My Blog List

Friday, 24 September 2010


We recently returned from a walk around Forcett with a carrier bag full of potatoes. This was the loot from a trudge across a recently harvested potato field . False and unfair are the accusations heaped upon us by RH, of potato rustling on a major scale in the north and blaming us for shortages in the south and so causing the near starvation of thousands of children!!! Let them eat chips, we say!)
Unfortunately the potatoes only taste good because they were free and have lashings of butter on them. That's a shame for us but a bigger one for you because you are probably going to be paying for their big brothers in a supermarket near you all winter.
The blackberries and elderberries are now dealt with for this year and our fingers are returning to their normal colour.
So we took ourselves off to Saltburn on the train. A grand day out for £6.30 each return. Some fish and chips and a ride on the cliff lift. Yes and no. The lift is closed until Easter so we walked down and up again.
The tide was well out and there was a lot of weed washed up, so the coalmen had to scrape it aside to forage the seacoal which they shovel up into sacks. This couple happily filled a few carriers as well. Our foraging nature has led us to enquire how it can be used at home. Can we make our own "Saltburn Nuts"? When we were young the coalman delivered "Welsh Nuts" to our home to keep the hot water boiler burning, because London in living required the smokeless fuel of the anthracite coal from south Wales.

We have seen this seacoal gathered commercially to be used in the furnaces in the steel works on Teesside but how can it be used domestically?
The weather is starting to change and cooler temperatures are here. Such a supply of fuel could be very welcome.
Cheers Gillian

Thursday, 16 September 2010


A quick and easy bike ride for us, is along the bridle path, a short way up Brusselton Hill. There is the remains of a derelict garden beside the path and although it is very overgrown, raspberries, blackberries and apples are to be found. Also, not far from us near the village of Gainford, the footpaths are lined with blackberry bushes and near Headlam Hall, "unclaimed" apple trees can easily be accessed.
So to work! A blackberry and apple crumble was made for that day. Blackberries were washed and dried and frozen. Then raspberries from the freezer, fresh blackberries and scrumped apples were boiled till good and mushy and then strained through muslin.
Then the juice was boiled up with sugar to make Hedgerow Jelly.

The apples were then peeled and cut up into two batches of chutney. One with green tomatoes and one with spices and chillies.
DJ made some smart labels and now all the jars are looking for homes. We shall use plenty ourselves, but this xmas will provide an opportunity for emptying the cupboard a bit.
The elderberries were just ripening and looked so pretty in the sunshine that I'm tempted to harvest some of them and make stuff....but what? Any ideas or recipes?
Cheers Gillian

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Tale of Two Brollies

We have just come back from a week in Brittany. Fabulous food, plentiful drink, beautiful scenery and great company. The weather was gorgeous too. One day my sister went out on the boat with her charming, red parasol.
She showed me it later and said that she didn't know where it had come from but she thought it might be mine. We visit one another and have been known to leave belongings behind.
"Oh Yes!" I cried, "it is mine. In fact it is the red umbrella which is the picture I use on my Blog Title". DJ was not so sure. He couldn't work out how it could have travelled so far without us remembering. He was sure he had seen mine very recently at home.
My sister handed it over and we returned to England with it. DJ accepted a £5 wager with me, that it was indeed mine. It was so distinctive and rare, it could only be my precious red umbrella.
The first thinjg I did on returning home was check the umbrella hook......

I am now £5 poorer but have two identical red umbrellas. My sister is happy that one day she will get the other one back. But it isn't hers. She admits she doesn't know where it came from. Mine is the one on the right but how can I tell?

Has anyone out there lost a red umbrella? Can you explain how it got into my sister's house in Dorset? Why do both of us have the same favourite umbrella? Has anyone else got one just like this?
Cheers Gillian