Saturday 2 July 2011

Poetry Saturday . . . Old Nicholas Nye . . .

Thistle and darnel and dock grew there,
And a bush, in the corner, of may,
On the orchard wall I used to sprawl
In the blazing heat of the day;
Half asleep and half awake,
While the birds went twittering by,
And nobody there my lone to share
But Nicholas Nye.

Nicholas Nye was lean and grey,
Lame of a leg and old,
More than a score of donkey's years
He had seen since he was foaled;
He munched on thistles, purple and spiked,
Would sometimes stoop and sigh,
And turn his head, as if he said,
'Poor Nicholas Nye!'

Alone with his shadow he'd drowse in the meadow,
Lazily swinging his tail,
At break of day he used to bray . . .
Not much too hearty and hale;
But a wonderful gumption was under his skin,
And a clean calm light in his eye,
And once in a while he'd smile . . .
Would Nicholas Nye.

Seem to be smiling at me he would,
From his bush in the corner, of may . . .
Bony, and ownerless, widowed and worn,
Knobbly kneed, lonely and grey;
And over the grass would seem to pass
'Neath the deep dark blue of the sky,
Something much better than words between me
And Nicholas Nye.

But dusk would come in the apple boughs,
The green of the glow-worm shine,
The birds in the nest would crouch to rest,
And home I'd trudge to mine;
And there, in the moonlight, dark with dew,
Asking not wherefore nor why,
Would brood like a ghost, and still as a post,
Old Nicholas Nye.
~Walter De La Mare

When I was a girl my parents often took us up the mountain to visit my mother's Aunt Orabelle. She was the eldest sister of my Maternal Grandmother and getting very old and my mother used to enjoy passing the time with her and talking about days gone by . . . sitting in her old musty kitchen that smelled of oil cloth and wood smoke and old people . . .

We children found it quite, quite boring and so we would escape outside. There was a meadow outside of the old farmhouse, complete with a very old, and very blind horse. We would pet this old dear and feed it sugar cubes and apples . . . the highlight of our visit up the mountain. I expect he quite enjoyed our visits, as did we. I often think of him and how lonely he seemed. This poem made me think of him this morning. I did so enjoy reading it and I hope you did too. You can't beat some Walter De La Mare, can you?

Well, my dishwasher will not arrive now until the 14th. Apparently the model I picked was out of stock, but no worries, it will eventually arrive. My six months supply of Finish Dishwasher Tablets arrived yesterday, so that was exciting. I just must be patient now. All things come to those who wait doncha know!

Have been keeping up with the young Royals, William and Kate and their visit to Canada. What a lovely young couple they are, and so obviously blissfully happy together! I will be calling my mother later today and I expect she will have lots to tell me about the television coverage over there of this event!

I know this is a holiday weekend both in Canada and in the US so I want to wish all my North American Friends a very Happy Canada/Independance Day! I hope it is filled with lots of sunshine, happy family times and lots of good food! You will still have time to make these lovely little cookie tarts to help in your holiday celebrations! Delicious and pretty and not more than a bite or two each, everyone is sure to love them!

*Almond and Raspberry Blossoms*
Makes 24
Printable Recipe

Delicious little bite sized cookie tarts with an almond pastry, a creamy almond frangipane filling and topped with a fresh berry that are very simple to make and would make the perfect finger food dessert for your holiday picnics!

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of ground almonds
1/2 cup of butter
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 cup of butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
2 TBS granulated sugar
1 large free range egg
1/3 tsp finely shredded orange peel
1 TBS orange juice
1/4 cup of seedless raspberry or blackberry preserves
sifted icing sugar to dust over top
fresh raspberries or blackberries to garnish (optional)

Stir together the flour, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup of the ground almonds in a medium bowl. Cut in 1/2 cup butter with a pastry blender until the pieces are pea-size. Stir together the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water. Gradually stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture. If necessary, add 1 to 2 teaspoons of more water until the dough clings together. Gently knead the dough just until a ball forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes or until the dough is easy to handle.

While the dough is chilling make the filling. Beat 1/4 cup softened butter, cream cheese, and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a small bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, shredded orange peel, and juice, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup ground almonds. Set the filling mixture aside.

Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3. Have ready a 24 hold mini muffin tin that you have greased well.

Divide the chilled dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a 1-inch ball. Place the balls into the prepared muffin cups. Press dough evenly on the bottoms and up the sides of the muffin cups.

Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon preserves into each pastry-lined cup. Spoon the almond filling over the preserves. Bake in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes, or until the filling is set. Cool in the muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Just before serving, lightly sprinkle the tops of the tarts with sifted icing sugar and, if desired, top each with a berry. Makes 24 baby tarts.

Store any leftovers, tightly covered, in the refrigerator, for up to two days.

Baking in The English Kitchen today, a delicious Black Currant Drizzle Cake!

Have a great Saturday everyone!


  1. Two commenst this morning ! just replied to yesterdays !! although forgot to say I did laugh at that naughty Mitzie....what a lass she is..That is a long tiem to wait for your dishwasher..what a shame...still better late than never..and only a short time ago it woudl have been ...never!!...
    I had forgotten that peom Marie thanks for reminding me. I can just hear us reciting it in teh classroom...wonder if children today are taught rhymes that way...
    Another glorious warm day awaits us..We have a coffee morning at church and a visist to Chippenham planned. The I am going to help Mary pack her case for her visit to Edinburgh..
    have a great weekend,
    LOve Sybil xx

  2. beautiful pictures and a lovely poem! and i also have to say how much i love your stories from when you were have so many wonderful memories to share and so many places you've been. its really neat!


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