Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Summer Pleasures

The obliging Johnny Jump Ups are still flowering their little hearts out

Time to hang the fairy lanterns and slap on the mosquito repellent for long evenings in the garden
And fill all the buckets with hydrangeas for impromptu flower arrangements
The summer break is a good time to catch up with old and not so old dear friends.  On New Year’s Day (after a riotous party the night before where alarmed onlookers were treated to a vigorous swing dancing demonstration), Lord and Lady Raglan’s magnificent hospitality left us feeling as though we didn’t need to eat for a week or so afterwards.  (Possibly this was in part due to the fact that Lord and Lady Raglan and Los Valentinos were engaged in vigorous activity, sailing and kayaking and other such exhausting pastimes while Mr Shoestring and myself chose to loll around in the sun reading.)  A couple of days later there was a get together The Dancing Queen and her King, sitting outside in the twilight at Shoestring Cottage eating and drinking and making merry.  Another evening  we soaked up the last rays of the dying sunshine on the newly created deck at The Peaceable Kingdom while we watched the rabbits and sheep frolic round together.  These happy reunions are the things which make the summer holidays so special.  
Last weekend Madame La Poste called in, weighed down with treasures. That lady has an unerring instinct as to what will elicit cries of delight and also she gladly volunteers the information that the colours which appeal to me often don't do anything for her, hence the addition to my treasure trove of this adorable pansy doyley
The colours are a bit "autumnal" for Madame La Poste, who prefers a brighter "spring" palette - how fortunate for me.  And look at those wonderful mother of pearl buttons, too large and luscious to use really.
The colours on this embroidered hand towel were perfect for Madame La Poste, but fortunately she had a pair and was generous enough to donate one to me.  
This little Scotty will make a wonderful charm on a charm bracelet.  You can't see it (because of my poor photagraphy skills), but he has a twinkling little eye, just like a real Scotty.  
The festive season is all very well of course, but there is that rather bilious and overindulged feeling which creeps up on one after the holiday season.  Resolutions about exercising more and eating and drinking less come to the forefront of one’s mind (if only for a brief moment).  I have posted a delicious recipe for a refreshing soup this week, it is full of chilli and ginger which are reputed to have good properties in these situations (good for digestion and .  Do try it, though it is healthy it really is very moreish too – so much so that poor Mr Shoestring only had a very meagre portion when I cooked some up last weekend.  If you are not yet in the right frame of mind for a detox and are still battling your way through the last of the ham, there is a recipe for using that up too.  With the addition of some asparagus (last of the season probably) you will at least be getting some of your veges.  The asparagus season is so short, we need to make the most of it. 

Stores of seeds running dangerously low, send for reinforcements!
The seed raising obsession continues unabated, the indigo bean vines are still the favourite.  I think I already showed you their fascinating purple veined leaves but I couldn't resist another shot.  The ones I planted out are already rampaging away up their supports, if they really do have purple flowers and edible purple pods I shall be in bean heaven.  

These are commelinas and they promise to become invasive according to comments from other gardeners but for now they are very well behaved and demure, only time will tell if they become thuggish and start a campaign for garden domination.  They look innocuous at the moment though, don't they?  

The "thornless" blackberries have turned out to be a bit of a fizzer.  Though they start off in a very promising way with lots of fattening fruit, the birds seem to know the perfect time to pluck the succulent fruit and I come out for harvesting only to find the fruit gone but the little stems marking the spot where they were growing just the evening before.  Something must be done!  But what?
While I was installing all my treasures in the "new" sewing room I came across this miniature room which I made from a box years ago and still hope to eventually complete.  When I put it together I imagined it was inhabited by a shop girl who lived above the shop, and led a happy if somewhat isolated existence in her yellow room.  (What a coincidence, just about identical shade to the new sewing room.)  She obviously liked things to be tickety boo, she has her ironing board set up and the iron at the ready at all times.  But hold on, what's going on here?  I can see her little leather trunk, her pretty green parasol and a pair of cream shoes just to the left of the trunk.  Whose are those larger black men's shoes under the end of the bed I wonder?  I must have been wrong about her all along, she is obviously a more adventurous miss than it seemed.   People constantly surprise us!