frogspawn 2015

Spring has sprung.  Well according to at least one frog anyway.  I’ve been watching and listening to all the frog croaking in the pond and they (rashly in my opinion) now deem it warm enough to start the next generation.

So I can now add to my frogspawn sighting records for this pond:
2007 14/2
2008 8/2
2009 13/3
2010 21/3
2011 26/2
2012 25/2
2013 9/3
2014 18/2
2015 20/2

Which I guess shows there is a lot of variance, but they seem to be about on time this year. I’m not sure this first lot of frogspawn will make it – there are cold nights ahead.. but from the sounds coming from the pond, there will be more


An easy walk today round Venford reservoir,

I’m working back to fitness after the lurg knocked all plans aside. Nothing inspires so much as a clear sunny day,
and mild weather after so much cold, though there were still caches of snow here and there
it was beautiful up on the moors today.



Beautiful day, with the long shadows of January, so we headed out to walk a little of the coast path.


The views from Jennycliff are lovely, across Plymouth Sound, taking in Drakes Island, the Hoe, the Breakwater and in the far distance the Eddystone lighthouse

We walked round to Mount Batten point, and watched the boats making their way out for the day

wassailling the trees

I have the lurg.  The same lurg that seems to have swept through most of the village,   I’ve been out of action for some days, but wasn’t going to let wassailling go by this year – we forgot it last year and a poor harvest was had.  Enough said.  I did compromise on timing and went out in the day though.

So we mulled some of our homemade cider, himself boiled it for a while as none of us wanted the alcohol bit, and off we tromped to visit the oldest of the apple trees,  A beautiful sunny frosty day, and sorry neighbours, that was me in the 3 coats bovver boots scarf and that daft hat with the ear flaps, but hey I kept warm! We waved our mugs at the tree said ‘wassail!’ and drank a toast to the trees.  That should do it.


new year


Happy new year all :)

I have watched various folk post their resolutions, but for me I just hope to keep plugging away at getting the work/fun life balance right. And so, although we are frantically hedging before the all too short window closes again, we ducked out for a family walk around a local nature reserve, picnic, watch the wildlife. Good.



We don’t *do* Christmas cake in this house, or fruit cake of any kind really – none of us like it. Instead we have slices of leftover Christmas pudding, which we much prefer. But in the run up to the festivities, we like to make other things like biscuits, stollen and a family favourite:  panforte. Such an easy recipe, and kept wrapped up in an airtight container, it keeps for weeks.


150g blanched almonds
75g walnut pieces
100g hazelnuts
100g dried figs
150 candied peel – orange lemon and lime
50g plain flour
25g cocoa
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
175g sugar
175g honey
icing sugar

Begin by lining a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment – oiling first to stick it down.

Toast the nuts in a dry frying pan until slightly browned and chop roughly. Chop the figs and candied peel into small pieces. Mix the nuts, fruit, flour,cocoa and spices.

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Put the sugar and honey in a pan and warm gently until the sugar has melted, then turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Be careful as it is very very hot. Pour this mixture over the other ingredients and mix until everything is wet. Pack into the prepared tin and level off. Bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool then remove from the tin, dust with icing sugar all over. Wrap in cling film and keep in an airtight container.

driftwood tree


It’s beginning to look festive here at CIG towers, as tonight’s storm pushed us to go harvesting large holly branches from the hedges (to be our big Christmas tree) whilst it was dry yesterday, and now it is cut, seemed we might as well put it up. So once again we have three trees in our living room. The twiggy one we always have, now festived up (no, I’m sure ‘festived’ is not an actual word) with bird ornaments, the large dark holly tree with our eclectic mix of ornaments collected over the years, and in the window our little tree, as we love to have lights in the window adding to the festive feel in our road.

As I have mentioned before, we have a passion for found things – sea glass, shells, fossils, and driftwood. What to do with all this driftwood though.. we are gathering a fair bit with all our beach trips. Enough to make a driftwood tree.

surferEasy to make, we bought a metal rod from B&Q for a couple of pounds, found a drill bit the same size and spent an evening choosing the wood from our stash. We laid them out flat on the floor and when we had achieved the shape we liked, drilled in the middle of each piece and put it together. Rummaging through the wood, I found a piece shaped like a person with their arms held up, so build a little surf board his size, and put him on the top – seems apt since the wood came from the sea.

We like it so much we want to make a bigger one.. which means more beach trips to find my driftwood.  Oh well!


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