Showing posts from October, 2015

The Ugly Truth

The imported version of Halloween which has come from across the pond is great fun by and large [although I detest Trick or Treating almost as much as Black Friday but mustn't rant]. I used to love cooking all sorts of ghoulish goodies for a themed tea and was an ace with the green food colouring. Even now I enjoy the chance to dress up and kick my heels. Behind all that though I do remember that many innocent lives were lost at the hands of those who hunted down and executed those who were held up as witches. Janet Horne was the last "witch" to be burned alive in Britain- 1727 in Scotland. The victim [her real name is not recorded- the name used was the generic one for those accused of witchcraft- bit like Jane Doe] was accused by her neighbour of riding her daughter like a horse to the devil to be shod. Failing to change her back from her pony form was proof enough to convict here. It is now known that the daughter suffered from a hereditary condition which made her f

Happy Halloween.

Samhain blessings to all those who celebrate the old ways. And for those who just enjoy the silliness and fun of Halloween a funny from Simon's Cat. Arilx

The Time of the Ancestors

As the wheel turns again and we approach Samhain, my thoughts turn to  the thinning of the veil and to my own personal ancestors, both those known and unknown. Probably because it was her birthday on 19th October memories of my Nana have been at the fore. Born in 1903 Nana was of the generation which saw great changes. She left school at 12 and always embraced new technology. Back in the 1980s she was the first in the family to have a microwave- anything which saved time and labour got her vote. For her having had to do everything manually it must have been a marvel- she was always one to drive rather than walk! I suspect had she been alive today she would have been up to speed with the internet and using a mobile phone. During the 1920s she had her hair cut into a bob and shingled up the back. Quite what her parents thought I have no idea! The week was spent making a new Flapper dress for the dance at the weekend and Saturday morning practising her dance steps on a wooden floor

Breaking Old Habits and Breaking In New Ones.

[Image from] Confession time [it's ok you don't need to run for the hills I am not about to air my dirty laundry in public!] I am a book addict. Always have been and always will be. Despite previous pledges to myself to curb my habit by not buying new books, I simply worked out effective ways to get round it- you can get your hands on a surprising number of books via the charity shops, jumble sales, freecycle and even friends kindly passing them over. This freestyle approach brings me into contact with all sorts of unexpected treasures along with the odd shocker or two which are rapidly abandoned. I have no patience with anything that doesn't engage me quickly or is badly written! Part of the joy of this is the sharing of my passion- books are quickly passed on for the next reader to enjoy [or not as the case may be] and for this reason alone I am not a Kindle devotee [having said that I can see the many advantages of owing one]. Until they manage to m

What a difference a decade makes.

Go back ten years- one small person resplendent in his homemade wizard's cloak. Tonight the teenager is going out  to the first of this week's Halloween parties he's attending complete with a scythe dressed as the Grim Reaper. Actually he's gone full circle except this time round it will involve copious amounts of witch's brew! Arilx P.S. He tells me that he won't be travelling on the bus in his fancy dress costume- spoilsport!!

Reinventing the Wheel

Now I like brandy and I like butter but not together. I am similarly peculiar about Christmas pud...once again I am fond of all the components separately yet not all combined into one. I have pondered this and still am unable to fathom why. For this reason we always have an alternative come the big day. Having strained the Christmas Pudding vodka yesterday [and yes it tastes delicious] I thought it a shame to waste all that lovely fruit which has been soaking away for the last week and when housesparkling I hit upon the idea of somehow reusing them in an icecream. I wish I was one of these imaginative people who could just open their fridge door, view their leftovers and produce gorgeous food there and then. Sadly I am definitely not in this camp so it always requires forethought and planning with me. Yesterday I whipped up a pot of cream and then stirred in the said fruit, checking first that all little dastardly cloves and bits of cinnamon stick had been removed- no one wants t

Autumn Glory

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolour, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all." Stanley Horowitz. I know everyone is busy posting up foliage photos at the moment but it's not hard to see why. These two glorious examples are within spitting distance of my home. I enjoy their beauty all the more because they are transient. The leaves will probably be down by the end of the week. Arilx

Guard Doglet

One wonders what the hell the smallest woof could be...quite make my tiny mind boggle!! Arilx

Watch The Birdie

Plain and simple Mr GBT likes ducks- indeed one could go so far as to say he is very keen on ducks. Twenty five years ago the first ever gift I bought him was a mug with ducks on and amazingly it is one of the few originals from the early days which has survived. Whilst I was dancing in Arundel on Sunday, he took himself off to the Wetlands Trust. Armed with his camera he took many birdie snaps but in the main yes, they were of ducks! I enjoyed seeing them and hope you do too. Arilx

Apple Day

Today is Apple Day. It was established in 1990 by Common Ground to celebrate our national fruit and has quickly caught the public imagination. More info here  I think it's fantastic how the effect has rippled out to create not only a new annual custom but also lots of community orchards. We danced once again at the organised event at the Arundel orchard but there are no photos as it was very much the same pattern as last year. I did however, ensure that I partook of some freshly pressed juice, a wee tot of mulled cider and a slab of Dorset Apple Cake. Having become an owner of my very own little tree this last year I am even more keen to try new varieties. As a child one called D'Arcy Spice grew in my Nana's garden. It was discovered in the 1800s in Colchester which was literally a stone's throw from where she still lived. I remember it having a very tough skin and a remarkable taste which I now know to be akin t

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

Well certainly not me. Anyone who can buy a former windmill as a home spontaneously certainly gets my vote! This is the Round House in Lewes which Virginia and Leonard bought in 1919. The plaque on the front rather marvellously reads "We bought a house in Lewes, on the spur of the moment. It's the butt end of an old windmill, so that all the rooms are either completely round or semi circular." They bought the more famous Monks House in Rodmell shortly after which turned out to be their preferred residence. Thus the decision was taken to sell this one on. The property remains in private hands. Arilx

Job Titles.

Monday and it's the start of the working week for many. Enjoying the social history of the everyday folks, it interests me how quickly the knowledge of some jobs are lost. Sometimes as recently as the Census the entries have us scratching our heads. Family research has shown me that most of my lot were agricultural labourers or coach trimmers so no query there but this little gem might amuse you Arilx

A Day of Domestic Trivia and Frugal Doings

If the truth of the matter be known I'm a bit of a home bird really. Much as I enjoy heading out for adventures, I am equally happy to have time at home to potter and please myself. Having enjoyed the company of two dear chums last night and maybe having indulged in the odd sweet sherry or three with them I had no specific plans for today. I toyed with the idea of doing the Park Run but I'm dancing tomorrow and besides I fancied a lie in. Most unusually for me I did not emerge from my pit until 7.30. Humphrey was not impressed! Looking back over the day it's certainly not been wasted. The last of the ripe raspberries have been picked and are now frozen and the lurking veg has been rounded up and evicted from where it had taken up squatters rights in the fridge. One big batch of soup later has fed us for lunch today and will do so again tomorrow whilst the compost heap has been denied our leftovers. The slow cooker has been put to work with a lentil curry bubbling away in


Sometimes I see something and the mind boggles. There is no context to give a clue to its meaning and this sign certainly had me stumped. I wondered if maybe it was a band but knew I was clutching at straws. Good old Google- I have now learnt that Toads is an abbreviation of "Toads in the Hole" which has nothing to do with sausages in batter but is a pub game played exclusively in East Sussex. It involves four brass coins [known as toads] being thrown from a set distance onto a table with a hole in the middle and various scores being achieved depending upon where the toads land. So Now You Know! Arilx


Certain places are famous for the foods they produce- think Melton Mowbray as a classic example. Other places, although famous at a point in history, may have fallen by the wayside. Until recently I think it would be fair to say that my hometown of Horsham fitted into this latter category. I am delighted to say though that that is no longer the case. We're talking the revival of the fortunes of gingerbread here. It was at the height of its production during the Regency period and at the time three varieties were available- the Parliament which was fat free with a very high treacle content, the Parliament Cutter which had crinkled edges and sold four for a penny and the Toy which was a hard and heavy type and would last for ages. Below are a couple of the original presses- sometimes gold leaf was added to the stamp to give it that extra sparkle and luxury. There were many makers in the town, each with their own secret recipes, including the forefathers of our local poe

Arundel- The Girly Shots

I'm not all about dark Morris Dancing, Steampunk, black flowers, Gothic horror you know. I'm just as attracted to the pretties aswell- I am a true Libran and like everything in balance so here's the other set of photos I took on my recent day out with E to Arundel! Technically it's little more that a picturesque village but because it has the castle [owned by the Duke of Norfolk] and the RC cathedral it's a crowd puller. It's very hilly but on the plus side it has loads of charming tearooms in which to quench your thirst and rest your weary legs! As a local I'd say well worth visiting out of the main tourist season. Arilx

The Business of Busyness.

After a hectic week of work and other commitments bookended by two busy weekends I'm stepping off the hamster wheel for a few hours today. This particular piece of music whenever I hear it always puts me right in the zone. It allows me to stop, listen and breathe deeply. Stabat Mater by Pergolesi sung sublimely by Emma Kirkby. Arilx

The Snowdrop.

Life is full of seemingly unrelated little incidents but sometimes I find they seem to randomly collide within a very short space of time to form a coherent whole. One such example has occurred over the last couple of days. Saturday saw me out dancing with Mythago once again. This time we were in Lewes which is a new gig for me [I danced at the Harvey's Brewery last Autumn].  Our first stand was scheduled for The Snowdrop which is at the far end of the town right beneath the cliffs. I had assumed that the pub was named after the flower and had given it no further thought until Friday when, unusually, my client's husband was still home. He used to live in Lewes and he asked me if I knew how the pub got its name. Sensing a story he told me about the Lewes Avalanche.  Despite prior warnings about the increasing danger about the weather conditions the inhabitants of the workers cottages in Boulders Row decided not to heed them. On 27th December 1836 tragically eight people lo

I Spy....

With my little eye curiosities in Arundel. Chum E informs me that one of the reasons that she enjoys a jolly with me [apart from the copious quantities of tea we drink and the non stop chatter we manage] is that I will either spot something unusual or know something weird. I'll take that as a compliment- anything important falls of out my head within a split second but any useless bit of information is hardwired in for eternity. So not to disappoint here's more of my most recent Spotteds! Doors- yes I find doors endlessly fascinating. Ones with windows, a gorgeous painted door [bugger about the shadows but mustn't grumble], the promise of Horror and knockers [oo er missus] what the hell is that one all about. A yeti and a hand...hmm an interesting conceptual design!! A goodly spot of Gothic planting. Black blooms just do it for me- such a refreshing change from the norm. One rather grumpy dragon- bears more than a passing resemblance to me first thing i


"Look up there" said my friend E. I did and this is what I saw. I would have missed these had I been on my own. Thanks E. Hope you have a peaceful and fulfilling day today. Arilx

The Lewes Group

St Botolph's, Hardham, West Sussex is a small late Saxon church. Whitewashed, it is charming in its apparent simplicity yet it hides an amazing interior. It has one of the best preserved set of medieval frescoes in the country and apart from the 19th century damage, these are pretty much complete. It forms part of the so called Lewes Group because it is believed that four churches in total were painted by a single group of travelling artists and this one, along with one of the others, probably belonged to the Cluniac priory of St Pancras at Lewes. I fully intend to get along to visit the other ones in the series in due course. I have visited before, but this was a spur of the moment decision when I was out with my chum E and we just pulled off the road to give her a chance to enjoy them when we were en route elsewhere last week. Here are a few shots for you to enjoy [that's not a command by the way!] This is dear old St George on one of the crusades. An

New Challenge

I touched on this briefly last week. Unusually for me I have raised my head above the parapet at Gnat Bottomed Towers and joined the No New Clothes Challenge For A Year being run by Jen Gale over at Make Do and Mend. This is quite rare for me as by and large I don't engage in the activities of other bloggers. I just keep writing my eccentric little bloglet and ploughing my own furrow. Very much like me in real life really- I am definitely one for standing on the sidelines rather than being centre stage. During September I bought a few bits and pieces from a couple of charity shops to replace basics that were beyond repair. Another scarf might have snuck in [believe you me I have many] but that was 13th September and the intention [famous last words] is to not buy anything save for underwear or exercise kit until this time next year [only if I need them though]. I have already been tempted by a green scarf but when I worked out why it turns out I already have a necklace in the sam