Monday 25 February 2013

I wasn't going to but ...

I had decided this year that I wouldn't make marmalade just use up the existing stock, but then our lovely farm shop had these organic ones, how could I resist a bag full of pure Spanish sunshine.
The recipe is from Delia Smith, they say sticky pages are a good sign and mine certainly show years of use.  
The production is a two day process, I'm not so keen on the first day of simmering and chopping, scooping and squeezing but the second is all fun, a good rolling boil that perfumes the house and the chance to use some of my favourite jars.  
So I'm well stocked and whilst putting away 11 newly filled jars inevitably I discovered one I made earlier, three years ago to be exact.  I opened it this morning for breakfast, the marmalade was deliciously dark and mature.  I like my marmalade when its freshly made but its well worth the wait for a vintage flavour too.  
I also thought I wasn't going to acquire any more books this year but then Pam was having a clear out and gave me first refusal.  She had two large crates of books so taking 15 seemed quite modest.  Except of course that its set back my shelf clearing exercise by several months.


Tuesday 19 February 2013

This is not natural

I need to alert you to a buying and rather strange knitting opportunity.
At the end of last week I purchased some Regia Creativ at an excellent price, £1.69 for 100 grams of 75% wool plus a reasonable p&p charge from Kemps Wool Shop in Sunderland.  
I knew before I ordered that the yarn came ready knitted which I found a bit baffling.
The ball band suggests that you either go ahead a wear the scarf, which personally I wouldn't as its a bit on the mean side and I have many much nicer ones, or unpick it and knit socks.  I had a bit of difficulty working out exactly how to unravel the yarn, the instructions said cut where indicated but there was no indication so I phoned the shop.  A really helpful lady explained that I needed to cut away the contrasting yarn at one end and start knitting, she also said that it would be a good idea to knit the second sock from the other end to make a pair.  Both ends of this scarf are purple and pink the centre pink and dark pink.  I'm planning a sock with some pattern to it, I think the shading can take that but not quite settled on which one yet
When I finish the first sock I intend to wind the second half of the scarf into a ball and knit from that as I find it difficult to unravel knitting from the wrong end.  It is very odd knitting with crinkly yarn from an existing item and somehow goes against logic.
And what about the aran I hear you ask, I'm about 2/3rd of the way up the back but reluctant to continue if I can't get more yarn.   I've emailed and phoned the producer and still had no response, how strange to have an answering machine for the sales department, for all they know I could want to buy several sheep's worth.  

Thursday 14 February 2013

The worlds finest oil 2012

At last some photos of our oil production
Ten crates of hand picked olives
 Transported to the family owned traditional mill
Into one big crate for weighing
Then on their way to the stone wheels that ground them into a paste
The paste is distributed onto round pads that are then put onto the big spikes and placed under pressure in the blue machines, soon the oil starts to pour.  It is cleaned and finally many hours later our faces light up as we see the finished product. 

Our very own, it is every bit as gorgeous as it looks, 40 litres of the finest oil I have ever made/seen/tasted.

Friday 8 February 2013

Breaking all my rules

You know what a stoic I am, how I insist on one knitting project at a time and once I start a book I have to finish it. Well not any more.
I started reading this last week. I got to page 70 something and still had no idea what it was about, might as well have been reading it in Danish, totally impenetrable.  I complained to Mr FF last night that I was getting nowhere with it and wise old engineer he said 'life's too short to read a book you are not enjoying'.  True.  So today its gone into the charity bag and I'll find another in the bookcase that I'm trying so hard to empty.  
I decided to step out of the knitting comfort zone of socks scarves etc and tackle this.  Its the patchwork aran jacket from Debbie Bliss's Family Knits.  The patterns is in double knit cotton but I'm attempting it using British Breeds Yarn's Swaledale Aran, worsted spun in Yorkshire from 100% pure new British wool, that is pleasingly hairy and slightly oily. I've adjusted the needle size and its working fine, except that I'm not sure if my 10 x 100g balls will be enough and whether I'll be able to get more of the same shade, the wool isn't dyed but sheep come in varying shades, I know that.  I intend to get a bit further with the back. decide how I feel about the cardy and then speak to the manufacturers if I want to continue.
Its quite a complicated design, the clue is in the name, switching round the various patterns which have different number of rows, so it requires great concentration and is not the thing to tackle whilst watching anything demanding on tv.  When I take a break from the aran I don't know what to do with my hands so to retain my sanity I've also cast on a pair of plain socks.
Then there's the rule of not bring more stuff into the house, sadly that will go out of the window when my parcel arrives. Yesterday I was at a Boden party in the village, it was so much fun.  You got to seand try on the clothes before you decided, whilst enjoying good coffeand cake, there was discount on the catalogue price and the first 30 customers got a free gift, a pretty scarf.   I went looking for a new swimming costumer but ordered a dress, two tops and a bag, all in bright colours and slightly different to my normal style which is good I think.  Pam was with me and we seemed to select several identical items so now I need to find a new friend for the summer or we'll be going out looking like twins.  
All the rules are out of the window, who said old folk don't like change, well me actually. 

Sunday 3 February 2013

Warm in wincey

When we stayed in the lovely b&b in France on our way home last December, the bed was beautifully decked out in cream flannelette/brushed cotton/winceyette.  I'm never quite sure which is the correct name for this soft, cosy cotton with a raised brushed surface but I love it.  I bought a pair of cream pillow cases ages ago for winter use and quickly followed this with a couple of duvet covers that go onto our bed for the coldest months. I like a cool bedroom and I'm not a fan of the electric blanket or even a hot water bottle, but this gorgeous bed linen in my winter necessity.
Just this week I found a new duvet cover, they aren't that easy to come by and tend to be in pastel candy stripes or pretty pretty patterns, not my thing at all. 
This one is so so soft and as you can see goes really well with the Orla Kiely wool blanket that I pull up on particularly cold nights.
Incidentally we are loving our British made British wool duvet, we opted for the 3-4 seasons which is just the right weight. We've been using it now for a couple of months and I find I'm not overheating and throwing off the cover in the middle of the night like I used to.    In fact I'm sleeping so well I hardly want to get out of bed in the mornings, no change there then.