Hedgerow Treasures 

You know it and I know it! I love Autumn it’s just a wonderful season.

I’ve been raiding friends gardens, filling bags of Damsons, Plums and Apples plus rooting around in hedgerows for Sloes, Haws, Blackberries and Rosehips all of which have found themselves in jars filled with booze.

I cheat with the Sloes and pop them in the freezer over night and of course you have to be quick with the Blackberries as folklore has it that blackberries shouldn’t be picked after Old Michaelmas Day on 10th October because that’s the day that the Devil spits on the blackberries.

I’ve had to make extra Hedgrerow Gin this year as it didn’t last long at all last year🙂  

I might even make some secret extra batches to surprise everyone in January when we’re all a bit blue and all the Autumn goodies have gone!

The Grand Hotel, 

We all love to be somewhere we shouldn’t! To peak through an door that’s rarely left open and today I managed yet again to have the chance to do just that!

All other appointments cancelled I nipped over to Birmingham to take part in another Hidden Brum project and this one offered the chance to take a look inside The Grand Hotel in Birmingham.

The hotel first appeared in around 1879 and had been an operating hotel up until 2002 and has managed to become bankrupt in 3 different centuries. It had its turbulent history passing from hotel chain to hotel chain and now it’s under going huge development and that’s what we got to take a look at.

An amazing tour, with an incredible leads from the owners and the renovators we saw what modernisation had done to the once grand building and what was being discovered following a modernisation plan in the 70’s (or 80’s)

As we walked around it felt to me what walking around a derelict ocean liner would be like or what it would be like being the last person to leave and lock up a palace.

But anyway here is a selection of my photos glimpsing behind the closed doors of The Grand Hotel, Birmingham 

The Autumn Return 

I’m not sure about you, but I feel that Autumn has arrived, at least here in Shrewbury it has.

I’ve had to dig out jumpers and make repairs where moths have ravaged through the knit, I’ve been cleaning out kilner jars ready for some harvested hedgerow delights and I have been chopping and stacking wood in the shed ready for the dark and chilly nights.

I love the Autumn, my diary fills up more then the lazy sun filled days of Summer or the hard work filled days of Spring. 

My work days are started in the dark and ended in the dark. 

Walks with the dog are an opportunity to see how many layers you can fit into 
And most importantly pastry encrusted pies and gravy soaked casseroles become staple fodder for us.

Welcome to Autumn 


So I’m celebrating my first Spring here in Cherry Orchard and the garden is constantly surprising me🙂

Admittedly the Bluebells are Spanish and the Yew completely over grown BUT the buds appearing on the Lilac are a sign of wonderful scented evenings to come!

The garden is a hotch potch of plants, trees and shrubs but it’s a magical place.

I can’t wait to see what else it has to show me




The perfect Gibson

It’s good enough for Cary Grant in North by Northwest so it’s good enough for me! Sadly a trawl of the cocktail bars of Shrewsbury left me Gibson less!

In the 4 places I attempted to order one, 2 knew exactly what I. wanted but there were no Silverskin Onions available, 1 x barman had to ‘Google’ the drink to Fi d out what went in it & 1 x barman sadly didn’t know what I was talking about!

The search for the perfect
Gibson continues……



A string or bad luck and bad news just doesn’t seem quite so tough to deal with when you have a mug of tea clasped firmly in your hand!

Tea solver of fights, fixer of hearts, friend to all


Wednesday Supper

Tomorrow I’m driving to Reading! It’s for a 1 day conference which will either motivate me or force me into the kitchen to bake (which is what I do when the World is not quite right)

Anyway I wanted a hearty supper tonight to see me through to the buffet lunch tomorrow (An arrival at 10:30 in Reading means a 6:30 departure from Shrewsbury and even I cannot face food before 7:00)

So out came the trusty Nigel Slater and Lamb Steaks with Creamed Cannellini was the chosen recipie.

Mine looked nothing like the picture but tasted amazing! I’m full and ready to face Reading!