Friday, 25 July 2014

Shaws Corner - National Trust

The journey is around 45 minutes drive from Ampthill (22 miles), a pleasant country drive.  It is the former residence of Sir George Bernard Shaw. 

I would think unless you are a really big fan of GBS you will only spend an hour or so around there.  It was a nice afternoon out and lovely to take a picnic, as there are no catering facilities there, just some ice-creams.

The garden is lovely and slopes away from the house, but I did feel that it could do with some attention, particularly the flowerbeds, the orchard and wooded areas are fine.  GBS had a writing hut which is still in the garden.

As you can see the house in not a 'stately manor' just a large house with servants quarters.

There are some seats around the grounds and we did take a picnic and enjoyed just sitting in the grounds in the sunshine.

There is a lot of information about GBS in the house and there are volunteers that take you through a lot of the history.  If you enjoy the history of the writer there is so much to see, and it is still as he left it.   

Parking can be a bit tricky, as the car park is quite small, but there is a steady stream of people coming and going.

As we are National Trust members it didn't cost us anything for the entry, I did think that the entry price was a bit high at the time.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Flowers from the garden

I have grown some marigolds, cornflower and rudbeckia from seed, and have been picking them.

The Rudbeckia is the large yellow flower in the centre, and is the first out - but can see that there are many more to follow.

The white flower is a phlox - lovely and scented, I do sell them on the market when I have some available, they are just all coming into bloom now and stand up nice and strong a good plant for the back of the flower beds, or I also have a plant in the veg patch just so that I can pick some.

Unfortunately the cornflowers fell over whilst I was on holiday so are a bit bent, I have now staked them and they are starting to sort themselves out, so hopefully will be looking better for picking in a vase soon.  I love the these little flowers, and although they don't last that long they have loads of flowers, so no shortage of picking, I will be putting some seeds in next year.

So maybe if I have some left there will be some for sale on the Ampthill country Market.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Ascott - gardens and house - National trust

sundial summer 2013
Trip out
Ascott House is near Wing and about a 30 minute drive from Ampthill, about 18 miles.  

We visited the gardens in summer 2013 and was pleasantly surprised, and it is definitely worth visiting.

The gardens are varied, there is a mix of footpaths and some grassed areas.  There are some amazing hedges using a variety of plants, and topiary, along with a sundial made from box and other green shrubs.

They have seasonal planting in some of the beds, both with annual and perennial flowering plants.  Some modern pieces of statuary as well as some lovely old pieces, a lake and a pond with fountains.  Make sure you get a map and you can do a circular walk.

There are benches around the grounds, so you can sit and take in the views.

The house has a few rooms that can be visited, containing a large amount oriental porcelain, paintings, furniture and ceramics, and also hand blocked wallpapers and tromp l'oeil dutch tiles.

The car park is outside of the gardens and a fair step to the main part, I think there is wheelchair access a lot closer.  There are only toilets at the car park.

There are no refreshments available, so make sure that you take something with you, if you are going to stay a while.

They have a website here:

It is owned by the National Trust:

The opening times are limited, so check the website before you set out, and would love to hear your comments.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Bread Pudding

I have always love bread pudding - not to be confused with bread and butter pudding, which I also love, but bread pudding is more of a cake slice.

It is a recipe that has been around for years, made by grandma :)

It is great for using up old bread, or even the crusts, if they are soft.

I spent ages looking at different recipes and in the end came up with my winning formula:

Bread Pudding
Bake 1 hour in a traybake at 170c
15 oz Bread soaked in
14 fl oz of Milk (can do some water)
3oz Sugar
10oz Dried fruit
2oz or 3 oz margarine - melted
1 egg
I add some Mixed Spice and some nutmeg

Basically soak the bread for at least half an hour, you can leave it for longer overnight in the fridge is fine, mash completely – I use a use mixer to get it smooth
Add everything else and bake - how simple is that.

Line the tin with silicone paper not greaseproof it sticks!

And you should have some nice Bread pudding. I sprinkle with sugar on top. This quantities are very 'loose'!

I cut it into 15, I have also added mashed bananas, and it is nice hot or cold.