Friday, 30 October 2009

That's Sutton in the ELMS, you know

Back to the blog after a few weeks of other vacation, etc.

So... I went out to check on the chestnut question again, though I was pretty sure I knew the answer.

Sure enough, all the nuts had been shed, the tree was bare of fruit and, for the second year, there was no chestnut crop. The lovely warm, gentle Autumn came too late to overcome another cold, wet Summer.

As the clouds gathered, I made my way back towards home with Molly, the Spaniel.

A few days earlier, there had been a number of stakes hammered in along the grass verges. In this village, people are rather suspicious of things like that; we're always a bit concerned about unwanted development. While being ignored can, and does, have its compensations, it can also mean not having a say in planning matters. Imagine our pleasure when we discovered that the Elm trees which give Sutton in the Elms its name and which were all lost to Dutch Elm Disease, were about to be replaced.

The work has gone ahead and 14 trees have been planted with the 15th being planted ceremoniously this Saturday in the grounds of the Victorian Baptist Chapel.

The non-conformist history of the village is tied up with the elm trees, not just in the name, but because in 1650 the Baptists from nearby villages met secretly, in fear of persecution because of their non-conformity, in the shadow of the elms at Sutton, forming the Baptist Chapel - the oldest in Leicestershire and the mother of subsequent Chapels in Leicester and elsewhere.

The Quakers also began in Sutton in the Elms. George Fox, founder of the Quakers, addressed his first open air meeting outside the 'steeple house' in 1647 and the Quaker Cottage at Sutton stands today.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Lime mortar and granite

I think this is such a great texture that I decided to include a separate image of it - almost abstract in its beauty.

Our friends just down the road have been working very hard repointing their stonework. Having consulted English Heritage about the correct mortar mix (and obtained a grant to help with the cost), they have now completed phase 1; the repointing. Phase 2 will be the replacement of all the casement windows with solid oak frames (presumably in the same style).“Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn” - Ode to a Nightingale (Keats)

I hope they don't have to change the stained glass window that was the inspiration for my first effort (above). I couldn't find my copy of the photo I took of the original window. It must be on my other computer.

Another chestnut disappointment?

Once again, for the second year in a row, the chestnuts are dropping early and haven't properly developed.

Although there are still plenty on the tree, I don't know whether they will stay on long enough to fill. it's hard to tell whether this lack od development of he fruit is due to the cool, wet Summer or the long dry Autumn.

Odd, really, since the hedgerows are heavy with berries and the apples have done well. Other fruits, such as damsons and plums, haven't been very prolific, but I put that down to the bumper crop last year.

The fantastic late colour of Cobaea

Having grown these lovely late flowers at our last house, we planted seed in late January. All Spring and Summer, things progressed very slowly and we thought we wouldn't get blooms befor the end of the season. However, with the garden looking a bit tired at the moment, partly due to the lack of rain over the last 5-6 weeks, they have come onto their own, adding to the Dahlias and Chrysanthemums, etc and making a bit of extra late colour.

Cobaea scandens

This is a native of Mexico, so is only an annual here, unable to survive the early frosts.However, it is genuinely spectacular, in its climbing and its blooms.

Charles Darwin was so impressed that he studied cobaea for his book The Movements and Habits of Climbing Plants (1875).