Tag Archives: Pumpkin

Yay! Well Hello May. The Year Is Simply Galloping By.

May Blooms. Douglas In Amongst The Pretty Weeds!,Rocking Dog

May Blooms. Douglas In Amongst The Pretty Weeds!

I know, my posts are evermore sporadic, whatever happened to my daily Rocking Dog blogs of times gone by?! Perhaps it’s because sometimes it’s too difficult to blog speak, a falling out of like (for I never did love) with Facebook, a busy life and well …does it really matter if I don’t blog. Nearing 450 posts is it time to hang up my blogging finger I wonder. However I am not going to be gloomy, let’s celebrate the month of May. How wonderful the blossom is this spring, skies are blue and birdsong increasingly deliciously evident.

There have been plenty of opportunities to get out and about in the last couple of weeks. Recently we hosted a German creative, Bea Winkel. Bea is on a years stay in the UK, mainly cat sitting whilst staying in peoples homes around the country. OK, we don’t have a cat but I thought it would be good to host a stranger. For four days we talked Angela Merkel, Brexit, healthcare, old age, food and lots more besides. I also showed Bea a diverse Bristol. There was the harbour with its shipping container eateries (can recommend Sholay Indian Kitchen), the SS Great Britain, and Swoon for the most divine ice cream. Less touristy, we did St Werburgh’s City Farm and Feed Bristol. There was a trip to beautiful quintessentially English Tetbury and some good walks with Real Live Rocking Dog. On one walk we dropped RLRD at Sam’s Woof Wash for a radical haircut (can heartily recommend Sam for all your… oops your dogs pampering needs). Bea also accompanied me to see my lovely neighbour who was having a spot of respite at a swish and expensive care facility. In Germany if an elderly family member can’t fund their own care their children are legally obliged to fund the care. One of the highlights of Bea’s visit was a drop in to one of my favourite houses in Hambrook, it’s like a mini stately home and has the most hospitable and gorgeous owners. Apart from the interesting chat we loved the friendly hen eating grapes on the window sill! We spent one morning discussing Bea’s colouring/recipe pages which encourage children to eat a diverse range of fruit and vegetables. It’s an interesting concept. I however feel I rather burst Bea’s balloon when I told her that the average Brit’ does not eat pumpkin. Pumpkins are for lanterns and the pulpy unloved flesh gets thrown away in most households. I then rather guiltily said that my first taste of pumpkin was when I was 40 and visiting New Zealand. It was served in roasted wedges and was rather delicious! After four days it was time for Bea to head off to her next feline stop in Leeds. It was an interesting four days and I look forward to seeing her “take” on Bristol on a future colouring page.

Beds were stripped and there was a quick turnaround with Sorrel, Pete and little Douglas coming to stay. There was time to photograph beloved boy in the sunshine and amongst the flowers. It’s true what they say, never work with children or animals, they never stay in the same place for long! Doug’ definitely wanted to remove himself from my weedy albeit pretty patch! We celebrated a first birthday with the two extended families and friends. There was cake, lots of pies, fizz, millions of cups of tea and a lovely busy little children. It was fun especially as Doug’ loves a good Mexican Wave!

The weekend came to an end, there was a mad cleaning blitz and admin’ tasks on Monday. Meanwhile Tuesday arrived spectacularly sunny. It was time to put on some walking boots and head out with a friend on a route chosen by her (we democratically take it in turns). This walk took us around the Tortworth Estate, Gloucestershire and its piece de resistance is the Tortworth Chestnut which claims to be one of the oldest trees in the country. What a lovely walk, and again so quintessentially English. There was a sweep of verdant green meadowland, trees cloaked in blossom and a church which could so easily be the setting for a Pride and Prejudice wedding. Beside the church we examined the Tortworth Chestnut. It’s not the prettiest tree I grant you, but it had the most beautiful inscribed plaque on a latched wooden gate.

This Tree supposed to be six hundred years old
1st January 1800
May Man still Guard thy Venerable Form
From the Rude Blasts and Tempestuous Storm
Still mayest thou Flourish through Succeeding Time
And Last, Long Last the Wonder of the Clime

This questionably old tree was selected in 2002 by the Tree Council as one of fifty Great British trees to commemorate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Tree marvelled at, we completed our walk and enjoyed lunch in the Tortworth Estate farm shop cafe. It was great to blow away the cobwebs and walk 13,000 steps! Thanks Karen.

It’s hard having been nice for two entire weeks so the remainder of the week I have been quiet. My deafness has returned and it feels as if I am in a giant zorb! It’s exhausting and frustrating to be in social situations even though I think i’ve perfected lip reading! The tv is too loud for any other human beings and i’m sure The Archers at full pelt is unbearably unpleasant! I have used this anti-social time to continue researching “my” soldiers for “The Remember Me Project” and have made good progress on the spring quilt for youngest daughter. The planning of the bathroom is still work in progress, but today we received a video of our copper bateau bath made and now awaiting polishing and its nickel lining. We may have the work done by Christmas!

Next week there’s a blind waiting to be made for a little grandchild’s room (we don’t know what variety it is) who is due to put in an appearance in the next couple of weeks. Exciting times!

So, the bank holiday weekend beckons with the promise of wonderful sunshine. Whatever you are doing I hope it’s lovely, spent with family and friends whilst eating delicious things. Monday for me will be a walk to the Winterbourne Down Village Carnival (listen out for the bagpipers and drummers) and then onto Redland May Fair. What treasures await I wonder!

Love Rocking Dog aka Liz x

Frank Sinatra Hat!,Rocking Dog

Frank Sinatra Hat!

Last Year,Rocking Dog

Last Year

Cake To Celebrate,Rocking Dog

Cake To Celebrate

Brunel's Masterpiece,Rocking Dog

Brunel’s Masterpiece

Feed Bristol,Rocking Dog

Feed Bristol

Eat Pumpkin!,Rocking Dog

Eat Pumpkin!

That Old Chestnut!,Rocking Dog

That Old Chestnut!

New Blossom,Rocking Dog

New Blossom

Spring Quilt,Rocking Dog

Spring Quilt

Research Continues,Rocking Dog

Research Continues

That Old Chestnut!,Rocking Dog

That Old Chestnut!

Yay! It's Redland Fair,Rocking Dog

Yay! It’s Redland Fair

Gosh! We’ve Tipped Into October!

All The Leaves Are Brown, Rocking Dog

All The Leaves Are Brown

Gosh! We’ve tipped into October! Please tell me how this has happened. Amazingly, it is exactly a year since I started my Rocking Dog Blog. This is my 186th post and it has been lovely having your company along the way. I will bare my soul and tell you why I started blogging in the next couple of weeks.

October is a real transition month, especially when we have been blessed with such beautiful weather. People are still in summer garb, meanwhile, the shops are filled with the last floaty dregs of summer clothing and the wools and tweeds of winter. Some retailers are unashamedly putting out Christmas stock whilst others are doggedly resisting until November rears its frosty head!

October last year, I was praising the humble pumpkin. It should be roasted, pureed, souped and not just carved! (I am a Halloween killjoy!) I was also cooking quince and extolling the praises of the fruits wonderful aroma whilst they stewed. It undeniably remains one of my most favourite smells … ever (but ripening tomatoes in a sun parched greenhouse probably is up there too!) Sloes were being picked, and this year i’ll be waiting for that first frost before heading out to pick them again this year. There appears to be a truly bountiful crop. Remember to keep the sloes after they have done their sloe gin magic. They are a fantastic addition to Rocky Road and for an autumnal take on Summer Pudding. They’d also add flavour to sauces and gravies to accompany a Sunday roast.

Last October we went on one last trip to the sea before tucking our beloved Pod up for the winter. Again, this October we hope to do one last toe curlingly cold trip. We will take hot water bottles, hot chocolate supplies, woolly socks and our Real Live Rocking Dog foot warmer! Bracing walks being battered by coastal winds what could be better? Some would say lying on the same beach on a hot summers day would be absolutely preferable. One Man’s Meat Is Another Man’s Poison as they say!

Oct 2014, last minute plans were being made to head off on our Italian holiday (does any other mad soul take their holiday in October/November?) Oct 2015, another trip beckons, – vintage textiles, olives, autumn sunshine, gondola’s, Vin Santo, and gorgeous friends. We are truly fortunate.

Last October Rocking Dog was busy making, wrapping, labelling, and somethings never change… but what I make hopefully does. So there are lots of sewing projects on the Rocking Dog work bench. I HAVE to organise some serious sewing time. Any other makers please give me your tips on how you schedule your day. Do you have a set routine, do you lock the door and turn the key, let the laundry bin overfill, not answer calls etc…. etc..? I think i’d rather like a sewing turret in the clouds!

So very nearly a year on from my very first blog I hope you’ll continue to dip in and out. Some of you I personally know and thank you for your love and support. Others of you I don’t know.. but thank you for reading, liking, commenting. If anyone wants a little personalised trek around Bristol or surrounds give me a shout. We can visit foodie, vintage and historical haunts in a city I quite know and love.

Have a very lovely October.

Dog Bowl. Rocking Dog

Dog Bowl

Comforting Bowl, Rocking Dog

Comforting Bowl

Making Plans, Rocking Dog

Making Plans

Seasonal Makes, Rocking Dog

Seasonal Makes

Quince Magic, Rocking Dog

Quince Magic

Avoiding Halloween, Rocking Dog

Avoiding Halloween

Spare a Thought for Pumpkins!

Pumpkin Soup
Spare a thought for pumpkins! The shops are full of pumpkins in readiness for Halloween. I feel sorry for this species, they are often carved into some ghoulish creation, stuffed with tea lights for one night and then simply discarded. Whilst in New Zealand we were guests of the ancestors of our current home. Our hosts served up roasted wedges of pumpkin with the traditional Sunday roast…. delicious! Pumpkins can be made into a lovely soup but I don’t think i’ll ever love pumpkin pie (sorry American kissing cousins!) The book is an American party book (1963) and I love the Halloween pages. The gist of the editorial goes.. Little Jimmy helps his father carve the Jack o’ Lantern with a really sharp knife. Meanwhile little Milly makes popcorn balls with her mother before doing all the washing up…. well I might be embellishing slightly but Grrrrrrrrr! Have a wonderful weekend and pick up a pumpkin!

Pumpkins for cooking

Pumpkins for soup, not carving!

Vintage pumpkin fun

Vintage pumpkin fun