PEAR TREE LOG

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.



Sunday, 5 August 2012

Departures, Arrivals and a Forthcoming Village Show

This week Jonny flew back to Shanghai along with his beautiful girlfriend, Ming Ming.
I really loved the fact that he was being met by someone who cares about him - so different from when he flew out there a year ago.   We took him to our local airport and waved goodbye, until some time next year.

In what is becoming something of a habit,   he very kindly gave me his best camera to use.

It is much bigger, much more complicated than the previous one.   I am a mere beginner - my style of photography is 'point and click' and now here I am having to twizzle this and set that - the quality of the photographs is amazing - it is the photographer who has much to learn.

I am totally allergic to having a camera pointed in my direction, I have been since childhood.  This is me, distorted by the double-glazing and hiding behind the camera - I was taking a photograph of a beautiful tub of lavender flowers, you can just see a few spikes of them at the lower edge of this vastly cropped picture.  Any other image you may see of me will have been taken from a long way off or possibly while I was 'merry'.

A couple of nights ago I had to get up and let one of the cats out, at some unearthly hour - the moon was very bright in the sky and as I looked up I was thrilled to see a pair of bats flitting around,  eating insects.  I keep getting up at a similar time, hoping to see them again, perhaps even snatch a photograph with Jonny's wonderful camera - alas,  no sight of them so far.

This is an image borrowed from Google, it shows a common pipistrelle bat, which is the kind most frequently found in Great Britain.

I was fascinated to find that there are 18 types of bat in this country - I had no idea there were that many varieties worldwide.

These marvellous little creatures can consume up to 3,000 small insects a night.

Last night saw a new visitor to our night-time garden - a hedgehog.  A large and confident one.

He/she could work wonders in our never ending work to save our produce from slugs.  I read that one hedgehog can rid a garden of slugs in three months....given that our gardens are quite large, I do hope he has brought his family with him!

Again, this is an image borrowed from Google, but I hope to be able to post one of our little nocturnal visitor.
The weather this year has not been kind to our vegetable garden, we have had many failures, but I won't dwell on those.  Instead, let me show you some of the successes.


The cucumbers in the polytunnel are positively thriving - and the flavour is superb.





The tomatoes are finally getting into their stride, we still need more sunshine to ripen them, though.  The runner beans, broad beans, mangetout, and onions are doing well, so I hope to be able to enter some in the forthcoming village show in just under two weeks time.

Somehow, I don't think we are going to be able to match our prize winning box of vegetables from last year.


We still have a few flowers so I may be able to enter a small flower arrangement, perhaps work on something to enter for the craft section.   I'll have a rummage in my photograph files to see whether anything I have will fit the categories listed.
By far the most hotly contested section is baking and cookery.  I swore that I wouldn't make lemon curd again, I found it so tedious standing and stirring for what seemed like hours...but maybe it was worth it.

I will certainly be making scones, Dominic.    For anyone who has never participated in a Village Show - think Vicar of Dibley meets Midsomer Murder, except that we take it very seriously.

Especially the scone category.


43 comments:

  1. What a scrumptious post, tomatoes, cucumbers, lemon curd and scones! Hope Jonny has a safe journey back to Mingming, enjoy your camera :) x

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    1. Hello Cheryl, I'm pleased to report that Jonny is safely back in Shanghai, always a relief. I have been having great fun with the camera, but all I can say is thank goodness it is digital and I can discard most of what I have taken. I have a lot to learn (but it's fun) I'll keep working at it!

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  2. I love bats (is there an animal I don't love? Oh yes...weasels). We have bats 'in our belfry' but as they eat mozzies they are more than welcome.
    My camera is a bells and whistles one, but honestly I can't figure all the bits and bobs out...so it's point and click for me.
    Jane x
    PS Best of luck for the village show.

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    1. Hello Jane, The bats are wonderful little creatures and I love the fact that they eat mozzies because mozzies seem very attracted to me. The camera does all sort of clever things, unfortunately I am not clever enough to work those clever bits. I keep trying, mostly I use it on 'simple' mode. Quite!

      I'll let you know how the village show goes, it is one of the highlights of village life.

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  3. Oh you've get a better camera, so nice! Great post today and I think you will miss your son. I have one of mine to long (I think) away.

    Hugs
    Elna

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    1. Hello Elna, We had a wonderful four weeks of having Jonathan home, it was lovely. I hope you have a visit from your son soon. x

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  4. oh I wish I could enter you into our show on the 18th!
    veg trug is a cracker!!!

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    1. Hello John, August 18th is the date of our village show - and yours too, I believe. Busy times, but enormous fun. The build-up and the pseudo rivalry is all part of the fun, it's one of the few times when most of our village gets together. I hope everything goes splendidly with your show.

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  5. Oh my goodness that village show sound a ‘touch’ competitive...

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    1. Hello Green Dragonette, It's definitely competitive...but everyone always has a fabulous time. The produce is auctioned off at the end and that just increases the fun as people vie to try out their rivals prize winning cakes, etc. It raises a really good amount for the village hall and helps bring people together, that can't be bad.

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  6. Must have been lovely to spend time with your son - a bit sad when it was time for him to return to China and a touch of happy that he had his lovely girlfriend to go back to. Your cucumbers look brilliant - mine haven'even got off the ground yet. And will the tomatoes ever ripen :( We've got a village show coming up on the 1st Sept. Best of luck in yours.

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    1. Hello Molly, It was a wonderful visit from Jonny and it really did make a difference knowing about Mingming. George must take credit for the cucumbers, I have tried before and failed dismally. He feeds them a special brew...if he ever tells me what it is, I'll let you know. Good luck with your show - they are great fun, aren't they!

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  7. I had to smile at your cucumbers because they don't look like the "English" cucumbers being sold at my grocery store. I love lemon curd but I've never tried to make it, and after learning how hard it is, I'm sure I never will! I hope you have good luck becoming friends with the new camera so you can keep delighting us with your wonderful pictures!

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    1. Hello Ms Sparrow, Don't let me put you off making lemon curd - it is really delicious, much nicer than shop bought - I'm sure it can't really have been quite as bad as I remember it. I'll definitely let you know; I will make some because George has reminded me of how much he enjoyed the last batch. Luckily I still have Jonny's other camera, so if my courage fails I can always resort to the old familiar one.

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  8. Oh I love hedgehogs. I know they are all prickly, but I do think they are the cutest things. Jan Brett writes the most wonderful children's books. Several are about her favorite hedgehog Hedgie. Is that a first prize for your lemon curd? How wonderful! I miss small parish fairs. We have a hugh state production. It is too big for me. Be sure and share a photo of your entries. Bonnie

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    1. Hello Bonnie, Thank you for reminding me about the Jan Brett books, I have lots of those little treasures, such beautiful illustrations, stored away. I must get them out and read them to young Harry. Our little village show is very relaxed (except when the judging is being done and we are all excluded)and enormous fun. Everyone has great fun and there is always lots of laughter and teasing.

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  9. Your village show is reminiscent of the old township community days I know of from the old programs. My favorite prize category was Best Children's Bouquet. Our township put a community day together last year to celebrate our 200th anniversary and it was proclaimed a roaring success and we should do it again and so forth, but no committee could be put together again.

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    1. Hello Joanne, That is such a shame. I know the work falls to the same few people in our village which is why I have become a member of the village hall committee (a very lowly member) I will be very happy to help out with tables and chairs, brew the tea, help clear away, etc. Our small community, and it is tiny, needs to work to keep these events going. Even young Harry will be entering a couple of categories, as he did last year too.

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  10. Your veg trug looks fabulous, as does your lemon curd. Good luck with using the camera - and with the scones - are you going to use Susan's recipe?

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    1. Hello Scarlet, I am definitely using Susan's recipe. My trial batch turned out beautifully. I have a few vegetables to enter, but it has been a difficult year, but then it is the same for everyone, so we can only try! It will all be fun and a good amount of money will help swell the village hall coffers.

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  11. You definitely need to make lemon curd. The taste is totally worth it. :) Hope you capture some photos of the hedgehog and bats!

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    1. Hello EG Cameragirl, I keep getting up through the night and scanning the skies, so far I haven't seen the bats again, but one of these nights! I know Jonny's camera has a setting for night-time shots, so fingers crossed!

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  12. Hello Elaine:
    It must have been very sad to see your son fly off again but, as you say, a comfort that he will not be alone.

    During our years in Herefordshire we had bats in the roof space - fascinating creatures - and which occasionally were caught by one of our cats and brought inside. Not so nice!!

    Lemon curd, an all time favourite. Yours looks delicious - something we very much miss here.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance, I must ensure that my two naughty cats don't read your comment and get ideas.

      My husband has reminded me of how much he enjoyed the lemon curd last year - given that I haven't made it since, I think it is only right that I should make another batch although I may regret it. Home made lemon curd does taste sublime, far superior to shop bought...but still I have that memory of the time it all took.

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  13. I can imagine it will be difficult for you to have your son so far away, again.

    When we were in Italy we saw bats every evening after sunset. They came very close. It's amazing to see them fly, so different moves than birds.

    Groetjes, Gerda

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    1. Hello Gerda, You are right, they are fascinating to watch and they do move very differently to birds. We really enjoyed having our son home and catching up on all his news. It was sad to see him go, but good to know that he had his girlfriend waiting for him.

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  14. The village shows are just starting here in Yorkshire (North). Last week my MIL and I went to Ryedale Show in nearby Kirbymoorside - this week it is Thornton-le Dale! Such fun!

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    1. Hello MrsNesbitt, Village shows are great fun - do you have a local one? The whole atmosphere from arriving with your carefully transported goods, filling in the forms and setting the entries out (casting a furtive eye over everyone else's) and then having to withdraw for a couple of hours while the judging is carried out. Then the great opening of the doors and the rush to see who has won what!

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  15. I used to enter veggies and flowers in our local show. It was lots of fun getting ready - a mad frenzy on submission day. Our children and I used to like to enter a special class in which you took an odd-shaped vegetable and dressed it up. One year we had a tomato pretending to be the frog who went a wooing. The Fair is always a happy time of playful rivalry (not for the real farmers though- serious business for them). Enjoy your show! Hope you get lots of ribbons.

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    1. Hello Jenny, You have just reminded me, it is a mad frenzy on submission day, a flurry of last minute baking, arranging flowers, polishing vegetables, etc. It is enormous fun and the rivalry is all part of it. Of course when one's husband and son get placed higher in the biscuit category, one could get a little grumpy! But it is better to have a giggle about it instead.

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  16. I love your blog . . . artistically lovely presentation . . . Lincolnshire in England?

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    1. Hello Lynne - and a big welcome. You are right it is Lincolnshire on the eastern side of England. I'm delighted that you are enjoying the blog.

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  17. Your new camera is such a blessing! You'll learn to use it in no time...that was an awesome photo of the hedgehog! I had heard that hedgehogs were becoming scarce, but I am glad to hear that they are actually thriving. They are such cute little critters! Your veggie garden is doing wonderfully! Our cucumbers are getting too hot now, and becoming bitter, but I plan to plant again for a second showing. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Hello Marie, I am having great fun experimenting with the camera - I wonder whether that was part of Jonathan's plan...rather like giving a child a new toy as a distraction! It has definitely helped. As you can imagine, with the village show coming up we are tending the vegetables very carefully, trying to get them into good condition for the big day.

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  18. My goodness, Elaine....a lot of comments. It's no wonder, it is a beautiful post. I think I could take a jar of your lemon curd. One of my favorite things to eat, in a little english tea room, located in Texas.....scones, clotted cream and lemon curd. Yummmmmm!

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    1. Hello dear Meggie, I'll let you know when the lemon curd is ready then I'll make a fresh batch of scones, give you a call and we'll drink tea and indulge. Did you know that both Devon and Cornwall make clotted cream and there are very passionate discussions about which makes the best - and also the perennial question about whether it should be cream first, or jam first...again, a Devon/Cornwall divide! The things which stir us up.

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  19. Goodness me you have been busy since last time I called by which was only a week ago but I seemed to have lots of posts to read, all delightful. I am so pleased that you had such a good time with your son and that you are planning a trip to China sometime soon.

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  20. I meant I hoped that you are planning a trip actually the way I have typed my thoughts makes it sound as if you already are. We have a daughter living in HK and it is well worth the trip if you can do so.

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    1. Hello LindyLou, It was a really lovely visit from Jonny, four weeks of catching up on news and visiting his friends, we also enjoyed having him help out around this place. I spent three years living in HK in the 60's - no doubt it has changed mightily since then - it would certainly be interesting to check it out!

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  21. I find hedgehogs adorable, although I've never seen one in the flesh. Don't think there are any in North America...

    Had not seen hanging cucumbers before. I'll have to look into that, looks like a space-saver!

    Pearl

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