Monday 1 September 2014

Well, there goes Summer!

June and July were just lovely with the kind of long warm summer days that I remember from summers years ago. But ....... August - what happened to you? 

Were you masquerading as September? With much cooler days and plenty of cloud and rain. It certainly started to feel 'back endish' as Martin would say. 

Because June and July were so lovely. August came as a bit of a culture shock and I've not ventured out much at all and the garden is suffering a bit. I've even had the heating on ..... But don't go telling Martin. 

In spite of the weather, we've had a busy old month.  We started off with our weekend away in The Peak District which you can read about here, here and here. Even though we did see plenty of rain, we had a great time and it was good to catch up with old friends. It looks like Bridgenorth may be on the cards for next year's get together. 

We also managed to sneak out in between the showers for a mega blackberrying session with mum and dad and I have plenty of bramble jelly jam stocked up for the winter and Martin has a couple of gallons of blackberry wine on the go in the kitchen. 

We were seriously tempted by a heavily laden elderberry tree when we were out on our bikes over the Bank Holiday weekend but managed to restrain ourselves ... Maybe next year. 

We've had our good friends, Jackie and Phil round for a Jamaican themed dinner which made good use of their Christmas present to Martin from last year, which was a 3 month subscription to a company called The Spicery. For a 3 month period you receive a pack full of all the herbs and spices that you need to cook something just a little bit different. Our menu this time was salt cod fritters with watercress and a hot dipping sauce, followed by Jamaican brown stew, coconut curry with rice, with a hot sauce and a cucumber, tomato and advocado salad on the side. We finished off with a lime and ginger syllabub. 

We'd put some Bob Marley on the iPod and knocked up some Bacardi cocktails to get us started. 

We'd both been a bit nervous about how things would turn out as we'd never cooked anything quite like before but we all agreed that it was a great meal and we saw plenty of empty plates. We shall definitely be repeating parts of this menu again, so look out for the recipes if you like the sound of this kind of thing. 

Martin even served his first bottle of home made wine which also went down a treat. 

He's also taken to brewing beer and we were both pretty impressed with his first pint of IPA.

Whilst the August cool down did come as a bit of a shock, we just weren't really ready for it, we both love Autumn. The colours are amazing and we don't mind being out in the cold, as long as are dressed for it. 

We've lots on the agenda for September, with a day out meeting up with more old friends in Gloucester for me, which will be a bit an adventure, and two weeks holiday for us, staying in what really looks like a nice cottage, on Dartmoor. 

I am really looking forward to it, it feels like ages since we've been away. Hopefully we will get to see lots of new places and have some real chill,out time. I am sure there will be time for picking a few caches too! 

Not sure when I'm going to get into the garden to do the big Autumn tidy up, I'm determined it will get done though. I know if I don't I will regret it big time in the Spring. Gardening this time of year is not quite as much fun as in the Spring and the Summer. Not so much about planting and watching things grow, more about cutting back and tidying up which gives everything the best chance for next year. 

I think I will be calling in the usual reinforcements, thanks in advance to mum and dad! 

At least you can have a nice warming stew in the slow cooker to come into and you can light the candles and settle down with the X factor on a Saturday night. 

Oh, and there's bonfire night, we love fireworks, and another week away in November with the family to celebrate my 50th birthday coming up. And, as if that's not enough there's Christmas to look forward to too. 

Spring and Summer, you're so last year, bring on Autumn and Winter. I'm more than ready.

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