Saturday 31 May 2014

Snouting On An Outing.

'Twas my day off this week so out of the door I shot....this time destination Brighton with a dear chum. I could have done the conventional thing and photographed The Pavilion but I resisted. Instead I'll share Noel Coward's dear little ditty on that particular tourist attraction:

"The Pavilion
Cost a million
As a monument to art.
And the wits here
Say it sits here
Like an Oriental Tart"

Instead I looked up, I looked down and I looked round corners. These are a few tasters. I'll pop up some other eyecatchers in a separate postlet.

If you are unfamiliar with the city and like an alternative shopping experience to the High Street do pay a visit to the North Laines near the station [not to be confused with The Lanes]


Friday 30 May 2014


Every Friday afternoon I housesparkle for a delightful lady who is 91 years young. This morning she had hearing aids fitted. Upon getting home the first thing she did was go out and sit in her garden...she was absolutely tickled pink that she could hear the bees buzzing. Her news has made my day.


Friday Funding Fun

Peels are appeeling [dreadful pun I know and yes, I am completely and utterly unapologetic] here at GBT. That parsimonious feeling that you're getting both your wonga's and health's worth of your weekly outlay on shopping gives me a little warm glow.

A few ideas- hopefully a new idea or two so that your saved pennies can go on the fun things in life!

I've brushed potato and carrot peelings lightly with oil and baked them in the oven so they've turned out like crisps. On a recent trip to a restaurant they'd done the same with parsnip peelings but I think that they'd probably deep fried them this time. Lip smackingly good anyway!

Melon rind can be used to make pickle- not tried as yet.

Cooking apple peel. I've heard of people making jelly. I bunged mine in soup to add extra flavour then fished them out before eating. According to an article in the Daily Wail this week you can do the same with the outer onion skins- note these are not edible so need to be removed.

I cook the outer cauliflower leaves like cabbage.

A contribution from my lovely SIL- use the skins from tangerines, satsumas, clementines to make marmalade. I am guessing that you could also use them to make candied peel [along with other citrus peel]. If you pare them and dry them in a low oven they can be added to flavour sauces and stews. Mushrooms cooked in orange juice is lovely so you might be able to experiment further.

A recipe from dear Delia using the outer skin of a pineapple to make a Pineapple Cooler drink

And finally this article has even more ideas including non culinary ones.

This only scratches the surface but is my little contribution to the waste not want not mantra.


Thursday 29 May 2014


"Rights" it's a word I encounter frequently in today's media. Often in the context of "it's my right to/not to...blah blah" or "that's a breach of my human rights....".  I recently read an interview given by Joanna Lumley to Good Housekeeping in which she commented:

"You are entitled to fresh air and that's it. Do the rest yourself."

It made me stop and think and yes, I have to say I agree with her. She certainly wasn't suggesting in any way that there shouldn't be support within society for those who are vulnerable or that we shouldn't support one another- simply that we are responsible for our own actions and any resulting consequences. This business of being an adult is all very tedious at times! I do eventually pull up my big girl's knickers [as Elaine over at Mortgage Free in Three] so hilariously calls it and do the right thing but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that there's always an initial inclination to look around for a scapegoat.

Whilst upon the topic of scapegoats the word is in fact Hebrew. Two goats were presented to the altar of the tabernacle where the high priest would draw lots for the Lord and the Azalel [the desert demon who's usually shown with goat's horns rather like our traditional devil]. The goat who was selected for the Lord was sacrificed . The priest would take confession and then transfer all the sins to the second goat who would be banished to the wilderness. He had thus escaped sacrifice and was henceforth known as the escaped or scapegoat. May I extend my thanks to Mr Albert Jack and his tome "Pop Goes The Weasel" for this little snippet.


Wednesday 28 May 2014


Forgive me- when it comes to matters of art I am a complete peasant and not backward in coming forwards with my opinions on things. This was a carving that caught my eye over the weekend.

As ever I opened my trap to change feet by announcing that it reminded me of a couple of dog's doings not to put too fine a point on it. My BIL guffawed and said that he'd thought exactly the same thing...we then noticed the rather unfortunate positioning of the dog poo bin in the background. Maybe just maybe we're weren't so far off the right track.... perhaps they were put there intentionally to remind people to use said receptacle! I think I could give dear old Mr Brian Sewell a run for his money!


Tuesday 27 May 2014

The Divine Vyne Outside.....

More from our recent visit.

Willow work to catch the eye and tickle the fancy!

The Summer House

Glorious Irises in the walled garden.

Can you spot the little fella staring back at me? Aww!


Monday 26 May 2014

The Divine Vyne Inside.....

The Vyne in Hampshire is now in the hands of the National Trust. It's a very attractive brick house but inside it's rather a curious egg really. There's a fair amount of marble and ormolu which I personally loathe mixed in with a smattering of Tudor [lovely linen fold panelling], eighteenth century plasterwork [made from papier mache in places] with elegant Wedgwood type colours with a bit of Strawberry Hill Gothic thrown in for good measure. I haven't really made my mind up about it one way or the other!

A few photos from the day though to give you an idea of some of the sights we saw.

This cheeky  Pan type figure graced the table legs of a gilt/marble table.

An English mirror from c1750 with Apollo at the centre.

Wooden fireplace with lady tucked around the corner.

A couple of lovely scaled down pieces- the first is an apprentice's chair and the second an organ in the Tudor chapel.

Finally this piece of exquisite embroidery caught my eye- if my memory serves me correctly it came from India originally and was a bedspread.


Merrie Monday

Lovely people doing lovely things.

There are lots of good people in the world...I am here to sing their praises!


Sunday 25 May 2014

The Cursed Ring

Mr GBT took this photo yesterday when we had a clan gathering over at The Vyne in Hampshire. The ring is Roman and was discovered in Silchester in 1785. From its inscription it's owner was a fellow called Silvianus. Unusually one Latin inscription is Christian and the other Pagan. It is not recorded how it came to be part of the collection at the property.

In the early 19th century [info from Wiki] a lead tablet was found at a Roman Temple site near Lydney Gloucestershire. It was inscribed with the following curse:
"For the God Nodens.  Silvanianus has lost a ring and has donated one half  [its worth] to Nodens. Among those named Senicianus permit no good health until it is returned to the Temple of Nodens"

In 1929 the archaeologist Mortimer Wheeler, whilst digging at the Lydney site, linked the ring and the tablet. He approached an Oxford Don to research Nodens. That don was a little known chap called Mr Tolkien. Speculation is that this historical incident of the cursed ring may have influenced the creation of The Lord of the Rings.


Saturday 24 May 2014

Moon Gazing Hare

I have a rather lovely chum A who is one of those talented chaps who can turn his hand to all manner of crafts. When I celebrated the Spring Equinox with him and his wife S I admired a lovely little clay hare he'd made for the occasion. Last time I saw him he gave me one of my very own. I just love the little chap.


Friday 23 May 2014

Friday Funding Fun

On a Thursday I housesparkle for a lady who has inherited all manner of treasures from her ancestors. Over time I've helped her to sort out a box of unworn Edwardian gloves that belonged to her maiden aunt, polished Victorian walking sticks, cleaned eye catching pieces of antique silver and so forth. She readily admits she is a bit of a hoarder and hates to either part with anything or see anything go to waste. In some respects, although myself not a hoarder, I am on her wave length when it comes to not just thoughtlessly chucking things into landfill...that hole in which they would go does not simply disappear sadly however, much we might wish it to.

Today's unearthed find was a Good Housekeeping booklet of Cheese and Potato recipes from 1943. With rationing in mind the approach was one of thrift. Certainly no extravagant ingredients and definitely sticking to the waste not want not ideal here! Anyroad thought I'd share a couple of the recipes with you if you're looking for some historically frugal inspiration.

Criss Cross Tart

6oz shortcrust pastry, 1/2lb cooked potato, 1tbsp golden syrup, 1tbsp black treacle.

Roll out the pastry thinly to line a square or an oblong tin. Roll the trimmings into strips to form squares. Slice the potatoes thinly and arrange in overlapping rows in the squares. Cover with a thin layer of either syrup or treacle alternating so that it looks like a draughts board. Bake at 450F for 20-30 mins.

Macaroni and Apple Cheese

1/4 lb macaroni cooked and drained, 1lb stewed apples, 2oz breadcrumbs, 2oz grated cheese, 1/2 oz marg

Fill greased pie dish with alternate layers of macaroni, breadcrumbs and apple. Top with grated cheese and nuts of marg . Brown under the grill.

Obviously, never having tried either of these I can't vouch for them. Not sure about the dessert but am going to try the macaroni one using smoked cheddar for this month's veggie challenge.


Thursday 22 May 2014


It's been another few busy days with more of the same lined up so I am unashamedly putting up some shortcut postlets at the moment.

This one came up on my Book of the Face page yesterday. The chap earnestly pruning the bush [yes I am deliberately using that word with my tongue stuck firmly in the side of my cheek] particularly appeals to my infantile and slightly mucky sense of humour.


Wednesday 21 May 2014


Many years ago I visited the gardens at  Sissinghurst-originally owned by Vita Sackville-West it is now in the hands of the National Trust. On that first visit the thing which really took my breath away was the beds of aquilegas. At that time I swore that when I had my own garden I too would grow them. In time we moved from our maisonette to our present abode and I realised my dream. I bought some of my very own...these have long since died but they self seed with gay abandon and every year produce a whole crop of colours and shapes. These are some of this year's plants.


Tuesday 20 May 2014

The Huffyton Post

Anyone who is owned by a cat will know that they are prone to moments of sheer madness when they canter around the house like a furry thing possessed. It is almost as if some invisible entity is hot on their tail. Here at GBT it is affectionately known as "getting the stupids".

Once such episode occurred a few days ago- quite a common place event which usually involves Psychocat hurtling up the stairs hollering at the top of her voice before screeching into our room at high speed, taking a tricky left hand turn and out again to reappear in a similar vein elsewhere moments later. Normally after a few moments of putting on such a ridiculous display she is to be found collapsed on the sofa haughtily denying all knowledge of said previous behaviour. Only this time things didn't quite go according to plan...yes she launched herself into our room as per normal but did not factor in that the door was shut....we only found this out when we heard a fairly hefty thud against it. She was unhurt but we committed the cardinal sin...we LAUGHED.....she left the house for three days in a towering huff. I should explain that by three days I mean just daylight hours...she was too soft to keep up her protest at night time and by leaving home...well she slept on the doormat in the porch in the sunshine instead. She rather sniffily informed me today that her bruises are only just healing....I beg to differ...the only bruising she suffered was to her ego!


Monday 19 May 2014

Merrie Monday

Hope you've got a pair of fishnets to hand and some very high heeled shoes because you're going to need 'em..... gents!


Sunday 18 May 2014

Fussy Eater.

Having cleared a mountain of ironing yesterday first thing [you know it's time when there are Nepalese guides starting to congregate at the base of it], I used the time to catch up on a bit of recorded stuff. With a son very much part of the scouting movement I watched the latest Bear Grylls offering. Watching how quickly the men went downhill without food [I know the press are harping on about it being staged...I frankly couldn't give a monkeys it sits in the light entertainment/pap category of programming in my world] and the effect of being faced with the slaughter of another animal in order to eat was striking. Many of us, myself included, are very far removed from the source of our food these days. My only form of hunting is to take myself to the supermarket to replenish our supplies.

Food is a big social thing in our household. Although a slightly less than enthusiastic cook, I love new flavours and foods and nothing gives me greater pleasure than trying to poison off folks with my baking. As a family we sit down at the table and natter over our evening meal most days [sometimes we eat on laps in front of the TV]. It's the one place where the mobile phone is banned...heaven help the teenager if he even so much twitches towards the thing! Very occasionally due to a very modest budget we eat out [usually when we've got vouchers] but every few months we have a takeaway with friends or recently we've had a high tea with one set and a meal with others where everyone took a selection of starters rather than the traditional menu. It proved to be a fab way to try new combinations and ingredients that I wouldn't think of including pork and banana.

There's always a new scare story in the press about what we should/shouldn't be eating and you know what I ignore most of them! They can't make their minds up. I might be a bear of little brain at times but I can think for myself...I know what's good for me and what isn't. Inappropriate food additives is not a modern problem. During the Victorian era bakers added alum and chalk to the bread to make it whiter and cooks flung other such lovelies such as plaster of Paris or sawdust into their mash. Anyone for a beer with a good dash of strychnine to make it taste more bitter perhaps?! To circumvent some of these issues we cook from scratch most of the time [with a few shortcuts thrown in for good aim is always to spend less not more time in the kitchen] with meat free days and fish days featuring in the weekly menu. However, I don't wish to live to be 100 dribbling into my bowl of bran flakes so I do have naughty food but in moderation...we're dying every day so might as well relax the rules sometimes and enjoy ourselves without the guilt.


PS The cake was from a few years ago when it was my parents' ruby wedding.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Miniature Works Of Art

In a previous post I put up a few pictures of my beloved dollshouse. I've been a collector for twenty years and I am in the incredibly lucky position to be married to a maker. These are a few shots of some of my pieces that Mr GBT has made for me over the years.

You would think that being in the business perhaps I would be accustomed, possibly even slightly jaded, by what people can make, but no, the wonder never leaves me. Yesterday I came across this incredible work by Diem Chau.

She not only carves pencils but also wax crayons. More of her work is here on her blog

There are many more artists creating similar masterpieces. I am in awe.


Friday 16 May 2014

Friday Funding Fun

For years I would throw away a pair of rubber gloves every time they got a hole in them. In my case it's always the right one that goes first...that was until someone pointed out that you should keep the the good one and next time one goes just turn it inside out. Even those that leak I've found to be handy when polishing brass and silver [as part of my house sparkling duties elsewhere I hasten to add...sadly there is no family silver here at GBT!]


Thursday 15 May 2014

Full Moon

Mr GBT has been let out with his camera again. The Lady Moon looking divine.


Wednesday 14 May 2014


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think- and not make your thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too  much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And- which is more- you'll be a Man, my son!

Rudyard Kipling

This is dedicated to the brave young man who lost his battle with cancer today, but will leave a lasting legacy that will continue to shine. Thank you Stephen Sutton.


Mystery Object

One does so love a mystery object! This little beauty was discovered on one of our recent adventures.

I am quite sure someone much more knowledgeable than moi will have an idea....any suggestions please feel free to leave a comment. I'll edit the post with the answer at the weekend.

Apologies for the rather brief postlets this week. May is always a hectic month with family celebrations and work commitments.


PS These are hop skewers!

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Triple Boned

"To thrive in life you need three bones- a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone"

Reba McEntire

Too true I say.

Monday 12 May 2014

Merrie Monday

I think it is most important this Merrie Monday that you start getting some serious practice so that you are well versed for the Speak Like A Pirate Day on 19th September. This website should be a good starting point

Farewell me 'earties!


Saturday 10 May 2014

Everything's Coming Up Lovely!

As we move from early Spring forwards towards the summer my garden is at its prettiest this time of year. Mr GBT has just bought himself a new camera lens [we "won" it on ebay...oh sloppy, sloppy....I'm saddling up my high horse can't win it when you've paid for it....ow I've just bluddy well fallen off and landed on my ample rump.....] so has been tootling around in the sunshine taking shots for me to enjoy.


Friday 9 May 2014

That's The Way To Do It!

Today is Punch's 352nd birthday- on 9th May 1662 Pepys mentioned in his diary enjoying an Italian puppet show. At that time Punch was a stringed marionette called Pulcinella and was based on the Lord of Misrule. Likewise originally his wife was called Joan. She only became known as Judy later on. Nowadays Punch's familiar squawking voice is achieved by the puppeteer [known as The Professor] holding a swazzle on his tongue.

Originally the show was intended for an adult audience but switched to the more familiar child orientated format during the Victorian era. Although the core characters remain the same different ones have been introduced and withdrawn over time to keep it topical so that it continues to appeal. One recent addition has been a Health and Safety officer!

From time to time its content has courted controversy. In 2004 it was banned by a Cornish council for its depiction of "domestic abuse but generally its expected slapstick comedy is well received. Dickens summed up its appeal in 1849
"In my opinion the street Punch is one of those extravagant reliefs from the realities of life which would lose its hold upon the people if it were made moral and instructive"

It has withstood the test of time and long may the tradition continue!


Friday Funding Fun

A current freebie- a two month tastecard which will give you a 50% discount and other offers in a whole range of restaurants. Needs to be completed by 12th May....and no I'm not connected in any way whatsoever!


Thursday 8 May 2014

The News....

....really should be correctly titled "The Bad News". I have managed to wean myself off watching the news on TV and my addiction to checking the BBC site, only to swap it for reading online papers. Aargh.....I know people are capable of plumbing the deepest depths of depravity and far more of the articles concentrate on this angle, but I also believe that most people are ok and given the opportunity, many are capable of the most amazing selfless acts towards our world and fellow occupants. I think the recent media coverage of the young cancer sufferer Stephen Sutton and the legacy he will leave behind is a fine example of this.

The small person is a positive soul who has already set out on a path of volunteering and helping others...he is a young leader at Scouts and works at a charity shop every Saturday. This summer he will participate in the National Citizen Service challenge. He found out about it and asked us to help him sign up. I am sure that it will once again broaden his horizons and bring him into contact with more like minded young people of his own age. More details are here

Don't get me wrong he's a typical teenager..we have cross words but hugs aswell and I know it's a complete cliche but I am proud of him, yes very proud and he'll bluddy well have my guts for garters when he reads this! Today he starts his exams...I wish him all the luck in the world as he takes another step forward on the path towards adulthood.

Love Mumx

Wednesday 7 May 2014

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Roaming Round Rochester

Some of the sights/sites that greeted us. Once again I did not make it to all of these but will return I can guarantee.

Rochester Castle

Rochester Cathedral

Carvings over one of the doorways at the cathedral.

Inevitably greenmen photos....well of course what did you expect!!

The very weathered Sheelanagig

The zodiac floor by Sir George Gilbert Scott...normally it is not on display as it is hidden beneath a carpet near the High Altar. It was only on display because of the Sweeps' Festival.

Wall you already know one does love a wall painting doesn't one!

And [I know dreadful habit starting a sentence with the word 'and' but I am a simple peasant] last but not least reputedly the oldest watering hole in Kent.

A most rum time was had by all.


Back to the town of painted doors and alleycats

 đź’•Ah Tewkesburyđź’• Do you know what...I flipping love this town with all its curios and layers of history. It is entirely down to Mythago an...