Tag Archives: church

And then there were three more….

Flowers for church on Easter Day

Flowers for church on Easter Day

Easter has departed for another year, leaving behind the most obscene amount of chocolate that I have ever seen.  Spoilt rotten by so many, Primrose and Poppy seem to have a chocolate Everest stashed in the cupboard.  CUE the serious choc-induced madness at church on Easter Day, resulting in Poppy screaming most of the way through the first few hymns and then half of the sermon.  With disapproving glances from some villagers, I made a point of praying for a large gin and tonic when the vicar asked us to call to mind any matters private and personal that could be offered up during the prayers.  Perhaps I should remember to put a hip flask in my handbag for such occasions…?

Still spring in the village is a fantastic sight to behold and everywhere we look there are signs of rejuvenation all around.  Wild garlic in the hedgerows, the crazy cawing of rooks and their babies can be overheard in the trees all around us and we even spied some baby deer from afar up near the woods.  With so many baby animals about, several trips have been made to the local lambing sheds to see the sheep equivalent of a maternity unit.  Truly marvellous to behold. Continue reading

An apple a day

Horn of plenty!

Apples a plenty and a few lusciously large quinces too!

Harvest is here and the village and hedgerows are laden with sumptuous treats!  Apples are everywhere and almost every villager has offered us some of the bountiful produce!  Our dear new neighbours, the Worthingtons have an orchard the other side of the fence which is truly to die for and what is more dear Reader, is that they have said that we can pick apples until we drop!  I have, of course, taken them up on that offer.  Oooh I am already planning endless crumbles, tarte tatins, jellies, apple butters, chutney……delicious….and it is not even National Apple Day (21st October).

Armed with an apple picker, Primrose, Poppy and I spent a glorious afternoon gathering apples and learning all about old English varieties of cookers and eaters.  Mrs Worthington is now known as ‘apple lady’ according to Poppy.  Trampling in and amongst the apple trees, I was reminded of why we moved to the countryside in the first place – a desire to lead a simpler life.  Well, Margot’s idea of a simpler life at any rate!  There will be no knitting of yoghurt here!  On a sunny day in September, it was heavenly to watch my own dear dots scrambling through the apple boughs and munching on their treasured finds.  At that moment, I could honestly not imagine anything better!  My mind is now full of ideas of growing my own mini orchard once we have tackled the jungle that is the garden.  Perhaps it was the talk of cider that got me thinking about my own apples and the need for an apple press?

What a beauty! Not sure this one made it to the basket...

What a beauty! Not sure this one made it to the basket…

With our baskets laden, we skipped home to cook an apple cake.  I know what you are thinking, dear Reader….MARGOT DOES NOT MAKE CAKES.  This is true.  However, the girls called for cake and I was desperate to use my new gadget.  All hail the miraculous apple peeler and thank the Lord for Nigel Slater who has a really easy cake recipe which even this baking criminal can manage!

Everyone needs one of these - believe me!

Everyone needs one of these – believe me! Go to Garden Trading and get one!

An edible cake!  Makes a change!

Edible! Makes a change!

Girls merrily scoffing cake, I had time to panic about the annual village Harvest lunch.  The form is that everyone makes something for the table and I have been asked to prepare a shepherd’s pie.  Nothing too extraordinary about that – shepherd’s pie is shepherd’s pie.  Well I think it is at any rate but you never know, the village might have an ancient pie tradition which I haven’t discovered as yet.  The real anxiety, resting pie issues to one side, is that in addition to the culinary part comes a request for a harvest floral display for the village church.  Oh dear!  I have been frantically researching autumn displays and wreaths for days now and I am still none the wiser.  Where is a local florist when you need one?  Do they not realise that I am townie and know nothing of arranging flowers?  At this rate, I might just have to hang apples from the church ceiling in a decorative fashion…….apple bobbing anyone?!

A little bit of news…..

Ooh little bubbles of gorgeousness!

Ooh little bubbles of gorgeousness!

Last weekend saw the Margot and Jerry brood visit the new digs in the countryside.  The current owners (a very sweet couple who have lived there for 13 years) invited us down to measure up and chat about the village.  With only 30 houses and a church, it is a close community and everyone knows each other.  I didn’t spy any twitching curtains but I was sure we were being vetted for our suitability! Jerry and I fell in love with the house and our new hamlet all over again and it was useful to talk through some of the practicalities of village life!  No mains gas or mains sewerage certainly will take some getting used to and I was thoroughly grateful for all the advice given on cess pits (it’s a whole other world having the contents of the loo in your garden!) and oil fired heating.

From loos to locals, Sunday lunch proved a success too as we tested out the nearest pub in the next village along.  Anywhere that can accommodate a small puppy and 2 little ones is a wonder in my book – there don’t seem to be many child friendly pubs in the countryside so this was a gem of a find and only a mile from the house!  Jerry and I could see ourselves propping up the bar happily or enjoying a swift half on a Sunday after church.  Everyone was very friendly and people actually said “Good afternoon” to each other – we were definitely far from London!  So far so good….village life was looking idyllic!

Well, dear Reader, we must have passed muster as we have FINALLY exchanged contracts on the new house!  Champagne all round!  Immense relief washed over us like a tsunami when we finally heard the news and both solicitor and agent contacted us to let us know that all was set for completion.  Jerry and I have been grinning like Cheshire cats ever since!  In 6 weeks’ time, we will be surrounded by boxes in the ‘new’ (well actually rather old…17th century) cottage in rural Hampshire.  Is the village ready for Margot and her capers?  Most certainly not.  Are we all set for leaving the Big Smoke?  Well, with a view like this literally a few yards from our front door, how could we not be ready to move to the country?!

The view a few yards from our new back door

Blissful buttercups and fields for miles and miles!