Friday 30 June 2023

Roses - We have a rose garden

How did that song go ....I didn't promise you a rose garden ... but then Oscar Wilde came up with Be happy, cried the Nightingale, be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart's-blood. You will always find interesting quotes and sayings about roses. When Jack came here I was surprised how much he liked roses and he planted quite a lot in fact they extended well into the woodland behind the house. I think they are the quintessential flower of an English country garden. We are very lucky to have lots here and also across in the farm garden. I have a very light pink one which is over 80 years old ,I would be very disappointed if it didnt survive. I am sure Monty Don would be pleased with my show of roses this year. Now I havent got a clue what most of them are called, but does it matter not really. I think the "Peace" rose would be the one I would always be able to identify. I started writing this blog before watching tonights programme and lo and behold a section of the programme was about roses. It is the Rose Festival at Rogers Roses in Pickering next weekend which we have supported for many years and donated a salver for the best smelling rose. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area. My Dad always liked a rose that had a scent and why not.His favourite colour was an orange one. I have a row which my dad bought me probably 40 years ago they were old then and what someone had grown and tried to make a business out of extracting the oil to make soap which sold in Harrods for a crazy amount of money. Rose petals I put in jam, make rose water for the finally washing rinse and have made potions up as face cream -not that it has done much good. Maybe I need to apply it every night not just every day for a week, then forget for a couple of months. Nothing looks nicer than a bowl of roses in a silver rose bowl as a centre piece on a table . Easy to take cuttings and grow on and there is no point in spending mega money on buying plants just find a friend with some one who has different to yours and swap them. I think gardening is about sharing it makes it fun and competive too. We have some very nice ones which we bought for a couple of pounds and some bought for special anniversary which cost a whole lot more .Give them a year or two and you couldnt tell which you had spent the most money one. As I plan the garden at the farm ,roses will play a major part of it. Roseson trellises, alongside Lupins, Delphiniums and Hollyhocks in borders . With thyme and lavender lines walkways and I seem to grow lady's mantle like weeds, so will incorporate them too . I have apricot and peach trees already waiting to be planted against the garden wall. The ground has to be cleared fist and the wood sawn up . We had a bit of a set back today as there were 2 wasp nests and a hornets too to sort before we could go any further. My Dad liked nothing better in his vegetable garden to get the first tomoato,potato or even sweet pea. I have lost that now, but I have joined the Helmsley gardening club and some months we visit other people's gardens. Last week we went up to one near Hawnby. The lady there had a sloping garden. Many plants she had split and increase the size of her garden which had only cost her time and patience.We just need to learn, when to do it for them to grow on . Roses, Brenda White who used to lived at Water Gates Farm, would say you had to take cutting on the 15th Ocotber. Probably this date came from being mid October is a good time to take cuttings. Superstition would draw me to take cuttings on a waxing moon rather than a waning on. So here are a few of our roses to show you. And some I picked to take to the church yard for Fathers Day.

Monday 26 June 2023

I know a place which you will never forget -trust me -

I know a place which you will never forget -trust me - when I attend marketing meetings, we are told only to tell customers so much. Tempt them to come and then tell them the rest. This is good advice most of the time. On this occasion it would be completely unfair not to tell locals and other people who have never had the experience where it is . Okay you may read this and stay well yes we take Anna's advice and we will stay there too. In normal circunstances I would be a bit miffed, but if you do all I can say is if you do enjoy it . The people who own it and those who work there are so kind to me. If I cant repay the favourite now and again it all gets a bit one sided. I will tell you at the end, if you havent already guessed where it is. I have been going here for over 50 years now and seen landlords come and go. - clue no 1. The present owner has just celebrate 27 years of running this fine place. Fine indeed it holds a Michellin star. Situated just outside Helmsley on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. It is essentially an Inn with Rooms serving ‘modern Yorkshire’ food made primarily from locally-sourced seasonal ingredients, such as local game, North Sea fish and fresh herbs from its own kitchen garden. Wines and beers are carefully selected to compliment the dining menu, whilst service is knowledgeable, but friendly. Add to this the atmosphere of an Inn with hospitality steeped into its very timbers for a proper treat. So then it is to decide what to have. The other lunch time I had the market menu and Jack opted for dishes from the menu. I was in such a laid back mood I didnt want to go through the menu thinking oh yes I would like that, oh no I think this sounds amazing, but oh wow this is just up my street .I left it for the chef to decide the menu of the day for me. Then Jack had forgotten his specs so I had to go and choose for him. He was very pleased with what he ate, so I think I made the right choice. After we ordered it wasnt long before some warm spelt bread came with baked salted breadsticks which must have been 2 foot long. Accompanied with olive oil,balsamic and whipped Triple Cheese with herbs. Give me bread and I am happy. My starter was East Coast Mackeral -that was so fresh it just melted in my mouth .It was served with Elderflower, Pickled Gooseberries and cucumber and pineapple sorbet. Typing this reminds me, I wonder what my gooseberries are doing. I will have to take a look. Gooseberries were once a forerunner of rhubarb They seem to have be lost in the rhubarb fenzey which when I was young it was just boring old rhubarb. As children we used to watch with intent as they rose up through the straw in the old chimney pots my Grandad sat over them to encourage them to grow longer stalks. Then my friend Derrick and I used to have rhubarb fight using them as if they were swords ... weird children that we were back in those days. And sometime I used to walk about with a large rhubarb leaf on my head as if it was a hat fit for Ascot. The drawback was they did wilt pretty quickly. Sorry I have diversed from our food. Jack, I felt would like the Signature Dish established in 1996 of which clue 2 is a book title - "Black Pudding and Foie Gras . I actually am the lucky owner of one of these books as I understand they are now out of print. The Chef wrote another book which you can buy is called Loose Birds and Game. A multi-award-winning Game cookbook which includes stunning flavour combinations and recipes for Poultry, Game and Fish served at the Michelin-starred inn is certainly worth buying. Jacks' starter was Grilled Black Pudding and pan fried Foie Gras with Pickering Watercress ,Apple and Vanilla Chutney and a Scrumpy Reduction. For my main course it was a Yorkshire chicken skewer with a mango ,chilli and coriander salsa I am not really a fan of corinder as I always think it taste a bit like soap but it wasnt "soapy" at all. Who ever had put this together made it look so pretty it was certainly a work of art - food porn .... or did I mean Pern food clue 3 Jacks' main was something very special Skrei Cod ,now this is not any old piece of Cod -this is fished from the deepest waters above Norway. I just had to try it to say I had had Skrei - how glad I did -it was amazing. It was served with Whitby crab ,Earth baked Jersey Royals,White Asparagus,Coastal Herb pickings and a Black Truffle sauce. When I saw the word Whitby I thought back to when I was in my 20s when come clue 4the landlord used to say "Whitby ,My Beloved Whitby" - he was a great friend of ours, who is no longer on this Earth's plain but is remembered with great affection .Dummer {Ian] Otterburn was captain of the local cricket team then and used to wind the poor fellow up by calling him the Red Mullet I will contiue with the rest of our meal another night as I am sure we are all full up now. Or you are so hungry you are going to raid your fridge until you can travel to where we were. And did you guess where we were .... There is only a couple of stars that shine brightly on Earth. This one is in the North Yorkshire countryside and it is The Star at Harome as it is only a 15 minute drive.. For anyone staying with us and wanting to go to dine at the Star, we are happy to drive you there. .

Wednesday 21 June 2023

Head to North Yorkshire to awaken your Senses

Looking to escape the city and don’t fancy a drive to the busy South coast and the traffic queues you hear of when you go to the South West. You need to point your compass North and head to our wonderful county of North Yorkshire. If you dont want to drive you can get the train right up to Thirsk - home of James Herriot the famous vet stories were written here. Thirsk is only 12 miles from us and an easy drive to be with us .Or take the train to York and you can even get the local bus which only costs £2 and it will drop you at the bottom of our drive. With endless possibilities, adventures and the great outdoors to enjoy ,you can start planning now . We are here to answer all your questions to make your holiday as stress free as possible. The North York Moors is a special place of great beauty and tranquility. Home to magnificent historical buildings,-Castle Howard being my favourite. Deep wooded vallets, bubbling streams and big skies Dine at the Star in Harome - a favourite with guests and locals too .I am going in a couple of days time to celebrate my birthday . And I can even tell you the nicest table to sit at sure to ask me . You can walk through our fields to Byland Abbey treading the age old path that the monks walked many moons ago. Feel the energy they left behind. Then stop and listen the birds ,sit a while in the grass, on a stile or bench and watch the gliders silently floating in the skies above. Smell the newly cut grass as the heat of the Summer sun turns it to hay for the animal feed through the winter. Find honeysuckle in the hedgerow and take a piece and suck the nectar from the flower, the finest restaurant cannot complete with the taste of that. Clover is sweet too. And lastly find a buttercup - be that child again and hold it under your chin and if you see the sun helping the buttercup reflect the colour yellow -this tells you that you like butter.
It is all waiting for you and it is all free for the taking .

Sunday 11 June 2023

St Mary's Church ,Rievaulx

Overlooking the ruins of Rievaulx Abbey is the small parish church of St Mary.It sits quietly on the edge of the village. In the 13th century as the abbey's slipper chapel for pilgrims built into the abbey gates. Visitors removed their boots here and put on slippers, hence the name. Pilgrims came to Rievaulx to visit the shrine of St William, the abbey's first abbot. It was brought to my attention by a guest who was staying with us . Yes of course I had seen it before from the outside but my guest persuaded me to go to a service there, so I thought why not .Meeting me at the entrance apologising that she had misread the times of service. However the door was open and it was nice to have a peep inside. I always like to find different places for our guests to visit and you can stay as long as you wish .The grass outside was nicely mown and to sit in the North Yorkshire sunshine and munch your lunch that is a bonus in my books. The chapel was rebuilt as the parish church of Rievaulx in 1906-7 by Temple Moore, a pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott. Moore doubled the size of the original medieval building and added the present chancel, vestry, and tower. The bell toiled the hourwhile we were in the church. We wondered whether someone had popped in unnoticed to ring thebell or it was some modern day device that it rung the bell automatically. Outside the west door is a memorial marked by a large wooden cross to Charles Duncombe, the 2nd Earl of Feversham. Known as Viscount Helmsley, Duncombe was a Colonel of Yeoman Rifles in the 21st King's Royal Rifle Corps. He died on 15 September 1915 at Flers, during the Battle of the Somme. He was first buried at Flers under a cross made from a nearby farmhouse. His body and the cross were brought home to England by his wife Frances and his son the 3rd Earl Feversham. The very touching epitaph refers to Charles and Frances with the simple phrase, 'They were happy here'. One oddity is an extremely small square window, no more than a square porthole, set into the west wall near the door. This is presumably a feature of the medieval chapel, perhaps intended as a leper window, allowing a view of the high altar from outside the church for those who were not allowed to enter the building. St Mary's is a very simple country church and well worth a visit taking time to step away from the humdrum of every day life. Its main interest lies in the fact that is was formerly the slipper chapel for Rievaulx Abbey and incorporates stonework from the abbey gatehouse. It has very good early 20th century windows and a touching memorial to the 2nd Earl of Feversham. It had a feel of a country wedding church scene with lots of flowers around the doorway and little bridesmaids running round a fairy ring laughing and giggling . Quite the Kate Greenaway scene.

Monday 5 June 2023

Byland Abbey and a Full Moon

The Full Moon in June is called the Strawberry Moon and as my strawberries are filling out just wanting that extra hours of light to ripen you can see how this June's full moon gets its name. Nothing is better than a wander around Byland Abbey on a Summer's night in June with the moon to light you way. Not quite as balmy as one would like as we are experience very hot days, but then nearly a frost at night . It is more like weather temperatures you would expect in the Sahara and not in North Yorkshire. Impressive remains can still be seen including the lower half of a huge rose window which was said to be the inspiration for the same window at York Minster An interesting feature is the preservation of some of the brightly coloured medieval floor tiles. and of course it is our favourite Abbey as only 15 minutes walk from our house and can be seen over the fields from our farm land. Jack always says it has the best cricket pitch in Yorkshire as it was were all the local children have played here over the years .And as the years go by my Grandchildren enjoy going and sometimes take a picnic with them .