Posted by Tania Kindersley.
For my lovely blogging friend Miss Whistle in California: the recipe for the soda bread is here, and here. I play around with it all the time, although I think it important to keep within the purity of the original Irish version. When I read of the addition of raisins or sugar or other horrors, I feel quite ill. Currently, I am experimenting with using an initial blast of very high heat, to improve the crust; start off for ten minutes at 220, and then go back to 180 for the final twenty minutes.
There is the first tint of autumn about the place, as if nature is setting its watch, and knows August has gone. I went out this afternoon and caught the scent of smoke in the air. As usual, we did not have much of a summer up here. I do not mind so very much; I find too much bright sunshine rather vulgar and disconcerting. It must be my Celtic blood. The sun most often dazzles in Scotland in the spring and autumn, so I am excited about a glorious September. I like the sense of going back to school. Soon Parliament will be back, and all the political programmes to which I am addicted shall saunter back into the Radio Four schedule, and the newspapers will stop running idiot stories about how to get a 'bikini body'. I can start dreaming of stews and root vegetables.
A few memories of summer:
The garden, facing west, in the afternoon light, with the apple blossom still out:
The flowers on the rowan trees:
The pink geraniums:
The even pinker peony:
Some extremely elegant ladies, basking in the July sunshine:
The wild grass in the meadow:
The blowsy old oriental poppy, like an Edwardian mistress in her pomp:
The surprisingly exotic chive flower:
My favourite fat lavender:
And the glorious night sky:
I am still a little out of routine after the guests' five day visit, so please forgive me for not replying to all your enchanting comments of the last couple of days. You know I love them all. A few of my favourite bloggers have been having trouble lately with unkind and anonymous comments, so I am acutely aware of how lucky I am to have such kind and polite and encouraging and interesting readers. Happy September to you all.