Fires, Smoke, Smell, Rain, Tea & Cake, another day in Wales!

Yesterday evening the warm glow of the wood burner in the living room turned into a slightly nasty smelling smoke screen. We both wondered if we had a birds or wasps nest somewhere up the flue and opened the front door and windows. The Wilf one went searching for the torch which he eventually found, by this time it was pitch black outside and he shone the torch at the chimney. All looked ok up there and as he turned to walk back into the house he could see billows of smoke leaving the cottage. But happily as the fire cooled down the smoke and smell had almost cleared by bed time!

This afternoon we decided to light the other wood burner in the dining room where we both work during the day with the same result we had in the lounge last night. I was starting to get suspicious that it might be my fault as in my cleaning frenzy I had bought some stove blacking and applied it to both burners which made them look lovely and shiny! The smoke from the dining room caused me to open the dining room window and I could see a light haze rising from the top of the burner and that nasty smell, like burning plastic was with us again. The shine has faded to the dull black it was before on both burners but at least there is no more smoke or smell. I have also been on the internet to find out if others have any problems and it seems you shouldn’t black some stoves at all. General comments suggest you may have to open all doors and windows on first lighting after the application.

On a positive note we have had some sun here today, but this has been interspersed with very heavy showers. Not sure if it shows up too well but the photo is a view from our porch of the rain this afternoon, note the splashes up as the rain hit the road.

My other project today was trying loose leaf tea. I started with my very sweet little acorn shaped infuser, but it just ended up a mass blob of tea and I think I packed too much in it so it couldn’t infuse. Maybe this was meant for using in a cup? After that I added a couple of spoons directly to the pot and used a tea strainer. These little tea wonders, with the exception of the tea leaves have been living in the back of the cupboard for ages. I was inspired to purchase proper tea making utensils several years ago after a trip to ‘Betty’s Tea Rooms’ in Northallerton when we went up that way for a holiday. Betty’s which can be found at is a wonderfully old fashioned place where the ladies serving still wear black and whites. The tea or coffee menu is longer than your arm and the cakes are BIG and pretty. Betty’s can be found in a few Yorkshire towns and whilst the locals and I might say it’s not cheap, it is a proper tea time treat. This is what I hope to recreate in our kitchen, so along with a slice of my orange sponge cake I hope to be pouring myself real tea.


7 thoughts on “Fires, Smoke, Smell, Rain, Tea & Cake, another day in Wales!

  1. Your tea and lovely sponge look very seductive. I loved the picture of the rain as I must be one of few people who actually loves rain and specially goes out in it. I also have lots of rainy pics on my PC so will add yours if you don’t mind. My husband says I must have lived in a desert region in a former life. Wales is the ideal place for me!
    Wendy (Wales)

  2. I am drinking a cup of loose leaf tea as I read through your latest posts. Scottish Hedgerow Tea to be precise – gently infused with the scent and taste of edible wild flowers. The dry ‘leaf’ has sparks of colour dotted through it.

    The ‘little acorn shaped’ infusers are indeed meant for use in a mug, and I generally use about one teaspoon – anything else is too much. For a pot I usually add two teaspoons for just one person, and then one teaspoon per person afterwards.

    What did you think of the tea? I am not snobbish about teabags (like some people I know!) but I find that the bags can leave a very bitter taste in my mouth. Also, while I can make a proper ‘strong’ tea with leaves, anything done with teabags is just stewed. And then it’s such fun measuring out the tea and stirring it round in the water…

  3. This cake looks glorious! Thank you for your post and for finding me in blogland 🙂 Thanks for your compliments about the knitting. I’m looking at some knitted things for Christmas too. Knitted dishcloths, neckwarmers (using chubby yarn on bigger needles), decorations etc. Hope that gives you some ideas too. I’ve googled for patterns, joined Ravelry (a great knitting resource) and even got inspiration from ebay! Hope this helps.

  4. Hi Gemma
    They all sound good ideas. I like the dishcloths idea, I guess you need cotton for those????. I have a friend who would like to have home made dishcloths, something a bit different.
    Christmas decorations sound good as well. Not sure about kneckwarmers, I might be better at scarves, easier to knit.

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