Autumn cake with blackberries and apple

What could be nicer than walking in the countryside, picking seasonal fruits, going home and making them into something delicious to eat.

This is what I made using local blackberries and apples from my garden

Blackberry and Apple Cake


  • Eggs – two large or three medium
  • Butter – spreadable is easier for mixing
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Self-raising flour
  • Chopped apples
  • Blackberries

Cooking: 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours 160C fan oven

6 or 7 inch cake tin, greased and lined with greaseproof paper


Wash approximately 8 oz blackberries – preferably freshly picked – and leave them to drain.

Peel, and chop into small chunks, two medium apples. Put them into a bowl of cold water to prevent them browning.

Weigh, while still in their shells, two large or three medium eggs. This will be the weight you will need of both butter and soft brown sugar.

Put sugar and butter into mixing bowl and beat until smooth and creamy.

Add egg yolks and whites and again mix thoroughly until smooth.

Weigh the flour – it should be the equivalent of the weight of eggs plus a half. For example, if the  eggs weighed 6 oz, weigh out 9 oz flour. (6 + 6/2 = 6 + 3 = 9)

Fold the flour into the mix.

Drain the chopped apples and add them and the blackberries to the cake mix. Stir until all are covered.

Put the complete mix into the lined cake tin and place into the heated oven. Bake for an hour to an hour and a half until a skewer comes out clean. If unsure leave for an extra ten minutes.

Take cake from oven, remove baking tin and leave to cool on wire rack.

Blackberry and apple cake

Eat in slices as a cake or with cream and/or custard as a dessert. Enjoy!


A day in Iceland

After the Arctic Adventures in Greenland our ship headed south to Iceland – a land of green whereas Greenland had been a land of ice.

We saw many whales on the way and as we approached Iceland there were plenty of birds including the national bird of Iceland – the puffin.

Puffins were runnning over the sea and diving down, sometimes only seeing the orange of their feet

We landed in the north west corner of Iceland at  Stykkishólmur. We had a tour of this area of Iceland visiting a cave formed from a lava plume, an extinct volcanic crater and walked along the coast marvelling at the rock formations. All of this was overseen by the Snæfellsjökull glacier. The scenery of mountains, glaciers and lava beds was magnificent.

Here are a few photos to give you a taster of the wonderful day. I want to see more of Iceland.

Landing at Stykkishólmur
The remains of a volcano with its lava all around
Blueberries ready to eat
In the depths of the Vatnshellir Cave with its 200-metre lava tube
The 1948 wreck of the Grimsby trawler Epine on the pebbly beach at Djúpalónssandur
Views from the clifftop walk into the bay at Dritvik
The crater from an extinct volcano
The magnificent Kirkjufell mountain

There is a video on YouTube with more photos of this day in Iceland. You can watch it below:


Arctic Adventures

I recently went on an Arctic Adventure cruising from Longyearbyen in Svalbard to East Greenland National Park and returning via Iceland. What an exciting trip – in the Arctic Circle with continuous daylight for ten days. The weather was perfect – sunny and still with temperatures about 10 – 12 C.

We saw polar bears, whales – fin, minke and humpback – seals, narwhal, musk oxen, little auks, fulmar, Arctic tern, puffins. We went ashore in several places and also out amongst the icebergs in zodiac boats.

Our ship was the hybrid, diesel and electric, eco-friendly Roald Amundsen run by Hurtigruten. The ship was so quiet you could hear the flapping of birds’ wings and their splashes as they ran over the water.

The scenery during the trip was breath-taking. East Greenland National Park is visited by only a handful of people each year and when on shore the only sounds were us. You could stand there and drink in the silence.

We spent days on the expedition without seeing another ship or human being – just wonderful nature.

Below are a few photos I took on the trip.

First view of Svalbard
Leaving Svalbard for Greenland
There was lots of sea ice
The first polar bear. It turned round and looked at us before swimming away.
Icebergs in Myggbukta, North East Greenland
Another polar bear
The trapper’s hut in Myggbukta. We went ashore here.
Some of the delicate Arctic flowers
Seal on the ice floe
Houses in Ittoqqortoormiit
Giant icebergs
Iceberg getting close
Close to the ice in Scoresby Sund
Mountains and glaciers in Ofjord
View from the hill behind Hekla Havn
Leaving Hekla Havn for the open sea
A whale coming close to the ship

You can see more by following the link to the Greenland 2019 video on YouTube or watching it below.

We then went to Iceland, but that is for another time.


Summertime walks

Summer is here with long days, warmth and sunshine. Take a look at these photographs taken both in Nannie RaRa’s garden and on walks nearby. A favourite place in the early morning is by the local beach at the side of the river. The skies are so big. Every day the scene is different.

red poppies growing in the garden
The bright red poppies choosing their own place to grow
bumble bee and honey bee on buddleia
Both bumble and honey bees enjoying the nectar on Nanie RaRa’s buddleia
bee collecting nectar from bramble
A bee collecting nectar from a bramble, preparing for the feast of blackberries to come
cow parsely
Cow parsley growing tall along the sides of the path
deadly nightshade
The deadly nightshade has a delicate beauty
squirrel with an acorn
A hungry squirrel taking one of last year’s nuts for breakfast
country garden
Nannie RaRa’s English country garden
river view
and finally a view towards the river

Let me know which are your favourite pictures


Spring is here

Spring is upon us and Nannie RaRa has been out and about taking photographs. Here are a few of the favourites so far this year.

Bluebells and whitebells in our local woods
Bluebells and whitebells in our local woods

A baby robin leaving the nest for the first time
A baby robin leaving the nest for the first time
A robin singing in the tree - maybe the parent of the fledgling
A robin singing in the tree – maybe the parent of the fledgling
A peacock butterfly enjoying the warm spring sun
A peacock butterfly enjoying the warm spring sun
Ferns uncurling in the woods
Ferns uncurling in the woods
A spring lamb having a rest from its gambolling
A spring lamb having a rest from its gambolling
A fishing boat returning with its catch on a very still river.
A fishing boat returning with its catch on a very still river.