Thursday, 15 October 2015

October Catch Up

Hello there! It's been a while since I posted, as things have been busy here at The House with the Blue Door and everyday life has had to take precedence over posting. When I'm not visiting Blogland I feel a bit out-of-touch. Blogging is something which is my treat: a chance to be myself and talk about the things I love as well as hearing from all you lovely creative folks out there. I start to droop when I'm away for too long. Do you know what I mean? September has flown quickly away and already we're well into October, and I'm not sure how that happened. We have had a wonderful autumn so far with warm days, glorious sunshine, cold nights, a few foggy mornings, richly-coloured foliage and beautiful flowers.

I am lucky enough to have my birthday at the beginning of October and, although it was on a school day, we managed to squeeze into the weekend some of the things I love to do at this time of year. We went to Wells on the Saturday morning for a bit of shopping and a wander in the warm autumn sunshine. The moat around the Bishop's Palace was tranquil and leafy, as always.



The famous swans drifted effortlessly across the glassy surface.



In the town square the market was in full swing.



The stalls which caught my eye were the ones selling farm produce. They reminded me of school harvest festivals with all those wonderful vegetables. When my children were at primary school they sang a song entitled 'Cauliflowers Fluffy' - maybe you know it? We attended many school harvest festivals and over the years heard it multiple times. The words are etched into my mind:

'Blackberries juicy and rhubarb sour,
Marrows fatt’ning, hour by hour...
The apples are ripe, the plums are red,
The broadbeans are sleeping in their blankety bed'.

Love those 'blankety beds'.



These squashes couldn't look more autumnal in their hues of orange, yellow, blue/green and all of those fabulous shapes too.


Apples from a local orchard were present in many varieties. Aah, local apples - how I love them! I also bought some quinces (yes, more) and pears from this stall.


There was even more colour in the form of a florist's stall.


And this bulb-seller with the promise of spring blooms for just a couple of pounds.


By now it was lunchtime and our tummies were rumbling. After looking at several enticing food stalls we decided on a baked goods stall (naughty, I know) and I chose this pear, goat's cheese and walnut pastry. It was unusual, and really delicious.



We ate on a bench by the moat and above us some pigeons sat expectantly.


I always admire the warm honey-coloured walls of the cathedral buildings. They look especially seasonal at this time of year.


Here's our haul, once home. Quinces, cobnuts and Louise Bonne dessert pears. As the sign said, a French variety dating back to the late 18th century. I can't resist historical food.


We also bought some sweet little yellow courgettes and three of those gorgeous squashes.


I'm very tempted to paint them in watercolours - if only I had the time.


But the fun didn't end there for P and I. Last Christmas we were given a lovely present from B and her boyfriend - a voucher for afternoon tea at a posh hotel in Wiltshire. We had planned to use it during the summer but didn't find the time, so an October afternoon seemed a very appealing alternative. Going to posh hotels is something that we don't usually do, so it was rather exciting. Looking suitably smart we drove up the long tree-lined drive and arrived at a large and beautiful Georgian house. 


We were shown into the elegant drawing room and sat in comfortable armchairs next to a little table set for tea. 


We chose Darjeeling, described as 'the champagne of teas' and were brought freshly-baked scones with strawberry jam and clotted cream.


I loved the china and silver teapot, and wondered if we should buy a silver tea-strainer. Very civilised.


Afterwards we wandered in the grounds under the trees...


...and in the gardens.


I liked these espalier pear trees on this old stone wall.


A couple of days later it was my birthday and it was very rainy, but it didn't matter. I had a lovely day. P gave me these soft yellow roses. I like the shape of the blooms, like little stars.



I was also lucky enough to receive this pile of books from P, B and J. All day at work it was delicious to look forward to sitting down and perusing them that evening. I am a fan of Simon Armitage and have seen him on stage twice with the GCSE students at school. I've started reading 'Walking Home', an account of his walking the Pennine Way whilst earning his keep with poetry readings, and it's an excellent read. Since my youth I've been keen on Old English poetry, and I know that 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' is a cracking story, so Armitage's translation should be a treat. B bought me 'The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey', the sequel to 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' which I read and enjoyed last year. J sent me 'Wild Hares and Hummingbirds', and the rest follow the natural history theme. I've wanted Robert Macfarlane's 'Landmarks' for some time, so I'm really looking forward to that one. My bedtime reading is sorted for quite some time! D gave me some gorgeously-scented fig soap too.


I also received a gorgeous notebook for my jottings and one of those grown-up colouring books. I've been looking for a flowery one for a while, so was very pleased with this one.


Especially since a few days before I was gripped by the sudden urge to buy a set of felt tips. This was a nostalgic purchase for me as I remember how excited I was a child when I got one for my birthday. I loved the way the pens lined up in a neat rainbow of colours and always put each pen back in its own place. I haven't changed. 


In front of the tv the other evening I made a start and discovered it was rather addictive, starting with the fuchsias.


Last weekend we went to visit family on the Isle of Wight. The hour-long trip across on the ferry is always fun and we went on deck to enjoy the view of Southampton Water just as the sun came out.


We passed the other ferry on its way back,


and as we approached Cowes the sea was full of yachts.


I didn't take photos while we were there as we were too busy enjoying our relatives' company, apart from this sign which made me smile. The island is famously home to red squirrels.


On the return ferry ride an enormous cruise ship passed us. I grew up locally and was used to seeing all sorts of large shipping, but this one was HUGE.


Wow. It's like a floating city.


Quite a spectacle.


The next enormous liner that went past looked positively modest after the first one.


As we arrived back in Southampton the sky became pearlescent.


And on our return journey we drove into an absolutely gorgeous sunset.


The entire sky was on fire in the most luminous shades of pink and purple.


In the last couple of days there have also been some lovely sunrises too. I love watching the sun come up as I'm getting ready for work on these autumn mornings. As the mist starts to lift, the monochrome world turns technicolour with layers of trees and hills fading to the horizon.


Beautiful.


If you've made it to the end of this post, well done and thank you for reading!
See you soon x



26 comments:

  1. What a lovely post. My birthday's at the beginning of October too, and in the past I've been to Wells as a treat for it. I took a picture of those pigeons above my head too! It's a beautiful place isn't it. I happy to report that primary schools are still singing cauliflowers fluffy at the tops of their voices in harvest services. Ours was last week, and we did all the verses. The Georgian house and grounds looks gorgeous. So glad you've been having a good time. CJ xx

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    1. How funny that we both sat under the pigeon-laden tree! I'm very glad that 'Cauliflowers Fluffy' is still as popular as ever. I have fond memories now, but after 14 consecutive years of it I must admit it wasn't my favourite.
      Cathy x

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  2. Happy belated birthday! What an exciting time you've had with afternoon tea and new books - bliss. I read 'The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' with my book group and enjoyed it; I'll have to look out for the sequel. I love that road sign too - sadly, I've never seen a red squirrel, so am very envious! Keep enjoying those beautiful sunrises. xx

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    1. Yes, it's a great read, isn't it? I shall enjoy the sequel. I've never seen a red squirrel either, just the sign. It made me think that next time we're there we must go and track some down, as they are such a lovely creatures.
      Cathy x

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  3. Happy birthday, glad you had lovely treats. We were walking along the coast at Lee on the Solent on Sunday, looking over to the island and commenting on so many vessels on the water.

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    1. Wow! If I'd known you were there I could've given you a wave! I remember many family seaside trips to Lee on Solent when I was a child. On one visit we took an inflatable dingy (already inflated) down the motorway on the roof of our car, and bobbed around in it in the sea!
      Cathy x

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  4. Lovely to hear all your colourful news. Happy birthday, glad you had such a good time. x

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    1. Thank you! It's been busy, but lots of fun!
      Cathy x

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  5. Happy Birthday!! You had a great time! So glad for you! Lovely to catch up on all of your other news too! xx

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  6. A belated Happy Birthday and how wonderful to receive all those lovely books, just my kind of present. I enjoyed reading about your days out, it is several years since I have visited Wells but I always found it a lovely place to wander around. xx

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    1. Thank you Jan, I've finished one already and am on to the next. They'll keep me going a while.
      Cathy x

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  7. October looks to have been a very special month - happy birthday! What a lovely way to have spent it celebrating :)

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    1. Yes it was, and a happy belated birthday to you too!
      Cathy x

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  8. What found a lovely birthday, it's so nice to receive books as gifts. I was surprised to find myself in October recently too. I don't know where the time goes. Hx

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    1. Thank you and I agree, the last two months have really flown. Such a lovely time of year.
      Cathy x

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  9. Belated birthday wishes, you have a lovely collection of books to read! Your afternoon tea looks so special in such wonderful surroundings. We visited Wells on the way back from Bristol and thought it was lovely. We too were lucky to be there on market day and we were so impressed with the selection of local produce. Sarah x

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    1. Yes, it's a great market and best on a Saturday, a lovely place to while away an afternoon.
      Cathy x

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  10. Wow you've been busy! A very happy belated birthday :) My husband's is at the same time, it's always a nice time to have a bday I think. Wells looks absolutely beautiful, I'd love to visit one day. And what a beautiful place for afternoon tea! Scrummy :) Those sunsets are beautiful too, my camera never seems to do sunsets justice but your pictures are wonderful. Have a good week :) xx

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    1. I agree it is a good time of year for a birthday, especially when the sun shines! Hope you get the chance to visit Wells one day.
      Cathy x

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  11. What a beautiful selection of pictures! I enjoyed every single of them! A delightful tearoom, a chance not to been missed! Belated wishes for your birthday!
    Olympia

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    1. Thank you, yes our afternoon tea was a real treat!
      Cathy x

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  12. Happy Birthday! Looks like you had a lovely day out. That moat looks amazing - so peaceful. Love your sunset photos too. You've been very busy.

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    1. Thank you, it has been busy lately, but all good!
      Cathy x

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  13. Lovely photos and post, glad I'm not the only one who has a thing about felt tip pen sets :) I was given an adult colouring book and find it quite relaxing, except when I go outside the lines, grrrrrrr ;)

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    1. Yes, there's no way I can do it without my glasses on!
      Cathy x

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