Summer scenes 2015

We returned from a week in Greece on Sunday to find ourselves plunged into autumn already. A shock to the system. I have a bad case of winter blues and am struggling to find the motivation to get up, get dressed, get on the train, go to work. It seems very unfair that I can’t stay in bed with the kitties.

I have been looking back on my photos of the summer, and they have been making me smile. All in all, it has been a rather domestic summer, with the odd holiday thrown in. Finishing off the house, working on the garden, cooking lots, eating our meals outside, spending time with family and friends at home. Work has been very busy for me, so I’ve craved doing very little at the weekends and it’s been lovely doing just that – consolidating, relaxing, enjoying the house and the garden. The weather wasn’t too bad, either!

In Spring we had a raised vegetable bed built at the bottom of the garden with plans for growing some veggies over the summer. There was an existing metal frame which I think used to be part of a shed or greenhouse, so we used that as the base, and then fixed some planks to it, to contain the soil/rubble. I dug a few bags of compost into the rather grotty (cat-poo and stone ridden) soil and made some bean frames. 

We planted courgettes, lettuce, pak choi, beetroot, broad beens, French beans and runner beans. Some were more successful than others. We forgot about the lettuce and it became a slug-den. But the beans and the beetroot were a very exciting surprise. 

2015 = most successful veggie growing year yet.

We finally got an opportunity to use our barbeque this year too. I bought it rather optimistically towards the end of last summer but didn’t get round to using it so it has been languishing in our loft for the last year.

We cooked several lovely spiced, smoky dinners on it for warm evenings, chicken wings with chilli and soy, flattened chicken thighs with lemon, ginger and garlic, succulent lamb kebabs with harissa and sumac. 

There is something completely wonderful and soothing about eating in the garden, even if that garden happens to be a little patch in the middle of Hither Green!

I made a lot of puddings and a couple of cakes this summer, too. I am not a regular baker by any means, and my cakes are very hit and miss, but every now and again I get the urge. 

Summer cakes are particularly lovely I think – heavy with fruit, soft and fragrant, perfect with a cup of tea in the garden.

We finally had some friends over for lunch too, after months and months of waiting for the house to be ready. 

I spent far too long prettifying the garden and table (much to everyone’s amusement).

We ate a long leisurely lunch of elderflower prosecco cocktails, crostini, roasted red peppers and buffalo mozzarella, pea, broad bean and chargrilled courgette salad with mint, slow roasted pork shoulder with fennel, thyme and chilli, lemony roasted potatoes and crumbly strawberry and mascarpone cheesecake. The cooking took about 3 days, but it was completely delicious if I say so myself.  

We’ve also been putting the finishing touches to our house and have finally got round to putting up our pictures and knick knacks. 

The house feels properly like our home now, and I feel very proud of all our hard work. After over a year of slogging, it has finally been transformed into rather a calm, comfortable haven.

A good summer. A twinge of sadness that it's over. Now it's time to start the journey into autumn, time to get the chimney swept and get in the logs, get out the woollies and say bye bye to the summer.