Saturday 30 November 2013


...the GBT purse is tight and not in the gnat bottomed sense either today. I have got home to find she's been at my new bottle of ginger wine. The old toper!

Good news for me though as I have been able to sneak out to the charity shops and top up my treasure trove without the usual accompanying Spanish Inquisition.

Now in my sweaty little mitts I have this rather lovely wooden box which was a cutlery canteen in a former life. I plan to re purpose it as a small shelf unit where I can display a select number of items of my choosing to represent the season or a special event. It's something I've wanted to do for ages and an important part of my Druidic path. I'm never organised nor do we have space to set up an altar for me and this allows me far more fluidity- it definitely won't be just pagan objects but whatever catches my eye. Stonking value at 200 pennies I feel.

And a steal at 100 pennies a small woven hanging- I adore the colour combination.

I have decluttered a fondue set and a big bit of fabric via freecycle this week to make sure that I have the room as I am not a hoarder by nature.


Friday 29 November 2013

Autumn Moon

The beautiful Lady Moon on a bright autumnal morning earlier this week.


Friday Funding Fun

On frugal matters pertaining to bread and crumbs. I don't feel the need to repeat a 101 ways with breadcrumbs- lots of frugallers are already au fait with the fab tips out there on this topic and to think I used to just throw out the old bread for the birds.....

If you like crusty rolls it is far cheaper to buy a baguette and cut it up than buy a pack of rolls I find.

And a new recipe hopefully with the festive season upon us to use up some of those bread crumbs. This one comes from the Weald and Downland museum

Gingered Bread

1 lb white breadcrumbs, 1lb runny honey, 2 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp ground cloves & 2 tsp cinnamon.

Mix spices and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Warm honey and add to crumbs. Mix well until. Line a shallow baking dish and press the mixture down firmly. Cover and leave overnight to chill and set. Cut into cubes to serve.


Thursday 28 November 2013

Labilliere's Grave

Peter Labilliere was born in Dublin in 1725. He became a major in the British army and after leaving, a political agitator. Although never tried for treason he was accused in 1775 of bribing British troops not to fight in the American War of Independence. In later life he moved to Dorking from London and was a regular visitor to Box Hill where he used to walk and meditate. On one occasion he fell in undergrowth and lost the sight in one eye.

As he grew older Labilliere became increasingly odd and stopped washing to the point where he was nicknamed "the walking dunghill". However, people often commented upon his kindness and he was often known to buy clothes for those suffering that he met.

Upon the occasion of his death in June 1800, he was, as he had requested, buried up on Box Hill head first. Some claim that this was because  he believed that the world was topsy turvy and one day it would right itself. However, it seems more likely that the decision was made based upon his religious beliefs- he was a great admirer of St Peter who requested that he be crucified on an inverted cross as he did not believe himself worthy of dying in the same manner as Christ. This is the memorial stone that records Labilliere's internment- it is unlikely that it marks the actual burial spot. Interesting as an aside there is also a horse buried upside down on Box Hill but there is no connection between the two!

For a long time there was an annual celebration to mark Labilliere's passing with a picnic and dancing. This tradition has been resurrected and I hope to dance as part of it with my Morris side next June!


Wednesday 27 November 2013

Making Gel Air Fresheners

I had a lot of fun making these a few days ago with a dear chum.

Instructions from here-

I actually used sachets of plain gelatine crystals rather than sheets and I would be interested to hear if they work with the vegetarian equivalent of gelatine. Knowing what I know now, I would use smaller jars and I found the two I made using food gel colouring rather than the traditional food colouring were more effective- the green one made with the latter has all the attractive look about it of a jar of pond water, although it smells nice. I don't buy gel air fresheners because I don't want the leftover unrecyclable container to deal with and this seems to be a good alternative.


Tuesday 26 November 2013

Jumping Spiders

I know that many people are terrified of arachnids- they don't hold any fear for me but show me a crane fly and I become gibbering wreck so you have my sympathies. Please look no further if you are in the non spider camp.

I have fallen in love with the jumping spider- there are 500 species and they make up 13% of the world's spider population. They come in the most delicious range of hues.

See what I mean!


Monday 25 November 2013

A little thought.....

"The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra."

Jimmy Johnson.


Merrie Monday

Strap a pair of these on your tootsies

And away you go!


Sunday 24 November 2013

How much?!!!!!

We are contributing towards an Xbox for the small person this year for Christmas- we could buy it for him outright but we simply don't go overboard on presents in our family as it isn't the focus of the day. The other monies needed to make up the cost will come from my parents and his savings. He has done his research and announced that he would like the XBox 360 as it comes with a game that he's after. His face was a study when I told him that the new XBox One that was launched this month can be had for a mere snip at £422.99 at HMV [I do so love the way they say only £422.99]. The term daylight robbery springs to my mind.....

Daylight robbery is a phrase familiar to many of us. If a person was robbed of a considerable sum in the daytime and on the high road and if he then declared the theft to the county sheriff before the sun set the county were obliged to reimburse him of the amount if he was able to prove how much had been stolen and where the crime had occurred.


Saturday 23 November 2013

Passionate Purple

Huzzah, huzzah and thrice times huzzah. Most terribly overthrilled yesterday that you really can get proper purple coloured berries- not a hint of black or blue anywhere to be seen. This beauty is called Callicarpa and is out in my parents' garden at the moment. They very kindly took a photo of shut me up/quell my over so I could share it on my bloglet.

Enough to gladden my heart on a cold November day!


Friday 22 November 2013

Friday Funding Fun

My favourite thrifty snacky treats- even keeps me away from the cake shop or cafe [only sometimes though- visiting a cafe once in a while is part of my new to me silk shirt approach to the art of frugal living]

Hot buttered tea cakes with a pot of char

Or even better crumpets eaten with butter and jam, marmite, scrambled egg and smoked salmon trimmings the combinations are only limited by your imagination and so much cheaper to buy 12 rather than 8. A versatile staple in my freezer that satisfies wanting of something naughty to eat but doesn't leave me feeling hard done by. Never had the same success with a rice cake!


Thursday 21 November 2013

Medieval Church Paintings

As you might have guessed ho-hum I am just a little bit of a history fan- not so much the big stuff but social history- the everyday lives and experiences of the masses that go unrecorded. Every once in a while I get a chance to glimpse of their world in the faint hints that have escaped our wanton destruction.

Last week, whilst watching The Tudor Abbey Farm, Ruth Goodman visited St Teilo's at St Fagan's- a medieval church which has had its original wall paintings [preserved under the plaster] repainted to give an idea of how they would have appeared to the congregation in 1520. One is immediately struck by the colour and vibrancy of the images as they were used to inform and educate their largely illiterate audience. It was a new discovery to me and definitely on the list of places to visit. The following link gives you both pictures and a brief description.

I am incredibly lucky that in my little part of the world we have a handful of churches within close proximity of one another which still have their original paintings remaining. The similarities in the work has given rise to the belief that they were probably created by the same artist travelling from one to another.

St Peter Ad Vincula, Wisborough Green

St Mary's, West Chiltington

And last but most definitely not least- St Botolph's, Hardham

If you are ever near this little church it has extensive wall art remaining and is charming- it has a leper hole as well.
More detail for you from here


Wednesday 20 November 2013

Meddling with Meddlars

Today I am lucky enough to be receiving 4lb of medlars. Along with the quince, it's a fruit that's largely fallen out of favour. It's in season now and is rather a curious egg because you have to wait until it has gone rotten [bletted to be correct] before you can use it.

It originated in the area near the Caspian Sea 3000 years ago north of Iran where it was used medicinally for diarrhoea, bloating of the stomach and throat abscesses. It was introduced to Greece in 700BC and subsequently popular both with the Romans and during Medieval Times. Chaucer uses its bletted state as a symbol of prostitution in the Reeve's Tale. The Elizabethans saucily referred to it as 'open arse' because of its shape- one doesn't need to take a huge leap of imagination to see the similarity! Whilst the Victorians used it to make delicate sweetmeats

Nowadays it is mainly used to make curd and jelly which is the route we or should I say my Dad will be taking! It is an unusual taste but one definitely worth trying.


Tuesday 19 November 2013

Jingle Bells

I keep Christmas in December but this has a high sniggering value- Mr GBT used to ring handbells and still occasionally stands in for the team. I don't think he's ever had that much fun at practice!

Despite the title of the video I promise that there's nothing naughty on display!


Baker's Dozen

Originating from when the Baker's Guild enforced a 'bread assize' within a two mile radius of the city of London. The Guild weighed the bread to check for underweight loaves or to detect those who adulterated the flour with sand or sawdust. If caught, the punishment was being dragged around the dirtiest streets on a hurdle with the offending bread hung around your neck. For a second offence you spent an hour in the pillory and for a third your oven was destroyed and you were no longer allowed to bake. Bakers became so fearful of giving a short weight that they would provide a small extra piece of bread with each loaf to ensure that no shortfall occurred. Therefore, if you ordered a dozen loaves you would receive another one free.
[From Nigel Cawthorne, The Strange Laws of Old England]


Sunday 17 November 2013

A Cheapside Caper

Hoards....there is a bit of theme emerging here....not me becoming a hoarder I hasten to add but me visiting them- last month a Saxon one this month the Cheapside Hoard at the Museum of London.

The hoard of late Elizabethan and early Stuart jewellery was discovered by workmen buried in a cellar in Cheapside in 1912. It was known to have been an area of goldsmiths but why it was there is open to interpretation. The building was certainly owned by a jeweller and one theory was that this was his stock which was buried before the outbreak of the Civil War but quite why it remained there is unknown. The rediscovered jewels were spread out between three museums and this is the first time they have ever been seen together in public.

The exhibition is not huge but it is well thought out and sets the scene in Cheapside alongside the fashions of the day well. It really helped me to see the contemporary paintings displayed alongside so that I could understand how the jewels were worn to embellish the fashions of the day. This is one of the examples used.

It also taught me what a farthingale was- an underskirt support used to achieve the desired silhouette of the day. We spent some time looking at this particular portrait of Elizabeth trying to fathom what it could have been from the description of the placement of the jewels. In the end we decided that perhaps it was something worn on the head!

The jewellery itself is displayed simply in clear glass cabinets which do not detract from their sheer beauty but also allow for close inspection to admire the workmanship. The detail is stunning- very thin gold wire embellished with dainty enamelled flowers in long chains were actually stitched to the clothing.

An inch high scent bottle again demonstrating the fine enamelling skill of the craftsman

Pendants galore- the grapes were made from emeralds but they also had ones made from amethyst.

And my favourite the hexagonal emerald watch and the watch made by G Ferlite.

The thing that really struck me was the belief system attached to different jewels- in many ways it is reminiscent of those who use crystals esoterically. More on that in a later post......


Friday 15 November 2013

Friday Funding Fun

On matters of glue......

If you only need to use small amounts of glue for a project dispense some into an empty blister pack and use a cocktail stick to apply. I do this when I'm making miniatures for my dollshouse.

Much cheaper than Fraycheck- dilute some pva down with water and apply to the raw material edges with a paintbrush.


Autumn Sunlight

Mr GBT has been out and about again. Hope you enjoy the droplets on the Euphorbia.


Wednesday 13 November 2013

Welcome to the GBT Curry House

I love nothing better than spending an evening with close chums or Mr GBT making "stuff". Frugal fun at its best- tea, cake and you get something at the end of it. My friends say they never know what I'm going to do next- I only wish I did. I like doing things on a whim [with a couple of days notice so that I've got time to make sure I am prepared]. The trouble with being a curious soul is that lots of things catch my eye and there aren't enough hours in the day to do them all but I give it a good go! I've done all sorts over the years- jewellery, turkish delight, candles, paper, decorations, St Brigid crosses- some have worked out well.....some just well......parsnip fudge eww and supposedly ink made from flowers which was invisible. This doesn't put me off though- it's a great way to learn new skills.

A few weeks ago I happened across this recipe for a curry paste from Mortgage Free in Three's blog

Dear chum J and I stood and wept as we peeled a kilo of onions [I used the machine to blitz them] and one day perhaps I might learn not to poke myself in the eye having just cut up the chillis! However, it smelt lush.last night....perhaps not so keen on the pungent smell first thing this morning though! I've frozen my portion for now but look forward to trying it out in one of our favourite curries in due course. I think this might be a keeper for when I fancy a takeaway but the GBT purse folds her arms across her ample chest and sticks her chin out repeating "shan't" when I request the release of funds for such a purpose!


Tee hee!

Made me howl [well not literally- I only do that at the full moon!]


Tuesday 12 November 2013

Terrific Tuesday

Hot Stuff by Donna Summer

And dedicated to this rather lovely gentleman- I've been rather smitten since I first saw him in Chariots of Fire when I was 15 but I am not quite sure that I have totally forgiven him for snogging Deidre Barlow yet!!


Monday 11 November 2013

November Baking Challenge.

In commemoration of Remembrance Day today I baked Nigella Lawson's Remembrance cake. Recipe from here

It is very delicately flavoured.


Lest we forget

Amy Beechey is buried in Newport Cemetery, Lincoln. Her eight sons fought in The Great War but only three survived. In April 1918 she was presented to George V and Queen Mary for her immense sacrifice. She said to Queen Mary "It was no sacrifice Ma'Am I did not give them willingly."
[Lincoln Museum of Life]


Sunday 10 November 2013

An Englishman's Castle...... his home and we all like to mark the fact by adding our own individual stamp. Whilst waiting in traffic the other day I happened to glance across at the houses off to my side- to my amusement one was called this [not my photo as I was sat behind the wheel of the metal box with a wheel at each corner!]

This in return reminded me of another couple I saw on a village walk back in the summer.

I am as ever far too easily pleased!


Saturday 9 November 2013

The Box Office

In the Elizabethan era plays were performed at 2pm. Groundlings i.e. those who stood on the open ground near the stage paid a penny, those who sat down paid an extra penny and those who wanted a cushion paid a further penny. All monies were dropped into a box that was taken to a special room for safe keeping called the box office.


Friday 8 November 2013

A mighty fine piece of advice.......

Saw this on a card last week!

If at first you don't succeed.....go and pour yourself a large gin and tonic.

Most marvellous and don't mind if I do!!


Friday Funding Fun

Recycling of things for craft projects that would normally be thrown away. Look at decorated paper bags, free book marks from bookshops and libraries, the patterned paper inside envelopes, the empty packaging from perfumes, hand creams, wool scraps, sweetie papers [the paper from a Galaxy bar is one that comes to mind] for adding to your craft supplies for small projects or card making. If you want to build up a supply of pretty papers Poundland do packs that are excellent value.

I am artistically challenged- I find google images with whatever shape you're after with the magic word template after it is an absolute marvel!

Forgive my homespun efforts- this one was a birthday card made from left over wool ends- I used a biscuit cutter for my template and left over wool ends from a knitting project

And I made these for my bedroom door using those paint colour charts we all pick up when decorating


Thursday 7 November 2013

Cheering Chester

Pewter coloured skies and Adam's ale falling by the bucket load from it- that's what greeted us when Mr GBT and I skipped off on a smug marrieds' outing last week [the small person was hiking with my Dad]. However, despite the gloomy conditions Chester seems to be a remarkably upbeat and lively city awash with great swathes of colour.

Having found the Tourist Office and discovered that the cathedral has reverted to donation only rather than the obligatory entrance fee we paid our dues and a quick visit. It's built from the local red sandstone and seemed rather dismal to my eyes from the outside [I'm used to the much lighter coloured stone cathedrals in the South] but this initial impression was soon shot down in flames once we'd found our way in- it's ablaze with candles and different points for quiet meditation and it seems to have regained the feeling of being a church- something that a lot of the cathedrals I've visited over the last few years seem sadly lacking. They have more the atmosphere of a tourist attraction. And for moi, just mildly keen on great sweeps of bright, eye catching details I was more than happy!

The rest of our time proved no less disappointing- we spent time at the free Grosvenor Museum. It has a fantastic collection of original Roman gravestones that originally would have been outside the city walls- at some point later in time they were used as infill in the wall repairs which also guaranteed their preservation.

This little fella just made me go aww- I don't know for sure but would imagine that if refers to the fact that Chester Zoo is the national breeding centre for elephants- to see the little ones gambolling around playing is just the most enchanting thing. How would I know this- why I had one of the biggest elephant fans on the planet for many years. All his toys were elephant themed!

And finally because it just made me smile!


Not going to the art gallery.

 Mr GBT didn't really want to visit an art gallery whilst we were in the Midlands last month....he's a clever fellow though and dist...