Tag Archives: Harlow Carr

Messing with Camera Settings

I seem to have pinned a featured post to the top of the blog. This was an accident and I can’t seem to find a way to unplug it.  This is partly because I am not good with WP and partly because the typeface on the rickety netbook is very tiny and difficult to read. It should be possible to increase the font size.

For further comments on the situation see the above comments on ineptitude and small typeface.

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The “Dramatic” setting

The photos show Harlow Carr Gardens using the “Dramatic” setting. If the weather forecast had been correct this could have been what the weather looked like.

Fortunately, the weather forecast wasn’t accurate, but I think I probably mentioned that before.

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The “Dramatic” setting

We had a lot of parcels to send this morning in the shop – many of them being 50p pieces.

You need to be very organised when sending out multiple orders of this sort, because they all start to look the same. We had orders for Jersey, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Falklands, Ireland and St Helena.

I don’t have any pictures at the moment, but will load some for tomorrow.

Getting up to Date

I’ve finally uploaded photos of the Harlow Carr visit. Sorry it took so long but I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather over the last few days, despite the intake of therapeutic cake.

As I get older, I’m clearly getting more delicate and the sudden cold snap has caught me out. It’s either that or I’m turning nesh in my old age, as we say round here.  According to my search facility I’ve not used the word before in a blog so I added a link. If I have used it before, I apologise for the ,ink.

We went to see my Dad today with NumberTwo son. It was a bit sad. Dad is healthy enough, and well looked after both by my sister and the home, but he’s not likely to remember Number Two Son on his return from Canada in two year’s time. It’s easy to ignore this when it happens gradually, but you can’t ignore it when looking so far into the future.

More pictures here from Harlow Carr, including the current state of the dogwood fedge.

 

Scone Chronicles XVII

We went to Harlow Carr yesterday but decided not to repeat either the scones from the garden or the cost of the main tearoom.

I couldn’t get all the way down to the bottom of the garden this time, as going downhill (I refer here to my direction of travel, rather than in my accelerating physical decline), is tricky with a bad knee. So I returned to sit near the sycamore key sculpture.

As I sat, a robin played hide-and-seek and a blackbird perched on a dead tree turned it up to Number 11.

Here I eavesdropped on several bizarre conversations (which may have been more mundane if heard in their entirety) and waited patiently, taking a few photos, as Julia went to fetch tea.

Eventually she returned, and placed a cup of tea on the bench next to me. Then she sat down next to me and we talked of robins, rhubarb and whether she had anything in her bag. Knowing her as I do, it seemed unlikely she’d been to a tearoom and not purchased comestibles.

She had done us proud, with a pair of Fat Rascals.

Yes, make all the jokes you like. They are rock cakes with spice. My Mum made them like this for years. Betty’s claim them as a traditional recipes, add cherries, nuts and a daft name and suddenly a legend is born!

They were very nice. They were even better with butter (though the butter pat was a bit chunky and needed slicing rather than spreading.

Of all the things I’ve eaten in the Scone Chronicles, this was the tastiest. It was also the best dining experience. No sticky tables or dirty cutlery here!

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Fat Rascal at Harlow Carr

Still no pictures, Julia pointed out that the netbook actually does have a USB port, but when I connected the small camera, with yesterday’s card, the computer refused to cooperate.

I’m beginning to hate this bloody netbook…

As you may have noticed I can now add photos…

 

Emergency Post

Just a quick one – despite the new charger I’m having trouble with keeping the computer charged.

I’m going to have to send it off to get it mended. Meanwhile I will go back to the netbook, but that means no photos, unless I can manage something intelligent and technical. Neither is likely.

I’ll write later when I get the other machine charged.

I got photos of Harlow Carr today using the large camera –  but can’t connect it to the computer or use the card reader. I don’t do well with technology.

The Dogwood Fedge

We used to have a willow fedge on the farm, which was quite useful. They make good windbreaks, are sustainable and don’t take a lot of skill – just some thought and a bit of hard work.

I hadn’t thought of the word “fedge” for several years but it came back to me this week. So did “pressure graft”. It means the bits of branch pushing against each other an eventually joining up.

I’m not sure we need a new word to describe them fence or hedge would do the job without being mashed together in a new word.

When we went to Harlow Carr we saw a development we hadn’t seen before – a woven dogwood fence. Or hedge. Actually, I suppose there is a use for fedge now I think about it – it does save the effort of making a decision over use of the word hedge or fence.

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Dogwood Fedge at Harlow Carr

It’s an interesting decorative border, I’ll take more photos as the year moves on. They willow ones get quite leafy – I’m intrigued to see how the dogwood version does.

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Dogwood Fedge at Harlow Carr – rhubarb forcing pots in the background

Harlow Carr Gardens – The Visit

The approach to Harlow Carr was interesting as the satnav told us to take a different route to that indicated by the brown signs. It was an interesting, and narrow route. I will follow the signs next time and suspect I will have a less strenuous drive.

There is a lot of building going on in the area, and there is a large set of roadworks at the entrance to the gardens. Despite this we didn’t have to queue for long and were soon in the car park, dodging doddery pedestrians and trying to find a space.

I think I’ve already mentioned that most of the pensionable population of Yorkshire was out in the garden. Many of them were playing slow-motion Russian Roulette in the car park whilst others formed an orderly queue at Bettys.

That still left a surprising number to fill the garden paths. Fortunately, although the unkindness of the passing years has rendered me less mobile, it has made it easier for me to formate with pensioners. I was even able to hold a few up as I paused for photography.

There are some compensations to getting old.

We only saw about quarter of the gardens. There was a big bed of heathers as we walked in. It was good winter colour, one of the things I was looking for, but not something likely to be making an appearence in our garden.

There are some great vistas in the garden which, again, aren’t likely to be repeated at our house. You need distance for vistas and that isn’t something you can buy at the garden centre.

We looked at the alpine house because Julia is looking at a cactus/succulent/alpine project this year. I suspect the Mencap version will be slightly less polished than the RHS version.

I had taken a few photos by this time, including a wicker worm and a moving sycamore sculpture.

I won’t take you through the rest of the day in such detail – just give a quick list. Spring flowers, rhubarb, dogwood, kitchen garden, scones, toilets, mosaic display, sulphur springs, foliage beds, garden centre, bookshop, afternoon tea at Bettys.

We missed the lake, the library, the arboretum, the education garden and probably some other things we don’t know about.

To be honest, my search for new winter ideas didn’t meet with much success – I already knew you could plant bulbs and shrubs and leave large areas of bare soil.

It was a very enjoyable day despite this and I’m looking forwards to the spring visit, though I might try taking a flask and sandwiches next time. That way I can save money and take up an entire bench whilst pensioners tut their way past looking for somewhere to sit.

I’m a member. I can go as many times as I like without it costing more. I’m feeling quite smug.

 

 

The Scone Chronicles – Number Nine

We went to Harlow Carr garden today – the northern garden of the Royal Horticultural Society. It was a lovely spring day and the gardens were quite crowded as every pensioner in Yorkshire seemed to be having a trip out.

I’ll cover the gardens in more detail later. For now I will talk about the first scone of our day.

The queue for scones at Bettys Tea House (which is a shed in the garden rather than the posh cafe at the entrance) contained around 30 people when we joined it. Well, when Julia joined it. I have a bad knee – I can’t queue.

(Note – Bettys was originally Betty’s but they have now become Bettys. The increasingly cavalier disregard for apostrophes seems to be mirrored by a general decline in standards and I wonder if the two may be linked.)

Despite the decline in standards and the deficiency in apostophes the staff were absolutely top class. They were quick and accurate and kept smiling as they coped with a constant queue, which averaged 20 people long for at least half an hour. My research method was to count the queue three times while I was sitting there. I can be scientifically rigorous when the occasion demands.

They served Julia with two cups of tea and two scones in boxes (with the jam and cream already applied), and only took £10 off her.

The tea was excellent, despite being a teabag in a vending cup. It probably tasted better because I was drinking it outside on a sunny spring day as a robin sang from a neighbouring tree.

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

Tea, scones and sunshine. Bettys, Harlow Carr

The boxed scones were convenient, though they were still rather chilly from storage. They were also, and I’m sorry I can’t come up with another description, a bit tight in texture. Fresh home made scones have a nice open, crumbly texture. Well, mostly. I have had one or two disasters in my time. Commercial scones tend to be closer in texture and come with neat, even air holes.

So, staff, tea and surroundings – excellent. Scones were good, but not as good as the rest of the meal. I felt they weren’t quite as good as some of the other scones we’ve had this year, either. They must be doing something right because they have been going for 100 years this year.

Bettys - 100 years this year

Bettys – 100 years this year

This is not a criticism of the scones, just an observation. You can’t serve thousands of scones without making some compromises.