Is There Any More Tea In That Pot?

Everyday events in the life of a tea lover.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

England has been basking in Mediterranean temperatures! 27C today.

Bracebridge Pool. Sutton Park. 
Well, like those proverbial buses, when you are waiting for one , for what seems an age, along come three at once!
   This being the consecutive days of wall-to-wall sunshine we are presently experiencing here. And how!! 
I was starting to think about an autumn tidy up in the garden, when it suddenly switched back to summer mode! 
My geraniums are loving it, and the last of my roses are blooming again. But it seems a touch incongruous to be looking at leaves drifting from the trees in temperatures of 26C+. 
Never is such a joy to be under an over-arching infinite blue all day. And we had breakfast, lunch and dinner outside sitting at the patio table. 
  Yet for a couple of hours we took ourselves off for a long walk in the park.
It is one of the largest urban parks in Europe.  

And so we wandered under clear blue skies basking in the warmth of the sunshine, and for me, the sense of open air freedom.
I love trees.
And to quote another of my poets, one William Wordsworth,
                    Light through trees near Blackroot Pool. Sutton Park                                                                                                 
 "In that sweet mood when pleasure loves to pay

      Tribute to ease; and, of its joy secure,                        
      The heart luxuriates with indifferent things,
      Wasting its kindliness on stocks and stones,
      And on the vacant air." 

I find trees somehow majestic,and ageless. A presence all of their own. So I 
guess I "waste my kindliness" on them! I always have a camera handy. Today 
taking photographs of the light as it sparkled on the pools, and twinkling down 
through the leaves, leaving patches of shifting shade 
A "toadstool" encountered as we walked along.
It seemed a little bizarre to see autumn fungi side by side with what was to all intents and purposes the wrong season! There were lots of differing kinds,but if I had stopped to take any more photos, we would never have made it home for lunch around 2.00pm, having set out from our house, on foot, at 10.30am.   
And as usual, I made a beeline for the ice cream man, who is to be found near the Jubilee Stone. 
Nothing like a "99" on a hot day! 
A big dollop of ice-cream with a chocolate flake, when eaten sitting on a bench, in the shade of a big tree, and a stirring small breeze wafting the air, is perfect!        I can never understand why Timelord declines to join me in this ritual!
So, we spent in this afternoon in the garden, eating our dinner in the evening warmth, under the patio umbrella. Until once again indoors, the sounds coming in from the open windows seem somehow more mellow. There is not a breath of wind and the dew is falling fast.
The stars have appeared. And tomorrow, so we are told, it will be another beautiful day..............time to sleep..................    
Little Bracebridge Pool. Sutton Park. 
And to quote William again.............
"---------------------IT seems a day
      (I speak of one from many singled out)
      One of those heavenly days that cannot die;"

It will live on in the memory when winter calls.  

Monday, 26 September 2011

............It was a beautiful day...........! Summer returns for a short while.......

Canada geese flying over the garden this morning
My last sunflower! Monday 26th September. 2011 

 Edward Thomas, a favourite poet of mine,  has a line in one of his poems which reads,
" I cannot bite the day to the core."
And on a day like this one I feel exactly the same.
From the moment I awake to see the sun shining in a clear blue sky, I itch to be outside in the garden. Even before breakfast I step out into the fresh autumnal air and take a stroll up the path to look at the shiny rainbow colours of the light reflecting in the dew on the grass.
Often I take a photo to try and capture the essence of the way it seems.
As I wandered there this morning a gaggle of Canada geese, honking noisily flew overhead, stretched out in a line. The usual "V" formation  at the front.
Why do they fly in formation?
A wonder of nature.
I reached the end by the back fence, the garden being about 40 metres long, and looked at the few remaining apples on our two trees. They have been deliciously sweet and juicy this year.The best we have ever known.
There is a different smell about the autumn. The colours are beginning to change and the horse chestnut trees are already decked in leaves which have crinkly nut brown edges, and dropping their "conkers" encased in prickly green shells. Or the shells having burst open, the round shiny chestnuts are scattered here and there.
Why is it that it is always a joy to walk in piles of leaves! The scrunchy, scuffing "about-ness" which we make as we swish along.    

Garden in August.
 'October' by Rose Fyleman

The summer is over,
The trees are all bare,
There is mist in the garden
And frost in the air.
The meadows are empty
And gathered the sheaves--
But isn't it lovely
Kicking up leaves!

John from the garden
Has taken the chairs;
It's dark in the evening
And cold on the stairs.
Winter is coming
And everyone grieves--
But isn't it lovely
Kicking up leaves!

The rich red colours of the maple leaves.
 So, the sun climbed up the sky and it shone warm on my face and arms. I revelled in the glory of this unexpected finger of summer creeping in to surprise us all. And I thought of Edward Thomas.
Rambling nasturtiums.  

Sunset on Sunday 25th September. 
"And shall I ask at the day's end once more
What beauty is, and what I can have meant
By happiness? And shall I let all go,
Glad, weary, or both? Or shall I perhaps know
That I was happy oft and oft before,
Awhile forgetting how I am fast pent, ................................

 I cannot bite the day to the core."

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Woodcroft.......Capturing history for the next generation. The joys of winter!

The stream we called Little Blackpool, in winter . 
 I must admit when I first saw  these photos, which have been collected as part of the ongoing story of our childhood, that I was so very moved. I had a lump in my throat.
Here is the very stream we all knew and loved, and where we spent many, many happy hours, oblivious of the time, till our parents called us in for meals.
Peter Fisher, who has collected these photos, and catalogued them, with Ken Stott, (who is still travelling to see people,  one as far away as the Isle of Wight(!), and videoing their recollections of those days,) said to me when we all met,
" I remember my mum, coming up to the end of the streets, and shouting "Peeeeter! Peeeter!" in a loud voice which slid up to a higher pitch towards the end.  And he pretended not to many of us did I suppose! We were enjoying ourselves too much!
Two of the five trees in the fields which are now covered with houses. 
 We would awaken in winter, and sense it had snowed in the night. There was a bright glow showing at the edges of our curtains and a quiet stillness, as normal sounds outside were muffled. The whole landscape had taken on a magical quality. If it was a school day, we had to wait until we got home in the evening before we could go sledging. This meant being wrapped in multi-layers! No thermal clothing then, no fancy boots or jackets, but two sweaters, worn over a vest, a pair of leggings (girls)  two or three pairs of socks, as wellington boots were not exactly designed to keep your feet warm. Scarves, bobble caps, woolly bonnets and mittens or gloves, all in wool, as leather was too cold, put in place, and off we  would go.
Looking across to the five trees from the top of the streets where we lived, now a sea of houses . 
 Of course in the dark winter evenings, we sledged down the back streets, mainly those of Thorn Street, and Woodcroft Street. East Street was challenging! Being one of the steepest. The front of East Street had grassy tufts growing down its length, between overgrown cobbles, which hindered a good  
fast run, unless the snow was quite deep and compacted. A tuft sticking up in the snow could tip up the  sledge My dad made one which he painted red, and found some old metal runners to finish it off. It was a flyer!    
 At times we hitched more than one sledge together and went down in a long line, until occasionally we all fell off! 
Phrases like " I'm going to go down belly flat this time" spring to mind, as we ran along each pushing our sledge to gain momentum, before flinging ourselves flat on top as it took off, then whizzing down at a terrific lick to the bottom. And none of us in those days would have even seen a bob sleigh team in action.     But the sense of speed gathering and the swish of the snow track were a delight!
Once at the bottom we set off to climb back to the top and begin again. 
Eventually, it inevitably was time to go indoors. Gloves were peeled off and hung near the roaring coal fire, the same for the socks. By now the wellingtons had ceased to even let the layers of socks keep feet and toes warm. 
This led to chilblains, horrors! 
Hands tingled as they thawed and often the pain was quite strident as the warmth returned. I used to soak mine in a bowl of warm water and hated the sensation. But it didn't deter us from repeating the exercise night after night until the pristine snow turned to mush.     
Pickles's farm.Demolished to make way for buildings.
Sledging in the fields behind the streets of Woodcroft, before these spaces were built on.
 If the snow arrived just before the weekend, we then went out and sledged during the day, not being any school. Newly fallen snow, which had not been disturbed, lay in the fields. We loved to be the first to make imprints with our footsteps, running free, and filling our lungs with the icy cold air, which then was breathed out like trails of vapour. Why is it that it always seemed to snow in winter then? That winter did arrive, and there was a definite pattern to the rhythm of the seasons, which governed our lives and pastimes.

Looking towards the woods owned by Cicely Brooks
So, as I looked at the photos, once more I am so very thankful for a childhood that was happy, and I am glad that our history is being recorded and saved. A worthwhile work still in progress.