Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Mug Monday

The other day acornmoon suggested sharing a picture of a favourite mug for her Mug Monday posting.

This is the mug my tea is in today, it's the latest addition to our collection of Emma Bridgewater 'Bird' mugs – the Yellowhammer. We're gathering quite a collection – useful when friends call in for a cuppa "Remember which bird is yours" we say, when we take the tray round for refills. The latest designs have interesting facts about the bird on the bottom of the mug (just don't look while it's still full of hot tea!) . . .

The ferocious shaving of
the winter grasses at
the base of hedgerows
robs the brightly coloured
Yellowhammer of its nesting
sites. They can manage a
second brood higher up in the
hedge when the leaves afford
protection from predators.

I hope that the current farming practice of leaving wide grassy headlands between the hedge and the crop will help Yellowhammers and other farmland birds to thrive in the English countryside.

The photo should give you a clue to the Yellowhammer's distinctive song

A little bit of bread and no cheeeeeeeee - eeese!

It's one of my favourite sounds when we walk the local footpaths – a little bright mustard yellow flash and flutter of feathers and the Yellowhammer moves along the hedgetop and settles on a the topmost twig . . .

A little bit of bread and no cheeeeeeeee - eeese!

And on the breadboard is the sourdough loaf I made at the weekend. Making sourdough is a labour of love, it's like owning a new pet – the soughdough starter needs to be fed and treated with TLC. After much reading of books and web sites I plumped for a recipe from Jamie Oliver's book Happy Days with the Naked Chef, I decided that if Jamie and his mate had experimented until they had the best recipe it was good enough for me. I was also glad that somewhere along the way I'd read that the first loaf isn't the best and it's when you get past loaf number four that things fall into place and you get a loaf to be proud of. We ate our first loaf on our picnic last month, "What were those bread plates they used in medieval times called?" Cliff said after munching thoughtfully on the solid dark sour crust, "Trenchers" I eventually said when I'd finished chewing.

Well I hung on in there and look at that crumb . . . it's coming along nicely.

A little bit of bread and no cheeeeeeeee - eeese!


  1. love your mug, and love the song of the yellowhammer too! i agree its a wonderful idea to leave more grassy expanse for the birds. Up here the hedgerows are not being cut back so severely, so many more wild flowers peeping through too!

  2. very exquisite birdie mug!

  3. What a lovely mug. We hardly ever see yellowhammers here, though we get siskins. I use to live in Norfolk and then Cambridge; give my love to East Anglia ... & greetings from Mug Monday in Wales.

  4. A beautiful mug and a great reminder of England.
    I hadn't thought of a liitle bit of bread and no cheese for years.
    a lovely reminder.

  5. My current favourite mug has chickens on! I shall soon go on to the one with the braod beans I expect. I like a bit of seasonality.

  6. Whenever I see an Emma Bridgewater design I think "Why didn't I think of that!" This bird series is one of my favourites, I think it was designed by Matthew Rice?

    It has been often noted that people who live in the "pot bank" have a habit of turning their pieces of pottery upside down to see if it's one of theirs.

    We often see yellowhammers here and today we saw 13 goldfinches, so I suppose the farmers are taking note.

  7. Your bread looks lovely; I had a go at sourdough a while back and it tasted lovely. We enthused and were excited by it - until I realised I had dumped the entire starter into loaf number 3 ... Now it's warmer perhaps I should try again.

    Oh, and rest assured I'm doing my bit for birds and wildlife generally with vast swathes of allotment we haven't got round to digging and weeding yet ...

  8. what a lovely mug! I love yellowhammers and its a shame that they are struggling. I've only seen one recently,

  9. Such a great post -- and a beautiful, beautiful mug! I love how you remember who has what mug by which bird is on it!!!! I don't think we have yellowhammers here in the US...at least not anywhere that I have lived. I wish we did; they are lovely! I usually do a Monday Muse posting -- not every week because it's hard to find appropriate poems. Perhaps I'll supplement with a Mug Monday post now and then, if you don't mind. Janet

  10. It's always grand to visit your site. Reading about the beautiful bird mug and the mastering of sourdough bread just lead me down to that delicious tart, and then on to fabulous gardens.

    I have been to many of those gardens, and the pictures made me happy, but also a bit nostalgic.

    See you soon again.


  11. This is a delightful mug - and I love that everyone gets their very own bird. Although it was mugs that brought me here, I must say that your phyllo pie with fresh vegetables is exquisite!

  12. Good Morning from Michigan, I love your " Yellowhammer Mug. I admire out birds everyday and I try to create a habitat where they will thrive and keep coming back to visit me. Hugs Judy

  13. Oh how I love that Emma B. I've just wasted some time looking through her wares by way of the link! Must find a special one for moi. (although they may be harder to find in the US). Great post.

  14. I covet your mug. How lovely to have a whole set! I do believe the English are the best at making memorable mugs! Have you tried the No Knead Bread recipes? Here's a link that has videos and recipes - I've tried these and the results are spectacular! http://www.breadtopia.com/

  15. What a lovely idea!

    I cant look at Emma Bridgewater's shops/website without fearing bankruptcy!

    My dresser groans wiht the stuff:I even keep old mugs that have broken handles(I Blame My Children)

    Lovely post Celia :-)

  16. Yes, this is a beautiful mug...I would collect all as well!

  17. Sweet mug. What a good idea to use all the bird mugs and people can remember 'theirs'.

  18. Great mug. I love the EB bird range too. I was very tempted by them but I got the EB Tulips mug instead. She is so popular and with good reason.

  19. I am so glad I happened over here! These Emma Bridgewater mugs are new to me, but I adore what I've seen, so far. I can't get enough of mugs, personally.

    Now I've seen your blog with the Jamie Oliver reference (he's my favourite of the British Chefs - except for Gary Rhodes) and the photos of the amazing food, I'm hooked. Will be following henceforth and would love you to have a look at mine and consider doing the same.


  20. Lovely mug!

    I've been leaving uncut areas on our grass with lots of clover for the bees.

  21. Hi everyone! so many comments - I should think this is a record for PPPs...

    And hi to all those new to PPPs who left a comment - thank you very very much.

    Hi Ruthie - we've seen Barn Owls hunting and lots of Yellowhammers and Skylarks this year - hope the trend increases.

    Hi Christie - we love our bird mugs - a cheery way to start the day!

    Hi Coastcard - I'll spread your good wishes over East Anglia :-)

    Hi Elizabeth - A little bit of bread and no cheese - you never forget it after you've heard a Yellowhammer say it!

    Hi Veg Heaven - I sadly broke my Emma B chicken mug :-(

    Hi Acornmoon - now, look what your Mug Monday idea has done to my hit counter!!!!

    Hi Dottycookie - forgetting to save the starter would be easy to do. Hope the Allotment Committee are cool about wildlife zones :-)

    Hi Island Gardener - Emma B introduces new birds each year and discontinues other - a neat marketing idea eh?!

    Hi Frances - thank you - I'll drop by to see what your up to in NY.

    Hi Catherine - do try the pie - it's yummy!

    Hi Judy - thanks for visiting PPPs.

    Hi Artslice - Emma B is very popular, rightly as the designs are lovely and practical too.

    Hi Jane - I'll check out the recipe. Though one loaf of sourdough is more than enough for us for a week!

    Hi Jools - I keep the broken ones too! My fave was the snails - inevibly this was the first to get chipped :-(

    Hi Art4Sol and Willow - clever eh?

    Hi Cathy - the tulip mugs are pretty too.

    Hi Poetikat - thanks for visiting PPPs - see you again soon!

    Hi Raph - well done for helping the bees :-)

    Welcome to PPPs Golden West!

    Phew! That was lots of typing!

    Thank you everyone

  22. Lovely post and a lovely mug!

  23. I was only sharing a little cheese with a yellowhammer on a walk we took on Sunday, metaphorically speaking. Love that mug and the idea of mug Monday. It could spread, I think.


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