Monday, 18 October 2010

The First Elevensestime Tweets

Back in May 2009 a chance remark was picked up by a great bunch of people and became Elevensestime. The following are my tweets and comments I retweeted at the time.

16 May 09 10:59
Does anyone have "Elevenses" any more? - off to get mine anyway
16 May 09 11:17
RT @mizzlizwhizz: #makesmesmile playing with words [No surprises there then! :)]
16 May 09 11:19
@mizzlizwhizz Right yours is the one on the left - stem ginger cookie ?
16 May 09 11:23
People who get together and sort out differences and problems for themselves and others #makesmesmile
16 May 09 11:24
Being patronized by large corporations and the state who think they know better #makesmerant (justsayin' !)
16 May 09 11:26
BT once sent me a letter explaining how their webhosting services would make my business *Look* professional #makesmerant
16 May 09 11:29
Daughter insisting that chocolate can be one of her 5 a day #makesmesmile
16 May 09 11:31
@mizzlizwhizz Nice aren't they - there's one left at the bottom of the packet
16 May 09 11:38
@mizzlizwhizz I really shouldn't I've already had 5 and I'm watching my figure. *brushes crumbs from chin, nose and hair*
16 May 09 11:40
My doctor suggested I go to weight watchers but I told him "I want to lose it not watch it" (boom! boom!)
16 May 09 11:43
.@naughtymutt Yum! - we're having ginger biscuits but you carry on with your radishes - much more healthy! :)
16 May 09 11:46
RT @Mangowe: *looks at breakfast* If this is health food, why am I enjoying it? [you need to have a word with @naughtymutt about that one]
16 May 09 11:50
RT @Dormousezzzz: Oooo ginger biscuits! I havent had a ginger biscuit in ages! *looks pleadingly upwards through eyelashes* ;) [Enjoy! :) ]
16 May 09 11:55
Just to finish off Elevenses - heres a nice feel good track from Beth Rowley #makesmesmile (spotify
16 May 09 11:59
Well that was nice - see you all later! :o)
16 May 09 12:07
RT @Mangowe: RT @okse: Went to the corner shop, bought a protractor. [Living the dream! :) #makesmesmile]
16 May 09 12:30
RT @HelpSaveBees: Martin, you appear to have started an Elevenses Twitter Club, may I introduce you to the following new members:
16 May 09 12:32
RT @HelpSaveBees: @typoretum @robocallaghan @iamamro @naughtymutt & of course miss biscuit crumbs herself @mizzlizwhizz [Nice to meet you!]
16 May 09 12:37
@JemStone Thought you might like this! :) #getorffmyland
16 May 09 12:47
@iamamro Absolutely!
16 May 09 13:28
RT @DaveHill: Have arrived in city of bath. It's small. [watch out Baedecker's! :)]
16 May 09 14:08
Beavering away! - follow @ElevensesTime, have set up for biscuit recipes, longer thoughts etc. #ElevensesTime
16 May 09 14:43
Off for a late lunch now - laters
16 May 09 17:15
RT @DamianGrounds: Hi Martin, it's Damian from @HelpSaveBees. Can you add me to #ElevensesTime please
17 May 09 01:23
@DamianGrounds No reason why we shouldnt have both - I've already set up with a first explanatory piece
17 May 09 01:27
@DamianGrounds A flicker group is great idea for sharing pictures with comments. Blog only really for posting stuff for those with no blog
17 May 09 10:26
Morning All! - late start this morning - Listening to the Archers as usual
17 May 09 10:28
Went to see Mark Steel last night in Cirencester (youtube : *language*) absolutely hilarious and thought provoking
17 May 09 10:30
@sunday Definitely starting to feel sorry for Matt! (Unlikely as that may sound !)
17 May 09 10:32
@sunday Not much chance of an early election then! (although the way GB's going I wouldn't put it past him!)
17 May 09 10:38
Just getting the crockery out for #ElevensesTime - as we're new to this I'll use the best china - use the hashtag to join in at 11:00 BST
17 May 09 10:45
@YourMrBumbles Glad you like it - theres loads of other clips on youtube
17 May 09 10:48
@TheChoirBoy Quite a few of us about! (@Timbentinck (David) is on twitter - interesting follow)
17 May 09 11:01
Tea's brewed - just trying to find some nice biscuits for #ElevensesTime - anybody got any music suggestions?
17 May 09 11:12
Found some half chocolate ginger cookies in the special jar #elevensestime - does every one take milk?
17 May 09 11:17
@DiscyDave Nice!
17 May 09 11:18
@mizzlizwhizz Pull up a chair - there's plenty of bickies for evryone #ElevensesTime
17 May 09 11:21
Can someone tell @HelpSaveBees aka @DamienGrounds his tea's getting cold! #elevensestime
17 May 09 11:23
RT @DiscyDave: Try this.. [Second track v.good]
17 May 09 11:27
@HelpSaveBees One lump or two ? - So what are we all doing this morning #elevensestime
17 May 09 11:29
@Dormousezzzz Fifth I think - pawn to rook
17 May 09 11:34
Here's some Fairport Convention to get us in a jolly mood #elevensestime
17 May 09 11:41
@DamianGrounds Are you following everyone from your current account?
17 May 09 11:45
RT @DamianGrounds: @iamamro @henryandjayne @mizzlizwhizz @ typoretum Good morning. I appear to be own. Jaffa cake anyone ?#ElevensesTime
17 May 09 12:03
Right well that was nice! Just leave the cups on the side I'll put em in the dishwasher later. #elevensestime
17 May 09 12:41
@TeaPartyProtest @teapartynews Not really a "Tea Party" thing! Just casual meet up and a chat at #ElevensesTime blog:
17 May 09 12:54
@mizzlizwhizz Damien seems to have stirred up some interest from accross the water ! LOL Got to be so careful with keywords #elevensestime

Monday, 6 September 2010

Harvest Time : A Time of Plenty But Not To Waste

Don't you just love this time of year?

We were treated to a most excellent start to the month last week - blue skies abounded and the sun shone - 0h the sunshine! Look how blue the sky was. Look how red the berries.... Glorious :)

Rowan Berries

It's not the Equinox until 23rd September (btw, we also have a full moon that day - so much good stuff) so it isn't really officially Autumn, but the weather is definitely autumnal up here in central Scotland, and the leaves are just starting to turn. The kids are back in school and there's a scent in the air, no?

And with the change in seasons, it is often easier to find a change in focus. A new project, perhaps? Or just the promise you made whilst enjoying your sunny summer holiday put into practice?

This week is an easy one for me and my easily distracted focus. It's both part of the Soil Association's Organic Fortnight
Organic Fortnight

National Zero Waste Week

Both initiatives mean I've been renewing my focus on some of the things that are most important to me.

Choosing organic everyday was a decision we made years ago - and it's really super to see this event get so big. To be honest, not so many of my neighbours up here in central Scotland suburbia are aware of Organic Fortnight, but we hope that with the support of the ever popular Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his delicious sounding organic pork recipes even those of those that don't live as close to the land, will start to think a little more about where their food comes from.

National Zero Waste Week just also happens to be about food this year. Yay! My fave subject :) Did you see the programme about the Great British Waste Menu? I haven't got around to watching it yet, but apparently it did a great job of highlighting just how much food waste us Britons throw out.

Mrs Green over at My Zero Waste doesn't throw out any waste. Well, last year the Green family put just one wheelie bin out - for the whole year! National Zero Waste Week (supported by chef Brian Turner and sponsored by Tetra-Pak) is a great campaign started by Mrs Green and this year's focus is on food waste I've been ever so vigilant this last couple of weeks and am working hard to make sure we're not buying too much food and that we're finding inventive ways of using up what's left over - even scraps!

It may be nearing Autumn officially, but that doesn't mean there's no new planting to be done.

Not another campaign? Well, yes. This time it's the One Pot Pledge from Garden Organic. Aimed at getting folks to pledging to grow at least one pot of their own food this year, I thought it was such a great idea, I've only gone and labelled myself a Gardening Guru!

That means I've been growing some of my own food for a few years and therefore should know what I'm doing, apparently! We're a little later than we'd have liked but we started a brand new projectand created two brand new veg beds in the brand new polytunnel (home grown compost and all!) and what you can see below is the result. In 4-6 weeks time I am expecting a harvest of radish, parsley, lettuce, spinach, pak choi, mixed leaves, spring onions and rainbow chard.

Veg Beds Freshly Sown

The only thing is, I'm unsure as to whether I'm hoping for surplus or not, what with my focus on waste! Fingers crossed we'll have that problem to contend with :)

Will you join with any of these campaigns? What campaigns are you involved with?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Summery summary

It's been another perfect summer hasn't it?
Well, ok we haven't had the much anticipated barbeque summer but , realistically, we were never going to get that. We have become suddenly quite accepting of unrealistic aims in the last decade. The ever increasing Americanisation of the British lifestyle has seen the dismissal of such hitherto relished delights as makinbg mud pies, long walks over verdant hills and wearing a vest under your summer clothes. In fact, summer itself is now expected to last much longer than the old six week period we were used to and which fitted the government issued compulsary summer break.
Now, thanks to cable television and cheap foreign holidays, we all want, no demand, a three month summer of blistering heat. We need at least desert conditions so we can dry roast ourselves in suburban gardens and eat chargrilled offal every evening from mid March until October.
Now, I like my full english served up poolside with a columbian blend coffee and freshly squeezed juice as much as the next man but I'm happy if it happens once or twice a year but I would happily forego that delight if it means retaining the temperate climate that allows my South African Alliums to flower alongs side my Himalayan Rhododendrons and my Australian Phormiums. I am aware that we like warm and dry more than damp and cold but if we want to remain the uniquely diverse island that we are, we need those rainfalls for our forests and flower meadows as much as we love the sun baked beaches and the snow capped Fells. This country reveals in such a huge influx of international tourists for the very same reason we like to moan: the weather. The range of conditions we enjoy here are the envy of the world as far as gardeners are concerned. Farmers may not like them because they specialize in sinlge crops but a gardener grows as big a spread of plant varieties as they can sustain and as such, we love the ever changing moods of Mother Nature. This year my crops, those I have had time to sow, have enjoyed days of high humidity, evenings of warmth and nights of mild but refreshing rain. We even had the ideal weather for about a week in May, days of hot dry sun with a slight breeze for pollenation, mixed with nights of straight rain from dusk until dawn. Perfect weather and perfectly British.
So, yes, I like to bake and tan but I can either pop on a plane to a foreign soil for that or crawl through traffic on a bank holiday and find it on a square metre of sand in Cornwall. Give me my Chinese veg and spicy italian herbs, bring me my home grown Apricots and frshly dug new potatoes. You can keep your Big Mac and Fries, give me wellies and grey skies. I love my British short lived summers!

Friday, 14 May 2010

Juggling new business start-up & full-time job!

I wouldn't recommend to anyone what I've been doing for the past 3 years unless you are fully motivated with an ultimate goal to aim for. Setting up a new business isn't easy, but doing it whilst working full-time and renovating a property from 70 miles away has given me many headaches as well as a lot of sleepless nights but it's all been worth it.

I'm very fortunate to have been given my inheritance by my father during his lifetime. As a result, I am now the proud owner of a beautiful farmhouse which originally belonged to my grandparents. It is situated on the Herefordshire/Worcestershire border, approx. 6 miles from the Malvern Hills. It is where I grew up as a child and where my father and brother still farm.

This all may sound very idyllic, but in the early 80's the property suffered a horrendous fire which nearly resulted in the family losing the whole house and the nearby farm buildings. Although a fantastic property to be given, it was derelict and in need of a great amount of love and money to make it habitable once again. Birds were able to fly freely through the house and nest on the wallpaper hanging off the walls! Last year when the plastering had finished in the bedrooms, we left the windows open so the plaster could dry more easily only to find that a swallow had made its nest in the rafters of a bedroom! We had to leave the bedroom window open through rain and wind to allow the swallows access to their nest. Luckily, they have all returned this year and found new nesting places in the farm buildings.

In 2007 renovations commenced in earnest but I soon realised that my partner and I couldn't live in such a large property with no extra income to help run it. Many ideas went through my head and I thought that holiday lets would be the answer. But as the renovations progressed, I became more and more attached to the property and the idea of living in it and enjoying the place where I remember fondly playing as a child. Holiday lets no longer seemed such a good idea. And so the idea of developing the property as a Bed and Breakfast was decided as a great compromise - we could continue to live in and enjoy the property but also by sharing it with others we could pay for the renovations and running of the house.

So plans began to transform the beautiful farmhouse into a home for ourselves and a relaxing place for Bed and Breakfast guests to visit. This has opened up a whole new world to me of not only finding out how to set up my own business, but also the Bed and Breakfast community of landladies and landlords. I have met some great people both on- and offline since starting my research and have thoroughly enjoyed the adventure because that is how I am approaching this new business. It is an adventure which I wish to enjoy and learn from.

The website landing page has recently gone live and the real website will be live once we can take some photographs of the interior - the kitchen is being fitted this month, bathrooms next month and then the carpenter can move in to finish off whilst we decorate and furnish. We still have a lot of hard work to do inside and outside, but furnishings and gardening are what I consider fun, rather than plaster dust and builders mess!

If you would like to follow our progress, please do visit the website

Monday, 10 May 2010

Lemon and Honey Cough Mixture

Two juicy lemons
150ml (5floz) clear honey
50ml(2floz) glycerine

Squeeze the juice from the two lemons and strain the juice to get it as clear as possible. Put the lemon juice, honey and glycerine into a jug and mix very thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a small medicine bottle and cork tightly

This mixture will sooth a ticklish or sore throat and is suitable for children and adults. It is ideal for singers and actors and actresses to prevent throat infections and is also delicious

Monday, 3 May 2010

Cranberry and Honey Oat Bread

This recipe is in the 2010 North Cotswold Honey Show at the end of August where many of the beekeepers turn their hands to cake bakng - some more successful than others!

2 tablespoons local honey, 1 egg, 2 tblspns milk, 1 tspn melted butter, 350g(12oz)plain flour, 175g(6oz)rolled oats, 1 dssrtspn baking powder, 1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon, 110g(4oz) fresh/frozen cranberries
50g (2oz)chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 180c(350F,gas mark 4) and grease a loaf tin. Put the flour,oats,baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Beat together the egg, honey and milk and add to the flour and oats, stirring well.
Fold in the cranberries and nuts.
Pour into the loaf tin and bake for about 75 mins, or until crusty and hollow when knocked.
Pour the melted butter over the hot loaf and turn out onto a cooling rack