Monday 30 June 2014

Pimms O' Clock

Now it's tennis time again Pimms is back in vogue. Originally it was invented by James Pimm in 1840. He was the owner of an oyster bar in Poultry Street, London. It was intended as an aid to digestion and contained both gin and quinine. The No 1 cup derives from when it was sold in a small tankard known as a No 1 cup. There were other cups available as well- no 2 was Scotch, no 3 was brandy [now known as Winter], no 4 rum, no 5 rye and no 6 vodka.

Reading around on the internet these days the accompaniments are slices of orange, lemon, strawberry, apple, cucumber and a few sprigs of mint. All or a combination of some will suffice apparently. When it was first served it wasn't such a colourful affair- simply lemon and borage.

It would seem our ancestors knew a thing or two about borage long before the invention of Pimms for it's been known since Roman times for its cheering properties. Read recently at Michelham Priory the information board has the following little gem "The Leaves and flowers of Borage put into wine make men and women glad and merry and drive away all sadness."



Tsk the youth of today!

"Harumph I am most put out by the antics of the younger generation today. I mean just look...dancing owls...whatever next.... I blame all this Harry Potter nonsense myself!"

Amber the rather disgruntled European Eagle Owlx

Sunday 29 June 2014

So true!

"Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means that you agree with everything that they believe or do. Both are nonsense.

You don't have to comprise convictions to be compassionate."

Rick Warren

Saturday 28 June 2014

Care for a Chair?

Chairs...I am surprised to find that I hold strident views on chairs...surely a chair is something just there for you to sit on...but apparently not in my little world here at GBT.

I have a set of miniature chairs that Mr GBT has made me for my dollshouse. Of these I am most fond.

A very functional office chair not worthy of a photo which was rescued from a skip when the office next door to where I used to work pre redundancy decided to have a refit and we were all offered first dibs. There are others around my home which are comfortable and then this little gem which I adore and remains in my living room. I have claimed it for myself as it's original owner is now sixteen and 5'10"!

We tend to think of the use of bright painted colours as a modern phenomen...erm no not if these examples from the Great Tower at  Dover castle are anything to go by. The interior has been recreated to show what the medieval interior looked like at the time of Henry II

These are my latest finds from Michelham Priory. The first one is a black oak chair dating from the 15th century. Look at those amazing carvings.

Finally a very unusual 16th century scissor chair which was designed to fold when travelling.


Friday 27 June 2014


Enjoy...I did!


...And Out.

Continuing my whistle stop tour of Michelham.

The priory lays claim to having the longest moat in the country. This time of year it's full of lovely water lilies and abundant with wild life. This is the common damsel fly.

It is also home to some stunning flower beds and a physic garden.



An unusual aquilegia

And a massive chair which was just perfect for housing my ample rump. Fear not though for I will not inflict the one of me posing in it whilst pulling one of my special gargoyle expressions that I keep exclusively for when I have my photo taken!


Thursday 26 June 2014

A Totter Around Michelham Priory Inside.....

It'll come as no great surprise to anyone who drops by from time to time that I've been out scaring the natives with all my shouting and stick waving recently. This time I got across the moat at Michelham Priory unscathed.

This Augustinian priory was set up in 1229 and as my Dad wryly remarked, these religious houses were never built in an ugly setting.This proved to be no exception.

It was dissolved in 1537 and then spent most of the following years as a farm firstly owned by the Sackville family who rented it out and then by James Gwynne in 1896. It housed evacuees during the war and was used as a base for the Canadian troops preparing for the Dieppe raid during the winter of 1941-1942. Eventually it was given to the Sussex Archaeological Trust in 1959.

Just a few snaps to give you a taster. It's worth going when they're holding one of their events to make it a fuller trip and get better value for your precious pennies.

This is the medieval banquet - it must have been a real feast for the eyes as well as all the delicious aromas.

Some examples of the beautiful oak furniture on display.

The piece seen in the foreground is a goggin or a baby walker. It's 17th century. They didn't really become common place until the Victorian era

The Tudor kitchen

This is the Prior's room and is reputedly haunted. There are several tapestries on the walls one of which features a five fingered hand ooh-er. The info about it said that it might be meant to represent witchcraft, the evil eye or avarice or the more mundane explanation could be that the weaver simply made a faux pas. Anyway as I aim to please and the quirky always attracts my evil eye naturally I now have the photographic evidence!

Allow me to take you for a quick spin around the grounds in the next post!


Wednesday 25 June 2014

Qu'est que c'est?

A mystery object for you to identify spotted on my travels at the weekend. Are you impressed with my franglais?! Back in Arthurian times I do believe that somehow I managed to get a 'B' in my French O level. Now all I can recall is "le singe est dans l'arbre" which I feel might be fabulously helpful should I find myself in France at any time in the future!


PS This is a 17th century costrel. It was a flask used by workers and would usually have contained beer. It was sealed with a wooden stopper and they were often decorated with the owner's initials. Otherwise known as bombards they were made from leather covered in pitch.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Ferreting Around

I featured a different shot of this young lady that we encountered at a local nature reserve a couple of years ago in a recent postlet. The place is a dog walker's paradise and it took me a moment to work out that the breed of dog on the lead was not one that I recognised because it was a ferret instead! I've always been a ferret fan, but having enjoyed her antics that day I was immediately smitten. She was very taken with Mr GBT's red socks!

Ferrets are bright, sparky creatures who enjoy company. They are part of the same family as mink but have been domesticated for the last two thousand years. The name is derived from the latin "furonem" meaning thief and apparently they are renown for stealing and hiding things whenever the opportunity arises!

As pets ferrets can be house trained to use a litter tray. They are fussy eaters and unafraid of humans. They sleep 18 hours a day and can be picked up without waking them...erm this is sounding more and more like Psychocat...perhaps she is part ferret!

An unspayed female is called a jill and an unneutered male a hob. Those who've had their little ops are called sprites [girls] and gibs [boys]. A group is called a business of ferrets.

Besides being pets ferrets can be used as working animals. I knew that they are used to flush out rabbits but apparently with the right enticement [meat- they are carnivorous] they can be persuaded to run cables and wires through pipes. They were used for just this purpose at Buckingham Palace in 1981 prior to the royal wedding.

This little chap charmed me when I was at Michelham Priory dancing at the weekend. His name is Loki and he's a rescue case. He's tiny but he's three. His previous "owner" [I use the term loosely] kept him in a guinea pig cage and only fed him apples which has not only given him liver damage but has also stunted his growth. I am pleased to say he's now found his forever home. He's been trained not to bite and his owner kindly let me take some photos and give him a stroke.


Monday 23 June 2014

Sunday 22 June 2014

Saturday 21 June 2014


As ever my funny old brain has been roaming around freely and for some strange reason it has presented these two to be put together in a postlet. No I don't know why either but hey let's go with it!

I heard this on the radio the other day when I was driving the metal box with a wheel at each corner. I had forgotten about this track and just how much I miss the talent that was Ian Dury and "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" so for old times sake here he is doing what he did so well

And there are these sticks which have recently joined my ever increasingly eclectic range of possessions. I have a thing for twisted sticks and decorated staffs [it's a pagan cum morris thing I think!]. These were being discarded by the chap who made them due to an imminent house move so his friends rescued them and brought them to our morris dancing practice to see if they could have a new home. They have now joined my curious oorner of different sticks in my hall way!


Alban Hefin Blessings

To all those who follow the old ways Solstice blessings to you


Friday 20 June 2014

Pass the monkey!

That little phrase "pass the monkey" was one I learnt within a work environment many years ago and it often proved a timely reminder when I was being pressurised into taking the stress or responsibility for a situation that simply wasn't part of my remit. It's one that applies in my personal life too...having had so called "friends" a few years ago who did not observe boundaries but constantly heaped the stress of their continuing dramas upon me in the end it nearly broke me. Nowadays I have removed those toxic relationships from my doubt those particular people are repeating the pattern with someone else. Don't get me wrong I'm there 100% for my chums and genuine difficulties it's just that I can differentiate far better these days. These two little snippets came up on my Book of the Face this week which seem to be conveying the very same message.

This piece of advice was apparently given by a psychologist as a tool for dealing with stress and comes from Daniel Waple's page:

"A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they'd be asked the "half empty or half full" question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she enquired: "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn't change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued, "The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything."

Remember to put the glass down."


Thursday 19 June 2014

Flaming June

Some of the natural beauties we beheld when we out on our weekend jolly. Nature is so amazing.

Common Rock Rose

Common Milkwort

Black Medick

Salad Burnet
Viper's Bugloss

Dark Mullein

I love the middles of the Dark Mullein flowers...fuzzy purple and orange how funky is that!

Finally Crosswort

Do hope you enjoy Mr GBT's piccies!


Wednesday 18 June 2014

Box Hill

A jolly caper to the summit of Box Hill in Surrey was on the agenda for Sunday's outing. It was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1914 [they own 230 acres] by Leopold Salomons and it gets its name from the ancient box woodland on the west facing chalk slopes.

It's always busy up there and a popular spot with walkers and cyclists alike who all congregate at the cafe at the top. The riders seem to be able to ascend the very steep roads with indecent speed and it now enjoys a fantastic road surface following its inclusion in the 2012 Olympics road race. You may know from a previous post that I love a weather vane. When I saw this one I noticed the wheel but closer inspection once home revealed the saddle and the gears. I heartily approve!

Whilst there Mr GBT and I took advantage of the short waymarked stroll to take in some of the sights. We passed by Peter Labilliere's grave which I've blogged about on a previous occasion but I am rather thrilled to have seen the gravestone for myself.

This tree trunk caught my reminds me rather of cascading water.

Our final stop was the Old Fort built in the late 1800s. It was originally known as a mobilisation centre and there were 13 built in total along a 72 mile stretch. At this period British forces were thinly spread across The Empire and it was believed that London was open to the very real possibility of invasion from her enemies. The solution was this London Defence System which was in effect a series of supply depots put in place to provide tools and ammo to the troops.

The fort itself was lit by candle lanterns which meant that the internal windows needed to be designed so that they couldn't be taken into the magazine where the gunpowder was stored. The ammo was kept in good condition by damp proofing and ventilation chimneys which controlled the temperature and humidity. To avoid a spark setting off an unwanted explosion the soldiers wore woollen slippers rather than boots on the stone floors.

Please don't panic I haven't suddenly gone all arty farty on you. I simply demanded [I am a diva like that] that Mr GBT reproduce the images in black and white to soften it a bit. Although of historical importance it's a concrete carbuncle with rusty shutters and graffiti daubed all over it. Worth a quick scan if you're there anyway though.



Being a soul who could win an Olympic Gold if overthinking was ever included as a sport, one thing which really helps me to slow down and be...