Saturday, 19 May 2012

Isn't it funny how a bee likes honey?

Winne the Pooh would have been very excited by goings on in our garden yesterday. We're having the outside of the house painted plus insane amounts of other work done (this is what you get for 10 years of virtually zero house maintenance) and I was having a quiet sit down between rounds of tea making and friendly conversation, when I heard a bee buzzing in my living room. The back door was open, so I wasn't surprised. That is, until I realised that it had now been joined by two more, and that in fact the air outside was now thick with honeybees. I shut the door and ran to the front to alert the painter, then went back to watch hundreds and thousands of bees form a swarm in our newly pruned hazel tree.

It's alive!

A wider shot to show the size of the swarm high in the tree. The playhouse has gone to another little girl this morning, and the tatty back fence is soon to be replaced...

I had just found a local beekeeper who wanted to come and catch the swarm and give them a new home when I realised the bees were flying off and the huge mass gradually reduced again until it had disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived. It was one of the most astonishing things I have ever seen, and it turns out it's the third in our village in the last 10 days. Something to do with the sudden dry spell after weeks of rain.

I hope wherever they went they have found a lovely new home. I'm glad they came to visit, albeit briefly.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Flying the flag

Here's a peep at the latest bit of nonsense that's been filling my time - a tiny beaded Union Jack from a pattern found in the latest issue of Making Jewellery magazine. It has a limited shelf life - I doubt I'll be sporting it past the Jubilee and maybe the Olympics, but this one is destined either to be a bag tag - maybe for my dad's bag (still waiting to be posted) or a tag for my keys. It's a bit big for a mobile phone charm but I can see obvious ways to reduce it even further and then, who can say?

Friday, 4 May 2012

A haaaaandbag?

No, a manbag. For my lovely Dad, who saw the one I made for myself, thought about how he carts wallet and glasses and phone (his phone is better than mine and he is nearly 82 - I should rectify this) and decided he would like a bag of his own.

Mine is a two zip hipster (a marvellous pattern) in vibrant Amy Butler prints which will be wonderful in summer and completely doesn't go with the goretex walking coat I am currently living in.

His is thick black suiting material (gabardine?) lined with a mad Union Jack print because he is fiercely patriotic and because it makes me think of sensible waistcoats with secret hidden outrageous linings.

He hasn't seen it yet (so Dad, if you're reading, watch out for the postie) and I hope he likes it. Because I was thinking about him with every stitch I made, and as a result, for once I didn't swear at the sewing machine during the process.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Cauldrons in blankets

What do you call a vegetarian pig? I have no idea either.

In my teens and twenties I was vegetarian. I long ago fell off the wagon, I'm still not quite sure why, but I do enjoy cooking vegetarian food and try to keep the meat intake down a bit for various reasons, not least animal welfare. I've always been mildly wary of meat substitutes - Quorn is pretty much OK as long as I don't try to pretend it is anything else - and the kids wolf down Quorn bolognaise with hidden vegetables so that's a big tick in my book.

Anyway, my sister recently introduced me to Cauldron sausages (NB I am not being paid for this!) and oh my goodness, I may never eat a real sausage again. Seriously. OK, on the plate they don't look like sausages (too straight) but the flavour is gorgeous and as I discovered last night, they make fabulous pigs in blankets.

I precooked the sausages and used Nigella's recipe for the scone dough (the linked one is in cups but it's a very easy basic cheese scone dough), and they have gone in with the girls to school today. We shall see what they think ...

Thank you for all the lovely comments on my ring - I still haven't taken it off and thanks to you my hands are looking better as I have upped the water and handcream intake. Yahoo! If I haven't emailed you or answered in the comment box, I will do very soon. Trying to get back into the swing of things here!