Tuesday, 13 September 2016


One of the fruits that I enjoy picking each Autumn is the sloe, the fruit from the blackthorn tree. Blackthorn is, as its name suggests, very dark and thorny, but watch out, a prick from its thorns can result in infection due to the bacteria that grows on them.

It is tradition to pick the sloes after the first frosts, but some years we get such late frosts that don't arrive whilst the fruit is ripe. So to cheat I pick sloes when they start to ripen and put them in the freezer to imitate a frost.

This Sunday we picked a few that were almost ripe, but I'll be checking out my favourite bushes around the rugby field over the next few weeks ready to make gin for Christmas gifts!

Thursday, 8 September 2016


The youngest has started school! How ironic now I have time during the day that I now wave goodbye to him at the school gates, I feel as if I have missed his most precious years and that hurts. I am also coming to terms with my change in career and lifestyle, over the summer we've been so busy there really has been no time to think or sleep for that matter, but this first week with them all back at school I am for the first time feeling the impact of the changes as we try to create a new family rhythm. 

One of the things that I am enjoying most is our walk to school, across an English countryside that is so idyllic it's as if it's a scene from Lark Rise to Candleford. Hearing tawny owls calling to each other in the day, sitting under the most majestic and ancient oak tree and picking blackberries to fuel our climb up the hill. I hope I still enjoy it when it's raining and cold! 
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