Friday, 3 February 2017

Visiting the Bishop's Palace in Wells

We treated ourselves to a day out in our new City: joined as friends at the Bishop's Palace and Gardens then went out to lunch at Rugantino's.  This little restaurant is a real gem.  After enjoying the WI dinner in January, Mr S was looking forward to eating there, and working out if it was just the company on the night which gave me such a good impression.  Having lunched there and each of us having different dishes, we can agree that it is indeed a very nice place to have lunch.  The restaurant is attached to a small hotel with the most wonderful views over the Cathedral Green.

We enjoyed our visit to the garden.  It was very quiet, which meant we enjoyed several views of the Kingfishers darting along the stream in the gardens.  The garden was in the depth of winter, with a few early spring flowers out: snowdrops, cyclamen and a few primroses in really sheltered spots.

It was fascinating to stand on the wooden boardwalk over St Andrew's Well where you could peer into the body of water which was welling up from underground.  The colourful stands of this shrub Cornus sanguinea 'Midwinter Fire' reminded me to check, but then I found that I must have left the rooted cuttings of this one behind in Warwickshire, but I am sure to find a good specimen either in the market or at the couple of good local nurseries at the right time.

The fruit dangling down from tree branches were quite interesting...I even tried to a taste of them...the tree label gives its name which of course I would have known had we first seen these during the summer:  It is the Handkerchief tree: Davidia Involucrata.

There were dragons: in the garden as well as in the Palace.

But this angel with the light shining through is my angel for this day

and in the Bishop's Chapel were some beautiful works of art with angels....

again there were some wonderful examples of needlework...more angels

and more goldwork than I have ever seen in one garment

I am sure we shall enjoy popping into the garden throughout the year and seeing how it wakes from its wintry slumbers: solace the sadness at leaving behind my lovely garden in Warwickshire, and inspiration for the design and planting of the new garden over the next couple of years.

Swedish Limpa Bread

With a rye sourdough starter, a mixture of wholemeal spelt and rye, and white strong wheat flours, malt syrup, ground fennel, caraways seed and grated orange zest, a little salt, these three mini breads took most of the day to rise...but it was a very cool day.  Jane Mason's recipe yields a loaf of around 550g, but I was a little nervous as to the flavour since it is the first time I have baked this.  I wondered whether it would be to Mr S's taste, so decided to make three small ones.  The was an alternative motive too: my very good friend and bread guru is coming to stay in a few days time, and I will be able to draw on the freezer stash to share a taster with her.  Mr S really enjoyed it too, so next time I shall make two 550g loaves!