Last week, while Terry was staying with us, I took her shopping in the nearby village (or town, if you're a local) of Clare; one of those picture book villages with houses with doors opening right onto the market square and lots of little shops. We popped into Clare Antiques Warehouse for a mooch around – it's one of those places where dozens of dealers have their pitch, it's a treasure trove of stuff.
Of course we both ended up buying things! Terry pointed out to me a pretty bright teal-blue vase, she must have known that it would fit perfectly into my house – it's just the right size for arranging a few flowers from the garden.
I browsed along a shelf of books and one caught my eye, it looked familiar . . . and then I remembered why. A couple of months ago, when I was doing some research about a painting on which I placed a (too low) auction bid, I'd read about the artist Roger Nicholson on the blog Quad Royal, and this was the very book pictured in that post – the cover and inside pages were illustrated by Roger Nicholson in 1954.
The National Federation of Women's Institutes Home Made Wines, Syrups and Cordials; the edition I found is the 15th reprint dated 1962 – which proves it's not only a very prettily decorated book, but a popular and useful one too.
The chapter headings are delightful and obviously the work of an artist with a light and easy touch.
The text is full of the sort of snippets of advice and information that give a whole new dimension to gardening and country walks.
I think some of the recipes will soon become old favourites!
This is a little culinary gem, not rare or in mint condition (some pages have extra notes and recipes hand-written by a previous owner) – it was just waiting for me to give it a new home.