Thursday, 12 October 2017

Basic Sourdough Batter Bread

Again another bake from Perfecting Sourdough.  From its title you would expect this to be a ...basic...bread.  Well it didn't turn out that way, I would describe it as 'a tea loaf the sourdough way'  With the following ingredients:

65g wheat sourdough starter
345g white spelt
65g water
100g cold pressed rapeseed oil
100g sugar
120g milk
1 egg
3/4 tsp baking powder

Like another member of the Facebook group, I felt with the sweetness it cried out for some fruit.  I added a couple of my small fistfuls of raisins.

I chose to line the tin with baking parchment, as it was loose bottomed, and with the long rise to the batter, I wondered whether it would ooze out of the bottom otherwise.  There is no kneading at all with this one, and therefore the texture was definitely cake like, more so since spelt has that soft melty mouth feel even in a well kneaded loaf.

My first taste left me a little underwhelmed.  I thought it would be much more tangy with all the long took somewhere around five hours rather than the three suggested, even though my refreshed starter was almost jumping out of the bowl in the morning.

However on the following day, sliced with butter and jam, it was rather good.  I froze half the loaf, and have had a piece on day 2, 3, and four, when it is still a lovely treat with a drink of coffee.  It has grown on me.  I think next time I may add some spice, and other items, and making this loaf has given me the confidence to try variations of this 'sourdough tea loaf'.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sedum sieboldii

This is the little Sedum sieboldii sitting in the front porch.  As normal it waits till autumn to put on its show.  I planted it some years ago in a very long tomb, which shows its trailing stems and pretty flowers to great advantage.  For some reason this sedum is the go to plant for snails, slugs and the very large number of woodlice we have.  It hails from Japan.

Sedum sieboldii

Next spring as the fresh growth emerges, I'll have to put the pot high up hopefully about of the reach of the gnawing creatures, and also try to take cuttings.  This must be one of my favourite Sedums...well for the moment!

Last week I was given part of a friends plant which I very much admired on a previous visit.  It was the finely serrated leaves with a lovely glaucous green colour.  I have found that its name Sedum Pachyclados has been changed to Rhodiola pachyclados, it hails from Iran and is suitable for hot dry borders.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

October Garden Update

Last month the Amalanchier trees in the front garden turned red and golden, and lost the majority of its leaves within the month.

I managed to buy three packets of wallflower plants from the market this week, all thirty hopefully ivory white,  which have taken the place of the antirrhinums and asters.  By the trees I planted bulbs of Allium Purple Sensation.  This is the first time I have Allium Bulbs.  I hope the colours of purple and white work in the spring sunshine, we shall see!! All the golden lonicera: Lonicera nitida 'Baggensen's Gold have established themselves nicely, and will continue to be trimmed, maybe ending up as four topiary balls.

The Fuchsias are still doing very well, and this lovely 'coral' coloured one taken from 'cuttings' gleamed from a posy of flowers given to me by Janet in Kenilworth has found a shady position on the table.

As the light changes I am finding different plants associate well such as the Pseudowintera Colorata Red Leopord with its red spots against the waving Japanese Grass Hakonechloa macra Albostriata, both growing on in pots, but with the grass having a leg up on another upturned pot!

This last week I could not resist spending all my pocket money in one go, buy five get one free:

I had been speaking to Graham who sits at the pop up stall in Wells close by the bus station with plants from his Tadham Alpines nursery, about one of the plants, and since it was there again I just had to get it...that started a selection of another five pots!!!!

In effect this is a pink hawksbit.  Since I have yellow ones growing wild in my front lawn, I feel that this pink one will add a touch of class.

Just because this lady loves leaves, form, and little astilbes.  I had this in my previous garden, but left it behind.

Lovely leaves...looking forward to seeing how this differs from the other Tiarella I brought with me.

Where we have finally placed the washing line, will be the thyme 'lawn', with several varieties forming a low patch.  Around it, about where we stand to hang out the washing, there will be stepping stones and small loose stones through which I hope the thymes will crawl.

I just have a thing for Primulas, I used to win prizes with golden showers in particular, but with a smaller garden, I thought they would be behind me, but I just loved this one.  When I read up that this had been collected from 'Napoleonic trenches', I know one friend for whom I shall buy another one, this week.

Such a well grown plant, and a had to make up the sixth plant for this group.

And just in case I think that I now have every plant a happy girl could have, I saw this one in my friend's lovely garden...thou shalt not covet came to mind!!!!  I made sure that Alison checked it was still there as I was leaving.  Maybe next year there will be sufficient tubers for propagation, or I will find the plant on my 'hunting' expeditions to nurseries.

With lovely fern like leaves and red stems, then blue flowers next just has that wow factor for me!

Monday, 2 October 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Good enough to Eat

Its with apologies that I post yet again a simple vase.  The garden is not quite planted up with the permanent shrubs and perennials which no doubt will find their rightful place in the next few years.  The vase was made up in a rush on Friday evening minutes before friends arrived for supper.

It was a supper for 'new' dancing friends Peter and David, and as Peter's wife is vegetarian I decided to make everything suitable for the entire company.  I even wanted the flowers to be edible hence the nasturtiums.  I had sown the seed collected from my previous garden rather late in the year and these are just starting to flower, and they could be cut down any day by frosts.  In the meantime lazy slow bumblebees are collecting nectar from these.

After a celeriac and cider soup, the main dish was a quinoa 'rissotto' if there can be such a thing, maybe it should be called a quinotto, with quinoa grown just a few miles away, with pumpkin and smoked chestnuts from Madeira, pumpkin seeds, etc....with a side dish of braised swiss chard from the garden, with whole orange sicilian almond cake to finish.

  I had been in a quandry as to what to make until I was inspired by another Friend and blogger's post about her pumpkin rissotto.

I wonder whether Cathy would like a dish like this?  I can't remember what I made for lunch when she and the golfer visited my garden in Kenilworth?  Cathy is the person who each weeks leads us gardeners and In a Vase on Monday posters to join together.  This week her arrangement is based on Persicarias.  I hope that like me you will visit her page too, and that of other friends to see what they have posted.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Cake in Moderation

Usually Friday is bun day!  Ever since I baked nearly all the recipes in Jane Mason's Book of Buns, this has been the rule.  Either fresh or from my stash of frozen buns, two are served on lovely white china with a pot of tea on Friday afternoons, and if friends can pop in then, they are of course included.

We missed out on buns last Friday, and we were to have cake on Sunday at the pump rooms in Bath, but the queue was unbearably long.  We planned to pick up a cake or bun somewhere on our way back...but we were turned away at 4:02 because Morrison's close at 4 on a Sunday and were just letting people leave, not enter.

Mr S requested very nicely  cake and tea instead of buns and tea this Friday.  He wanted a cake like the granny cake we used to buy from the COOP on Fridays on the way home from work from the COOP.  I'm not talking about the large birthday cakes or sticky confections that are available these days.  The cake was a rather plain, lightly fruited affair with bits of sugar on the top. This was over 20 years ago!  The cakes were rather small, but quite tasty and came in a square box that made them look bigger than they were.

I wanted to make a cake as close as possible to the one we had years ago.  I looked for a 'frugal' type of cake recipe, but ended up devising my own.  The next problem was size, all my cake tins are 'ample sized', and making a frugal fruit cake in a small 1 lb fruit tin would not have looked like the one we used to buy.

I just could not get out of my head my 'contretemps' with Kenco in August, which I posted about on facebook, and recently copied here for my friends that are not on facebook.  If people are having smaller cups of coffee, then 'moderation must be 'en vogue'!  So I bought a small round baking tin....Here is the small 6 "cake tin which is still not as small as the standard 5" cake currently being sold in Sainsbury's!  If we cut the same number of slices from a 15 cm cake rather than 20 cm cake and had that with the 'smaller' cup of coffee, we can still have cake and coffee despite the recent hike in prices in the shops!!!!!!  Both are much smaller!!!

With this smaller cake tin...and thanks to Kitchen Craft the manufacturers they have printed the size in inches and centimeters on the outside, such a brilliant idea, I baked the following....

6 Inch Frugal Fruit Cake to be enjoyed in Moderation

200g self raising flour sifted
1/2 tsp mixed spice sifted with the flour
100g butter
100g caster sugar
150g mixed dried fruit
1 egg
75g milk or thereabouts
Coarse Sugar to sprinkle

Rub the butter into the flour and spice, add the caster sugar and mixed dried fruit, stir well to distribute the fruit.  Crack open the egg into a small bowl and mix with 50g milk, stir this into the main mixture, then gradually add the remainder of the milk to a stiff but not dry constituency.
The fruit was a mixture of raisins, currants and my home made crystallized orange and lemon peel.

Bake at Fan Oven Temp 160/ Gss Mark 3 for about forty minutes.  It may take less but watch, and cover after about 25 minutes to avoid scorching, and test with a skewer to check that it is fully baked, before removing.  Leave in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Eat only when completely cold!

Friday afternoon tea and cake time, with a neighbour invited over so that we could plan our joint order for autumn mulches for the garden.

Coffee in Moderation? Kenco decide that people are having coffee in smaller cups

This was what I posted on facebook for my friends to read...its strange this has got me thinking, go to my next post!

I can't believe it!!! Old jar of same Kenco Coffee Instant Rich: 100g 55cups; refill pouch 150g 93 cups, bought only within four weeks or so.
Instantly, excuse the pun, I realised someone got the maths wrong. Should have been 82.5 cups on the pouch. The difference of 10.5 cups is a 12.72%increase.
So I rang the free phone number 0808 100 8787...their explanation is that Kenco has decided people prefer smaller cups!!!
Have you reduced the size of your cups/mugs or decided you would like your cup of coffee signifanctly weaker? Have Jacobs Douwe Egberts replaced all your mugs with smaller versions? At what stage will they bring out a 'smaller jar' with the logo: 'Still the same number of cups'???? But we would not like to give those marketing people another way of increasing profits, would we?
If you have a couple of minutes to spare why not phone them, and ask them this same question? Aren't we all fed up, as consumers, of being taken for mugs?
Please share this, and see if we can put some pressure on firms like this. Wouln't this make a funny comedy number...share with any comedians you know, or cartoonists and if you like send this to a consumer loby group, or even the BBC.
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Rock Pool Socks complete

Another pair of socks knitted from yarn in my stash.  The pattern is called Rock Pool was was published in the Knitter Magazine recently.  Now stowed away in my stash of new 'being used sock drawer' is full.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Caraway Spelt

The Caraway Spelt Loaf based on the rye sourdough starter is from Jane Mason's Book: Perfecting Sourdough.  I scaled up the ingredients so that I could shape the dough into 2 loaves in my 500g proving baskets.  The loaves turned out beautifully and one of them came with us to Bath.

Here is Millie...I am sure she could smell the delicious aroma as I was cutting the loaf to go with our soup.  I am sure that she would not have objected to the caraway seed has she been offered a piece.  Mr S has quite firmly suggested that I use another seed and he said that fennel would do!

Peasant Bread by Jane Mason

This recipe is based on a rye sourdough starter and is a breeze to make, and absolutely delicious.  It will certainly be in my go too recipes for regular baking.  It is on page 53 of Perfecting Sourdough by Jane Mason and is one of the two recipes this month chosen for the Facebook Group, both based on a rye starter.

This sourdough loaf is particularly easy as there is no bulk fermentation and no turning out from proving baskets.  I have found that reviving the sourdough starter from the fridge, with part of the flours and liquids on the evening before baking, and leaving this to do its job on the kitchen counter overnight, works perfectly for me.

In the morning all the ingredients come together, and after kneading for around ten minutes, the dough is shaped into a round disk, put into a round cake tin, and left to prove.  Maybe because the weather is turning autumnal and a little cooler it took 6 hours to rise rather than the 3 to 5 given in the recipe.  There was plenty of time to cycle to the market and get on with doing some gardening!

My loaf did not have quite the lovely overall white dusting of flour, so perhaps next time I will sift the white flour over just before baking rather than as I set the dough to prove. As I brought the various ingredients together I wondered what the 1tsp ground coriander would bring as a taste note.  I cannot taste it, but the loaf is so rich and flavoursome, it must have added a layer to the flavours from the wholemeal stoneground flour from Dunster Mill, and the molasses.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

One Rock Pool Sock Complete

Rather than Rock Pool Socks, I think I shall nickname these grape picker's socks.  The grapes on our vine are ripening, not I plan to do anything with them, except feed them to the birds...

I've completed the first sock, with the wonderfully comfortable toe which ends in a seamless tip as a result of the Kitchener stitch which brings two edges together without any bumps...blissful comfort results.

Along the way I adapted the pattern as I do like a longer sock.  I used to use several short double ended knitting needles, but since my knitting friend Ronnie at Kenilworth Knit and Natter started several of us going with short circular needles..I am all for using two needles, and with the sock architecture it makes all the more intricate parts all the easier, as there is no need to place any markers.

The heel flap is worked on one needle whilst the instep stitches are held on the second circular needle which lies idle.  With the heel flap needle you pick up the stitches along the two edges of the heel flap, then start working again in the round....all along, the instep stitches with any special pattern remain on their original needle.

Its easy to check when the decreases stop at the end of the gusset...the stitches on both the needles are equal.

Hopefully the coming week will see the second sock completed.

Monday, 4 September 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Autumn beckons

After dancing the day away at Dinder Hall yesterday, I was feeling too worn out after four to five hours of prancing around with complicated figures in Irish Set Dancing, to go out and pick flowers.  I had also spent a few hours on Saturday baking for the Dancing session: Pistachio and Courgette Cake, and a fabulous Banana and Spelt Loaf Cake.  In between all the dancing we have refreshments as well as lunch.  Its pot luck, but with around twenty of us, not including the musicians, we manage a lovely spread.  This has given me the idea to take some flowers next time for the tables.  Cathy who hosts this meme has come up with a lovely 'Coffee and Cake' themed post and flowers, so do go and have a look, and see what others have come up with.

It had been raining all day and the flowers were bowed down when I arrived home.  This morning both I and the garden and feeling a lot better....

A small arrangement of a few of the lovely fuchsias with some Japanese grass Hakonechloa Aureola, which is now in flower, but which I haven't really manged to capture with lighting.  I have been surprised by the wide range of bees and bumble bees on the fuchsias this year, and it is quite sad to take a few blooms away from them.

Another grouping of autumnal character, which includes a bunch of purple grapes, not really seen except peeking down on the far left side,  some asters from the front garden, more fuchsias, which have maroon leaves and finer flowers, some marjoram and both fruiting and flowering stems of Leycesteria.

I am cutting some bunches of grapes to leave on the ground for the blackbirds.  After an absence of a few weeks, we have a group of about six around and about.  Are they from one brood or have the migrating birds arrived yet?

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Rock Pool Socks

Maybe its all in the name....I love rock pooling, and when I had a reminder from The Knitter Group on Facebook of this pattern in my regular knitting magazine The Knitter, it reignited my interest.  I thought it was worth looking through my stash of wool, and getting out the needles. Its taken me about a week to actually get to the stage of casting on.

All summer I have been focused on other things, and recently I felt a need to quiet down a little.  What is more soothing than sitting down to a little knitting.  I was finding more recently whenever Mr S and I were sitting down for a break with a drink, my mind would dart around, and I would jump up and get on with some little job that caught my eye: plant that needed watering, washing that needed bringing it, etc etc.  Now we can sit together for half an hour or so and have a little conversation...though sometimes I do go quiet whilst I count...but I can listen at the same time!

Way back in Issue 17, a special very elastic and smooth cast on was the subject of The Knitter Masterclass, by Jane Crowfoot.  Some time ago at the Kenilworth Knit and Natter Group, Mandy had organised for Jane to come to give a workshop and I have a great regard for her.  When I pick out socks from my drawer, the ones with this cast on are the most comfortable....

With a few rows of knitting in a waste yarn, its soon time to do the magic with the sock yarn.

Then with great care with the scissors, you end up with a cuff that is so very elastic and comfortable.

 There are quite a few directions on line on how to achieve this, and I would really recommend this cast on for socks.

I find that I just cannot read charts comfortably, so I find the best thing is to blow them up...

The only thing I would say about my socks is that they would have been better in some lovely blue colour....sadly I have no blues in my wool stash at present..

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Loropetalum Fire Dance

When I see a shrub or other plant that I really admire, although I may not at the time have made a note that I can always put my hand on, when I see it a second time there is a 'SNAP' moment.  Snap like the card game we used to play...yes I have seen it again, and Snap I must get it!

I saw a well placed specimen of Loropetalum at Hunningham in Peter and Margaret Green's garden, which I visited this time last year.

However in my period of restraint before the layout of the garden is fully established I resisted.  The next time I went to Morrison's they still had some rather well grown specimens, and that I remembered that in the Green's garden it was being grown in a pot by their back door.

Here is my Loropetalum Fire Dance, waiting to be planted up into a larger ceramic pot...and during the winter it will be by the front door, where has a westerly aspect and a canopy which holds the warmth from the stone of the house, will give it the protection it needs.    It is an evergreen Chinese Witch Hazel, with very early pink flowers.  The new leaves at this time of the year are a deep marooney colour, and the backs almost duck egg blue...yes, I had it against the newly painted 'beach hut' and they matched.

The  Fothergilla gardenii Blue Mist  I had doesn't seem to have survived following its extreme scorching of its leaves.  For now it is has had a light trim in the hope that it recover.  So maybe to Loropetalum is a replacement for the 'shrub of interest' in a pot!

The little Aster plug plants which also came from Morrison's, have been show stoppers in the front garden, and have yielded many bunches of flowers.  At first they were inter-planted with some antirrhinums, but lately they have stolen the show.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

In a Vase - All credit and thanks to a fellow IAVOM friend

Its not Monday, its not a vase, and the flowers are not from my garden.  However they are lovely and deserve a post.  Through the In a Vase on Monday group devised, hosted, and led by Cathy, I have met a fellow enthusiastic lover of gardening, and this is the bunch of flowers brought by Alison C when she came round to view the garden on Friday.  I am sure many have posted and linked to Cathy's Post this week, so do go and see what others have come up with.

As I knew Alison was coming with a cutting from a variegated sedum like Autumn Joy: Sedum Autumn Charm, this bouquet was a lovely surprise, and I just grabbed one of the storage jars on the kitchen counter.  The additional bonus was that in this, were stems of  weigela, another shrub which is growing beautifully in Alison's garden. As I write this on Tuesday, the weigela stems are already trimmed and potted up in compost to hopefully yield little shrubs for planting out next spring.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Mixed Grain Bread the Sourdough Way

Another wonderful smelling bake from this month's challenge:  Mixed Grain Bread.  With white and wholemeal spelt, and white flour, honey,  fennel and caraway, and a very lively sourdough starter, these loaves are sure to taste nice.

However...I doubled on the recipe, but I think I put a little too much dough in the larger tin, and also I think they were about 20 minutes over proven.  Its warm and humid today, so setting the timer for a final two hour rise, and going off to do something else, was bound to lead to  'I wish I had gone to check sooner feeling'! 

Although on the recipe it gives a 500g bread tin as the container, the picture facing shows some little loaves cooling, so this is why there are three smaller loaves and a large one.  Next time I shall make dough for four small tins and the larger one.

I played at filling all my different tins with water this morning, and weighing them, and then calculating how much dough each one should hold.  Now I have a formula for working out the correct amount of ingredients to give the dough weights I need.  Well I have to put to good use all those maths lessons!!!!!

Monday, 21 August 2017

In a Vase on Monday..Nearly by Moonlight

Its Monday evening, and I have just finished arranging my little vase.  It was late in the day when I went into the garden, and I think we had a strange light on account of the partial eclipse.

Here is my arrangement.  Most of the flowers have been used over the last few weeks...but there were two which stood out in the garden in the poor light.

The first is Iberis Gibraltarica ex Betty Swaison.  A seed must have taken a ride in one of the pots, and managed to get a root hold beneath another plant.  I love the large candy tuft like flower, and will be sure to keep more seed, as it is a short lived perennial and quite hardy.  There are the antirrhinums, asters, mints, astrantia, grape and ivy.

The little hardy fuchsia whose name I cannot recall is also making its first appearance.

From a cutting of Penstemon Heavenly Blue there was just one flower stem, but removing it is bound to help the plant to branch out.

Cathy is showing some true grit and even posting a vase whilst away.  Do go and see what she is showing and also what other IAVOM contributors are coming up with.

Rare Plant Fair Bishop's Palace August 2018

Its Sunday morning, it isn't raining, and its time for a walk...all the way to the Bishop's Palace, to see if there is something to spend this week's pocket money on.

There are many plants and shrubs...but I have still to dig and prepare, and lay out the final planting sections, so I ought not to really be here.  That's the plan but......

What is good about this small pot is that it has several seedlings...of Erygium bourgatii, so will make a good sized clump.  I rather like the foliage with its silver markings.  I know the bees and hover flies love the flowers.

I already have Eryngium planum 'Tetra Petra', and was wise enough to bring part of the plant I had growing in Kenilworth.  However it does not have the silver veining of bourgatii leaves.

Another plant which I have seen for the first time, and whose leaves on the day are the prime attraction, since it was not yet in flower is Salvia corrugata. I think this one will be potted up in a larger pot, and I am really looking forward to its first blue flowers.

The third plant, and any more, would have meant a sub from dear Mr S who came with me for the walk, and another look at the this fabulous Sedum telephium ssp ruprechtii Hab Grey

The form is very similar to Sedum Spectabile Autumn Joy...but the leaves are very grey, which balance perfectly the yellow of the blooms.

Monday, 14 August 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Stars

In the wee small hours this morning, I tiptoed into the garden...I just could not sleep, and wondered whether I would be able to spot some shooting stars.  It was not to be, it was around 3:30 am, and then slowly the sky began to cloud over.

This morning at the breakfast table I have something to brighten up the day.  The vase is like a glazed stone with holes in it...and it just the right shade of green...picked up in a Charity Shop some time ago.

The little yellow flowers of the Sedum Kamtschaticum variegatum  are the stars in this arrangement.  I love the way the leaves have a narrow cream margin, and the flower buds are tinged pink, then open to a golden yellow colour.  This colour is then echoed in the nasturtium, and also the leaves of the Japanese grass Hakonechloa macra Albostriata.  I wonder whether this is the correct name since the striata are more golden than white! Maybe it is Aureola.

This is a picture of the sedum at Tatton Park, where I first saw it, but where it had been sold out.

My plant came from the pop up stall in Wells where Tadham Alpines set out their tantalising range.  We are very fortunate to have plant growers at both the Wednesday and Friday markets, and pop up stalls, as well the special events at the Bishop's Palace Gardens.

Cathy who hosts this meme has some rich coloured blooms in her arrangement this week...and a plant I may well have to acquire for the garden:  it is Persicaria 'Fat Domino'..Do go and have a look at her arrangement, and maybe even join in with this meme.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Izzi stays for a couple of days

It's a treat to have Izzi stay a couple of nights.  First we met up at Stourhead, where we had a walk round the grounds as Izzi wanted to visit the grottoes.  There were more than one...all were rather interesting, some had sculptures, water, mosses and ferns too!

A Dwarf Buckeye was in full flower in a shady part of the walk.  Shafts of light piercing the canopy of higher trees spotlighted the intricate flowers.

Another interesting tree was this Corylopsis glabrescens from Japan...

I've just looked it up and it turns out to be a Fragrant Winter Hazel.  Since I love the form of this plant in the summer...I am looking forward to a trip next spring to see it in all its glory.  The arboretum at Stourhead has a wide range of trees arranged in a parkland setting surrounding lakes, with paths that lead you around, and where there are magnificent views from almost all angles.

I'm not sure if this is an angel or not, but I spied these little 'cherubs' painted on a bench in The Pantheon...

Mr S was given a 'family ticket' for the East Somerset Railway by his team at on a wet and dismal day it was off to see the trains, and have lunch in their cafe...but we had to make sure that the train was running to time...In between we played a game of marbles..yes you can play a game based on guessing the number of marbles in the other persons hand..Izzi has confirmed that it is called Eggs in the bush.  It was one of the games printed in the little book, which came with a little bag if you bought ten marbles.  Both Izzi and I have even more marbles at home!

On another day we spent the afternoon at Wookey Hole Caves. I had no preconceptions, but overall rather enjoyed the visit.  There were no dolls hanging from coloured bangs...but rather good walkways.  For part of the tour we had to don hard hats:

Often in caves you can see seams of minerals, here there were 'cheese seams' and you could see large blooms of the special molds that help to make this wonderful tasting cheese.  These were seams that you could smell even before you could see them.   Had I known there would be goat's cheese there, I would have bought one...

We had an informative guide, and there were some very interesting formations, such as this one known as King Arthur's Beard.  I would even go to say I would like to visit the caves a second time!

Once outside, we explored the avenue of dinosaurs and had to have a little sit down to admire the scenery...and this one had been turned into a wooden seat.

We watched the film in the 4 D cinema...but sadly missed the circus performance.  Instead we rather enjoyed the exhibition, admiring the many clown faces painted on eggs, and the extensive miniature circus models.

Close up they were rather one of the cabinets...(no photograph) was what looked like a potato which had been a clown's face, long forgotten...but completely rotten and oozing junk down a couple of shelves...we were both fascinated, and Izzi had not forgotten this the next day.

Izzi is not aversed to getting in there with soggy linen etc, and trying her hand at one of the first stages of paper making.

Of course in between craft and drawing at home....picking courgettes, the one cucumber, and parsley.