Thursday, 30 June 2011

Evening sunshine

We have passed the longest day now so little by little the evenings are getting shorter. We have been making the most of the longer daylight with some late evening walks.

I have been taking my camera, trying to capture the golden light.

We have had several very calm still evenings with no breeze and cloudless skies.

These photographs were taken at the Silchester, as we walked along the walls which once surrounded a busy roman town.

It is strange to think that hundreds of years ago people could well have stood watching the sunset at this very spot.

Now there is no visible sign of the town and inside the circle of the walls there is just one house and the church in the photograph below. However aerial photographs, particularly if taken during dry summers show the grid pattern of the buildings and streets that were here all that time ago.

There is a good photograph in this guide.

Today it is a very peaceful place to watch the sunset.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Woodland - June

Over a month since I last took some photographs of the woodland and even on a very sunny afternoon it was shadier and felt more closed in than last month.

The path is almost overgrown.

The remains of the bluebells can still be seen in places

but many other plants have grown up in their place.

 Lots of brambles


and ferns. So many different shades of green on the woodland floor

and looking up to the trees overhead.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Elderflower cordial recipe

For Heather who asked about the recipe for elderflower cordial.

I followed this recipe in Red magazine.  I made half the quantity as it contains a lot of sugar and is very sweet - not a very healthy drink but a lovely summer treat.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A photo catch-up

I haven't posted in a while so here is a pictorial record of life around here recently. We've had rain but before that the dry summer weather seemed to suit the elderflowers, there were masses of fragrant flowers this year. This is the first time I've made elderflower cordial, the smell of the flowers soaking with lemon slices in the sugar syrup filled the kitchen.

I took the opportunity to buy these rather smart bottles instead of using old jam jars. The flavour of the finished cordial was lovely and there are only two bottles left now!

Before the grey and the rain we had some lovely still summer evenings.

I've taken lots of pictures of the wild flowers,

daisies and vetch

wild orchids

and more daisies.

Lastly, a visit to the little lake,

a peaceful walk,

we weren't the only ones enjoying the sunshine,

such an amazing bright blue.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Fields of Linseed

A few of the fields around the village are looking very pretty at the moment.  This is linseed and the flowers are a very pale blue. They don't seem to photograph very well and taking pictures in the sun makes them appear white.

The flowers open fully only when the sun is out, at the end of the day the fields turn green again.  The flowers face the sun and follow it through the day.

They look pretty from underneath as the sun shines through the petals

but the blue colour and veining on the petals is seen when they are viewed face on.

Linseed is also known as flax but the varieties grown here are grown for the oil in the seeds and so are more commonly called linseed. Older varieties which were taller (1 - 1.2 metres) and known as flax were grown for their fibre which was processed to produce linen. Flax is no longer grown for fibre in the UK on a commercial scale.

I found a little history of flax growing here and a timeline of flax through history here.

The amount of flax grown for fibre in the UK increased during both World Wars when Britain needed to be more self sufficient, I wonder if as the price of oil rises and transport costs increase, flax will be grown again in Britain for fibre as well as growing linseed for oil.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

A London walk

I bought this book, Walk London, as a little birthday present to myself back in March. I am really a country girl at heart but I enjoy an occasional visit to our capital city. However as I don't know my way around we can often wander aimlessly not sure where to go and then we end up tired of walking around and not seeing much outside the main tourist attractions.

This book has 15 short walks and seemed a good way to explore new-to-me parts of the city.  Each walk starts and finishes at an underground station, useful for a country bumpkin like myself! Walk no. 14 caught my eye - A Pirates Path to Docklands - starting at Tower Hill and ending at Canary Wharf. 

We walked under Tower Bridge and enjoyed coffee in the luxurious surroundings of St Katherines Docks.

Luxury and money were themes throughout the day as the Thames Path passes some very exclusive apartments between Tower Bridge

and Canary Wharf.

I had seen these buildings from afar

but this was the first time I'd seen them close up. The whole area around Canary Wharf was very smart and extremely clean.

These trees had been tidied up with some very severe pruning

interesting to see shadows of almost leafless trees in midsummer.

We wandered around the smart streets and then went below ground to see all the shops. I hadn't realised that there were streets of shops and restaurants all underground. It felt a little claustrophobic, not somewhere I would want to stay too long and I felt sorry for the people working in the shops completely cut off from daylight for the whole working day.

At the end of the day I was glad to leave the city behind and return home but I look forward to trying out a few more of the walks in the book.