May 30, 2011

Queen Victoria's Birthday Tea!

Tea, Cake, and Violet Jelly at Castle Corgyncombe!
Queen Victoria's birthday is May 24th, and on May 23rd Canada celebrated Victoria Day! Here at Castle Corgyncombe we started celebrating on the 23rd!
The receipt for the cake is "Becky's Birthday Cake" from the "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook". It is iced with frosting running down like a waterfall in Scotland and topped with violet
s gathered from the lawns at Castle Corgyncombe. Alongside the cake is "Queen Victoria's Journal: Leaves From The Journal of Our Life in the Highlands, From 1848 to 1861", Edited by Arthur Helps, 1868. Selections from the book were read at tea time throughout the week. Lemon verbena tea, harvested and dried from Corgyncombe Garden of Herbs, was served at tea. Diane won the lovely pink lustre tea cup in the Tasha Tudor and Family Giveaway.

A Currier and Ives print of Queen Victoria.

The Turret at Castle Corgyncombe.
Heirloom sweet peas are on the arbor.

"First Impressions of Balmoral."

Balmoral, Friday, September 8, 1848.
"We arrived at Balmoral at a quarter to three. It is a pretty little castle in the old Scottish style. There is a picturesque tower and garden in front, with a high wooded hill; at the back there is a wood down to the Dee, and the hills rise all around."
"The view from here, looking down upon the house, is charming. To the left you look toward the beautiful hills surrounding Loch-na-Gar, and to the right, toward Ballater, to the glen (or valley) along which the Dee winds, with beautiful wooded hills, which reminded us very much of the Thuringerwald. It was so calm and so solitary, it did one good as one gazed around; and the pure mountain air was most refreshing. All seemed to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils."
from"Queen Victoria's Journal: Our Life in the Highlands"

A pretty little frock to wear on a day in May!

Violet jelly made from violets gathered from the lawns at Corgyncombe.
The making of the jelly will be in a later post.

A thistle label from the Corgyncombe Ephemera Collection.

A thistle found behind the big old barn at Corgyncombe, that we call "The Ark".

Wednesday, September 18.
"Blair itself and the houses in the village looked like little toys from the great height we were on. It was quite romantic. Here we were, with only this Highlander behind us holding the ponies (for we got off twice and walked about) - not a house, not a creature near us, but the pretty Highland sheep, with their horns and black faces - up at the top of Tulloch surrounded by beautiful mountains."
from"Queen Victoria's Journal: Our Life in the Highlands"

The old shepherd who had the flock of sheep in the above photograph lived to be 98 and for years kept sheep on the hillside a ways down the road from Diane's family cemetery. The old shepherd was related to Diane through an old family line. The trees in the hillside beyond the pasture show lovely shades of violet, pink, and green.

Monday, September 16.
"It is a walk of three miles round, and a very steep ascent; at every turn the view of the rushing falls is extremely fine, and looking back on the hills, which were so clear and so beautifully lit up, with the rapid stream below, was most exquisite." "The evening was beautiful, and we f
easted out eyes on the ever-changing, splendid views of the hills and vales as we drove back. Albert said that the chief beauty of the mountain scenery consisted in its frequent changes."
from"Queen Victoria's Journal: Our Life in the Highlands"

Ardverikie, Loch Laggan,
Saturday, August 21.
"On the 28th, about five o'clock, Albert drove me out across the ferry, along the Kingussie road, and from here the scenery was splendid: high bold hills, with a good deal of wood; glens, with the Pattock, and a small waterfall; the meadows here and there, with people making hay, and cottages sprinkled sparingly about, reminded us much of Thuringen."
from"Queen Victoria's Journal: Our Life in the Highlands"

Displayed at the Corgyncombe Library, on the art stand made by Seth Tudor,
is "Queen Victoria's Sketchbook" written by Marina Warner.
The book is open to a lovely watercolour done by Queen Victoria of the family out for a walk in their lovely old fashioned clothing.

Castle Corgyncombe & Corg'ery is a little farm in the valley where the corgyn dwell. Corgyn is plural for corgi. A combe is a valley, dale, vale, or hollow. Diane and Sarah made up their own exclusive word: "Corg'ery" ....... a corg'ery being a farm where an abundance of delightful corgyn dwell. Some spelling variations of their own word Corg'ery include: Corgiery, Corgi'ery, Corgery, Corg'ry, Corgi'ry.

Past the Turret, through the garden, and then through the arbor leads one down to Corgi Creek.

Saturday, September 21.

"As the sun went down the scenery became more and more beautiful, the sky crimson, golden-red, and blue, and the hills looking purple and lilac, most exquisite, till at length it set, and the hues grew softer in the sky and the outlines of the hills sharper. I never saw any thing so fine."
"Queen Victoria's Journal: Our Life in the Highlands"

The Dame's Rocket has just started to bloom this year.
Last night, coming out of the barn at twilight, its lovely scent lingered in the air.
The above photograph was taken in 2006. In several places Corgi Creek splits off and creates little islands. Diane and her husband took such a pleasant walk along Corgi Creek where the dame's rocket can be seen as far as the eye can see. The only thing one can hear is the babbling of the creek and birds singing. The rocket smells so sweet. It is a joy to the senses.... 'tis our own delightful paradise.

"Queen Victoria's Sketchbook" written by Marina Warner, is open to a watercolour by Queen Victoria of her little two year old daughter Alice in her birthday party frock with head wreath. The head wreath that Diane made creates a flower border around the watercolour. Below the art stand, the antique music box is wound up to play several delightful tunes!

Diane made the little head wreath out of ivy, lady's mantle, forget-me-nots, lily of the valley, and sweet woodruff. The little head wreath was inspired by the sweet embroidery on the frock!

"The Flower Vase; Containing the Language of Flowers and Their Poetic Sentiments" by Miss S. C. Edgarton, published in 1844.

Violet Faithfulness The book is open to the Violet page with lovely violets resting atop. The lawn at Corgyncombe was full of blue violets.

The Iris Florentina is now in full bloom at Castle Corgyncombe Gardens.

Out Amongst the Garden and Lawn
A Little Bouquet of May
After milking, Diane gathered a small bouquet of bleeding heart, lily of the valley, violets, and forget-me-nots. Bouquets about the cottage add such a cheer to the day and they are something special to look upon and a delight to smell every time you pass their way!

Tuesday, October 1.
"At a quarter past eight o'clock we started, and were very, very sorry to leave Blair and the dear Highlands! Every little trifle and every spot I had become attached to; our life of quiet and liberty, everything was so pleasant, and all the Highlanders and the people who went with us I had got to like so much. Oh! the dear hills, it made me very sad to leave them behind!"

"Queen Victoria's Journal: Our Life in the Highlands"

A little bouquet of violets, forget-me-nots, and lily of the valley from the lawn at Corgyncombe, rests atop "Queen Victoria's Journal:
Leaves From The Journal of Our Life in the Highlands,
From 1848 to 1861".

"Becky's Birthday Cake" from "The Tasha Tudor Cookbook" served with a spoonful of Corgyncombe violet jelly with a fresh picked violet atop, was enjoyed at tea for several days at Castle Corgyncombe. Absolutely delicious and so pretty to feast your eyes upon!!!

The photographs above and below:
Through The Castle Corgyncombe Kaleidoscope!

A lovely blue violet on the lawn at Corgyncombe.

Queen Victoria, Diane, and Sarah, it could be said,
all have a fondness for the hills and lovely landscapes!



Christie said...

My dearest Diane,
I am speechless!!!!!
Oh, you have taken my very breath....and made my heart flutter!!!
What rapturous joy, to see you at last, and this loveliest work of art. I want to taste the violet jelly, smell the Dame's rocket, and listen to the bubbling creek at your beautiful, enchanting 'castle'!!
Thank you EVER so much for this delightful 'the young victoria' is one of my all time FAVorite movies. You simply MUST see it with your dear Sarah, if you haven't already...and don't you love, love, love your lustreware teapot and teacups?? I have enjoyed mine, so very much, and I never tire looking at them!! Your books!! Diane, I could peruse your intriguing library for days on end!!!
Our move is next week...such busy days ahead, but I will try to post along with updates and photos. How anxious I am for your violet jelly receipt/tutorial/post:))
Always your dear friend and biggest fan!

Becca said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and never commented, but I wanted you to know that seeing a new entry is one of the highlights of my day! I enjoy each and every post and your photographs are such a delight. This post was particularly a feast for the eyes! Thank you so much for sharing your world with me! I live in Washington, DC, and just seeing your little piece of the world with its calm and its beauty makes mine more bearable....I hope you keep posting for a very long time. Thank you.

Jeri Landers said...

Dear Ladyes, you have outdone yourselves with this beautiful post. What peace and serenity you have in your little heaven on earth. I do love your "turret",it reminds me of a dovecote from the old world. And what a stunning way to serve this tea, I have been asking readers for their particular tea rituals and your Victoria tea is especially lovely.
Cousin Jeri

Natalie said...

What a wonderful tea! That cake looks absolutely divine. Wonderful job!

Rosemary UK said...

The lovely purple 'Dame's Violet' or 'Sweet Rocket' or hesperis matronalis to give it proper name is very abundant in my garden in England this year.Sometimes it seeds well,and sometimes it has to be replaced with greenhouse grown,or bought in plants.The butterflies and bees love these flowers above all others. Your pictures are beautiful as usual,they have given me so much pleasure over the years since you have been putting them on the web.Thank you so much !

Heather said...

What a lovely and magical day! That cake looks gorgeous and so yummy. I have the cookbook but have never tried that recipe!~

Christie said...

Dearest Diane,
I just received a frail copy of the Vicar of Wakefield. ...dated 1902! I was so anxious to let you know that it is the sweetest book, and how thankful I am for you making the connection for me. Such a resource you are, dear friend! I am hoping my last email didn't wind up in your spam, but please check, just in case:)
Hoping you are having a lovely day in New England.
Your dear friend,

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Christie,

We are so glad that you enjoyed your visit to Castle Corgyncombe! We are kindred admirers of old teapots and old books and we enjoy using them so!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Becca,

We are so happy that you enjoy visiting the Corgyncombe Courant! Thank you so much for your lovely comment!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Cousin Jeri,

We enjoyed looking at your tea post with your lovely teapot and cups!

We so enjoy our old turret at Corgyncombe Gardens! Sometimes our turret is from England or Scotland, and sometimes it is from Germany, wherever we imagine it to be from! Especially at tea time!

Your cousins,
Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Natalie,

It was a simply delightful tea! Tasha's receipt that I used for the Violet Waterfall Cake was delicious and what a treat with the pretty violets!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Rosemary,

How nice to hear from you and to hear that Dame's Rocket is loved in England, as well! It is my favorite flower and I always look forward to its return! When we come out of the barn in the evening it smells like carnations and hyacinths! We are so glad that you have been a reader of ours for years and we are so pleased that you stopped by and left such a lovely comment!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

Diane Shepard Johnson and Sarah E. Johnson said...

Dear Heather,

Oh, Heather, do try Tasha's receipt, you will find it so delicious! We enjoyed the cake for several teas during Victoria's Birthday Week!

Your friends,
Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

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