Monday 31 March 2014

Merrie Monday

The old ones are always the good ones. Can't watch this and not titter.


Friday 28 March 2014

Friday Funding Fun

Last year we spent rather a lot of wonga in a certain chain store on windscreen wipers. Within six months said items squeaked as if they had come with their own attached mouse so we have had to replace them. This time we spent considerably less at this site- the service was very prompt. and more importantly it left more money in the bun fund which is of far greater importance to me!


Phew made it....'tis Friday!


Wednesday 26 March 2014

The Black Sheep

Many moons ago I visited the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, Yorkshire. As is sometimes the case, its creation had come on the back of an acrimonious fall out within the Theakston family when they were taken over by the Scottish and Newcastle Brewery. Rather than follow in the footsteps of other family members Paul Theakston took a risk and struck out on his own. Twenty years or so on he has a successful business and a corking range of mighty fine beers if I may say so [I have done my research thoroughly believe me!]

I am always pleased to see a black sheep- this is another shot of the flock at our local nature reserve. Traditionally their fleeces fetched less than their white counterparts as they were seen to be carrying the mark of the devil. Anything with even the slightest maverick associations is always of immediate interest to me!!


Tuesday 25 March 2014

Other People's Wisdom

This came up on the Book of the Face today....a lot of these resonate with me and make a great deal of sense.


PS Ooh er I've finally found out how to embed links in Blogger- that'll be by using the button that says "link" then.....!!


Forgive me...any excuse to revisit my groovy 1970s childhood even if the link is extremely tenuous!! A handful of freshly pulled rhubarb was kindly donated to me by my newest house sparkling client last week. Mr GBT does not like rhubarb, but I have discovered a couple of  cunning ways of using it to get it past the NO RHUBARB barrier undetected.

I made a batch of this earlier this week. It makes a very refreshing non alcoholic drink. On this occasion I substituted 2 oranges for the lemons because I didn't want to see them go to waste but I don't think it was quite as tasty as the original version. I personally prefer not adding as much sugar and adding extra lemon juice because I prefer it to be on the tarter side.

Rhubarb and Lemon Cooler

Chop 4 sticks of rhubarb and slice 2 lemons. Put in a large bowl. Add 1lb sugar and 8 pints of boiling water. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Cover and leave overnight. Strain and bottle. Will keep a few days in the fridge.

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

250g sugar, 1tsp bicarb, 1/2 tsp salt, 250g plain flour, 2 beaten eggs, 250ml sour cream, 365g chopped rhubarb
Topping: 200g sugar, 50g soft butter, 4tbsp plain flour, pinch cinnamon

Preheat oven 180C. Grease and flour a tin. Stir sugar, bicarb, salt and flour together. Add eggs and soured cream. Mix then fold in rhubarb. Put into tin. Stir sugar and butter until smooth. Rub in flour until crumbly. Sprinkle on top and dust with cinnamon. Cook 1 hour. It doesn't keep terribly long because of the fresh fruit in it.


Saturday 22 March 2014

Turning Blue

These days, post redundancy from a big girl's full time job, I am now a self employed house sparkling elf. Usually it is stress free and I really, really enjoy it [I am partial to cleaning]. My theory is that manufacturers are by and large conning you into believing that kitchen and bathroom cleaners do something radically different from each other- I would like to point out that this is my opinion only and not scientifically proven....

Yesterday I was at my regular Friday afternoon joblet. It's been a standing joke that it has rained for months every time I've been there but yesterday it was, for once, sunny. This couple had a new bathroom fitted in the Autumn and so I have spruced it up many times. Yesterday there was no bleach so I decided in my wisdom to use the new bottle of Cillit Bang kitchen cleaner in the bathroom [I checked the back and it said don't use on wood- fine I thought] rather than the all purpose one because it had lime remover in it. Having duly finished the bath I then noticed to my horror that the corners now had a faint but distinctly blue tinge to them. Always an oasis of calm [never!!] I then started running around like a headless didn't matter what I did, light on light off, looking at it from every which way the blue remained. Usually the owner is not there- yesterday he was so all this is going on with me frantically trying not to draw attention to myself. In the end I screwed up my courage and called him over- "does you bath look blue to you?" I asked [everything shaking by now]..."yes" he says "I know it's blue in the corners. It's faulty which is why we got it knocked down" this point I then have to admit the thankfully wrong conclusion I have drawn. He guffaws loudly and calls me "a silly cow!" I should point out he's a lovely chap...all I can is thank god for Rescue Remedy and nil points for my powers of observation!!


Friday 21 March 2014

Friday Funding Fun

Old holey tea towels normally resplendent with cutsey animals, the ones you bought because your little darling drew a self portrait and the PTA pricked your conscience [I've got my very own pile of these!], drawings of places you've never heard of...I could go on. Well actually I think they are all rather marvellous and are to be treasured.....mine have made the most fantastic liners in my kitchen drawers and in the shelf where the milk bottles go and vegetables are stored. Beats manky sopping newspaper any day and they can easily be shaken out and washed to reuse. Cleverer people than me make some pretty stunning tablecloths, napkins, cushion covers from their old tea towels but mine are not worthy and I suspect I would be guilty of crimes against fashion if I ever allowed them to be see in public again!!


Thursday 20 March 2014

Corners Of My Home

Well allow for a wee bit of artistic license....a corner cupboard in my home made for me by Mr GBT which actually sits in the corner of the twist and turn staircase to be precise and jolly pedantic!

Originally this was intended as a place for me to display my personal little treasures knowing that they were out of the small person's reach. There's nothing in here of any great monetary value. I am not, by nature, a hoarder and so many things that others might keep have long since left the building. However, many of these hold fond memories for me.

The top shelf

If you squint carefully there is a small primary coloured clay elephant. This was made by the small person in honour of his favourite elephant Lump-pee-lump who he's had since he was 3 months old and who has seen him through every childhood trauma and accompanied him on every childhood adventure. He still lives with us but is discreetly tucked away these days. Here he is in all his glory grooving alongside the small person.
The painted eggs come from Romania and on the shelf below you can see my Mum's old dressing table set.

The third shelf has a Victorian fan and a couple of Victorian cards all picked up from charity shops a very long time ago. If you click on the egg behind the shells [it's an ostrich egg] you will see it's full of teeny teddies. My Mum's friend made it as a present for me one year.

The final shelf

The floral frisbee as it's affectionately known [beneath the plate] is the one I wore when I got married as I didn't want a veil of any description. The flowers were from the same fabric as my dress and there were also small turquoise silk stripy and plain ones which were from my bridesmaids' skirts and matching jackets. You might just about be able to make out a silver spoon and a couple of embroidered boxes- these were all from my 21st birthday a couple of centuries ago or so.

Thank you for joining me on my little tour.


Wednesday 19 March 2014


Pharrell's "Happy" sung by an elementary school in Detroit and the original. I know you hear it everywhere but that might just be because it's a darn good track in my book!



Tuesday 18 March 2014


I have the greatest admiration for those individuals who can meditate. The notion of meditating regularly often crops up on my pagan path but, despite several attempts, I can't do it. I have a brain like a grasshopper that jumps from one thing to another and the minute I attempt to quieten it and sit still it goes into overdrive. I spent a long time trying and then getting frustrated so I've abandoned it for good. It's not a problem though because I realise that the chattering monkey on my shoulder rushes off to annoy someone else the minute I become absorbed in what I am doing- it happens when I'm carrying out my paid house sparkling duties, reading a book and all the time when I am walking. I enjoy experiencing different modes of transport but travelling on Shank's pony is by far and away my favourite. It gives me time to clear my mind and just enjoy noticing what's going on around me. Such moments are treasures and this was one of them spotted near where I live last week. I am as always easily pleased by the simple beauty of the everyday that I see around me.

Capillary Thread Moss


Monday 17 March 2014

Merrie Monday

I so hope I'm like this when I reach my full blown crone years even if I am cackling in the corner on my own.
Such an uplifting image.

[From Dumb Spiro Spero Blog]


Sunday 16 March 2014


The hedgerows are brimming over with them here in Sussex I am thrilled to say. It's one of the first perennial Spring flowers to bloom and is named after the Latin prima rosa meaning first rose. It's not part of the rose family. It is related to the cowslip. Closer inspection of the flowers reveal that the centres differ- the pin-eyed flowers are the female ones and the thrum eyed the males. They grow on separate plants. It's known by a variety of names but some of my favourites are Jack-in-the-Green, Butter Rose, King-Charles-in-the-Oak and Lady's Frills.

The whole plant is edible. Before picking primroses was prohibited by law they were used to make wine, tea and were the primary ingredient in the appropriately named "Primrose Pottage". They were equally useful medicinally. The whole plant is a sedative and in modern usage its root is infused and used as a cure for nervous headaches.

There is a strong association between rural living and primroses. It was believed that it if children brought less than 13 blooms into the house it would lessen the number of successful hatchings for any chicken eggs in the coop. Butter was rubbed on cows' udders on May Eve to increase the milk yield. To deter witches a primrose ball was hung on the cows' tails on May day in Ireland and bunches left in the cowsheds to stop the fairies from stealing the milk. It was necessary to scatter them on the threshold of your home before dawn if you wanted to stop the little blighters from half inching your butter as well! Bear in mind that if you ate a primrose you might well see the pharisee [Sussex word for the little folk] for yourself.....

As you might imagine primroses feature in folklore. You should never give a single primrose to another if you didn't want to hasten their ending and if you saw a single one growing you needed to dance around it three times to avert bad luck. The Victorians planted them on the graves of their children [you can always rely on the Victorians for a jolly gesture when dealing with matters of death!] Strangely it was thought that if you planted them upside down they would grow pink flowers- despite repeated attempts people found they neither thrived nor survived. During the Middle Ages people made love potions from them and in Germany it was said that the first girl to see a primrose at Easter would marry later that year.

As a footnote we have our own little local primrose tradition. This is the Dedisham Lady whose coffin is in the entrance of a local village church. She was moved to her present site when the earlier church was rebuilt during the 19th century. Little seems to be known about her except that she possibly dates to the 14th century and is linked to the local Dedisham Manor house that once stood a mile away. Every Easter a posy of primroses is placed upon her at Easter- it is not known why nor how long this has been carried on for but long may it be continued. This photo is from last year.


P.S As a footnote I now know that it is believed that the Lady of Dedisham was a member of the Tregoz family.

Saturday 15 March 2014


I met a gentleman who introduced me to this band this week. I like their track Solringen- sometimes I can feel the music resonating through my very being. Some may say spine tingling- this is one of those for me.


Friday 14 March 2014

Recycled Art

I stumbled across this artist when doing detailed research ie randomly floating about on google when not getting on and doing the painting a few weeks ago. She is called Jane Perkins and she uses all recycled materials to create her masterpieces. I think they are simply smashing. More info can be found out her and her work here


Friday Funding Fun

A free daily chance to win £40- I check most days although I lack the application and focus.....ooh there's a bumble bee.....erm to do it religiously but nothing ventured nothing gained and all that.


Tuesday 11 March 2014

Feathered and Furry Friends

Our local nature reserve is set within the site of an old mill and mill pond. Having not been fished for 25 years there are always plenty of different birds to see. We caught a glimpse of a cormorant and several herons who were diligently nest building.

There are 3 hides in total- two at the water's edge and one in the middle of the woods which attracts lots of birds that I can identify. This one is probably my favourite- the birds are used to being viewed so are not that shy.

Mr and Mrs Chaffinch


Long Tailed Tit

Hen Pheasant- I hadn't appreciated just how exquisite their plumage is!

Ooh and most exciting of all for me- my first ever Red Poll

Naturally Captain Quality Management Control dropped in for a surprise visit. He was exceedingly diligent I must say!

And finally this lot- they are a small flock of Hebridian sheep that are kept on site during the winter to graze the wildflower meadow. They will soon be moved to another spot elsewhere in the town once the ground nesting birds start breeding.


Monday 10 March 2014

Merrie Monday

Psychocat I think must have a sixth sense for it...the minute I am within a mile radius of the keyboard needing to type something she is there demanding a lap and being, well frankly, a right royal pain. It seems that is a common experience amongst those of us in servitude to felines....


Sunday 9 March 2014

Mellow Yellow

To me natural Spring goes through a series of colour phases- it starts out predominantly with the delicate whites of the Snowdrops before moving onto the varied yellows which we're in now before ending up in its subtle pink, white and blue stage with all the blossom, Violets, Bluebells, Ramsons, Cuckoo Flowers and Stitchwort before it heralds in the full on colour explosion that is Summer! I love each stage and tracking how it changes every few weeks as a new phase is ushered in. That's one of the joys of blogging- I have become far more aware of the seasonal changes now that I have a personal space to record it all :-) It quite simply makes me happy.

Mr GBT and I took a stroll yesterday over to our local nature reserve [more about that in a follow up post] but these are some of the stunning sights that greeted us en route.

Daddodils as my friend's small person used to call them!

And the dandy of them all!


Lesser Celandine. Known by the Celts as Grian [sun] because its petals close up before rain. Has other names such as Pilewort, Foalfoot, Spring Messenger and Golden Guinea.

And finally Marsh Marigold which is one of the first wetland plants to flower. It is one of the most ancient British plants and is otherwise called King's Cup, May-Blobs, Water Cowslip and Water-Bubbles.


Saturday 8 March 2014

Tut tut!

"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun"

Katharine Hepburn


Monthly Review

Already a week into March- where does the time go? Aargh!

February saw me make my first ever suet pudding and huzzah it worked. I used vegetarian suet and our homemade raspberry jam and am pleased to report that cooking it in the slow cooker was a success. First new pud of 2014 done. This month will see a new veggie main course.

A kind morris dancing chum has lent me "The Druids" by Ronald Hutton- am two chapters in and am enjoying it so far.

I dug out my CBT course notes tonight as I've observed one or two old destructive habits beginning to creep in again. I shall remind myself of the principles and then reincorporate them into my thinking patterns. As long as I am aware of what is happening and make the necessary changes I should stay on the straight and narrow and manage my illness correctly.

Pleased so far.


Friday 7 March 2014

Friday Funding Fun

Fun for me often comes under the umbrella of having a go at making something new with a chum- if it all goes Pete Tong then at least you can have a laugh about it! This week I had my first stab at making incense with my chum J. It does me good to break out once in a while, so rather than fettering myself to a specific recipe I just took the lids off lots of jars and whiffled a lot until my snout found scents it liked. It's splendid sitting there with all the different aromas mingling as you crush them. J has also provided some frugal tips for me to share this week.

Resin forms the basis of this type of incense- she collects hers from the pine trees in the woods. You can incorporate all manner of dried leaves and flowers- she has lavender and rose petals but gorse is another good one. I already have lavender and elderflower and could easily do rosemary, lemon balm, bay etc etc. We're both fans of the Nag Champa incense sticks but she's cleverly kept the loose powder that gathers in the bottom of the packet so we were able to add some of that too. You leave it a month for the scents to blend properly. I rather unimaginatively called mine "Pancake Incense"....well it was Shrove Tuesday!


Thursday 6 March 2014

Wise Words

"Do you think you can take over the universe and improve it?
I do not believe it can be done.
The universe is sacred.
You cannot improve it,
If you try to change it, you will ruin it.
If you try to hold it, you will lose it.

So sometimes things are ahead
And sometimes they are behind:
Sometimes breathing is hard
And sometimes it comes easily.
Sometimes there is strength
And sometimes weakness.
Sometimes one is up
And sometimes down.
Therefore, the sage avoids extremes,
Excesses and complacency.

Lao Tsu
Tao Te Ching


Wednesday 5 March 2014

Bloomin' Spring

Oh my gosh and golly it's good to see some colour again. I am fond of January and February but it can all be a little too pale and interesting for me at times [except when the sun shines then it's fab!] so am most pleased to share some more of Mr GBT's photos from the weekend. I admired the stripy crocuses on another blog recently little realising that I have been walking past the same type without noticing...ho hum.


Tuesday 4 March 2014

Post Script

For anyone wishing to carry out further research in the area of Victorian slang [that will be me then!] I have found a dictionary of Victorian lovelies published in 1909.

Knowing Blogger it will probably be necessary to copy and paste the link.


Monday 3 March 2014

For Those With A Mary Whitehouse Disposition Please Look Away Now!

I have no wish to offend ......if you do not take offence please do read on.....

There I was sitting in a local hostelry this Saturday just past nursing a small sweet sherry when the phrase "tight as a boiled owl" was mentioned. This I was to discover was a Victorian term meaning intoxicated and of course, knowing my afore mentioned addiction to historical terms and words, has led me to carry out some further extensive research [you know about 10 minutes on google in all]. You may blame my Morris Dancing chums for some of these examples of Victorian sauciness. I shall be returning to my normal Margot Leadbetter type postlets post haste I can assure you!

Lady's Chesticles: 
Cupid's kettledrums, Manuals of Love's Devotion, bubbies [a lady supporting an ample bow window frontage was called a bushel bubby]

Lady's Front Bottom:
Crinkum-crankum, old hat [because often felt], cloven inlet

Blind Cupid, fleshy orbs

Gentleman's Pintle:
Plugtail [there are many more as you might imagine!]

Gentleman's Clock Weights
Tallywags, whirlygigs, trinkets, twiddle-diddles. gingabobs

Lady of Questionable Morals:
dirty puzzle, bobtail

Gentleman of Questionable Morals:
loose in the haft

Bumping Uglies:
joining giblets, giving a green gown [making her dress grassy]

And if you were unlucky to catch an STD:
Venus's Curse, Flap Dragon.


Merrie Monday

Yelllow submarine by of course The Beatles- I can't hear it and not sing along!


Sunday 2 March 2014

Stalking In The Local Deer Park.

Mr GBT has been tootling around today in the metal box with a wheel at each corner running some errands- he deliberately took the camera as he knew his route would take him past the deer park that is virtually on our doorstep. I thought it would make a change to see deer at this time of year when they still look magnificent but are rather tattier than in their prime during the rutting season. The first fellow has broken his antler and has his new ones just starting to grow through.

And his ladies who he fiercely protects.

I think after a while though he tired of posing and started telling a few jokes....

"What do you get when you cross Bambi with a ghost?"

What do male deer need braces?"
"Because they have buck teeth?"

By this time he was thoroughly amused by his own wit and humour. The evidence of his chortling is plain for all to see...

That is until one of the young hotheaded upstarts decided to steal his thunder by photobombing him [there's always one]- yes it's the one sticking his tongue out...

At which point the stag had a major sense of humour failure and stomped off!

I will endeavour to post up some slightly more conventional Spring related photos later in the week.


Rest awhile and smile.

I parked my ample rump on that there bench and followed the instructions on its plaque.  It wasn't exactly an onerous task to have to re...