a glittering week

Slamseys gin at Christmasphoto: Claire Naylor


The week has passed in a blur of glitter, sparkly things and brown cardboard boxes as we’ve unpacked deliveries in preparation for the opening of the Christmas Shop in The Barley Barn. Most of the stock was ordered back in February, so there have been a few surprises that are mostly good but the odd one has resulted in an accusatory “Who on earth ordered that?” Mostly though, there has been glitter, which gets everywhere so that we look as though we’re just off to a 1970s disco with our sparkly faces and hair.

Unpacking has been interspersed with discussions about the Slamseys website. There has been much writing and rewriting, searching for photos, checking links and grappling with postage charges, but finally the new website has launched. You can check it out here. We’ve always used a website design company for our website and I think I’d probably go into meltdown if I had to design my own from scratch. Sadly, the price has risen considerably since we paid for our first website design with joints of pork back in 2004.

There have also been walnuts to harvest every day in a bid to outwit the squirrels. Open the airing cupboard door and you’ll find, not neatly folded clothes and linen, but baskets of walnuts gently drying out. I hope we don’t get a mouse in the house as it will make a bee line for the airing cupboard and think it’s in heaven.

wet walnuts

As a consequence, there has been much eating of walnuts recently. Fresh, wet walnuts are munched straight from the tree;  cream coloured and juicy, they fill the shells and are crunchy and mild tasting.

dried walnuts

Once dried, we pop open the shells with our hands and take out the slightly shrunken walnuts to eat or to cook with. There have been coffee and walnut biscuits, walnut and maple syrup steamed sponge pudding, walnuts in bread, pasta with walnuts … And rabbit with walnuts because Bill is in full rabbit catching mode. Yesterday he brought in seven, which is quite a lot of rabbit to deal with. We’re out for most of the weekend and what I’m looking forward to most of all is not that I won’t have to cook, but that I won’t have to eat bloomin’ rabbit.

inspired by …

black bryony berries S

… vivid colours in the hedgerows. The black bryony twists its way through the bare branches of hedges with its ropes of brilliant red berries glistening like jewels. Alas, the berries are poisonous and not to be picked for jams and jellies but they brighten up a walk on a grey overcast day.

Over the summer Ruth and I made S shapes around the farm from flowers, leaves, fruit, branches and stones that we laid out on paths or in the fields and called temporary land art. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed them, other than the dogs who cocked their legs over the large stones, but we had fun. Paired with ivy growing by the old unused gateway to the garden, the black bryony berries were ideal for a November S for Slamseys.

What’s inspired you this week?