Compost Soup

There is now some confusion about whether it is acceptable here to drive to an exercise location. Today I confined myself to our garden and the footpath across Roger Cobb’s farm on Downton Lane. This was once a regular walk – before my knee surgeries.

In the garden more tulips are opening

and daffodils continue to please.

The Cryptomeria Bed also contains cyclamen.

From the Weeping Birch Bed we enjoy various views.

Camellias crop up everywhere.

This one stands beside our eastern fence;

some bushes bear both blooms now turning to parchment and new buds on the way.

Shrubs, like this tree peony, pruned in autumn, are producing new shoots.

Soon the remodelled North Breeze house will be shielded from view.

Our house, however, will remain visible from the Heligan Path.

On Downton Lane the refuse bags were piled outside houses for collection a little later.

One household clearly needed more than one bottle bin – possibly to help them through the pandemic.

Grape hyacinths stood on a bank opposite

celandines and dandelions blending with primroses on the verges

like this one alongside Old Rode House.

Roger’s five-barred gate to the footpath was locked, but the kissing gate beside it was accessible. As far as I know this pleasant farmer is the only one in the area who really respects ramblers’ rights.

The grass strip along the centre is well stocked with wild lamium;

blackberry brambles are burgeoning with new shoots in the hedges

through which houses on Christchurch Road may be glimpsed.

The footpath is mostly dry, but the fields are rutted with rainwater runnels.

I did not venture across the tractor-scoured terrain which offered another view of the Downton dwellings mentioned earlier,

and others on Downton Lane.

While I was thus gadding about, Jackie was producing culinary recycling. Her finely chopped ingredients were boiled on the hob;

mashed in the Moulinex;

decanted into ice cream tubs;

labelled and placed in the freezer.

Here are her directions for the preparation of Compost Soup Base, handwritten on one of my sheets of scrap paper from 2009.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potato; firm Brussels sprouts; tender runner beans: and crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the MΓ©doc.




  1. Your garden looks so beautiful–and thank you for sharing your walk. I double checked our current regulations before I set out on a walk today. (We’re allowed to go out for exercise, as long as we keep our social distance.). I was wondering at first if your compost soup was for yourselves or your garden. πŸ˜€

  2. The garden is getting beautiful day by day and you were lucky to have sunshine. It’s all gray for us this last week.
    The soup idea is amazing.

  3. I’ve been thinking of making something from the veg waste for some time now so this was a timely recipe. Name could do with some work though!

    Like you I am unsure if I’m allowed to drive to exercise. There is nowhere decent to walk if I don’t drive so I have just stayed at home.

    Best wishes to you and Jackie.

  4. It was nice to have a wander around your immediate environment though Derrick. You do live in a beautiful area. Love Jackie’s compost soup base – though I agree, a better name might make the first thought not be ‘Ah that’s so nice, Jackie is boosting her compost bin.’ πŸ˜€

  5. The gardens and spring views from your area are beautiful, Derrick, especially those tulips and daffodils in the bright sun. What a beautiful day you have had there! I love Jackie’s compost soup recipe, too! πŸ™‚

  6. Such a lovely day’s worth of photographs, Derrick. And thank you for the recipe! I’ve never heard it called “compost soup,” but I have used the basic practice, before:)

  7. Ah Derrick – you are in the same position as us – our beloved forest is a 5 minute drive away and we’re not allowed in the car. We do have fields behind our house though, thank goodness. I’m definitely saving that recipe πŸ™‚

      1. I’m not sure either … it still seems rather subjective? However since I last wrote to you, the council and charities have closed all of the forests and parklands here as they said crowds of tourists from elsewhere kept turning up, so within a short drive, there wouldn’t be anywhere for us to visit if we could get out. I’m glad for the garden, and for walks around the village & fields.

          1. Yes – I feel very sorry for those without access to nature. On the news the parks in London look busy and are being patrolled by police? It must be very hard to get any solitary time outdoors.

  8. The Spring has sprung
    The grass has ris
    I wonder where the birdie is.
    “The bird is on the wing.”
    Don’t be absurd.
    The wing is on the bird.

    PS. I didn’t see a little redbreast!

  9. I’m so glad we’re still able to drive to various locations for hiking and such, and that the refuges are open. I’m glad for my work, but I’m looking forward to getting out and about this weekend.

    Yesterday I took a couple hours to go revisit some flowers I wanted to photograph, and ran into the game warden on the road. His advice was that I should have a good day, and enjoy myself. Of course, we’ve run into each other before, and he knows that social distancing is my standard operating procedure.

  10. Ah, a kissing gate! I never knew they were called that! British, perhaps? So charming… like β€œcompost soup!” πŸ˜† Yes, one can tell whose recycle bin owner is enjoying quarantine a bit too much. 🍷🍻🍹

  11. I am glad you are still able to move around in that beautiful place. Both flowers and landscapes are equally refreshing. That sounds like an energising potion for the humanity!

  12. There is confusion here too about whether or not one can drive somewhere to exercise. The answer seems to be yes, provided it is not too far.πŸ™‚

  13. I enjoyed the view today.
    I was hoping to nip over the lane to take pictures of the horses, but there are more people coming up from the village in the hope of a quiet walk . So I best limit my walk to the top of the drive.

    Compost Soup – what a great name. We used to make a similar mix for our hens, they loved it. I might try Jackie’s recipe for myself.

      1. You set me off wanting soup! I have veg on last legs and ham left over from Monday so I think I’ll be making soup for lunch!

        I notice over 70s have supermarket shopping slots at Tesco, so perhaps going somewhere quiet for exercise is okay.
        I’m staying put at home so my photos will no doubt be the same each day!

  14. Oh, Jackie! Thank you for the compost soup recipe! It is still cold here and we have been eating some soups and stews…they are hot and comforting.

    Your burgeoning blackberry brambles are beautiful! And I can envision AND taste the coming blackberries! πŸ™‚

    A kissing gate! Woo whee, that made me smile! πŸ˜€
    (((HUGS))) for you and Jackie!!! πŸ™‚

  15. When I saw the title of your post, I thought “Crikey, I’d better get a food parcel together for those folks, they musn’t be able to get to the shops!”

  16. Again confusion due to mixed government messages. Normally from our PM when he waffles. Our area the police are doing roadblocks to ask drivers if it’s an essential journey. Apparently exercise isn’t here.

  17. What beautiful pictures! A real treat for the spirit. And I must say that I think Jackie’s compost soup is a brilliant. I might just give it a try myself.

  18. It’s when the alcohol runs out that the real panic will set in …. that double crate of empties did make me smile 😊

  19. Love the recipe. Before we had large lidded bottle bins, we had ones like yours. Hubby used to walk the streets returning to proudly announce who the drinkers were. Like minded spirits I guess.

  20. Your garden is coming right along. And of course, your pictures of it make me envious. We are all gray, beige and straw colored here … dreary! The daffodil shoots are just starting to pop up. I appreciated the recipe, Derrick. But ” boiled on the hob”?? That’s a new word for me. What’s the difference between a hob and a pot?

  21. All my compost goes to the chickens. They don’t eat it all (they especially do not like onions, and I sent them heaps of onion scraps), but I guess it gives them something new to scratch at. The soup base is a great idea, and saving ice cream tubs to hold it is also a great idea. This whole post was filled with ways to responsibly care for the planet and ourselves.

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