Hello again, time's zipping by, we're nearly into Autumn and I'm still catching up with myself… There seems to be so much to pack into each day (not least of which is to get my potatoes dug up!). As a result, I seem to have fallen out of the habit of popping in here to say hello which feels odd because, in my head, I've got lots to tell: trips to the seaside, apple scrumping, a street fair, hedgerow-jam making, allotment-soup making, books to review (three!), autumn progress in the Veg Patch and new bedtime reading: seed catalogues for 2011…mmm, lovely! So, whew.
The thing that has taken a goodly chunk of time is the street fair which we had in our little corner of London. I'd had a fancy to make fresh apple juice on the day (using a traditional press) and put my hand up to help in order to ensure that the event was actually going to happen. Doing the pressing was quite a learning curve so deserves a later post all to itself! In among all of this frenzied activity, what with the end of the summer hols looming, I also decided to make a dash for the seaside to spend a few days on the south Hampshire coast with my parents. (Another reason for the silence here … I was beachcombing elsewhere!)
Lovely, isn't it? I never tire of this view of the Solent (taken from the little cross-harbour ferry): Old Portsmouth on the left and, just out of view, sailing boats making their way in or out of harbour. Look in the other direction and you see Portsmouth Harbour, ferries waiting to sail for the Isle of Wight and, in the historic dockyard, the masts of Nelson's HMS Victory and modern ships of the Royal Navy. All very busy and nautical.
For me, though, the highlights of a shore-side break-away are the long walks on the beach, picking up driftwood and shells (pebbly beaches are so interesting).
…and, at this time of year, collecting hedgerow blackberries (loads of them on the seafront common land). Turning the corner from my parents' house, a short walk leads to the common …
… with the Isle of Wight clearly seen on a good day. Wow, looks likes there's no sea at all between the mainland and island! (Although, I think there's probably a good couple of miles of Solent to swim before you get over to the Island, here reaching Ryde.)
Normally we walk along the shoreline towards the sailing club and the ice-cream café - yes, what bliss! New Forest ice-cream, yum yum, served with a sea breeze - or a cup of tea if the weather is chillier. This time, we walked towards the scrubbier part of the common, for a change, where there were plentiful berries to be picked and, presumably from a discarded apple core, a heavily laden apple tree, ripe for the scrumping! A big trugful of nature's harvest - and just in good time for my apple pressing venture!