Friday 31 October 2014

Samhain Blessings.

This is the door of the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle that I visited in 2011.

Bright Blessings to all those who celebrate the old ways.


Thursday 30 October 2014

National Black Cat Day 30th October

Knowing that I have recently entered the serfdom of another feline dear chum E flagged this up on the book of the face for me last week Now I had heard that black cats are the hardest to rehome and a dancing chum K, who has 3 black rescue cats, confirmed this to be the case. I took the decision to try and support a locally run rescue centre rather than the CPL on this occasion and the lady from there said that the last black cat she'd had in her Mother had taken in the end because she couldn't find him a new forever home. People are very fickle....I mean a black cat hardly knows it's a black cat does it and I frankly couldn't give a stuff what colour any moggie of mine is. Upon discussing this with others some have said black cats are lucky others unlucky...well this got me curious so I've done a bit of googling to find out more. I remain none the wiser.....

In Egypt all cats were revered and Bastet was their goddess of cats.

In Scotland should a black cat arrive in your home this signifies prosperity.

In Japan black cats are good luck, but since the Middle Ages and the association of the black cat with witchcraft they have become vilified. Often they were cast as a witch's familiar or some went so far as to believe that a witch could transform itself into a black cat.

In Germany if a black cat crosses your path from right to left this is deemed to be bad luck but good luck if it happens in the opposite direction.

Charles I believed that black cats were good luck. When his own one died he was arrested and charged with high treason the next day.

Sailors felt that a black ship cat was good luck and often fishermen's wives kept them for similar reasons yet pirates thought that a black cat on board meant that you were doomed to sail.

"Whenever the cat of the house is black
The lasses of lovers will have no luck."
English Proverb......yet if you were a Midlands bride and were lucky enough to receive a black cat as a wedding gift good fortune would be yours.

In the south of France black cats are called "magators" meaning magician cats.

You want a black cat in the the audience on an opening night as this portends a successful production but not in your room if you are discussing family matters in the Netherlands as apparently they will spread the gossip near and far!

On a personal note if you are thinking of getting a cat please do consider a black one....the rescue centres are brimming over with them [bit like the staffies- another cause close to my heart] I'm always fighting for the underdog and yes, I would say, ever since the sad loss of Psychocat my luck is on the turn. Humphrey is an absolute joy. He is incredibly loving and we are all delighted to have him come and live with us. He is a complete dear!


Wednesday 29 October 2014

A Plethora Of Pumpkins...

...and gourds and squashes.

Destination =  Slindon. Very pretty Sussex nestled at the foot of the Downs which for one week of the year becomes rather manic as it transforms itself into Britain's Pumpkin Capital. If you do visit it's well worth parking on the outskirts of the village and walking is as the streets get very clogged up with traffic.

Ralph Upton began growing pumpkins commercially in the 1950s. He sourced many different varieties and eventually reached an annual growth rate of between 15000 to 20000. In 1968 he set up the first Autumn display of them with his famous pictures that he created from them. Although he sadly died in 2009 his son Robin has continued the family tradition selling more than 50 varieties. We've been a couple of times before but this was the first time sans enfant. We were able to enjoy some home made cake and pumpkin soup at a temporary cafe that's been set up for the duration and which is raising funds for charity. Just a glimpse of what we saw.

As you might imagine my nosey bone didn't just stop at pumpkins....well it would have been most impolite of me not to have shown Mr GBT a few more of the sights/sites having hauled him down there...more photos in a few days or so.


Tuesday 28 October 2014

Halloween And House Sparkling!

For a housesparkling fairy like myself Halloween is a gift. The following image has given me every excuse to leave the feather duster in its hiding place..don't get me wrong GBT is pretty clean but I think it rather rude to remove cobwebs [I do it happily on a paid basis for others] which have a resident wouldn't like to have your dinner plate whisked away from you before you had finished eating would you!!

So talk of spiders has given me the perfect excuse to put up this lovely picture called "Swing Time" by Michael Topham [another one seen on the same trip here ]

I am off for a rootle around in the loft to unearth the Halloween decs- I am quite sure that the small person will be perfectly delighted and that there'll be neither the slightest amount of eye rolling nor mysteriously leaving his mates on the front door step. Guffaw!


Monday 27 October 2014



Ruth says apples have learned to bob,
Ruth says pumpkins have a job.
Here's the man from the Witching Tree
Ask him since you won't ask me.
Do you think Ruth is telling the truth?

"Man from the Tree, your skin is green.
What night's this?" "It's Hallowe'en."

Ruth, Ruth, you told the truth.
The man says apples have learned to bob,
The man says pumpkins do have a job,
The man came down from the Witching Tree
Says he wants someone. No, not me.
Says he wants someone good and true - You!

Mother, Mother, Ruth's gone flying!
Hush, children, stop that crying.

Mother, Mother, she's up the Tree!
Climb up and tell me what you see.

Mother, she's higher than I can climb!
She'll be back by breakfast time.

Mother, what if she's gone for good?
She'll have to make do with witches' food.

Mother, what do witches eat?
Milk, potatoes and You, my sweet.

John Ciardi.

Arilx PS The witch is on the front of a house near my parents's home. As a child I always wondered if an actual witch lived there. It's a big Victorian house that's been sold many times and I felt strangely bereft when the latest owners took her down. Thankfully I soon discovered it was only whilst the outside of the house was being repainted and she was soon restored to pride of place.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Halloween Undies!

I am lucky enough to be dancing with Mythago this Halloween at a local hostelry. It's a light hearted evening and for those that have them, coloured kit [we make and design these ourselves] can be worn. Mine is as yet still a pipe year I think. To join in the fun of the occasion I have gone wild in £land and purchased a delightful pair of tights with witches on them. From a snout around on good old Google it would seem that you not only can you get outfits and accessories but undies along the same theme....well I couldn't resist lowering the tone could I so here goes......

Delightful I'm sure you'll agree!


Saturday 25 October 2014

Don't Forget To Put The Clocks Back!


Don't Drink And Fly!

This is of relevance to some of my chums [you know who you are...chuckle] as Halloween approaches.

Too much of this

Could lead to this...leave the broomstick at home!


Friday 24 October 2014

The Humphrey Times.

Good day to you dearest fellow felines.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Humphrey [not my choice of name I hasten to real name is far more dignified but one must humour the staff I find] and I am the new resident panther at Gnat Bottomed Towers.

I have been assessing my situation these last two weeks of incarceration and have to say that by and large it's not too bad a pad if a tad on the small size. I have informed them on many occasions in miaows of one syllable that the cat flap is clearly faulty and not fit for purpose for it neither flaps nor opens. I have taken them patiently to the front door and asked to be let out [I loathe using the litter tray even though I am fastidiously tidy when forced to use the dratted thing] and even tried to escape via the washing machine door once or twice. Small fry though when compared to today's debacle.

The staff simply refused to serve breakfast....feasting and cuddling are my main hobbies....and why one they could ram me into that horrid little box and take me to the vet for a touch of male tom cat adjustment. Knocked out and everything I was only for the vet to discover that I have already undergone this ordeal in a previous life so it was all for nothing. The incompetence is beyond belief and as for the indignity I have suffered so might I just say "New Staff Please".


Autumnal Floral Glory

"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."
William Cullen Bryant.


Thursday 23 October 2014

Weekend Fungi.

This weekend's nosings over the county border into Hampshire and around the Coldwaltham churchyard brought these amazing sightings of fungi. No idea what they are called sadly!

I stumble across them in the most unexpected of places at this time of year.


Wednesday 22 October 2014

A Solution To Keeping The M25 Traffic Moving Perchance?

Aah...the M25 or the largest car park in the world as it's known here at GBT! Perhaps the following clip would be a good place to jump start the gridlocked traffic at rush hour!!

You may thank the small person for drawing my attention to this particular item.


Tuesday 21 October 2014

Magpies and Marbles.

Many moons ago the small person went through a phase of collecting marbles. Over a period of time he amassed a few unusual ones and once this particular fad had passed my friend H had first dibs. She has a bowl of lovely examples and after she'd picked out the ones that had caught her eye the rest went to dear chum P who decorates the earth surface in her garden pots. However, it transpires that the new marbles didn't only appeal to her....a few were whisked off by the local magpie!

Now I have a great love of all things shiny and it has oft been said that I may have been a magpie in a former life for I have a houseful of shimmering glories and this is my marble equivalent. Simply called "Art on a ball" it formed part of a sculpture display at the Hillier garden. Amazingly it's one of those gym balls.


Monday 20 October 2014

The Beast Of Coldwaltham.

This looks like a creature of some sort to me. It's actually a branch on a most incredible yew tree- reputedly 3000 years old and one of the twelve oldest in the country. I came across it yesterday in the churchyard of St Giles in Coldwaltham. It's trunk is hollow and it's 30 feet around.
Here it is in its full glory:

And to give a sense of its sheer scale:

Bit of a shame that some clown's put a  bloomin' shed right next to it!

Mellow Melodies For Monday.

I am not one for sentimental love songs....I was always the poor soul who got grabbed by the pimpley octopus who fancied his chances with me at the end of the disco for the slow dance and I was always too polite to tell them to get stuffed....I can't hear Spandau Ballet's "True" without feeling my toes curl and feeling the desperate urge to seek refuge in the nearest toilets!! However, I do enjoy these two slightly more down tempo tracks.

Adele "Someone Like You"

Dido "White Flag"


Sunday 19 October 2014

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens

This visit yesterday was at the suggestion of my lovely SIL and her hubby. They're members and are allowed to take in a certain number of guests for free each year. It was set up by Sir Harold Hillier [he of the garden centre family fame] in 1953 and then given to Hampshire County Council in 1977. Loads of imaginative plantings done at different levels draw the eye in and of course, primarily being an arboretum, it really comes into its own in the Autumn.


Saturday 18 October 2014

Mark Hearld.

My love of all things hare related is well known within my family and Daddikins chose well for this year's ageing celebration. Delighted to receive this card it will grace my wall once I get my act together.

Mark Hearld was an artist hitherto unknown to me...or so I thought until I looked up some of his other pieces. This one I instantly recognised as it was the birthday card my parents gave to me last year which I've also held on to because I loved it. I am very keen on work created from lino or woodcuts.

There's lots more of his lovely scrummy paintings here to view It reminds me in style in some ways of Karen Cater's work of which I am so fond that she sells through her and her husband, Colin's mail order Pagan company Hedingham Fair


Thursday 16 October 2014

Surely Not Another One!

In my world here at GBT there is no such thing as too many greenmen....Mr GBT may beg to differ of course!

Anyway let's get down to business.....the latest fellow to sneak in and join the collection is this rather fine chap.

He is a copy of one of a pair of roof bosses from the chapel at Woodchester Park Mansion 1856-70. From the information supplied with him I now know that the roof boss is the keystone where several vaulting ribs meet so it is a structural as well as a ornamental feature.

Made by Martin and Oliver Webb the figure incorporates some of the stone removed during the restoration. More of their work can be seen here and of particular interest to me is their index of mythical entities One is always so taken with a marvellous list to inwardly digest.


Wednesday 15 October 2014

An Autumn Themed Fabric Delight

The last piccies from Sunday's outing.We decided as we were seeing the sights around Rudgwick it would have been rude not to have stuck our snouts round the door at Holy Trinity whilst we were in the vicinity. When Mr GBT was made redundant unexpectedly in 2005 and our income plunged one of the decisions I made to ensure that we could still get out and about but on much less wonga was to become a tourist in my own area. It's something I have never regretted. Having a huge nosey bone anyway this has yielded all manner of surprises and treasures of which this is the latest. This wall hanging was created by the villagers in 2009 and is multi textured with some wonderful detailing. I hope these give you a flavour of what I enjoyed.


Tuesday 14 October 2014

The Sussex Charmer and The Strumpet.

Well that got your attention didn't it.....I am, of course, talking cider and cheese....why what were you expecting....the mind boggles!!

Part of our little sortie yesterday involved a visit to a local village's apple day. I had to drag Mr GBT along kicking [my shins still hurt!] and not really he's a good natured soul. This village is one of those very splendid proactive communities with loads going on. Their local cider society is testament to this approach. Over the last few weeks many of those with apple trees have dropped off their apples to a central collection point.

It is then all hands to the press to get the apples crushed and into a cheese from which both apple juice and different ciders are made. Yesterday I tried Old Doctor [an acquired taste and not one that I shall be acquiring in any great hurry thank ye] and this one which is much more to my palate.

They also make an apple vinegar called Vinegar Witch. The products can be bought from a handful of local outlets and all proceeds are ploughed back into various clubs and initiatives including the biodiversity projects within the village. I think it's tremendous.

As for the Old Charmer...why within the same village a cafe has opened this year on the site of the old brickworks [along with a microbrewery]. The owners have a herd of cattle from which they make the most amazing cheese guessed it!! Old Charmer is a combination of a mature cheddar and parmesan recipe and has won awards as the International Cheese Awards. The Milk Churn cafe is renown for its fabulous cheese on toast so this was our choice for lunch. Fabulous!


Monday 13 October 2014

A Touch Of Humour For A Dreich Monday Morning.

Firstly a well chosen quote on a recent birthday card from the chum who was both my room mate at college and one of my bridesmaids:

"It doesn't matter if the glass is half full or half clearly needs topping up."

So very true!

Secondly some amusing clips of the fab ventriloquist Nina Conti.


Sunday 12 October 2014

Getting In A Rut.

We've been out today on a small jolly taking in some of the sights and sounds within our local area. More of that to come.

En route to our intended destination we passed a local deer park. The herd are privately owned and are raised for meat. Fortuitously a public footpath cuts through the field next door so you can get some really good close up views of the red deer.

The Vanquisher with his does looking mighty pleased with himself one might say.

And the Vanquished. The one under the tree looked magnificent but a little despondent.

Two years ago an 11 year old stag called Poseidon from the park broke the British record for the antlers with the greatest number of points [he had 50]...mind you it was a bit touch and go as he carried a crow around with him that kept pecking away at them!


Shropshire Church Crawling Gems

Sifting through all the photos from my annual holiday church crawl, I've picked out these which I hope people find to be of interest. It...