I know that there’s National Week for almost anything nowadays, but this week, 10th-16th August, is celebrating two of my favourite things that I’ve been especially excited about recently.
Secondly, it’s Afternoon Tea Week and, my, have I made my fair share of scones to serve with cream and jam alongside a beautiful brew this year!
Good things come to those who wait
Even if you have to wait 15 years…
Before we moved to our current house, well before I started keeping bees or even chickens, I applied for an allotment with our local authority. Our London borough, Hounslow, is a very strange shape and extends in a long stretch, predominantly along the Thames up our end, reaching down to Hanworth in the south west. So when I was initially offered a plot in Feltham, I politely declined knowing that I couldn’t commit to cultivating a patch that far away. There was a particular set of allotments that I was interested in, within walking distance and edged by the canal, and I was prepared to wait for one of these.
In the meantime, we’ve moved house and been honing our skills in both horticulture and apiculture.
Bees, Trees & Dirty Knees
Earlier this year, on Valentine’s Day, I received the exciting news that I’ve reached the top of the allotment list and that plot number 9 is all mine. At the first opportunity, I popped down to see what I was now responsible for. I unlocked the gates, walked past the first eight well kept bountiful plots and stood to survey my new domain and the task ahead.
With brambles 8ft high over most of the plot, clearing it will be my first priority. Not to be too daunted, I took courage from my friend Karen Liebreich, who reinstated the kitchen gardens at the historic Chiswick House, she reminded me that you eat an elephant a little bit at a time… So, I began, initially with a number of short term goals in mind.
First, I committed to trying to clear a couple of metres of ground each time I visited. Siting a shed (to store tools) and an Omlet Beehaus will be next on the list and if I got some potatoes in the ground – I’ll be jolly pleased.
A few months down the line and I’m as enthusiastic as ever, we’ve cleared most of the brambles, have a mountain of rubble that we’ve picked out of the soil and have got crops in 11 beds that are already producing a harvest. I haven’t done this all by myself, I’ve got fantastic neighbours with Paul and Mike on the plot next door and I’ve asked a friend, another Sara, to share the work and rewards on mine.
Now back to those scones…
Following the huge success of Celebrate at Home with Country Living back in May, we were asked to contribute to a Summer Special and focused on preserving homegrown produce from the allotment and garden. So what better way to fill the time it takes for Blackberry & Apple jam to cool, than make a batch of scones? You can watch the film here.
Last weekend, us locals were delighted to welcome back Brentford Market, that had been closed for several months, and the Brentford Together team took a stall to promote our weekly sessions. Everyone loves a giveaway, so our contribution from Hen Corner, to promote our FREE weekly online cooking sessions, was – yes, you’ve guessed it, individual promotional packs containing a freshly baked scone and a little pot of homemade Spiced Plum Jam.
Then, this week, we took our scones to a new level.
Our good friends at teapigs suggested that we collaborated for a special online event. If they were talking tea for Afternoon Tea Week, how did I feel about teaching all our followers how to bake light fluffy scones? Oh yes, was my response, bring it on!
So yesterday afternoon, we teamed up with teapigs for a Tea & Scone Masterclass, it was great fun, and they tasted delicious (if you missed it live, you can find it on Facebook) But I think that I need to have a break from scones now, as I have a little problem – I can’t stop eating them…
- We’ve contacted all our guests who had their courses at Hen Corner postponed offering them new dates
- There’s spaces on Pick and Pickle and A Day at Hen Corner if you’d like to join us
- We seem to be successful, so far, in growing Brussels sprouts, it might not seem much of an achievement, but it’s definitely something that we’re excited about!
Jobs for the week:
- Continue clearing the fly tipped rubbish from the plot, an old vacuum cleaner, toilet cistern, bed mattress, tyres, etc.
- Prep for next week’s courses, both virtual and face to face
- Make a special film to be included in the Brentford Festival virtual event.
Have a great week, enjoy the sunshine,