Sunday 31 January 2016

If You Think You're Having A Bad Day.....

Be glad you weren't one Mr Henry Penfold. Saturday 19th March 1898 should have been an ordinary working day. A new hotel, The Anchor, was being built in the centre of the town and Mr Penfold was driving his steam roller back and forth to tamp down the surface for the road outside. Going about his business as usual he suddenly literally felt the earth move beneath him.....between his two sets of wheels a 22' deep hole filled with 9' of water had appeared.

Thankfully, with an amazing presence of mind, he managed to move the machine out of the way. It transpired that the "hole" was in fact an unrecorded well and had quite possibly been one for the use of the Medieval public. It was drained and filled in and Mr Penfold received this in recognition of his quick thinking and brave action.


Friday 29 January 2016

Cross Eyed vs Cross Stitch

Practical skills by and large evade me, but I have really enjoyed doing various cross stitch projects over the years both full size and miniature. This last couple of years though I have been knitting various Janet and John garter stitch blankets and then more latterly Percy the gargoyle, so have not tackled any sewn projects until recently.

To get back into the swing of things I picked up a carpet I had started and abandoned very early on quite some time ago. So much so in fact that my eyesight had changed to such a degree that I could no longer focus clearly enough to be able to see what I was doing. One of the many joys of becoming an old bat I'm finding! Thankfully I've now had the old mince pies retested and with my new lenses I am back to being able to enjoy a hobby that gives me great pleasure. Here's the current one underway with still quite a way to go.The other shots are of the dollshouse carpets I have already completed. I am generally working on 22 holes to the inch. Certainly keeps me out of mischief [well for some of the time anyway!]


Thursday 28 January 2016

A Curious Convo

The teenogre bless him is mid way through his A level year and yesterday he successfully completed his EPQ presentation. I am hugely relieved it went well for him but he had prepped well. He's working really hard but I am fully supportive of him playing hard too. Now it's back with the nose to the grindstone....French revision apparently for an up and coming test later on this week as he shot upstairs to his room after we'd eaten.....

Except I started to hear some very odd thumping noises coming down from his room through the ceiling to where I sitting directly below....not studying type sounds for sure. It sounded for all the world like he was chasing a badger round his room and believe you me it really is a very small space.
Eventually curiosity got the better of me and I knocked on his door to find out what he was doing. Rather sheepishly he admitted that he was playing one of these [he was listening to music on his phone via earphones]:

So for anyone who wants to finely hone their air guitar playing skills maybe this might be a good track for starters....The Darkness and "I believe in a thing called love"

Meanwhile being the wicked Mother that I am decided that if he had all this excess energy to burn off he could do so more effectively helping me with a spot of drying up!!


Tuesday 26 January 2016

A Strange Juxtaposition

Recently I got wind of this interesting [well it is to me in my odd little parallel world of weirdness!] lychgate in the village where I work every other Tuesday. As usual it's just up the road and as usual I have only just learnt of its existence. Today I got my act together and despite the weather being positively evil [hence the slightly fuzzy photo quality] I took my camera with me. In the brief 20 second respite between heavy showers I managed to get a couple of shots.

This example unusually is a living yew tree- I thought it a curious contrast that something which is self renewing [bit like Trigger's broom in Only Fools and Horses] should be the place where the corpse is laid before being taken into the church [lych from the Saxon meaning corpse]. I had intended to go and have a nose round the church but there was actually a funeral in progress inside so I didn't want to show any disrespect by taking any more shots than this one from across the other side of the road at an angle. Rest assured the chap you can see is the undertaker not a mourner- they were waiting for the end of the service.

Despite the horrible conditions I did enjoy this "artwork" drawn in the dirt on the back of the van that I parked behind and this rather splendidly rude fellow pulling a face above the door. Believe me it takes very little to keep me amused but I was very grateful to get back in the dry with a nice warming cuppa!


Monday 25 January 2016

Homeless Help

Granted this doesn't help people off the street but it is a fantastic improvement on sleeping bag technology by an equally fantastic young person. I need to keep hearing this type of news.


Sunday 24 January 2016

Not Lying Down and Taking It!

Tombs provide an endless source of fascination for me. I am fairly familiar with your recumbent knight [we have such a fine fellow in our local church] or the lady with her big ruff lying back  piously praying.....and then there's this dame....well Dame Mary Evre  to be more specific who died in 1619.

She simply made me smile when I spotted her a few years ago in St Laurence's church in Ludlow. Looking for all the world like she's levitating I just love her feet. I shared it on a FB group I'm in and someone commented that she looks like she's flicking through the channels with the remote. Now it's been said I can't "unsee" it if you see what I mean. How fab is she!!!


Saturday 23 January 2016

Orkahaugr Dragon

Or a lion or a wolf or a hare being attacked by a seagull...all pure conjecture. Anyway 'tis this of which I speak...

The "dragon" graffito that the Norse vandals scratched onto the walls of Maes Howe in Orkney [along with a load of other rather impressive runes] when they broke into the tomb. Do it now at say Stonehenge and you'd be up in court on a charge of desecration of an ancient monument. The most popular theory is that it is the dragon of paganism being slaughtered by the Christian crusader. I don't offer up any of my own thoughts on the matter save that he looks rather more like a canine to my eyes. Maybe we're just all over intellectualising it and it was just somebody's pet pooch! I expected him to be huge, but the original only reaches the heady heights of 2"! I bought the picture whilst there as a momento of our visit last summer.


Friday 22 January 2016

Something To Aim For!

Seeing as we're round to Friday again a little light relief to start the weekend. I fully intend to be this type of old biddy leading all my cronies astray. Hell what am I waiting for...let's start now!


Thursday 21 January 2016

Sour Grapes

"Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends"

Francis Bacon [painter]

Love an acerbic quip once in a while. This is attributed to Bacon but other sources cite it as a 19th century toast.


Wednesday 20 January 2016

A Winter Wanderland

We had the slightest dusting of snow overnight at the weekend so Mr GBT and I grabbed our coats and popped out to have a gander. It had all melted by the early afternoon but made the little hamlet just up the road very pretty. Just a few snapshots of what caught my eye whilst we were nosing about.

This is St Nicholas in Itchingfield. The shingled wooden tower is completely separate to the main body of the church. Unusually the  medieval "priest's house" remains standing in the churchyard. More often than not these were swept up by incorporating them into bigger halls. It was used as an almshouse until 1870

The path leading up to the church is made from locally quarried flagstones which are known by the highly original name of Horsham Stone! I am taken with the pattern that the water has made over made millions of years.

Thank goodness for a most welcome splash of scarlet to break the pallor of the pale grey sky.

This meanwhile simply amused me and was outside the local cafe where we went on to for a much needed cuppa and bite of lunch. It was good to know what we were supporting one of the locally owned businesses rather than lining the pockets of the big corporations.

Nothing fancy but just good to get out for a breath of fresh air and enjoy a mini adventure.

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Check The Chart Afore Ye Wed

A table of kindred and affinity no less which told you exactly who you could not legally marry. With our understanding of genetics these days some of these exclusions no longer apply but a fascinating piece of social history no less. This little gem was out of sight on the back of a local church door.


Monday 18 January 2016

Caterwauling and Howling

One of the positives of January for me is it's the season of howling, apple howling that is or for non Sussex folk wassailing. We went a few times when the teenogre was a small person as it was rare for us to be able to go out as a couple with him in tow in the evening and now I get to participate in the running of the event.

Following a considerable period in the doldrums the tradition was in danger of dying out. However, with the emergence of the community orchards since the Millennium it has seen a revival of interest and a huge rise in organised events. Invitations for Mythago to attend have increased steadily over the past few years and our present Squire wrote our own version a couple of years ago.

Despite the challenging weather conditions we've had of late, Aril had ordered dry weather for this year's Slindon bash [I am known as a weather witch on the side as I loathe dancing out in the rain and it is invariably dry if I'm there!] Lots of mud yes but no rain...indeed a calm starry night with a huge audience [twice the number as last year] Once again it proved to be a great evening with a local ale tent and local food. No photos this year as it followed a similar format to our inaugural attendance last year but Humphrey did sneak into my kit bag just as I was getting ready to leave and then caterwauled loudly when I had the audacity to remove him. Nothing is sacred when you are owned by a bleedin' feline!

My personal highlight was the discovery of this talented trio- they sang unaccompanied during most of their sets and were glorious. A small taster for you from Said The Maiden.


Sunday 17 January 2016

Twinkle Toes

On 13th September I started a no new clothes challenge for a year. I have bought nothing new and nothing in the way of second hand garments as such since then. To date one scarf had slipped under the radar but yesterday sparkly, colourful things caught my eye and I had that little lurch in the pit of my tummy which tells me that the old gut instinct has just gone ping. I listen to these whispers as they are right- if I have to convince/justify buying an item they won't stay long. These were purchased for the princely price of 90 pennies [that's for all three] at the jumble sale where I was helping out. So I suppose the bottom line is that I've kind of bent the challenge rules....then that's me all over!

The shoes make my heart sing and please my inner Disco Dolly...I look forward to having sparkly pieds on dark dull days. I understand that they are gloriously impractical but they will give me much pleasure as have the impractical purple boots I bought for a fiver last year and absolutely love.

These two are beautiful scarves. Much prettier in the flesh so to speak. Unusual quirky earrings used to be my trademark but since sadly developing an allergy to all metals those days are past. Instead I have masses of unusual gorgeous scarves- all either made for me, second hand, gifts or passed on by friends. I've thought vaguely about putting photos up from time to time but think maybe that doesn't make for thrilling blog material.


Saturday 16 January 2016

Mr Alan Rickman Making A Difference

If you are kind enough to watch this little video voiced by the glorious late Alan Rickman you will be helping to raise money for Save The Children and continuing his good work.

Thank you.


Friday 15 January 2016

P.O.E.T.S Day

As it's Friday few words needed. Just a spot of silliness to make you smile.

It took me a moment to work out what I was actually looking at. In the name of recycling these stools use old mannequin legs.


Thursday 14 January 2016

Unjoined Up Thinking

Yes and mighty good I am at it too as my brain skips freely from one thing to another butterfly like. Am I in the moment...rarely unless I am utterly absorbed in something. This article has caught my eye today  Specifically this jumped out at me:

"We think about the past and future more than present; we are mentally in one place and physically in another"

If you replaced the word "we" with the word "you" in that quote it would describe me down to a T. It has put me in mind of this image which came up on my FB feed and has struck a real chord with me. Its direct message makes perfect sense to me and has made it easy for me today to bring my awareness back to the present everytime I have caught my monkey mind playing havoc.

Fear not though the monkey mind will always put in an appearance- she does so love a bit of nonsense or a distraction so changing the subject seamlessly and with no apparent link [it really is that random] I was most pleased to find out today who did this song that I always really enjoy but didn't know who it was by. Iris by the Goo Goo Dolls


Wednesday 13 January 2016


"No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away."

Terry Pratchett

Following the death of David Bowie a couple of days ago this quote seems perfect. His music wasn't to my personal taste, but what I really appreciated about his talent was his fearlessness in taking risks and following his own path. Inspirational in life, I am sure his legacy will continue to influence others to cast off the sheeple shackles and instead give full vent to their creative endeavours. For that I thank him.


Tuesday 12 January 2016


Coombes Church

Small Saxon church with later additions nestling in the Downs. Made of the local flint. Dedication lost- was possibly originally to St John the Baptist. It's mentioned in Doomsday. Simple yet simply stunning.

Beautiful surviving patches of mainly 12th century wall paintings rediscovered in 1949. Patterns, figures, religiously themed- designed for the non reading laity.

This one below I read possibly indicates the original width of the chancel.

Below is the eagle of St John. I thought it was a dog...there's a reason why I wear 'L' plates in such matters. I am just very enthusiastic but lacking in the knowledge department.

And faces from so long ago. Having seen a book with the incredibly realistic Roman frescoes in Pompeii recently, is the depiction here crude or just stylised and reminiscent of the taste of the age I wonder? The long fingers fascinate me.

Loved it but we hope to return on our own with Mr GBT's camera as he will be able to take better quality shots when we have more time to spend there and combine it with a trip to Lancing college chapel which is within spitting distance. Although I knew in advance that we were going to be visiting you never know what you might discover or see when out walking. The most mundane of strolls can yield all sorts of delights I find.


Monday 11 January 2016

Medieval Misery on a Mo[a]nday

Many don't relish the prospect of the return to work on a Monday particularly at this time of year. I well remember Mr GBT being filled with dread every Sunday night when he was employed pre redundancy unlike now where he is a self employed craftsman. However, whilst you may feel you are carrying the worries of the world upon your shoulders spare a thought for this poor chap....he's carrying the entire weight of the chancel arch upon his and doesn't his face show the strain!

Likely not to have been intended to be taken too seriously this humorous gem is officially known as a caryatid figure and is apparently rare in the context of medieval wall paintings. He is amongst all the other surviving religious artwork in the church at Coombes, West Sussex.

I will put up the other photos tomorrow.


Sunday 10 January 2016

Going Round In Circles

All right maybe not circles just circle singular. Despite the amount of rain which has fallen from leaden skies these past few weeks, despite the prospect of possibly ankle deep gorgeous Sussex butter [mud] we donned our waterproofs and boots and set off on the first 2016 walk organised by the Sussex Wildlife Trust.

This one was from the nature reserve at Lancing Ring and the weather did play ball sort of. At one point a vicious rumour spread through the group like wildfire that the sun had broken through but it soon was overcome with modesty at its brazen show and hid behind its grey ruffled skirts once again! The wind was a trifle biting at times too...thankfully I was wrapped up like the Michelin Man!

At this time of year there doesn't initially seem to be so much to "see" but as ever look hard enough and you will be rewarded. These are the fungi in their various forms [the first one is called wrinkled peach apparently]- the photo quality isn't great I regret as I only had my press and point camera with me. The high quality shots are always courtesy of Mr GBT or, as in the case of the views above, Ma and Da which I have cheekily used and asked their permission retrospectively. This is the online equivalent of your adult children coming back into your home and raiding the cupboards for snacks despite having long since flown the nest and being parents themselves!

We stopped off briefly at a small charming Saxon church too so will put up more photos tomorrow.

A cracking good hike to start the New Year off.


Saturday 9 January 2016

Getting Ahead

A day off and the weather is playing ball for once...what's a girl to do...catch up with the never ending list of domestic trivia or head out of the door with indecent haste...


A free exhibition at the town museum entitled "The Enigmatic Head" featuring the work of a local artist called Janine Creaye. She works in several mediums as can be seen here and I now find that I've already seen several examples of her carvings at a couple of local nature reserves. Some of the exhibits I loved [particularly the foliate heads which will come as no surprise to any one who has seen the sheer number of greenmen I've featured over the last couple of years] others didn't appeal but here's a small selection for you to make your own mind up. More of her work can be seen here

For anyone who fancies a spot of light reading upon the head cult here's a link that was flagged up recently in The Strange Things Seen In Churches FB should know by now that my brain stores the most random of details and then joins them all up when it seems appropriate


Friday 8 January 2016

Do you need a DNA test to prove who the father is?

Famous words uttered by Jeremy Kyle as part of the trailer for his show. Now very familiar to me as I have a client who enjoys it so I hear snatches as I housesparkle around her. I'd be a lying toad if I didn't admit that I don't enjoy the odd bit now and again!

Anyway I digress.... earlier this week Mr GBT and I went to see the new Star Wars film "The Force Awakens". I enjoyed it....having ignored the hype it was pretty much what I expected. Similar to the ones that went before but a fun evening's entertainment of escapism. The one thing though that I realised and nobody else seems to have understood is that I am sure that Princess Leia is pulling a fast one and that Han Solo cannot be the father of Kylo Ren or Ben as he was before he went over to the dark side:

Shh...don't tell anyone but I have reason to believe that he was cuckolded by this man

No less than Severus Snape...surely that explains his complex relationship with darkness and light....or maybe I have turned into Luna Lovegood and everyone is being too polite and is not telling me.


Thursday 7 January 2016

Knocking On A Bit

Later on this year I shall be I give a fiddler's flute [that version is so much politer than the equivalent phrase I use in real life!] do I heck. Despite being the proud owner of lots more facial lines garnered through many experiences and natural grey highlights [sometimes disguised with red and/or brown highlights depending on my mood] I am actually physically fitter than I was five years ago now I'm no longer doing a sedentary job and dancing. Without taking any of this for granted - your health is your wealth and all that jazz I sincerely hope to be able to emulate these terrific ladies in years to come and approach life with an attitude like that of Mark Twain.

"Wrinkles merely indicate where smiles have been" [Mark Twain]


Wednesday 6 January 2016

Twelfth Night Lights

It being the last night of the festive season and all that, please indulge me with a couple more shots to wind it all up for this year.

The first one is of the marvellous recycled bottle tree- I went back to see it all illuminated at night and it looks really effective I think.

As the second one is of the Nativity Scene outside the RC church. The "imposter " lurking at the back just made me smile, although I guess that there's an argument to say that just because the polar bear wasn't mentioned originally it didn't say he wasn't there either. Aww



 Bowlderise- verb meaning to omit or change parts of text [usually in literature] considered vulgar. Yes it's a new-to-me word alert and...