Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink....let alone water the veg patch

Last night, the house was completely devoid of water, none in the taps, and only a smidgen in the last of a bottle of Evian. First thoughts were, of a plumbing trauma, then a rumour that all the water had been used to put out a fire at the Co-op (in fact it was due to a burst main) Europe's largest man made reservoir is just 1.5 miles down the road, but for some strange reason does not service us - I have never been able to work this out.
The Hound was very concerned about his latest crop of mizuna, he has taken to sowing successively every few days and eating them as shoots. Apparemment this is what all the great chefs are doing, and he is keen to keep up with the latest culinary trends.
Unable to make a pot of coffee or tea, we sat in the garden drinking Gin, hoping that the garden will survive a period of drought.

A vintage tea party, or how to do something interesting with an old teapot and some roses

Take one old teapot, preferably a pretty china one, covered in yellow roses, but if you can only find one covered in peonies or hyacinths this will suffice.

Cut a piece of floral foam so that it fits snugly and protrudes a little from the top, should you wish to take your teapot on a journey (perhaps a vintage steam train) you might want to use a frog and floral tack for a belt and braces approach.

Prop up the lid by spearing the floral foam with some sort of stick, a cocktail one would be good, or just the end of a rose stem.

Then simply fill with roses, use different sized heads for a more natural look. We have used Hypnose, Cream sensation, and some snipped from an indoor plant.

Repeat as required, not forgetting to leave at least one teapot for actual tea making purposes.

Should you run out of teapots, you could turn your attention to storage jars


A weekend in the magical land of W11

Where the houses are painted in shades of spring flowers

The bakery sells cakes of chocolate and cherry

The shops plant up wicker baskets with box and trailing ivy

and the cars are festooned with flowers

Rosa rannuncular

The perfect way of showing off an unusual rose. Line a mini goldfish bowl with leaves, tie 9 roses together, et voila! Ideal for a coffee table, or make up 5 to run along a dining table.


The technology of information

Today has been a day of battling with I.T. matters. My email has been having a teenage strop, and I have been trying to work out how to extend the website to accommodate some interesting new things we have coming up. The Hound and I normally rely on a very dear friend to deal with all our technical matters, said friend, however is moving abroad, so we have decided to try some "Upgrades!" ourselves, after all it is all 1's and 0's so how hard can it be?
The Grand Prix winnings were enough to invest in a web cam and microphone for Skyping, I have struggled to make it work. The Hound however (like anyone under the age of 5) has taken to it like a duck to water, and is chatting to Paulette, a pretty poodle who lives in an apartment on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
Details of the new flower school, will be available at the end of the month, stay tuned for course details!


The magnificent man in his flying machine

Mr Hamilton has been up to his old tricks again - winning at Hockenheim. A magnificent display of his skill, determination, and what must now be the best car this season. The Hound is sitting on the sofa looking perplexed, trying to calculate how much he has won. A £10 bet with odds of 11/8 ? - sadly not enough for a Morris Traveller!

The Hound is taking a correspondence course...

In interior design, he first project is the sitting room.

A cardigan wearing sort of girl

I have never been trendy, probably due to my penchant for a nice cardy. I often accessorise said cardy with a nice brooch, and I have now quite a collection of quirky things on pins. This weekend I added to my collection, and am particularly keen on the Eiffel tower brooches. We have often added them as a finishing touch to a bridal bouquet.


O the sweet sweet peas of summer

Highly fragrant and locally grown - truly divine. Just a few stems will fill a room with their scent. Fill pressed glass vases or use the good old Bonne Maman jars. For fancy occasions tie a piece of ribbon or raffia around the rim.


Romantic notions

Today I was reminded of some words from Tennyson.
"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever."

Bits and bobs

Pretty buttonholes

Flowers travelling far and wide

Why do I get inundated with emails offering me Viagra?......I have no use for it, thank you very much


Heaven scent

The shop is filled with much herbage today, and people have walked out with bouquets of flowers mixed with rosemary, mint and oregano.The scent is heavenly.


How the devil are you?

Another joy of having a shop is the customers. It is market day on Friday, and The Hound and I get in early to take a stroll and purchase vegetables and pigs ears. We always bump into regular customers, a chance to catch up news of holidays, exam results, and naturally some general admiration of The Boy Wonder. It also occurred to me today that we have a number of regular customers, whom I have never met. People who live all over the UK and use us to send flowers to family and friends in far flung places. Two such customers rang today to place orders, and it was equally lovely to chat to them, I have a mental image of what they look like, and am curious to see if it is correct.

Such a snob

I am a self confessed flower snob. One of the joys of having my own shop is that I can inflict my snobbery on the good people of Stamford. Xanths, carnations, alstromeria and the dreaded gerbera are banished, I find these flowers most offensive, used for longevity rather than beauty or scent. I have even been known to sneer at them at market. This week a particular order required some gerberas, I only needed a few, but you have to buy 30, and so 26 of them have sat in the shop. I have looked at them long and hard and tried like them, but I simply can't. I would rather have a single sweetpea that lasts just a few days, than a truck load of gerbera that last 2 weeks.


Single white female

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I have yet to be convinced!


Rain, rain kindly desist

The newly planted lavender and box are now thoroughly watered and The Hound, fed up to the back teeth, is surfing the net for last minute deals to Dubai.
It is my opinion that on rainy days the calorific value of all food is halved, and so this afternoon we tucked into a Battenburg, washed down with cups of earl grey tea. Battenburg always reminds me of my late grandmother, who became known as "blue grandma" - (she wore a blue dress one day and the name stuck).My other grandmother is known as "bungalow grandma", although she now lives in a house so we use it less. This method of identifying people has proven to be useful in the shop, particularly for our male customers. We now have "yellow flower man", "white and green man", "the poshest man in the world", "the teacher" and my personal favourite "Cashmere man" I have quite a crush on this impeccably dressed man, so called because I imagine everything he owns is made of cashmere, his shoes are always shiny and he smells nice too.


By jove, the boy did it!

From the GO, GO, GO! Mr Hamilton was out to win, He did it rather spectacularly with a faultless drive and a great strategy for the weather. Meanwhile back at Ferrari, who are obviously suffering with the credit crunch felt the best way to save money was not to change Mr Raikkkonen's tyres, and Mr Massa seemed to be auditioning for a post racing career shot at Strictly Come Dancing. The Hound and I, quite overcome with excitement have had to have a little lie down.


The Hound has been shopping....

Apparently it was a bargain in the John Lewis clearance sale. He also returned with some interesting delicacies from Waitrose. Rather like Ready Steady Cook, I have been presented with anchovies stuffed with Manchego, chestnut flour, Salmon rillettes, and an apricot tart. He is currently snacking on a pork pie, awaiting my culinary genius to work it's magic.

Prettiness at The Hall of Hambleton

A very natural wedding today at the renowned Hambleton Hall. Love-in-a-mist, Pepita roses, larkspur, lisianthus, myrtle, alchemilla, rosemary, mint and viburnum berries. The sun was shining and Rutland Water took on a look of the Mediterranean.

Buttonholes of Love-in-a-Mist, myrtle and rosemary

The flowergirls wore headbands with rose buds

Table centres of flowers and herbs wrapped in leaves and tied with raffia


Playing chicken with the fuel gauge

One of the questions I get asked the most is "Do you miss London?" My answer is usually "Yes I miss my friends, and being able to drink Champagne without anyone asking what I am celebrating" I also miss Feng Sushi, The Electric Cinema, Ottolenghi, Espressotinis, Italian magazines and The Wine Factory, (Most of the things I miss seem to be food related and it is at times like this when I realise why I am not a size zero) It would however take something rather spectacular to get me back to the big smoke.

Fast forward to 4am this morning, and I realised I also miss the convenience of London. As I jumped in the van to go to market, the van beeped at me. This beep indicates you are running on fumes, and must proceed post-haste to the nearest filling station. At 4a.m. in London this is easy, in Rutland, not so much. In a town where the police station closes for lunch, the petrol stations ( all 2 of them) also operate civilised opening hours - civilised for the staff not the early morning riser.

There is a 24 hour garage about 13 miles away, looking at the fuel gauge I wasn't sure if I would make it (the beeping had been on for a while, but I chose to ignore it yesterday)
Deciding to go for it, spurred on by the fact that if I didn't we would have an empty shop as we sold out yesterday, I opted for the get there as quick as you can method rather than the 56mph method, and get there I did. With adrenalin pumping I arrived at the cash desk, and gave the assistant a king's ransom.
I can hear the tut tutting of a certain gentleman reading this, who also tuts at my inability to add screen wash, oil or water to the Berlingo, and to that gentleman I say - Happy Birthday.