We keep trying to get one more barefoot adventure in before ‘the long night’ of winter. Sat we went for a marsh romp before the torrents of rain that came later in the afternoon. It was glorious.
We feel quite lucky to get to know the area from top to bottom this way. The only thing missing was our sad Labrador who had to stay home to keep his stitches clean. Oh well, there is always next time.
It’s that time of year again! Watchouse 2016! Four days and three nights in our own little oasis. Last week I casually mentioned it in my post about finishing the boat. What fortuitous timing! We didn’t have to use the raft again! Now, making a bit of a spectacle of ourselves on the quay is a bit of a tradition what with furiously hammering together a ramshackle driftwood raft as the tide races in. This year we had little Snipe. And thank god! On one of the biggest tides this year there was no way we could have controlled it in the currents, even once we could touch the bottom again! We loaded the boat as the tide came in, getting ready to leave at the top of the tide, when the water would not be racing. By this time, however, we were waist deep on the quay and clambouring onto the boat with a large crowd watching. Par for the course really. And we were off!
As ever the weekend was about friends, food, and fun. Mornings usually saw a big breakfast followed by sailing expeditions on Snipe. One morning we headed down to the point and anchored. The boys jumped out and swam around the boat. We girls waited to see if they could get back in. Only barely! The seals were basking as we were!
The lovely Fiona and Jackson from Oystercatcher Catering provided meal after meal of joy! Afternoons saw lunches, kubb, fishing, and yoga in the sun. We really lucked out and the weather was sunny and warm. Later in the afternoon beer and cocktails came out leading up to some fantastic dinners. I don’t know how Jackson manages to produce the quality of food we eat in that ‘kitchen’ (and I use the term loosely). Pallella, rich and creamy fish stew, and mega-BBQ followed by cheese and red wine. There is something about being out in the sun and wind all day that makes you sleep amazingly!
Now, things couldn’t go too perfectly, and on the way back our engine conked out while we were preparing to enter the cut. We threw down our anchor and came up with many possible senarios for getting all of us back to land with our belongings. But lo and behold, up comes our friend Chris who helped us get Snipe back in the water. And who then gave us a tow back…? Bless them! We arrived in style on the quay under tow and created another mild spectacle just as we would have had the raft been there. Its just fate!
When I first met Marek he had a boat in the garage. That was 11years ago (this Oct!). It was a wooden boat his grandfather had built in the family garage in the 1960’s and was passed through the family down to Marek. It had not been in the water since the 1990’s and needed some serious love. We toyed with renovations every few years but had only managed to sand her down, to what we thought was the base level until August 2015. With a bit of an unexpected windfall we brought her up to Blakeney from her shed in West Sussex for some intensive work.
Her triumphant return and maiden voyage (matron voyage?) was our annual trip to the Watchouse on Blakeney Point. With the highest tide of the year (or thereabouts) it was quite a spectacle on the quay loading 4 people and two dogs (for a day trip). And don’t forget ll that lovely food from Oystercatcher Catering!
So it’s been a while since last posting. This is my favourite time of year and I get swept up in the allotment, swimming, kayaking, and all the outdoor fun. Today I just thought I would share a single day spent entirely in our courtyard.
We were in the middle of watching an episode of Grand Designs when Marek looked out the window and saw the sky lighting up with pinks and oranges. The tide was coming in and it all just came together for an evening sunset kayak. So we turned everything off and out went. Here is a taster of that sunset feeling.
It’s all gone off on the allotment this past month. Yesterday we took in our first redcurrent harvest to joint the cacophony of strawberries. But there is also a list of greens to join in as well. Artichokes, mange tout, broadbeans, and our first onions. Now just holding our breath for some tomatoes and squash!
Ah the Solstice and the start of Summer! So much! So much… Too much? No. It’s just a wonderful time of year. Preserving starts, the allotment is lush (too lush), and the days are longer to take it all in!
To start, the Solstice itself is often a night we try and celebrate outdoors. Two years ago we walked from Sherringham to Blakeney towards the sunset. It was magical. Last year we feasted in Salthouse at the Dun Cow, and did the same. We swam in dark off the quay when we got home.
This year we went the other way. In the kayak. Leaving the cut we headed towards The Point. The sky was dappled in clouds backlit by a rainbow sky. We seemed to glide over the rippling water. It was breathtaking.
Then we landed on the point and walked up the biggest dune to have a No.4 cocktail (Gin, honey, cardamom, and black pepper with rosemary sprigs) and watched the sun set. The wildflowers glowed in the dusk as we walked back to the kayak. On the return journey we were treated to a large strawberrymoon rising over Cley! What a sight! What an evening. And all on a Tuesday night.
At home the allium has raised their heads in time for the 4th of July (you can take the girl out of America…) The staghorn sumac is flowering above and the lavender is blooming below. The garden is thick and lush with globe thistle, roses, and california poppies.
On the allotment is it artichoke season! The 50mph winds did go some way towards thinning our crop but there are so many there is more than enough! The broadbeans have been harvested for hummus, and the strawberries are rampant. We have already picked 4kg and so many more to come!
In the hedges the dog roses are in bloom with their classic delicate fragrance. The elderflower too has come out fully. Of course this can only mean one thing! Preserving!
The kitchen has been a hive of activity! Rose and lavender syrup for cocktail experiments. Elderflower cordial for the same, but also cakes. The strawberries have been put to good use in Eton mess with pistachio meringues and honey…. And jam. So. Much. Jam. Some with rhubarb and vanilla. The house smells sweet and sticky and floral with it.
The house is also fragrant with sweet peas from the cutting garden. The first posey of many we hope. With all the rain they look strong this year. But the delphiniums are the drama queens of my cutting garden at the moment. They are both dramatic and delicate and are putting on quite the show in their second year. And let’s not forget the charming country cousin the ox eye daisy. Fresh and cheerful they sit for weeks in a vase looking amazing.
With so much going on it is even more important to sit and reflect on each tiny joy on its own to full appreciate what is going on around us.