Showing posts from November, 2014

Free Talks on Dragons and Witches,Fairies and the Old Religion.

No need to leave your armchair for this one....a Mythago chum flagged these up on the book of the face. Arilx

A Big Knit.

Even I am shocked that I have the cheek to put one of my home made efforts in a postlet directly following the stunning handmade items from the Watts Gallery shop yesterday. I am however, wholly unrepentant! It has to be said that I've posted little about what I've been up to on the crafting front of late...I've not been idle but some makes are for Chrimble so obviously cannot be revealed at this point in time. Nevertheless I did finally finish this rustically wonky Aril blanket for my chum H at the weekend. It's taken me a fair while as I don't knit a great deal when it's hot...there's far too many distractions like Pimms and icecream for me to focus I am afraid. Please let me reassure you that I am not inflicting this blanket upon H...she asked me to make it for her having seen some of my earlier efforts and even asked me to put my name on it hence the daft label. It's been hard to actually get it finished because a certain black furry purry hears the

Watt Retail Therapy.

Just further up the road from the Watts Memorial Chapel is the Watts Gallery where, for a small fee, you can view the artist's paintings  Having been on a previous occasion there are other Pre Raphaelite artists I prefer so we didn't stop but we were enticed to visit the tearoom and the shop which houses some gloriously unusual handmade items. If you're passing and wish to buy something completely different I can thoroughly recommend you drop by. I didn't buy anything [if funds were unlimited I could have happily spent a fortune] but I hope you enjoy the photos of some of the items they had in stock to give you a taster of what a smashing range of stock they hold. These lustreware plates are by Jonathan Chiswell-Jones  Naturally I loved the triple hared one! Gorgeous felted animals and cushions. And finally this just stunning peacock jacket. I am using this as possib

Hidden Surrey Gem.

Watts Memorial Chapel in Compton, Surrey. Simply stunning. It was built by the wife of the pre Raphaelite artist G.F.Watts between 1896 to 1898 along with the local villagers and is an incredible example of the whole Arts and Crafts movement spearheaded by the likes of William Morris and many other well known names. I, for one, have been a massive fan of both this and Art Nouveau for donkey's years. I attended the V&A Morris exhibition in 1996 one hundred years after his death and have since been to Prague, Standen House, Wightwick Manor and a handful of the churches in Brighton that have some of the original Burne-Jones stained glass windows. At the weekend dear chum L came down to meet Humphrey. She is a fellow fan of this artistic style so I took her over to the chapel for a visit....I had assumed she had known of it but apparently not so. I was delighted by her shared joy of it. If you are passing by do pay this wonderful building a visit. It's free to go in but a don

Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Being a grateful member of the Stone Age generation before such things as "social media" were even a pipe dream....the inventors of those delights would have still been in nappies I'm quite sure....humour was delivered in different ways....papers, TVs, cards, books and the 'umble naff car sticker. Now I love a good car sticker that amuses me whilst I am sitting behind the said vehicle in traffic and there are no where near enough on display for all and sundry to enjoy/be offended by in my opinion, Left to my devices the metal box with a wheel at each corner would be positively festooned with such lovelies but I don't get the final say in these matters and BORING I have to share the car and do grown [perhaps that should be groan] up things like travel to work in it. Of course there's also the teenager's image to maintain. Ho ho! Friday afternoon homeward bound I stopped behind a car at a junction with most excitingly stickers on the back. Sadly insufficie

There, there dear!

The beginning of last week saw me sitting in our local hospital with Mr GBT nervously awaiting the results of some investigative tests I'd just undergone. Now I had been tremendously grown up about the whole business and had seen my Doctor at the first opportunity when I had had symptoms that are never welcome in a definitely post menopausal dame. I naively expected my GP just to dismiss my concerns with an airy wave but instead she sent me for an emergency referral which rather put the wind up me despite her reassurances that it was standard practice in these specific circumstances...I think the momentary look of wild panic on my face must have given the game away. I was terribly sensible throughout the two week waiting period for my appointment and deliberately didn't consult Google.....I decided that raising my blood pressure with a dodgy self diagnosis was not the way to go! Thankfully the results came back all clear....phew....then I howled like a baby once I got home. Str

Herby Turkey.

A good straight forward one for a weekday meal. It would work perfectly well with Quorn as the flavour comes from the herbs and the mushrooms if you prefer a non flesh version. Preheat oven to 220C. Tear 4 pieces of bread into pieces and scatter over the base of a roasting pan. Sprinkle over 11/2 tsp dried herbs. Slice 250g turkey breast [or 4 chicken breasts]  into thinnish strips and lay over bread. Pour over a tin of mushroom soup [you will need to add a little more liquid just to stretch a tad further] and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20 mins then scatter 4oz sliced button mushrooms across the top for a further 5 mins. Arilx


One of my trade marks is that I often wear pillar box red lippy and I have done since I was a teen [in fact I wear lots of bright lippy colours as I'm pale like a wan ghost at the best of times!]. I learnt my lesson one day as I threw a nearly empty one into the bin not taking into consideration that the crawling small person had developed a latent talent for bin emptying. I found this out only when I discovered him and the brand new bedroom carpet liberally smeared all over in bright red lipstick. I just stood there and howled with laughter he looked so hilarious before unceremoniously dumping him in the bath so he couldn't further his handiwork. Thankfully the carpet wasn't stained either. Ah the joy of parenting little ones. It's for this reason that I've put up this clip today as it's brought  back very fond memories and a smile to my face! Arilx

The Diva In The Kitchen.

I once saw a chap wearing a t shirt which said "If God had wanted me to cook why did he invent restaurants?" and that has been my personal mantra ever since. The rot set in early with cookery lessons at school or in my day Home Economics as it was called for my school was a former secondary modern and we were taught how to lay a table correctly and fold napkins. I endured three years with mixed results and then when it became possible to give it up a nasty masochistic streak reared its ugly head and I decided to take it as an O level option [yup showing my age here!]. I think that I thought I might never cook again if I stopped before I had peaked. Two years of culinary hell ensued for me...the very sight of a piping bag [yes we even piped our mashed potato] brings me out in hives and if anyone asks me to "garnish" a savoury dish with parsley and tomato slices or decorate a sweet one with angelica and glace cherry I shall not be responsible for my actions. During

The Mystery Of Wuss In Boots and Alfie Bear.

Please meet Alfie Bear [so called because his name is embroidered on his foot]. Now I am not by any long chalk a fan of cuddly toys but my chaps won him in a raffle back in 2007 when I was holed up one Christmas with real flu [go to and stay in bed for a couple of weeks type flu] and he never left. Despite my misgivings I'm rather partial to his boot button eyes and generally laid back stance. Now I am more than aware that he might enjoy the odd slurp of Scrumpy or so and on occasion attend too many alcohol fuelled teddy bears' picnics where I find him later slumped upon my monk's bench a little worse for wear but...... frankly I was a little bit puzzled as to how he'd ended up on my bedroom floor a couple of times decidedly soggy......that was until this week when I discovered he's made a new chum. Here they are the partners in crime...... Now Humphrey is the polar opposite to our previous feline Psychocat. She was tiny and very feisty. She objecte

Maya Angelou

I was genuinely sorry to hear of the death of Maya Angelou earlier this year. I first read her work as part of the American Studies side to my degree and despite her life trials, she came through as a survivor with an indomitable spirit. She's left us with a cracking body of work and some rather fantastic words of wisdom. Here are a few of my personal favourites. "I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage and tangled tree lights." "...Making a living is not the same as making a life." "You shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back." "Even when I have pains, I don't have to be one." "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." "Every day you should reach out and touch someone. Pe

Beauty and The Beast.

In the 1960s Dr Beeching [with some just cause it has to be said] was a much maligned figure. Flanders and Swann wrote a song called "Slow Train" which laments the closure of so many stations [lyrics here for anyone interested] ] and this little ditty from the TV sitcom "Oh Dr Beeching" which is rather more tongue in cheek about the whole affair! "Oh! Dr Beeching! What have you done? There once was lots of trains to catch, but soon there'll be none, I'll have to buy a bike, 'cos I can't afford a car, Oh, Dr Beeching, what a naughty man you are! Oh, Dr Beeching, what am I to do? The trains have all gone missing and I'm busting for the loo, I'll do it in a shrub, 'cos it's hidden from the road, Oh, Dr Beeching, I've just piddled on a toad!" As I mentioned in the last post Southwater was on Beeching's hit list and lost its one in 1966, but forty

Suthwatre Wanderings.

The lure of two new-to-me charity shops literally just up the road in a village which has now grown so much that it's virtually now joined to my town proved just too tempting last weekend. Dear chum E is another one who enjoys her surroundings and a good old snout. With the promise of a bun and a cuppa thrown in for measure we were off! Suthwatre, as it was first referred to in documents from 1346, started out life as a village based around agriculture. These days it's called Southwater and has seen a massive increase in its housing over the last thirty years. Its population has grown to reflect this and now numbers ten thousand. The infrastructure of the village has been improved over the last few years to accommodate it so that now it has its own library and small arcade of shops and restaurants. The decline since the closure of the railway in 1966 and the closure of the brickworks in 1982 has been halted and reversed. Meet Iggy. He's a bronze sculpture made by Hannah

Ho Ho Ho!

I made a decision back in the late summer that I would like to do something extra to help a charity at Christmas this year. As a family I already volunteer for a local visually impaired charity and the small person has been working in Oxfam for a couple of hours every Saturday [he now juggles it with his paid weekend job]. I've done this type of thing since I was 15. I don't do it for any glory I simply like to help people and it helps me to remember and appreciate just how lucky I am. I toyed with various ideas but plumped for this yesterday after a request came up on our local FB page asking for marshals. This is one of four 4k Santa Fun Runs held locally to raise money for our nearest hospice- each one will raise £30,000 to support St Catherine's over the twelve days of Christmas. Each participant pays an entry fee rather than having to raise sponsorship and everyone gets to dress up. There were all ages and abilities including appropriately dressed four pawed members!

Hag Stone

Sometimes a gift from a friend has no monetary value but is much more special because it means that person has really thought about what they are giving you rather than just randomly grabbing something off the shelf in a shop. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I would like to have my own hagstone one day but on my rare trips to the coast I've never yet found one. Within a couple of days a Morris Dancing chum produced this out of his pocket and gave it to me. Our cheeky drummer quipped "well that was just a stone until a moment ago but now you've got it it's a proper hag stone"....pray what was he implying...surely it is a well known fact that I am a well established hag although one prefers the term sounds more genteel somehow! I've had great fun looking through the hole and enjoying the different perspective the narrowed view gives me. It is quite incredible to think just how long it must have taken for the water to bore a hole through

Frugal Doings!

I know that I don't often do a post on the gnat bottomed side of my life but it continues as ever....the GBT purse puts paid to any wanton spending believe you me. She has a heart of pure gold but is a right old tartar when it comes to parting with any of her coin horde [my coins I hasten to add!]. I think that I've been doing it for so long that it's virtually second nature to me these days. A friend has recently set up a closed FB group for those of us locally to share inspirational recipes and meal plans which helps us all to cook something different. She's just started meal planning and is raving about it as she's no longer reaching for the takeway menu when she's tired. I've been it doing such a long time that I had forgotten just how much time and money it can's good to be reminded of the basics though. With the old bat helping me keep on the straight and narrow the following savings have been made. Matters of personal grooming....m

Spindle Tree

 Mr GBT and I happened upon this gorgeous example of a spindle tree across the road from the Pear Tree in Hook Norton where I danced a couple of weeks ago with Mythago.  As you can see it was absolutely laden with berries. If I was to have a favourite this would be it....the clashing vibrancy of the pink and zingy orange is a complete joy to behold. The close up below was taken by my parents on their Romanian holiday last month. To give it its official name Eunoymus Europaeus this is derived from the Greek "eu" meaning good and "onama" meaning name. The tree itself is an hermaphrodite ie the flowers are both male and female and the berries are poisonous to humans. However, the leaves are eaten by a variety of creatures including the Holly Blue butterfly and the magpie, scorched carpet and spindle ermine moth. In folklore it was believed to be a lucky tree but if it flowered early this could be a portend of plague. It could be used as a purgative an

Random Ramblings

A series of bits and bobs that don't merit their own postlet but have given me pleasure over the last couple of weeks. Common Darter dragonfly. It was thoroughly enjoying the sunshine we enjoyed at the apple day we danced at last month and was in no hurry to skedaddle off. A sweet knitted witch and ghost that came my way after I took part in an online Halloween swap. They sat on top of my TV along with my table of other decs. I don't quite go to town as much on doing up the house as when the small person really was a nipper! Beautiful branches dripping with ripe berries. These are hanging over a fence literally just round the corner from me and I noticed them when I went slogging horribly early Sunday morning. I informed Mr GBT who kindly and very sensibly waited until it was much lighter and sunny before heading out to take a photo for me. Told you it was random but it gives you an insight into the things that tickle my fancy! Arilx

An Apple A Day....

Once upon there was a small hobbit sized garden with a very big tree. Now this was a magnificent tree which had lovely lime green leaves in the summer and sunny yellow leaves in the autumn. It lived happily in its little hobbity garden until the nasty cold winters came and killed it. The GBT hobbits were very sad when the man with the big saw said it had to come down but the dastardly deed had to be done... It was indeed a very dark time for the Hobbits with no Ent to protect them...there was no feasting nor drinking of mead in the halls of GBT until one day  when Mr GBT discovered the dwarfs' horde of golden pennies....he plundered the treasure and with his bounty, made good speed on his short hobbit legs to the Forest of Newbridge....glad tidings for upon his return to the Wealden lands he brought back an apple bearing ent and once again the sounds of merriment can be heard echoing around the Towers of Gnat Bottom. This is a James Grieve apple tree.It cost £34 which I