Sunday, 27 June 2021

Chelsea Buns

 With a nasty looking weather forecast I decided to do a bit of Baking, a batch of Chelsea Buns always a favourite since holidays in Wales as a kid and surprisingly easy to make!

I did the Sainsbury's recipe as it was second up on Google and I had all the stuff! Everything Organic unless stated!!

The dry ingredients a mixture of Strong Bread Flour,Salt,Yeast and Castor Sugar

Melt the Butter

Egg and Cashew Milk (they are a bastard to milk so small!!) Used Cashew milk as bought by mistake,looks the same colour carton as Oat Milk on Ocado and splits when used in coffee so good to use it up and seemed to make no difference than cow's milk in this case!

Mix em together and Knead, I used the Dough Hook on the machine, as I'm lazy,first time I've tried it and worked a treat!

The Dough in a Bowl

Action shot of me cleaning up,don't believe the lies😲

The filling, I use Organic Sultanas, Light Muscovado Sugar and Mixed Spice, though you can use any dry fruit and cinnamon if you like that sort of thing!!! 

The Dough in the bowl after two hours proving

The Dough outta the bowl!

The Dough rolled out and Buttered

The filling spread out and pushed in a bit!

Rolled up

Cut up and arranged in the buttered tin

45 mins later

Making the Glaze

Glaze while hot from the oven

The finished product

It taste good......! 😜

So that's about it a bit of waiting around whilst you wait for it to prove, you can always do what I did and break and mend the recycle bin while you wait!!! But apart from that simple to do and very,very tasty especially warm out the oven!!
Unfortunately these don't keep well and are best eaten when still warm, at time of writing several have mysteriously disappeared!!!😁😁😁😁😁😁 I'm investigating but have little hope of survivors!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Saturday, 26 June 2021


 I managed to wake up reasonably early this morning, dismissing vague notions of a drive to Suffolk to see the Roller, I decided to have a trudge around the local patch, after 10 mins spent trying to put me legs back on me fancy-dan trousers😑, eventually winning the man vs clothing battle and leaving the Starling/Sparrow mayhem in the back garden, I headed out!! Luckily that patch is only a mile or so from the front door so was fully kitted up and on my way before 7 am (so not that early😏) Still glorious blue sky and a Skylark singing so a good start. As I headed around the first field, full of crop this year and no margin so decidedly light on wildlife compared to last year, I spotted a couple of distant blobs on a telephone post which through the bins turned out to be a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Whitethroat as more posts came into view they were joined by a Buzzard, neither post were occupied for long though so pictures were a bit distant!

GSW and Whitethroat

At the first Crossroads despite the presence of a another, very showy Great Spotted Woodpecker, I decided to turn right up the hill rather than go through the glades as 1) they looked very wet and overgrown and 2) as they are usually better for insects I felt it would be more productive as the weather warmed up, so come back that way later!

Showy GSW

 This immediately proved an excellent  decision as 30 yards up the hill a Yellowhammer  flew out of the hedge on to a dead tree where he proceeded to catch some rays!! It was a lovely view as due to the steep banks here I was sort of looking up at it,needless to say  I started taking far to many pictures of it as the bird posed for ages, indeed I would probably still be there now, clicking away, if it hadn't been for a dogwalker coming up the track, whose dog barked at me (they tend to bark at me, I like to think it is because of the strange camera, rather than them sensing my evil soul such as in the "The Omen"!😈)

A few pictures of the bird below, spoiler alert this isn't the best encounter I had with a Yellowhammer today!!πŸ˜²πŸ˜‚

With the Dog Walker taking the route I was going to follow,I decided to divert down towards the Golf Club there is a nice area at the bottom which held a few birds and looked nice in the early morning sunlight! In Margie's absence I got a bit arty with the grass which never ends well!!

Meadow Brown

Arty Grass

Pair of Goldfinch nicely backlit!

Just the 2 poppies escaped the pesticide

Rather than head out over the golf course I retraced my steps and rejoined my original route, a few Skylarks here,  flitting around and a few Common Whitethroats knocking about as well, I crossed the stream into the vineyard a group of Corvids were sitting on the vineposts, I think mainly Rooks and a Green Woodpecker flew up off the floor straight into a tree, like they do when they see me coming!! The vineyard itself was pretty quiet a few Goldfinch flying about and at the very top of the hill there were Skylarks singing above the silage field, hopefully they won't try and nest there it will probably be cut again soon! the weather seemed to be on the turn with a strange mist over Wolstonbury and the Church!!

Common Whitethroat getting harder to get pics off now they are not singing so much


Parliament in session!

Green Woodpecker


I'm always impressed by the symmetry of this tree 

Misty Church

Misty Wolstonbury

I headed down to the Church, the Swallows seemed to have been successful as there were at least three Juveniles flying around, could of been more they are a bugger to follow with the bins and I didn't even bother trying to take pics, if they want their pics taken they need to land on the gnarly tree!! πŸ˜€The large dead tree in the church yard had a lone I think Juvenile, Stock Dove and there was a rather nice blue Damselfly on the path, out on to "The Patch" proper, Beautiful Demoiselles still in abundance and a few Butterflies about,has it been a bad year for butterflies? Last year, at this time there were loads, I've not seen a Marbled White yet this year and numbers of other species seem very low as well, apart from a few Meadow Browns,a couple of skippers and a few Speckled Woods I hardly saw any today!!

Blurred record shot of  the Juvenile Stock Dove

One of the few Butterflies I saw posing well on a flower

Beautiful Demoiselle

At this point in the long grass I spied a deer, the view was fairly obscured due to the long grass and the fact that it was about 30 feet away the other side of a sparse hedge,but it appeared to be giving a fawn a good licking, so maybe just given birth, couldn't really see the Fawn think there is an ear visible in the picsπŸ’“ (yes I know I'm a big softy)

There was no way to get clearer shots without disturbing them, so I left them to it and headed on,but a nice encounter!
A few Chiffchaffs singing here abouts and I could hear Nuthatches, with one eventually spotted, no sight or  sound of the Nightingale that had been present on the last couple of visits, hopefully a sign that he has found a mate and they are busy nesting rather than he has given up and moved on!! (glass half full) a few families of Tits about and some Whitethroats, but still no sign of the Bullfinches or Greenfinches from last year. The Song Thrushes also have stopped singing although I saw several diving into bushes!!

Grey Heron flyover


This Robin looked like he'd had enough of life to be honest!

I decided to head back through the Glades the path here was very wet both the grass and the mud and also very overgrown a legacy perhaps of the wet weather and less people using the area due to the lifting of restriction, however I persevered and was rewarded immediately with the biggest surprise of the day, I heard the call first looked up to see a Kingfisher shoot over my head,far to quick for a pic!! Although Cutlers Brook runs along side the path here, it seems far to small to support a Kingfisher, but just goes to show you never know!! 😯

As predicted earlier this was now more about the insects although, there were birds flitting about far to overgrown to get pics of although I managed a Whitethroat, plenty of Beautiful Demoiselles here they at least seemed to have benefitted from the wet spring and lush undergrowth, far more about than usual, at this point I noticed one that was different and was delighted to see the first Banded Demoiselle I have seen in this area (confirmed on Facebook!)

Skipper of some sort!!

Banded Demoiselle

Speckled Wood

Common Whitethroat

I got back to the car, it was still earlyish so in a fit of madness I decided to head across the road, follow the path under then along the A23 which brings you out on the farmland at the bottom of Bullfinch Lane! Once in the open I could hear distant Yellowhammers and Skylark I followed that path down past Yellowhammer Corner and along Yellowhammer Alley (Don't think these are the official names of these paths) Were a few birds in the hedges and a small group on the floor were IDed through the bins as Yellowhammers all pretty distant though!

Distant Yellowhammer


At this point I was distracted by a very loud group of 4 Ravens who flew around the area, Kronking loudly and chasing each other about, possibly a family group although it seemed to be 3 together and 1 separate individual, anyway a very vocal and rowdy 10 minutes!!

Church without mist

So while all this had been going on a Yellowhammer had appeared further along the hedge and was having a singsong, I was just considering going into ninja mode when it took off flew along the hedge and landed 10 feet away from me Hurrah, at this point another bird took over the vacant perch and they proceeded to have a sing off!! Fantastic stuff, I haven't got many superpowers but standing still and doing very little is one of them, paid off this time!!πŸ˜€

The Enemy

Let Battle Commence

Having seen off the upstart my boy flew off and I headed back towards the car. My first blog post just over a year ago featured these Yellowhammers nice to see they are still going strong, fabulous birds!!!

As I left the area a Buzzard starting thermal-ling in the next field!

Common Buzzard

I headed back down the path along the A23 as I exited the tunnel I encountered my first Tit flock of the Autumn πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Yep the A word Summer is over, this was quite a large flock mostly Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits but a couple of Chiffchaff in there as well though hard to tell how many altogether with constant movement and birds high in the canopy.

Long-tailed Tit

Blue Tit

A final Beautiful Demoiselle
So that was about it no European Roller for me 😒 but on the plus side no 250 mile round trip either!! And I've seen one before!!