Sunday, 28 February 2016

Chilli Times

Hello hello

I hope you have done all those jobs and are sitting comfortably with a cup of coffee.

Last week I showed you a photo of the latest chilli on plants grown from seed and kept inside over the Winter. Here's an update on their progress.

There's five! Fancy that and getting quite long too.

Have fun.

See you soon.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Bombay Sapphire Laverstoke Mill Whitchurch


Following on from my post yesterday, we were rather impressed when we arrived at the mill ready for our tour of the distillery.

In front of us were a large selection of old, but recently renovated, buildings with a fast flowing river gliding along - the chalky River Test on its way to Southampton.

The site has been renovated by Thomas Heatherwick to provide an outstanding BREEAM rated plant for building sustainability which includes a biomass boiler and electricity generated by a waterwheel.

Interestingly, the site has been used for a thousand years, originally a corn mill and then a paper mill which produced banknotes and now the distillery which opened there in 2013.

Two fabulous greenhouses emerge from the mill like bubble mixture blown from the top floor which house Mediterranean plants in one and tropical plants in the other used to flavour the gin.

A most interesting afternoon.


Friday, 26 February 2016

Five on Friday - Bombay Sapphire


I'm rather late posting for Five on Friday today - it's been one of those weeks! I'm sure there are lots of interesting posts on Amy's blog already, perhaps you've been enjoying them.

My five relate to a trip to a distillery making Bombay Sapphire Gin. The reason for our visit was not the gin, honest but another of designer Thomas Heatherwick's constructions on the premises. I am rather a fan of his.


It's all rather modern even though the distillary is situated on an historic site. You have to book your ticket in advance and can choose an escorted tour or a self guided one.  When you arrive, you type the code you got online into the machine to get a personal interactive guide which has a gadget on the back to activate various recorded stories and turnstiles plus order a free drink/gift.


I didn't know very much about gin but it starts life as a neutral spirit made from grain which is 97% alcohol and imported from France. It is then watered down to 85%, placed in huge copper stills and heated by steam so that it vapourises and passes through a secret combination of botanicals - juniper, coriander, lemon peel, angelica, orris root, licquorice, almond, cassia bark, cubeb berries and grains of paradise. It has now turned into gin and is then condensed into liquid gin and stored. Distillers check it tastes as it should at the beginning and end of the process as there is usually a period when it doesn't meet the stringent taste requirements and it is diverted to a different tank and sold to the perfume industry. The gin is still 85% proof at this point and will be transported to the plant at Warrington to be diluted to 40% ready for consumption.


The Botanical Dry Room is a great place where all the ingredients are laid out for you to see and sniff! You can even punch your interactive guide (the paper one, not the tour guide!) when you find a smell you particularly like!


Following the tour, you can visit the Mill bar where they will whip up a cocktail for you using the flavours that you selected after all that sniffing. I opted for a soft drink and chose a Rhubarb Refresher.  Delicious!  I was quite surprised to find that no rhubarb had been used at all but it was a combination of vanilla seed sugar syrup, cloudy apple, cranberry and lemon juice.  In fact all the cocktails looked great and were masquerading as a different flavour!


As I didn't try the gin in the cocktail, I collected a free sample of gin and tonic to take home, too cute to open.  They also had some delicious chocolate cake and coffee. Yum!

I'll tell you about the Heatherwick bit and the historic buildings tomorrow.

Have a good week.


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Next Project


Thanks for visiting.

My next woolly project is to recover and jazz up an armchair.  I've made a few squares so far and will eventually join them all together to make two big cushion covers.

It will go in the same room as this sofa which I recovered several years ago.

I'll let you know how it turns out!


Wednesday, 24 February 2016

A Spring in my Step


First of all many thanks for your messages, I'm a bit behind with everything as The Patient was let out of the hospital yesterday. All seems well so far. Phew!

The sun has also been let out of its wintery abode and as a shop stock up was on the cards, so was a walk round the park.

The sun in the lake with ducks!

Frosty polyanthus being warmed up

Bright blue sky

Daffs on the verge of opening
 Not a lot different from last time going on inside but I did spot this stage model for an old production of the History Boys.

Cheerio for now