Friday, 19 August 2016

Sturgeon Moon

sunset through corn After such a rainy summer where a lack of allotment attendance has meant an overgrown array of mares tail, grass and an ochre carpet of bee and hoverfly attracting nasturtiums, there was a surprising amount of homegrown goodies hiding amongst the vegetation to take home:

  • French beans
  • Borlotti beans
  • Glorious orange gladioli
  • A pumpkin already fallen off its stalk
  • Beetroot
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Courgette
After dispatching the bounty into the car I was able to take a walk around the plots as the sun dipped and buttery light streamed across the corn tassels. Still blue skies but twilight creeping in from under the railway bridge and across the vegetable patches. Sunflowers reaching for the last sunbeams before the shadows take over.

gladioli on the allotment nasturtiums on the allotment allotment late summer sunflower against the sky white foxglove dusk at the allotment pumpkin allotment boy The leeks have flowered adding a row of full stops to a strip of bare soil that once grew early potatoes and tansy from a Medieval Fayre has softened the edges with its medicinal yellow 'bitter buttons'. Once used as a strewing herb on the floors to keep the flies away, it does indeed have a strong camphorous smell. Folkore says it will keep monsters away so we gathered some to take home to see if it works......onion flowers and tansy sweetpeas Walking to the plots at the far end to admire a profusion of sunflowers in all sizes and past sweet peas climbing a trellis, I looked up and saw the full moon all aglow, low in the sky just above the rooftops. A sturgeon moon, so called as it marks the time when the fish can be readily caught.

One of those moments where you feel at ease, just in awe of such a majestic sight and the connection of everything from the little seeds that I sow to the tiny moths I disturb as I brush through the grass and the heady scent in the air of late summer.
dusky sky and sunflowers full moon over the allotment yellow dahlias night creeps in at the allotment orange full moon

Joining in with Mammasaurus for How Does Your Garden Grow?

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Quarry Park Shrewsbury: a bridge, bells and boats

A Walk in the Park book Quarry Park Shrewsbury

The River Severn runs through Quarry Park in Shrewsbury, the river itself drawing people to this area of town for centuries and due to its popularity as a walk by the well-to-do, the Mayor in 1719 had over 400 lime trees planted along these promenades. 

Throughout the 19th century the park grew, more pathways, the addition of benches for the genteel and those statues so typical of the Victorian worthies. The Shrewsbury Horticultural Society held its first show in The Quarry in 1875 and still does to this day.

Across the sprawling grass field where dogs run after sticks, couples sun bathe and children kick footballs is St Chad's Church with its rounded tower. It's a great experience to hear the bells ringing and to sit on the field with a cup of coffee from the kiosk (or make your own at home I then start to rhapsodise about change ringing and telling whoever will listen about the joys of pulling the ropes. A colourful fair is pitched up too for the thrill seekers but we are quite content with the football and a bag of snacks. 
coffee in the park playing ball in the park chilling in the parkUpon getting restless we went for a walk across the Porthill Bridge over the looping river by grand houses with small boats moored off pretty jetties. A popular pub, The Boathouse is on the other side, alive with people on the flowery terrace. Standing on the bridge, which being of the suspension variety does vibrate a fair bit much to the delight of the kids, we watched a dog having fun playing fetch into the river. Go on, one more time. Splash! Park watching, it's an entertainment. Even the statue of Hercules couldn't help but muster a tiny smile (well maybe) despite being ridiculed in his party hat.River Severn at Shrewsbury riverside houses Shrewsbury walking through the park fairground   Porthill Bridge Shrewsbury love locks on a bridge River Severn through Quarry Park playing football in the park
kick the ball sat in the park view of St Chad's church Shrewsbury St Chad's Shrewsbury Hercules in a party hat

Quarry Park is in Shrewsbury town centre and there is nearby parking. On site there is a children's play area, an ice cream van usually in attendance and a coffee kiosk. Throughout the year there are many events held here such as the World Championship coracle boat racing in September.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Degustabox July

Degustabox July
Degustabox July was a summer box of refreshing drinks and treats for the warm days and evenings. First to try were....

Berrywhite organic drinks, cranberry and guava, lemon and ginger. These were really nice, made with sparkling spring water with no added sugar. The cranberry flavour was my favourite and great as a summer drink.
Berrywhite organic drinks
Berrywhite drinks

Seabrooks Lattice Heroes Crisps £1.99, vegetarian chorizo flavour and gluten free. Really tasty and eaten all at once on our travels.
Seabrook Lattice Food heroes
Jordan's Swiss Style Muesli £2.79
Crispy wheat flakes, oats, raisins and finely sliced almonds with no added sugar. I don't eat muesli and cereal in the morning but have it for lunch or an afternoon snack. This was a nice mix and I'd try it again if I saw it on offer.
Jordans Swiss style muesli

Bahlsen Choco Leibniz biscuits 4 x 40p
A favourite anyway in our household particularly with my son. The chocolate is so moreish and these handy small packs were great to pop into my bag.

Rejuvenation Water £1.99
A refreshing drink made with Derbyshire spring water. I had the Spanish Orange flavour which was lovely but they are in apple and mint plus ginger flavours too.
Spanish orange water
Brookside chocolates £3.40
Now these were divine. I was really enjoying them until my son found them and pinched them off me. Exotic fruit and berry flavours blended with dark chocolate. I really hope I come across these again in the supermarket.
Blueberry chocolates

Rowntree's Fruit Pastille Infusions £1.29
I don't eat jelly sweets but I'm reliably informed by my two young testers that these were rather nice. 3 flavour fusions - orange & grapefruit, raspberry & pomegranate, apple & elderflower. No artificial flavours, preservatives or colours, super for keeping them happy on the summer car journeys. 
Felix Gerkins £2.15
Skips and dances and eats gherkins, I love these. Boo hiss if you don't. These gherkins are handpicked in Sweden. HallĂ„!  Crunchy and sweet with added spices, I've been adding these to my salads. 
bottle of gherkins

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins 2 x £1
Harvested from South Korea's clear seas and naturally full of iodine, zinc, iron and B12. Very low in calories and a great addition to salads, all sorts of savoury foods or as a snack. Not one for us and I'd prefer seaweed products more locally sourced like what we see in Pembrokeshire.
Crispy seaweed thins
Sarson's Balsamic Vinegar £1.99
A full bodied Modena balsamic vinegar for salads and dipping. Really tangy and multiple uses from making dressings or adding to stews. 
Sarson's Balsamic Vinegar

Cracker drinks £1.50
Pineapple, coconut and lime juice that has no added sugar and was lovely. Less than 90 calories per serving so not too bad as a drink even though I'm on a diet. Be great to add some chopped fruit too, to make an non alcoholic punch. 
Cracker drinks

ALO Drink £2.45
A curious drink with blobs of aloe vera in it so quite a strange sensation but not a bad taste. 

Degustabox is a great way of trying out new food products each month, it become a surprise that we look forward to, what exciting treats will we find. It's well worth trying out and you can do at a reduced price, use the code BLDEG15 for £7 off.

*I received a box for the purpose of the review, words are my own honest opinion. 

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Allotment community

allotment plot with sunflower It's a dark rainy summer's day, the dampness perpetuates and thoughts of lighting a fire at home spring to mind. But in the spirit of a true allotmenteer I head over to see the hardy bunch at a site in Cheshire for it is their annual open day and I wouldn't miss a chance to see prized flowers, onion rows and a gaggle of scarecrows for the world.Union Jack scarecrow summer feathery flower Through rain soaked arches of scrambling blush roses and pathways of puddles, the rich tapestry of allotment life was enough to cheer and forget the wet feet. Each plot with a different style, some ordered and meticulous, some wild and rambling, others devout to vegetable growing and others a garden of herbaceous perennials and bee attracting colourful annuals like allotment flower grower cat allotment plot number The quirky characters of allotment holders show in their plots, the colour of the shed, the amusing signs, the planting schemes and preferences but all meet in the community area for a cup of tea and a natter.salvia Onions growing at the allotment It's a neighbourhood of colourful rows of lettuce interspersed by pillars of climbing beans with orange flowers and nasturtiums rambling up sheds and pallets. Flags flutter, sunflowers sway and a hive of bees get on with their hard work despite the frequent heavy rain showers.Allotment plot 10 burnt orange echinacea yellow calendula allotment cafe bees Roses By tilled soil and watering can, pathways flanked with glossy leaved sweetcorn, polytunnels filled with ripening tomatoes, there is pride and camaraderie. A bag of spuds shared, a jar of rhubarb jam passed over the wire fence. By the allotment cafe, books were being sold and there was snail racing, a plant stall with peppers and flowers, much chatter amongst the hum of insects and happiness. This is were I am happy. By the plots and the people that tend to them.pretty allotment plot Polytunnel on the allotment allotment path

Joining in with How Does Your Garden Grow? at Mammasaurus.