Tag Archives: Frost

The Day The Sea Froze!

Lobster Anyone?, Rocking Dog

Lobster Anyone?

Well, the day the sea froze isn’t being completely truthful. I was at Weston Super Mare yesterday morning, and walking along the beach the surf had indeed frozen. The seaweed too had an uncharacteristic white sparkly shimmer. Me thinks Real Live Rocking Dog had a lovely time on the beach. It’s difficult to fathom his emotions, but i’m sure he loves a bit of sea air and the sand between his toes!

As per normal the sea was well and truly out, it could be glimpsed at on the distant horizon, so there was no paddling to be had! Weston has a huge tidal range, it can rise and fall by as much as 14.5 m (48 ft). This statistic is second only in the world to the Bay of Fundy, Eastern Canada.

In the summer the town buzzes with day trippers and holiday makers. Large stretches of sand become congested with sandcastle makers, sunbathers, picnickers, deck chair users and donkeys. This is a traditional English holiday resort, but last summer W.S.M was funky-fied by the arrival of Banksy’s Dismaland. Normality has now sadly returned to the town and no doubt the traders and hoteliers would love another Banksy pop up!

A fan I am not of Weston Super Mare in the summer, but off season I love a bracing walk along the sand to blow away the cobwebs! Yesterday’s walk took me along the beach to the blandish rejuvenated Grand Pier to another older pier, Birnbeck Pier. In a very sorry delapidated state, there are plans afoot to bring the listed pier back to its former days of glory. As a child I remember going there with my parents to a very peculiar all year round market affair. Naff carpet, carpet tiles and rolls of cellophane inexplicably come to mind. More vivid are the memories of the gaps between the decking to get to the pier buildings. Even in the 1970’s the structure was in a perilous state. I was absolutely petrified walking along the seemingly endless planked walkway. I really hope work begins soon for this West Country treasure, for I love piers. They hark back to an age of Victorian cast iron, the Great Exhibition, bathing machines, the realisation of the benefits of taking in the sea air, promenading ladies, straw boaters and children in sailor suit attire. One pier of which I am particularly fond is the little pagoda’d jewel at Clevedon. Its claim to fame is of having been used as a backdrop for the series Broadchurch and in a One Direction pop video.

I found a sunny little cove to enjoy a coffee and bask in the frosty sunshine. It became obvious that this was a meeting place for the Weston ex-pat community! There were conversations about nursing homes, coughs, colds, ablutions and local authority care. Thoroughly depressing, and it was time to move on!

It was lovely to have a bracing blow about, and I hope there’ll be another opportunity or two before dogs are relegated from the beach and the bucket wielding day-trippers return.

Frozen Surf, Rocking Dog

Frozen Surf

Happy RLRD, Yes Really!, Rocking Dog

Happy RLRD, Yes Really!

Waiting For The Boat To Come In, Rocking Dog

Waiting For The Boat To Come In

Forlorn Pier, Rocking Dog

Forlorn Pier

Revitalised Pier, Rocking Dog

Revitalised Pier

Heavy Metal, Rocking Dog

Heavy Metal

Sloe Gin And Posting Advent Packages!

Festive Tipple, Rocking Dog

Festive Tipple

I could wait no longer for a frost! Sloe folklore suggests that sloes are best plucked following a frost. The seasonal white crystalline dusting apparently helps to soften the skins of these tiny fruits. In turn, the cold helps to release the bitter dark purple juices. Many of the fruits I spied during my dog walk were becoming wizened, action hurriedly needed to be taken if I wanted a batch of 2015 sloe gin!

I therefore spontaneously picked a mixture of sloes and bullaces (small bitter plums) and headed home with my booty.

Sloe Gin
1. Wash fruit, drain in a colander
2. Prick each fruit and place in a large Kilner style jar (Ikea is a good port of call for jars)
3. Add some caster sugar to the jar together with a split vanilla pod (optional)
4. Top the jar up with Gin and stir.
5. Place in a dark place and shake or stir every three or four days. Eventually the sugar will dissolve.
6. Taste around Christmas. You may prefer to leave the brew for a little longer. Strain and decant.
7. Reserve the alcohol soaked sloe berries and store in a jar in the fridge. Stone as needed, and add to summer pudding, boozy rocky road and homemade ice cream

The sloe gin itself can be drunk neat or used in cocktails.

Part of my day yesterday was spent talking weddings and helping a bride choose flowers and discuss styling for a December wedding at No4 Clifton Village. Wow! Katie…. it is going to be Sooooooo beautiful.

Wedding talk done, my day finally became snow sprinkled with wrapping Rocking Dog parcels. Winging its way to Christchurch (UK and not NZ!) one of my 2015 “Twas the night before Christmas” advent calendars. Rocking Dog Advent Calendars are for life and not just one Christmas!

How can we be at the end of another week- it’s gone in a flash. The nights are drawing in and last night I was lucky enough to see some large bats swooping and diving over the brook in our garden. It was amazing to watch, but part of me was thinking “I hope you are not thinking of setting up home in our loft”. As a protected species they are more difficult to move on than squatters!

Today I am learning how to do freehand machine embroidery at “The Makery” in Bath. It’s such a lovely friendly environment to learn a new skill. There are mugs of coffee, laughs, great instruction and a lovely little sewing/craft shop. I hope I will feel confident in showing you my first attempt at free hand embroidery next week.

Wishing you a very happy weekend whatever you are doing- I have left plenty of sloes around Hambrook, so why not get picking!

Colander Crop, Rocking Dog

Colander Crop

Liquor, Rocking Dog

Liquor

Jar Magic, Rocking Dog

Jar Magic

Looking Forward, Rocking Dog

Looking Forward

Twas the Night....., Rocking Dog

Twas the Night…..

Parcelled To Post, Rocking Dog

Parcelled To Post

First Frost

frozen bird food, rocking dog

Frozen Bird Food

We awoke on Monday morning to the first savage frost of the winter.
Clothed in white, the garden looked spectacularly inviting. The frost stayed all day and reminded me of my favourite childrens’ book The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde. ‘Spring has forgotten this garden,’ they cried, ‘so we will live here all the year round.’ The Snow covered up the grass with her great white cloak, and the Frost painted all the trees silver. Then they invited the North Wind to stay with them, and he came. He was wrapped in furs, and he roared all day about the garden, and blew the chimney-pots down.” Very thankfully the North Wind didn’t visit our garden, so it was quiet and still, sparkling and cold.

Frosted Wreath, Rocking Dog

Frosted Wreath

Frost Clad Catkins, Rocking Dog

Frost Clad Catkins

Brook At Our Garden's End, Rocking Dog

Brook At Our Garden’s End