Sunday 30 August 2015

Rich Pickings.

"You cannot buy that pleasure which it yields to him who truly plucks it."

This little lot are now bubbling away in two demi johns and are destined to become more of Hobbity Booze's Orc's Blood wine. Now what to do with some blackcurrants I've been given.....


Saturday 29 August 2015

Curry Night

We have dear chums joining us for supper tonight which I'm really looking forwards to as it will be an evening full of chuckles as we catch up with each others news. S has been diagnosed as a coeliac recently which, although very upsetting for her initially, now explains so many symptoms and why she has felt rough for such a long time. As a non meat eater and myself a fan of veggie cooking normally it's not a problem to produce a suitable menu but this had me scratching my head initially. She offered to bring her own food but that's no fun for her and I reckoned I could work my way round it with a bit of lateral thinking.

I've come up with veggie curry- two recipes. Both have been tried and tested previously on my flesh eating males and have go the thumbs up so firstly I'm doing Aloo Gobi recipe here and in a bid to use up some of the runner beans we've been so kindly given Sri Lankan Runner Bean Curry Served with rice and Bombay potatoes. If I kill her off accidentally with my cooking I shall 'fess up tomorrow!


Friday 28 August 2015

Rock God.

Back in the day when one listened to the Top 40 on Radio One and spent two hours patiently hitting the record button on the cassette player at appropriate junctures this was a tune that really took my fancy.

Mr Julian Cope fronting The Teardrop Explodes in Reward. I have to say this is the one and only song I know by the band and I had forgotten about it in the intervening years.

Fast forward to about five years ago or so and my son pulled a hefty hardbook book off the shelf in The British Heart Foundation.  Priced at £4.49 it looked right up my street so he bought it as a birthday present for me.

Being a megalithic superfan I thoroughly enjoyed reading it before it joined other tomes on the shelf. It was only after a online chat with a chum that I noticed the name of the author. Putting it down to sheer coincidence and that very British belief that once people are pigeon holed in that pigeon hole they stay I did a bit of further digging and was amazed to find it was the very same chap.

Now known as the Archdrude he has also written The Modern Antiquarian which thank goodness is now back in print so might just happen to have that one too ahem.

The Old Gods must look kindly upon me I feel for later on down the line I found yet another copy of
Megalithic Europe in Oxfam again for a fiver except this time it was signed. I snaffled it up knowing full well that my friend wanted her own copy [she had the unsigned one]

Anyway this fellow has become a hero of mine for our shared passion of the great stones which play such a part in my druidy. He here is once again wearing his other hat so to speak. I do love a maverick!


Thursday 27 August 2015

Rescue Mission.

Whoops, whoops and thrice times whoops. Up until last week I had a very snazzy wool scarf my Mummy had knitted for me and then I decided to wash it on a 30C cycle and inadvertently felted it [bet if I had tried to felt it I would not have had such an outstanding success..roll eyes!] This will be the first time Mummy has read this particular piece of news! After initially thinking "Sod it!" I then put my thinking cap on.

Having rootled around I found a knitted corsage my sister made me that I wear along with some toning buttons off a cardi that has long since worn out and been sent off to be recycled. I've put a few stitches in the scarf to secure it and now sewn on the bits I've found. Simple but I'm pleased with it and still have a wearable item albeit not quite in its original form and at no cost. I believe upcycling is the buzz word- I prefer to call it averting disaster!


Wednesday 26 August 2015

Gadgets and Gizmos.

As I aim to spend as little time in the kitchen as I can decently get away with I'm not known either then for spending much time looking at cooking related items [in fact I rarely venture over the threshold of any normal shops bar the supermarket these days]. By and large the latest must have will almost invariably passed me by unnoticed. Occasionally though I might spot something at a friend's house that catches my eye and piques my interest. If it's going to enable me to do something I either don't do or make a process easier then I have even been known to go wild and make a new purchase.
Very few do meet this criteria though. However, these did and are my favourites.

The object on the left is for slicing beans. I wasn't initially sure about this one but since we've been harvesting our own runners it's come into its own. The middle one is a burger maker and came from Lakeland- an absolute marvel I loathe having to shape this sort of thing by hand so this has allowed me to start making my own now and finally on the right hand side this object I use for rubbing fat into flour for crumble toppings. A chum had one and when I glimpsed one for £1.69 in the charity shop home it came with me. It's another thing I am not fond of doing by hand so I have put it to work on many occasions!

And then there is this......

Onion goggles no less. Available from here Mr GBT kindly offered to save me £23 by lending me his swimming goggles. Bearing in mind that my kitchen is at the front of the house and clearly visible from the pavement can you imagine the shame if anyone saw me. Anyway I can assure you that he has been thoroughly reprimanded for his impudence and sent to bed without any tea. I meanwhile never cease to be amazed by just what there is out there in the market to be purchased. Each to their own I guess!


Tuesday 25 August 2015

Chance Memories

This poem was written under the pen name of Philip Johnson and is to be seen on a commemorative tablet tucked way up along Mouse Lane in Steyning. The Ring to which it refers is Chanctonbury Ring which is on the summit of the hill rising behind. The man behind the words was John Stanley Purvis. He lost his brother George in the trenches but he himself was one of the "lucky ones" [I'm not sure that those who came back would necessarily agree that they were lucky to survive the horrors of war]. In later years he became the Canon of York Minster until his death in 1968.
There is further information here


Monday 24 August 2015

Little Victory.

First park run done and three weeks ahead of the date I put in my calendar. Hot but all 5km plodded round. I am deliberately ploughing my own furrow on this - running friends are completely baffled by the fact that I didn't bother taking my barcode to find out my time. Not fussed about knowing whether I got a PB or not [deliberately started right at the back and finished almost as one of the last]. I didn't stop so that was my little personal victory! Have been asked and politely declined two races already. As a bit of a people pleaser this is new territory for me! These two elephants are later additions I think to our current Elephantastic trail in the town which is due to finish shortly. They are definitely my favourites.


Sunday 23 August 2015

Rabbit Pie.

No need of smelling salts here....I promise no fluffy bunnies were harmed in the making of this pie. Mr GBT and I are off out to a BBQ today. The weather forecast looks dreadful, but thankfully the hosts have a series of outhouses so we'll be in the dry. This year we've been asked to provide a pud and after racking my brain, I remembered just how much I used to love it when we had jam tart and custard for our school dinners. Mr GBT, being a pastry whizz, has kindly turned my idea into a reality [I do cook honest guv but I am the household cake baker. Pastry refuses to work for me]. He's been rummaging in my biscuit cutter box to use up the spare pastry...hence the cottontail decoration!!

The raspberry jam is not home made this time but I am glad to say that the Autumn Bliss are now coming through thick and fast. I love going out there and picking them everyday. At the moment I'm open freezing them and then when the season is over we shall make them into jam. The canes are so prolific that we dug a load up earlier in the year and gave them to my allotment owing/dancing chum L and I am glad to say they've taken.


Saturday 22 August 2015

A Small Surprise.

Wednesday evening is Mythago practice night. Our melodian player wandered over to me whilst I was rummaging around in my bag [probably looking for a pen as usual...I swear there's a black hole in there where everything useful disappears only to all reappear at the most inopportune moment...usually when I've dropped my open bag and then the darned things scatter everywhere!]. We often exchange a quick word by way of greeting and catch up before we get down to the serious business of dancing. "You like churches don't you" she said and then handed me this book. "I saw it in the shop and thought of you." What a lovely surprise gift. I have only been to two of them so I feel more Sussex based sorties coming about over the darker months of the year.


Friday 21 August 2015


"Remember to be gentle with yourself and others. We are all children of chance and none can say why some fields will blossom while others lay brown beneath the August sun."
Kent Nerburn

OK own up who stole the summer....I read on a forum this week that with all this recent precipitation we've been having in parts of the country it's been wet as an otter's pocket!!


Wednesday 19 August 2015

The Return Journey.

With it being holiday time and several clients either working in schools or having school age children I've had the odd session off here and there recently. Not wanting to waste the opportunity to have a jolly I've been able to catch up with various friends. Last Tuesday I ventured forth with E and her delightful eight month old Sprocker Toby. We took him for a bounce which incorporated a couple of local churches en route. Just time for a fleeting nose I returned with Mr GBT at the weekend. E had pointed out various points of interest to me and we were able to add in a few more on Sunday given the extra time.

St Andrew's Nuthurst is a very well maintained church. The overall impression when you cross the threshold is pleasant but not particularly remarkable until you cast your eyes right.....

Restored by the Victorians it has a striking ceiling and the organ is split between the two sides. The whole area is ablaze with colour and very ambitious for a small village church. Look there's dear old St Cuthman of Steyning still pushing his Ma in the handcart. Am not too sure about those eyes...could have sworn that they followed us around....slightly creepy!

Second on our hit list was St George's in West Grinstead. It's a huge parish with very few houses so although a few dedicated souls do their best to maintain it they're facing an uphill struggle. It is not that prepossessing from the outside but does have a rather attractive stretch of Saxon herringbone work.

Unusually the pews have the farm names on from 1820 and as ever, I was delighted to find another couple of greenmen on the Victorian lectern. I have let the Company of the Greenman know for their Gazetteer. The starburst is the detailing on the underside of the canopy on the pulpit.

For me though the most moving part of our trip was the personal touch of the tributes paid by loved ones to those departed. The bench with the running medals on and the gravestone of the spitfire pilot. Those details add a human aspect and tell you a little of the lives of those being commemorated.


Tuesday 18 August 2015

"You'll only feel a little prick dear!"

After a 15 year break [I have a bit of chequered history let's just say] and spurred on by my 17 year old's decision to become a blood donor I had one last attempt at giving blood yesterday. Sadly it wasn't to be but at least I understand why now I've had such difficulties in the past. I am pleased to say that the teen fared much better.

Back in the 18th century wealthy women were facing a far larger ordeal than a couple of pin pricks from needles. Over a two year period from 1788 there were more than fifty women attacked by the so called London Monster. Shouting obscenities at them he then stabbed them often in the buttocks and ran away. Some victims suffered nasty injuries whilst others thankfully only had slashes to their clothes. Such was the mayhem caused by the assailant some men formed the No Monster Club and wore lapels exonerating them. Fashionable ladies wore copper pans over their petticoats for protection. He was never apprehended. Interestingly once it had been noted that he only attacked pretty women others began to self harm and claim that they too had suffered. The whole episode really is quite bizarre. For anyone wanting further info there's a book available

Please thank W for highlighting this particular morsel.


Monday 17 August 2015

Twinkle Twinkle.

An utterance from the lips of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. I wrote of it being the 150th anniversary of the publication of the book earlier this year and after spending an evening with Witchy Woo earlier this week she spoke of a new exhibition at our local museum. As these are always free, good quality and I was in town anyway running errands I decided on a whim to make a detour. I only had my phone with me not my trusty little point and press so quality is a tad dodgy I'm afraid.

The town has a fairly tenuous link to the original Alice Liddell who honeymooned just outside Horsham at the home of her husband's sister at Sedgwick Park in 1880. However, one of the town's current residents, Victor Wiffen, is an avid collector of all things Wonderland related and he has kindly loaned some of his items for others to view and enjoy. He started out with just books in 1977 but with the lifting of the copyright in 1907 he has found the range of related merchandise to be extensive so the cabinets were filled with all sorts. A small selection to give you a taster-

There is even a copy of the very rare chapter "The Wasp in the Wig" which was not rediscovered until 1974.

For me it's fascinating how this seminal work has influenced so many different spheres beyond it's original children's fiction remit. The use of wordplay, copycat works, advertising, parodies and how it has entered the political arena or been used in the context of real life events. Then there is the dark side....the allusion to drugs and the suggestion [unproven] that perhaps the fixation Charles Dodgson had for both Alice and other little girls was bordering on the unhealthy. That's not for me to speculate or debate though.

Certainly, a well thought out display which I enjoyed immensely.


Sunday 16 August 2015


Not my words but words which resonate with how I try to parent. I have tried so far to raise a young man who is not risk averse and who is learning [sometimes the hard way granted, exam results being one example, this week] to take responsibilities for his actions.

A young man went to seek an important position at a large printing company. He passed the initial 
interview and was going to meet the director for the final interview. The director saw his resume, it was excellent. And asked, '
- Have you received a scholarship for school?' The boy replied, " No '.
-' It was your father who paid for your studies? '
-' Yes.'- He replied.
-' Where does your father work? '

-' My father is a Blacksmith'The Director asked the young man to show him his hands.The young man showed a pair of hands soft and perfect.-' Have you ever helped your parents at their job? '-' Never, my parents always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, he can do the job better than me.The director said:-' I have got a request: When you go home today, go and wash the hands of your father and then come see me tomorrow morning.'
The young man felt his chance to get the job was high.When he returned to his house he asked his father if he would allow him to wash their hands.His father felt strange, happy, but with mixed feelings and showed their hands to his son. The young man washed his hands, little by little. It was the first time that he noticed his father's hands were wrinkled and they had so many scars. Some bruises were so painful that his skin shuddered when he touched them.This was the first time that the young man recognized what it meant for this pair of hands to work every day to be able to pay for his study. The bruises on the hands were the price that he payed for their education, his school activities and his future.After cleaning his father's hands the young man stood in silence and began to tidy and clean up the workshop. That night, father and son talked for a long time.
The next morning, the young man went to the office of the director.The Director noticed the tears in the eyes of the young man when He asked him: -' Can you tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday at your house?'The boy replied: -' I washed my father's hands and when I finished I stayed and cleaned his workshop '-' Now I know what it is to appreciate and recognize that without my parents , I would not be who I am today . By helping my father I now realize how difficult and hard it is to do something on my own. I have come to appreciate the importance and the value in helping the family.
The director said, "This is what I look for in my people. I want to hire someone who can appreciate the help of others , a person who knows the hardship of others to do things, and a person who does not put money as his only goal in life". ' You are hired '.
A child that has been coddled, Protected and usually given him what he wants, develops a mentality of " I have the right ' and will always put himself first, ignoring the efforts of their parents. If we are this type of protective parent are we really showing love or are we destroying our children?You can give your child a big house , good food , computer classes , watch on a big screen TV . But when you're washing the floor or painting a wall , please let him experience that too.After eating have them wash the dishes with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you have no money to hire someone to do this it's because you want to love them the right way . No matter how rich you are, you want them to understand. One day your hair will have gray hair, like the father of this young man.The most important thing is that your child learns to appreciate the effort and to experience the difficulties and learn the ability to work with others to get things done.


Saturday 15 August 2015

A Quaint English Custom.

I have recently finished reading "The English Year" by Steve Roud which gives a month by month account different folk customs. Some entries are historical, others current, newly established or revivals. One thing that crops up regularly is fairs- although many no longer happen, the charters which set them up date back hundreds of years. The good thing though is the concept of a fair or whatever name it goes under in your part of the world is still very much of our summers.

Scarred by my years of organising the PTA summer fair [I jest] I have to say I am not noted for my regular attendance at this type of event these days but I did find myself at the Oakwood Hill Flower Show last weekend. Not just flowers- a fair by any other name. Terrier racing, face painting, dog show, tent full of home made produce, cakes, local bands. The sun shone and I thoroughly enjoyed a few hours just pottering [oh and I found a charity book stall with each tome priced at 50p so was happy as a pig in muck.] A few shots which sum up the day really.

Rescue owls- the owners put them up in the tree to perch where it was cooler for them.

A might fine display of vintage cars. How marvellous would it be to toot your horn with your foot.

Heavens above what is that woman doing with that stick?! I can assure you that no damage was done!

The only thing I would say is that the whole affair is rather gentrified [but then we were in Surrey].I think they could take their lead from Egremont Crab Apple Fair and throw in a spot of wrestling, gurning, a pipe smoking competition or the greasy pole to liven it up a tad. I think they might be missing a trick there!


Friday 14 August 2015

One does so love a bargain....

Now there's yellow stickered and reduced....then there's the occasional West Sussex variation which moves the goalposts.....

So this morning as usual I was nosing around the end of lines in the supermarket. Always worth a quick gander as sometimes it comes up trumps.

This one was a new one on me though- I thought it would have been ungenerous not to share my good fortune so I kindly left all the boxes behind for someone else to discover. Each to their own.....

The GBT purse has already hit the sloe gin, such is her state of shock....I did offer her one of my Sainsbury's basics teabags [classy bird moi!] but she sniffily informed me a cuppa would never see her make a full recovery. Apparently she needs her wits about her at all times so that she remains vigilant and can guard against my "unwanton spending". Charming!


Running Out Of Steam.

"I take my only exercise acting as pallbearer at the funerals of my friends who exercise."

Mark Twain

I meanwhile have managed to get back up to slogging for three miles. Quite pleased really. Apologies for the short post today but am suffering brain drain today!


Thursday 13 August 2015

Courgette Regret.

No regrets here at GBT I can assure you just lots of convos with various people starting with "What do you do with all your courgettes so you don't waste them?"

Various tips have been forthcoming.

One chum cuts them into ribbons with her potato peeler and cooks them like spaghetti.

Make them part of a ratouille mix. Cro Magnon over at Magnon's Meanderings preserves the mix in jars.

Another suggestion from a local Transition member suggested making the HFW pasta sauce link here  Mr GBT has made a batch which we've frozen at the pre cream/cheese stage. We'll be trying it out with the cream and cheese added in later on in the week. My only observation was that it took longer to cook than the recipe said.

Despite the dratted thing breaking [batter cakes do not take kindly to my manhandling] the courgette tea bread was very moist and delicious. Lots of recipes out there on the net to try. Have previously done a chocolate and courgette cake- an experience never to be repeated!

In the past I've made courgette chutney using this recipe [I cannot for the life of me remember from whence it came I'm afraid as it's just scribbled down in a notebook]. It's a good 'un but I know we've still got some left so no more for us this year.

Spiced Indian Courgette Chutney

1kg courgettes
2 tbsp salt
2 medium onions
4-5 large garlic cloves
1 red chilli
25g root ginger
100ml oil
2tbsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp turmeric
300ml cider vinegar
225g demerara sugar

Chop the courgette into small pieces. Sprinkle over the salt and leave in a colander over a bowl for two hours. Rinse very well and dry in a clean teatowel. Peel onion, garlic, ginger and deseeded chilli. Blitz into a paste. Heat oil. Fry mustard and coriander seeds for 3-4 mins. Add cumin and turmeric and keep shaking the pan to stop the spices burning. Add the onion paste and cook 4-5 mins. Add courgettes, vinegar and sugar. Cook on a simmer for 45 mins then put into sterilised jars.

Finally this has more ideas than you can shake a stick at


Wednesday 12 August 2015

Wilde Wit.

Tonight I am off to a talk about the great man himself  with W so to get me in the mood here is a small selection of Mr Wilde's quotes for your delectation.

"A good friend will always stab you in the front".

"The old believe everything, the middle-aged suspect everything, the young know everything."

"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never of any use to oneself."

"Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go."

"Work is the curse of the drinking classes."


Tuesday 11 August 2015

Chuggy Pig

Chuggy pig may not be a name familiar to you for 'tis these of which I speak [although granted not this huge prehistoric fossil but it was the only piccie I had that was appropriate]

The 'umble woodlouse. Let's face it anything lumbered with "louse" is never going to get off to a great start is it. I much prefer some of the other names I've come across and yes there are many! How about Bibble-Bug, Coffin Cutter and St Anthony's Buttons for starters. Anything that can roll itself into a ball [thinking of armadillos and hedgehogs here] gets my vote.

It's one of those creatures which is very familiar and doesn't catch your eye so I'm on a mission to rectify that. For starters they're useful to us wasteful humans as they eat our detritus and turn it back into black gold. They are apparently crustaceans and related to the likes of crabs but unlike their marine relatives they prefer to remain on terra firma. Furthermore there are 5 species in the UK [common striped, pill, rough, pigmy and shiny] but it's only the pill one that rolls up- the others have other means of escape ie runner, roller, clinger and creeper.

These days we tend to ignore them but once upon a time you might have hung a black silk bag containing live ones around your little darling's neck to ease teething pains or you yourself may have crunched your way through dried ones to ease stomach pains- the likely explanation is that they contain a lot of calcium so it may have eased neutralised the acids. Personally I think I'll stick with Rennies!


Rest awhile and smile.

I parked my ample rump on that there bench and followed the instructions on its plaque.  It wasn't exactly an onerous task to have to re...