Feast, last of the canal walk, nostalgia

Hubby and I had a late night feast of carrot cake I was doing some cross stitch from a kit I bought years ago but hadn’t made. It was so much fun to reward ourselves for all the hard work we’d done in the garden and on the floor for my new craft space, yesterday. Eating good food + best friend = happiness. 🙂 Some garden pics will follow.

Carrot Cake
2 rounded teaspoons of baking powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
175g/ 6 oz wholemeal flour
125g/4 oz grated carrot
125g/4 oz margarine
125g/4 oz soft dark brown sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of milk

1. Sift baking powder, salt cinnamon and flour together and mix well adding carrot.
2. Cream sugar and margarine until light and fluffy add zest, add eggs and stir in a little of the flour mixture to prevent curdling
3. Keep adding until the mix is soft but not runny.
4. Pour into a 15cm/6″ round tin with base lined in greaseproof paper.
5. Bake in oven Gas 3, 325F 160C for 45mins to 1 hour.

When cool add fudge icing to the top:
75g/3oz margarine
3 dessertspoons milk
1 dessertspoon water
1 dessertspoon instant coffee
325g/12oz icing sugar

1. Warm together marg, milk water and coffee and cool.
2. Beat in icing sugar
3. Swirl over cooled cake

You can also add walnut halves to decorate it.

This is a pic of Angel just relaxing too.

We’re back to finish our canal side walk.
An arch of elderberries
Soft dandylion seed heads. You can make dandylion wine. Just where do I pick up these tit bits of info?! I’m sure I make the English sound like raging alcoholics! We don’t pick many nutritious mushrooms like Ulla in Finland and her countrymen, but by golly we’ve got the art of getting pickled by anything that will brew or ferment down pat!
Beautiful colours of blackberry leaves.
My favourite part of the walk where the canal goes through a cutting so it feels more like a river where the sides are higher than the water channel. It does feel wrong when I see things like houses and fields built below the man made water height of this canal. Where I grew up we’d go and swim in the River Windrush. It wound along a valley bottom with fields and willow trees to it’s sides, so it made more sense in the landscape ifyou know what I mean.
Beautiful apples high in the tree ripening in the sun.
This tree ivy had a bees nest in it. I could hear them hun at first and then when I looked up lots of dark dots were silhouetted against the sky. Bees are definately a sound of Summer. I’ll look forward to hearing them next year.
The ivy was about to flower so I was pleased that the bees had found somewhere with a good supply of food.
Briar rose hips. The rose itself is a pale pink and delicate looking but very voracious. You can use the hips in jam making. A lot of old hedgerows have briar roses growing in them. I was told once that the older a hedgerow is, the more species are within it and more wildlife habitat is provided by hedges than by trees. When you think of how many birds rely on hedgerows for nests and food, you realise how important it is to help preserve them.
My old dog Angel with a smile on her face. She has a real stubborn streak sometimes and wouldn’t move from that spot until after the photo was taken. 🙂
Don’t these prickles look ferocious? Good way of catching in an animals’ coat and being transported to somewhere they can grow.
Sorry I couldn’t resist another shot of oak leaves filtering the sun.

Canal barges all lined up on their Winter moorings.

The following were all taken by hubby:The Saracen’s Head pub from another angle.
St Cuthberts, Halsall. It has a Norman foundation (1100s AD) but the current building dates from 1320 onwards. The bells rang out while we walked from the tower which dates from 1430AD. It’s a fascinating Medieval building with the 7 deadly sins carved on the outside and really needs it’s own post complete with photographs. Because it was so out of the way, it escaped a lot of the destruction of the reformation which affected York over in the east of the country.
A heron in the field by the path. When one of the children was little they thought we said “herring” and the other piped up “A red herring?” So ever since then herons have been known as “red herrings”. Do you have any family funnies or are we totally weird? LOL
I love the patterns light makes on water.
Another bridge
I liked the way he framed this.
I’m not certain what sort of mushroom this is as my book doesn’t have any matching pics. The nearest I can find is Mycena Polygramma. Any ideas Ulla?
Hubby’s camera made this hawthorn (crataegus monygna) look almost like holly (ilex).

So like in the Christmas carol “The holly and the ivy” here is the ivy with a fly on.

I thought I’d share a song I learned at primary school: (sorry it sounds a bit canned but if you can, try to imagine it being sung by a class of white or pale-dressed children for a May Morning celebration with Maypole dancing, country dancing, and morris dancing complete with hobby horse- it sort of fits in.)

‘Twas on a Monday morning
When I beheld my darling,
She looked so neat and charming
In ev’ry high degree.
She looked so neat and nimble, O,

A-washing of her linen, O,
|: Dashing away with the smoothing iron, 😐
She stole my heart away.

‘Twas on a Tuesday morning
When I beheld my darling,
She looked so neat and charming
In ev’ry high degree.
She looked so neat and nimble, O,

A-hanging out her linen, O
|: Dashing away with the smoothing iron, 😐
She stole my heart away.

‘Twas on a Wednesday morning . .
A-starching of her linen . . . .

‘Twas on a Thursday morning . . . .
A-ironing of her linen . . . .

‘Twas on a Friday morning . . . .
A-folding of her linen . . . .

‘Twas on a Saturday morning . . . .
A-airing of her linen . . . .

‘Twas on a Sunday morning . . . .
A-wearing of her linen . .

So by my reckoning as it’s Monday, I need to get on with my washing. Thank heavens for washing machines and not having to boil kettle after kettle of water to heat a tub and then to have to wash everything with a bar of soap by hand. The dresses alone back then hard around 12 yards of fabric in them accoring to “Gone With The Wind”. No wonder it was only done once a week. It would take me that long to recover!

Now this hasn’t turned out to be the post I thought I was beginning. I’ve wittered on nostalgically without shame. LOL I suppose this is my swansong for the Summer that never quite happened this year. I kept hoping for it, but we only had the occassional bright day here and there.

No wonder I’ve been remembering the warm days of my Oxfordshire childhood where we carried on centuries old traditions without thinking about it; paddled barefoot in streams; built dens in the cob corn fields; walked or rode for miles; and at this time of year battled with stinging nettles to bring home a bounty of scrumped apples with pride. Boy was I good at tree climbing in my wellies -no wonder I went through so many pairs! My grandmother would make everyone walk collecting blackberries as far as Minster Lovell Ruins each year for her pies. Do have a look at the Minster link. The photos are beautiful and the one with the yellow buttercups and long grass is just how I remember the riverside walk. There’s a legend based there called “The Mistletoe Bough Bride”:

The way I was told it one of the Lovell lads (lords of the manor) got married during the Christmas celebrations. One of the entertainments was hide and seek with the reward being a kiss under the mistletoe. Well this new bride didn’t know her way around and hid in an old trunk where she got locked in. No one found her for years. The story goes that she haunted the hall waiting for a kiss from her new husband carrying a bough of mistletoe.

So how’s that- a ghost story to welcome in the colder darker Autumnal nights. 🙂

Now enough of me- tell me about you. What did you do in your childhood Summers? What are your local traditions? Tell me your stories. What heinously wicked things did you get up to?

Proper Autumn from the garden in the next post and maybe just maybe but I’m not promising (I’ve seen the laundry pile) I might just get some crafting in. 🙂 Have a wonderful week.

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