Thursday, 2 December 2021


This is a rather larger example of the lovely Dala horses that you normally see. It sits in the entrance to a Swedish cafe we have in Horsham. I used to think that these wooden horses were just Christmas decorations, but they are on display in homes all year round. The name derives from the Swedish region of Dalarna where plain ones were carved by the woodcarvers as children's toys. They can be dated back to at least the 15th century, but the discovery of wooden horses in Viking graves suggest that they may be part of a much older tradition.

Nowadays many are painted in a style heavily influenced by the floral painted patterns seen on furniture and often the base colour is scarlet which is known as Falun red. It is derived from the copper mining in the same area. Whilst these horses may be familiar to many outside of Sweden now they mainly came to prominence after they were first shown at the 1939 World Fair held in New York. Since then they have become a national symbol and are often given as gifts at significant celebrations to bring good luck.


Wednesday, 1 December 2021

A bit betwixt and between

 Another visit to one of my favourite haunts....Nymans Gardens [NT] which is near here and perfect if you've only got a couple of hours to spare before the light starts going at this time of year. This time I went with my friend E and we were treated to one of those bitterly cold, but crystal clear days of sunshine that I appreciate at this time of year. The light at this time of year is amazing and much welcomed when on so many other days the clouds stay resolutely grey. At the moment the gardens seem to be a bit in between seasons. Most of the Autumn colour is gone yet a few of the late summer flowers still hang on tenaciously in amongst all the dead leaves. It makes for an interesting contrast when you walk past the borders.

Until my last visit six months ago [where has that time gone?!!] with other friends the few remaining rooms that survived the fire which decimated the rest of the house in the 1940s hadn't reopened. Having checked the website to see if there was anything extra to see over and above the usual I noted that we were unfortunately a few days too early to see the Christmas decorations up. Seeing as the house was open whilst we were there though we decided to poke our noses round the door anyway and what a surprise we were in was fully decorated and how beautiful it looked with the fading daylight and all the lights sparkling. I guess that the volunteer playing carols on the piano should have given it away!
Just a couple of shots...don't want to overegg the Christmas posts this month๐ŸŽ„๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿคถ


Tuesday, 30 November 2021

November sky

 Am so excited for I have been out with my friend E. On days such as this I am reminded exactly why I so love living in Sussex. Big skies over my beloved South Downs. 


Monday, 29 November 2021


What do you do when faced with an old exhaust pipe, a couple of curtain rings, a drawer handle and a big old plastic bottle lying around your homestead? You could dispose of it [hopefully recycling as much of it as possible] or you could do this...

Make yourself a massive old bit of cheery "folk"art and stick it outside the front of your house for all to enjoy! I've just taken on a new client in one of the outlying villages and was delighted to find this fellow on my way back home on Friday.


Friday, 26 November 2021

Zooming in.

 Once a month I clean for for a lady who has three of the teeniest cats I've ever seen. Although they are fully grown they all had a really rough start to their lives and ending up being rescue kittens. One has a thing about helping you out when you're my client's case she hops up onto her shoulder when she's working from home on the computer [even during a job interview she had earlier in the year!] However, this little soul doesn't show any was quite a shock when I was crouched down in the kitchen one day and she did the same to me! It's not something that any of the cats I've had over the years have ever done. One of her absolute favourite work related activities she enjoys is participating in online meetings....when I saw this it reminded me of her antics!

Hope you have a great weekend.


Thursday, 25 November 2021

Putting it out there.

Normally I don't have too much problem with coming up with blog content. Occasionally I miss a day if I'm not feeling inspired or I'm in a quiet spell like now. However, I didn't want to be defeated by this yesterday so a new positive approach was called for. Being a bit of an old hippy at heart I decided to put in a request for something suitable with the universe and then step back and let the magic happen. Within a matter of minutes this unusual piece of artwork jumped out at me..... a depiction of trees on pieces of wood forming a tree. As it was outside somebody's house I needed to be quick snapping a photo without looking shifty! 

So there we are with many thanks to the unseen powers that be I got given what I asked for. Perhaps I should try this approach more often!


Wednesday, 24 November 2021

76 years on.


Way back in the depths of lockdown one of the local golfclubs allowed people to roam freely across its course [in those days when the playing of golf was strictly verboten!]. E and I took full advantage.... 

With the recent marking of Remembrance there was a post on FB that spoke of someone spotting a carved name on the pew in front of them and their upset at hearing the same name read out as one of the fallen only moments later. Suddenly that name became a real person. It reminded me of the piece of graffiti that E had spotted inside one of the wartime pillboxes. Beyond speculating that it was most probably one of the Canadian soldiers stationed near here and from the date on it 26th October 1945 likely to have been waiting to be sent home I didn't do much with it once a quick search failed to come with any matches to the name Gordon Bullock.

On a whim I decided to share my photo on one of our local history groups on Remembrance Sunday because I thought it would be of interest and now that the golfcourse is off bounds again [except to members] most people won't get the chance to see it for themselves. As I so often find with these things...once you take a step like this things take on a life of their own and your reward is that you come away having learnt more. One chap spotted that the surname was actually Bulloch and he forwarded it onto a Canadian geneaology site. 24 hours later we had a response and some of his distant family members were traced. I now know that Gordon was born in 1925 and he did return to Canada, married and had two children. He died in 2001. Amazing that you can find out so much from a tiny scrawl and hopefully his descendants will enjoy this little glimpse of his time here in a small village so many miles away from Manitoba.


Tuesday, 23 November 2021

As calm as a millpond.

I think the phrase "as calm as a millpond" would have not been far out for describing the millpond at our local nature reserve on Sunday. From 1247 there has been a water wheel [to power a grist mill], a cornmill and a blast furnace mill for the iron industry on this site at different times. The photo below shows some of the iron stones that have recently been found during recent renovations.

This 92 acre mixed habitat site was bought by the council for the public back in 1987 and reopened in its present form as a reserve in 2006. Even though it's so close to home I haven't been here for over a year and it's undergone quite a transformation during this time. Nothing is ever static here and I enjoy visiting for exactly that reason.

This is the newly opened discovery hub. The view of the millpond was taken through the huge glass viewing panels they've got facing out over it. On such a cold day it was a real treat to be able to watch the cormorants drying off inside instead of sitting there shivering in the bird hide!

The newly created Shelley garden only has the bare bones of its structure to look at for now. Later down the line it will become a wildlife haven for pollinators. All that green is wild turf which apparently consists of native single flower varieties...for reasons I know not they're better at attracting winged critters than double flowers. It's been named in honour of Percy Bysshe Shelley who was a local lad and supposedly learnt to sail on the millpond.

Another of these fabulous bug hotels even if this one is on a much grander scale than the one we have have here at GBT! They've even recycled the old wooden signs that used to be up before the refurb!

I may have only been out a scant hour and it may have only been a very local trip, but it was the first time [bar for work etc] in over two weeks. Really appreciated feeling well enough again.


Monday, 22 November 2021

A bit prickly

 After finding two young hoglets in our garden earlier this month, I've spent the last couple of weeks reading up about hedgehogs and the right way to go about supporting them from people who really know their stuff. I hadn't appreciated just what complicated little creatures they are. I had been labouring under the misapprehension that our prickly friends hibernate all over the winter, but apparently this isn't the case.

At this time of year when natural food is scarce they are in a race to put on enough weight to see them through the cold months. However, not all hibernate and many will need to have a top up feed every few days to build up their fat reserves. There are many things they can't eat, bread and milk being two of the worst things alongside suet, pumpkin and mealworms [some also say fish, but the jury seems to be out on that particular one].  I was concerned that if you "help" them by putting appropriate food out for them on a regular basis you might make them dependent and prevent them from following their natural behaviours, but this isn't the case apparently and they continue to travel and forage. With that worry allayed we have gone for new plastic box [100% recycled plastic though], dishes from the charity shop, wood from home and appropriate complete dried kitten food and we now have our very own cat-proof hedgehog feeding station. We have put it out in the garden well away from the hedgehog house with plenty of clean water outside it so fingers crossed that we might get some prickly visitors!!๐Ÿฆ”

As for baby Celia my friend L has been in contact with the wildlife hospital where she was taken in and I'm glad to say that she's doing ok so far. If she makes it then L has said that I can come over and see her be released back into the wild next Spring.


Friday, 19 November 2021

One Thing Friday

This dinosaur skeleton cast is at the Natural History Museum. It was found in Hell Creek, South Dakota in 2004 and research upon the bones revealed it to be a new discovery. It is its flat headed skull with the combination of bony knobs and spikes that have got the experts all hot under the collar and its resemblance to mythical dragons has not gone celebration of this it has now been named "Dacorex Hogwartsia"! [nb this one is real!] If you fancy viewing more highly unusual skeletons then this site might be the place for you.... Sorry to spoil the illusion, but it is actually an art installation [not open to the public] by Alex CF, but there were those who believed it to be true when it was launched.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday, 18 November 2021

One Thing Thursday

I'm back in Bury St Edmunds today with a rather odd Lloyds Bank sign I spotted. The green is right, but where's the familiar equine? This one with the beehive is its precursor and was the bank's symbol from the 1820s. A quick scrabble round dear old Goggle tells me that it symbolised thrift and industry and the black horse didn't come in until 1884. The bank used both of the symbols until the 1930s.



This is a rather larger example of the lovely Dala horses that you normally see. It sits in the entrance to a Swedish cafe we have in Horsha...