Sunday, September 27, 2020

Ceilidh at the Turner's Farm

 Our Ceilidh

Last night was our much anticipated Ceilidh at the Turner Farm. We were all so happy to celebrate the harvest with the Turners once again and this year’s Ceilidh was every bit as much fun as all the previous ones. The evening was filled with good food, laughter, song, stories and dance. It was wonderful to see everyone smiling and enjoying the evening and it will surely be a night to be remembered.

Entering the barn was enchanting with all the lovely lanterns casting beautiful patterns around the floor, walls and ceiling, making the room dance with light. Buntings of bright autumn colours were hung in swags transforming the barn into an elegant hall. There were stooks of hay put here and there for ambiance and the tables for the food had colourful cloths upon them in all the earthy shades of autumn. It truly was a sight to behold; the children stood awestruck just looking around at all the colour.

To the side was a place for the musicians who had set up early and were playing light-hearted tunes as everyone arrived. It lightened the mood and lifted everyone’s spirits to hear those old familiar songs. Soon some were singing along while others clapped in time, chatting all the while.

It seemed the entire village was there and another table had to be brought in to hold all the generous home cooked food donated for this special evening. Everyone used their best dishes and the table looked elegant and inviting, eliciting much admiration from the guests. Gardens around the village supplied fresh fruit and produce to round out all the savoury dishes and cakes. Eva Broome not only made her braised Grouse and Kensington cake but brought several other cakes to sample.

We enjoyed the bounty of our gardens and kitchens amongst laughter and stories, some standing to recite a favourite poem. At times someone would begin a song and everyone would join in singing, promoting such a feeling of community and friendship throughout the evening. Eva Broome started to sing Bonnie Dundee and soon everyone was singing then the fiddles and pipes joined in making it a resounding chorus.

After our feast, the music commenced once again and the dancing began. The Turner boys danced with all the young ladies in attendance making sure everyone shared in the fun. Those not dancing clapped their hands or tapped there feet in time with the music while watching the dancers swirl and skip to the beat of the tunes. Strip the Willow was a particular favourite and danced not once but twice!

It was a happy time for all and so very welcome after such a long pause. We thank the Turners for hosting this happy tradition in the village once again.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Closer Look into our Residents' Lives, Part five

 Dr. Woodforde

We last heard about Jane Meryvale sidestepping her mother’s blatant attempts at matchmaking having decided Dr. Woodforde the perfect candidate to wed her daughter. But who is Dr. Woodforde? Read on for a glimpse into the doctor’s life.

Dr. Robert Woodforde, having recently completed his training to practice medicine has returned to his home in Inscombe. A brilliant student awarded honours for his work he had a bright future in town and was certain he would have been chosen to work with Dr. Wayte, one of the foremost physicians in London. His mother’s declining health dictated he return to the Greenlea Estate but with the intention of returning to London at the earliest opportunity. An only child, the care of his mother fell solely to him.

Once back home in Inscombe, the demands on his time came quickly. As the weeks went by he realized he enjoyed the life of a country doctor. This led Dr. Thornton of Bexford to ask Dr. Woodforde to partner with him with an aim to take over when he retired. If this offer had come when Dr. Woodforde had first arrived home it would have met with a polite refusal, however now, rural medicine quite appealed to him and so he accepted Dr. Thornton’s proposal to join forces.

It was through Dr. Thornton he’d met Miss Meryvale. He had immediately thought her like the other young ladies he was acquainted with in London who vied for his attention, deeming him a good match, when she offered her assistance in organizing the school on his estate and procuring a teacher. It was only after lunching with Miss Meryvale and her mother he realized it was her mother who intended him to marry her daughter. Miss Meryvale apologized for her mother’s obvious attempts at pushing them together and went on to assure him she never intended to marry. Sensible and efficient, he found her help with establishing the school invaluable and at times she confounded him.

Together Dr. Woodforde and Miss Meryvale try to dissuade Mrs. Meryvale they are not suited. Charis Meryvale, however, has other ideas.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

A Note From Eva Broome


Hallo M’Dearies,

Tis wonderful news the Turners will once again be hosting their Ceilidh. Ceilidh, pronounced Kay-Lee, is an old Gaelic word meaning visit and it shall be a grand occasion for us all to meet with friends and neighbours. In my youth, back in Fife, we would tell stories and recite poems and passages from books we loved, there was much singing and later dancing and of course good food to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Everyone pitched in and brought something to share and it was always a feast of many wonderful dishes.

As you know I am partial to baking cakes so I shall bring one of my favourites to the gathering but I shall also be bringing a Braised Grouse. I am much obliged to Mr. Jasper Downsman of the Nettles for kindly supplying a brace of grouse for my purposes and to Viscount Comely for allowing him to do so, he is the kindest of landlords.

I thought I would share my receipt for Kensington Cake. Perhaps you will try it at home or indeed bring one to the Ceilidh. As I am wont to say, there is always a need for a wee bit of cake, and the more cake the better for such an occasion as the Turner’s Ceilidh.

Kensington Cake


½ lb. Butter 3 ounces Sultanas

½ lb. Sugar 2 ounces Citrus Peel

½ lb. Flour ½ teaspoon Baking Powder

4 eggs


First beat the sugar and butter to a cream, then add 4 eggs, also beating until quite thick. Then add the flour and sultanas and citrus peel. Last of all add the baking powder. Bake in a moderate oven. Dinna open the oven to check the cake and dinna let the children make loud noises or your cake will drop and you’ll be left with a biscuit! This cake is very nice iced with coffee icing.

Coffee Icing


½ lb. Sugar

½ lb. Butter

1 tablespoon very strong coffee


Cream the butter, then add the sugar and coffee and mix very well until a smooth spreading consistency is achieved.

Do let me know how you like the recipe. Fiona and I shall be so happy to see you all at the Ceilidh.

Until the 26th,

Best wishes,

Eva Broome

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Folding & Sealing a letter in a Georgian/Regency Style

Because envelopes had not yet been invented during the Georgian Era, letters were artfully folded and sealed with wax.  One "quarto" was the size paper used to write letters, that being one quarter of a broadsheet, which was the size used for newspapers. A quarto is roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper.

There were several ways to fold and seal a letter but today we will just learn two different styles of folding and sealing your letter. Below we have a small fold using a portrait orientation and also a horizontal orientation that gives a slightly larger folded letter.

To achieve the smaller portrait orientation folded letter, hold your letter vertically and fold the sides into the middle.  Crease the sides to make sealing easier.  Once you have done this, fold the bottom up about three inches and then again three more inches.  Fold the top of the paper down over the bottom fold and apply your wax seal. Your letter is now tamper-proof and ready to be sent to your correspondent.

To fold and seal you letter in the landscape orientation, hold your paper horizontally and fold it in half.  On the right side, fold inwards one half inch.  Now fold the bottom edge of the paper up about three inches and crease and then fold the top edge down over the bottom.  Now you are ready to affix your wax seal. 

Foraging with Old Mary

  Hello, My Dears, As you know, I like nothing better than to meander around the Ackley Wood, foraging for herbs and wild flowers to use i...