It might appear here – in this view from our kitchen window – that we are totally crowded out by houses, but in fact, the camera foreshortens the view and there is, of course, the road which runs around the back of our boundary wall to the other houses in our Close (for those not familiar with the term ‘close’ it means a cul-de-sac or ‘dead end’). But I thought it would make a change to show this view of our tiny garden; this is about half of the back garden, the other half is occupied by our large walnut tree and the small terrace with the summerhouse.
It was sunny yesterday morning …
but towards evening it became overcast and dull, and quite chilly …
This is the full width and length of the garden, and there are some gaps where we hope to put more plants as soon as the weather warms up.
Yesterday, as we were not venturing out, I made us a cooked breakfast. We rarely have a cooked breakfast these days, husband preferring porridge and I usually have fruit and a brioche or even a bowl of porridge. But yesterday we had fruit and then egg and bacon, with toast to follow.
Not that long ago I would cook what has become known in the UK as a “full English” with bacon, egg, sausage, mushroom and tomato (never baked beans; those are for greasy spoon cafes – baked beans are great as a supper dish – baked beans on toast – but they have no place on a breakfast plate – well, not in this kitchen!) but yesterday it was just egg and bacon (two rashers for husband, one for myself.) Believe me, after a bowl of fruit it was quite sufficient for us.
Husband then did some gardening (he kept to the areas receiving sunshine but he kept clear of the shaded parts which were rather chilly).
Meanwhile, I did a few household tasks – making the bed, tidying the various rooms, filling the dishwasher and then removing absolutely everything from the worktops in the kitchen and giving them a thorough clean with my favourite Waitrose geneal purpose cleaning spray (I will miss this when Waitrose are no longer in Torquay – what a silly thing to say, but it’s those small things in life that we appreciate, isn’t it, and this is one of them.)
It cleans well, but best of all is the lovely grapefruit and eucalyptus fragrance.
Once these tasks were done I suddenly fancied a cheese scone. But we didn’t have any and so it was either go without or make some! Of course, I made some.
It is a very easy recipe from one of my favourite cook books, Afternoon Tea by Susannah Blake. These are called Baby Cheese Scones (but I prefer to use the word ‘small’ rather than ‘baby’; why do we refer to everything that is simply small as “baby”? It just sounds silly to me.)
225g plain flour
4 teasoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
50g unsalted butter, chilled and diced (I used soft margarine)
75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
Set oven at 220C. Put the flour, baking powder, salt and black pepper into a bowl and then rub in the butter (or margarine) until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Now add the grated cheese (reserving a little for the tops of the scones). Beat the milk and egg together and, reserving about 1 tablespoon of the liquid, add the rest to the flour/cheese mixture and draw the mixture together to form a soft dough.
Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and pat or roll out to around 2cm thick. Now cut rounds using a small biscuit cutter. Arrange the scones on a prepared baking sheet (I use baking parchment on a baking tray) and brush the tops with the reserved milk/egg mixture and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 10 to 12 minutes until risen and golden. Allow to cool on a wire tray, and then enjoy split and spread with butter (or instead with cream cheese and watercress.)
(This photo above is from several years ago when I used Philadelphia cream cheese and water cress in the scones – and it must be watercress, not salad cress, the stuff that comes in small punnets.)
Once I’d made the scones I decided we needed some soup to go with them, and so I made leek & potato soup, and we had the two for our lunch:
Soup and cheese scones are a combination made in heaven … even better, I think, than garlic baguette.
Today, Saturday, the weather is even colder than yesterday but as I’d received some money-off vouchers for Waitrose, we decided to pop over to the store, pick up our free paper, our free coffee, and get some of the items for which we had vouchers (and also buy some more of their coffee ice cream!)
I didn’t buy any flowers today as we still have three vases of flowers in the sitting room and a vase of roses in our bedroom, but I bought a magazine …
Lisianthus (above) are amazing flowers. The buds start off by being almost white and as they open the flowers become pale pink. Then, as the flowers mature they become an even deeper pink. I always expect buds to open at the point of their deepest colour and gradually fade as they mature, but these flowers do just the opposite. I’ve not yet opened the magazine, that’s a treat for later in the afternoon.
After Waitrose, we took our coffee and some prawn mayo sandwiches to Cormorant Corner (our name for the Kilmorie flats end of Meadfoot beach). It was overcast and the sea was quite rough, and of the cormorants there was not one glimpse.
From here we drove home and after we had put the shopping in the kitchen, I took a few more photos in the garden …
I like these tulips (and there’s a ‘matching’ pot at the other end of the garden bench) which have clashing colours of deep wine and vibrant orange.
And the hostas are beginning to show, too … although the pots could do with a hose down and the gravel needs tidying up, leaves having fallen here in the autumn. But these are just small jobs and they will be done as soon as it’s warm enough for us to be outside.
We find we can grow hostas provided they are in pots, and the pots not only sit on gravel but have fine grit on the tops of the soil in the pots. This prevents slugs thinking it’s their lucky day.
Post had arrived by the time were returned home and, with it, a paperback of the first volume of the diaries of James Lees-Milne. I’m now looking forward to this.
And now for a cup of tea (we had the 2nd half of our prawn mayo sandwich on returning home) and a look at my new magazine.
Later in the day:
After reading Margaret L’s comment about lisianthus, I thought I’d include a collage of three of the colours of lisianthus I have bought over the years, pink, purple and white. I have found them to be good-value flowers, very pretty and long-lasting but, sadly, no fragrance, their only drawback as far as I’m aware.
I hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Until next time.