Wednesday, 9 September 2009


So yesterday, I shared with you all the additions to the HenHouse cottage which were made during our holiday last week. Today we're getting a bit more active and going out and about in Somerset and Dorset. Coming?

As you might have expected, a week long trip which included Mr HH and the Munchkin could mean only one thing for me...

On Bank Holiday Monday, off we set for the East Somerset Railway, the Munchkin and I had not been here before and Mr HH had only been donkey's years ago (it would be rude to say how many). Sadly, it was not a great day weatherwise and the closer we got to Cranmore, the worse it became! This was sad as it was also the day of the village fete.

Once there, I amused myself by admiring the bunting and the enamel signs...

The Munchy one couldn't wait to get on the engine!

Mr HH seemed to need to make a 'phone call...

(Is that a Cath K mini brolley I see in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?)

On Tuesday, it was time to do our little local jobs. Now let's get our priorities right, that meant the first stop had to be the charity shop! Well, you read about my finds there yesterday. I also had some cheques to pay into the bank. Isn't this just the cutest little bank branch?

Then it was off for essential hydration supplies at the errm, cider farm. V important to support local farmers you know. (Yes we do buy other things too!) Looks to be a bumper crop of apples this year.

All this arduous trekking needed the support of a good breakfast each morning. One of the good things about the time we spend at the cottage is that we get a chance to sit all together and linger awhile over breakfast. Much eating of preserves takes place which is tremendously popular with that sugar fiend otherwise known as the Munchkin!

Also rather popular with Mademoiselle Fifi from next door! Looks like she prefers cereal though.

Actually, quite a bit of cooking was done by yours truly. I selflessly made this trifle..

(Is it normal to take photos of trifle? Is it me or is it a rude-looking trifle?)

More importantly of course, was the issue of the annual village gardening show. I don't do anything for the show on the actual gardening side because we're not at the cottage enough to enable us to grow veggies or cosset any pretty flowers (the roses have all succumbed to the rain in any case, and the dahlias to the slimy slugs and snails). What I can do however, is churn out preserves, something I do quite gladly. I'd already made the lemon curd before we went away, you might remember. When I make jam throughout the Summer, I usually make a few with "old fashioned" lids purely for the show. However, although my cupboards were well stocked with jam, I had failed to use the waxed discs and cellophane to seal them (as the show rules require) because quite honestly, screw top jars are so much easier and I just forgot. So there I was, late on Tuesday afternoon, with my enamel casserole pot (my preserving pan languishing back in London with the screw top jars), cobbling together some currants and berries, scrounging jars from the neighbours and buying waxed discs and cellophane from the village shop. Last year I won second prize. Got to try to do better this year?

So, on Saturday morning, off I trundled to the village hall to lay out my preserves along with all the others. (More entries came along later but there was shopping to be done in Bridport, you understand, so I was there early!) Which ones do you think were mine? Not the ones with the faffy fabric lids surely?!

So, off to my beloved Bridport for a little mooch. I was stopped in my tracks by some stunning dahlias...

And of course, I could not bypass Girls' Own Store. Inside were some new goodies, lovely jugs and bowls, little handled tins and teatowels by Greengate in what appears to be a rather scrumptious new paisley design. If you look closely, you might just spot them in the window. I came out without china but clutching a rather gorgeous book. No no, we're going to look at that another day; patience is a virtue and all that.

Fast forward, sadly, to our last day, Sunday. Off we set with Molly dog (borrowed from next door) for a little ramble through the fields which border the village. Oh my, look at that view...

And what have we here? Some marauding gypsies maybe?

I have to confess that would be Mr HH with my mum and dad partaking of what we shall politely call "foraging" amongst the hedgerows. The Munchkin was not up for foraging (funnily enough, he might just be up for the resulting blackberry and apple crumble?) He and Molly dog were off in the fields, picking buttercups, climbing stiles and generally having a whale of a time. Not bad for a city boy!

It was a productive day...

And the village show? The jam?

Pleased as punch!

(Nothing for the lemon curd. Drat!)


  1. Very well done - what a very satisfying certificate! I bet it was the pretty lid which clinched it!

    Pomona x

  2. well done you!!
    i think thats a good enough excuse to treat yourself,dont you? us girlies dont need a excuse do we?!!
    P.S i agree about the trifle!! x

  3. Well done for winning with the Jam.
    Are the Sheppard paintings still at the East Somerset Railway?

  4. Congratulations on first place – very well done. You are a far braver woman than I! I have not been game enough to enter items in our local show which require the dreaded ‘taste test’; I think I have seen too many TV shows about how hard the judges are to please. Of course that is all the more reason for you to be proud; you obviously met all their long list of requirements and then some. And ‘yes’ the trifle is a little cheeky ;)

  5. Congrats on the first prize hunni Your jam obviously tastes as good as it look's.
    Yes that trifle does look a tad cheeky but I bet it went down a treat I know it wouldn't have lasted more than two minutes in our house.
    we went out in search of blackberries at the weekend too please feel free to pop over and take a look.
    Bye for now

  6. Yummy! Summer fruit jam. Your pot was certainly the prettiest! Well done on coming first. You will have to keep up the standard next year too! x

  7. Well Done Hen!
    We made Blackberry and apple crumble with our 'foraged' blackberries,delicious!
    Rachel x

  8. OOOH Hen Congrats! It's our village Michealmass show this weekend and I think I might enter a photograph, Wish me luck!!!

  9. Well done on your jam!
    How great to win!

    Love the brolly joke...LOL!!!

    I so enjoyed the tour....lovely...Thank you Hen..xxxx

  10. Congratulations on your prize, well deserved ! That trifle looks absolutely delicious . Reading your blog has made very hungry especially for something sweet !

  11. Hi Hen
    You really make the most of your time off. You always seem to able to fit in so much. Great you taking part in the village annual gardening show. Well done on winning 1st prize for the jam! Those dalhias look fantastic. Like you, ours have been eaten by slugs...The trouble is that I don't like killing them! Pity about the weather when you went to Cranmore, it is best enjoyed on a sunny day, especially as the route is short.
    Look forward to the next installement!
    Take care
    Isabelle x

  12. Well done, First Prize at a village show, I bet there are some very miffed oldies out there!!

    Gorgeous pics, it looks like you had a lovely time.

    Sue xx

  13. Well done on the winning 1st prize with your jam, what a great certificate.
    Lisa x

  14. Very good! Well done you. Thanks for yet another wonderful post. Suzie. xxx

  15. Yea, I just had a fumnny feeling you might just sneak it, hip hip hooray for Hen House Jam!

    As for the selfless trifle, well it would be rude not to!

    Love Sarah x

  16. Hi Hen

    I have newly signed up...You have a lovely spot full of fun and inspiration...well done...and well done winning 1st prize...

  17. Congratulations on your first prize. Next year for the lemon curd!
    You had a wonderful week, thank you for sharing it with us.
    Carol xx

  18. Hi Hen,

    It's good to have you back!

    Is there no end to your many talents? You can now add champion jam maker to your credentials :-)

    By the way I loved your naughty trifle!

    Natasha x

  19. Breakfast looks good, as does that cheeky trifle!!
    Congratulations on the first place with the jam, love the cover,finishes it off nicely, how could they judges not be impressed!!!

  20. Very well done on your first prize Hen... bet you were so pleased.

    I just love reading your blogs... I've only really just discovered you but I've read all of this years blogs already and some of dec from last year lol.

    I must say I want to be your shopping companion. You also seem to find such delish goodies.

    Look forward to hearing more from you.

    Gail x

  21. Congratulations on your first place :)
    Looked like you all had a wonderful time

  22. Oh Hen, I DO love coming to read what you've been up to. I live vicariously through you lol!! Congratulations on that 1st prize, too :) And is that a CK mac that the Munchkin is wearing? It's luvverly.

  23. Well done on the jam, Hen!

    The bank is adorable...I love quirky buildings that are being used for things that are not their original purpose as it makes them so much more interesting. One ofmy favourites is the hole in the wall of a certain Dartmouth bank where to use it you need to go down on your knees!

    Fifi cat is very cute too! x

  24. Oh Hen, I do enjoy reading about your adventures and also your little sneaky innuendos made me laugh! Rachaelxo

  25. Congrats on your win! And I love blackberries so much. Your freshly picked ones must have been delicious. I'm almost salivating for them...

  26. What a lovely blog, I just found you!
    And I think your trifle looks amazing!!!

    Lots of Love

    Kelly xxx

  27. Hurrah! Well done Hen! and no it's not just you the trifle does look a little rude! (but very delicious)

  28. Congratulations! That is splendid! You do get out into the country quite a lot don't you...?!

    Also I love Mademoiselle Fifi! xxx

  29. What a lovely post! Congrats on 1st prize! I too, was foraging for blackberries a week or so ago!

  30. Yummy trifle.
    Great day you had - and well done for the jam!!!

  31. Oh huge congrats! it isn't a great feeling? I got a first for Spiced Apple jelly at our village show this year, couldn't have been more proud of myself! Beating the SWRI ladies too!

  32. Oh well done on winning first prize, I can fully appreciate just how splendid that is. Your lids are also first prize lids, I approve!
    Love your new blog header by the way.
    So impressed the Munchkin wears his Cath K mac with the stanley print, he's the best, most lovely boy in the world (apart from my Nephew George, which I have to say, don't I?!)
    When I saw your breakfast photo, it felt familiar, that thing where all stops untill photo is taken. Trifle exceptionally rude, or, on the other hand, exceptionally delicious looking! The latter me thinks.
    Thanks Hen, for sharing all your wonderful holiday with us, have missed you this last week!
    See you in two weeks, when I'm back from my hols.
    Love Vanessa xxx (do yopu mind if i knit)


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