Posts Tagged ‘rosemary’

A walk around the garden (part 2)

In June, we walked around the garden and had a little look at everything, in anticipation of the changes that would come with summer. And they did. So last night, I thought, tomorrow I’ll do another walk around the garden, that’ll be nice.

And then it rained. And I walked anyway. So let’s go!

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Let’s start next to the back door. This is the cherry tree and that little stick above the leaf, the stick with nothing on the end of it. That held our entire cherry harvest for the year. Yep. One cherry. We have one little cherry. And it was stolen. I imagine it was a bird. Apparently they love cherries. It was unfair of them to take our only cherry though.

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Plums! Woop woop! These are doing pretty well at the moment. Its taken them a little while to get going but they’re looking good now.

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Tomatoes. I love when there are tomatoes at different stages of ripeness on the same bunch.

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This lavender plant has gone absolutely mad! During the day it is covered in bees and that makes me very happy.

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In between all the lavender plants is the lone rosemary bush. I love popping outside while cooking to grab some rosemary.

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More lavender.

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That beautiful mystery tree with the white flowers….? Yeh, it didn’t last long.

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The rain hasn’t done the flower corner any good 😦

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New petunias by the shed.

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More petunias!

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The new rhubarb plant! I got it from Ham House.

A walk around the garden (part 1)

Ok everyone. Let’s take a walk around the garden. I’m pretty proud of what’s going on there at the moment and should be surrounded by things to eat soon. The idea is that we will go for another walk around the garden in a month or so when everything has grown a bit more.

Let’s start by the back door. Immediately to our right, we have the new cherry tree, which I am massively excited about…

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Then a bit further along is the new plum tree that we bought the day we came back from Italy, to soften the blow of no longer being in Italy.

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Following the fence on the right hand side of the garden, we have the strawberry plants…

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…and the tomato plants….

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Inbetween the tomato plants and the lawn, near the rosemary bush, is the lavender plant, bursting out of its pot…

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…then at the end of the lawn is the mystery tree our neighbour gave us. We did figure it out and now I’ve forgotten what it’s called.

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My photographs didn’t turn out very well for the fuschia, the marigolds, the trailing lobelia or the pansies so you will just have to trust me that they are there and when we take another walk around, I’ll show you them.

M is for…

MY FIRST DAY AT HAM HOUSE!

Yesterday was a big day. If you read ‘B is for…‘ you’ll know that I had signed up to volunteer at Ham House and was yet to have my first day. Well, that day was yesterday. And it went fabulously.

I was scheduled to be shadowing another volunteer baker in the kitchen for the day but when I got there, unfortunately the lady I was due to be shadowing had been unable to make it so another plan was put in place for me.

As I was keen to get involved in any way, I agreed to the other plan and just kind of threw myself into it. I spent the morning with a room guide in the kitchen, learning about the history of the kitchen and chatting to visitors, getting used to the type of things they ask, etc.

The kitchen has a distinctly different feel to the rest of the house. Instead of looking at beautiful lacquered cabinets from afar or admiring wall hangings, the kitchen is about touching and feeling and getting involved. There are dishes all around the room holding herbs and spices. There are even a few rudimentary pestle and mortars where visitors can grind up some spices and smell the aromas which are released. The signs around the room say ‘please touch me’ and visitors are encouraged to pick up the food and smell. There was a ball of dough and a rolling pin for children to roll out and pretend to make bread.

Down the huge elmwood table which has been there since the 1600s, there are bowls of fresh vegetables and herbs which have been brought over from the garden. There was rhubarb and kale and Jerusalem artichokes and something called, I think, school’s honora. That’s what it sounded like anyway. I haven’t the foggiest idea where the name comes from.

My first half was spent in the kitchen talking about all this stuff to visitors. Then, on a quick tea break, I swotted up on 17th century herbology (that’s a word, right) and the second half of my day was spent making nosegays.

Now, before you burst into hysterical laughter, it is just a little posy. They had various names, at one point even being called ‘tussie-mussies’. The term nosegay comes from the idea that it makes a gay smell for one’s nose.

The gardens have recently had a trim so there was a glut of lavender and santolina…

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… so I brought handfuls of it down from the Still House, which smells AMAZING, by the way…

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… and worked away in the kitchen making my nosegays and giving them to the visitors.

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As washing wasn’t so popular in those days, a lot of people were quite stinky. There also wasn’t the sewerage systems we have now. So lots of things smelled bad. The nosegay would be tied to one’s lapel and when encountering a stinky situation, one could turn their head and bury their nose in their nosegay.

Different herbs and plants had different meanings so when someone gave you a little nosegay as a gift, the specific herbs they used meant something about their relationship with you. For example, lavender was for love, rosemary for rememberance, fennel for flattery, roses were to ‘rule me’, whatever that meant.

One of the others I remember was that marigolds were for marriage because I was talking to a lady who said she is getting married at Ham House next weekend and I joked that I would give her a nosegay with marigolds in for the occasion.

It was brilliant fun as people were constantly interested in what I was doing, asking me questions and taking the nosegays and smelling them. I felt like a fountain of knowledge, when in fact my knowledge had been gained over a fifteen minute tea break.

Anyway, my next day is Tuesday, when I will be shadowing a baker so will have more stories then too. Keep an eye out!

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Are you going to Scarborough Fair? – No!

It’s Wednesday so it’s over to the guest blogger again for a visit to Scarborough…

I suppose the title gives it away. Yep, I visited Scarborough. I didn’t go to the fair and I didn’t see one. I didn’t see any parsley, sage, rosemary or thyme and no-one lives there who’s a true love of mine!

Let’s start with the accommodation: a Youth Hostel (means any age allowed, in fact). Here’s the approach road (lane?) and the hostel at the far end.
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Arriving somewhat hungrily around 5pm, I decided to go for the full monty and booked an evening meal and a breakfast for the morning to go along with my plush bunk bed. Both were well cooked and I enjoyed someone else cooking for me. There were two of us for evening meal; the rest self-catered or went to the nearby pub. My co-eater, it turned out, was a cyclist down from Tyneside to do some trips out on the Moors. This 70 year old had cycled over 35 miles up hill and down dale that day!

So if I didn’t go to the fair, had I found it, and I didn’t get any spices, why was I there?

It’s a story that goes back over 200 years. I’m doing some family history research and have traced a set of great-great-great grandparents to an address in Scarborough. Now just so you get the idea on these relatives think of this: biologically, we each have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 great-great grandparents & 32 great-great-great grandparents. So I’ve found 2 of those 32! I had an address from the Census of 1841 and I wanted to see if anything remained of the area or even the street. Also I wondered if there might be any other local info about the time when they lived there.

My research day started with a walk from the Youth Hostel up the hill to the bus stop. I arrived in plenty of time and checked with the local who was already there that I was on the correct side of the road for where I wanted to go. The bus route was a circular one so I wanted to make sure I was not going to go the long way round. Then surprise, surprise we just started talking and ended up talking the whole time we were waiting for the bus to arrive. Seems like a friendly place I thought.

Once I’d arrived in the town centre, my first stop was the library for the academic research. I gave the lady in the library the name I was looking for and told her that I’d rung about 18 months ago to make some inquiries. She said she remembered the call! When I sounded surprised she said the name I’d asked about was very unusual for the town and that’s why she remembered it. I had a good 3 hours digging about in the old records and then set off for some sight-seeing looking for some of the places which would have been familiar to my distant relatives.

First stop was street where the folks from long ago lived. It was still there although the original housing has gone. However some features are still there and it was interesting to see that the steps leading to the upper part of town and to the church where they got married are still there. They must have walked them many times. It somehow felt as if I had some connection although I’d never been there before and no-one in the family knew of this link to Scarborough all those years ago.
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This picture is Edwardian so is about 60 years later than when my ancestors were there but it gives a feel for the place. This upper part of the street is called Church Stairs St. for obvious reasons. The original flight of steps dates back to the 14th cent but they were replaced later with stone and there are 199 of them. Why didn’t they make one more? Just off the bottom of the picture the street crosses a junction and on the other side becomes St Mary’s St which is the street where my far off ancestors lived for a while. Here’s a present day view of the lower part of the street.
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Using the birth records of their children, I know they moved out of this street to London some time between 1841-1846. It seems they moved there to find work and settled on the western side of Isle of Dogs. The street they lived in there is described as “a narrow way with a lay-by to enable two carts to pass each other; it was little more than an access to the iron works on either side.” That has to be narrow if they had to make a lay-by for carts to pass each other. And it has to be for very poor families. I looked on an old map of the area and it looked like living on an industrial estate between two factories. Anyway I stood in St Mary’s St for a few minutes just thinking about the conditions they left and what they thought they were going to and what I know they might have found in such an industrial area. I saw this plaque on the wall of a far newer property in the street where they had lived. I wondered if their parents had possibly heard the man himself preach.
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John Wesley had preached at a chapel on the site 14 times between 1759-1790. It means he must have visited the town a number of times as he travelled extensively about the country on horseback. Sometimes he preached in the fields outside of towns because some churches would not let him into their pulpits and sometimes because there were just too many people to fit inside one building.

I went up to St Mary’s Church at the top of the steps, in the old pic, and made my way to the grave yard where I sat down on a bench seat to take in the view across the bay. I ate my sandwiches and looked at the grave I’d sat next to.
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And here’s the transcription as the original gravestone was badly decayed
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As you can see by the correction on the plain slate version, the original stone mason actually carved the wrong age for Anne. She was born 17.1.1820 & died 28.5.1849 so was definitely 29 years old not 28 as on the original stone. Interesting. Anne wrote the two novels Agnes Grey (which I’ve not read) & The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (which I have, and it’s good).

The Brontës endured tragedy after tragedy. Look below at the ages at death of their mother Maria and all six children:

Maria, mother of 6 Brontë children, aged 38 (Sep 1821)
Maria, aged 11 (6th June 1825)
Elizabeth, aged 10 (15th June 1825)
Branwell, aged 31 (Sep 1848)
Emily, aged 30 (Dec 1848)
Anne, aged 29 (May 1849)
Charlotte, aged almost 39 (Mar 1855)

So in the space of 8 short months Charlotte, having already lost her mother in 1821 & 2 sisters in the space of 10 days in 1825, lost two more of her sisters and brother in the period 1848-9; she survived them by just 6 years. Charlotte’s husband, Arthur Bell Nicholls, lived to 3rd Dec 1906 surviving Charlotte by 51 years!
In this next pic, look at where the church decided to put the refreshments notice. Yep, that’s right, next to the most visited grave of the most famous person in the graveyard! I couldn’t help feeling it looked out of place and perhaps shouldn’t have been there.
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I did, though, go and look inside the church, where my ancestors married, and then ended up buying a cup of tea and scone and chatting to the two ladies serving. I wondered if some kind of subliminal message had reached me from that notice in the graveyard! It was here that I got my old photo postcard. As I walked back down the hill I came to this scene and fully expected the sea gulls to fly away as I approached. They didn’t. It meant I got close enough for this photo. As I went into the shop just to the left of the blue car, I was surprised to hear a voice say, “I hope you’re not disturbing my friends.”

Friends? Yes apparently the lady who owns the shop has been feeding one of these birds since he was a baby! He comes every day, sometimes with a friend, to get some food from her. She calls them her “boys”. I’m not that good on determining the gender of gulls so I didn’t know if they were “boys” or “girls”. I’ll bet she shop lady is not popular with the car owners. Remember the post about bird droppings; the birds are standing on a silver car and silver formed only 3% of car colours which get hit. They appear to have ignored the blue one and yet blue comes second in the table of colours most hit. Perhaps my photo disproves the theory although when I looked at the roofs they hadn’t done any droppings so I wasn’t sure what to conclude.
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As I walked back towards the town centre I saw this little alleyway with its name carved into the stone arch. I’ve not seen that done before. Didn’t seem like a route to be taken during the hours of darkness even today. Despite its name implying some delusion of grandeur (palace) I did wonder just what kind of life existed in alleyways like this 200 years ago.
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A little bit further back into the town centre, at the top of the cliffs overlooking the beach was this.
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To the right of the pic is the steeply-angled railway down to the beach and here is one of the carriages. It’s called a cliff railway or funicular railway.
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Here’s the entrance just to the right of the picture above. Thanks to Wikipedia for this one as mine didn’t come out.
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And so it was time to hit the road. I had to return to the Youth Hostel to pick up my gear and drive home. It had been a good day. I liked Scarborough. I will go back.

A book and free time

I was away on holiday recently. It was nice. There was sun (sometimes), a swimming pool, a lovely group of people and some children to liven the mood, lots of water parks, beaches, shops, restaurants. All the stuff that you do for fun on holiday.

Except that I didn’t really need any of those things. I just need a good book and to not have anything to do. I’m quite self conscious about my type of fun, as it’s a bit antisocial and doesn’t involve screaming and laughing and splashing around in cold water, playing water polo or something. It doesn’t make me look like much fun.

While the others ran toward the oncoming waves and squealed and ran back when the freezing water hit them, and laughed together, I sat on a towel with a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories and had the time of my life. I don’t hate running in and out of the water, it’s quite good fun sometimes. I also like sitting in a cafe with an espresso (at no other time in my life do I drink espressos, in fact I really dislike the taste of coffee. I think I do it in cafes when I’m in public to feel grown up). I like taking a lovely walk down the twisty roads, seeing the trees and rosemary bushes and wildlife. All these things I like doing. But if I’m totally, truly honest with myself, I don’t actually need any of those things. I just need a good book and a place to sit and to have nothing on my mind (hence, I did zero studying on holiday…).

So they ran in and out of the water, shivered, laughed, played together. I took photos from my vantage point on the towel and read the Pat Hobby stories. It’s not that I don’t like people, but I spend the whole year being force-fed big fat textbooks and cases and statutes and no time for choosing something nice to read. So when I’m away from the textbooks, that’s what I most want to do.

Until recently, I would just wait and read later and spend more time doing group things, things that are fun together. But I read a book about being honest with yourself about the things you find fun and that’s what I find fun.

I’m not about to forgo hot air balloon rides over the desert or mountain trekking in exotic places, in the name of reading books, because that’s ‘my’ type of fun! I’d like to think I still do exciting things, but in a more everyday way, I’d just like a book and free time please.

P.S. 15 days till first exam. Today’s revision topic is Constitution in Equity and Trusts Law.