News & Tips

Ann’s monthly natter

And how are you? I hope the month has been kind and you’ve been able to do some nice summery things. Of course the weather is predictably unpredictable in this part of the world so we just have to make the best of it that we can, don’t we? Just to tell you about a ‘leftover’ from July, on the 26th, a friend had organised a garden party to support a charity very dear to her heart. It has been planned with precision with all volunteers given particular roles to play and she had managed to secure the services of some hefty lads who put the stalls and gazebos in place. The weather forecast was watched by the day, then the hour and then almost the minute. It turned out to be one of the wettest days of the month. My daughter and I had been consigned to the kitchen where we worked from 08.00 to 4.00pm preparing and serving food and hot drinks to the heroes and heroines who were out in the garden. It was a real feast and we spent the day not only working hard but laughing hard too. And a good time was had by all; the rain didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits and the day ended on a high with a profit of some £2,000. Thanks to Jenny for providing the venue, organising the event and generally master minding a lovely day.

It looks like most of this natter is going to have a consumables theme. We have had quite a lot of sun too and it meant that I was able to pick about 2 lb. of cherries from my tree which was bought as a gift last year. I was so excited. They are sour rather than sweet so I was able to donate them to be made into jam to be sold for charity. I see that my Mirabelle plum tree, also new last year, is laden with fruit. I’m just waiting for it to ripen and it will also end up as a preserve and that, together with an apple tree groaning with a good crop of eaters, has been really satisfying. As you may have gathered, gardening and all things of the earth are not only an interest but a wonderful therapy – well, it works for me anyway. I’m now looking forward to enlarging my stock and it’s such fun researching the various more adventurous plants which have attracted me.

And August has been a time for socialising. With family and children on school holidays, together with friends, there has been no end of meals out with various permutations of attendees; children, in-laws, grandchildren and my great-grand-daughter, friends from different threads of my life etc. Of course, this has required a determined and increased exercise programme to keep some kind of balance with the results of an extremely sweet tooth which I usually manage to keep under control. I suppose it seems more naughty because I haven’t indulged while away on holiday (which is always excusable, isn’t it?) but have adeptly manage to include over-eating in between having some prolonged work carried out on the house. Well, that’s my summer holiday if I can argue my case like that!

On the same theme, my family annual strawberry tea took place here on the 16th. I always over-cater. Not sure why but I just can’t help it. It may be something to do with the extreme poverty in which I grew up. We were twelve adults and one 20 month old in number. Fortunately the weather was good and we sat in the garden. I provided a cold table – well two cold tables actually – with a family favourite as one of the four desserts. They say they won’t come if I don’t make honeycomb fool, the ingredients of which include 16 Crunchie bars and 1 pint of double cream – do you get the picture? That, together with a variety of sandwiches, salads, savoury bites, pickles, sauces and marinated vegetables, nuts, crisps, cakes, chocolates, scones jam and cream, strawberries and cream and sweets ensured that everyone went home with a bag of goodies, feeling extremely full and a bit sick. I was an extremely happy hostess even though it was sheer pandemonium which I have to say I just love.

Happiness is something I’m getting used to, having lived in this lovely village for nearly four years now and I think I have seen the final confirmation that this really is village life. Just driving past the local shop, a lady emerged in slippers and dressing gown carrying a bottle of milk. She walked across the road to her house just opposite. And why not, I asked myself. I’m not sure I could manage that; perhaps she has lived here all her life but I thought it was wonderful.

On 23rd, my lovely neighbour and friend June was exhibiting at a local garden centre arranged by her flower club. It was such a pleasure to walk round these wonderful presentations. The theme was books and June had come up with an amazing display using Harry Potter as her chosen story line and indeed she came second. The day was further enhanced by the funds collected to support The Air Ambulance. My pleasure at being there was doubled as June has won her own battle against cancer, recovering from major surgery and fighting every step of the way back. She has bought a new car and has driven down to Cornwall – a long way from where we live – to enjoy her holiday home. What a heroine!! It seems that Dame Fortune has further smiled on me too with good neighbours.

Finally, it wasn’t hard to make a choice this month for September’s Awareness day. There can’t be many people who don’t know that 25th September is the MacMillan Coffee Morning. This has become a tradition so that the coffee morning has now spread and blossomed into tea afternoons too throughout the whole of September. I shall be going to more than one so again, thank goodness for Move It or Lose It to combat the effects of cake eating which, of course, is obligatory on such occasions. Well, that’s my argument anyway!

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