Beaker

Date and Orange Loaf

This is the cake I baked for my birthday today (it's an old recipe so in imperial measurements):

Date and Orange Loaf

8 oz chopped dates
4 fl oz water
6 oz soft brown sugar
3 oz margerine
Grated rind of one orange
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 egg
8 oz self-raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon cinnnamon


Method

Put dates and water into a saucepan, simmer until pulpy.
Add sugar, stir until dissolved.
Remove from heat. Add margerine, beat well.
Add grated orange rind and juice.
Allow to cool for a few minutes, then beat in egg.
Sieve the flour and cinnamon together, then add a little at a time to the date mix.
Pour into a greased loaf tin.
Bake at 350 degrees F (180 C, Gas Mark 4) for 1 hour, 10 mins.
Check if done by inserting skewer. Cake is done when skewer comes out clean.

Best if kept in airtight tin for one day before cutting.
tiles

John Taverner's Annunciation

I've just been to the Advent Carol Service in Winchester Cathedral. I haven't been for a few years, but it has wonderful singing. The main reason I wanted to go was I expected them to use the Annunciation Anthem by John Taverner who died recently.

They did and it was just as stunning as I remembered. The words are taken from St Luke:

How shall this be, seeing I know not a man:
Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women.


The choir had progressed down the cathedral so they were at the West Door, but four girl choristers remained in the choir end.
They sang the first line, which sounded fragile in the vast cathedral.

Then the entire rest of the choir comes in with "HAIL", an utter wall of sound, and they repeat that four times. Then they sing the rest of the line, and it seems like the various parts of the choir, sopranos, altos, tenors, baritones and bases interweave like a tapestry.
The four choristers sing their line again, and the choir replies. And then the choir sings the last line and the word 'Blessed' somehow seems radiant, full of light. And then far in the distance the four soloists sing their line again, and it's sad and fearful. The whole work just captures the story of the Annunciation and it's breathtaking.
tiles

Ornamental Turning

I was taking some photographs yesterday for the Etsy shop and decided to also photograph my collection of Ornamental Turned boxes. I'm very keen on wooden objects since they're so tactile and the grain of the wood can be very attractive, and I have several turned pieces of wood.
But my real soft spot is for these boxes created by the technique of ornamental turning.


Turning_002



These take a lot more work than the simpler turned items, and require special machinery which is difficult to get nowadays, so Victorian machines are often used. In the case of those that look like cogs laid on top of each other, the first row is made, and then the machine has to be reset so the next row is a little further along, and so on, which means they take a lot longer to create.

All of my pieces are made by Ken Gilbert of the Guild of Herefordshire Craftsmen and he uses native and exotic woods. The last one I bought, which is the tall one on the left side of the display, is bigger than I usually get, but it's made of camphor laurel and there's a refreshing smell every time I open it. I buy them at the Malvern Spring Show (and sometimes the Autumn Show) where he regularly displays.

Go here to see individual pictures of all of my turned boxes, and admire these beautiful objects.
quaker hat

Winchester Meeting House Refurbishment

We're still raising money for the Meeting House refurbishment which is underway at the moment, and which looks like it will come in on time. Like to help for free?

If you ever buy online, consider signing up for Easyfunding.org. Each time you go to a site through Easyfunding and buy something the company will give a small percentage of the sale to the meeting house fund. Downloading their 'Find and Remind' widget makes it even easier to do.

And at a bit more expense, there's an Etsy shop which is selling some items for the appeal - not all the items, so read the listings.
ceiling

A Landmark Photo

For the last couple of months there's been a Landmark Trust Photography Competition to find pictures for next year's calendar. I entered a few photographs and was delighted to hear today that this picture of Swarkestone Pavilion is going to be used for January. I must admit every time I look at it, I think I should have got all of the tree in, but I do like the late afternoon light.
There were some gorgeous photos posted so I'll be interested to see what else has been picked.
tiles

Olympic Torch Relay

And here's the Olympic Torch entering Winchester along Worthy Road.


Torch

And our torch bearer for this section is Sian Wood.

Everyone enjoying themselves along the road, everything was cheered from the local bus that came through beforehand tooting his horn, to the police outriders and runners, and finally the cars and cyclists who were allowed into the road once the cavalcade had passed.

Tulip tile

Favourite Flowers

I went away for a week's holiday to Herefordshire and district this month. The main event was the Malvern Spring Flower Show, which I try to go to with my sister each year. Apart from the show we visited a couple of stately homes, and it was just the right season for tulips. So follow this link: Tulips on Flickr for a selection of the best photos - I took dozens.