Selling Bric a Brac again

This Saturday just gone was the day of the Buckland St Mary Xmas fete and we were on the Bric a Brac stall again.  We had lots of stuff – some friends were moving house and had cleared out a lot of glass ware and crockery and we had lots of books and other donations too.  This is me behind our stall.

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Neil is a very good salesman and tries to sell mostly inappropriate things to people we know,  just for fun.  However we did really well and took £77.00 in 2 hours.

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Children had the chance to visit Father Christmas (a local man from the village who dressed up the part), and afternoon teas and cake were also on offer.

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There was a tombola stall, a craft stall, a picture stall amongst others together with the usual raffle (I won a Xmas pudding – home made). Altogether £945 was raised for the church youth worker, so a good effort all round, and an early December start to get us in the Christmas mood.

We have vacancies in the B&B for the whole of December. contact us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Apple pressing in the Blackdown Hills

We have been to two apple pressing events this October, one in Buckland St Mary earlier in the month, and then another one at Stentwood the weekend just gone.  These are community events organised by the Blackdown Hills Transition Group of which we are members.

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Basically we invite anybody to bring their apples along and use the equipment to turn them into apple juice.

Firstly you have to tip apples into the crusher. We used a mixture of both eating apples and cooking apples.

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This breaks the apples down into pulp that can go into the presses.

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The apple pulp is then transferred into a linen bag and put into a press.  Gradually turning the handle round presses down on the pulp and the juice is then collected below.

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The juice turns brown as the apples oxidise.  The next process is to bottle it up.  We use a jug and a funnel to transfer the juice into bottles. If the apple juice is put into plastic bottles it can be frozen to keep it fresh, otherwise it will start to ferment after 3 or 4 days. If the juice is bottled in glass bottles it can be pasteurised for 35 minutes at 75 degrees C and this will keep it to up to a year.

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Bottling up

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Ilfracombe in the rain

Last week we had a couple of days away in North Devon in the resort of Ilfracombe, just 2 hours drive from here.  We booked a pleasant B&B (busman’s holiday for us) but thought a change of scenery would be good.  Unfortunately the weather was against us. The first day it rained constantly all day, but we decided to make the best of it and went for a walk to see the sites.

The tide was out, the coast line very rugged.

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Unperturbed by the weather we ventured forth with our brolly up.

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We walked down to the harbour to see the boats.

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At the end of the quay stands “Verity” a 66 foot high statue of a naked pregnant woman standing on law books and holding the scales of justice behind her back in one hand, and a sword held high in the other.  It is by Damian Hurst and to my opinion quite grotesque.  I think it is something that divides the locals in opinion.

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One side is the outer body and the other side is the internal view!!

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After a nice breakfast is our B&B the next day we set off to the “Tunnels beaches”.

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Tunnels were dug out by Welsh miners in the Victorian era to provide a way through to the beaches, one for women and one for men, and the Victorian bathing pools.  The time of our visit saw the tide up so we couldn’t see the bathing pools but we did go through the tunnels.

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We went down onto the women’s beach and Neil took the opportunity to skim some stones, something he is very good at.

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On the way back we stopped off at the theatre, known locally as “Madonna’s Bra” due to its large conical turrets. It would appear they have a wide and varied programme of events there.

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As the weather continued to be inclement we decided to head for home early and came back to lunch in the local pub “The Candlelight” in Bishopswood and very nice it was too.

visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

 

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Visit to Wells

Last week we went on a coach trip to Wells.  I help out at an old people’s club and it was their annual outing.  As Neil and I had neither of us been to Wells we both went along.  We were really lucky with the weather, had a glorious sunny day.

The first stop was the cathedral.  Built in the 12th century it is most imposing.

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This is the West Front and contains one of the largest galleries of medieval sculpture in the world.  Starting in the lower niches with biblical scenes it rises through kings, bishops and orders of angels to the 12 apostles with Christ over all.

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In the nave the eye is drawn to the unique “Scissor arches” which were a medieval solution (1338-48) to sinking tower foundations.

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The ceilings were also really beautiful.

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The cathedral contains a massive organ.

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The western end of the cathedral contains the Quire which forms the oldest part of the present cathedral.

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Wells Cathedral has one of the most substantial collections of medieval stained glass in England, the crowning glory being known as the Jesse window.

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I particularly liked this frieze in one of the chapels.

We left the cathedral and moved onto the Bishop’s Palace, home to the Bishops of Bath & wells for over 800 years. It is a stunning medieval Palace situated in 14 acres of landscaped gardens and home to the wells and spring pools that give the City of Wells its name. Outside is a moat with medieval drawbridge and home to the resident mute swans of Wells.

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Outside croquet was being played, the participants all in traditional white.

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Inside was a marvellous stair case with wyverns and the most illustrious wall paper.

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The Long Gallery contained portraits of Bishops throughout the ages.

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There were some contemporary touches with this modern angel sculpture in one room.

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And in the gardens these angel wings which I couldn’t help but stand in front of.

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The gardens were beautifully laid out.

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All in all a well worth trip and only an hour from us at Lodge House.

http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Collecting the Honey

It was the right time to year for Neil to collect the honey from his strongest hive.  He had put 3 supers on to give them plenty of room to store the honey.  But when he looked they had only filled the frames in 2 supers.  He donned his new all-in-one suit to collect the frames.

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(That’s shadow on his face, he has not grown a moustache!!)

Yesterday we set to spinning the frames.  First he uncapped them one by one.

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Then two at a time he put them in the spinner. Centrifugal force pushes the honey out and it is collected in large jar below, first going through a sieve to collect any wax.

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It’s wonderful to see the golden liquid collecting in the jar.

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Then it has to be poured into jars and weighed to get exactly one pound in weight that is 454g.  That was my job.

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We got quite a haul.  The jars are just waiting for their labels to be printed and then we will be ready to sell some.  It will be £6.00 a jar.  Don’t forget this is an expensive premium product, not mass produced, hence the cost. All proceeds go back into care of the bees.

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visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

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Birds on a wire

The other day the swallows were circling round and round and in great numbers.  I thought perhaps they were amassing before their migration but it’s still a bit early for that.  They landed on the telephone wire in front of our house.  I tried to capture them on my camera but some flew away as soon as I went into the front garden.  Here are the ones I managed to capture.

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A couple of days have now passed and they are still here, so I don’t know what all the flying around was about!!

visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

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Painting of Lodge House

This year for our anniversary Neil’s sister commissioned a painting of our house, oil on canvas.  It is a remarkable likeness and very well executed.

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Neil found a suitable frame in a charity shop of all places, and today mounted the painting.  We now have it hanging in pride of place above the front door.

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So everyone will see it as they leave.  It’s marvellous that it just fits perfectly.

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Our porch is quite busy, with shoes and coats and other pictures but the painting looks the business above the door.

Want to see for yourself?  visit us at http://www.lodgehousebandbsomerset.co.uk

 

 

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