‘I do sincerely trust
that the benediction
that is always awaiting me
in my garden may by degrees be more deserved and that I may grow in grace and patience and cheerfulness, just like the happy flowers
I so much love.’ Elizabeth von Arnim
I love bonfire night and am so
pleased that Spennymoor, my home town, is one of the few places to hold its
annual firework display on 5th November, no matter which day of the
week it falls.
The bonfire used to be held in
Jubilee Park. My aunt would have baked potatoes
in the coal oven and we’d all set off for the celebrations with pockets stuffed
full of the hot potatoes which both warmed cold hands and were a delight to eat
while firework-watching. Once the excitement of the display was over we’d hurry
home to a feast of hot dogs and home-made toffee apples. Those were the days...
This year, however, the supper
will be pumpkin soup made from a pumpkin grown on the allotment.
Cinderella for the use of ...
(1lb 5oz) pumpkin flesh, roughly chopped
celery sticks chopped
garlic clove ditto
each of ground cumin and coriander
(1 pint 7fl oz) vegetable stock
(7fl oz) coconut milk
pumpkin flesh into a food processor and whiz for 30 seconds until almost
celery, garlic and spices and whiz for another 30 seconds.
into a large pan.
the stock and coconut milk, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for c15
from the heat and blend until smooth.
the seasoning and ladle into warmed soup bowls.
with pumpkin seeds and freshly ground black pepper.
with crusty bread
We always used to burn our
garden rubbish on 5th November and it was amazing how many times
neighbours took the opportunity to volunteer extra items to add to the
conflagration! The ash contains potash and is excellent for sprinkling around
fruit trees. These days bonfires aren’t encouraged any more. Although still
allowed at the allotment, strict rules are enforced so very few allotmenteers
burn rubbish, preferring to compost as much as possible.
fires burn bright and clear
the logs are kept a year:
only good they say
for years ‘tis stored away:
and firwood burn too fast,
too bright and do not last.
ashwood green and ashwood brown,
fit for a Queen with a golden crown.
logs, if dry and old
away the winter’s cold:
gives a bitter smoke,
your eyes and makes you choke:
burns like churchyard mould,
the very flames are cold:
will scent the room:
smells like flowers in bloom:
ashwood wet and ashwood dry,
King may warm his slippers by.
Tree man seen at The Floriade
Bearing in mind the latest
threat to Britain’s
ash trees, we may all be very warm this winter!