pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Today has been beautiful - much better than a summer day.  Your father and I were supposed to be taking the Aged Aunt to town to do some dull, but necessary jobs,  unluckily for her, she has a bad cold and a hacking cough.

This left us with an unexpected day of freedom, which (especially given the weather) we were determined not to squander - the jobs are always there, waiting.

We decided to visit nearby Gunby Hall, a National Trust property.  They have a special guided tour of the house on Thursdays, 1pm - entry for this covers the tour of the house, the stables, the church, the gardens and a lovely cream tea.  

Still stuck with wearing sandals, but at least the weather means that I don't look too odd, no more than normal anyway.  The tour of the house was fascinating, our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining and the group was small, being only eight people.  We saw upstairs, downstairs, and in between. 

Afterwards we had a wander around the delightful grounds.  They are much more compact than I was expecting, but much more beautiful.  A riot of colour, shapes, textures, scents.  

The church was nice, very attractively dressed for Harvest Festival,  but for me it lacked something, it didn't feel like a spiritual or especially peaceful place.  Your father says that maybe it was because it was a private church for the house rather than a community church, but I think it was something more than that.   I must confess my favourite piece of it was outside around the back where I saw a lovely door!

The stables are wonderful - huge loose boxes where I imagine some very fancy and expensive horses were stabled.  The floors are all worn from all the feet and hooves and the wood has been well nibbled by countless horses.  The stables had more 'soul' than the church. 

After another meander around the lovely gardens where we came across portions of walled gardens, lovely vistas of the parklands, fruit gardens, wonderful borders ...  we headed off to the courtyard and claimed our cream tea.

To my added delight it was served by a friend from our village.  Scones, jam and cream washed down with a cup of tea.  Perfect.

The dogs were pleased to see us return home again, someone had been out shooting nearby (they often do on Thursdays, as you will recall, Jonny) and this really upsets Toby and then Pip picks up on it and adopts the anxiety too...  luckily Ian was about and he babysat them through it.

My foot did well, but it is letting me know that I did a bit too much walking today - still, my next job today is to make a vat of apple chutney so most of that can be prepared while sitting at the kitchen table.  At least I will be able to claim to have done something useful today!

Look after yourself and do let us know what you think to the clothes you had made - the cut, the fit, etc.

Lots of love,


Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Today began with a beautiful autumn sunrise, which held the promise of a good day. 

Your dad got stuck into some bricklaying - he is doing an excellent job, as I will show you in a few days.   I still can't walk too far, or help out with the bricklaying, so I soon got down to some sewing and listening to Radio 4, bliss!  Then the sighs started.  The reproachful looks. Toby just feels cheated when anyone else I walks him.  Believe me,  I felt the guilt, tried to ignore it ... but couldn't. I tried on my Muckboots but they hurt my toe, so I had to make do with my old faithful sandals.  Comfortable, no pressure on my broken toe - but they do leave my fat, white, toes exposed ...

Toby was thrilled as I made my way through the vegetable garden and led the way into the wood - Pip followed, slowly.  The hens were nowhere to be seen.
This is how the floor of the wood looks, Jonny.  Beautiful colours, crunchy textures.  Autumn is having an effect and transforming everywhere.

Toby loved his walk with me.  Pip lagged so far behind that we met her on the fourth side of the walk - virtually back at the start!!
and the hens finally came running and pecking around my bare, vulnerable toes...
luckily I had prepared for this and had plenty of chard (their new favourite) with me
so we managed our escape while they were otherwise occupied!
This is the view from the wood - rich, brown ploughed soil.  Very different from when you left.

Lots of love,


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

I Thought Cook Had Been at the Sherry ...


I was browsing my cookery book shelves - not that I do any cooking, but I do like to look at the pictures - when I found my 1755 copy of 'The Young Man's Best Companion' by George Fisher.  I couldn't think why it would have been put there - unless cook had been at the bottle again 

- except that we don't have a cook now.  

What a wonderful old book, in some ways I feel that I should have given it to you, although I think we can assume that you are reasonably well versed in 'The Mother Tongue, viz English ...'   although perhaps a little formality when you write to your Father and I would be nice - George Fisher suggested that you should start with 
'Honoured Father and Mother' 
and end 
'Honoured Parents
Your Dutiful Son, and Humble Servant'

Of course you don't need to bother with such formality in an email!

Not so sure that 'law-writings, bonds, bills, indentures, letters of attorney, etc'. or 'some directions relating to the pleasant and delightful Art of Gardening, with General Observations for every month of the Year' would interest you.  

However, the account of several counties of England is fascinating.   'Lincolnshire -  The western parts are good and fruitful having plenty of grass and breed the largest Oxen in the Kingdom.  The eastern parts are marshy, though well stored with wild-fowl.' 

'How to Pickle and Preserve all Kinds of Fruits and Flowers, etc, with instructions for making divers sorts of wines of English Growth, and also for preparing many excellent Medicines, Plasters, etc, with several good Prescriptions of proper use against most Distempers, Fit for, and necessary in all families'  will be useful, particularly the recipe for 'Making Walnuts eat like Mangoes'.  You know how I love mangos.

To the whole is added a 'Compleat Treatise of Farriery, being a sure guide to all Gentlemen and Farmers, in relation to the Care and Management of their Horsers, Mares, etc with proper Advice to the Groom.'  Do you have a groom with you darling?

Although the book is called 'The Young Man's Best Companion' I have decided that I will keep my lovely old book - anything you need to know is probably listed somewhere on Google,  you could Skype, e-mail, text, or 'telephone a friend'. 

I now know the reason it had been put with the cookery books.. remember the lovely old recipe book which I told you about last week?   Some parts are difficult to transcribe, partly because the writing becomes less clear, but also because the handwriting seems to be based on a style called  Italian Hand.  When I studied this page I found that the odd shapes, and confusing letters, suddenly made sense.

Lots of love,


Sorry, according to George Fisher, that should read:

Loving Mother
xxx (Not that he advocates sending kisses)

PS.  I have saved some delicious sections for another posting - how to make your own inks - various colours, and several methods of secret writing.

Monday, 26 September 2011


I felt in need of some cheery colour today, so I searched the sadly depleted pots on the patio and managed to find these lovely flowers.  What I like most about this photograph is the way it looks as though a spot has fallen off the cup (below the handle) and onto the stone.

I love the colour of these too.  For far too many years I thought that flowers had to be big and showy, vases stuffed full of foliage and blooms and yet I got so much enjoyment from these little odds and ends.  

The bottles were found during excavation work on the house, and the lovely piece of wood at the back was carved by Peter the previous owner of our last  house.   He was working on carving a replacement rood screen for a church and this was a trial piece.  Although it is only a rough piece of carving I really like it.

So, I have spent a quiet day just doing some sewing.  

Luckily George has been rather busier and has continued to do some bricklaying, finishing the headers on the patio wall.  I can report that it is looking really good, Jonny.  I haven't taken any photographs, and I won't until it is completely finished.  I think you will be pleased though.

The following photographs have been taken in our garden, but not by me
this little bug has not been photo-shopped in any way - isn't it beautiful?  It almost looks like a cartoon character.  I wish I had taken the photo but I have to thank Ian (my brother) for this one and the next one too.
So, between happy little bugs and beautiful colours who could feel dull and jaded for long?

I hope today went well for you Jonny.

Lots of love,

Sunday, 25 September 2011


We took young Harry to the Apple Farm at Galley Hill, down Rye Lane.  He was excited as soon as we got there - their apple and pear trees are nice and short with the lower fruits within easy reach of a 3 year old bundle of mischief.  Of course I wanted a photo to show his mum and dad
but every time I tried...
he ran and left his old Gran.  In the end I left Harry and his Grandpa to it and wandered off to see what I could see.
I met a lovely little dog, but this was the only snap I got of him
before he turned tail and disappeared into the apple trees.
I found the hen house and some beautiful Silkies who were less than impressed by the camera - or was it me?
Inanimate objects would have to do!
Not exactly exciting, but these bins did take me down memory lane and the late 1950's, when I was a young child.  We didn't have 3 wheelie bins in assorted colours, we had one of these bins, which was emptied once a week.  We didn't have bin liners either...  I don't remember, but it must have been very messy and exceedingly smelly in the summer - and what happened if we had too much rubbish?  Of course we didn't have the same crazy amounts of packaging, but even so

I loved this huge collection of pipes and the way they are acquiring a green mottled, weathered look.
I also love the silvered look of this old tree.

... The Big Apple?  Well that was one which Harry picked, when we got it home and on the scales it weighed in at 1lb 12oz!  Quite a whopper.

I have tried to post a photo of it, but as though to prove a point I can't manage to get it loaded.  Just trust me on this one, it is HUGE!

Thanks for keeping on with the blog Jonny, what a shame that the buildings in that town were such a let-down.  I can't help but wonder whether they were really that bad, or whether it is just that the trained, architectural side of you has such high standards? 

Look after yourself.

Lots of love,


Saturday, 24 September 2011


I was just cutting up a beautiful cabbage when I remembered a junk shop find which was tucked away on a shelf of the pantry, I had to get the camera and take a photograph.

Isn't the spoon beautiful?

While I had the camera I took a few photographs of the (mainly) green tomatoes in the conservatory

I think we shall probably end up making lots of green tomato chutney...
although if the next few days are as warm and sunny as they are predicting we may yet see them ripening.

We picked some apples today, Russets and Ashmead Kernals from the apple farm.  I can still only manage to carefully put my injured foot into an adjustable sandal, can't even manage my capacious wellingtons yet.  But, hey hoe!  At least I can walk reasonably well now.

I digress.  Picking apples sounds so bucolic and relaxing - not so!  The apple trees are low and make easy picking, the trouble is that as you pick other apples fall  - and I had a couple of scary moments when I had forgotten about my unprotected foot...
These apples are now residing on the new racks in the apple storage area - apparently they improve with keeping and are at their peak by Christmas.  Something to look forward to.  Squirrel Nutkin had nothing on us.

We have also been to the Nursery to purchase a couple of six foot tall laurel shrubs - these are to be placed on the outside of the new patio wall, Jonny, in the area parallel with 'Stone Henge'.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend - perhaps you have been out clubbing again?  Don't forget that we would like to see some more photos, when you have the opportunity.  Just seen that you have updated your blog.  Must dash now and read it.

Lots of love,


Friday, 23 September 2011


That wonderful holiday feeling which we enjoy once 'our field' has been harvested  has finally gone.  Farmer T, well, his son Martin - has been ploughing today, all day.  Here is Martin in the Big Red Tractor.

The second tractor (above) is the one being driven by his Mother, she is already well into her sixties and yet she has been working all day, and is still working, as I type this at gone half past eight at night.   She is an amazing woman!   It is already dark out there so they are working by the light of their headlights.

The seagulls soon swooped in and had a feast as they followed the plough.

Normally I feel a little sad to see the field turned over, but today I have to admit that I found it exciting.  I suppose that summer has been such a non-event with only a few short spells of really good weather.  I have hopes that autumn may be wonderful in that misty, magical way that it sometimes has.  Just thinking about the potential beauty of it makes me happy.

The riot of colours and textures - and although this photo doesn't do it justice,

the colour of this plant is very warm and exuberant, and doesn't it look fabulous against that lovely old stone with its mousse-like texture and the wonderful velvet of the moss.

I also love these acid green leaves contrasting with the dense rich blacks of the berries.

No doubt the garden holds many more treasures but these were two which I snapped while watching the tractors and seagulls. (Still having too much trouble with the foot to go too far.)    I mustn't start waxing lyrical again about the hedgerows, berries, etc.  I'll restrict myself to saying that the colours are fabulous and the opportunities for a little foraging are there to be taken!

Moving on, I did a little more sewing and made these little chaps (hamsters) today

I know I am barking mad, but I love them.  This phase will pass.  Sewing  them has kept me occupied for much of the day, I enjoyed it.

Hope you have a great weekend.

Lots of love,


Thursday, 22 September 2011


To Harry's delight the big red tractor was parked in 'our' field while Farmer Martin T did the ploughing in the next field over with the yellow tractor.  Grandpa and Harry couldn't resist the opportunity to investigate it.
Grandpa George would insist that it was 'Little Red Tractor' but Harry disagreed - quite rightly.

I am so happy, today George gave me my ancient sandals and thereby granted me my freedom!  I feel almost as happy as Dobby was when he was given Harry Potter's sock.  I have been able to hobble to feed the chickens, look at the vegetables (woo-hoo!) and goodness have I enjoyed it.

My foot is still disgustingly swollen and bruised, but at least I am mobile, up to a point.

Most of the day was spent sewing - more of that in a moment.

I'm sorry Jonny, I know we said that your room would belong to you forever and we wouldn't take in lodgers...
Bennie decided that it was the perfect place to have a snooze.

Shortly afterwards I was passing the door and found
that Toby had decided that anything a cat could do he could do better.  As you can see your vintage suitcases are exactly where you left them - we haven't had any lodgers in since you left.

I have had a lot of fun today making spotty turquoise blue hamsters.  They have had a lot of fun posing in the garden
The hedgehogs have ignored this lovely eco lodge for long enough - this chap decided it would definitely suit him
and this little one was amazed at the quality of the fresh Lincolnshire air
and the warmth of the midday sun.

Well, it amused me to make them - the pattern I used is about 40 years old and they do have a look of the 70's about them - but I think they are rather cute.

With lots of love,