The owl and the pussycat went to sea...

....In a beautiful pea-green boat......
....They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand , on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
 The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

This favourite Edward Lear poem is my attempt to link the two disparate elements of this post - hopefully the connection will become clear by the end!

The other day, my neighbour brought me a big bag full of quinces from the tree in his garden.
The quince resembles a large knobbly pear and has a curious downy covering to its skin.
This unprepossessing fruit is something of an 'ugly duckling'; it is virtually inedible raw and requires long cooking, but once cooked it transforms into a beautiful pink and perfumed delicacy -in this case quince jelly.

There are several recipes on the internet for quince jelly, should you be lucky enough to find or be given any of the fruit. Quinces seem to have fallen from favour and are almost impossible to buy in the shops.
This recipe was from a book I have mentioned before: Perfect Preserves by Maggie Mayhew.
The recipe included coriander in the ingredients, but to be honest, I don't think it was noticeable in the finished product.

The recipe is quite lengthy, but not particularly difficult and the result is a delicate and beautifully perfumed preserve not unlike marmalade.
In fact, the origin of the word marmalade comes from the Portuguese word marmelo meaning quince.
I now have several jars of quince jelly in the cupboard, but still have half a bag of quinces left.
I may try poaching some next.
This recipe sounds delicious.

On another note, there has been a very interesting exhibition at Peterborough Cathedral for the past few weeks.
Peterborough Cathedral is a beautiful building, well worth a visit if you are in the area.
It is one of Tiny Girlie's favourite places. Sometimes, if we have been shopping together, we like to escape the hustle and bustle of the shops and slip into the cathedral to soak up the peace and the vastness of the place. We sit for a moment on a seat and Tiny Girlie gazes at the intricately painted ceiling and the jewel-like stained glass windows and tells me that the people who built the cathedral "must have had very, very, very tall ladders .... and maybe scissors and glue too"!

The exhibition features a giant replica of the moon hanging in the nave of the cathedral and in one of the transepts, the space capsule  complete with giant parachute which returned astronaut Tim Peake and his colleagues to earth after their journey to the International Space Station in 2016.

 I had been expecting the space capsule to be a bright shiny rocket type structure, so was surprised to be faced with something resembling a time machine from an HG Wells novel! 
Apparently, the look of aged brown leather is due to scorching as the capsule re-entered the earth's atmosphere.
It is also very small, considering it held 3 grown men.

A fascinating exhibition which highlights man's ingenuity and the wonder of the natural world, of which we still know so little.

I hope by now you will have seen the connection to the Edward Lear poem at the top of the post!

Speak soon



  1. Oh, the colour of that quince jelly is divine, such a delicacy. And lucky you having some left as well. I do love that poem, we like to recite it around here from time to time. CJ xx

    1. The colour is amazing! It's lovely to have a neighbour with a quince tree!

  2. I have a batch of stewed quince dripping in the jelly bag as I type and another batch on the stove bubbling away. The smell is divine. I'm sorry to have missed that exhibition in Peterborough cathedral, a place I only discovered last year.

    1. Yes! The smell is delicious. I've still to do the Peterborough Cathedral tour of the tower, which you did as part of your 60x60 - think I might save it for the spring now!

  3. I've never tasted or even seen a quince other than in pictures. Your jelly positively glows! How lovely that your little one enjoys spending time in the cathedral. We have a collection of stunning religious buildings in this country and I must admit I usually pop inside when I pass one.

    1. The cathedral is in the heart of the shopping area so we often pop in :)

  4. Just the kind of serendipitous post I like to read. Thank you so much.

    How strange that little people take a fancy to places of worship. My grandson likes to pop into the Hawksmore church opposite my mum's home. Always empty, apart from us, adding to its magic.

    There was a lovely snippet about the textiles used on the Apollo moon trip - or was it just a mission? - today on R4 from the 'The Golden Thread' Book of the week. Worth a catch up. X

    1. Yes- I think it is because old buildings, especially churches, are on a totally different scale to the average building and consequently sound and feel unusual. Thank you the R4 heads up. I will search that out. x


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