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Autumn is the time… …when we segue slowly from outside to inside as the days shorten and the light dims. It’s oten a gentle season marked by the distinctive smells of damp leaves and lingering wood smoke, and a chill in the early mornings as a portent of the winter to come. In this issue we’ve got plenty of ideas for getting out – to witness the amazing natural wonders of starling murmurations (page 48) and discover what we can read in cloud formations (page 86). We’ve counterbalanced this with autumn projects you can settle down to if the weather closes in – pressing and framing leaves (page 21) , making tofee apples (page 36) and inspiration for creating your own preserves (page 50), plus fabulous recipes for slow-cooked, fortifying dishes (page 156) that are the perfect way to embrace the season.
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November 2018 issue 395
Houses & gardens 11 36 58 108 116
EMPORIUM New ways to introduce elements of country style to your home HOME FOR THE HARVEST Enjoy autumn’s leeting glory with a crackling ire, warming food and a little creative crating A GLIMMER OF ELEGANCE Metallic and metal inishes are ideal for adding grandeur or rustic charm to an interior RUSTIC REVIVAL A Wealden farmhouse in East Sussex is now a bohemian-style home, furnished with eclectic lair A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Dipley Mill in Hampshire has been surrounded by a garden that is imbued with creativity and love A MAKER’S PLACE By blending contemporary work with designs that have endured for decades, a Wiltshire cottage celebrates the timeless art of crating
MAKE ROOM FOR WINTER VEG Keep your garden productive throughout the colder months by sowing seeds, ordering plug plants and potting up herbs now GARDEN NOTES Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot
Features 29 33 48 50 68
THE GOOD LIFE Practical ideas and advice for would-be smallholders FROM THE BLACKSMITH’S COTTAGE Columnist Octavia Lillywhite remembers her childhood home in Hampshire WILD WONDER Starling murmurations KITCHEN TABLE TALENT We celebrate homegrown entrepreneurs turning their passion into a business. This month: the jam maker FORGOTTEN CRAFTS In our continuing series, we discover traditional skills at risk of disappearing. This month: the wheelwright
156 ON THE COVER Celebrate the season pages 58, 50 and 36 How to create pressed leaf pictures page 21 Food for the soul page 156 Natural wonders pages 48 and 86 Buy artisan gifts at our Christmas Fairs page 106
November 2018 issue 395 76 84 86 96 104
THE WIND IN OUR SAILS Brothers Will and Joe Wooster are continuing a family tradition, selling their bread and pastries from a windmill AN ARTISTâ€™S NATURE JOURNAL Kelly Hall illustrates the lora and fauna she sees each month IN PRAISE OF CLOUDS Teenage cloud expert Oliver Perkins describes the appeal of nebulous skies TAKING UP THE REINS Helen Reader makes bridles and saddles by hand to the highest standard in her Carmarthenshire workshop MEET AN URBAN ARTISAN Jenni Douglas
Food & drink 144 156
BRITISH IN PARTICULAR We look at the delicious ingredients farmed, ished, made and grown in the UK. This month: Stilton A MOMENT TO SAVOUR River Cottage chef and food writer Gill Meller shares slow and seasonal recipes from his new book
Health & beauty 167 173
INFUSED WITH HEALTH Put the kettle on and enjoy the natural beneits of herbal teas HEALTH NOTES Our regular round-up
News, views & events 21 67 74 92 95 106 142 175 194
A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY What to do, where to go and simple pleasures in November ORDER THE LATEST MODERN RUSTIC SCREENPRINTING KIT OFFER with Create and Crat DISCOVER TUSCANY Join Alex Polizzi on our exclusive reader trips to Italy BUY YOUR CL 2019 CALENDAR AND DIARY! COME TO OUR CHRISTMAS FAIRS SUBSCRIBE TO COUNTRY LIVING WHERE TO BUY Stockist details LOVE OF THE LAND Louisa Adjoa Parker
TAKE OUT A SUBSCRIPTION TO CL THIS MONTH See page 142 for details COVER CREDITS Photograph by Minna Mercke Schmidt/House of Pictures. Production by Marie Samnegaard and Minna Mercke Schmidt/ House of Pictures
emporium Deep, rich tones now seen in nature, such as berry purple, pumpkin orange and conker browns, have a comforting and warming efect COMPILED BY ALAINA BINKS
Create a natural display of seasonal foliage and fruits. Handmade bowl, Brickett Davda
This individually made cushion is designed and woven on a hand loom by Cecilia Child of By Cecil, £99
Wooden bead necklace with carved leaf design, £22.50, White Stuf
Women’s brushed-mohair and wool-blend coat, £495, Toast
Leather rucksack from Seasalt, £129.95, available in four colourways – night (shown), olive, madder and oar
This patterned lambswool beret is made in Scotland, £48, Quinton Chadwick
Faux-leather travel wallet with an embossed front and fabric lining, both in William Morris’ Acanthus design, £24, Heathcote & Ivory
Mugs featuring English artist Edward Lear’s alphabet illustrations, £10 each, available from V&A Shop
Elderberry print taken from an original watercolour by Jackie Henderson, from £35-£95
One-of wall light salvaged from a Surrey church, £690, from a wide collection of reclaimed vintage lighting from Skinflint
Metal painted barn star, £65, Lovestruck Interiors. Available in a selection of colours including yellow, red and mint
Warm woollens and leather boots are practical pieces for an autumnal woodland stroll. Similar, Boden, Brora, Joules and White Stuf
Characterful boy’s cotton jumper in sizes one to six years, £32, Cath Kidston Jose Heroys uses baby alpaca fleece, mohair and silk to make this unique short-eared owl. Handmade to order, £380 This beautifully handcrafted oak Aish bench with walnut wedge joints is made to order by contemporary furniture maker Alexander Hay, £895
Pure new wool blanket made in the UK, £35, National Trust Shop
For stockists, see Where to Buy
PRICES AND AVAILABILITY CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY BY CHARLIE COLMER AND RACHEL WHITING. STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK AND HESTER PAGE
The leaf design on this linen cushion is taken from an original hand-carved lino print by Kiran Ravilious, £65
CHRISTMAS FAIRS LONDON
Head to our festive fairs across the UK, where you will ind a beautiful selection of crated gits made by independent artists and artisans Screen-printed robin cotton napkins, £35 by Lottie Day (London, stand MF18; madebylottieday.com)
Fabric chafinch brooch, £9, by Rachel Balding of Fat Poppy Cat (London, stand MB93; fatpoppycat.co.uk)
Wool cottonmix knitted stocking, handmade by Charlotte Cot Blankets, £15 (London, stand VG31; charlottecot blankets.com) The English Stamp Company creates personalised stamps perfect for making tags or cards, from £26 (London, stand MF51; englishstamp. com)
Handmade chutney by Raydale Preserves, £3.50 (Harrogate, stand A21; raydale preserves.co.uk)
Oatmeal and poppy seed soap handmade using the traditional cold-process technique, £6 (London, stand GL6; heylandandwhittle.co.uk) Beverley Holmes-Wright makes lampshades with machine embroidery, from £75, Stitching For The Soul (Harrogate, stand M14; stitchingforthesoul.co.uk)
Harris tweed dog collars and bow ties by Emily Williams, from £20, R’N’D Paws (Glasgow, stand H8; rndpaws.com)
Handy tweed pouch bag by Fairtrade brand Earth Squared, £15.99 (Harrogate, stand M6; Glasgow, stand PA9; earthsquared.com)
CHRISTMAS FAIRS LONDON
Individually handmade doll by Sara Sherrif, from £175, Wildwood (London, stand MF55; doll-maker. co.uk)
Men’s tank top designed by We Are Rushworth and knitted in the Scottish borders using British-spun lambswool, £96.50 (Glasgow, stand I15; wearerushworth.com)
Yellow-gold oak-leaf diamond ring crafted by Emily Sidwell in her Oxfordshire workshop, £895, By Emily (Harrogate, stand N10; byemilyjewellery.com)
Hand-painted owl decoration, £6, by Lisa Wright of Polkadot (Harrogate, stand B11; polkadotwinslow.com)
This ottoman can be upholstered with a choice of fabrics* or left ready to paint and cover, from £279, Scumble Goosie (London, stand MF63; scumblegoosie.co.uk)
Linen cotton-mix clasp purse made by Cher Nicholson in the Cotswolds, £15, Nutmeg & Sage (London, stand MB51; nutmegandsage.co.uk)
*COST OF FABRIC NOT INCLUDED
This vintage linen bag (15cm x 20cm x 25cm) is stitched using the Japanese sashiko-style technique, £30, Carlenrig Farm (Glasgow, stand I10; carlenrigfarm.com)
CHRISTMAS FAIRS HARROGATE
Earthenware clay reindeer garland, made in Dorset by Sarah Jane, £22 (London, stand VG23; sarahjanehandmade.co.uk)
Garden-inspired jewellery by Jane Marshall, £45 for this pendant (Harrogate, stand B12; janemarshall silverjewellery.com)
This wreath is decorated with hand-cut felt flowers and foliage, from £14, Rebekah’s Attic (Glasgow, stand A11; rebekahsattic.com)
Handmade whisky tablet, £3/130g, The Forest Kitchen (Glasgow, stand H35a; the forestkitchen. weebly.com)
Handmade wooden brooch, from £14, Owl and Wallflower (Harrogate, stand N3; owland wallflower. etsy.com)
Women’s tailored waistcoat made from Shetland wool, £145, Julian Road (London, stand A1; julianroad. com)
Hand-painted bowl, £14, Jaggedy Thistle (Glasgow, stand C22a; goingpottie.com)
Extra-virgin olive oil made in small batches by a traditional French producer, £14, Tariette (London, stand F6; Harrogate, stand A3; tariette.com)
BDC LONDON, 7-11 NOVEMBER SEC GLASGOW, 15-18 NOVEMBER HCC HARROGATE, 29 NOVEMBER-2 DECEMBER For more information and to book tickets, visit countrylivingfair.com. To book a room at the Country Living St George Hotel in Harrogate, visit countrylivinghotels.com
COMPILED BY ALAINA BINKS. REINDEER GARLAND PHOTOGRAPHED BY PAVEL DORNAK OF LUCKY IF SHARP. PRICES, STAND NUMBERS AND AVAILABILITY CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. PRICES QUOTED MAY INCLUDE OFFERS AVAILABLE AT THE FAIRS ONLY; ONLINE PRICES MAY DIFFER
W H AT T O S E E A N D D O I N N OV E M B E R IN THE FIELDS THIS MONTH
TAKE PART IN ALL SAINTS’ DAY
COMPILED BY LAURAN ELSDEN AND SARAH BARRATT
Marvel at the money spider The day after Halloween, All Saints’ Day has been a Christian tradition since 609AD. Devised by Pope Boniface IV, it is the day to remember saints and martyrs. From St John the Baptist to Mother Teresa, there are more than 10,000 to celebrate. Acquaint yourself with some lesser-known martyrs – such as St Michael, who, in the 5th century, appeared to Cornish fishermen above St Michael’s Mount. Or St Winifred, the 7th-century Welsh nun, whose burial site in Gwytherin still attracts pilgrims today. Alternatively, set out on one of Britain’s pilgrim routes – from St Cuthbert’s Way in the Scottish borders to the 120-mile Pilgrim’s Way, running from Winchester to Canterbury. countryliving.com/uk
ON STILL, SUNNY MORNINGS, look out for signs of the money spider (Linyphiidae), which has been busy weaving its web of silk threads into a shimmering silver sea. Most likely spotted in woodlands, hedgerows, meadows and ields, this industrious arachnid sends out strands of gossamer, so light they act as a balloon, transporting the tiny spider on the wind to new locations. The silk itself is a thing of wonder – it can stretch to one third of its original length without breaking, and weightfor-weight is seven times stronger than steel. Money spiders have been seen as a harbinger of prosperity since Roman times, and some people still believe that twirling one round your head three times will bring good fortune.
As the quality of the grass in the fields deteriorates and temperatures start to plummet, cattle are brought indoors to reside in sheds, where they’ll feed on silage made from fermented grass, sleep on straw bedding and stay warm until spring.
QUIRKY COUNTRYSIDE Firing the Fenny Poppers Held to commemorate the life of Thomas Willis – an English doctor and founding member of The Royal Society – Firing the Fenny Poppers takes place each year on 11 November in Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire. The clamorous ceremony, which lasts just a few minutes, involves the iring of six tiny cannons, resulting in a succession of very loud bangs. NOVEMBER 2018
A simple make...
PRESSED-LEAF PICTURES Create a beautiful display of nature at its best 1 Collect a handful of leaves
A WALK TO TAKE
The Huf Duf might sound like a whimsical phrase derived from Winnie the Pooh but was in fact a World War II high-frequency, direction-finding station, or HF/DF, hence the nickname. This 4.3-mile walk, beginning at Rockford Common NT car park, will take you to the octagonal brick building, as well as an air-raid bunker, while taking in attractive footbridges (where playing Poohsticks is mandatory, of course), ancient oak canopies and acres of heathland. At this time of year, the colours take on a new richness with flame-coloured bracken and myriad shades of autumnal leaves. Unsurprisingly, this secluded spot is a haven for minibeasts and birds, so take your binoculars. Plus, the area is nationally renowned for fungi, so look out for some of the 2,700 varieties littering the woodland floor (nationaltrust.org.uk).
THE HUFF DUFF, HAMPSHIRE
(ideally ones that have already fallen from the tree), which have retained their colour and shape and have not already dried. Making sure they are lat, place the individual leaves in between the pages of a book with parchment paper on both sides each time. Store the book, with a paperweight or other books placed on top, in a dark and dry place for a couple of weeks. Once pressed, you may wish to cover the leaves with an acrylic spray. Cut out pieces of lightweight card or watercolour paper to the size of the picture frames you wish to use. Arrange the leaves on top of the paper, choosing one
individual leaf or a group of a single species or several varieties mixed together. 7 Use glue, double-sided tape or short pins to attach the leaves to the paper.
8 Write the names of the trees underneath each leaf in pencil to create a simple identiication chart, if you wish. 9 Assemble the frame and hang to display.
An ingredient to enjoy PIGEON Designer, cook and author Sophie Conran shares her favourite seasonal lavour The delicious pigeon that we love to eat is the plump, wood variety, which lives on seeds, buds and many of the vegetables I try to grow in my garden – it shouldn’t be confused with the rock dove, the often-scrawny city dweller. One of the most sustainable meats, pigeon is free-range, wild and fantastically plentiful. A comparatively small game bird, it is handily available all year round. I prefer to use the breast only – searing both sides to bring out a tender, steak-like quality. Serve sliced on a bed of polenta with buttered cabbage and a rich gravy, or in a pot with vegetables. For more information, see sophieconran.com.
A BOOK TO READ
Rhapsody in Green (Octopus, £16.99) Novelist Charlotte Mendelson was laughed at by friends for being an “extreme gardener”. But, undeterred, she wrote this book, describing how she transformed her urban outdoor space into a productive plot, where she now grows more than one hundred things to eat.
Britain by the Book (John Murray, £8.99) This travelogue by Oliver Tearle leads you on a tour of Great Britain as seen through a literary lens. Learn why Thomas Hardy was buried twice and why Agatha Christie was investigated by MI5, while discovering the surprising places that inspired some of our favourite fictional locations.
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STAY IN… AN UNUSUAL ABODE
No Man’s Fort, Portsmouth, Hampshire Fall asleep to the sound of the sea at No Man’s Fort (top). Built in the 1880s, it was once used as a base for coastal defence, but now comprises a luxurious hotel and spa. Depart from the pontoon at Gun Wharf Quays and head straight to the restaurant where fresh local fare awaits. From £600 B&B (solentforts.com).
The Rockhouse Retreat, Low Habberley, Worcestershire A truly weird and wonderful hideaway, this cave was handcarved into hollowed sandstone cliffs in the midst of the Habberley Valley more than 700 years ago. Inside, a minimalist interior combines historic lourishes with modern-day comforts. Sleeps two. From £195 per night (therockhouseretreat.co.uk).
The Egyptian House, Penzance, Cornwall Once home to a collection of fossils, maps and minerals, The Egyptian House, from the early 19th century, has three apartments behind a lamboyant façade. Visit the vintage shops and galleries of Penzance, or nearby Mousehole, St Ives and Sennen Cove. Sleeps three to four. From £184 for four nights (landmarktrust.org.uk).
NEWS YOU CAN USE TAKE THE VEG PLEDGE From aubergines to asparagus, vegetables have been eaten since a time when our hunter-gatherer ancestors collected them from the wild. Thousands of years later, their virtues are still lauded. Delicious and high in dietary fibre – not to mention responsible for far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than meat production – the reasons for adding more vegetables to your diet are numerous. Hosted by Cancer Research in November, the Veg Pledge ofers the chance to go vegetarian for a month (while raising money for a good cause). For fundraising tips and further information, visit cancerresearchuk.org and search ‘Veg Pledge’. countryliving.com/uk
Our property of the month
THE COACH HOUSE, PINXTON, NOTTINGHAM £975,000
ORIGINALLY AN OUTBUILDING BELONGING TO BROOKHILL HALL (a former hunting lodge used by James I and Charles II), The Coach House, in the Derbyshire village of Pinxton, has been transformed into a spacious and modern family home. With seven bedrooms, it has a large kitchen/dining room and its own gated ive-acre grounds, plus ive acres of shared woodland. The sweeping driveway harks back to the days of horse-drawn carriages, and there are still timber stables on site, along with detached garaging. The Grade II-listed property features an elegant entrance hall, drawing room and master bedroom with dressing room (all bedrooms are en suite). Guests will be comfortable in the attached annex – complete with two bedrooms, its own sitting room and kitchen.
For details of more rural houses for sale, visit countryliving.com/uk. Enjoy the latest home and property features, plus much more, in the CL free weekly newsletter. To sign up, go to www.countryliving.com/uk/newsletter.
INFORMATION CORRECT AT TIME OF GOING TO PRESS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; JONATHAN BUCKLEY; CAMERAPRESS; GETTY IMAGES; ALEX HYDE/NATUREPL CHRISTOPHER JONES. ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOANNA KERR. HAND-LETTERING BY RUTHROWLAND.CO.U;K
F I N D YO U R D R E A M C O U N T RY H O M E
Inspiration and advice for aspiring smallholders
How to...MAKE YOGURT AND CHEESE Probiotics, so-called ‘good bacteria’, are all the rage among the health-conscious. But you don’t need to swallow a tablet to get the beneits – fermenting milk into yogurt or traditional keir is surprisingly easy to do, and delicious, too. It’s a great way of transforming that pint in the fridge that’s about to turn, or making the most of when the supermarket marks down the price of any excess milk. For the best lavour and results, opt for whole (full-fat), Always use glass non-homogenised milk (where the cream sits on top).
YOGURT It’s important that your equipment is scrupulously clean, so ill a bowl and saucepan with boiling water and dip in a spoon and thermometer to sterilise them before carefully drying everything with a clean tea towel. Gently heat 500ml of whole milk in the pan until it reaches 46°C – any higher will kill the countryliving.com/uk
or ceramic containers when making yogurt or kefir, as metal reacts with the ferment.
live cultures. Then pour it into a bowl with 2 tbsp live yogurt and 2 tbsp dried milk powder (more if you prefer a Greek-style thick set). Mix, pour into a Thermos lask, seal and leave overnight – alternatively, you could put it into a thermostatically controlled yogurt maker (Lakeland sells them). The next morning, transfer your yogurt into a glass jar or plastic tub, seal and refrigerate. It will keep for ive days.
SIMPLE CHEESE You can use your homemade yogurt to make a delicious sot cheese or labneh, as it’s known in the Middle East. Drain a fresh batch through a double layer of muslin, tied at the top with string and suspended over a bowl. You could try a jelly strainer, or simply tie it to the kitchen tap and place the bowl underneath in the sink. Leave overnight and by NOVEMBER 2018
morning it will have separated into the labneh within the muslin and the whey in the bowl. Keep in the fridge and eat within three days. It’s delicious drizzled with olive oil and chilli lakes and served with latbreads; rolled into balls, which are then rolled in chopped fresh herbs; or enjoyed sweet with fresh igs and honey.
KEFIR This fermented milk drink is made using keir
BREED OF THE MONTH Brecon Buff goose Brecon Bufs are perfect for smallholders – not too big, they are good grazers and foragers, and can be used for meat and egs. They also have a friendly, inquisitive nature and can become quite tame. As the name sugests, the breed originally developed from traditional geese on farms in the Brecon Beacons area in South Wales, and it was standardised in 1954. They have striking buf feathers, which are efective at keeping out the elements, plus attractive pinky-orange bills and legs.
Go on a course: HAND WEAVING
HAVING A MAJOR PASSION FOR TEXTILES, I always marvel at how they’re created, and dream of making my own piece of cloth, so a two-day weaving course at The WI’s welcoming Denman college, set in acres of mature gardens, in Marcham, Oxfordshire, is the perfect opportunity. Teacher Linda Parkhouse, who has had an illustrious career in fashion and design, has already warped up our looms to establish the length of the fabric and get us started on a scarf. Ater showing us how to work the heddle loom – a beautifully tactile wooden construction – we begin by attaching some waste yarn to the shuttle and weave it through the warp to create the shape of the wet (the horizontal threads). Each row is then beaten down with the upright heddle to pack the threads together. Ater a few rows, I incorporate the actual yarn and am soon caught in a satisfying reverie as I rhythmically work the shuttle back and forth in deep, therapeutic concentration. Silence takes over the room as we all focus on our creations, and a few hours later we have each produced an attractive piece of fabric. By the next day, I have my own scarf and a new-found hobby. An Introduction to Hand Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom, £370* (£330 WI member) including accommodation, meals and refreshments (denman.org.uk).
OTHERS TO TRY… FOR IMPROVERS All in a Spin, Crickhowell, Powys; £80 (allinaspin. co.uk). In the heart of the Brecon Beacons, you can move on to learning how to embellish a woven piece of fabric to create a table mat or sampler. FOR TARTAN LOVERS The Eden Workshop, Penrith, Cumbria; 16 October 2018; £55 including lunch (theedenworkshop.co.uk). Create a distinctive length of cloth in muted colours and patterns. FOR CREATIVES Susie Gillespie, South Devon; £875 (susiegillespie. com). On this week-long residential course, Susie will show you how to dye a hank of linen and weave a cushion cover or artwork.
WORDS BY KATE LANGRISH AND MICHELE JAMESON (GO ON A COURSE). PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; STOCKFOOD. *PRICE CORRECT AT TIME OF PRINTING
grains, which are sold online and in some health food shops (make sure you purchase milk keir grains – water keir grains aren’t the same thing). Sterilise a sealable glass jar, then place 2 tbsp grains in with 500ml whole milk. Stir with a wooden spoon and leave overnight in a cool place. The keir will slightly thicken the milk. Strain through a piece of muslin and it’s ready to drink straightaway. However, you can put it into a fresh, sterilised jar and leave overnight in the fridge again and a second ferment will take place, which sotens the lavour and produces more probiotics. Drink keir on its own, add to smoothies or pour over muesli.
C O LU M N
Tales from the Blacksmith’s Cottage As her ageing parents prepare to leave their country home of 40 years, OCTAVIA LILLYWHITE remembers her childhood in an idyllic Hampshire village hen my mum and dad irst moved to our Hampshire village 40 years ago, there was a Post Oice opposite the pond, run by Mrs Crick, a woman formidable in stature and temper. She struck terror into the hearts of many of the village children and all of their parents. Mrs Crick disliked people, especially customers, and her chosen profession appeared to be a sort of self-imposed torture, requiring her to deal with them on a daily basis. As well as having a distaste for shopkeeping, she proved less than competent at it, even by the standard of village shops in the 1980s – which, if you remember, closed on Sundays; Saturday aternoons; from about 11:30am on Wednesdays, and all day on Thursdays when the month had an ‘R’ in it. She sold only what she deemed worthy of her limited shelf space and that rarely included staples such as bread and milk, but did include tinned mushrooms and an impressive array of Matchbox cars. My brother and I were allowed to walk down to the shop as long as he held my hand the whole way (much to my chagrin) and we’d stare at the tiny vehicles lined up in the window until Mrs Crick would heave her huge frame towards the door and chase us of. But small villages don’t have Post Oices anymore and without them the shops close, too. That leaves just the pub, the school and the church – though the Reverend says he’s not sure he can keep that one open, because the congregation only pips double igures at Christmas and no one is volunteering to take over my father’s post as reluctant treasurer. Really, when you have to call on a lapsed Catholic to do the accounting for an Anglican church, the writing is deinitely on the wall. My husband, the Lawyer, refuses to believe that my parents are really moving from the village. “It will be our last Christmas
here,” says my father. “Nonsense,” says the Lawyer, who has built up a serious attachment to his in-laws’ quirky cottage and has that lawyerly way of batting away bad news. “And anyway, you have been saying that for the past two years.” But this time it’s diferent. Mama can’t remember so well anymore. Mostly it’s not so bad because she doesn’t remember what she’s forgotten – in fact, it’s positively delightful when I’ve got a snippet of good news I can share a few times over. But it does mean she can’t drive – the DVLA have decreed it – and that, more than anything, is my family’s catalyst to lee this tiny village in search of somewhere where goods and services are easier to come by. Without a car, it’s a six-mile round trek to get a daily paper and a pint of milk – a lovely jaunt on a sunny June day when the dog roses are out along the ridge, but miserable in the drizzle or the gloaming. “What about London? Plenty of shops here,” I sugest, the next time the subject of the move arises – trying to forget all the times my octogenarian neighbour bemoans that the high street is entirely thrit shops and bookies these days. “What about Washington?” asks my brother, who lives there when he’s not in war zones and is thus dulled to the horror of Trump. “What about a canal boat?” volunteers my sister, who lives on one and therefore thinks everyone wants to. “What about Tuscany?” we all ask, musing on the visiting potential. No, says my father. London is too noisy, Washington is too American and canal boats are too… boaty. Ater much consideration of all beneits and downsides, they have decided to embrace the heady bright lights of the next village. If the shops are too far to walk to, simply move next to them. As well as a mini supermarket that opens until 10pm every day, there is a hairdressers, doctors, post oice, chemist and butcher. A veritable countryside metropolis.
ILLUSTRATION BY CLARE MELINSKY
Mrs Crick would heave her huge frame towards the door and chase us of
See next month’s issue of Country Living for more village tales. countryliving.com/uk
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N
Home for the harvest Celebrate autumnâ€™s leeting glory with family and friends, a crackling ire, warming food and drink and a little creative crating
WORDS AND STYLING BY SIAN WILLIAMS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRENT DARBY
STRAPLINE FA M I LY F E A S T Set a rustic table and chairs in your garden or home to display food ready for bonire celebrations and decorate with autumn lowers and richly coloured cushions and throws
Painted chair, table, farmhouse chairs and stools, all from a selection, Morgan’s On painted chair: yellow blanket, £69.99, Coast & Country Interiors. Cushions made from cotton ticking in Sky, £27.50/m, Ian Mankin. Hare motif made from Dandelion One oyster-linen union by Angie Lewin, £66/m, St Jude’s. Buttons on countryliving.com/uk
cushions, £6.95 (for 100g), The Button Company On table: glass-cleaning scrim (used as tablecloth), £6.50, Heima. Tumblers, £6 each; plates, £26 (set of four): all Falcon. Fruit bowl, from a selection, James BurnettStuart Pottery. Similar green vase, from £15.72, Etsy. Similar coffee pot, £26, Garden
Trading. Vintage biscuit tin, from £1.50, ebay On tall stool: similar checked throw, from £69, Jane Beck Welsh Blankets On small stool: similar vintage milk glass vase, from £4.65, Etsy. Chari basket, £35, Olli Ella. Scarf made from DMC Woolly merino wool in red, £3.50/50g, Hobbycraft NOVEMBER 2018
AU T U M NA L ARRANGEMENT Create a pretty vignette with golden bracken in glass vases and buckets, teamed with tall grasses, berry-laden branches, pumpkins, gourds and fallen red leaves.
Pumpkins, from 69p; gourds, from 89p: all Aldi. Tall green mid-century urn floor vase, ÂŁ37.74, Etsy. Vintage watering can and vintage metal bucket, from a selection, Trecastle Antiques Centre. Folding metal chair, from a selection, Morganâ€™s
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N TOFFEE APPLES Wash six small apples in hot water to remove the waxy coating so the tofee will stick. Push sharpened strong wooden sticks into each one, then make the tofee by gently melting 300g caster sugar in a heavy pan until melted. Cook over a high heat until it caramelises to a golden brown. Dip the pan in cold water to stop cooking. Quickly dip each apple in the hot tofee and place on a baking tray lined with baking parchment to cool. Side table, from a selection, Morgan’s. Brown paper snack and sweet bag, £3.79 (for 48); unbleached baking parchment (under each apple), £4.29 per roll: all Lakeland. Glass-cleaning scrim (covering log), £6.50, Heima
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N T O F F E E S NA P S Make these for a bonire gathering by gently heating 400g caster sugar until melted. Stir in 1 tsp vinegar and 4 tbsp golden syrup and boil until the mixture reaches 150°C. Pour carefully onto a shallow baking tray lined with baking parchment and allow to set. Then crack into small pieces and arrange in small pots or piles wrapped in parchment.
Tumblers, £6 each, Falcon. Baking parchment (in beaker), £6.29 per roll; unbleached baking parchment (on log slice), £4.29 per roll: both Lakeland. Similar log slice, from £4.81 (set of ten), ebay
WA R M A N D WO O L LY Little ones can look the part in cable-knit jumpers teamed with woodland-printed skirts and dresses. Similar girls’ sweaters, £16.99, Zara. Twirly skirts in Birds and Brambles (left) and Autumn Forest (right) fabrics, from £20 each, Busy Little Things
These classic sweet treats will add a warm sense of nostalgia 40
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N K E E P S A K E B OX E S Arrange pretty glycerine-preserved autumn leaves onto papier-mâché crat boxes, securing them with strong glue. Use for gits or storage. Glass-cleaning scrim, £6.50, Heima. Natural mini acorn sprigs, £3.49 (for four); natural twig pencils (in box), £2.50 (for ten); natural
twig colour pencils, £2.50 (for ten): all Pipii. Papier-mâché boxes, from £1.20 each; round box lid lined in Bees cotton ribbon, £3.80/5m; pencil box lid lined in cotton lace point ribbon, £3.80/5m; large box lid lined in Tape Measure cotton ribbon, £3.80/5m; clear glass tealight holder, £2: all Hobbycraft. Butterfly wood buttons, 85p each, Totally Buttons. Tumbler, £6, Falcon
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N TA B L E R U N N E R Make a seasonal decorative cloth with a length of hessian in an earthy colour, scattered with leaf and mushroom motifs made from blue and green fabrics, then stuck on – perfect for a family gathering. Table runner made from natural hessian, £3.25/96cm, Fred Aldous. Leaf and mushroom motifs made from Mapperton fabric in Indigo and Mapperton fabric in Garden Green, £109/m each: all Sanderson at Style Library. Similar green decanter, from £15; similar vintage cut-glass wine and spirit glasses, from £9.50 each: all Etsy. Clear glass mountain bottle, £18.72 (for a set of 24), The Bottle People. Demijohn container, £8, Wilko. Green pottery bowls, from a selection, James Burnett-Stuart Pottery
Burnt orange pairs well with earthy tones for an autumnal outdoor scheme 44
WITH THANKS TO MAJESTIC BUS FOR THE USE OF THEIR GARDENS AS A LOCATION (01497 831733; MAJESTICBUS.CO.UK)
S E A S O N A L I N S P I R AT I O N
HOME BREW Create a tantalising display of wines and cordials with vintage glasses and iery-toned fabrics, throws and enamelware.
On table: small pottery bowls, from a selection, James Burnett-Stuart Pottery. Similar green decanter, from £15, Etsy. Similar log slice, from £4.81 (for set of ten), ebay. Clear glass mountain bottle, £18.72 (set of 24), The Bottle People. Demijohn
containers, £8 each, Wilko. Bored cork bungs (in tops of demijohn containers), £1.60 (for five); airlocks (on top of bungs), £1.20 (for two): all Balliihoo. Similar vintage cut-glass wine and spirit glasses, from £9.50 each, Etsy On stool: Dandelion One
oyster-linen union in Golden Ochre/Umber and Duck Egg by Angie Lewin, both £66/m, St Jude’s. Yellow diamond cotton throw, from £28, The Old Electric Shop. Similar red Falcon coffee pot, £14.39, Love Tiki
For stockists, see Where to Buy countryliving.com/uk
SWIRLING AND SWOOPING THROUGH AUTUMN skies, swarms of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) gather at dusk in an awe-inspiring display of aerobatics. Thought to act as an airborne signpost, attracting birds of the same species from far and wide, these murmurations enable starlings to roost together in great numbers, allowing them to share warmth on cool evenings and protect themselves from hungry predators. While smaller murmurations can include between 200 and 300 participants, the most dazzling examples are made up of thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands of birds
– creating incredible patterns across the sky. Back in 1999, one group, spotted over Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve in Somerset, comprised a spectacular six million starlings. With each bird mirroring the movements of the six lying closest to it, these avian daredevils avoid collisions by combining lightning-speed reactions, with superlative spatial awareness. If one changes speed or direction, those surrounding it do so, too, with the resulting undulating motion like ripples on water. For more information, visit rspb.org.uk and search ‘starling murmurations’.
WORDS BY LAURAN ELSDEN. PHOTOGRAPH BY NATUREPL.COM
THIS MONTH: THE JAM MAKER
We celebrate home-grown entrepreneurs who have turned their passion into a thriving business WORDS BY LAURAN ELSDEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW MONTGOMERY
rab apples fall to the ground in a succession of quickening thuds. Beneath a canopy of copper-coloured leaves, Elspeth Biltot, creator of Rosebud Preserves, holds a wooden cane alot, swinging it from side to side. “I’ve been gathering wild fruit since I was 15,” she says, standing on tiptoe to reach the highest branches, “rowans in the autumn; rosehips during winter.” Growing up in the midst of the Yorkshire Dales, her formative years were spent roving the countryside with her father – a naturalist, writer, artist and keen walker – learning the secrets of the seasons and the best foods to forage. It was a childhood that would prove pivotal to both her life path and career. Elspeth irst began making jams, jellies, pickles and preserves on her Aga in 1989, but, through sheer perseverance, went on to achieve what remains elusive for so many small-business owners – huge success. (We like to think Country Living did its bit to help, by featuring Elspeth and presenting her with a small-business award nearly 20 years ago when the venture was still in its infancy.) Elspeth’s journey did not begin with jam making, though – rather with sewing, following a degree in contemporary dressmaking at Northumbria University. “Once I graduated, I was commissioned to make three pairs of curtains for one of the galleries at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle,” she says, transferring an armful of apples into an overlowing LEFT Elspeth uses a cloth jam strainer and ceramic bowl to collect dripping fruit juice, which solidifies naturally to form jelly. She says she still countryliving.com/uk
finds the process ”miraculous” ABOVE Crab apples, often foraged by Elspeth herself, are a popular ingredient in Rosebud Preserves’ products
colander. “I fell into self-employment by accident, really, but I knew straightaway it was right for me.” By the late 1980s, Elspeth was looking for an enterprise that would allow her to work from home in North Yorkshire and spend more time with her daughters, Katie, Rebecca and Jessica. Following in the footsteps of her father – whose own eccentric experiments included a homebrewed beer that once exploded all over the pantry (much to her mother’s chagrin) – Elspeth transferred her rural knowledge into a food business that made quality conserves inspired by family recipes passed down through the generations. Starting with six original preserves, including sweet cucumber pickle and green tomato chutney, Rosebud Preserves’ range grew to more than 40 products, each made with fresh ingredients. Following its launch nearly 30 years ago, Rosebud Preserves’ popularity has grown exponentially. Since we last wrote about Elspeth in the magazine, her products have gone on to win numerous awards, and are now stocked by Liberty, Ocado and Booths – as well as being served alongside traditional cream teas at the Country Living St George Hotel in Harrogate. It hasn’t all been awards and accolades, though – Elspeth admits that it’s been tough getting to where she is today. “Transitioning from a small, artisan producer has been less of a jump and more of a slow, steady climb,” she recalls, “but I’ve always been focused on making a product that’s simple, genuine and as close to homemade as possible.” Starting of with a loan of £40,000 – Elspeth recounts wooing the bank manager with a selection of sweet and savoury samples – she built up a customer base by attending as many crat fairs, agricultural shows and outdoor events as she could: “That’s how you gained exposure in the days before social media!” A grant from the now-defunct Rural Development Commission also enabled the renovation of a 19th-century barn next to her home in Masham NOVEMBER 2018
WHAT I’VE LEARNT… The importance of quality and consistency when it comes to products and their presentation. In a very crowded market, with lots of new and ledgling competition, brand image should come first and foremost. That it’s vital to be able to demonstrate a complete knowledge and understanding of your products. Then, when it comes to sales, you’ll know how best to market them to both retailers and customers. To listen to your customers’ needs. Take opportunities to get out and meet people, whether it’s at local crat fairs or artisan food trade shows. That you should surround yourself with talented people as soon as you can afford to do so. You can’t do everything! But as you relinquish the tasks you once did all by yourself, make sure to never lose sight of your vision. Manage and trade wisely, with care, compassion and integrity. Elspeth and her kitchen staf work hard to create jams, pickles and chutneys worthy of Rosebud Preserves’ stellar reputation, always using the freshest local produce
(a small market town between Richmond and Harrogate), transforming it into a two-storey kitchen and oice space. Making her way back to Rosebud’s headquarters, past drystone walls that meander across sweeping moorlands, Elspeth ponders the role Yorkshire has played in her life. “It might sound corny, but it’s had a huge impact. I’ve always been inspired by the landscape and the way a particular type of light can reveal aspects of the Dales you don’t see on other days,” she says. “But it’s not just that, it’s the attitude, too: growing up here gives you such a good grounding. There’s a straightforward outlook; we call a spade a spade!” Perhaps it’s this no-nonsense approach, along with sheer hard work, that has helped Elspeth to create such a beloved brand. “I never wanted to make something that was cheap and cheerful. With the ingredients and the branding, I was always looking at the top end of the market,” she says. “When one of my customers opens a jar, I want them to know it’s been made with passion. I’m also selling a bit of my history, a bit of the countryside I grew up in, a bit of a British tradition.” Arriving in the kitchen, Elspeth checks in with her team, which has grown in small increments since she launched and now stands at 15 members. “It’s not easy to relinquish the reins, but you have to,” she explains. “I’m proud of the people I’ve worked with – you certainly can’t do it alone. The most important thing is to collaborate with those who share your vision.” While chef John Barley and senior kitchen assistant Jim Knights are busy jarring – today’s mixture is a traditional piccalilli packed with tomato,
No two days are the same! I started of based solely in the kitchen, but now my day can include everything from recipe testing to writing press releases.
caulilower and Lincolnshire onions – Elspeth sets up her jelly bag between two sturdy chairs. “Ater all these years, I still ind the process rather miraculous,” she says, placing a large ceramic bowl beneath the cloth to collect the slow-dripping fruit juice. “You just add cooked fruit to water and sugar and it clariies and transforms into this translucent liquid, which then sets naturally.” With Rosebud Preserves’ 30th anniversary on the horizon, Elspeth is looking for new ways to celebrate the momentous occasion. “We’ve always done collaborations to commemorate diferent milestones. We’ve been working with the Westwood family from West Yorkshire since 1992 – our rhubarb is always from the Triangle. And, to mark 23 years in business, we partnered with Ampleforth Abbey Brewery in York,” she says. “I have some ideas for the next one, but I’ll keep them under wraps for now!” It’s not just local producers that Elspeth is keen to partner with, she is also associated with several environmental charities – including the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, Butterly Conservation and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in order to further their cause. “Having spent all my life living rurally, I’m so fortunate to be able to do a job that centres on the countryside,” she says. “And if I can do my bit to protect and raise awareness of the issues that afect it, then all the better.” To ind out more, see rosebudpreserves.co.uk. CL readers can receive 20 per cent of online orders of six jars, plus free shipping, when quoting CLXMAS18 until 31 December 2018. countryliving.com/uk
RU R A L B US I N ES S ES
Meet the locals Stay at the Country Living Hotels in Harrogate and Bath and you’ll experience even more wonderful artisan producers from the area
H 2 K O F H A R R O GAT E Hazel Barry, founder of Yorkshire-based ethical skincare brand H2K, has created a bespoke Country Living fragrance – a blend of rose, lavender and borage – for her toiletries, which are available exclusively in our hotel rooms. Hazel irst launched H2k ater strugling to ind products suitable for her dry skin – now, 18 years on, it’s a thriving business with a bustling shop in the heart of Harrogate. We were impressed by her extensive ethical and eco-credentials – in addition to giving a percentage of her proits to the Woodland Trust, she uses reillable, reusable bottles, recycles all her waste, is accredited by The Vegan Society and supports other local businesses by buying as many of her ingredients from them as possible (h2kskincare.com).
P U LT E N E Y B R I D G E F L OW E R S Walk into the reception of our Bath hotel, and one of the irst things likely to catch your eye are the beautiful loral displays. They are created by Pulteney Bridge Flowers, owned by lorist Vivian Perry, who ensures the arrangements relect the colourways of the hotel, while embracing the surrounding countryside. Vivian, who uses upcycled containers such as jam jars, irst founded her company in 1984 and now has two shops in the centre of Bath – one housed in a Georgian building on Pulteney Bridge, and another, called Anenome, which specialises in unusual blooms (pulteneybridge flowers.co.uk).
B L AC K S H E E P B R E W E RY Served in the bar and used in the batter for the ish and chips in our Harrogate hotel is ale brewed by Black Sheep Brewery. Based just north of Harrogate in the market town of Masham, it was founded in the early 1990s by Paul Theakston, the ith generation of his family to brew beer. Even when the original family business was acrimoniously bought up by Scottish and National Breweries in the late 1980s and the biger company tried to lure him away, Paul took the risky step of staying true to his roots, remaining in Masham and setting up Black Sheep Brewery, which has been going strong for 20 years (blacksheepbrewery.com).
To book a room at the Country Living Hotels, visit countrylivinghotels.com
With warm reflecting hues and a soft, shimmering appearance, metallic and metal finishes are ideal for adding grandeur or rustic charm to an interior WORDS BY ALAINA BINKS
Experiment with a mix of metallics, from both the warm and cooler palettes. Engraved and embossed accessories add interest
D E C O R AT I N G
WA R M TONES Brass, gold, bronze and copper inishes in lighting, furniture and decorating materials introduce richness and warmth to the home. Typically used for cooking and ironmongery, these attractive metals sit comfortably in a traditional style, adding a timeless opulence. Alternatively, when used sparingly and in contrast to raw woods and polished concrete, they – in particular, copper – can take on a modern aesthetic with a rustic edge. It’s best to use these elements as highlights in small amounts – a wallpaper on one wall where there is simple decoration elsewhere in the room, a pair of wooden-frame upholstered chairs with gilt detail, a mirror or a group of accessories. Also consider the metal’s texture – whether it is hammered, polished or tarnished – as this afects its sheen and inish. Team with dark paint colours of charcoal, navy, plum and forest green for a heightened sense of luxury.
Top left This gold wallpaper from Lewis & Wood has a tranquil, Chinoiserie-inspired peony design Above Copper pans look beautiful on display Far left A traditional Arts & Crafts-print wallpaper – by Morris & Co at Style Library – with metallic detail brings a contemporary twist Left Pretty trimmings can update furnishings countryliving.com/uk
D E C O R AT I N G
Embroidered, jacquard and sheer fabrics with metallic threads instantly bring a sense of splendour A display of gilt frames adds drama in this tonal interior with classic distressed gilt furniture
From top Trellis Dot tiles by Neisha Crosland, £24.95 each, Fired Earth. Babylon Patina copper bath with a polished nickel interior, from £5,750, Fired Earth (taps and standpipes sold separately). Aged copper boho handle, £45, Devol. Gaslamp herringbone urban woodworks flooring with copper leaf, £286.56/sq m, Ted Todd
Right Demelza tin oxide décor tiles, £48/ sq m, Mandarin Stone. Eclipse side table, £175, Loaf. Boathouse wall light in antiqued brass, £132, Jim Lawrence. Natural linen cushion with bronze-metallic, copper beech screenprinted design, £75, Sam Pickard. Handpainted gold sprig mug, from £26, made to order, SBH Pottery countryliving.com/uk
D E C O R AT I N G
A freestanding roll-top copper bateau bath gives character and distinctive style to a traditional home
D E C O R AT I N G
COOL TONES Pieces in silver, aluminium, zinc, pewter, iron and gunmetal oten have a vintage aesthetic but can also be used in a contemporary setting to introduce a rustic industrial edge. Stylish, understated furniture, such as iconic Tolix chairs designed by Xavier Pauchard (below), iron bedsteads and zinc-covered table tops, is a popular choice in country homes, juxtaposed with traditional furnishings and elements. Team with rich woods from oak to walnut and natural materials such as sisal.
D E C O R AT I N G Create an eclectic style with individual vintage pieces such as galvanizedsteel units
Corrugated iron makes an interesting wall covering Below left Tarnished silver Brenna lamp, £392, Rowen & Wren (bulb not included). 18th-century silver gilt chair, £2,950 for a pair, from a
selection of gilt furniture from Lorfords Antiques. Cow Parsley wallpaper in charcoal and silver, £85/roll, Cole & Son
A collection of shapely antique tarnished pewter jugs, teapots and candlesticks creates an attractive focal point on a mantelpiece
STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK; SOPHIE MARTELL. PHOTOGRAPHS BY CAROLINE ARBER; ALUN CALLENDER; BRENT DARBY; TARA FISHER; EMMA LEE; LIVING4MEDIA; LOUPE IMAGES/POLLY WREFORD; CLAIRE RICHARDSON AND JAN BALDWIN; NARRATIVES/BRENT DARBY AND DAVID PARMITER; RACHEL WHITING
D E C O R AT I N G
A polished lamp complements and contrasts with natural materials
Create a modern industrial-style kitchen with steel-fronted cabinets
Above Hand-beaten pewter wall sconce, £640, The Shop Floor Project. Old aluminium jelly mould pendant lights, from £48, RE. Loft-style half-moon
mirror, £115, Nordic House. Steel Southbourne butler’s table, £86.50, Farthing. Avon Lever lock handles in Pewter, £90.95/pair, Willow & Stone
This small-scale acorn print has subtle shimmer – from Morris & Co at Style Library
For merchandise details, see Where to Buy countryliving.com/uk
NEW ISSUE ON SALE 6 NOV
Inspiring interiors, innovative designers and makers, plus stylish pieces for the contemporary country home
Only £9.99 – order a copy at hearstmagazines.co.uk/cl-mr-12 or purchase your copy in selected retailers STOCKISTS INCLUDE WH SMITH, BOOTHS, SAINSBURY’S, WAITROSE, TESCO, MORRISONS AND ALL GOOD INDEPENDENT STORES
FORGOTTEN CRAFTS The wheelwright
Until the First World War, most villages had their own wheelwright. In the Sussex High Weald, Douglas Andrews continues this ancient crat, making wheels from native varieties of British wood WORDS BY SALLY COULTHARD
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALUN CALLENDER
CRAFTSMANSHIP OPPOSITE Master wheelwright Douglas Andrews and his sheepdog, Tac, outside his Sussex workshop THIS PAGE Most of Douglas’s work is a solitary afair, spent among his timber and tools, but when the time comes to ‘tyre’ a wheel, it’s all hands on deck
n the yard of a workshop in Vines Cross, near Heathield, East Sussex, a vast wooden wheel is being lowered gently onto its side by three men in overalls. Only metres away, a shallow bonire rages; in it sits a ring of steel, rapidly heating up in the lames. Suddenly it’s time to act. The men, each holding a pair of long iron tongs, lit the ring from the lames, carry the incandescent metal circle across to the wheel and gently lower it down on top. Instantly, as hot metal touches timber, the rim begins to char and send up curls of smoke. Undeterred, the three drop their tongs, grab mallets and begin to hammer the ring into place. A few blows each and it’s there. Quick as a lash, one of the team grabs a huge water butt and pushes it over, towards the wheel. Water cascades over the smoking wood, captured in a pool by a ring of sandbags, and bubbles furiously, quenching the metal as soon as it makes contact. Steam replaces smoke and, for a few seconds, it’s impossible to see anything. But then, as the water vapour clears, it seems that everything has gone to plan. Sitting on the loor is the wooden wheel, perfectly wrapped in a tight band of metal. ‘Tyring’ a wooden wheel is a dramatic process, not dissimilar to shoeing a horse – all hisses and clouds of smoke. But, for master wheelwright Douglas Andrews, most of his working days are altogether
Tyring a wooden wheel is a dramatic process quieter and, apart from the companionship of sheepdog Tac, a solitary afair. His job, as one of only 50 or so wheelwrights in the UK, is intuitive and measured – the only time he needs extra help is when adding a metal rim to the larger wheels he makes by hand. With so few wheelwrights let, it’s tempting to think there’s little sense of a crat community. But that’s not the case. “I have contact with wheelwrights in this country and abroad,” he explains. “I’ve stayed with one in Australia and know others in the States and the Netherlands. The internet has shrunk the wheelwrighting world.” It’s a crat that has been utilised for thousands of years. Around 5000BC, solid wood wheels began to appear but it wasn’t until three thousand years later that anyone thought to create a lighter, spoked version. Iron Age tribes were masters of their art and created chariot wheels not dissimilar to those Douglas makes and repairs today – a wooden hub (called a nave) into which spokes are itted and then surrounded with sections of curved timber, known as felloes (pronounced fellies), to create the body of the wheel. It is then inished with a one-piece metal rim. These days it’s cartwheels and carriages that occupy Douglas’s time, along with a steady stream of wooden classic car wheels and repairs to ypsy caravans and shepherd’s huts. He also oten helps with restoration projects, where experience matters: making ash frames for motor car bodies, wooden parts for windmills, repairs to showman’s wagons and even the odd tomahawk handle. It’s
OPPOSITE Douglas crafts wheels of all sizes, from huge mill wheels to Victorian classic car replacements
THIS PAGE Pouring water on the hot metal rim causes it to contract, making a beautifully tight fit around the wheel
THIS PAGE Douglas at his workbench, with one of the carriage and cartwheels that demand his attention OPPOSITE The wheelwright’s
work, like Douglas’s workshop, is filled with varied projects – from shepherd’s hut axles and dray wheels to parts of Romany caravans and pony traps
“I plan ahead – my timber dries at the rate of a year an inch, plus a year in thickness” a varied job sheet and one that brings him into contact with all walks of life: “The Great Spur Wheel for Talgarth Mill turned out well,” he adds, characteristically understating the project undertaken for a working mill in the Brecon Beacons. Such a diverse portfolio isn’t unusual for a busy wheelwright. Up until the First World War, most villages had their own member of the profession – when not making and repairing wheels, they would turn their hands to other projects such as hurdles, tool handles, gates, house repairs, even coin making. Some worked alongside blacksmiths, others combined the two skills, but, with the rise of motorised transport, demand waned. By the 1960s the crat was in trouble, and by 2000 it had nearly disappeared. But, thanks to the quiet determination of remaining wheelwrights such as Douglas, and the support of various agencies including the Wheelwrights’ Livery Company and the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights, who provide funding for apprenticeships, it is happily now in a sustainable position with ‘currently enough work for everyone’, according to the Heritage Crats Association. Douglas’s own entry into the profession was interesting. During the 1987 hurricane, while he was still at school, an enormous ash tree came down near his home. His father called the local wheelwright, David Bysouth, to see if he could use the timber. Soon, Douglas was woodworking for David in the holidays and, ater leaving school, started an apprenticeship. Four years later, with a City and Guilds qualiication under his belt, he began his working life as a full-time countryliving.com/uk
wheelwright and has been running his own operation since 1997. But qualiications only get you so far. A large part is knowing the materials you work with: in one wheel, for example, you tend to ind three types of native British wood – elm, ash and oak. Elm makes the hub or nave, its interwoven grain making it resistant to splitting; ash creates the felloes – a lexible, spriny timber, it’s a natural shock absorber; and oak forms the spokes, as it doesn’t bend or lex under pressure. Part of Douglas’s skill is ‘reading’ the timber. “Spokes need to be straight grained and free of knots and shakes,” he explains. “Hubs have knots and twisty grain, because it makes them harder to split. Felloes are preferable with the grain following the bend.” Sourcing these elements takes time and knowledge – thankfully, Sussex and the south coast still has supplies of all three species – but the timber needs time to ‘season’ irst. “I keep a good selection in stock as timber yards don’t keep the stuf we use,” Douglas says. “I have to plan ahead – my timber dries at the rate of a year an inch plus a year in thickness. So a three-inch plank has to be ‘in stick’ for four years before we can use it.” And, if the work doesn’t materialise? “Well,” he smiles, “I’ve got some very good irewood.” The phone in the workshop rings. It’s a ypsy-caravan owner, who needs an emergency repair. There’s no such thing as the AA for wooden wheeled vehicles, it seems. “Better get on,” Douglas smiles and, with that, his next project begins. For more information, visit dougandrewswheelwright.co.uk. NOVEMBER 2018
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WIND IN OUR SAILS
Following tradition, brothers Will and Joe Wooster sell their freshly baked artisan loaves and pastries from a historic windmill that has been in the family for three generations WORDS BY LAURAN ELSDEN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CRISTIAN BARNETT
RU R A L B US I N ES S Will (left) outside Bardwell Windmill with his grandmother Enid, mother Sue, brother Joe and dad Simon
RU R A L B US I N ES S
ometimes I feel as though I’ve grown up in a windmill-shaped shadow,” laughs Will Wooster, founder of Wooster’s Bakery in rural Sufolk. “It’s only recently that I’ve realised just what an amazing landmark Bardwell Mill really is.” Built in 1823 on the edge of this picturesque village, the mill was providing lour to the local community until the 1940s, ater which it fell into dereliction. It was rescued in 1985 by inhabitant James Waterield, who restored it and then sold it to Will’s grandparents, Enid and Geofrey Wheeler, who once again used it to mill lour. Sadly, though, its return to glory was cut short when the Great Storm of 1987 brought its sails crashing down. Since then, it’s been a long slog for Will’s family who, with the help of ‘The Friends of Bardwell Windmill’ – a society set up by a group of villagers – slowly made the thousands of pounds’ worth of repairs needed. As a result, in 2012, a full complement of sails began turning at the Grade II-listed building once more. “It’s
hard to believe that something that looks so clunky has so much grace,” says Will, who opened the doors of his bakery, in a converted outbuilding at the foot of the local landmark, in 2015.
E A R LY T O R I S E In the early hours of the morning, when many people in their twenties might be arriving home from a night out, Will’s day is already beginning. He has to set his alarm for 2am so he can get on with baking enormous rye loaves, decadent walnut brownies and generous pastries, ready to be stocked fresh in his shop. Helped by colleague and schoolfriend Tom West, the irst thing on this morning’s agenda is croissants. Unlike the elongated French version, Will’s are plump delights – the perfect combination of sotness and crunch. “It’s a running joke how indecisive I am – but, at the moment, they’re my favourite thing to make,” he says. Once laminated – an efect achieved by the addition of multiple layers of butter – the pastry is cut into lag-like triangles before each one is rolled to produce its distinctive shape. As with many of his recipes, Will is always keen to change and adapt traditional techniques. “I prefer my croissants with a fermented lavour and a bit of
“Croissants are my favourite thing to make. I prefer them with a fermented lavour and a bit of a tang”
Having repeatedly rolled and folded the dough, Will carefully measures out the pastry for his croissants; he then uses an extendable dough cutter to ensure they are all equal; the croissants are left to prove in a cool room until they double in size
a tang,” he says, carrying them through to the cool room where they’ll rise to double the size. Will and his younger brother, Joe, were introduced to baking by their parents, Simon and Sue, who also ran a bakery at the mill for a short period in the 1990s, “before they got ‘sensible’ jobs”, Will says, laughing. “I remember taking part in an Easter hat competition at pre-school and obviously Dad made me a giant hot cross bun costume,” Will says, laughing. “Needless to say, I won – how could you not with an entry like that?” However, despite this initial exposure, it wasn’t until Will went to New Zealand on a gap year (where he worked in pubs as well as on a mussel farm) that he really started to experiment with baking. “Choosing this career wasn’t a conscious decision, it was more of a coincidence,” he says. Today, although Will and his father may have an approach and style that are worlds apart – “Dad’s more of a traditionalist and he’ll oten say my loaves are burnt and holey” – Simon is always at hand to help, whether it’s ofering advice or coming in late at night to check on the proving.
IN PURSUIT OF PERFECTION
Having outgrown the kitchen in the mill, Will now works in a converted stable nearby. He leaves his doughs to ferment for a minimum of 24 hours and
makes his bread by hand using traditional techniques. Among his creations are rustic sourdough loaves (above and below)
As Will skilfully moves between tasks – shaping three dozen seeded rolls before topping up his sourdough starter – it’s hard to believe that Wooster’s Bakery is a relatively new venture. And, while the early starts, long hours and physically demanding work can sometimes be challenging – “I do have to make sacriices; there are loads of gigs and events that I’ve had to miss” – the good far outweighs the bad. “I love the constant experimentation. I oten think, ‘That was great today, but how can I make it better tomorrow?’” Preferring a more rustic look to anything too prim and proper – his earthy walnut sourdough and sprouted rye and malt loaves are testament to this – Will is an advocate of a more tactile approach to baking. “We do a lot by hand: testing the temperature, prodding and poking and throwing great lumps of dough around,” he says, thumbing his mixture apart to check for a translucent
RU R A L B US I N ES S ‘gluten window’. “I want customers to be tearing of huge chunks and slathering them with butter.” Enlisting the help of family and friends to sell at markets during the week (Hadleigh on Friday, Wyken on Saturday), Will can be found manning the stall at Bury St Edmunds Farmers’ Market every other Sunday: “People like to come over and have a bit of a chat, and I love to see them walk away with a loaf that’s still warm, clutching it to their chest.”
BROTHERS IN ARMS Loading crates of loaves and pastries into the back of his van (having quickly outgrown the small windmill kitchen, he now uses one in a converted livery stable on a nearby farm), Will heads back to the mill with his delivery. Open Wednesday to Saturday, Wooster’s Bakery is run by younger brother Joe. “He’s just like Dad – extremely precise and accurate,” Will says. “If he’s weighing up a bag of lour, he would probably account for the pen mark that’s written on the outside!” Joe’s background in graphic design came in useful for helping him create the business’s logo. He also specialises in cake making, as well as fronting the shop. “We have always worked well together,” Will says, “even at a time when we were elbow-to-elbow in the tiny windmill kitchen.” Joe adds: “There are photos of us sitting together in bread crates when we were
“I love to see customers walk away with a loaf, clutching it to their chest” kids, so it’s kind of funny that all these years later we should be working together at the bakery.” Inside the shop, Joe is busy serving, sliding a Bardwell loaf and a “sinnerbun” (a luxurious cinnamon pastry) into a brown paper bag. Throughout the day, he welcomes a steady stream of people, those from Bardwell and its surrounding villages, as well as tourists visiting the windmill. With Joe planning to develop the bakery into more of a deli, there’s also a range of local produce on ofer, including vegetables grown in Sue and Simon’s walled garden. As late aternoon approaches, it’s time to close up. With an early start on the horizon (Saturdays are spent prepping for the next day’s market), it’s easy to question Will’s unwavering motivation. “Bread is such a universal product,” he says, dusting chalk of the specials board. “Turning those unassuming ingredients into goods that people really love – that’s something to be proud of.”
Joe fronts the shop where they sell their produce; The Friends of Bardwell Windmill is made up of villagers who helped to fund the restoration of the building’s sails
For more information, visit woostersbakery.co.uk.
FIVE OTHER COUNTRY BAKERIES TO TRY THE BAKE HOUSE, DEVON A stone’s throw from the sandy Salcombe shore, this family-run bakery blends French techniques with British tradition (bakehouse salcombe.co.uk).
HUSK, NORFOLK On Friday nights, Husk rustles up crisp wood-fired pizzas that have hungry customers flocking from miles around (huskwoodfiredbakery. wordpress.com).
TWO MAGPIES, SUFFOLK Passionate about reconnecting customers with the people who produce their food, this bakery has a viewing window, so visitors can watch and learn (two magpiesbakery.co.uk).
BOSTOCK BAKERY, EAST LOTHIAN Owners Ross and Jennifer Baxter enjoy making real bread that’s full of texture and with absolutely no additives (facebook. com/bostockbakery).
FLINT OWL BAKERY, EAST SUSSEX Long-fermented and baked in small batches, the breads, croissants and pastries in this idyllic Lewes bakery are all made from scratch (flintowlbakery.com).
An artistâ€™s nature journal November
Each month, Kelly Hall illustrates the lora and fauna she has spotted near her East Sussex home
IN PRAISE OF
N AT U R E
UDS Far from gloomy, the onset of winter provides an exhilarating display of ever-changing cloudscapes. Teenage cloud expert Oliver Perkins describes the unique appeal of nebulous skies, and how they can even help us predict the weather more accurately than official forecasts
N AT U R E
ow that autumn is drawing to a close, and the long, hot days of summer are a distant memory, we know that British weather is going to become more unpredictable. Most of us dread the dark, rainy days of winter, longing for the irst signs of spring to arrive, yet, for me, the sky becomes fascinating at this time of year. Despite poor weather being by far the most popular topic of discussion among Brits, we should consider ourselves lucky that we don’t have the monotonous blue skies and searing temperatures that many countries experience – instead, we can enjoy the exhilarating display of an ever-changing cloudscape. In winter, my favourite sky is almost certainly made up of the ribbon-like cirrus clouds that are seen before warm fronts arrive, especially when they are lit by a deep-red sunrise. Clouds have captivated me from a very young age. And this is not only because of their intricate and varied forms, but also because of the detailed story each one tells. By spending a few moments every day looking up at them, it becomes possible to build a picture of the impending weather, one that can oten be more accurate than consulting oicial forecasts. This knowledge will prove invaluable for anyone interested in outdoor activities, as it allows you to plan time in the garden or walk the dog without experiencing even a drop of rain. Country dwellers have used this form of prediction for centuries, as illustrated by the many weather lore sayings that are still familiar today.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND P R E D I C T I N G T H E W E AT H E R Understanding the most basic concepts behind cloud formation is relatively easy and is key to unlocking the secrets of the weather. The most important fact is that air cools as it rises. As it gets colder, it cannot hold as much water vapour, so eventually the vapour condenses into clouds. In the winter months, the vast majority of our rain comes from large areas of low air pressure, known as depressions. Most of the bad weather in depressions
Cirrostratus clouds are thin sheets of ice crystals – a halo often forms around the sun when these clouds are present. You can always see the sun or moon through them, and a shadow will still be cast. They indicate that a depression is getting closer, so rain, wind and fog will arrive in ten to 15 hours. This sheet of cloud will slowly lower and thicken until it becomes altostratus (see overleaf)
Stratocumulus clouds indicate dry, stable, cloudy conditions for the next few hours. Commonly seen in winter, this definition includes any low cloud that isn’t stratus or cumulus Cirrus clouds are the very first sign of an approaching depression. They are the highest clouds in the sky, made up of ice crystals. The nickname ‘mare’s tails’ comes from the streaks of ice that fall from beneath them. If these clouds are arranged in thick streaks across the horizon, expect a vigorous depression, meaning wind and rain will arrive in 12 to 24 hours
Pannus clouds signify rain in the next ten minutes. They are my personal favourite, not because they are particularly attractive, but because they are extremely accurate weather forecasters. These grey fragmented or wispy clouds form below the main base of rain- or snow-bearing clouds as the precipitation moistens the air
N AT U R E comes from fronts, which are boundaries between warmer and colder air. Air of diferent temperatures doesn’t like to mix, so the warmer air is forced to rise, with this movement causing clouds, wind and, of course, precipitation.
A DV I C E F O R C L O U D GA Z E R S The great thing about cloud watching is that you can forecast the weather yourself without the need for any equipment. Areas with a large, unobstructed horizon, such as a hill or tall building, are the best places to watch for the various formations. Sunrise and sunset are undoubtedly the key times to get out and enjoy cloudy skies, as they can deliver fascinating colour on even the dullest of days. The only thing I would sugest you bring is a camera, so that you can capture the beautiful cloudscapes. Winter can be synonymous with gloom, but you are almost guaranteed an exciting sky on the day before a warm front approaches. All in all, there is no better time to get outside and start paying more attention to the scenery above our heads.
Cumulonimbus clouds are the spectacular, towering clouds found in cold fronts. They are indicators that rain will arrive in the next few minutes. Although these downpours can be heavy, the good news is that they rarely last longer than an hour. Cumulonimbus clouds also tend to be quite isolated, so, if you get lucky, their showers could miss you altogether
Reading the Clouds – How You Can Forecast the Weather by Oliver Perkins (Adlard Coles, £9.99).
Fairweather cumulus clouds are great to see at any time of the year. This variety of cumulus is wider than it is tall. If you see them after mid-morning, there will almost certainly not be rain later in the day. But if the cumulus clouds are taller than they are wide, it can mean that rain showers are on their way
OLIVER PERKINS Oliver, 16, has sailed for the British Olympic team, is a freelance journalist and author of Reading the Clouds – How You Can Forecast the Weather. His app CloudWise (iOS and Android) helps users identify cloud formations and includes information for predicting the weather. For more information and to buy his book, visit oliverperkins.com. countryliving.com/uk
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES; OLIVER PERKINS
Altostratus clouds indicate that a depression will arrive in eight hours or less. They are relatively featureless clouds, but the sun can often be seen through them. Altostratus generally last for about four hours, after which they will have thickened into rain-bearing nimbostratus clouds. For another four hours the rain will intensify and it will often become windier, until the rain stops quite suddenly as the warm front passes overhead
C O U N T RY L I V I N G EXC LUS I V E T O U R
DISCOVER TUSCANY “I love Italy and return several times a year – Florence is one of my favourite cities. I’m looking forward enormously to joining you there.”
with Alex Polizzi Enjoy the Renaissance charms of fabulous Florence with the popular TV presenter, explore Tuscany’s beautiful countryside and stay in ive-star luxury on our exclusive new ten-day trip to Italy
f you adore Italy and want a unique insight into one of its most beautiful and beguiling regions, then this is your chance to join fellow readers and our special guest – the popular TV presenter Alex Polizzi – on an exclusive new ten-day trip to Tuscany. Alex, star of The Hotel Inspector, will be your guide to some of Florence’s unforgettable sights, including the Piazza del Duomo, with Brunelleschi’s remarkable cupola, the superb Franciscan Basilica of Santa Croce and the nearby Piazza della Signoria, one of the city’s most photogenic civic spaces. Ater an extended break in this inspirational destination, you will spend three nights exploring the irresistible Tuscan countryside, with visits to Siena and Pienza, whose cathedral famously featured in Zeirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
SEE THE BEST OF TUSCANY
MEET THE ‘HOTEL I N S P E C T O R’
You’ll be staying in Florence, the magniicent Tuscan capital, for six nights and will have plenty of time to marvel at Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia, walk over the iconic Ponte Vecchio and enjoy a taste of la dolce vita in Florence’s many trattorias, gelaterias and wine bars. You’ll also take a day trip to the atmospheric hilltop town of San Gimignano, known as the ‘medieval Manhattan’ of Tuscany and drink Chianti in Chianti. You will then spend three nights in Pienza, which is deep in the Val d’Orcia and an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside. You will also visit Siena, home of the iconic Palio horse race, the gardens of La Foce and the striking fortiied hill town of Montalcino. The Val d’Orcia, with its iconic vine-clad slopes, cypress trees and hilltop villages, was the irst rural area to be UNESCO listed in 2004.
In Florence, you will be joined by Alex Polizzi, granddaughter of the hotelier Lord Forte, for two days of this exclusive trip. Alex trained at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and worked for Marco Pierre White at the Criterion, as well as Rocco Forte Hotels around the world before presenting The Hotel Inspector on Channel 5. She feels a close connection to Italy, having explored her Italian heritage for two popular television series: Alex Polizzi’s Secret Italy and Alex Polizzi’s Italian Islands. Alex will lead you on a private walking tour of some of her favourite places in Florence and join you for a special drinks party and dinner, ater which she will give an exclusive talk about her life, career and love for this extraordinary region. As Alex says: “I love Italy and return several times a year – Florence is one of my favourite cities. I’m looking forward enormously to joining you there.”
OUR TRAVEL PARTNERS Prestige Holidays has been arranging escorted tours to fabulous destinations for almost 30 years, providing guests with authentic local experiences. Tripsmiths partners with the world’s leading tour operators and select media brands to deliver exclusive travel experiences.
S TAY I N L U X U RY Throughout your time in Florence you will be staying in style at the elegant and luxurious Montebello Splendid, a ive-star boutique hotel at the heart of
Book today – limited availability
DAY 1 Fly to Pisa DAY 2 Florence with Alex Polizzi DAY 3 Explore Florence DAY 4 San Gimignano DAY 5 Florence at leisure DAY 6 Chianti wine tasting DAY 7 Siena DAY 8 Pienza and La Foce DAY 9 Montalcino DAY 10 Fly home
Marvel at Tuscany’s beautiful landscapes
the city. In Pienza, you will stay at the four-star Relais il Chiostro di Pienza, a former Franciscan convent dating back to the 13th century, which has a terrace and garden with panoramic views of the picturesque hills that surround Siena.
Florence is rich in history and architecture
W H AT T O E X P E C T Spending six nights in Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, exploring sights such as the Ponte Vecchio, Duomo and Uizi gallery, and enjoying a day trip to San Gimignano, the ‘medieval Manhattan’ of Tuscany A private walking tour, drinks reception and talk in Florence by Alex Polizzi Staying in the Val d’Orcia and exploring the beautiful Tuscan countryside, with visits to the stunning towns of Montalcino and Siena Luxury accommodation throughout in hand-picked hotels Sampling the region’s famously delicious food and wines
Luxury five-star accommodation at Hotel Montebello Splendid
WHAT’S INCLUDED Direct return lights from London Heathrow to Pisa Nine nights’ luxury accommodation in boutique hotels including six nights at the five-star Hotel Montebello Splendid in Florence and three nights at the four-star Relais il Chiostro di Pienza, Pienza (or similar) Daily breakfast, two lunches and six evening meals An exclusive tour in Florence, drinks reception, talk and Q&A with special guest Alex Polizzi All activities, excursions and entrance fees as listed (see full itinerary online) All overseas transportation English-speaking guides and the services of a Prestige Holidays tour manager
THE PRICE From £2,799* pp THE DATES 4-13 June 2019
TO BOOK, CALL 01425 383479, quoting code ALEX POLIZZI For more details and to see the full itinerary, go to countryliving.com/uk/alexpolizzi
*Based on two sharing either a twin or double room. Single rooms are available on request and subject to availability. Flights are based on a London departure; regional flights may be available at a supplement. Timings of Alex’s events are subject to change and there may be slight alterations to the itinerary due to operational restrictions. Hotels are subject to change but a hotel of similar standard will be provided. This tour is exclusive to Hearst UK brands. This trip is ATOL protected. For full T&Cs, visit countryliving.com/uk/alexpolizzi
C O U N T RY L I V I N G EXC LUS I V E O F F E R
12 EXCLUSIVE BRITISH BREAKS
Save up to
45% £199 PER PERSON*
We have teamed up with Pride of Britain Hotels so you can save up to 45 per cent on wonderful short breaks to some of our favourite properties across the UK – all exclusive to Country Living readers. For just £199* per person, you can enjoy a two-night stay at any of the following hotels, including dinner and a glass of bubbly
AIRDS HOTEL & RESTAURANT Oban The perfect base for exploring the delights of Scotland’s west coast, this converted ferry inn ofers understated luxury and a ine restaurant with views of Loch Linnhe. 01631 694297; countryliving.com/uk/airds
DUNSTANE HOUSE Edinburgh This family-run boutique hotel brings a breath of fresh Orkney air to the heart of Edinburgh with its fabulous service and neoclassical style. 01313 415796; countryliving. com/uk/dunstane
ROCKLIFFE HALL County Durham Pride of Britain’s hotel of the year in 2017, Rocklife ofers supreme comfort, an awardwinning spa and golf course. 01325 271520; countryliving. com/uk/rocklife
MAISON TALBOOTH Essex Overlooking the Dedham Vale AONB, Maison Talbooth ofers the perfect place to step back, relax and indulge, with a day spa and outdoor heated pool. 01206 933657; countryliving.com/uk/ maisontalbooth
BODYSGALLEN HALL North Wales A delightful Grade I-listed, 17th-century country house in 200 acres, with award-winning gardens, above the Victorian seaside town of Llandudno. 01492 884720; countryliving.com/uk/ bodysgallen
THE CHESTER GROSVENOR Cheshire A delightful mix of traditional and contemporary style, this luxurious hotel with its Michelin-starred restaurant is perfectly placed to explore the Roman city of Chester. 01244 435804; countryliving. com/uk/chester
SEAHAM HALL County Durham Dating back to 1791, Seaham
The Chester Grosvenor
FEVERSHAM ARMS North Yorkshire This quaint retreat in the market town of Helmsley is the perfect gateway to the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. 01439 628864; countryliving.com/uk/ feversham THURLESTONE Devon Owned and run by the Grose family since 1896, this country house hotel provides the perfect Devonshire break – with Blue Flag beaches, dramatic clitop walks, an AA-rosetted restaurant and even a golf course and spa. 01548 881484; countryliving. com/uk/thurlestone
KILWORTH HOUSE HOTEL Leicestershire This glorious Grade II-listed Italianate country house ofers an enchanting blend of Victorian opulence, ine food and contemporary luxury set in 38 acres of landscaped south Leicestershire parkland – as well as an outdoor theatre. 01858 588733; countryliving. com/uk/kilworth THE HEADLAND HOTEL & SPA Cornwall Dramatic seascapes over Fistral Beach in Newquay,
The Headland Hotel & Spa
irst-class accommodation, ine dining and an awardwinning spa are the order of the day at this Cornwall classic. 01637 355117; countryliving. com/uk/headland LAKE COUNTRY HOUSE Powys This dog-friendly Welsh country house ofers a great escape. Set in 50 acres, it boasts an indoor pool, riverside walks, tennis, croquet and a trout lake. 01591 568765; countryliving.com/uk/ thelake
COUNTRY LIVING EXCLUSIVE OFFER A two-night break at any hotel listed, including dinner on one night and a glass of bubbly for £199 per person, based on two sharing. Book by 30 November 2018. See individual websites for date restrictions.
Browse all 12 hotels at countryliving.com/uk/ofers
*FROM PRICE BASED ON TWO PEOPLE SHARING FOR TWO NIGHTS. SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY. THIS OFFER IS EXCLUSIVE TO HEARST UK AND MAY BE PROMOTED BY OTHER HEARST UK BRANDS
Airds Hotel & Restaurant
Hall ofers Georgian splendour in each of its 21 luxurious suites with spectacular garden or sea views, and an awardwinning spa. 01915 029312; countryliving.com/uk/ seaham
Country Living 2019 calendar and diary!
Get organised for the year ahead with our beautiful stationery collection, illed with upliting seasonal images to inspire you each month
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Ringbound calendar, ÂŁ8 Hardback diary, ÂŁ10
A selection of bridles, handmade by Helen, hangs on a wall in her workshop; one of her beautifully crafted saddles (opposite)
TAKING UP THE REINS A keen rider from the age of four, Helen Reader makes bridles and saddles by hand to the highest standards, using traditional tools in her Carmarthenshire workshop WORDS BY KITTY CORRIGAN
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATO WELTON
THIS PAGE, FROM ABOVE Helen on Tinny, her Irish Sport horse – she rides every morning before work; each cut edge of leather has to be stained by hand; sheep’s wool padding, which is called
‘flocking’; a selection of leather types and colours OPPOSITE Helen uses a tool called an awl to make the holes when hand-stitching, and a masher to smooth the leather surface and compress the flocking
ome young girls who ride horses dream of becoming a champion showjumper, but not Helen Reader, who at ive years old announced, “I’m going to be a saddler.” There was no “I want to be” or I’d like to be”. Nor was it the most obvious choice for a child of that age, but she remained determined and, 35 years later, is as enthusiastic about her chosen career as when she owned her irst horse. That was Solo, a grey Welsh Mountain pony, bought for ive pounds by her mother to save him from an ignominious end. “He was a typical hairy little thing,” Helen says. It was when Solo’s saddle needed repairing that she met David Young, the cratsman who would go on to shape her future. “He explained all about the diferent leathers and the tools he would use to replace the broken section,” she recalls. “I was fascinated and made up my mind there and then that was what I wanted to do.” In the past, such cratspeople would have been a more familiar sight. In Victorian times, for example, there were more than three million horses in Britain, providing regular work for three distinct types of leather-worker: the saddler, the collar maker and the harness maker. Today, there are only one million horses in the UK, and much of their equipment is imported from Poland, Argentina or China. But Helen was undeterred by the threats facing this centuries-old crat. When she was required to complete a week’s work experience in her mid-teens, she knew exactly where she wanted to go – back to the man who had repaired her irst pony’s saddle. “I started helping David with repairs and by the end of a week was working on brand-new items,” she says with pride. Today, Helen has two large grey horses – Tinny, an Irish Sport, and Zennith, a Dutch Warmblood – that she regularly enters into competitions. Two ponies, Red and Mulberry, which share a stable with her outdoor cats, Lynx and Sox, have free rein over 20 acres of family-owned land near Carmarthen in South Wales, where Helen now lives and works. Inside her workshop, shelves are piled high with 0.5m x 1.5m sheets of leather, sourced from Sedgwick & Co in the West Midlands, with each hide traceable back to the cow it came from. In the corner is a sewing machine that is rarely used, as Helen prefers to sew by hand and is
ambidextrous. She has amassed a collection of traditional tools from retired saddlers, car-boot sales and ebay, preferring the feel of the old implements, such as stitchers and creasers, rawhide mallets and a mashers – the latter used to smooth the leather surface and compress the ‘locking’ (sheep’s wool padding) underneath. The top of the saddle is shaped around the ‘tree’ – a frame made of wood. Excess leather strips are not wasted but used to repair leather accessories for equestrian sports enthusiasts. Helen’s workshop and home are just a few steps from her parents’ house. She and her partner, Tristan, a stock controller at the local abattoir, live in a converted cattle barn dating back to the 1930s, when the building was part of a working dairy: “It was damp and dilapidated but as soon as we lime-plastered the walls so they could breathe, it dried out. We put insulation on the outside so we could appreciate the uneven stone interior ABOVE Helen became fascinated by saddlemaking as a young girl when the tools used in the process were explained to her, such as a loop stick (far
left), which is utilised to make straps; Helen uses a round knife for cutting and skiving leather; stitching awls, a thread cutter and reel of thread
walls.” With her parents’ help, she built the stables and a manège (arena) where she rides every morning at 6am before work, and also measures up the horses brought to her for a itting. “I assess them with and without a saddle, stationary, trotting and ridden, before making a recommendation,” Helen explains. “If the horse is competing, its muscle condition will change over time, so the saddle needs to accommodate this. For showjumping and dressage, the centre of gravity alters and this, too, must be relected. Although the owners will say if they don’t like the saddle, the signs from the horse are more subtle – ears back or shortening of the stride, for example. Getting it right is a priority, as an ill-itting saddle can lead to problems. Oten ‘disobedience’ from the horse can be a sign of pain or discomfort. Of course, the rider must also be comfortable.” Helen is an accredited British Horse Society riding instructor and an examiner for the Society of Master Saddlers, with numerous certiicates to her name. One that she values highly is from the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST), which supports the training of talented cratspeople of all ages. She is grateful, looking back, that her parents, concerned at her plan to go straight into saddlery at 15, persuaded her to study Equestrian and Business Management at Berkshire College of countryliving.com/uk
CRAFTSMANSHIP FROM FAR LEFT Pony Mulberry shares a stable with Helen’s cats, Lynx and Sox; Helen (left) explains diferent bridle styles and options that suit individual horses to customer Anna Wilshaw (below)
Agriculture – “something to fall back on” if her dream did not materialise. Ater that, she worked at a dressage yard in Sufolk and, at 20, enrolled at Cordwainers College in London, where she gained an HND in saddlery technoloy. She followed this with an apprenticeship at Pointings Saddlery, Bath, ater which she felt ready to start her own business and moved back home to Wales. With so many of-the-peg products on the market, Helen soon realised that making a standard ‘astride’ saddle from scratch was not inancially viable. But she found a specialist niche in making side-saddles, which are experiencing a revival. “Women stopped riding side-saddle [deemed to be more ladylike] to prove a point, and they are going back to it to prove a point again – that they can ride whichever way they choose,” she says. “Men are taking it up, too. In the past, some rode side-saddle, especially ater the War, when many were injured and could not ride any other way.” A side-saddle is more complex and heavier to handle than the conventional style, can take four weeks to make, working lat-out, and costs up to £4,000. Helen tends to spread the work out over several months, repairing, adjusting and buying in saddles for clients in between. Various types of leather are used for diferent sections of a side saddle – including cowhide, pigskin and doeskin – together with serge and linen fabric. As the rider sits further back in the saddle, the reins need to be longer, and for these Helen pays the same attention to detail as in every other aspect of her crat. An average shop-bought bridle (straps, buckles and reins) costs £60-£100, but can be made of inferior leather and may stretch. Helen uses only British leather, spends up to 20 hours making one, and charges £130-£400. Judging by the shining, dark Havana bridle with decorative brow band draped over a chair in her kitchen, it is a labour of love. With orders and commissions mounting, Helen is keen to take on an apprentice from her old college, but irst she needs to extend her workshop, so she is leaning on her father to relinquish space in an adjoining outbuilding. Her mother, meanwhile, is very happy with the regular supplies of well-rotted horse manure donated to her garden. “I must be one of the few people who can say that when the recession hit, business increased,” Helen says. “I’ve found that clients will pay for a better product that lasts longer.” Helen is an SMS master saddler and harness maker, and a qualiied saddle itter. To ind out more about her business, call 07782 310649 or go to hrsaddlery.com.
MEET AN URBAN ARTISAN
Jenni Douglas From her studio in the heart of Edinburgh, this exuberant printmaker creates bold and beautiful designs that are inspired by the city’s architecture and her passion for nature WORDS BY SARAH BARRATT
STRETCHING HIGH ABOVE THE CITY, Edinburgh’s towering tenements cast cool shadows on the cobbled streets below. Home to hundreds of families since Victorian times, a wealth of history lurks behind their sandstone façades. Growing up in the Old Town, Jenni Douglas would stare up at them in awe, enchanted by their imposing presence. It was a fascination that would continue into adulthood, providing the inspiration for her signature bright, childlike prints. It might seem odd that such austere architecture should be the subject matter for her pleasingly playful designs, but Jenni explains that her work is “more about character than capturing speciic locations. I still think about how I felt when I was a little girl looking up – and work from a child’s perspective. There are plenty of people producing accurate pictures of Edinburgh Castle, for example, but for me it’s more about recreating the essence of a place.” With its colourful window display and welcoming exterior, Jenni’s print shop, situated on the city’s attractive Marchmont Crescent, is a itting tribute to her work – providing a light contrast to the arresting 19th-century buildings all around. This collision of the traditional with the modern is something Jenni inds particularly appealing, and from the studio at the back of her shop, she carves out fresh designs using traditional methods. Each print starts its life as a simple sketch, before it is painstakingly transferred onto a sheet of lino or fabric. “I like to reduce things down to the minimum number of elements to create really simple shapes,” she explains. The efect may be joyfully naïve, but the process is far from straightforward. In lino, Jenni explains: “Everything you print is mirrored, so when transferring your design onto a block, you have to do it in reverse or it will be the wrong way around. You learn to think of negatives and positives. Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll look at anything and think, ‘This bit will be carved away and this will stay.’ You start to use your brain diferently.” She may now be a printing aicionado, but up until 2011 Jenni was using “the very opposite side of her brain” – as a dataanalyst, working ungodly hours and growing more frazzled by the day. During a stress-induced break from work, she
decided on a whim to try her hand at printmaking. “I was pretty rubbish the irst time I did it, but it was an instant connection,” she remembers. Rediscovering the joy of crat helped Jenny return to herself – igniting in her a sense of excitement she hadn’t experienced in two decades. So, ater a year of practice, she hung up her dataanalyst hat and set up Jenni Douglas Designs. “I’m so much happier,” she beams. “I have so much more enery from doing something creative and fulilling. It’s easier than trying to push through a job you’re not enjoying.” Happiness, it seems, is infectious – and the regular customers who pop into her shop to buy her products quickly pick up on Jenni’s enthusiasm. “It’s an amazing feeling when people come in and seem genuinely thrilled about something I created,” she says. “Trying to spread joy through handmade work just gives me the OPPOSITE AND THIS PAGE Jenni transfers her bright, graphic and nature-inspired designs onto an array of gifts and accessories, including countryliving.com/uk
jewellery, stationery, prints and homeware, which she sells in her shop. She also hosts workshops, so others can learn the skill
most pleasure. I love being here to meet customers and discuss the making process – with mass-produced products you don’t see the bags under the eyes of the person who made it for you!” Long days in the shop and late nights spent carving out new ideas will do that to you, but, in the interest of balance, Jenni ensures she regularly escapes to the Highlands with her boyfriend to spend quality time in the fens and forests. “Some of my newest designs feature woodland, inspired by a number of walks I did recently,” she says. “It’s really important I stay connected to nature. If something creative comes from it, that’s fantastic, but being in the countryside nourishes me and the experience feeds into my work.” Still, the grand townhouses, cobbled streets and steep hills that form the ancient city of Edinburgh will always hold a special place in Jenni’s heart – and, more latterly, in her designs. “I’ve lived here all my life and it’s a part of me,” she says, rolling vibrant red ink over a freshly cut piece of lino. “When I irst started print making, it was something I added in to make me feel better – and it did. Now it’s become who I am.” For more information about Jenni’s work and her printmaking courses, visit jennidouglas.co.uk. NOVEMBER 2018
RUSTIC REVIVAL Since moving to a Wealden farmhouse in East Sussex, Fritha and Michael Wolsak have created a bohemian-style home, furnished with eclectic lair WORDS BY FRITHA WOLSAK BRENT DARBY
STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK
The dining area is furnished with antiques bought in Sweden and France, including an 18th-century fruitwood and elm table NOVEMBER 2018
hen my husband, Michael, was accepted to medical school in Brighton at the age of 43, it seemed he was inally on the path to fulilling his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor. The commute from Cambridge was long and exhausting, however, so we knew that a move closer to the south coast was on the horizon. I agreed to leave our homely, Victorian end-of-terrace on the condition that we found the “perfect” country farmhouse, a place where our two sons, Sacha and Sami, could live out their tree-climbing years, and I had space to create the kind of rustic, beautiful home I had always imagined us in. Three years ago, we found it. We purchased Walnuts Farm in East Sussex in November of 2015 and immediately set about creating our own bohemian haven. The property ticked all the boxes: a characterful Wealden farmhouse and granary, ive expansive acres and a formal garden surrounding an abundant vegetable patch. There was room for chickens, sheep and pigs – and beekeeping equipment to boot. The house had undergone very little by way of modernisation, which we liked, and was heated with open ires and a vintage Rayburn. There was even a wooden swing hanging from an old oak tree out front. It was simply the prettiest farmhouse we had ever seen – small but perfectly formed – and we couldn’t wait to call it home. Michael and I had every intention of making certain changes to the property when we moved in, including updating the kitchen and building a walled garden. But the reality of eking out a living in the countryside soon set in. The grand designs we harboured on arrival had to be put aside in favour of inding projects that would generate income to improve the house. An art historian
by training, I began to sell paintings and antiques, and we listed the house with agencies to host ilm and photo shoots. We also began organising creative workshops to be held at the farm, such as paper marbling and calligraphy. The granary would need to be made habitable, and we drew up plans for a bell tent campsite and a treehouse. Our irst step out of the planning stage was to invest in two shepherd’s huts for holiday rentals (one is for sleeping, while the other houses a separate private bathroom, complete with roll-top bath). Little Walnut Hut has a bright, Scandinavianstyle interior, with charming 17th-century Swedish bird prints on the walls. I chose Farrow & Ball’s Of White for the interior to create a sot, cottage look that is modern but suits the countryside surroundings. We spent months painstakingly renovating the huts to complement the colour scheme of the farmhouse. They are set in a secluded pasture with wildlife all around and wide-open skies overhead. We provide a picnic hamper for guests, a Kadai ire bowl to cook on and deckchairs for stargazing. Year-round heating, Anglepoise lighting and a mini Smeg fridge make for a comfortable retreat that is also pleasing to the eye – and Portmeirion Botanic Garden
FROM TOP LEFT Sacha, Sami, Fritha and Michael, with Misha the Pyrenean Mountain dog; the traditional farm kitchen features open shelving and a butler’s sink; a flea market find
holds paintbrushes ready for any impromptu art experiments OPPOSITE A vintage Rayburn decorated with copper vessels heats the house. The original bread oven is still present countryliving.com/uk
It was the prettiest farmhouse we had ever seen â€“ and we couldnâ€™t wait to call it home
Decorating the house has been something of an adventure
tableware means that even reading in front of the ire with a cup of tea has a touch of elegance. Decorating the main house has been something of an adventure, although Walnuts Farm isn’t so much decorated as possessed by an accruement of objects, ever shiting and changing. Independent shops in Sussex have further inspired my passion for interior design, such as Mecca, an antiques store in Arundel, and Diana Kelly’s shop in Alfriston, which is full of fabulous fabrics and exquisite objects. It is very much on the Bloomsbury Trail (close to Charleston farmhouse and Monk’s House), where some of Britain’s most renowned bohemian artists and writers – Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant and Virginia Woolf – once lived and worked. But despite the opulent furnishings on ofer locally, much of Walnuts Farm’s interior has been sourced in lea markets and auctions over the years. The emphasis has always been on creating a family home to be lived in and enjoyed, not a gallery or a ilm set. Our younger son colonises whole rooms with art projects or role-playing games. Both Sacha and Sami are musicians, so the house chimes with their daily practice. Michael
OPPOSITE Dark walls create a sumptuous feel in the sitting room, and provide the perfect foil for the red velvet sofa, which faces an antique Indian daybed bought at auction countryliving.com/uk
THIS PAGE The library/music room is painted in Farrow & Ball’s Old White, a chalky neutral green, which gives the space an airy feel and is a backdrop to Fritha’s antique mirrors
is a bibliomaniac: columns of books compete with rats of objects that span centuries and continents in origin. When people comment on how peaceful the house is, we point out that there is almost no technoloy, just a radio tuned to the BBC. The heart of the house is the kitchen, which we recently painted in Farrow & Ball’s Book Room Red – a warm, earthy terracotta – and furnished with antique pine cabinetry. An 18th-century fruitwood and elm table, plus two French benches, are lit by a copper ship’s lantern overhead. Sisal rugs help take the edge of in a draughty house that loses heat quickly. At the far end of the kitchen, a decorative Swedish wooden horse and a brass-knot candelabra designed by Josef Frank are surrounded by paintings bought in England and Finland. We hang herbs to dry from an old mistletoe cutter on the ceiling and at Christmas I spend a weekend dipping the tips of dried grasses into ine glitter to make decorations that catch the light. Vintage majolica plates, beeswax candles, emerald green glassware and gold cutlery inish the room and create a warm, seasonal table. There are two small sitting rooms on the ground loor, one is decorated in Farrow & Ball’s Old White and the other Down Pipe, a smoky green-grey. The former functions as our library and music room. It is also something of a repository for a collection of rare cut-glass mirrors I bought from a restorer outside Venice. If we’re to believe the vendor, they belonged to a Venetian prince living in exile in Greece. The latter has a massive inglenook ireplace, an Indian daybed draped in organic sheepskins, and a sumptuous red velvet sofa. It’s the NOVEMBER 2018
cosiest room in the house, and we oten spend colder winter days here in front of the ire. We’ve recently fallen in love with brown furniture again, and relegated some of our painted Swedish pieces to the storeroom. A Fortuny Cesendello silk loor lamp from Venetia Studium brings a touch of magic to this richly coloured cavern, and two painted lead urns on the window ledge are perfect for housing hydrangeas, fresh or dried. Ater 25 years of travelling, studying and collecting, it is time for us to settle down. Walnuts Farm has become the home I always dreamed of. The boys play board games in front of the ire while Misha, our Pyrenean Mountain dog, keeps their feet warm. Michael will soon be a qualiied doctor. We host friends and guests in our various accommodations around the farm, and I continue to curate exhibitions while selling art and antiques. It’s not that everything is perfect at Walnuts Farm – nothing ever is – but it seems no problem is so grave that it can’t be put into perspective with a turn on the wooden swing under the old oak tree. For holiday lets and photoshoot bookings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS PAGE, FROM LEFT Fritha sources art and decorative objects from around Europe for collectors and interior designers; Little Walnut Hut and the bathroom hut are situated
in a secluded pasture where guests enjoy total privacy OPPOSITE An antique Swedish Gustavian chest of drawers is used as a bedside table in Michael and Fritha’s room countryliving.com/uk
STYLE Riverside garden of rooms SEASONS OF INTEREST All year SIZE Three acres cultivated SOIL TYPE Clay with some alluvial areas
A river runs through it
Mentioned in the Domesday Book, Dipley Mill has been surrounded by a garden that is imbued with creativity and love WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREA JONES
hen Rose McMonigall was little, she would stand on the road bridge overlooking Dipley Mill, near Hook in Hampshire, and daydream about living there and playing in its garden. Some years later, she found herself playing here in a diferent way – helping to restore the house and, slowly but surely, designing and creating beautiful gardens that now draw many admirers. The whole area is criss-crossed by water – the River Whitewater and its streams and tributaries, as well as the mill race itself – and the gardens are deined by it. “Visitors always ask whether the house loods, but it doesn’t because with so many streams, there is always somewhere for the water to go,” Rose says. Dipley Mill, mentioned in the Domesday Book, was built in the 12th century and there were many later additions. It was decommissioned as a lour mill in 1927 when it was converted into a house. Rose came here with her father, John, and mother, Diana, in 2000 and ater two years of renovating the property she turned her attention to the gardens. Sadly, Rose lost her mother just a year ater moving in and although the garden project seemed a burden at irst, it soon became her solace. Pouring her developing design skills into it, she has imbued the garden with love and meaning, making it what it is today. “With any task, you have to plunge in and start somewhere,” she says. “This was no exception. You put your anchor down, as it were, and once you have designed one section, you can work away from that.” The irst area Rose tackled with her garden team was to the east of the house, introducing three stepped lawns rising to a white-painted wooden building loosely modelled on a French dovecote. Beside this is the family’s tennis court, now hidden behind a line of pleached hornbeams set into a yew hedge at the base – it is formal, crisp and efective all year round. Beside the house, the route to a walled courtyard has been decorated with a striking combination of planting – bamboo as a backdrop, Pachysandra terminalis as a green carpet, and clipped balls, cones and twirls of the evergreen shrubby honeysuckle Lonicera nitida as eye-catching furniture. This exterior decoration looks as good in winter as it does in summer. Rose wanted areas she could visit to suit her diferent
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP The house overlooks the River Whitewater; hydrangeas provide a backdrop to the circular seat, interlaced with ferns, that surrounds an acer in the Cream and Green Garden; the stepped lawns of the Hornbeam Terrace
lead to the dovecote-style tearoom OPPOSITE, FROM TOP Bamboo hedging and cones, spirals and balls of Buxus sempervirens and Lonicera nitida line the route to the courtyard; a wooden dovecote is a focal point in the herb garden countryliving.com/uk
Rose advocates a limited colour palette as a starting point
moods, so creating and maintaining a particular atmosphere is important to her. The herb garden directly behind the house is laid out parterre style with rosemary- and lavender-hedged beds and brick and stone paths. It is the irst thing Rose sees from the bathroom window in the morning and she inds its orderliness calming. Brick has been used extensively for paving in the garden, its terracotta shades complementing the house. Further away from the property, the Cream and Green Garden, entered via a steeply sloping path and dominated by a magniicent acer encircled by a tree seat, is equally soothing. In winter ‘Annabelle’ and ‘Kyushu’ hydrangeas provide interesting texture as they hold on to their browned lowers. Rose advocates a limited colour palette as a useful starting point. Hidden behind a wooden door lies the Rust Garden,
SLIPPERY SLOPE The bricks on this steep path up towards the bridge on Dipley Road have been interspersed with lines of roof tiles and rough slate, standing proud, to provide secure grip underfoot
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP In Vesta’s Garden, bounded by beech hedges, Rhus typhina (stag’s horn sumach) trees look candelabra-like, bearing crimson fruit clusters; in the Rust Garden
is Rose’s hibernaculum, which is made from upended railway sleepers. It’s a perfect home for insects, toads and rodents OPPOSITE Ferns, holly and laurel border the stream
inspired by rusting pieces of mill machinery found dumped around the site. A Tibetan cherry (Prunus serrula ‘Tibetica’) dominates here with its rich copper-brown bark, echoed by ground-huging mats of Acaena ‘Copper Carpet’ at its base. The mood is darker here, almost melancholy, as it leads through into a shaded wood. Alongside the path is what Rose calls her ‘hibernaculum’ – winter quarters for insects, toads and rodents and a nesting place for birds – made from railway sleepers turned on end, interwoven with branches and twigs. Rose is never hidebound by convention and enjoys following through with an idea about which others might express doubt. (Her creativity has won her three medals for show gardens at RHS Hampton Court.) An example of this maverick spirit is Vesta’s Garden, bounded by beech hedges and approached through an iron gate. Vesta is the Roman goddess of hearth and home, and her statue stands at one end – a comforting, benevolent presence in a contemplative, chapel-like space. In summer, white roses dominate here, their petals falling like confetti as they age. In autumn, a grove of stag’s horn sumach (Rhus typhina) trees lights up the space with spectacular laming orange-pink leaf tints and then bears dark crimson candelabra-like fruit clusters. Rhus typhina has fallen out of favour because it suckers, but Rose is on a mission to bring it back. It was her favourite tree as a child and she feels its positive features far outweigh this one failing. Her recommended variety is ‘Tiger Eyes’. By following her heart, Rose has created a garden that can inspire everyone who visits, as well as those who gaze at it from the nearby road bridge, as she once did as a child. Creating it has been Rose’s therapy and sharing it brings her great pleasure. Dipley Mill is open to visitors on selected dates for the National Garden Scheme, go to ngs.org.uk for details and also by appointment for groups. See dipley-mill.co.uk for details. countryliving.com/uk
GARDENING ROSE’S DESIGN TIPS Take a big step back and listen to the landscape. Garden design is about the place, not imposing yourself. Take care not to lose the natural romance of the setting. If you are feeling overwhelmed, start with one area and work away from it. Once you have something in place, evolve what comes next. In many ways, evergreens and texture are even more important than colour and give the garden structure. Beech makes excellent hedging, as it holds onto its crispy brown leaves all winter. Make the most of vertical surfaces with climbers and hedges to create natural-looking walls and divisions. Don’t stand still – have the confidence to rip things out if they don’t work and re-do them. Any plants removed can be given away.
A MAKERâ€™S PLACE By blending contemporary work with designs that have endured for decades, this Wiltshire cottage celebrates the timeless art of crating WORDS BY JO LEEVERS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CATHERINE GRATWICKE
STYLING BY BEN KENDRICK
t’s no coincidence that William Morris’s iconic wallpaper designs form the lush backdrop to several rooms in Amanda Bannister’s Wiltshire cottage. Within this village house, she has brought together contemporary designs that relect an ethos similar to the one pioneered by Morris over a century ago. “Just as the Arts & Crats movement came out of a desire to counteract the mechanisation of the Industrial Revolution, we’re now witnessing a backlash against the digital revolution,” Amanda says. “The result is that we appreciate objects that have been made by hand at a slower, more considered pace.” Under Amanda’s expert eye, crated items old and new co-exist in harmony here: Welsh blankets woven to age-old designs are laid beside new block-printed cushions. Furniture by the mid-century makers Ercol works alongside delicately honed items from the more modern British company Pinch Design. It all works because the pieces within this Wiltshire home spring from the same spirit, creating a home that feels crated, considered and timeless. Amanda and her family irst came to the village of Semley on the Wiltshire-Dorset border some 17 years ago, when they bought a converted chapel as a weekend antidote to London life. Right next door stood this 19th-century house, which was thought to be once the home of the Baptist minister. “Of course, being so close
THIS PAGE, FROM ABOVE The panelled hallway, with a peg rail and bench by Another Country, leads into the smaller sitting room. The downstairs cloakroom is painted in Green Smoke by Farrow & Ball, complemented by a set of four historical prints – the sanitaryware is Victorian OPPOSITE A Shaker kitchen by Devol is partnered with a bespoke corner table and bench by Wardour Workshops
The snug sitting room is decorated with antique maps and prints, with the warm tones of GP & J Bakerâ€™s Nympheus fabric on the side chair and cushions
INTERIORS by, we had cast longing glances at this run-down but rather lovely house for years. I always liked the way that it looked like a child’s drawing, with windows either side of a front door set squarely in the middle,” Amanda says, smiling. Inside, the state of repair was rather less idyllic. “It hadn’t been touched since the 1960s, so it was a bit of a wreck, with holes in the roof and no heating,” she says. It came up for sale three years ago, but the timing wasn’t quite right for Amanda and her family. “Someone else bought it and did a lot of the essential renovations. They later decided they had taken on too much – by which point we knew we wanted to stay in this village for good. Things fell into place and we were able to buy it.” Amanda renamed Semley Lodge as The Cratsmans Cottage and set about decorating it in a style that would both suit its character and dovetail with her own ethos. She made a point of using local makers, especially for the bespoke joinery that was needed to it into its quirky corners. The shelves either side of the living-room hearth are made from Semley oak by Philip Hawkins , while the table and bench in the corner of the kitchen are by another
nearby maker, Wardour Workshops. Printed fabric shades and cushions include pieces by the local Bonield Block-Printers and Peaceable Kingdom Cushions. “I deliberately sought out pieces that are rooted in this part of the country and have taken time and skill to create,” Amanda says. Paintings by artists who live in the area are also on display, some depicting recognisable landscapes. Even the larger purchases, such as stylish furniture by Pinch Design or Another Country, are from companies that prioritise a traditional aesthetic and sustainability over bulk sales. “We’re all beginning to see the value of investing in pieces that have a history and an integrity, so I wanted to represent as many iconic British brands as I could,” Amanda says. Fabrics throughout the house and its smaller annexe are by established, timeless designer companies such as GP & J Baker, Bronte by Moon and, naturally, Morris & Co. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Amanda is herself a skilled maker and many of the ceramics in the house are by her. She started doing pottery as a hobby about 20 years ago as a way to switch of from her demanding career as a lawyer. “When my job got too stressful, I’d shut down the computer and go and play with a bag of clay,” she says. These days, Amanda has her own studio and can happily disappear in there for hours: “It’s a great feeling to become totally absorbed in the act of making by hand. And at the end, you have something to show for your countryliving.com/uk
INTERIORS endeavours.” She believes that her own desire to ‘switch of ’ is not unique: “I think we’re witnessing a backlash against both consumerism and overwhelming screen time,” she says. “So many forces are encouraging us to experience life through a two-dimensional screen or to buy unnecessary stuf that’s been made at a cost to other people or the environment.” In the face of those pressures, Amanda says, “There’s something very life airming and soothing about engaging directly with a material, be it clay, paint or fabric. It’s good for our wellbeing.” Her aim was to bring that feeling of calm creativity into each room of The Cratsmans Cottage, with objects or icons of British design that inspire at every turn. Interesting textures and shades of green predominate, linking to the verdant views from the windows. Amanda loves seeing how visitors respond to this setting when they come for residential courses. “Small groups can learn skills such as ceramics, bookbinding or mat weaving. It’s really immersive,” she says. This home truly celebrates the timeless art of crating in all ways. For residential courses and stays, visit thecraftsmanscottage.com. Enjoy house features, interiors inspiration and more in CL’s free weekly newsletter. To sign up, go to www.countryliving.com/uk/newsletter.
THIS PAGE, FROM ABOVE Green Smoke by Farrow & Ball lends an enveloping feel to the bathroom; in the double bedroom, the Morris & Co archive pattern Morris Seaweed and the original Dorset stone wall form timeless backdrops for fabrics and paints in similar shades; the stoneware lamp base was made by Amanda OPPOSITE The master bedroom, tucked under the eaves, feels fresh and lively with GP & J Baker’s Nympheus wallpaper
Make room for
WINTER VEG WITH OUR CUT-OUT-AND-KEEP GUIDE
Keep your garden productive this season by sowing seeds, ordering plug plants and potting up herbs now WORDS BY STEPHANIE DONALDSON
here was a time when the vegetable garden pretty well closed down for the winter. The plot was largely stripped and rough-dug so frost could break down the soil and all
that remained was a row of sprouts, a few winter cabbages and some leeks. But itâ€™s very diferent now â€“ with planning, we can continue to eat a wide range of home-grown vegetables, salads and herbs
through to spring. Although short days and low light levels can remain a limiting factor, climate change does mean that crops remain in good condition longer than they used to.
Winter salad varieties are simple to grow in containers
SALAD DAYS Home-grown salads taste far better than anything shop-bought and this is especially true in winter. Whether it’s a small pot of cut-andcome-again salad mix on the kitchen windowsill, a planter close to the back door, a greenhouse border or raised bed in the garden, the fresh lavours of corn salad (lamb’s lettuce, seen right), rocket, winter lettuce (let), radicchio, chicory (below right), curly endive, landcress, winter purslane and mizuna will add a nutrient-rich zing to your diet. Although winter salads should be sown in August/early September, there is still time to buy young plants to grow in the garden or under cover (see Garden Notes in this issue). These salads are all remarkably hardy, but, once winter arrives, outdoor varieties will do better under a cloche or protective leece that will keep the leaves soter. Winter vegetable expert Charles Dowding cautions that new leaves get smaller with each week of declining light and temperature, so get your plug plants in as early as you can and don’t necessarily expect bumper crops. His book How to Grow Winter Vegetables (£14.95; greenbooks.co.uk) is full of good advice on how to enjoy produce in the darker months. countryliving.com/uk
HERBS AT HAND A row of July-sown parsley (above) will crop all winter, especially beneath a cloche, or pot up some plants now and stand them in a cool place – a porch, for example. You can continue picking moderately from evergreen rosemary and thyme, but sage, origanum, lemon verbena and marjoram are best picked and dried for winter use. Dig up and plant mint roots, lay them horizontally and cover lightly with some compost for growing on the kitchen windowsill together with pots of freshly sown coriander and chervil that you can pick as micro herbs. Forget basil – it’s a summer-only species.
LEAFY VEG Leafy greens are a tasty alternative to brassicas through the cooler months. Plug plants of perpetual spinach (above) and red-stemmed chard (let) can be put in outdoors or under cover now for winter picking. Although the drop in temperature won’t kill them, it’s a good idea to protect them with a cloche in very cold weather. Pak choi sown from late June to late August does well under cover in pots or growbags.
BRASSICAS Brassicas are the stalwarts of the garden through autumn and winter. Summer-sown cavolo nero and other kales remain productive provided you pick the leaves regularly, while Brussels sprouts, or their tasty relatives the lower sprouts (also known as kalettes), planted out in May are ready for harvesting from November to February. Savoytype cabbages (pictured) are tough as old boots and can be let in the ground until you need them, while summer-planted round-headed cabbages are best cut now for storing. Sprouting broccoli planted out in June, and August-sown spring cabbage will grow slowly over winter for early picking next spring.
BEAN FEAST There may still be a few young runner beans and French beans to pick and eat, but most will be fattening up and these make tough eating, so are best let to ripen fully and saved for seed. Any borlotti beans that you haven’t eaten semi-fresh can also be let until the pods are dry and rattly and then harvested for winter eating. According to Charles Dowding, mid-November is the perfect time to sow broad beans, either in the ground, or in modules for planting out 4-5 weeks later. During winter they will focus on root growth until March when leaf growth takes over. The advantage of modules is that they avoid early damage by mice or birds.
ONIONS, GARLIC & LEEKS Mid-September to mid-October is the time to plant sets of overwintering onions, also known as Japanese onions. October is also the best time to sow garlic – choose from hardneck garlic with lower stalks (scapes) that you can eat in May, or sotneck garlic with larger bulbs that store for longer – or grow both. Leeks (right) are a welcome and versatile winter vegetable that can be let in the ground until they are needed. Sown in April and transplanted to their inal positions in July, they can be dug up from late autumn onwards. countryliving.com/uk
WISDOM FROM WISLEY The vegetable garden at RHS Garden Wisley looks great in autumn and winter, so it’s a good place to go for inspiration. Here are some recommended varieties Brussels sprout ‘Agincourt’ Well-lavoured and sturdy, so should not need staking
Celeriac ‘Monarch’ Needs space and plenty of water; store cool and dark in straw
Cabbage ‘Lodero’ Ballhead autumn red cabbage variety
Kale ‘Redbor’ Attractive AGM variety; harvest regularly, starting at base to encourage new leaves; highly nutritious
Chicory ‘Catalogna’ Fast-growing and shade-tolerant; grown for young lower stems, leaves are a bonus crop, Rome’s most popular salad Chicory ‘Grumolo Rossa’ Beautiful raddichio-type chicory; protect from rain; frost will reduce bitterness
Leek ‘Bandit’ AGM variety; upright, frost-hardy, rust-tolerant; protect from allium pests with insect-proof mesh; wide spacing prevents bolting Onion ‘Senshyu Yellow’ Won’t make much growth during winter but has a
head start in spring; will be ready six weeks ahead of spring-sown onions Pak choi ‘Red Choi’ Suitable for containers; best overwintered in an unheated greenhouse Swiss chard Some varieties produce abundant baby leaves if main stem is cut to base; coloured varieties need winter protection Winter lettuce ‘Weston’ Butterhead type; frost-resistant but can be damaged by rain
WHERE TO BUY SEEDS Seeds of Italy seedsofitaly.com Kings Seeds kingsseeds.com Sarah Raven sarahraven.com Sea Spring Seeds seaspringseeds.co.uk Sow Seeds sowseeds.co.uk
For undercover growing, make sure your greenhouse windows are sparkling clean, as good light is essential.
PLUG PLANTS Delfland Nurseries organicplants.co.uk Pippa Greenwood pippagreenwood.com
SQUASHES & PUMPKINS As the season draws to a close, the leaves of June-sown squashes and pumpkins will start to wither and die back, revealing the crop in all its decorative glory. They will continue to ripen where they are (stand them on a brick or tile in damp weather), but be sure to harvest them before the irst frost. They store best if cut with 15cm of stem.
Maincrop carrots sown in May can be let in the ground with a protective mulch until needed, but there is a risk of slug and root ly damage. The safer option is to lit them in October and store in sand in a cool, dark place such as a shed. Beetroot (let), sown in spring and early summer, will continue to grow through October ready for harvest in early November, as will celeriac sown with bottom heat at the end of February and planted out in early May. Parsnips (below) are best let in the ground and dug when needed.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PERNILLA BERGDAHL; HEATHER EDWARDS; GAP PHOTOS/JASON INGRAM; THE GARDEN-COLLECTION; GETTY IMAGES; LIVING4MEDIA; CLIVE NICHOLLS; RHS/JOANNA KOSSAK
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The November Racing Weekend at Ascot scot Racecourse in Berkshire has been rich in sporting heritage for more than 300 years. Since its regal beginnings, its racing history has lourished and today remains a centre point of the British sporting calendar, hosting more than a third of the country’s Group 1 horse races. The course holds 26 racing days throughout the year, each with its own identity. The excellent November Prince’s Countryside Fund Racing Weekend, run in conjunction with Country Living on Friday 23 November and Saturday 24 November, heralds the beginning of the festive countdown with a wonderful range of independent pop-up stalls in the Christmas Shopping Fair.
23-24 NOVEMBER 2018
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COME TO THE NOVEMBER PRINCE’S COUNTRYSIDE F UND RACING WEEKEND AT A SCOT TO DISCOVER: The continuation of the Jumps season following the Fireworks Spectacular Family Raceday, with a diverse six-race card headlined by the Grade 2 Coral Ascot Hurdle on Saturday. Perfect gits at the Christmas Shopping Fair. Take your pick from seasonal delicacies, charming stocking illers and beautiful handcrated accessories. A mouthwatering selection of food, from on-the-go eateries to ine dining at some of Ascot’s stunning restaurants – enjoy spectacular views from the ith-loor On 5 or delight in the classical charm of The Parade Ring. Both offer a luxurious culinary experience, serving delicious dishes alongside excellent wine.
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PLUGGED IN As our feature Make Room for Winter Veg in this issue advises, there is still time to get plug plants in if you act quickly. Delland Nurseries has two collections of high-quality organic plug plants worth considering. Its winter salad pack has two plants each of winter purslane, corn salad, land cress, rocket and ‘Winter Density’ and ‘Arctic King’ lettuce (let) for £8.50, while its mini winter vegetable pack has two plants each of ‘Duncan’ and ‘Sennen’ spring cabbage, calabrese, chard, perpetual spinach and mustard, also for £8.50. Planting instructions and p&p are included. To order, call 01354 740553 or visit organicplants.co.uk.
garden notes Everything you need to know to get the most from your plot in November
WORDS BY PAULA MCWATERS
SEASONED GARDENERS ARE conditioned to seeing losses as opportunities. When a tree comes down, it can be a shock at irst, but, on the positive side, it will ofer the chance to grow something new. Our rowan died this year. It’s a good garden choice, providing multi-season interest with blossom, berries and autumn colour, but ours has turned up its toes, so it is time to move on. Happily, dear friends are giving us a Himalayan birch (Betula utilis var. jacquemontii) in its place and we are deliberating between ‘Grayswood Ghost’ with its exceptionally white, almost countryliving.com/uk
luminescent bark, and a newer variety, ‘Trinity College’. The latter is smaller and develops its white bark at a younger age but either will be a huge asset to that corner of the garden. Underplanted with redleaved Bergenia ‘Bressingham Ruby’, it should look splendid. Before our new tree is planted, we are enriching the soil with organic matter. Our compost bins have collapsed (there is always something to be done!), so the well-rotted contents have been turfed out across the beds, now that enough foliage has died back to make room for it. Stronger bins are being built in their place: we have three wooden bays with removable slats at the front for access and compost duvets on top to help retain the natural heat from decomposition. Getting the soil right now will reap rich rewards come next season.
A GOOD READ At West Dean (White Lion Publishing, £40) chronicles the making of a very special garden in West Sussex, where, over the past 27 years, husband and wife Jim Buckland and Sarah Wain have shown that gardening is as much an art as it is a crat. Andrea Jones’s photos cover everything from Sarah’s immaculately kept glasshouses to Jim’s exquisitely trained fruit trees. They retire in March 2019, so if you have never visited West Dean, hightail it there before they go (westdean.org.uk).
WHAT TO DO Plant bare and container-grown trees to establish over winter Prune roses lightly all over, to prevent wind rock Collect and burn leaves from beneath roses to control black spot Raise pots onto feet to prevent waterlogging (below left) Hoe weeds on fine days to stop them getting established Plant tulips and any other remaining bulbs Clean greenhouse and coldframe glass thoroughly to increase light levels Put in new redcurrants, gooseberries and blackcurrants and/or prune existing ones Clean bird boxes and feeders Net brassicas to keep pigeons at bay
Tip Turn watering cans upside down for the winter to keep them clean and undamaged by frost
Send off for seeds
1 HOUR to make a difference
Did you realise that if you are an RHS member, you can send of for seed of about 200 plants grown at RHS Garden Wisley or Hyde Hall? A list of what’s available is issued in early November, detailing all the annuals, bulbs, herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees from which the Seed Scheme team has gathered. For just £8.50, members can claim up to 15 packets of seed, which are sent out in the New Year. The range includes collections for a particular situation, eg for shady conditions or plants for pollinators. For details, see rhs.org.uk/membership.
If time is short, focus on one satisfying task – and the rest of the garden can wait
I like the nity design features on this Chatsworth powder-coated aluminium greenhouse by Access. At 1.94m long x 1.50m wide, it ofers lots of growing space, but as you access everything from the outside – via sliding doors on every side – it allows the roof to be just 1.80m high, which makes it unobtrusive in the garden. The panels are toughened glass and there is a built-in mist watering system. It comes in a range of colours and costs £2,290 (01788 822301; garden-products.co.uk).
Town and Country (townandco.com) has launched limited-edition gardening gloves, bypass secateurs and a gardening pouch to support charity Breast Cancer Now, and ten per cent from the sale of each will go to this worthwhile charity’s work researching the disease. The gloves are made from naturally antibacterial bamboo with a latex coating to ofer protection against thorns, and come in small and medium sizes; the secateurs cut branches up to 2cm thick and have sot-grip handles. Gloves, £4.99; secateurs, £7.99; pouch, £12.99 (not shown), from garden centres.
As everything starts dying down, it soon becomes clear which areas of the garden need tidying and decluttering. Armed with a good lexible-tined rake, give yourself a 20-minute workout raking up leaves and debris, then sweep paths near the house and pull out obvious weeds. Empty any containers of spent plants and compost the remains. Stack and store plastic pots where they can’t become snail hotels. Have a quick tidy-up in the shed and help restore order by hanging up tools that have been thrown in.
EVENT Discover different types of fungi on a guided walk at Sheffield Park, East Sussex, on 14 November, 10am-11.30am, £6 (01825 790231; nationaltrust.org.uk/events). 140
PHOTOGRAPHS BY GAP PHOTOS/RICHARD BLOOM; THE GARDEN-COLLECTION; RHS/PAUL DEBOIS. ILLUSTRATIONS BY MARIANA.IO
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BRITISH In our continuing series, we celebrate some of the delicious, quintessential ingredients that are farmed, ished, made and grown up and down the country, and meet the remarkable producers who help to bring them to our table
This month: Stilton
WORDS BY RUTH CHANDLER
LOCATION PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALUN CALLENDER
FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR ALISON WALKER
RECIPES BY HEARST FOOD NETWORK
Claire Millner (right) has helped to put Derbyshire back on the cheese-making map. The milk comes from two herds just a mile either side of the creamery
FOOD & DRINK
At the farm premises, each member of the ten-strong team helps out at every production stage, although many specialise in particular areas; when turning the cheese, the pungent aroma of 1,300 wheels of Stilton is unmistakable; blue and white varieties are most popular
nside one of the handsome stone buildings at Pike Hall Farm in Derbyshire, 6,000 litres of pasteurised cows’ milk is warming up in a huge vat. “I always think it smells a bit like Horlicks,” says Claire Millner, director of Hartington Creamery, inhaling the comforting, sweet aroma. She is here to run through orders with operations manager Diana Alcock. “There’s nothing nicer than seeing the curds and whey separate,” says Diana, stirring the rippling white pool ater adding the vegetable-based rennet. This begins the cheese-making process along with the starter cultures and the mould spores, Penicillium roqueforti, that make this type so special. She is producing blue Stilton, and Hartington is one of only seven dairies in the country under licence to create this and its white equivalent, which are safeguarded by their Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status. This, the smallest one, fought hard to do so; the most recent chapter in its history is a story of not just one person’s passion for the food they make but a community’s mission to save their village’s proud dairy tradition from being lost for ever. Cheesemaking in the pretty Peak District village of Hartington dates back to the 1870s when the original creamery was opened by the Duke of Devonshire and, since then, its tumultuous existence – under several diferent owners – has included a devastating ire, supplying George V under royal warrant and shutting down for three years. Until then, it was the last of Derbyshire’s small, rural cheese factories to survive while the dairy farmers around it instead increasingly supplied biger urban operations. In 2008, the far larger Stilton producer Long Clawson bought it, then closed its doors 18 months later, for what everyone believed was the last time; a sad day for its 185-strong workforce, the village and the county. Happily, four cheese-loving entrepreneurs joined forces to salvage the tradition. Former employees Alan Salt and Adrian Cartlidge decided to revive the production of Stilton in the village a year ater the dairy had shut. The pair approached Claire and Garry Millner, owners of local and British produce specialist The Cheese Shop in Hartington, which had stocked the village’s
own products. Despite their commitments running this and other businesses, the husband-and-wife team found the idea of a new dairy irresistible. “We’d not met Alan and Adrian before but wanted to protect the heritage of Hartington as much as they did,” Claire says. “They were cheese makers and we were business people, and it seemed logical to join forces.” Within six months – during which time they waded through reams of paperwork, transported eight truckloads of equipment bought at auction from Dorset to Derbyshire and experimented with recipes and techniques until the early hours – they had set up their new company, Hartington Creamery, in a premises attached to an outlying farm. The irst cheeses the dairy produced were Peakland Blue and Peakland White in 2012, as the licence to make Stilton was yet to be granted. (To be called Stilton, a cheese must meet certain strict criteria, such as being made in cylindrical form, and from milk produced by dairy herds from the three counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.) It wasn’t until two years later that they were able to sell the region’s most famous export. Despite the simplicity of the supply and the basic nature of the ingredients involved, there is a surprisingly technical side to Stilton production. “It’s very scientiic,” Claire says. “We have to measure the ingredients exactly, get the temperature of the milk correct and always regulate the heat and humidity in the maturation stores.” The milk and cheese are tested at least ive times to check for any potentially harmful bacteria, until the point at which this mild and creamy style of Stilton is about to go on sale, at between eight and ten weeks’ maturity. It was with this kind of work that Diana, former employee of Long Clawson, irst became involved at Hartington, helping Alan, who works part time. Since then, she has taken on the roles of chief cheese maker and site manager. Stilton production can’t be hurried, as Diana illustrates today. Having divided the milk, she cuts the curds and allows them to drain before salting them and pouring them into cylindrical moulds or ‘hoops’, which are turned several times over ive or six days to rid the curds of any remaining whey. At this point, the wheel’s exterior must then be smoothed to prevent further air countryliving.com/uk
FOOD & DRINK
circulation, a process called binding, then moved to the maturation stores to ripen. Piercing all the way through with a needle at six weeks results in the formation of the cheese’s beautiful blue veins, due to air circulation activating the bacteria. The Stiltons are then turned evenly to inish. Of course, each of the country’s seven makers keeps part of the process under wraps. All that Claire will reveal about what makes Hartington distinctive is that the curds are handled as little as possible and that it is matured for a shorter period than most other dairies and released quite young. It is also the smallest of the producers and therefore able to carry out each step of the process by hand, while there is some automation at other dairies. Hartington makes 90 tonnes of cheese per year, with ambitions to increase this to 200. Claire and her colleagues have sought and received Government and EU funding, as well as selling shares to raise funds for expansion. Output oten swells four-fold from August in readiness for Christmas orders (some people travel from London specially to pick up their wheel of Stilton) and markets, including Chatsworth. Garry and Claire’s shop buys and sells around one third of Hartington Creamery’s produce, and while most customers live within the county, the appetite for this particular Stilton extends as far as Japan. Yet another triumph for the dedicated team at the artisanal dairy, who breathed new life into an old tradition and continue to serve up a true taste of the Derbyshire countryside. Read on for some delicious recipes with Stilton. Hartington Creamery, Hartington, Derbyshire. CL readers will receive free p&p when quoting the code CLFREEPOST at hartingtoncheeseshop.co.uk until 31 December 2018.
BROCCOLI AND STILTON SOUP Preparation 20 minutes Cooking 30 minutes Serves 4 For a variation of this soup recipe, replace the broccoli with an equal amount of caulilower. 1 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 large onion, roughly chopped 1 large potato, about 275g, roughly chopped ½ tsp dried chilli flakes, plus extra to garnish 3 sprigs fresh thyme 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped 450g broccoli, cut into florets 1 litre hot vegetable stock 100g Stilton, crumbled extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 Heat the oil in a large pan and gently fry the onion with a large pinch of salt for 15 minutes until sotened. Add the potato, chilli lakes, thyme and garlic, and cook
for 1 minute before adding the broccoli and stock. 2 Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes until the vegetables have sotened. Remove the thyme sprigs. Blend the soup in batches in a food processor or blender until completely smooth. Return to the pan and stir in 75g Stilton. Heat very gently, stirring, until melted (don’t boil the soup once the cheese has been added). Check the seasoning. 3 Divide the soup between four warmed bowls and garnish with the remaining Stilton, a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of chilli lakes. Serve with good country bread. countryliving.com/uk
FOOD & DRINK STILTON BUBBLE AND SQUEAK Preparation 5 minutes Cooking 20 minutes Serves 4 Bubble and squeak is a classic way to use up letovers, but the addition of Stilton turns it into a more luxurious dish. leftover mash potato (made from about 4 potatoes) leftover cooked and shredded Savoy cabbage (about ½ cabbage) a sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped a large knob of butter
75g Stilton, grated 2 tbsp chutney
1 In a large bowl, combine the potato, cabbage and rosemary. Season well with salt and freshly ground black
pepper. Melt the butter in a heavy-based frying pan, then add the letover potato mixture and fry over a medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes. Continue frying until it begins to colour slightly – don’t move the mixture around too much, as you want a good colour and crust on the base. 2 Add the Stilton and
chutney, and continue cooking on low for about 10 minutes until the lavours are well mingled, turning the mixture to colour all over. Serve as a brunch dish with poached or fried egs, or alongside griddled bacon or pork chops for supper. Serve with extra chutney on the side, if you like.
FOOD & DRINK
STILTON MUFFINS Preparation 20 minutes Cooking 35 minutes Makes 6 These savoury treats are great for using up letover turkey and delicious served as part of a larger brunch-time spread. 1 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 250g self-raising flour 2 tsp baking powder ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda 2 medium eggs 75g butter, melted and cooled 200ml whole milk
handful of ready-cooked turkey, shredded 125g Stilton, crumbled 3-4 tsp cranberry sauce
1 Heat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven) gas mark 6. Line a large 6-hole muin tin with paper muin cases.
2 Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and gently fry for 15 minutes until sotened. Tip into a bowl to cool. 3 In a large bowl, mix together the lour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda with a pinch of salt, and make a well in the centre. In another bowl, whisk the egs, butter and milk until blended.
4 Pour the eg mixture into the well and mix until just combined. Fold in the onion, turkey, Stilton (reserving a little for the tops) and cranberry sauce. Divide between the muin cases, then top with the reserved cheese. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and golden, and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Eat warm. countryliving.com/uk
STILTON AND PEAR QUICHE Preparation 40 minutes Cooking 1 hour 5 minutes Serves 6 Tossing the pears in honey helps them stay glossy ater baking. flour, to dust 375g ready-made shortcrust pastry 1 tbsp rapeseed oil 1 onion, finely sliced 2 Conference pears 2 tbsp runny honey 3 large eggs 250ml double cream 100g Stilton, crumbled
1 Heat the oven to 200째C (180째C fan oven) gas mark 6. Flour a worksurface and roll out the pastry to line a deep 25cm round luted tin. Prick the base with a fork; chill for 15 minutes. 2 Line the pastry with baking parchment and ill with baking beans. Cook for 12-15 minutes
until the sides are set. Remove the beans and paper and cook for 10 minutes until the base of the pastry feels sandy to the touch. Set aside. Turn the oven temperature down to 160째C (140째C fan oven) gas mark 3. 3 While the pastry is baking, heat the oil in a frying pan and gently fry the onion for 15 minutes until sotened. Peel, quarter and core the pears,
then toss in the honey. In a large jug, whisk the egs and cream until blended; season. Set aside. 4 Set the pears, cut side down, in the base of the cooked pastry (still in its tin), then scatter over the onion and Stilton. Pour in the eg mixture. Bake for 40 minutes or until the quiche is just set. Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving hot or at room temperature.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEVE BAXTER; CHARLIE RICHARDS; WILLIAM SHAW; JON WHITAKER
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FOOD & DRINK
A MOMENT TO SAVOUR Allowing ourselves time to cook is vital for our wellbeing, says River Cottage chef and food writer Gill Meller. Here, he shares some of his favourite slow and seasonal recipes PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREW MONTGOMERY FOOD AND DRINK EDITOR ALISON WALKER
aking time to cook has become one of the most important things in my life. When we stop for a moment and do it, even in the simplest sense, it makes us feel good inside. Not only does preparing food nourish our bodies and sustain our minds, but itâ€™s vital for our happiness and wellbeing. Cooking has opened my eyes to change. I feel close to the present and to the environment in which I live, because the things I love to cook and eat are intrinsically connected to my surroundings. It has enabled me to see how one season turns so gracefully into another and has inspired the way I think about food every day. Cooking can be a brilliant way to establish gentler, healthier rhythms in the way we live, as families and as individuals. It is a way to mark the passing of time; it is a way to celebrate it, but also remember it. I believe that every time we make something good to eat, we make a memory.
ONION SOUP, GRILLED CHEDDAR TOASTS AND FRIED APPLES Preparation 25 minutes Cooking 1 hour 25 minutes Serves 4 A rich onion soup is a bowl of hope. When weâ€™re tense or tired, it can unwind us and ix a poor body. I like to make mine with cider instead of wine, and inish it with apples fried in butter. 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 large knob of butter 4 firm, large onions, halved and thinly sliced 1 handful of sage leaves, finely chopped 2 bay leaves 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated Â˝ glass of cider good splash of apple brandy 1 litre beef or chicken stock
FOR THE GARNISH 4 thick slices of good country bread or sourdough 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1 small garlic clove, peeled 1 small knob of butter 2 dessert apples, cut into thick slices 150g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
1 Set a large heavy-based pan (with a snug-itting lid) over a medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and butter and, when bubbling, throw in the onion slices, breaking up the layers as you do so. Add the sage, bay leaves and garlic. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to caramelise around the edges and is golden, sot and lovely. Then turn the heat right down and put a lid on the pan. Cook for 25-35 minutes, stirring once or twice during that time.
2 Remove the lid and add the cider and brandy. Bring up to the boil, then add the stock. Bring back to a gentle simmer, stirring regularly. Cook, with the lid slightly ajar, for 30-40 minutes over a low heat. Season and keep warm. 3 Meanwhile, heat the grill to high. Trickle the bread with olive oil and rub with garlic. Toast on each side, until golden. 4 At the same time, set a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add the knob of butter followed by the apple slices. Fry the apple gently for 3-4 minutes on each side, until the slices are golden around the edges and sot in the middle. 5 Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the toast and place back under the grill to cook until the cheese is bubbling. 6 Ladle the soup into four warm bowls. Drop a cheese toast into each one and top with a spoonful of buttery apple wedges. Season and serve at once.
FOOD & DRINK A SIMPLE FERMENTED CABBAGE RECIPE Preparation 20 minutes Makes 1 large jar When you salt cabbage and leave it in the right conditions, something called lacto fermentation takes place. This happens because Lactobacillus – a naturally occurring bacteria that’s on your hands right now, and on the vegetables in your fridge – feed on the sugars in the cabbage, producing lactic acid, which helps to preserve it. Fermented cabbage is very good for you because it contains lots of vitamins and ibre as well as probiotics – micro-organisms that are great for your digestion and general gut health. It’s important not to ignore these remarkable beneits, but the main reason I like to ferment cabbage is for the lavour and texture, which are almost otherworldly. 1 or 2 firm white or red cabbages (about 2.5kg-3kg), damaged or ragged outer leaves removed 40g salt 1-2 tbsp caraway seeds
“Fermented cabbage is very good for you because it contains lots of vitamins and ibre” 158
1 Before you begin, you’ll need a 2-litre scrupulously clean, sterilised jar with a lid and a plastic food bag. 2 Place the cabbage on a large chopping board and cut into quarters. Remove the dense core, then use a large, sharp knife to slice the quarters across their width as thinly as possible. Place the shredded cabbage in a large plastic or metal bowl, sprinkle over the salt and add the caraway seeds. 3 Crush the cabbage through your hands to break up the leaves and get the salt into it. Try to do this for 3-4 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave for an hour, then repeat the crushing process. The salt will have drawn a lot of liquid called brine out of the cabbage. Pour it into the jar, then pack in the cabbage, pushing it down below the surface of the liquid. If there’s not enough brine to cover, mix 10g ine salt with 200ml water and pour this over. Weigh down the cabbage using a clear plastic food bag part-illed with water, as pictured. 4 Leave at an ambient temperature (16°-22°C) with the lid open for ive to eight days. Taste the cabbage on the third or fourth day – it should be sweet and not overly sour. Leave it for another two to four days before decanting into a clean, airtight plastic box. Store in the fridge and eat within four to six weeks. countryliving.com/uk
HOMEMADE BAKED BEANS Preparation 20 minutes, plus soaking Cooking 2 hours 35 minutes Serves 6-8 These beans aren’t quite the same as the ones that come in a can. I’d say they’re more life-changing. They make a heartwarming breakfast on their own or piled onto warm, buttered toast, but could just as easily be served in the evening alongside some smoky sausages or crispy fried squid. I adore the fragrant herbs, the citrus notes from the coriander seeds and the rich sweetness that comes from molasses. 300g dried haricot or cannellini beans 2 tbsp fine salt, for soaking the beans 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp cracked coriander seeds 4 bay leaves 3 or 4 thyme sprigs 1 rosemary sprig 1 x 400g tin good-quality chopped tomatoes 1 tsp Dijon mustard 2 tbsp soft brown sugar ½ tbsp molasses 4 tbsp cider vinegar
1 Place the dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Add the ine salt, give the beans a stir and allow them to soak for 10-12 hours or overnight. 2 Drain the beans and place them in a large pan. Cover with more water and set over a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 35-40 minutes. 3 Meanwhile, set a large heavy-based casserole over a medium-low heat. Add the olive oil followed by the sliced onions. Season and cook, stirring regularly, for 10-12 minutes, until the onions have sotened. Add the garlic, paprika, coriander seeds and all the herbs. Cook for a further 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes , plus half a can of water, the mustard, sugar, molasses and vinegar; stir well. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, over a low heat for about 2 hours, until you have a rich, deep-lavoured sauce that will cling to the tender beans. Top up with water if the mixture looks a little dry. Add the beans and cook for a further 15-20 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, and serve. countryliving.com/uk
FOOD & DRINK SLOE GIN Preparation 15 minutes, plus standing Makes about 3 x 750ml bottles Sloes that have seen a frost or two are perfect for this kind of gin making. It’s the cold kiss that helps break down their tough outer skin and free the sharp sloe juice from within. It seems, though, that the frosts are becoming fewer and further between these days. It is possible, however, to replicate this frosty efect by popping the sloes in the freezer for a few hours before using. 500g sloes 600ml good-quality gin 300g-450g golden granulated or caster sugar (the amount you use will depend upon how sweet you like your sloe gin)
1 Place the sloes, gin and sugar in a 2-litre jar. Give it a shake to help dissolve the sugar and then simply leave it for about 6-8 weeks if you can. A gentle shake of the jar every so oten will ensure the sloes are doing what the gin is asking. 2 When you’re ready to bottle your sloe gin, line a sieve with a clean muslin cloth and set it over a large jug. Pour the contents of the jar into the muslin to strain, then pour the liqueur into clean, sealable bottles. Use as needed – it will keep for several years. I once used the letover gin-soaked sloe lesh in a batch of chocolate trules, and they were, dare I say so myself, quite delicious.
BAKED CELERIAC Preparation 5 minutes Cooking about 2 hours Serves 2-4 This is a brilliant, fuss-free way to cook a whole celeriac. You don’t even need to peel it – just place it in the oven for a couple of hours. During this time, the lesh within will soten beautifully while retaining all its moisture, lavour and earthy, nutty character. I like to slice it open at the table, and season it then and there. It’ll be crying out for butter, extravirgin olive oil, salt and pepper, so don’t hold back. I’ve sprinkled seaweed salt over this one. It’s widely available and complements the celeriac beautifully. Isn’t it lovely how such a humble vegetable can make such a spectacle, without even trying?
1 large celeriac (about 750g-1kg) 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 50g butter seaweed salt
1 Heat the oven to 210°C (190°C fan oven) gas mark 6½. Scrub the celeriac, but don’t peel it. 2 Put the whole celeriac on a baking tray and place in the oven for 2 hours, until the centre takes the point of a knife with ease. 3 Cut the celeriac in half and use a sharp knife and a fork to mash and chop the tender lesh. Once you’ve broken it up a bit, add the oil and butter and continue to mash it in really well. Season the celeriac all over with the seaweed salt and freshly ground black pepper, and serve at once. countryliving.com/uk
FOOD & DRINK WHOLE BEEF SHIN WITH RED WINE, CARROTS AND LITTLE ONIONS Preparation 25 minutes Cooking 5 hours 25 minutes Serves 4 This recipe is gentle and warming, and perfect for those slower, darker nights at home. I like to use whole shin of beef on the bone. Ask your butcher for it – I ind it’s the best cut for cooking in this way. dash of oil or beef dripping, for frying 150g chunky bacon lardons 2 thick slices of shin beef, on the bone (about 800g) 2 tbsp plain flour 1 large knob of butter 8 small carrots, peeled but left whole 12 little onions or small shallots, peeled but left whole 200g small chestnut mushrooms, halved 1 onion, halved and finely sliced 2 small celery sticks, finely sliced 2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
3 or 4 thyme sprigs 2 bay leaves 400ml red wine 400ml beef, chicken or vegetable stock
1 Heat the oven to 170°C (150°C fan oven) gas mark 3. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat and add the oil or dripping. Scatter in the bacon lardons and fry them for 3-5 minutes on all sides, until they are beginning to crisp a little around the edges. Remove to a plate while you turn your attention to the beef. 2 Dust the pieces of shin in the lour, and place them in the same hot pan. Season all over with salt and freshly ground black pepper and fry for 3-4 minutes on each side, and for a few minutes on the thick edges if you can. Remove the beef and set it aside. 3 Leave the pan on the heat. Add the butter, then the carrots and baby onions, and fry them gently on all sides for about 8-10 minutes, until they
have taken on a little colour. Set these aside on a plate. Add the mushrooms to the pan, season them lightly and fry for 6-8 minutes. Set these aside with the carrots and baby onions. 4 Keep the pan on the heat and add the onion, celery, garlic, thyme and bay. Season, then sweat the vegetables for 4-6 minutes, until they begin to soten. 5 Return the bacon lardons and shin to the pan and turn up the heat. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil. Add the stock (it should just cover the meat) and bring back to a gentle simmer, stirring once or twice. Put a lid on the pan and cook the shin for about 3-4 hours, or until tender. Then add the carrots, mushrooms and onions and stir. Replace the lid and return to the oven for a further 35-40 minutes, until both the carrots and onions are tender. Remove the stew from the oven, adjust the seasoning, then let it stand for 20 minutes before eating. (It will be even better ater 24 hours.)
CL BOOK OFFER Extracted from Time: A Year and a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller (Quadrille Publishing, £25). CL readers can buy a copy for £22 with free p&p (UK mainland only). Call 01256 302699 and quote the code QU9.
H E A LT H & B E AU T Y
Put the kettle on and enjoy the natural benefits of herbal teas WORDS BY DAISY GOUGH
s a nation of tea drinkers, we instinctively make a cuppa when we’re feeling tired, stressed or just a bit below par. And while research shows that drinking black tea (which ills regular tea bags) comes with its own health beneits, incorporating a variety of herbal teas could help you tackle other wellbeing issues, too. Herbal teas are one of the easiest ways to harness their medicinal power. “Herbs have a wide range of natural phytochemicals that bring real beneits,” explains research herbalist Monica Wilde. “For example, red clover contains phytoestrogens that help to balance hormones; meadowsweet contains salicin, a natural ‘aspirin’ that helps reduce inlammation and pain, and the list goes on.” And the goodness starts from the moment you switch on the kettle. “There are lots of ways to use herbs – pills, tinctures or tea – and they all have a similar efect,” explains herbalist Tipper Lewis. “But, personally, I love teas best because the ceremony of making it encourages you to stop for a moment.”
THE PERFECT BREW There are a few rules to follow to get the most from your herbal infusions. Firstly, boil the kettle and pour the water into a mug, teapot or cafetière. Then place your herbs in and allow them to steep for at least ive minutes, preferably longer. “This gives the herbs time to infuse their countryliving.com/uk
H E A LT H & B E AU T Y beneits in the water,” says Sebastian Pole, herbsmith at Pukka Herbs. Purists love loose herbs but a goodquality tea bag works well, too. You can use fresh or dried leaves and lowers. Dried are more concentrated, so you won’t need to use as much (allow 1 teaspoon per cup/mug), but fresh herbs do provide a wonderful aroma. “The smell when you brew ones such as peppermint, camomile and fennel is the volatile essential oil rising up,” says medical herbalist Jo Dunbar at botanicamedica.co.uk. “So, pop a lid or saucer on top of your pot or cup to capture the oil – that’s the stuf that does the job!”
DRINK R E G U L A R LY To get the most health beneits from herbal teas, you need to drink more than just the occasional cup. “One to three cups a day is a standard dose for normal conditions; one cup up to six times a day or every two hours for acute conditions, and one to two cups a day as a long-term strengthening tonic,” says Meral Prince from herbalists G Baldwin & Co. Remember that some herbs have a speciic dosage, and others are not recommended in early stages of pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Also, some can interfere with existing medication, so always check the details before you buy and consult a health professional if necessary. Blending herbs yourself means that you can tailor-make infusions to suit your particular needs. “Like most things in life, herbs work best as part of a team,” Tipper Lewis says. “For example, if you’re stressed, combine lemon balm with calming camomile and joyful rose, and you will enhance its beneits thanks to their synery.” Here are some other blends to try…
DE-STRESS TEA Blend it yourself Combine equal parts of dried lemon verbena with some dried mint leaves. Infuse a teaspoon of the mix in hot water. You can add a teaspoon of organic orange blossom honey before you drink to add a little sweetness and make
it extra soothing for the throat. Buy Napiers Rosy Calm Tea Blend (£9 for 100g, napiers.net) with the delicate taste of calming rose and soothing camomile to make you feel more relaxed.
ENERGY TEA Blend it yourself Combine equal parts of lemongrass, to uplit and revive, with spearmint to help blow away the cobwebs, and rosemary to improve focus and concentration while boosting enery. Use a teaspoon of the mix per cup. Buy Heath & Heather Organic Energising Morning Time Tea (£2.99 for 20, baldwins.co.uk) with hibiscus, spearmint, lemongrass, guarana and ginseng to get you going on dark mornings.
M E N O PAU S E T E A Blend it yourself Combine equal parts of red clover, to help balance oestrogen
levels, with sage for hot lushes, and camomile and rose petals to help ease stress and anxiety. Use a teaspoon per cup. Buy Pukka Womankind (£2.99 for 20, pukkaherbs.com) with calming cranberry, rose and camomile, and shatavari to help balance hormonal luctuations.
C O L D -F I G H T I N G T E A Blend it yourself Combine equal parts of antimicrobial sage and thyme, with echinacea to support the immune system, and mint to soothe scratchy throats. Use 1 teaspoon of the mix per cup, and drink three times a day at the irst sign of a cold. Buy Neal’s Yard Remedies Organic Inner Strength Tea (£2.99 for 18, nealsyardremedies.com) with echinacea and elderberry to help boost the body’s natural defences, and warming ginger.
INFUSIONS FROM YOUR GARDEN
LEMON BALM It balances the emotions, and is also good for digestion and as a deterrent for cold sores and shingles.
THYME A naturally antibacterial plant that makes a fantastic tea to ease coughs, colds and sinus problems. Its antimicrobial and astringent qualities means it’s also good for treating acne.
CAMOMILE A calming sweet-tasting herb that soothes digestion, aids sleep and eases stress. Tipper Lewis suggests using fresh flowers for the best efect.
ROSEMARY Lifts the spirits, and may help focus and memory. “Whenever I can’t concentrate, I brew a cup of rosemary tea,” Meral Prince says.
FEVERFEW This plant has been used in herbal remedies for centuries and is good for treating headaches, arthritis and period pains. “It’s like aspirin in leaf form!” Jo Dunbar explains.
NETTLE The young leaves of this mild-tasting herb are full of nutrients, including iron. “Taken daily, it helps strengthen hair, skin and nails, and reduces allergy symptoms,” Monica Wilde says. countryliving.com/uk
ADDITIONAL RESEARCH BY KATE LANGRISH. PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES; LUCKY IF SHARP. WITH THANKS TO ALISON DODD AT HERBS UNLIMITED AND SERENA SHIRLEY AT VICTORIANA NURSERY GARDENS. THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT OF A DOCTOR. IF YOU NOTICE MEDICAL SYMPTOMS OR FEEL ILL, CONSULT A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
H E A LT H & B E AU T Y
WORDS BY KATE LANGRISH. PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES; PHILIP WEBB. *CLASSIC SPA DAY INCLUDES KOHLER WATERS SIGNATURE MASSAGE OR FACIAL (75 MINUTES); ONE-COURSE LUNCH IN THE SPA CAFÉ; ACCESS TO ALL SPA AND LEISURE FACILITIES. PLEASE QUOTE COUNTRY LIVING SPA OFFER WHEN BOOKING. **THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE THE DIAGNOSIS OR TREATMENT OF A DOCTOR. IF YOU NOTICE MEDICAL SYMPTOMS OR FEEL ILL, CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR
WONDER OF WOODLANDS ‘Forest bathing’ is popular as a therapy in Japan, where people spend time in forests sitting, lying down or walking. A recent study from the University of East Anglia shows that they could have the right idea. Data was studied from 20 countries, including Japan, and involving more than 290 million people. It found that regular exposure to green spaces, such as woodlands, had wide-ranging physical, as well as mental health benefits. Experts believe that these might come from phytoncides – organic compounds with antibacterial properties – that are released by trees, as well as exposure to the diverse variety of bacteria in natural spaces, as well as offering more opportunities to exercise outdoors.
What could be better than a long soak in a hot bath ater a blustery autumn walk on the vast, open beaches at St Andrews in Fife? Well, an added body scrub and massage, too. The SŌK Overlowing Bath with Massage (£148; 90 minutes) at the Kohler Waters Spa is a treatment with a diference. Inside the therapy room is a deep bath, illed with aromatic herbs and sot colourful lights. Ater a full body scrub, you step from the treatment bed and into the warm water, where you’re let to soak and absorb the minerals into your skin. Aterwards, your (by now very relaxed) muscles are ready for a deep massage, which really works out any knots and tensions. Finish the day with a dinner of local seafood at the hotel’s restaurant overlooking that spectacular windswept beach. Kohler Waters Spa at the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews, Fife (oldcoursehotel.co.uk). CL reader ofer Book a Classic spa day (£180) and bring a friend for half price (£ 90).*
health notes NEW FAVOURITE
With its wonderful warming aroma of blood orange, ginger and rose, and nourishing moringa oil, Diptyque Invigorating Body Balm (£50, diptyqueparis.co.uk) is just the thing to massage into skin on cold days.
Boost your wellbeing the natural way with our round-up from the world of health and beauty
AS THE MORNINGS GET DARKER, start your day with a bowl of porridge. Made in small batches in Sussex, the Great British Porridge Co’s range combines oats, nuts and seeds with coconut milk for an instant dairy-free breakfast. Try Goji Berry and Pumpkin Seed (£4.99, thegreatbritishporridgeco.co.uk). IT’S ALSO TIME to think about topping up vitamin D levels, as recommended by the Government. A recent study showed absorption via an oral spray was 2.5 times more efective than capsules. Try BetterYou DLux1000 Vitamin D Oral Spray (£6.95, hollandandbarrett.com). THERE’S INCREASING RESEARCH TO SHOW that plant compounds can enhance memory, boost concentration, aid sleep and improve mood. Botanical Brain Balms – Medicinal Plants for Memory, Mood and Mind (Filbert Press, £14.99) provides practical advice on how to use plants to keep your brain sharp. For more tips and products, visit netdoctor.co.uk
NATURE’S MEDICINE CABINET Cobnuts For centuries, hazel trees have been coppiced and their fruits harvested. Cobnuts are a cultivated variety of hazelnut traditionally grown in the UK. Most importantly, they are enjoyed fresh with their green husks encasing a crunchy yet creamy kernel. The season is short, so look out for them in farmers’ markets now, although you can enjoy the health benefits from their dried counterparts all year round. Eating cobnuts, as with other tree nuts, is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. They are also a rich source of vitamin E and the B vitamin biotin, which promote healthy skin and hair. Eat them with their skins on for full benefit.** NOVEMBER 2018
where to buy Stockists in this issue
A ALEXANDER HAY alexanderhaydesign.co.uk B BALLIIHOO 01934 742182; balliihoo.co.uk
D E F
BODEN 0330 333 0000; boden.co.uk THE BOTTLE PEOPLE 01613 671419; thebottlepeople.co.uk BRICKETT DAVDA 01273 414765; brickettdavda.com BRORA 0345 659 9944; brora.co.uk BUSY LITTLE THINGS 01629 540386; busylittlethings.co.uk THE BUTTON COMPANY thebuttoncompany.co.uk BY CECIL bycecil.com CATH KIDSTON cathkidston.com CLOTH HOUSE clothhouse.com COAST & COUNTRY INTERIORS 01288 488476; coastandcountry interiors.co.uk COLE & SON cole-and-son.com DEVOL 01509 261000; devolkitchens.co.uk EBAY ebay.co.uk ELIZABETH HARBOUR elizabethharbour.co.uk ETSY etsy.com FALCON 020 7837 9749; falconenamelware.com FARTHING thefarthing.co.uk FIRED EARTH 01295 814365; firedearth.com FRED ALDOUS 0161 236 4224; fredaldous.co.uk GARDEN TRADING 01993 845559; gardentrading.co.uk HEATHCOTE & IVORY heathcote-ivory.com HEIMA 01904 624180; heima.uk HOBBYCRAFT 0330 026 1400; hobbycraft.co.uk IAN MANKIN 020 7722 0997; ianmankin.co.uk JACKIE HENDERSON 07896 104405; jackiehendersonart.co.uk JAMES BURNETTSTUART POTTERY 01544 231557; jamesburnettstuart.co.uk JANE BECK WELSH BLANKETS 01570 493241; welshblankets.co.uk JIM LAWRENCE 01473 826685; jim-lawrence. co.uk JOSE HEROYS joseheroys.com JOULES joules.com KIRAN RAVILIOUS kiranravilious.com
L LAKELAND 01539 488100; lakeland.co.uk LEWIS & WOOD lewisandwood.co.uk LOAF 0345 468 0697; loaf.com LORFORDS ANTIQUES lorfordsantiques.com LOVESTRUCK INTERIORS lovestruckinteriors. com LOVE TIKI 01506 871720; lovetiki.com M MAJESTIC BUS 01497 831733; majesticbus. co.uk MANDARIN STONE 01600 715444; mandarinstone.com MORGAN’S 07891 955474 N NATIONAL TRUST SHOP shop.nationaltrust. org.uk NORDIC HOUSE nordichouse.co.uk NOT ON THE HIGH STREET notonthehighstreet.com O THE OLD ELECTRIC SHOP 01497 821194; oldelectric.co.uk OLLI ELLA 020 7713 8668; olliella.com P PIPII 01342 823921; pipii.co.uk Q QUINTON CHADWICK quintonchadwick.com R RE re-foundobjects.com ROWEN & WREN 01276 451 077; rowenandwren.co.uk S ST JUDE’S 01603 662951; stjudesfabrics.co.uk SAM PICKARD sampickard.co.uk SBH POTTERY sbhpottery.com SEASALT 01326 640075; seasaltcornwall.co.uk THE SHOP FLOOR PROJECT 01229 584537; theshopfloorproject.com SKINFLINT 01326 565227; skinflintdesign.com STYLE LIBRARY stylelibrary.com T TED TODD tedtodd.co.uk TOAST toa.st/uk TOTALLY BUTTONS 01403 598014; totallybuttons.com TRECASTLE ANTIQUES CENTRE 01874 638007 V V&A SHOP 020 7942 2000; vam.ac.uk/shop W WHITE STUFF 020 3752 5360; whitestuff.com WILKO 020 7937 1211; wilko.com WILLOW & STONE 01326 311388; willowandstone.co.uk Z ZARA zara.com/uk
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Home sweet home Where the heart is POOKY
ON A WICK & A PRAYER Unique Wax Hurricane Lanterns made by On a Wick & Prayer artisan candlemakers and ceramic decorators. Illuminated by a single tea light these Wax Lanterns create a sot warm glow and can be used inside or outside your home. Available in a range of exclusive designs simply replace the tea light inside and continue to enjoy the design set within the wax. View the full range online at www.onawick.co.uk or visit our workshop in the Peak District village of Tissington, Derbyshire. For more details about our products phone the workshop 01335 390639.
POOKY creates spectacular lights that look like they cost a fortune, but donâ€™t. Their range of beautiful lamps, colourful lampshades, pendants, wall-lights, mirrors, chandeliers and more is easily browsed at www.pooky.com and delivery and returns are free. Email email@example.com or call them on 020 7351 3003 and their customer services team will help however they can.
STITCH A JOLLY RED CHRISTMAS BRING OUT THE BEST IN YOUR WOOD FLOORS! The Bona Spray Mop and Cartridge System – the easy, safe and efective way to keep your wood loors clean. Recommended by wood loor professionals, this award winning mop is always ready to go without a bucket! Just squeeze the triger to release a mist of Bona Wood Floor Cleaner and simply wipe away the dirt. Awarded “Best Wood Floor Cleaner” in independent tests, it gives a professional quality, streak free clean. Kit includes: Spray Mop, reillable Bona Wood Floor Cleaner Cartridge and washable Microiber Cleaning Pad. Find your local stockist or shop online at bona.com
An enchanting range of tapestry Christmas stocking designs to stitch for the whole family, including the pets! Also kits for birth samplers, cushions and spectactle cases. Ideal Christmas gits. Popular making up service for all needlepoint. Call us on 01460 281111. www.jollyred.co.uk Quote code CLautumn for 10% discount on kit orders (ends Nov 31st 2018)
Home comforts This month’s essentials
TRULY PLUS SIZE LUXURY TIGHTS POTTER AND MOOCH Explore our brand new collection of Ear Wings climbing earrings designed for a single piercing. Each pair is handmade in England on either 925 Sterling Silver, 14ct Rose or Yellow Gold-Filled wires with SWAROVSKI Elements. Hypo-allergenic and Nickel free. From £22 per pair. Visit our website or call for a brochure. www.potterandmooch.co.uk Tel: 07703 785527.
The Big Bloomers Company are specialists in plus size hosiery, from UK14 to UK42. Made in Italy, their tights are comfortable, lattering and durable. They slide on with no efort – no coaxing each bit of fabric up the leg, these are just straight on. Ultrastretch technology means superior all-over quality and it, and a waistband that doesn’t dig in or roll down. Your search for truly plus size tights is over. Call 01326 373268 or order securely online at www.thebigbloomerscompany.co.uk
CLASSIC AND ELEGANT CUTLERY DESIGNED FOR MODERN LIVING This delightful range is Old English mirror inish stainless steel with dishwasher safe cream handled knives. Exclusive price – Set for six people at £300, this includes six seven-piece place settings (as shown) and two table spoons. A set for four people costs £220. Prices include VAT and UK delivery. www.glazebrook.com Tel: 020 7731 7135.
WHIDOWN DESIGN FROM THE WORKSHOP Our Map Boxes are beautifully crated from birch plywood and feature an engraved map of your chosen place. A thoughtful, personalised git for a map owner to treasure. www.fromtheworkshop.co.uk Tel: 0114 4389239.
‘Bringing the outdoors in’ is back in vogue, with a range of stylish structures available which do just that. Optimise space with a veranda, pergola or winter garden, allowing you to make the most of your garden in any weather. Solisysteme pergolas have adjustable louvres, whilst Erhardt’s glass rooms make the outdoors your backdrop all year round. www.whitehousedesign.co.uk 01392 927989.
JAMES BARTHOLOMEW See James Bartholomew’s vibrant and contemporary take on animals across his whole range of limited edition prints and originals by visiting his website: www.jamesbartholomew.co.uk
Stylish interiors Design your home PLUG IN FOR A DEEP CLEANING BOOST…
KENTCHURCH BUTLERS A perfect git that will last forever. Ideal for that birthday, wedding, anniversary or retirement present. Hand made and painted, these wooden side tables are fun pieces of furniture to rest your drinks etc on. To order: telephone 01803 732 933 or visit our website www.kentchurchbutlers.co.uk
CROWN COTTAGE SOMERSET We specialise in antique and vintage furniture, hand painted in the unique style best suited for each piece – Scandinavian, French, Country Chic, Rustic, Gustavian etc. Visit us on www.crowncottagesomerset.co.uk or call 07766 567065.
The SEBO X7 Pet Boost glides over loors and can easily tackle stubborn dirt with its deep cleaning boost function and, as opposed to cordless models, it gives unlimited full power. It goes lat to clean under furniture and with its LED Search Light, dirt really has nowhere to hide. Made in Germany it is backed by a free iveyear guarantee. Call 01494 465533 or visit www.sebo.co.uk
ESCAPE TO ANOTHER WORLD Island hop to remote anchorages while enjoying the best of Scottish hospitality, discover the beauty of the Hebrides and the Scottish West Coast aboard one of our four specialist small cruise ships. Relax on board and enjoy the house party atmosphere as you cruise through magniicent scenery, in great company and enjoying fabulous food. We ofer a choice of 12 cruise itineraries with options for three nights, six nights or ten nights. Two cabins on board each cruise are reserved for solo travellers at no additional supplement. All cabins are ensuite. Maximum 12 guests on each cruise. www.themajesticline.co.uk Call 01369 707951 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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Embarrassing leaks are a symptom of a weak pelvic loor – the good news is they can be stopped with simple exercises. This is where the PelvicToner can help. It is clinically proven to help strengthen your pelvic loor, NHS approved and available on prescription. It can also be purchased without prescription for only £29.99 delivered. Designed to be used at home without supervision, it comes discreetly packaged with everything you need to start exercising straight away. So what’s stopping you? To ind out more, or to purchase a PelvicToner™, visit pelvictoner.co.uk or call 0117 974 3534 today.
STYLISH WIDE FITTING SHOES Wider Fit Shoes Ltd ofers stylish, afordable shoes to it you perfectly – whatever your width. Today, they are the leading supplier of wide-itting shoes in the UK, ofering footwear from EE through to 8E ittings. Their entire range of shoes and slippers are adjustable, durable, lightweight and lexible and every purchase is backed by their no quibble guarantee. No wonder they’re recommended by foot health professionals nationwide. For a free, colour catalogue or more information please call 01933 311077 or order securely online at www.widerfitshoes.co.uk Please quote CLX1840M for 10% of your irst order.
TAKE A MOMENT FOR YOU!
Keep toes toasty in 90% alpaca bed socks in pastel shades or bright purples and red. These make a wonderful present for any age group. Made in Britain. £18.00. Perilla.co.uk 01886 853 615.
Brume window film replicates the look of etched glass and is perfect for windows where you need privacy but don’t want to sacrifice natural light. Easy to apply, made to measure or by the metre. www.brume.co.uk
Join us at our art school in Oxfordshire for wonderful art and craft workshops run by experienced, renowned artists. Learn the basics or develop your art skills in a friendly, knowledgeable environment, where everyone is encouraged to be creative and original. Visit www.pureartworkstudio.co.uk or call us on 01295 812469.
We specialise in dresses and complete outfits designed and made in the UK using fabrics of the highest quality including silks, linens, brocades and cotton. Many of our frocks give more than a nod to the spectacular and glamorous styling of the 1950s and 60s. Visit our boutiques in Holt and Harrogate. www.suzyhamilton.co.uk
Based in the beautiful Orkney Islands, online retail store Orkney Storehouse has recently launched its Natural Orkney Collection. The collection features six delightful Orkney wildlife illustrations, across a range of quality British-made fine bone china and coordinating homeware accessories. See the full range at www.orkneystorehouse.com
Magical handcrafted fairy dolls sewn with love in beautiful rural West Sussex. Made from tea-dyed calico, dressed with beautiful fabric and embellished with trinkets and trims vintage and new, our dolls make special gifts for daughters, mothers and friends. www.buttondolls.com 01903 893266
DI FORD ILLUSTRATION
MR BRINKLEY’S STUDIO
Illustrated from her studio in South West Wales, Di creates quirky, characterful art work of your beloved pet. She specialises in illustrating custom pet portraits using a range of mediums including, watercolour, pen, ink and a digital drawing pad. www.diford.com Email: email@example.com or call 07581 135865.
Whether you’re looking to replace a broken cup or extend your existing dinner set, Chinasearch specialises in discontinued china with over 300,000 items in stock. Search online or call 01926 512402. www.chinasearch.co.uk
Suncatcher. A decorative piece of glass that is hung in a window to bring in and broadcast the sun’s rays. Handmade in the heart of Charnwood Forest and crafted using the traditional Tifany stained glass technique, these decorative and afordable gifts are delightfully diferent. www.mrbrinkleysstudio.co.uk
FOR DETAILS OF CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING PLEASE TELEPHONE 020 3728 6260 OR VISIT WWW.HEARSTMAGAZINESDIRECT.CO.UK
TINTERN ABBEY COTTAGE
SALCOMBE AND DARTMOUTH
Across from the magnificent Abbey, unsurpassed idyllic Wye Valley views. Fully renovated, warm 18C cottage. Sleeps up to 6 in 3 bedrooms. Two smart bathrooms, whirlpool bath, lavendered linens, cosy woodburner, CH incl., range cooker, sheltered garden, parking, WiFi. Easy M4/M5, numerous all year activities and attractions. Stroll to pubs/ eateries. Excellent walking. Pet welcome. Visit Wales 5 star & winner Best Self Catering again for 2018. Summer holidays , Autumn/Winter/Spring Breaks. Christmas. Credit cards. www.monmouthshirecottages.co.uk 01600 860341
...are perfect little towns in South Devon. Surrounded by rolling Devon countryside, spectacular clifs and golden beaches and many delicious pubs and restaurants, we have plenty of choice for your holiday in these gorgeous and unique waterside towns. BOOKINGS NOW OPEN FOR 2019! Salcombe Holiday Homes 01548 843485 www.salcombe.com Dartmouth Holiday Homes 01803 833082 www.dartmouthuk.com
NORTHUMBERLAND SELF CATERING
Over 500 luxury self-catering holiday properties sleeping 2-24 in the UK and Ireland. A Rural Retreats property has been carefully chosen for its beautiful interior as well as idyllic setting. From cosy cottages to country houses and lighthouses to windmills, there’s sure to be a property that will be perfect for you and your family. Dogs welcome. Request your FREE 2019 Brochure now. www.ruralretreats.co.uk 01386 897 959
from the county’s first & only Visit England Quality Accredited Agency, www.staynorthumbria.co.uk. Choose & book with confidence from a selection of over 90 properties to suit all tastes and pockets, from: coastal fisherman’s retreats for 2, to a converted Mill for 36. Dogs & kids welcome too. For Winter, Spring & Summer breaks of 2 to 7 nights, a brisk walk on the beach, a castle or two to visit, and afternoon tea in front of the fire to return to. Visit our website or ring us on 01665 721380 – what could be simpler?
WILDERNESS COTTAGES THROUGHOUT SCOTLAND
COAST & COUNTRY COTTAGES
Quality self catering cottages, houses and apartments, throughout Scotland. Countryside to seashore, rustic to 5 star luxury. Short breaks available & pets welcome. Brochure Available. Tel: 01463 719219 www.wildernesscottages.co.uk
Choose from around 400 holiday properties in Salcombe, Dartmouth and throughout South Devon. From romantic hideaways and beautifully renovated farmhouses, to luxury waterside apartments and cosy thatched cottages, we can help you choose the right one for your holiday. Call 01548 843773 or book online coastandcountry.co.uk
LUXURY COTTAGES NORTHUMBERLAND An outstanding selection of hand picked holiday cottages in prime locations along the beautiful Heritage Coast and amidst the majestic hills and National Park inland. www.luxury-cottages-northumberland.co.uk www.northumbria-cottages.co.uk 01665 830783
BRECON BEACONS HOLIDAY COTTAGES For that perfect break, we have over 350 great cottages in superb locations in and around the Brecon Beacons National Park, Black Mountains and Wye Valley. Romantic cottages for 2 people, rustic farmhouses and large country houses some sleeping 20, with oak beams and open fires. Pretty villages, good pubs, hill walking, pony trekking, mountain biking and fishing. Pets Welcome. www.breconcottages.com 01874 676446
CONNEMARA, IRELAND Connemara Coastal Cottages has a large range of charming cottages in the stunning rural West coast of Ireland. From old style cottages surrounded by mountains or modern homes with your own private sea shore, we have it all in this magical location. With over 70 properties we have accommodation for couples up to 18 people. www.cc-cottages.com Call 00353 87 3696546
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Hyacinth Basket with fairy lights
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TO ORDER QUOTE CL1118 • ONLINE hayloft.co.uk • PHONE 0844 335 1088 SEND THE COUPON TO: Hayloft Plants, FREEPOST RTGR-JAGJ-JETG, Pensham, Pershore WR10 3HB PLEASE SEND
NAME & ADDRESS
PRICE QTY TOTAL
1 set × White Basket and Pink Hyacinths 3 sets × White Basket and Pink Hyacinths
1 set × White Basket and Blue Hyacinths 3 sets × White Basket and Blue Hyacinths
1 set × White Basket and White Hyacinths SUHW01-CL1118 £18 3 sets × White Basket and White Hyacinths SUHW03-CL1118 £36
PostcodeTel I enclose Cheque/PO made payable to Hayloft Plants Ltd or please debit my Mastercard/Visa/Maestro
3 sets × White Basket (one of each colour) SUHM03-CL1118 £36 P&P (UK ONLY)
EMAIL Thank you, we may update you on your order and we will invite you to sign up for our special ofers.
£4.95 TOTAL DUE Thank you for your details which will be kept securely and will not be shared with third parties. We may send Hayloft gardening catalogues in the future, if you prefer not to receive them, please call 01386 562999. Occasionally the advertised delivery date may change, however, this will be clearly stated on your order confirmation.
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L OV E O F T H E L A N D
LOUISA ADJOA PARKER The award-winning poet and author discusses the power of the written word and the issue of race in rural places Living as a mixed-heritage person in predominantly white rural areas like the West Country can be challenging. I started writing poetry so I could share these experiences – I found the simple act of putting pen to paper helped me ind a voice. I didn’t feel like I could physically talk about it, so it enabled me to say, ‘This is how I feel.’
We irst moved to Devon from Doncaster when I was 13 and it was like going back in time. Where we lived, people would openly call you racist names. We went to school in a more middle-class area and there it was more like ‘micro-agressions’, minor incidents that made me question my sense of self, like people touching my hair or asking about my skin colour. I had lots of amazing friends but also felt a bit of an outsider, even though I was an insider as well.
I moved to Lyme Regis in Dorset when I was 19 and had my irst daughter. I wanted to bring her up somewhere with plenty of light and fresh air. It was safe and she could play on the beach. I lived in Dorset for another 20 years, and had two more children, before moving to Somerset, where I live now.
After I graduated, a few of my poems about being half-Ghanian, half-English and living in the countryside were picked up by poetry magazines and anthologies. That led to my irst collection,
“I like going to the beach, just walking along by the sea and dipping my toes in” 194
I’ve always had a feeling of looking for home and I’ve not really found it in physical places. It’s something many people can relate to, that feeling of not belonging, no matter what our background is. That’s why I tend to include the topic of home in a lot of my writing workshops.
I don’t get the same sense of connection with the world in urban areas. It helps my mood if I spend time outside, surrounded by things biger than me. I like going to the beach, walking along by the sea and dipping my toes in, being in ields and trundling around in wellies.
To make the countryside more inclusive, I think people can educate themselves. If you want to learn about experiences of people diferent to yourself, there’s a lot of information out there. Through reading and talking to others, you can put yourself in their shoes – that’s something we can all do, no matter what situation we’re in. For more about Louisa and her work, visit louisaadjoaparker.com. countryliving.com/uk
INTERVIEW BY LAURAN ELSDEN. PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES; MAISIE HILL
Salt-sweat and Tears, being published in 2007. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to work as a writer-inresidence at schools and in a prison. In 2017 my second antholoy, Blinking in the Light, was published.