Books to Read – Too Many To Choose!

It looks like my last post on my bookshelf was a big hit!

I’m hoping to write maybe a few reviews of books I’ve read. Put that MA to good use! I love reading – it’s always been one of my favourite things to do, and something I’d happily spend every day doing. I’ve even got my Dad reading!

I found this picture on my iPad of a whole library load of books to read… I wonder how many I’ve actually read? I think it was taken over a year ago!


Well, I’ve read The Name of the Rose! Aaaand… that’s about it! This is what happens: I have a serious problem. I am a Book-Buying Addict! I always have the best intentions to read everything. But obviously I bought all these while I was studying for a Masters, working in Hull four days a week, and then after that, leaping straight into a PGCE. Not much time for leisure reading.

However, now that I am free of all study – having left the PGCE – I should have the time to read! Here’s an idea… which of these books do you think I should have a stab at? I think I’m about fifty pages into Middlemarch, and I read the first chapter of Lolly Willowes… but they’re all super exciting books. What do you guys think? What should I read?




Christmas Day Pate

Although it may feel like years ago already, Christmas was only just a month ago. Which means it’s taken me over a month to put up the pictures of what I made for Christmas!

I love Christmas, and always have huge plans for what I’ll do: I’ll make my own Christmas cards, I’ll do the veggies, I’ll ice the cake and decorate it with an amazing gingerbread version of our house, with snow made out of royal icing… Obviously, those things didn’t quite happen. However, I did make the starter!

This isn’t anything all that new: making the starters has always been my domain, but in previous years, the starters have been those typical 70s stalwarts: prawn cocktail or grapefruit. This year I decided to push the boat out. I was going to make a pate!

Check it out!


I made it the day before, following a recipe from BBC Food. I used chicken livers (which was a pretty gruesome task when it came to chopping them up), then we didn’t have enough brandy so to deglaze the pan I used orange juice, which I thought added a nice citrussy kick. I declined the peppercorns in the butter and just grated on a little bit of orange zest.

I made my own wholemeal bread, which probably should have been kneaded a bit more, and proved a little longer, but toasted under the grill was fine.

A very homemade starter, and it went down a treat! I was dead chuffed, and will definitely have a go again.



Muddy Dubarrys

Took Bilbo for his walk today… ’twas a bit muddy down Sparrow Lane! Think the Dubarrys are definitely in need of a clean – but with the muddy, wet, miserable weather we have at the moment – is there much point? Still the best boots in the world!


It does irk me somewhat to see women in spotless Dubarrys, prancing around like they’re country royalty – they’re boots for yukking about out in the mud and snow! They are made to be muddy, and I think it’s safe to say mine certainly are…



A look at my bookshelves…

As a double literature graduate (at BA and MA level), I think it’s acceptable to have rather overstuffed shelves. These are shelves that consist of probably over ten years’ worth of purchases and gifts (not to mention the boxes of books under my bed, in the guest room, and probably in the workshop and the containers). And now that I’ve left my PGCE, I have time to actually read books!

Here is a snapshot of just one shelf in my bookcase:


As you can see, there’s a bit of a diverse selection here. The shelf above, for the beady-eyed, is a predominantly fantasy themed shelf: mainly Ian Irvine and Robert Jordan books. I got to about book seven in The Wheel of Time about two years ago and then stalled, so as you can tell by the prevalence of the first three on the shelf below, I have restarted.

The main focus of the picture is the middle shelf, occupied by my ‘Need to Read’ section. I got The Luminaries for Christmas in 2013, and have only just finished it. For Christmas I got The Bone Clocks and Clariel, both of which I have recently finished, and I have newly started CJ Sansom’s Dissolution.

As well as Dissolution, I’m up to The Dragon Reborn in The Wheel of Time (which tends to be my ‘bath book’, and I’m going to start The Taxidermist’s Daughter, as signified by the presence of my Bard the Bowman bookmark. Bard the Bowman!

What’s on your reading list? Anything like mine? Or do you have any recommendations?

Katy x



January Start

This is a post I apparently started on January the 21st, and didn’t get any further than the title! Whoops.

Anyway, here I am, rectifying that moment of madness on my part!

It is January! Hurrah! Or rather, it was January. It’s now February, but we’re doing this retrospectively. This means it’s the start of the growing year. And since I have my greenhouse, I can start! And if you perhaps saw my other post (Windy Day at Windy Farm,, you will have known that my poor greenhouse suffered a major casualty earlier on in the year: in the bad winds, all the glass in the back wall blew out! Thankfully my lovely daddy went and got me some more glass, and then he worked some magic on my door, and now all is well!

I’ve been looking forward to getting out in my greenhouse ever since the end of summer, really. I guess part of it was probably because I was so unhappy doing my teacher training, and doing something physical and quite personal, like starting off my garden (properly this year) was something so removed from what was making me unhappy – and yet, in December certainly, was looking like something I would never have time to do.

Time to get started!


As you can probably see from the pic, I have sown out:

  • Cauliflower (All Year Round)
  • Tomato (Ailsa/Alisa (?) Craig)
  • Onion (Red Baron)
  • Leek (Autumn Mammoth)

It may seem early, but I did them as per packet instructions! It was the best feeling to be out in my greenhouse (it was very cold, so I had a nice flask of hot chocolate with me), working with compost and seeds – though my back was aching at the end of it!

Now, if you recall, I have had issues with cauliflowers in the past… My last batch fell prey to horrendous grubs: some cabbage root fly or other such pest. But this year I am taking no prisoners! They do say cauliflowers are the hardest things to grow, but I will give them my all! I’ve ordered cabbage collars (I’m not going to lie, a little bit in love with that alliteration) from the Dobie’s catalogue, and I also ordered some netting (from Achica, of all places!), so, fingers crossed.


Heaven in a picture! A flask, a Sharpie, and a mess!


And so here they are! The tomatoes are in the propagator, and the rest in modules. It’s relatively warm (ish) in the greenhouse, and a little bit more so in the prop, so hopefully, with a bit of luck, in a few weeks I can have pictures of little green nubs!




Snowy Day at Snowy Farm!

So it snowed the other day! I love snow – the powdery stuff, the deeper the better, and I have a fluffy white snow dog who loves it even more! It started snowing one night, great big fat flakes just lazily drifting out of the sky, and pretty soon that turned into a full scale blizzard. It’s nice to watch the snow when you’re nice and warm inside. My dream evening would be to curl up in front of a nice big fire while the snow falls outside, but underfloor heating at Windy Farm isn’t so bad. The next morning the world is white over – I love that. When I was a kid it was normally coupled with the anticipation of a snow day, though now that I’m (meant to be) a grown-up, it’s more about how I’m going to get to work, and are my tyres OK for the drive.

I have a few things in my beds: the chard is about gone and needs pulling up, but my kale is dead hardy and will keep going. I’m hoping that the little caulis and cabbages I have peeping up with just hibernate as opposed to die off altogether.

Check out my winter wonderland!


Look at all that snow! Though if you look closely at the sides of the beds, you can tell there wasn’t really that much snow. But it was sure white and cold!


Lake Loy isn’t quite frozen over. The great thing about living in such a flat place is that we get a lovely, even blanket of snow.


Like here! Though you can see where the man with the snow plough got carried away, ploughing all the snow away…


…which made this boy pretty sad! He loves his snow and was pretty upset that someone had made it all go away!


Windy Day at Windy Farm

Happy New Year! This is my first blog post in a long, long while, but I’ve had a lot on my plate at the moment – something which I will discuss in a later post. However I hope I should have more time to spend blogging, as I’ve been a very bad blogger in the past!

Perhaps God is an avid blog reader, and was quite cross that I hadn’t updated in a while… Disaster struck at Windy Farm!

After having a pretty rubbish week – rubbish in some ways, but also good in others – I was looking forward to a weekend to myself, mainly in my greenhouse. Was it last weekend when it was really windy? The wind had destroyed my plastic cloche, and so everything which had been overwintering in there had been moved into the greenhouse. I was planning on starting off some tomatoes in my propagator. However I got up on Saturday morning, firstly to a fallen-down tree in the garden:


Check out that disaster! This is in the “back” garden which is the “front” garden as you approach the house. In the foreground you can see my two apple trees: how it missed the tree to the right I have no idea. The tree was in the hedge, and it had been part of a split-trunk: as the weaker trunk, it took the brunt of the wind a little too badly, and fell over.

But that wasn’t all…

I went to make my cup of tea, and looked up towards my beds and my greenhouse. From the kitchen window I can see the front door of my greenhouse (so the photo below is from the back, as if I was stood in the pond). I could see something shiny on the grass behind the greenhouse. A sinking feeling in my stomach, I went out (in my dressing gown, in the 80mph winds) to investigate.


The wind had blown the entire back of my greenhouse out, and smashed the majority of the glass on the floor. To say I was gutted doesn’t even cut it!


The greenhouse has a sliding door that doesn’t seem to close properly. We think the wind blew the door open and got into the house itself, and then blew the glass out. Luckily the glass didn’t get on any of the plants, and a couple of pieces were still in tact.

So there goes my weekend! So we need to get new glass (which is a pain, because when we opened the glass in the first place some of it was smashed), and also try to fashion some kind of latch to fasten the door.

Just another windy day at Windy Farm!

Did your gardens suffer any damage too in the wind?