Sunday, August 17, 2008

Time for Tea

Of course the poem I had in mind when setting the hands on this clock was not Hickory Dickory Dock at all, but Rupert Brooke's Grantchester with its final evocative line ...

"Stands the church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?"

Thinking of honey, there has been a lot of publicity lately about the mystery honey bee illness that has been decimating hives across America and now there are fears that it might have reached Britain. I was talking to a local bee keeper last week and thankfully there are no signs of problems in our locality as yet, and hopefully never.

Certainly the bees have been busy these last few weeks in the gaps between rainfall. First the lavender which thrives in the hot and (normally) sunny garden at the front of the house, and lately they have been drawn to the ice-plants which are just coming into flower. They are so funny to watch on these, they seem to adore the nectar, becoming drowsy and heavy, hardly able to summon the strength to lift themselves in flight!

Of course the ice-plants flowering is the signal that summer, such as it has been this year, will soon be over and autumn will be upon us. I love autumn, the whiff of woodsmoke on the wind as everyone begins to tidy their gardens, the first chill in the air and the woods just edged in gold. But I do hope we see something of summer first! I was asked to paint some beach huts for a local shop to feature on some bags ....
And then I considered all our usual summer treats that have sadly been few and far between this year ... eating in the gazebo, with the starlight and the moon and our delicate Japanese lanterns strung from the trees in festive fashion .... hot summer afternoons swinging gently in the stripey hammock .... sand between my toes and in the sandwiches at the beach ... but maybe September will be fine - there's still time...

Rosie returns from her gap year in three weeks time, it's hard to believe she's been away since January, the time has passed so quickly. She's spent the last few weeks in Thailand, and has ridden elephants, stroked tigers and enjoyed beach parties under a full moon. Returning to England may well be a shock to the system, but it will be wonderful to see her again. She's requested large quantities of Galaxy chocolate, and Mum's roast dinner to celebrate her return!

In the summer I often roast new potatoes with rosemary from the garden and will leave you with this easy recipe ...

You need a nice hot oven. Put your new potatoes (cut them in half if they're large) into a plastic bag with a tablespoon of olive oil, chopped rosemary (garlic too if you like), some sea salt and cracked black pepper, then squidge around in the bag until they're nicely coated. Tip onto a heavy baking tray and roast for 30 mins. Turn over and leave a bit longer if needed - and that's it. Lovely cold too - good to take on picnics (but watch out for marauding newfies - they adore them!). Happy days indeed!


CAMILLA said...

Hello Ellie,

A truly wonderful post.

I do so love those lines by the wonderful poet Rupert Brooke which I happened to come upon many moons ago now, sad that he died soo young.

Love your drawings of Happy Days, and you have such gorgeous products too.

I too adore the Autumn it is one of my favourite seasons of the year, the different shades of leaves on the tree's, the crisp chill in the air and the wearing of all those beautiful Autumn colours.

Enjoy all the time with your daughter when she returns home for the gap year Ellie, takes me back to when my son was at Uni, missed him dreadfully.


Faith said...

Lovely blog, very evocative. Must try that recipe my mouth started watering!

My Em goes away for at least 3 months in Sept so I will have empty nest syndrome too.

lampworkbeader said...

Delightful blog. I've got massses of lovely new potatoes at the moment. I'll try your recipe, the picture looks so yummy.

Sally's Chateau said...

Now why hadn't I thought to pop it all in a bag instead of getting my hands greasy all the time ? Hope you get to feel some warm sand between your toes before the Autumn arrives !

Blossomcottage said...

Lovely blog Ellie, and beautiful paintings, I too am a great fan of the roasted new potatoes.
Enjoy you time with your daughter you will have loads to talk about.
Love Blossom

Pipany said...

Mmm, we had roasted new pots last night Ellie but I did them with sage - will try your rosemary suggestion next time. Why didn't I think of the bag idea? So brilliant!. Lovely blog xx

Pipany said...

oh i meant to say that my daughter Lauren has just got back from Thailand after spending a month there through a gap year organisation - she loved it x

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