Saturday 21 September 2013

Memories for dessert

Back in June, on a day when the sun was trying to burst through a hoop of tracing paper we went to Dungeness.
Dungeness, the only place in England designated  a "desert". At the far south eastern tip where the land flattens and the horizon multiplies. Other worldly, weather beaten, shingle beach with rusting shacks, railway carriages and fishing boats. Home to, amongst other things, a nuclear power station, 5 lighthouses at one time or another and over 600 plant species. It is a very special place with a unique atmosphere, I am struggling to define. Perhaps it is the power station quietly throbbing in the distance. Perhaps it's the proximity of Romney Marsh, ethereal green flatlands ~ threaded with waterways cloaked in sea mists. Dickens' location for Pip's first encounter with Magwitch.. Perhaps it's the alien nature of the landscape, the crunch of shingle underfoot. Shingle peppered with plants, clumps and carpets of colour, unexpectedly beautiful. The colours of Dungeness are thrilling set, as they are, against the neutral shingle~sea~sky horizontals.
You are wondering? 
Well first of all I have been economic with information as it wasn't simply the usual tribe of me, Mr. Lane and Boodle on this expedition. For this outing we were joined by none other than my faraway brother! All the way from Melbourne via Finland! I can't suppress a smile even as I write this three months later, so great the pleasure to be together again for a few snatched days.
...visit Prospect Cottage. The much feted home and garden of the late, great film director Derek Jarman. We have been several times before and its allure never fades. A garden bursting through the shingle, beds, such as they are defined by pebble borders, flotsam and jetsam sculptures. Rusted boat jumble with garlands of old rubber washers... 
I can't tell you how lovely it all was. 
Fish & Chips out of newspaper on the beach and just to be...
...with my best boys...
Looking through the pictures again is as fortifying as a whole bowlful of  favourite pudding (possibly warm raspberry bakewell tart) with lashings of cream and seconds...memories for dessert.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Summer slips...

All at once Summer has slipped away and Autumn's arrival is heralded with cool winds, an abundance of fruits heavy in the hedgerows and a yearning for a new colour palette to paint my days...
* image on the left by Sharyn Cairns, styled by Geraldine Munoz
**Image on the right from L O L I T A
Dark and warm
~ caramel, chocolate, antique rose, warm black, blackberry, elderberry, conker, acorn, sage, ripened wheat and a hint of golden yarrow~
I love that my colour palette flowed from food to botanica! Quite unintentional and yet somehow perfect....
 ~And now the roses are tapestry stitched~
~The berries are hips and haws and crabs~
~The posies are transfers on china~
~The jewels that sparkle are early morning meadow treasure~

 Yes! The secret lacing society works silently during the night to thrill the Boodle and I each morning with dew encrusted settings dangling from the limbs of summer brown grasses

Early morning mist settles around the house, there is a hush, the landscape beyond is veiled. Sometimes I feel like a time traveller standing and staring, wondering which century I'm in and who is standing alongside me in another time...
...and I see pattern everywhere...even the tire treads on the tractor leaving their muddy chevron trails.
The logs we have been breaking our backs to move from the woods to the barn will soon be merrily crackling in the woodburner.
The trees in the orchard are glowing with russet baubles. I thank my lucky stars to have been born here in temperate England where the four seasons are quite distinct. I long for the signs we are shifting from one to the next, you can almost smell the change before it happens. I adore seasonal food. This weekend will see me pickling and jamming...the alchemy of it! I suppose I find the rhythm of it soothing, back to repetition and pattern making of another sort I suppose?
I almost forgot...the title of this post is "Summer slips..." I have been musing over the inference . I love the idea that Autumn is somehow Summers' petticoat, giving body and substance, all ruffles and contrast...
Here's to A u t u m n
Wishing you warmth