Friday, July 31, 2009

Sculptural Tiger

B2 wants to be an artist when she grows up.

She is always making things.

She loves to draw, paint, well generally create.

I hope you have the desire and the courage to follow you dream my love.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hydrangea Heaven

The hydrangeas are in full bloom all over Guernsey at the moment.

I love the huge, blousy blooms of the mop head variety.

They even grow in the full sun here. This is quite astounding to me as in Australia they would be a modern art impression of a crispy plant.

This lace head hydrangea was lovely but then again it was blue, my favourite colour.

We have one planted at Bumble Bee Cottage; I hope it grows into something as lovely as these gorgeous specimens.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


We had friends to play the other day and they brought me these spectacular sunflowers as a gift.

They are so bright yellow they really add a bit of petal sunshine to the kitchen. Tilly is snoozing in her 'spot' as usual. B2 constantly worries about her falling off as she hangs over the edge of the windowsill like a furry muffin top; all legs, tail and fluff.

They must be different varieties as some have golden yellow centres whilst others have black centres. Once again the snoozing cat as crept into shot. Well she didn't really creep, as once she has settled only an earthquake will stir her sufficiently to consider moving; please note I only said consider.

We will be heading off on our holidays soon. If they still have some beauty to share I will drop them off to a friend before we leave; it seems a shame not to enjoy them right to the end of their bloom.

They will be holding the 'Tallest Sunflower' competition at one of the shows (I think it may be the South but I'm not too sure) so we will have to see if they match up to the shorter stemmed sunflowers which have graced Bumble Bee Cottage's kitchen table. Short in stem but not short smiles :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Guernsey Tomatoes

The Summer sun heralds the return of the Guernsey tomato to our local shops and the hedge vege. The ones in the stores are packaged in recycled cardboard containers which always make a good addition to the compost bin; our compost is a bit on the wet and sloppy side so the dry cardboard is always needed and welcome.

Mr Bee hated raw tomato with a passion before we moved to Guernsey, but then he tried some cherry tomatoes warmed by the sun on the hedge vege in the first few weeks following our arrival in Guernsey.

He is truly converted; to my genuine amazement he actually speaks fondly about the hedge vege tomatoes, sliced in half, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, cracked black pepper and salt.

When the Guernsey tomatoes are in season we eat two or three punnets per day. They are so cheap and delicious. I quite often have one for my lunch. Not that long ago the tomato industry was Guernsey's main income but it went into rapid decline due to the rising cost of transporting the tomatoes off Island and from fierce competition from Holland. My Dad remembers as a child always looking forward to Channel Island potatoes and tomatoes.

Although the export of tomatoes has all but disappeared I am grateful growers still supply the local market. I don't think it is that the tomatoes sold in Guernsey are better than elsewhere, it is just that they don't have to travel far to their point of sale.

Often the tomatoes are picked when they are perfectly ripe and then the grower only need to walk a few metres to the hedge vege stall outside their house to sell them. They are mostly ripened on the plants, not picked green and left to 'ripen' later (though they never do, not properly), nor do they need to sell varieties which have toughen skins for good transportation.

So I'm glad to share with you the Guernsey tomato. Don't they look tasty, you can't smell them, you can't taste them and you can't have any; unless you pay Guernsey a visit that is ;)

Monday, July 27, 2009

A beautiful accident

The last week of school was manic at Bumble Bee Cottage, with report cards, cupcakes and concerts, at least this is my excuse. We had friends over for lunch two weeks ago. I laid the table with a white linen table cloth, polish the silver cutlery (well it's stainless steel actually) and picked a bunch of flowers from our garden.

After the meal was enjoyed and the guests had departed I cleared the table and placed the flowers on the kitchen bench to be enjoyed over the coming week. Well two weeks passed and the flowers were still there they were looking, well a little crunchy really. They had dried in the vase! The stems had gone mouldy so I just snipped the flowers off and now I have my very own potpourri.

These are dahlias, shasta daisies and lavender and they have all dried to perfection. These may make a nice addition to my nature display.
So if you like my dried flowers just be slack like me and stick a vase of them somewhere and forget about them for a few weeks; you never know what might happen :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Shasta Disaster

I don't know what happened; maybe I did it with too much love i.e. fertiliser, regardless, it happened and my Summer dreams of Shasta daisies gently swaying in the sea breeze have been shattered.

Last year they flowered on and on, producing bunches and bunches of flowers for in the house and still having a fabulous display for in the garden. I have known for weeks what needs to be done. I know I need to be brutal and cut them back to the ground so the new shoots will have the rest of the Summer to harden up and grow big enough to survive the winter.

You can see the new shoots and baby daisies just waiting to burst into growth. I've filled a garden waste bag with my Shasta disaster and now there is a gaping hole in the cherub garden. I'll just have to toddle off to the garden shop :) The things I must suffer (hand to head, swooning just a little).

This was all B2 could salvage. She was my gardening helper, snipping all the 'good ones' off and placing them in a bucket of water until we could take them inside to artfully arrange.

The last of the poppies have finally finished as well so they made a nice companion in the vase. I do like my mysterious poppy flowers but I think I like their seed pods even more; very architectural.

The seed pods dry well and hold their shape so I am working on one of those nature displays for somewhere around the house. You know the ones, bowls of seeds, feathers, interesting rocks and shells grouped together with flair (of course darling). The great thing is that I have made it into a holiday project for the Bumble Bee'rs. They help me to collect items from around about and it is a very easy way of getting them out of the house and going for a walk.

The Shastas won't last that long in the vase. Their centers have already lost their bright, sunshine yellow and faded to a deep gold with a few dark brown spots here and there but they will add that little something to the kitchen for a few days at least.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Torteval Scarecrow Festival 2009

We arrived at Torteval Church at 12.35pm. Our destination was the sixth annual Torteval Scarecrow Festival.

The car park is in a field which is on a jaunty angle to say the least. The Bumble Bee'rs were STARVING (as I do not feed them you know) so we headed for the food tent for hot dogs for everyone else and a 'filled' roll for me. Filled apparently means grated cheese and Branston pickle; to be fair there was ham but they had run out. The lady was very apologetic and if I'm honest the cheese and pickle was tasty and it came with some mysterious 'free' tomatoes. Why exactly they were free remains a mystery, perhaps they are some mutant genetic experiment tomatoes and I may expect to see those extra arms I've always fancied growing soon. You never have quite enough hands as a Mum :)

The kids played a few games on our wander through the village green. They each won something on the lucky bottle stall (thank goodness or you would have heard the wailing back in Australia) and I managed to buy another cookbook, that makes 96 and counting, Antonio Carluccio's Italian Feast. The lady only wanted 50p for it but I felt guilty paying that as the book is in such good condition so I paid £1.00. Mr Bee thought it was outrageous, so there you have it he is a better charity shopper than me.

You pay your entry fee to two friendly ladies and they give you the route map. They have a clicker to count the number of people who have visited the scarecrows thus far; before us ventured 791 scarecrow lovers.

You could pick up these sheets which displayed photos of things you would see along the way with their Guernsey French names underneath.

You amble along the lanes until.......

you strike scarecrow gold! No. 10 The Queen of Heart with her tarts; this was B2's favourite and she voted for her. At the end of the walk you get to vote for you favourite. B3 also voted for her because she was a 'princess', which is B3's current obsession!

What a gorgeous day; the sky was clear, the sun was shining and the corn was waving in the breeze. Thank goodness there was a breeze as it was a scorching 21*C today. The Bumble Bee'rs demanded air-coniditioning for goodness sake! Are they little Aussies or what??

B1 thought No. 14 'Monsieur Le Crunch' was a fraud as in his opinion a bale of hay does not make it a scarecrow.

I thought No. 20 Green Crow's Pipe was very clever. Please remember to click on the photos for a better look.

No. 23 Mr Scare and Mrs Crow won my vote. They very well made and they just appealed to me.

The cows were mooing and the tractors were chugging along with hay bales in tow.

The hay baler was working hard to keep the tractor busy.

No. 31 Eyes on the Road was fab. The driver has crashed into a hedge vege and was covered in squashed tomatoes. His eyes should have been on the road but instead they had wandered...

...........I can't imagine why.

Poor old Goliath was getting this butt whipped in No. 34 Stoned.

No. 36 Strictly Come Scarecrow came complete with....

...........hosts and judges.

This entry had B1 literally jumping up and down on the spot, No. 41 May the fleece be with you. Of course he voted for this one.

No. 44 Torteval's Got Talent had a mixed bag of acts (I would have voted for the bongo playing dog myself).

Piers, Simon and Amanda were of course in attendance, although Amanda really should change hairdressers!

No. 46 The Postman was great and made me laugh out loud; although I am very easily amused.

We ended the afternoon with an ice-cream cone, sadly not a Guernsey Farmhouse one, but tasty none the less and a jump on the bouncy castle; the kids not me.

Last year my Mum was here for the festival and the Bumble Bee'rs missed her not being there very much. If I remember correctly we had to put the car air-conditioning on that day as well...didn't we Mum ;)

Friday, July 24, 2009

But the lettuce have bolted dear Liza, dear Liza.....

The lettuce have bolted, dear Liza, dear Liza.

The lettuce have bolted, dear Liza.


Then pull them out dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry.

Then pull them out dear Henry, dear Henry,

pull them out.

But what is for dinner dear Liza dear Liza,

What is for dinner dear Liza.

For dinner?

Zucchini dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry.

Zucchini dear Henry, dear Henry,


But the slugs have all chewed them dear Liza, dear Liza.

The slugs have all chewed them dear Liza, dear Liza.

The slugs.

Then eat sprouts dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry.

Then eat sprouts dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,

The sprouts.

But they’re not ready dear Liza, dear Liza.

They’re not ready dear Liza, dear Liza.

Too small.

Have an apple dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry.

Have an apple dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,

An apple.

But they’ve wind fallen dear Liza, dear Liza.

They’ve wind fallen dear Liza, dear Liza.

Now they’re yuck.

Cook broad bean salad dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry.

Cook broad bean salad dear Henry, dear Henry,

Broad beans.

With what shall I eat it dear Liza, dear Liza.

With what shall I eat it, dear Liza.

With what?

With lettuce dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry.

With lettuce dear Henry, dear Henry,


But the lettuce has bolted dear Liza, dear Liza.

The lettuce has bolted dear Liza.