Thursday, 18 December 2014

ode to St Delia of Christmas

This year I have moved away from the very trad Christmas cake, and plumped for Delia's Creole Christmas cake, definitely adult only as the fruit soak for a week in rum, brandy, kirsh (didn't have cherry brandy) and port!  And its been regularly doused in more rum!
Its smelling so good ;-)
And today was decorating day

 And I am rather please with it, The glaze is apricot jam and rum, which give a lovely jewel like quality to the brazils, pecans, apricots, hazelnuts, almonds, dates and cherry
Cant wait to tuck in!  Will try and wait to next week.........

Monday, 8 December 2014

Bless you! Slight problem I didn't think of!

Last November I started a simple but big knitting project with some beautiful 
Rowan Angora Haze wool, on 3.25mm needles. 
The plan originally (as I had 10 balls of each colour) was to knit a big shawl/blanket to drape elegantly round me when I was at home stitching and cold.
But it some how ended up a little narrower.
Well after 12 months, its finished, and I personnally think its rather beautiful, 
but theres one problem I discovered while knitting it....

Angora makes me sneeze!

So after a little re think and some brain storming from my knitting group at Creasey's, 
I made it into a short poncho.  
So the fluff is not up round my nose like it was when wrapped round my neck.  
And I love it, its keeping me nice and toasty while I type.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Co-op with so much history...

Now I may not remember when our market looked like this
 But I do remember when it looked like this!
Then people started getting this weird idea that they wanted to be able to park their car right out side a food shop, and not have any trouble finding a space, how strange!  
So our lovely market building struggled and struggled, then about 10 years ago it got renovated.  
Out went the last of the stall holders and in came shops. Now we may all have our opinions of if that was right or wrong, but what I am more interested in is the fantastic job that was done in making this old building (early 1800's) work in the 21st century.

The co-op is in the west end, and here you can see the beautiful glass roof that I showed you in my last post.

I always need to remind my self when doing my food shopping to look up and admire this amazing skylight!
and no prizes for guessing what section of the market this used to be?


And through into the inner street and on the left out side the back entrance to New Look, you can see this plaque...

presented to Guernsey and her cattle from the United States in 1960, 
but I cant work out those 1000th anniversary it is celebrating? 
 Ohh just Googled that, It seems that 960AD was the year that we think the Normans introduced cattle into the island and so started the blood line that became the Guernsey Cow from French breeds. Learn something new every day!

Then at the east end you sink down to HMV,
 these banisters are the one shown in the second photo down.
A very impressive music shop

With stained glass windows and every thing,

including a very grand entrance!

So next time you are in the market, don't just concentrate on your shopping, look up and around you because it really is an amazing building!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Please only go down these!!! Don't say I didn't warn you!!!

If you are wondering around the top of St Peter Port 'New Town' you might stumble across signs to Constitution Steps, and they are definitely worth exploring for their views alone.
You head down the step narrow granite steps and when you get to the first corner you will see this strange bulge in the wall.  Well get this, its to stop men peeing in corners!  That angle causes splash back!!!
Then peak over the wall and enjoy what I think is one of best secret views of St Peter Port and the islands

It especially gives you a fantastic look at the glass roof of the old Market Building 
which is now my local Co-Op

Then keep heading down
(looking back up at the bulge)

As you get to the bottom of these stop and think of the thousands of people through out history have walked this way to curve the granite this way.

Now you could turn left and climb, but don't as its private..... 

Turn right and head down to the market

Now don't say I didn't warn you, if you want to see this view, please go down from the top!
Climbing from the bottom is knackering!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

a little lane with a big history

At the end of October a great little book came out, 
'A short history of Guernsey' by Peter Johnston, published by the Guernsey Society.
(You can get it in The Press Shop and the Lexicon)
Its well written and easy to read, and last night it explained a little mystery for me.

Up at the top of town are Havilland and St Johns Street, just off The Grange opposite Elizabeth College.  These two streets are parallel, the same length and both end in Union Street.  They are also short, it only takes a minute, two if you are feeling very lazy to walk them. So why on earth is there a tiny snicket connecting the two?  Ok, there are two small houses on it, so that is probably just the weird way towns evolve ( reason why I love old cities and find cities on grid formations strange).

But the really big question is why has such a tiny lane got such a big name as
 'Battle Lane' or to give its proper name 'La Rue de la Bataille'

So to explain this I am going to quote straight from 'A short history of Guernsey', about an attempted invasion of the island by the French in the middle ages.
'A well-documented invasion took place in May 1372 as told in a ballad entitled
 La Descente des Arougousais.  
Charles V of France sent a force of 4,000 men under the command of Evan or Owen Prince of Wales, and Morelet de Montmaur. Evan had gone over to the French to avenge the beheading of his father by Edward III.  The attacking force landed at Vazon Bay where islanders were awaiting them, having been warned, so the story goes, by Jean Le Tocq, an early riser who had been tending his sheep.  The first battle took place near La Carriere not far from La Houguette, in the Catel.  The invaders proved too strong and the Guernsey men retreated towards Town, making a last stand on the plateau between Clifton and Vauvert then wooded country side.
 Here a bloody battle was fought somewhere near a lane now known
 as La Rue de la Baitaille
 between Havilland and St Johns Streets.  Apparently there were so many dead on the battlefield 
that it was possible to walk over them and blood ran down the valleys into town.
  The islanders lost some 500 men out of 800, before retreating to Castle Cornet. 
 The ballad does not mention French losses but they must have been considerable.'

So next time you walk past, stop and have a think......

Monday, 10 November 2014

Burt, the little blue baby

I am a stitcher, not a knitter.
I can do rectangles, have a fantastic collection of scarfs and finger-less gloves (a sewn up rectangle!).
So I felt rather brave taking on this little project, a simple project it said.
It was ment to be cream dish cloth cotton, but I had a few balls of a lovely Rowan denim cotton, which fades gently like jeans.
So Burt ended up alittle bigger.
I quite successfully managed to do the body and arms, 
but the instructions on how to knit the heals on the legs, totally foxed me.....
Luckily last Thursday there was a knitting morning at Creaseys in town 
(absolute bargain, advise, coffee and biscuits for £3!)  And the lovely ladies there got me sorted. Thank you.  

Last bit of the pattern was the fingers, but felt they looked a bit spooky, so off they came.
 I settled for the mitten look like the feet.

Final finish, a pair of blue gingham knickers!

Rather pleased with Burt.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

I would like to introduce you to.....

...the new addition to our house hold!
'Dauphinois' the antique Parisian dress makers dummy!
Now I would like too just point out that the name Dauphinois was Chris's idea, And I thought it was very fitting for a curvy Parisian lady, I wanted to call her Spud for short, but Chris surprisingly has put his foot down and said that's disrespectful!!!! So its Pomme de terre for short then......

I have been looking for one of these for over ten years, well certainly remember being on the hunt when I lived in Haywards Heath, and then one turns up at my lovely antique shop just down the hill. Perfect and she is adjustable too.

Now the first reason I wanted an old one was that originally I wanted to display what remains of my mothers wedding dress bodice after she dyed it sea green (the dye caused most of the lace and silk to rot) and it now resembles some thing Miss Haversham would have liked.  As do I.
But my Mum was a slight lady and not tall, and so when I tried it on Dauphinois it didn't fit. Sod, Mum was two inches smaller round the waist at 21 years old.

Now why didn't I get those genes?
To make it near enough the right size for dress making for me, 
I have had to expand her to max, and I am not sharing those pictures!!!!
Oh and Mum was a good 7 inches smaller than me, I looked like an Amazon standing next to her!

Chris thinks she is also perfect for storing his top hat, now that may look very smart, but was brought for fancy dress when he was Slash from Guns and Roses!
Welcome to the house hold Dauphinois 

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Celebrating a great summer

Was pottering through Town about a month a go, and past the gorgeous shop window of Evie and Me down by the Market building.  Now this window is always a joy, and my wish list is getting longer and longer, especially as they also do upholstery fabric and ribbons......but that's another story!

They have commissioned a range of locally inspired pieces which are only available in this shop, and this cushion caught my eye (image it just with the printed section in the middle, sorry forgot to take a before photo).  
Its my friend Claire (who I did the '30 Bays' in the summer with) birthday coming up and it seemed an absolutely perfect present, just needed a bit of tweeking...
 needed to top up the list of beaches, so out came the needle and thread

so it now has a date, a title,

extra bays and the sea temperature

 very please with it, and I think I can safely say Claire was too!
Only problem, I want one too!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Sea swimming and courgette cake

We are in the throes of a beautiful Indian summer, 
but being the end of September alot of tourist businesses are wrapping up for the season.  
One of those is the cafe at Moulin Huet, which is closed after today, 
So a beautiful morning encouraged us up and out for a swim, they were doing a cake and music party at 3, but that was also low tide, and the pull of a high was too great!

Down through the cool, green,, dappled tunnel,

 Till you started getting a glimpse of the Pea Stacks through the trees. 

and out we popped over this rocky, rugged cove, 
that in the past has inspired the greats such as Renoir

Very helpful and actually rather beautiful steps let you easily get down on to the beach.

Had a brilliant swim, it is still so warm, about 18 degrees, 
we pottered around the rocks, rode the swells, chatted with other bathers, tried to swim up on a cormorant and generally just enjoyed a good 20 min swim.  
Sea swimming pushes you so much more than any pool can, the wave, swells and tides challenge you, one moment you seem to be swimming and not moving, then suddenly you surge forward, 
you need to be aware of your surrounding, of the tides, of the weather. 
and boy it makes you feel alive and buzzing.

Thrift clinging on in the most inhospitable places

rats, forgot to bring a blackberrying bag.....

Exercise done, now cake!

How about that for a view from a tea room?

Now don't you agree, chocolate and courgette cake must be good for you?  
Maybe even one of my 5 fruit and veg for the day?  
And boy it was good, not sickly sweet, just moist and chocolaty with a nutty crunch, yum!

There's a lovely tea garden surrounded by a hydrangea hedge, which just encourages you to chill out and relax, like these French girls playing cards in the sunshine, loved their hats.

Though this little chap wasn't relaxing at all, very busy, hopping around, he obviously knew exactly the best places for cake crumbs!

Thank you Moulin Huet tea rooms for all the gorgeous cake this summer, and hope to see you in the Spring!