Showing posts from December, 2014

Beauty On A Work Day.

I housesparkle for a client in a nearby village on a Tuesday every other week. It's a long shift so I am tired at the end of it but the family are delightful and appreciative of my efforts. Last time I drove over it was a sunny day with mist descending over the bare fields and everything twinkly still from a heavy hoar frost. The same weather conditions prevailed yesterday so I left a little earlier and stopped the car to take a few quick shots. From the road I thought it was sheep in the field eating winter you can see I couldn't have been more wrong. I was very close to the deer park across the road so why I should have been surprised heaven only knows. Noticing this first thing set me up for the rest of the day. Arilx

Programmed For Negativity.

I had an interesting conversation with my Dad recently about how people view the world and how they discuss their experiences with one another. He was talking specifically about the manner in which people discuss with him their recollections of some of the walks he's organised that they've been on. Invariably they'll remind him of when they fell over, got their boots stuck in the mud or the occasion when he managed to lose a great number of them. What they don't recall is the number of other walks of his they have been on where it's all gone smoothly and without incident..these soon slip from the memory. A recent newspaper article revealed that if people have had a bad meal at a restaurant they will tell 27 others about it but if it's good they will only tell 6. Is it not the same story with criticism which sticks with you for years but compliments we bat away feeling somewhat embarrassed. I know, for I used to be guilty as charged ...I have learnt now tho

Dark Peter

In the recent run up to Christmas I borrowed a couple of library books about the history and folklore of the festive period. I've learnt many new things and expanded my knowledge of others. Sometimes I come across something entirely different though and then it snowballs. My first encounter with Dark Peter was in "The Medieval Christmas" by Sophie Jackson and then lo and behold I came across the same figure in "The Christmas Book" by Patrick Harding. I should point out that I've read a fair few titles over the years about the season but I don't recall this figure at all. Most of us have heard of St Nicholas and there have been a fair few mentions of his origins so I won't repeat it again but here's a link for anyone who wants further information . However, I didn't know he had a Dark Helper or Dark Peter as he was also known. His role was to punish the naughty children with his bi


Two concise pithy quotes that I have come across in the last couple of days. "Give in, give up or give it everything you've got." "Be mindful not mind full." Arilx

Saxon Map of London

Time for a bit of a break from all the festive posts methinks so now for something totally different! This was launched in January but has now been updated. It's fascinating. Link here Arilx

The Big Reveal!

At last I can show you what I made for my folks for Chrimble this year. Limoncello, preserved lemons and jasmine bath muffins. Bit rough and ready but it gave me a sense of achievement. Arilx

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all those smashing souls who are kind enough to read my waffles and leave lovely comments. Love from all of us here at Gnat Bottomed Towersx

Trees Galore.

I've been reading on a couple of blogs that I like to snout around on about festivals of trees that others have been to visit. That got my nosy bone twitching and a little bit of investigation led me to discover that for the first time in many years our local Methodist church was holding a similar event and raising money for charity. All the trees have been decorated by the clubs that use the church on a regular basis. Me well I love a bit of festive sparkle and bling so I was there like a shot camera gripped in my sweaty paw. Here goes..... Arilx

Yule Yomp Part Two.

The non wildlife shots. Love the contrast of the red berries against the bare winter branches. That's the original mill pond behind. Creature from the deep. Delicate lacy beauty of lichen. The changeover from bloom to berry on the ivy. Arilx

Yule Yomp Part One.

I am one of those horribly organised people [years of working full time whilst looking after the house with a family] and am usually well ahead with the game when it comes to Christmas. The final pre Christmas food shop is done at 6.00am so I can then enjoy the few days in the slots when I'm not working away from the crowds and start to relax. It is important for me to get out into nature near Yule to find an oasis of calm in amongst all the mayhem around me. This year we've been back to our nearest spot- Warnham Nature Reserve. These are a few of the wildlife shots Mr GBT took today. This is part of a harvest mouse breeding programme as they are declining in numbers in the wild. The Reserve have successfully released several of these delightful little mammals at another wildlife haven in the district. These were at the feeding station- they've kindly built a long hide so we can sit there and quietly watch the birds going about their daily business.

Yule Blessings.

As the light returns may I wish you all peace and blessings at this time of year. Arilx PS We saw the robin at our local nature reserve on our very recent walk there.

Christmas Beer and Cheer!

One of our local breweries Weltons is known for the fanatastically original names it gives its beers. If you click on the link you can see what I mean for this month's seasonal selection! And yes I have done my very own research and can confirm that both the St Agnes and the Feast of Stephen are stonkingly good! All hail the ale! Arilx

Upon Matters Of Navel Gazing!

You may just have noticed ahem the odd Pagan reference creeping in on this blog from time to time. I'm a Druid- I make no secret of the fact but neither do I bang on about it. I tell people if they ask me but I respect other people's choices [so long as they don't preach and/or harm others in the process] and beliefs. For me my choice feels right..that's the only way I can describe it. I didn't set out to be a Druid I just am. It was never a conscious decision...I saw a programme on TV in 1999 about another Druid and realised that what he was describing was me to a tee. However, I wasn't exactly thrilled either...I railed against it for 5 years and explored all sorts of other spiritual paths but kept coming back to the same conclusion. In the end I just accepted it albeit rather grudgingly. I think my fear was how others would react. These days I don't give a fiddler's flute thankfully! Now I celebrate with my two closest friends quietly and away public

Bah Humbug Mr Cromwell! Huzzah Mr Winstanley!

We actually have quite a lot to thank Mr William Winstanley for at this time of year, for without his sterling efforts, Christmas would have been permanently cancelled. Winstanley hailed from Essex and was a 17th century poet and writer. Taking into account he was also a Royalist and most keen on Yule celebrations it will come as no great surprise that he was not exactly supportive of Mr Cromwell's Christmas ban. Under this regime anyone caught celebrating Christmas could be fined or punished in the stocks. He however, as a deeply religious man, felt it was essential to celebrate the birth of Christ and quietly in his home he held clandestine carol services. After Cromwell's death in 1658 Charles II was restored to the throne and the anti Christmas legislation was repealed. Many however, had observed the ban and the return to good cheer was muted. To encourage others Winstanley took his campaign to another level as he penned a series of pamphlets under the name of Poor


Snowball I made myself a snowball as perfect as could be. I thought I'd keep it as a pet and let it sleep with me. I made it some pyjamas and a pillow for its head. Then last night it ran away. But first it wet the bed. Shel Silverstein Arilx

Festive Sights.

These are my town's decorations. As ever subtly beautiful and in very good taste. Then there's always one who lowers the tone..... I don't know, but to me, the manger looks rather like it's been made out of maltesers....quirky anyway! Arilx

Santa's Little Helper!

It would appear that Santa may be trialling a new type of helper alongside the more traditional elf this year. To anyone in the enslavement of a feline it is a well known fact that all cats are experts in all manner of unexpected fields...festive present wrapping apparently being one of them! If anyone receives a furry gift perhaps the following will explain why: Here he is again the following evening still "assisting"! In the end I shut him out so I could get it all finished in peace. Arilx

Minor Frugal Doings

A few small savings made by me of late. This one is so blindingly obvious but I've never thought to do it! When using a lemon or lime for its juice in a recipe why not just grate in the zest as well...waste not want not and all that jazz. I did that when I made this satay chicken [I used the cheaper option of turkey] recipe the other night! Rather than rinsing your floor mop under the tap if like moi you're on a water meter-  I pegged mine out on the whirligig in the garden when it was raining. I do regularly wash my mop head in the washing machine anyway to prolong its life [it's the Vileda equivalent of the old string ones] Finally, finally I have got around to downloading the free Kindle reader bar...not surprisingly it was the lure of a free title about free living that made me get my ample rump into gear. I expect the whole world bar me has already done this but in the

Tales of Albion.

This is a project currently being made by the independent film makers Gary and Joy Andrews who were the team behind the well received cult hit "The Spirit of Albion". It is a film which will appeal to many in the pagan community or with an interest in the Old Religion. The new movie is based around British myths and legends and will be made up of eight tales which are connected to each of the festivals of the turning year. Reading the notes these stories specifically are The Washer by the Ford, The Noon of the  Solstice, The Cattle of the Cailleach, Curses and Secrets, Spirit of the Greenwood, Dreaming the Dream, The Golden Rider and The Birth of the Shining Brow. I was privileged to see the beautiful leather Oak King mask that they used in it at the weekend when we danced alongside Rabble Morris/Theatre group who run the annual tree dressing at the Weald and Downland Museum. Gail Duff from their side is involved along with Greg Daven of Pentacle Drummers. Inspiration for s

Christmas Charity

One of the treats I enjoy most at this time of year is seeing all the lovely Christmassy lights twinkling away in the dark. I am always very grateful to those folks who have outside lights for the likes of me to admire. On one of the recent dry evenings we had I asked Mr GBT if he'd like to accompany me on an early evening stroll to see one particular house which is raising money for the National Autistic Society. It was a splendid affair all in a good cause. I hope the family behind it raise lots of money. Arilx

Happy Feet.

My type of shopping these days is mainly of the hunter gatherer type round the supermarket once a week. Leave it any longer and the teenogre would probably start gnawing at his own arm...he's a genuinely hungry chap who needs the calories right now. I have reason to believe that we are singlehandedly propping up the breakfast cereal market at the moment! Tuesday found me with a whole day off so I tootled down the town with a chum who'd been over meeting the black furry purry one. Having done all the bits I needed to do, I made the fatal mistake of crossing the threshold of the most reasonably priced charity shop in the town. It's an individual one made up of the local churches and its approach to clothing is keep it low to keep the stock moving. I've had some fabulous bargains over the last year or so since it opened. In a moment of weakness I let the material girl out of her box...she's been mithering for weeks about needing a Christmas present and for once the

A Naughty Jingle!

Mr GBT used to be a handbell ringer but I don't quite recall a performance like this one....this may of course be entirely due to the fact that I may have hit my head on the floor as I fainted from the'll never know will you! Arilx

New Sights At The Weald and Downland Museum.

As you may have gathered from yesterday's post I was out dancing at the weekend for the annual tree dressing event. Usually Mr GBT comes with me to take his lovely photos but sadly he was a poorly bunny so I shot out before our first set and took a few quick shots with my new camera [bought with the money from the cancelled Culture Club concert] so apologies that they're not up to the usual standard! This is Tindalls cottage which is the newest property on the site. It dates from about 1700-1725 and is named after the family who lived there from 1748 to 1806. I managed to get a few shots of the interior whilst the museum was still relatively quiet. One or two photos from another couple of things that caught my eye as I was in hot pursuit of my quarry.... And the object of my photographic desire...why this the new painted wall cloth in Bayleaf that I had read about in the most recent magazine. A combination of bright sunshine filtering through alo