Tuesday 25 October 2022


 ..............continues to suffer

unimaginable privations and

support remains vital for


The above book that our two sons published earlier this year called "The Lady on the Plank" Poems for Ukraine raised £1356 for Ukrainian charities. The printing and publishing costs were met and paid for by Jonathan, so all of the proceeds from the book which cost £10 from a limited edition of 100 went to help much needed Ukranian charities.  

Although they both lead very busy lives they are endeavouring to help the anguished, bereaved people of Ukraine again. Using the same formatt as previously the second book is now with the printer, and Jonathan is meeting the cost again.

Until Independence Day has 40 poems by Jonathan and 6 linocuts by Nicholas

Russian Gas

Gas arrives at your door and

 calls you its friend. It dances

In the flames of the fire, like a life

 that will never end. Gas tells you

stories about the past, tales of men

 who put their lives at risk, who

overcame the obstacles of borders, mountains, 

all that came in the way.

Gas makes you dinner, quickly, silently,

 just while you wait, home from work

and feeling tired, then gas puts its

 warm arm around you and explains

that what it wants is not money

 but power, power over your destiny,

control of the world. Gas smiles

 a horrible smile, like an old troll

come up out of the earth, and shows

 its bad teeth, its sour breath.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Stourhead - an Arcadian Paradise

Hills, water and classical architecture overlaid with a wonderful collection of trees and shrubs, Stourhead has been described as 'a living work of art'. Meandering paths offer vistas through trees to classical temples and surprises at every turn.

The inspiration for the building above was the Pantheon in Rome - Pantheon means a temple dedicated to all the gods. The Stourhead temple is filled with statues from some of the classical deities.   

Henry ‘the Magnificent’ was one of a small group of early eighteenth-century ‘gentleman gardeners’ using their wealth and acres to create a particularly personal landscape. One which expressed their hopes and beliefs about the world and their journey through it.

The Palladian Bridge was inspired by the work of 16th century architect Palladio. This five-arched stone bridge, although ornamental, was also intended to look practical having been designed to create an illusion of a river flowing on beneath the bridge.

So who was Henry 'the Magnificent'?

Henry was a banker, the eldest grandson of Sir Richard Hoare.

Henry 'the Magnificent'

Richard Hoare was a goldsmith-banker who founded the bank C. Hoare & Co in 1672. A bank which is still owned and run by members of the Hoare family. He was knighted by Queen Anne in 1702 and also appointed Lord Mayor of London. Henry 'the Magnificent' inherited the Stourhead estate from his father. He built himself a fine Palladian mansion and then set about landscaping the surroundings seen today.

The temple of Apollo holds a commanding position overlooking the lake. In Greek and Roman mythology the sun god Apollo was the son of Zeus and twin brother of Artemis. 

In 2015, one of the scenes from Pride and Prejudice was filmed at the Stourhead temple of Apollo, when Mr. Darcy dramatically proposed to Elizabeth Bennet in the pouring rain.

There are no real clues left as to how this small Gothic Cottage came about. However, the original landscape plans have been studied, and it is considered that it may have been developed out of a building that was once a shepherds hut.
The interior of the cottage was warm and cosy having been given a seasonal pumpkin makeover by the NT.
Towards the end of our Stourhead visit, my camera suddenly took a turn for the worst. Instead of taking one photo, it began taking slow motion bursts of three photos all at the same time. It is not an expensive all singing and dancing camera, but it suits me and importantly sits comfortably in my pocket. 
On the journey home I wondered if my camera's days were over, but why had it continued to take the images. Had something suddenly gone wrong with the 'drive mode'? A search on Google for a Sony help page, and I think that I found the answer - happily I have now been able to reset the correct drive mode, and hopefully all is now
Should you be interested in seeing inside the house, there is a really old post that I wrote here.

Sunday 9 October 2022

"I cannot endure to waste anything so precious....

...as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house." Nathaniel Hawthorne

A walk around our hilltop escarpment reveals that autumn is now slowly making her colourful entrance.

There is an idyllic arcadian landscape, not too far from where we live, that is especially stunning during the autumn season.

As soon as we can manage a whole day out, walking boots will be packed, not forgetting to take a picnic, then off we shall go.

It looks as if the birds are going to be well fed during the winter. There are so many large clusters of berries hanging on the trees.

Monday 3 October 2022

Autumn's Gold


Butternut Squash Tart
This tart has plenty of delicious flavours. 
 Butternut Squash cut into cubes - my squash was large - I used 1/3rd
puff pastry sheet - ready bought
(does anyone make their own these days?) 
One large chopped onion
3 crushed cloves of garlic
finely grate 2cms of fresh root ginger 
6 sliced chestnut mushrooms
two handfuls of shredded kale
a large handful of walnuts
9 dried figs cut into quarters
(I get mine from Lidl) they sell  
soft/moist dried fruit
cheese of your choice - I used vintage English cheddar
finely chopped fresh Rosemary
l tespn ground corriander
1 tespn ground cummin
1/2 tespn curry powder
nutmeg & ground black pepper
3 teaspns tahini (sesame seed paste)
Oven setting 220℃ fan for 20 - 25 mins
Gently roast onion, butternut squash & garlic in rapeseed/olive oil. Once almost cooked add mushrooms, kale & root ginger to soften. When ready add the spices and set aside to cool. Prepare the pastry, spread with a thin layer of Tahini, add the butternut mixture. Top with figs, chopped walnuts, sprinkle with Rosemary, freshly ground black pepper &  nutmeg, then add a layer of cheese.