"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 23 January 2015

Baddesley Clinton, Blanket Progress Update, Books and Baking

We were in Dorridge last Tuesday running an errand for E and decided to stop off at Baddesley Clinton on the way home for a walk around the grounds. It was a beautiful sunny day but still freezing cold. The long entrance drive to the house itself passes through parkland and I saw my first Redwings of the year - dozens and dozens of them were foraging on the pasture. Sorry no photos I'd make the foolish mistake of leaving the Canon at home :(

Camelias were flowering - well in advance of ours at home that are only just developing buds.

The moat surrounding the house had a coating of ice.

The woodland walk was closed

so we walked round the lake.

Snowdrops were coming into flower.

Male and

female hazel catkins in the hazel grove.

I spotted a few Hellebores in one of the borders.

A nice selection of cakes in the cafe :)

We opted for Chocolate cake - although I have to say it wasn't as fresh as it could have been and I ended up wishing I had had the soup.

I am still plodding on with the blanket of squares I am knitting for D's bed - I am hoping to make it as big as the fleece he uses as a cover in winter which he's had for donkey's years. The good news is - I think I am just over half way there. Looks a bit rough and ready at the minute but once its eventually sewn together and all the loose ends tidied up, it should look a lot better. I doubt if it will be finished for this winter though but I'll post a photo in a few months when its finally finished.

Those who read my blog regularly may recall how I regretted not buying a jug from a stall in Ludlow when we visited early in December so I was thrilled to receive as a Christmas present from D one of the jugs. He had gone back and bought one whilst I was looking round the church. Its the larger of the two (the harebell design) in the photo below. Its an example of Heron Cross Pottery - the company was formed around 1876 and earthenware is still made today by traditional methods in Stoke on Trent. The other jug in the photo is also from Heron Cross pottery and is one I've had for years (I bought it from a local antiques fayre) and I call it my "Blue Lady" jug. The design is entitled "Walking Woods" and was designed to illustrate a poem entitled "Dreaming of Spring" by Jessie M E Saxby.

I've just finished reading the most beautiful book - "A Blackbird's Year - Mind in Nature" (for those of you with Kindles it is only £1.99 on Amazon at the moment). To quote the description on Amazon "A Blackbird's Year was written on foot while reading nature's story. Through rich and intense imagery, the writer dissolves into the local landscape with the writing itself shaping a creative consideration of the mind in nature. Bounded by the blackbird's song, this is a story unearthing a unity of life, mind and nature. For a journey of discovery is not just to wild landscapes but finding wilderness in simple places close to home". Miles Richardson, the author, uses quotes from Richard Jefferies (one of my favourite authors) at the start of each chapter.

I bought "Wolf Hall" a few years ago and have never got round to reading it. I started to read it about a week ago in a complete panic as I suddenly realised the tv series was about to start. I am quite happy to watch tv series and films after reading the book but I just loathe reading books once I've seen a dramatised version. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to finish reading the book (its around 650 pages) but at least I am keeping ahead of the tv series. I thought the first episode was excellent and Mark Rylance as Cromwell was just brilliant. I think the series will also include material from "Bringing up the Bodies" but I doubt if I will get that finished as well!! Silbury Hill was a Christmas present to myself and I can't wait to start this book.

E and I are having a little baking competition - she is working her way through the Rachel Allen book - she tends to start at the beginning of the cook book and religiously cook every recipe from start to end. I've been using the Mary Berry baking book and tend just to pick recipes at random. I've done about a dozen recipes so far and they have all been excellent - her traybakes are really delicious.

Today I made these Double Chocolate Cookies - the recipe made 36 (I think there are now about a dozen left and they were meant to fill the biscuit tin for a week!).


John Wooldridge said...

The ground at Baddesly look very nice Robin, and the book A Blackbirds year looks like one for the list, although I'll be looking out for a proper book.

Ragged Robin said...

John Wooldridge - Thanks John. A Blackbird's Year is well worth the read (yes, I would have preferred a proper book too!! - but have the Kindle to save book shelf space!!). Hope you buy a copy and enjoy it as much as I did :)

Countryside Tales said...

That house is beautiful and I love the moat :o) I read Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies and thought both were brilliant. Mark Rylance is doing a grand job as Cromwell. That cake looked lovely, shame it wasn't up to scratch but it sounds like your biscuits certainly were! Liking the blanket too :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Many thanks CT. Fighting a losing battle trying to finish Wolf Hall - could kick myself now for not reading it when I bought it!

amanda peters said...

Lovely post, lovely place to visit, and love the jugs. Have missed getting a photo of female hazel catkins, there is a patch of young hazel trees at the park so will take a look. The Blackbird book would be my kinda book to read.
You do get up to a lot of lovely things.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. I only found the female hazel flowers on the one tree - the one with the most developed catkins. The Blackbird book is really lovely - it follows the year month by month so now I've read the whole book I will reread the relevant chapter each month. It was one of those books I didn't want to finish reading!

Chris Rohrer said...

Your desserts always look so tasty. Nice walks followed by tea and dessert:) Have fun with the baking competition:)

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris :)

Deb said...

What a beautiful old house and a lovely place to visit. I really enjoyed Wolf Hall, but i haven't read Bring up the Bodies yet. A Blackbirds Year looks good too. Your cookies look scrummy.:-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much. I go to Baddesley Clinton quite a lot so hopefully there will be more posts later in the year. I'm up to page 347 now in Wolf Hall (am really enjoying it) but I expect the tv series later this evening will overtake where I've got up too!