it is very beautiful. The last time we were there, earlier this summer, a Little Owl flew out of the barn right over my head and perched on the roof of the court house below. There are also several species of bat in the roof which has the original 13th C timbers. Master Craftsmanship, eh?
Talking of owls, last Sunday evening a Barn Owl floated down out of the gloaming and sat on our garage roof. He was there ages, looking around, peering in the window at us. Magical.
The Garden Birds are still eating me out of house and home. We now have siskins a-plenty, back in the garden much earlier than in previous years (I usually don't see them until January has stripped the cones from the trees), and the baby woodie is still around too. The Swifts have left Romsey and I haven't heard Blackcaps or Chiffchaffs for ages, so assume they've also headed off. But the Robins have started singing again and my heron has returned to the lake and the wrens are busy being bossy and scolding everyone in sight....
|Assorted Tits in the rain|
|Siskins and goldfinches|
|Sparrows squabbling over the water|
Hope you're all well? We have GCSE results here on Thursday. We are not panicking. We are actually Quite Calm. I will be proud of him whatever the results as he worked his socks off so he deserves to do well. You can't ask anyone for more than that.