Lammas Eve

Pic from Lammas Sabbat Index

Teachers do their spring cleaning in the summer hols – especially when the Easter hols disappeared in a haze of preparing to switch to online teaching. I’ve given myself a deadline of the end of the month – Lammas Eve (or Juliet’s birthday, if you are an English teacher, who can shoe-horn a Shakespeare reference into most sentences). There are kitchen cupboards to clear out, clutter to clear and windows to wash. A neighbour has started up a Saturday Share-it Day where anyone in the town can put out unwanted goods to be re-homed. It’s helped us enormously whilst the charity shops have been closed. This week there will be another box of goodies available in our front garden..

I’ve written about celebrating Lammas before. The beginning of August feels like more of ending than high-Summer to me. Some of our garden crops are over, I’ve already started thinking about the Autumn bulb planting and placed an order to be delivered in September and – dare I say it – the nights are drawing in. I’m not sad. I love the Autumn. It appeals to my agricultural and teaching heritage. I can harvest crops and start making chutney for the store cupboard and give full vent to my passion for stationery. (Surely every teacher has one?)

This Lammas I will bake bread and prune some of the herbs which are going over. The mint needs a severe pruning and parts of a lavender hedge which has fed the bees for weeks are looking grey and droopy. I read somewhere that one of the traditions of Lammas is to fashion a besom from twigs, decorate it with green and gold ribbons and a few sprigs of mint. I like to find time to create something every day and this will allow me to use up some old pea sticks and the mint prunings to make something which will be useful for  sweeping up the remaining lavender petals from the terrace.

Happy Lammaside. May your harvests be bountiful, your store cupboard full and everything in your house spick and span.

Things to do in the summer hols ….Celebrate Lammas Day

We love a party here and try to find something special to celebrate every month. For someone like me whose days involve spinning lots of plates, it provides a focus and routine, celebrates the passing of the year and I hope will give my children lots of good memories to draw on in adulthood.

The beginning of August is Lammas, Calan Awst back home in Wales  or Lughnasadh as it is more traditionally throughout the Celtic world. Whatever the name, it is a celebration of the beginning of the harvest season and the ripening of the first fruits. Back in the day it was celebrated by the making of corn dollies, candle-lit procesions or bonfires on hilltops and the baking of loaves of bread from the first grain. It was always marked in my childhood by a real community approach to harvest, where family members and neighbours  returned early from work, and spent every evening on the farm bringing in the harvest and eating supper together round a bonfire.  It was always a battle to get it  done before the heavens opened, of course.

In the spirit of celebrating harvest with our neighbours, we are holding an allotment party amongst the sunflowers. We’ll build a bonfire from prunings and  make candle lights to hang in the trees after dark. A few Bonne Maman jam jars, glass paint, garden wire, creative children and a jumbo pack of tealights and we’ll have an array which could have come out of the latest Sarah Raven catalogue. We haven’t baked bread but have gone for the more child -friendly pizza and gingerbread men along with an array of salads using up our various veg gluts, bowls of raspberries, blackberry fool and this year’s elderflower champagne. 

I’m looking forward to it – especially as it is going to happen a few days late this year……..when the rest of the family get back from Grandad’s and I have FINALLY finished painting the kitchen.

Easy pizza dough

You’ll need 250g plain flour and 250g strong white flour mixed together with 5g dried yeast, 10g sea salt, 325ml warm water and 2 tbls olive oil.

MIx into a dough and knead for about 10 mins until it has an elastic consistency.

Form into a ball and place in a greased mixing bowl. Cover with cling film and lace in a warm place to prove.

Knock back into shape and roll out to form two good sized pizza bases.

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