Monthly Archives: September 2015

Mr and Mrs Longtorainoverus

This is first of our new post series of Mr and Mrs…..

We have recently had the opportunity to purchase a part of the substantial collection of African Tribal art gathered over many years by the ceramic artist Paul Hardcastle

These two figures originated in Mali and were crafted by the Dogon people.

Dogon sculptures from Mali

Dogon sculptures from Mali

The most distinctive subject rendered by Dogon sculptors is that of a single figure standing with raised arms. This posture has usually been interpreted as a gesture of prayer – an effort to link earth and heavens – and it has been suggested that it may represent an appeal for rain.  They have been carved from very light weight wood which would enable the figures to be worn on the head during rainmaking rites.

Living in the Eden Valley between the Pennines and the Cumbrian fells, drought isn’t usually an issue although we have our own microclimate, we haven’t had the need to ask for rain to keep the pond topped up.

 

 

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Wall flowers

I can remember a question in my O Level biology paper that was ‘describe three methods of seed dispersal’. One candidate (and it wasn’t me) made it into the school magazine where there was a section on funny exam answers. The winning candidate had described how ‘garden birds eat soft fruits and then sit on the garden wall and ‘spit’ the seeds out’. Here is the living proof of the success of this method.

Sunflower

Sunflower growing in the top of our garden wall

 

 

Border patrol

It was an early September morning and Phil was photographing the play of sunlight in the garden.

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We have used reclaimed railway sleepers to retain the gravel paths between the raised beds. Just a perfect walkway for two inquisitive Border Terriers to conduct their early morning patrol.

Shackleton

Shackleton

Rigsby

Rigsby

Once they were quite  sure the garden was as it should be, it was playtime.

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There is an autumnal feel to the air but still plenty of flowers for the bees

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and a fabulous crop of crabs, perfect for Phil’s chutney. Last year he made damson and crab with red onion but this year a late heavy frost took all the damson and sloe blossom and there isn’t a single damson or sloe to be had anywhere in the village. This year’s recipe will include red gooseberry, crab and red onion.

 

Love grows

I bought this Hoya Kerrii plant as a romantic gift for Phil in the early days. It’s one of those plants you can neglect and still it lives ! We have had it for about 7 years and having done absolutely nothing in all that time, new growth has just appeared at the base of its single leaf.

Hoya

Hoya Kerrii

It originates from Asia and so the story goes, a specimen was collected by Arthur Francis George Kerr 1910/1911 in the Doi Suthep mountains west of Chiang Mai (Northern Thailand) at an altitude of 390 m above sea level. It was transplanted to Kew Gardens where it flowered in August 1911 and the species was first described by William Grant Craib from that plant and the wild collections in 1911.

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Interesting times are ahead as I’ve now discovered that it is a climbing plant that can grow up to 13 feet high at about 3 feet a year and it will eventually produce clusters of up to 25 little lightly scented flowers on the leaves. Hopefully worth the wait, just like Phil.

Proof that size doesn’t always matter

It was the annual Armathwaite village show today. All exhibits had to be in the hall by 10:30am so we were up early; I had sticky toffee sauce to make for my sticky toffee tray bake (recipe to follow) we had sweet peas to cut, 3 french beans, 3 tomatoes, 3 beetroot, 3 cooking apples and ‘mystery seeds’ to harvest and Phil made a few  final touches to his painting of a village scene. Our other entries included an embroidery, a Christmas decoration, 3 eggs, an abstract painting and a natural world painting. Judging commenced at 11am and we were not allowed back in until 2pm. And the results ? ……..

'Mystery seed' which turned out to be Mooli. All our others bolted and went to seed as did everyone else's in the village. All except for this little chap. Small but perfectly formed....well almost

‘Mystery seed’ which turned out to be Mooli.

I’d planted the mystery seeds at weekly intervals starting in May, some in a pot and some in the raised bed. All our others bolted and went to seed as did everyone else’s in the village. All except for this fine little chap, small but perfectly formed ….. Well almost!

French Beans

French Beans

Sticky toffee tray bake

Sticky toffee tray bake

victorian style counted 'three things' cross stitch sampler

Victorian style counted ‘three things’ cross stitch sampler.

‘Three things there are that will never come back. The arrow set forth on its destined track; the appointed hour that could not wait; and the helpful word that was spoken too late’.

'A village scene' On Armathwaite Bridge. Us and the village.

‘A village scene’ On Armathwaite Bridge. Us and the village.

Phil: This painting had wanted to be brought into the world for some time. Having nothing new to display and making a bit of time, something has to give. I bought a canvas on Wednesday and started to sketch the elements to be incorporated into the design. The outline composition is based on a painting by Marc Chagall entitled ‘I and the village’. Vitebsk of Chagall’s work is substituted by our village of Armathwaite. My proposal of marriage took place on Armathwaite bridge (see ring finger). The church above us is where the wedding took place and the pub in which the reception took place across the bridge ‘The Fox and Pheasant ‘ are all represented. The summerhouse was just a dream at the time and we only had Rigsby (our Border Terrier). The painting spans a longer timeframe and includes Shackleton who can be seen gripping Rigs by the throat (only playing). Glad the judge liked it, it’s just down to personal preferences.

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She had apparently been troubled by the extra finger but had been assured that it must have been deliberate (see Chagall’s ‘self portrait with seven fingers’). To do something with seven fingers is a Yiddish folk expression ‘mit alle zibn finger’, which means doing something to your best ability.

John Foster cup for 'mystery seed' and Best in Show Trophy for embroidery.

John Foster cup and medal  for ‘mystery seed’ and Best in Show Trophy and medal for embroidery.