Wednesday, 25 August 2010

One Small Mouse

Photo by Serena Cowdy
Just discovered a wonderful blog doing very good work -
"One Small Mouse unites people who care about animals with the causes that need their help.
Britain is known as a nation of animal lovers - and that's something to be very proud of.
But at the moment, times are really tough. Many people can no longer afford to give money to charity - and at the same time, more and more animals are being abandoned by owners who feel they can no longer afford to look after them.

The good news is, there's plenty you can do to help - even if you're as poor as a church mouse. In every post, we'll highlight one small thing you can do to help pets and wildlife in need.

It could be as simple as giving your old newspapers to your local pet rescue, counting the birds in your back garden or re-tweeting an urgent re-homing request.
We want to show you that you don't need to be rich to help good causes - there are many ways to give that won't leave you out of pocket.
On his own, one small mouse can't do very much. But if every small mouse helps once in a while, we really can make a huge difference. When it comes to mouseketeers, it really is a case of 'one fur all and all fur one'!"
Do take a look - One Small Mouse

Monday, 16 August 2010

Inspirational Recycling - Succulents in Kitchen Pots

These planters were for sale somewhere in Seattle at the weekend, nice idea,
reminds me a bit of our own Aloes in mugs

Monday, 9 August 2010

Arum italicum Pictum

"This beautiful and interesting herbaceous foliage plant turns the normal seasons of the year upside down. The exciting leaves start to unfold in autumn, and grow larger all through the winter and spring, reaching as much as a foot in length. They are shaped like an arrowhead, dark green heavily marbled with very pale green, and waved at the edges. The pale green flowers, which are short and inconspicuous, consist of a spike cloaked in a spathe (a large enfolding bract) like those of the wild arum, lords and ladies, of the hedgerows. By mid-summer, flowers and leaves have disappeared underground, but in early autumn, spikes of bright red, poisonous berries shoot up like danger signals before the leaf cycle starts afresh."

(Extract from The Best Plants for Your Garden by Anne Scott-James)

Although not a flower this is our Today's Flowers post, I'm sure you'll agree that the berries are stunning.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Village Show

I took over a hundred photographs at the village show, many of which I've now uploaded to Renaissance Life for you to view, if you so wish. Pop over and you'll find lots of heavy horses as well as vintage cars and sheepdogs.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Today's Flower - Poppy

This is our Today's Flower post - Oriental Poppy

The Oriental Poppy is native to the Caucasus, northeastern Turkey, and northern Iran orginally a scarlet orange colour selective breeding in the 19th century has created a range of colors from clean white with black blotches through clear true pinks and salmon pinks to a deep maroon.
After flowering the foliage dies away entirely, which allows their survival in the summer drought their native lands. So ideal for the UK this summer!

For more about us, what we are doing, the Renaissance Newsletter, our other blogs and our shop, please visit Renaissance.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

St Swithun's day

After the drought along comes the rain, and on St Swithun's ...

St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain,
St Swithun's day if thou be fair,
For forty days 'twill rain no more.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

What to tell the bees

I've left the privet hedge unclipped this year to enable it to flower,
the bees are enjoying it and I'm enjoying the sweet perfume though I do believe certain people in the nieghbourhood think it unkempt.

This is our Today's Flower post and it also gives me an excuse to post a favourite poem:

I have told the bees
He is gone from us;
I have given up gossamer prayers.
Carry roses, pacasandra, azaleas
The birch and dogwood to listen;
Send the song of his memories back to him.
He tends his garden
And remembers now,
Whispering his story on the wings of the bees.

~Julie Ferioli

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

The Continental Market

We'd rather have home grown but we stumbled upon a continental market in town the other day and took some photographs to share, you can find them at Renaissance Life, if you're interested that is.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Today's flower is a clematis, I can't remember which variety, so if anyone would care to enlighten me I would be most grateful.

For more information on Renaissance, what we are doing, the Renaissance Newsletter, our other blogs and our shop, please visit Renaissance.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Midsummer Roundup

We're at Midsummer and what a glorious week it's been hasn't it?
Last night we were at Houghton Hall for a concert and we picniced on the lawn, the evening was just perfect.
What a wonderful setting this would be for a Vintage Party, and what a perfect place to sip homemade elderflower cordial or champagne.
Our Midsummer flower of choice this week was the wild honeysuckle it smells devine especially in the evening.
The roses are marvellous as well right now giving us the perfect excuse to blog a favourite poem, You love the roses - so do I.
And whilst we are on the subject of flowers we've found a delightfully pretty necklace for little girls called the Annabel Necklace of course we blogged about it at Renaissance Children's Notebook.
Not much blogging going on at The Chicken Daily but rest assured that the girls are all fine and enjoying the sunny days, we'll catch up with them again soon....
For more information on Renaissance, what we are doing, the Renaissance Newsletter, our other blogs and our shop, please visit Renaissance.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

You love the roses -so do I.

You love the roses - so do I. I wish
The sky would rain down roses, as they rain
From off the shaken bush. Why will it not?

Then all the valley would be pink and white
And soft to tread on. They would fall as light
As feathers, smelling sweet; and it would be
Like sleeping and like waking, all at once!
~George Eliot

Monday, 21 June 2010

I know a bank where the wild thyme grows

"I know a bank where the wild thyme grows,
Quite over-canopied with lucious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine."
A Midsummer Nights Dream

The "lucious woodbine" flower is our choice for this weeks Today's Flowers post,
perfect for Midsummer wouldn't you say?
Enjoy the longest day.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Elderflower Cordial & Elderflower Champagne

The Elder Flowers are particularly bountiful at this time of year so why not take advantage of natures bounty and make yourself some Elderflower Cordial or Elderflower Champagne. We've added our old family recipes to our Renaissance Newsletter if you'd like to have a go at making them yourself.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Orange Blossom

Sweet little flowers with the most heavenly perfume
Orange Blossom
is our Today's Flowers post to find out more about Today's Flowers go here.
For more information on Renaissance, what we are doing, the Renaissance Newsletter, our other blogs and our shop, please visit Renaissance.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Government Flying - excessive amount of domestic flights

This WWF press release popped into my inbox a couple of days ago but it was embargoed until: 00:01 BST Thursday 10 June 2010, interesting to see that the government could save £100 million over the next three years not to mention the green isuues..

WWF calls for urgent action on government flying as new report reveals excessive amount of domestic flights

The Government could save more than £100 million over the next three years if it reduced the number of unnecessary flights it takes. A new WWF-UK report, Excess Baggage: The case for reducing government flying reveals the extent of government flying over the past three years finding that 90 per cent of all flights were taken within the UK.

The most frequent domestic routes used by Ministers and officials were between London and Edinburgh and London and Belfast whilst the top non-UK short haul routes were to Brussels, Geneva, Luxembourg and Strasbourg- all of which are reachable or replaceable by train, ferry, or videoconferencing.

The report found that if government departments followed their own best practice, they could cut 600,000 flights, reduce CO2 emissions by more than 59,000 tonnes and save well over £100 million of taxpayers’ money over the next three years.

WWF, the conservation organisation is calling on the coalition to end the spending of thousands of pounds on unnecessary flights to help it reach its commitment of reducing central government carbon emissions by 10 percent over the next 12 months.

Of the 22 government departments contacted by WWF, less than half have reduced the number of flights taken between 2007 to the end of 2009. According to the report, the best performing departments are the Department for Education and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Department of Energy and Climate Change spent £715,115 on 1,378 flights last year, with 676 of those taken domestically.

The worst performers include HM Revenues & Customs and the Department of Health. Flying in both departments increased over the three year period.

David Norman, WWF-UK's Director of Campaigns, said: “Businesses have done everything in their power to cut out wasteful spending on unnecessary flights during the recession. Yet WWF’s report shows that very few government departments have made similar efforts to reduce their flying, throwing away potential savings of well over £100million of taxpayers’ money.

“It’s shocking that nine out of ten flights by government officials are to destinations within the UK. There's a huge opportunity here to cut costs and carbon emissions – as shown by the star performers Defra and the Department for Education, which have reduced flight costs by 39% over three years. It’s time for the rest of government to catch up, and they should start by cutting out at least one flight in every ten over the coming year.”

The new Government needs to quickly improve efforts to reduce unnecessary flying. Not all departments were able to provide data in response to WWF’s FOI requests indicating that there is an urgent need for government departments to improve the way they record flight data and introduce clear travel policy standards as well as setting flight reductions.

WWF believe these flight reduction targets could be included in the new Sustainable Development in Government (SDiG) framework which is replacing Sustainable Operations on the Government Estate (SOGE) targets when they expire in the next year.

WWF wants to see Government departments sign up to cutting one in five flights within five years, replacing these flights with lower carbon alternatives such as rail or videoconferencing. We therefore welcome news that the Scottish Government will be joining WWF’s One in Five Challenge, which will help them reduce their flights by 20 per cent by 2015.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Blackbird fledgling learning to forage

Or is it hunting?
Anyway Dad was nearby to provide a tasty morsel.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

These last days of May

These last days of May we are watching the swallows fledge

Sorry for the poor photographs, wrong light in the barn
and the adults swooping through the door are just too
fast for my little camera.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Inspirational Recyclying - Flowers in Jam Jars

Makes you wonder why we bother to buy vases doesn't it?

But then these flowers were arranged by the delightful Miss Pickering

who does indeed have a flower shop.

Monday, 24 May 2010


The delightful perfume of wallflowers has been greeting my return home for a few weeks now, they are planted by the front door and their fragrance is wonderful.

This our Today's Flowers post to find out moreabout Today's Flowers go here.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Blackbird Chicks

There that's a better photograph isn't it?

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Apple Blossom - Day Seven of a Week of Flowers

Our week of flowers started with plum blossom

so it seems somehow fitting to end it with the

apple blossom.

Thanks to all of you who have popped by to view,

with special thanks to Pom Pom for taking the time

and trouble to leave us so many encouraging comments.

Back next week with I don't know what -

but there is a nest outside the back door...

Friday, 7 May 2010

Kerria Japonica - Day six of a Week of Flowers

This is day six of our week of flowers,
we'll be back tomorrow with our final flower of the week.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Forget Me Nots - Day Five A Week of Flowers

This is day five of our week of flowers,
we'll be back tomorrow with another flower
from the garden or orchard.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Hellebore - Day Four of a Week of Flowers

The Hellebores

have just a few flowers left

for us to enjoy.

Back tomorrow with another flower.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Cowslips - Day Three of a Week of Flowers

Cowslips the Primula veris
also known as

Arthritica, Artetyke, Buckles, Cuy, Drelip, Fairy Cup, Frauenchlussel, Herb Peter, Key Flower, Key of Heaven, Lady's Key, Lippe, Paigle, Paralysio, Password, Peggle, Plumrocks.

This is the third day of our week of flowers and it's also our
Today's Flowers post to find out moreabout Today's Flowers go here.
We'll be back tomorrow with another flower from the garden or orchard.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Lily of the Valley - Day Two of A Week of Flowers

I suppose really we should have posted this photograph of the

Lily of the Valley

on May Day.

Isn't it a tradition to give little bunches of Lily of the Valley as May Day gifts in France?

Back tomorrow with another Spring Flower.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

A week of flowers - Plum Bossom

Plum Blossom from the orchard

For some reason or other we haven't gotten around to our weekly roundup
instead we've decided to bring you some Spring loveliness each day this week from either our garden or the orchard.
Today's offering is the plum blossom - enjoy and do pop back tomorrow if you get the time.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Alys Fowler’s The Edible Garden

Way back in August of last year I did a little review of Alys Fowler's
I liked that book a lot even though to be honest it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know.
But I liked Alys' style and I found that she made me want to garden. With that in mind I was keen to watch her BBC program The Edible Garden
Have you seen it?
Once again I found that I liked her style, who could resist someone who
gardens with a Jack Russell and talks to her hens?
I'm not learning anything I don't already know but I'm enjoying the show,
it has an element of whimsy and escapism that I find appealing.
What do you think?
Oh correction - I'd never heard of hapa-zome until I saw Alys making those
fabric lid covers for jam pots on last nights show.
Now I'm keen to have a go at that myself.
Told you she was inspiring didn't I?

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Sweet Violet has a strong fragrance, and has been used in the making of perfume as far back as Ancient Greece. Some say that you can only smell violet flowers once but this is a myth. however the fragrance is strangely short-lived due to the chemical, ionine, which makes up the violet’s scent, it has the ability to deaden the smell receptors that detect it.

In medieval Britain, Sweet Violet was used as a deodorant.

It has a long history of folk use, especially in the treatment of cancer and whooping cough. It also contains salicylic acid, which is used to make aspirin, and is therefore effective in the treatment of headaches, migraine and insomnia.

This is our Today's Flowers postfind out more here.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Earth Day

"Earth Day is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth's environment. It was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson as an environmental teach-in held on April 22, 1970.[1] Earth Day is celebrated in spring in the Northern Hemisphere and autumn in the Southern Hemisphere. Earth Day Network, a group that wishes to become the coordinator of Earth Day globally, asserts that Earth Day is now observed on April 22 on virtually every country on Earth.[2] World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5 in a different nation every year, is the principal United Nations environmental observance.[3] Many communities also celebrate Earth Week, an entire week of environment-related activities. "from Wikipedia

The rather wonderful illustration is by Ishtar Olivera who says :

"Our Earth has given us SO much… lets think of ways, of having more love and gratitude to her and really give some of our time, love, and dedication in return. There are so many ways, we can start doing something. Little acts that really make a difference. Earth Day is not -should not- be just ” a day”, but everyday..
With this button all I pretend is Plant a seed of awareness in our lifes and have present that ” Everyday is Earth Day”."

Earth Day

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Clematis Armandii

Walk down our garden path and the sweet fragrance of Clematis Armandii will engulf your senses. Look up and you'll see a mass of white blossom against the pale blue sky.

This is our Today's Flowers post
find out more here.

Armandii is the only fragrant clematis, it's flowers will last several weeks in spring time and it will sometimes flower again in August. Even when not in flower it is extremely decorative with it's long dark evergreen glossy leaves. It orginates from China and is an extremely vigorous climber.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Weekly Roundup

For the first time we took part in Today's Flowers which is such a nice idea that we think we'll make it a regular post.

Another first was the rather ludicrous photograph of one of our Silkie Bantams
over at The Chicken Daily and talking of firsts our eldest son exhibited some of his photographs in a gallery for the first time. There is a photograph of his photographs on the website in the What we are doing section.

Whilst we are on the subject of photographs isn't the one above adorable?
It's of Charles the baby red squirrel who fell from his nest.

Red squirrels aren't the only wildlife in need of a little help so we were pleased to be able to use the Renaissance Newsletter to help promote a WDCS Walk for Whales in nearby Hunstanton.

Over at Renaissance Vintage Notebook we seem to have spent quite a lot of time at the V & A looking at vintage inspired quilt fabrics and enthusing about the Grace Kelly exhibition.

We're always on the look out for beautiful ways to display vintage books, we are vintage book sellers afterall, and we found a rather lovely photograph whilst blog hopping which of course lead to the discovery of lots of new, to us, blogs

Maybe you'll find the time to visit them?

Thursday, 15 April 2010