Wednesday, 26 August 2020

August Fading

I always have such a strong sense of summer drawing to a close at this time of year. So much of that is to do with getting everything ready for the new school year in September (there's nothing like spending almost £300 on school uniform to bring you back to reality) but the weather over the last week has made it even more so. We've had torrential showers, high winds, and sunshine; clear evenings that have me reaching for a pair of socks followed by overcast humid days where the atmosphere feels muggy and oppressive. How we fill these last days of the holidays depends so much on the weather, too. We've had beautifully warm seaside walks and ice creams, but have also spent the wetter days doing admin, shopping, DIY....there is always something, and I am trying to get as much as possible done now to ease the pressure once term starts.

The leaves everywhere on the ground trick me into thinking we're a month further on than we really are. I think it's more to do with a dry summer and high winds than the onset of autumn, but it's a little unsettling.

I was delighted to discover a mini harvest of tomatoes in the garden after our holiday. They are misshapen and imperfect, but the smell and flavour is so strong. It's not enough to make chutney, but I think I will roast them all with a couple of cloves of garlic and a red onion, then blitz them all into a pasta sauce. 

We've been picking blackberries, always my favourite thing to do at this time of year. I have ten jars of jelly and five bags of fruit in the freezer ready to be added to crumbles. I just love the feeling of stocking up the cupboard and freezer for autumn and winter ahead that this season brings! 

I made a batch of brownies last week, following my usual recipe but throwing in a handful of frozen raspberries at the last minute. I thought they were the best ones I'd made, the sharp raspberries contrasting so well with the sweet chocolate. The rest of this household, however, behaved like I'd added salt not sugar, and said I'd ruined perfectly good cake. You can't please everyone.

A loaf of sourdough bread was much more well received though. I hadn't used my starter for a couple of months so was relieved to see it did what it was supposed to. I'm still a little bit astounded when I manage to bake a good sourdough loaf if I'm honest.

I saw my friend Abigail recently and she gave me the most beautiful bunch of flowers, a mixture of stems she'd picked at a PYO field plus dahlias she'd grown herself. I think it's the loveliest bunch of flowers I've ever had and I was so sad when I had to put them in the compost bin.

John and I have been busy since we got home, sanding and oiling our new doors. I'm over the moon with them, I feel like they give every room a lift. The three doors between kitchen, hall and living room are glass to help more light into darker areas, but the rest are plain solid oak with black handles. 

I have been crocheting a round cushion cover over the last few evenings, and am thoroughly enjoying the simplicity of the stitches, just variations of granny trebles really. Very relaxing.

I wanted to show you some of the treasures I bought back from our recent holiday. We came across the most wonderful second hand and vintage place in Rye, a real treasure trove with everything piled high here and there. Outside, they had this box of muddy earthenware, all dug up from the Rye estuary apparently.

At £1 a pot, I bought a few and they scrubbed up really well. I love the cracks and imperfections, I think it just adds to their charm and character.

I bought some divine chocolate from here which is probably some of the nicest chocolate I've ever had. I'm savouring it, making it last.

Of course, I had to keep my eyes open for any possible Observer books....

and found a couple of treasures.

This blue and white print, below, I bought in Dungeness. It's a cyanotype print of Derek Jarman's house, Prospect Cottage, and I love the depth of the blue colour. It just needs a frame.

This is my favourite though - a bowl from Rye Pottery, a place I'd researched before we went and had already fallen in love with their stripy range. It's the perfect size to hold my eggs on the worktop, or maybe lemons. I love it.

I really love to bring bits and bobs back from holidays for the house as I feel it all tells a story and adds interest, but it's even better if we can spend money in some independent shops and help support some local businesses in a small way while we are there.


  1. Absolutely gorgeous doors, honestly you do find the loveliest things. And beautiful flowers, they caught my eye immediately. Love the 'found' jars as well, and your new pottery bowl. You have a very good eye for all of the stuff. I second what you say about school uniform. I haven't added it up, but honestly, uniform, shoes, sports kit, sports shoes, a rucksack, a coat, base layers for cold sports days, it goes on and on and on.

  2. A lovely post Gillian & I'm with you on Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies, they are delish. You've been busy again with your preserving & home updates, so well done. OOh, I think I'd have loved Rye too & you brought back some lovely things, but best are the old pottery & love the way you've displayed them. Thanks for sharing, stay safe, take care & huggles from down under.

  3. Same here about the fallen leaves, and brambles on the hedges, lampion flowers in front gardens as I walk past - it truly feels much more like September already than August.
    I have also had a mix of evenings chilly enough to pull on a pair of my Mum's hand-knitted socks, and others when I was walking until 10:00 pm in just shorts and a t-shirt.
    Your sourdough loaf looks absolutely mouth-watering, and I love the corners of your house and the gorgeous late-summer flowers!

  4. Hello, I'm a long time reader, first time commenter. I love your chatty blog with beautiful photos. As soon as I saw your egg/lemon bowl from Rye Pottery I knew that's exactly what I've been looking for, for ages. Please may I be cheeky and ask which one it is? There are various sizes on the shop website and it's difficult to judge from a photo. Yours looks to be the ideal size for eggs. Or lemons! I hope you don't mind me asking. Thank you.

    1. Of course not. I thought it was the pasta bowl but I can't see that one on the website, so maybe it was the noodle bowl? I think it was about the price of the noodle bowl. :-)

  5. Indeed fall cold evenings and nights. My garden is lush green after all that rain though. The doors are stunning, I did the same. My northern faced entrance was so much lighter after I changed the door to the kitchen with a glass one. One can't have enough light on a house eh. Books! You still find them <3

  6. Beautiful pictures. Also love the Charleston print.

  7. Whenever I see your lovely home, I want to just gut my house and start all over! You have a nice clean look with so many interesting features. You have such a good eye for finding treasures. Great photos!

  8. I love Rye and Camber Sands, so lovely to see your pics. I like your pots - much nicer than anything that you could have found 'new', they are beautiful and have history.

  9. Loving relaxing week by the sounds of it. Haven’t been to Camber sands since living in Kent 30 years ago, doesn't look like it has changed much. Realised this year that after buying school uniform for 25 years I am done, youngest goes into 6th form, and doesn’t need it ( 4 children with big age gaps)! Just wanted to say good luck with your teacher training, I did mine 7 years ago and am so glad.


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