Showing posts from April, 2016

"Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings"

Above is a quote taken from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Thus in the spirit of a busy nothing how about a game of Bingo Austen style for 'tis most certainly the weekend. Arilx

Scavenger Hunt

For the first time ever I have popped my head above the parapet and joined in with a Scavenger Hunt organised by the lovely blogger Hawthorn Spellweaver . Here's my photographic interpretation 1. Orange  This is my dear chum Ice Badger's coloured kit. Most definitely orange! 2. Feather. I have a pot of feathers on my bookshelf. The tiny one I found on my walk to Bolney earlier this month. 3. Something fresh. My interpretation of this is frankly a bit off beam, but the teenogre's fresh approach to avoiding putting away the clothes he's just ironed by hanging them on his punch bag amused me. One wonders where the poor child gets his batty genes from!! 4. Horizon. We have A levels looming on the horizon..... 5.Wet. Drew a blank on this one so am cheating like mad and reusing my recent photo of the stream with the wild garlic growing on the bank at Bu

Construction [Crucifixion]: Homage to Mondrian

This striking piece of sculpture is by Barbara Hepworth and can be found in the Cathedral Close in Winchester [there are a couple of other copies elsewhere in the world]. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Modern Art but this one is definitely in the love camp along with Coventry and Liverpool Cathedrals. To me it has echoes of Japanese art, Rennie Mackintosh and the Art Deco Movement, but this dates from 1966 and is one of her later works. For those who want to know more about what it represents I have included a snap of the information board below. Once again I have no recollection of this being here when I lived in the city but I suspect that it is another case of me wandering around with blinkers on back then! Arilx

Seeing Beauty Everywhere

A short, but uplifting talk by Jay Shetty. It gave me a real boost...I hope maybe it might do the same for you. Arilx

Japanese Proverb

I have friends in real life who are really going through it at the moment yet they're all fighters and some may still be on their knees, but they're hauling themselves up again despite the knockout blows they've been given. This is for them. "Fall down seven, stand up eight"  Arilx

The Hospital Of St Cross

The Hospital of St Cross in Winchester are the oldest and largest almshouses in the country. Founded in 1133 by Henry de Blois [younger brother of King Stephen], Bishop of Winchester, it now provides accommodation for 25 elderly gentlemen. Those who wear the black coats belong to the Foundation of the Hospital of St Cross [est 1132] and the red coats are from the Order of Noble Poverty [est 1445] The site is open to the public [entry fee applies] where you can view the gardens, ancient kitchen and brethren hall. Predictably it was the church which particularly interested to me. Architecturally it falls into the transition category- in effect this means it still has many of the traditional Norman features like chevron and zigzagging details together with repeating animal/bird motifs [in the photo shown it's a bird beak design] but the pointed arches of the Gothic period appear in the aisle. There were moments of sheer madness....feline type carvings gurn


That has to be the longest flower name I've ever seen. It's the old Kentish name for what many others will know as Lords and Ladies. It's a plant which has a plethora of names. Personally I am rather partial to Snakeshead, Devils and Angels, Bobbins, Jack in the Pulpit, Friar's Cowl and Bloody Man's Finger. There are many more. Most know the berries, although fabulously eye catching and glam, are poisonous, but the root can be eaten provided it's roasted well apparently. In Dorset young girls supposedly believed that by touching it they could become pregnant and legend has it that it can rouse bears from hibernation. Quite how is not clear! The myth that its pollen glows at night gave rise to another of its names "Fairy Lights." Naturally though it's the resemblance of its spathe and spadis to the male and female genitalia which has caused the most mirth. The most common Cuckoo Pint is referring back to this very idea for pint is an abbrev

Court/Caught Humour

Celebrity court injunctions I see have been the speculation of choice this week for our gutter press. Naturally, not being adverse to a bit of juicy gossip myself, I did extensive research on Goggle to find out the identity so the nosey bone can stop twitching. Hypocrite moi? Anyway I thought this graphic in keeping with to amuse on a Friday! Arilx

The Dole

Growing up in the late 1970s I was very familiar with people talking about being "on the dole" as they received money to support them whilst they looked for work. The slang term for unemployment benefit originates from at least 1919 when money was "doled out" to those in need. The concept of a dole [monetary or otherwise] being given to those in need dates back much further to the Middle Ages. Many were left as charitable bequests in wills and whilst many have fallen by the wayside, some are still observed. The Biddenden Dole reputedly dates back to the 11th century and was granted by Eliza and Mary Chulkhurst who were co joined twins. They died within hours of each other and left their lands to the church to support the dole. This takes the form of biscuits with a representation of the twins on each one along with tea, cheese and bread which are distributed to the elderly every Easter. This is the Hospital of St Cross in Winchester. It too is famous for

Returning to my Old Stomping Ground

We met up with family last weekend in the beautiful city of Winchester. It's about mid way between us and I have fond "memories" of the time I spent living there as a student. Now I say memories, but frankly I think I must have walked around with my eyes closed most of the time as I really didn't know many of the famous landmarks save for the cathedral. I must have walked through the city gate countless times but never took on board that it had a city will come as no surprise though to hear that I do recall many of the hostelries and their exact locations! I'm not one for looking back generally but I did enjoy our stroll around. One of the pubs reminded me of the time my friend J [still an exceedingly good friend] and I decided to do a three legged pub crawl for Rag Week. Now it would have been doable had J been my height, but she's considerably taller which posed a bit of a problem when we had to go up or down steps. Somehow we managed...the drun

The Witch and the Bell

Life is curious sometimes with its odd twists and turns. Recently I have started reading one of the books I received at Christmas. It is proving to be a fascinating if rather weighty [as in heavy on my lap not as in intellectual content] tome with the tiniest writing that I'm sure only a Borrower or a Bright Young Thing with perfect eyesight could cope with for any given length of time. As ever, I am unable to resist peeking further on than the bits I've already completed so was staggered to discover a hither to unknown to me folktale from the small village where Mr GBT rings. Having encountered it last week lo and behold the local paper then featured it this week. I think the themes are familiar and occur in many similar legends around the country but I thought it worth repeating here. It was said that many years ago a bell rolled from a waggon into a boggy hollow and sunk below the surface. All attempts by the villagers to retrieve it failed so they sought the advi


Okey doke confession time...I am married to a campanologist or bell ringer to use the more vernacular term. Mr GBT comes from a family of ringers..his brothers are married to fellow ringers....he himself had a near miss, but that was way before I was on the scene. Myself? Never so much as even touched a sally [bellrope] let alone had a go at the noble art of ringing. I have, however, observed the art in the belfry and I can confirm that it is darned complicated. There is no need to be able to read music but you have to be coordinated and follow a rhythm.  The "tunes" are called methods and vary in the degree of difficulty. All have names e.g Cambridge Surprise Minor and Stedman Triples which is one of the earliest dating from the 17th century. Having had bells play no part in my life until I met Mr GBT, they have formed the backdrop to my married life. The ringers, some of whom I count amongst my closest friends, rang for us at our wedding and rang a special quarter peal

The North Downs

I am always taken aback by the difference between the North Downs and South Downs. Living in the Weald [the flat bit in between!] I am equidistant from the two ranges of hills yet am far more familiar with the South Downs...possibly due to having had family living down on the coast we've travelled across them since I was a young child. The South Downs are chalky and pockmarked with the remains of the Neolithic flint minings. Flint lays easily accessible on the surface but I can only think that there was some sort of sacred ritual attached to the challenge of removing the material from deeper within the earth. The hillsides are dotted with sheep and most of the trees were cut down by our forebears. The view is out to sea. By contrast the North Downs are quite different in feel. You certainly get the chalk escarpments in places but the area is far more densely wooded with a mixture of coniferous and deciduous. The woodland floor is carpeted with stunning bluebell filled glades an

Most Thrilled

The release of this trailer for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" this week has made me jolly pleased. With my head in the clouds and being a bit of a grumpy old git about anything post "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" [I know I should get out more!!], I had completely missed this news. I shall definitely be booking my ticket later in the year. Arilx


A sunny Tuesday off work means only one thing in my world....I'm heading out of the door with indecent haste so that I don't waste it bogged down in grunt work. Whatever the weather might have thrown at us I had arranged to meet my dear chum E to go dog walking with her and her young sprocker, Toby. Thankfully it was glorious as we ascended Leith Hill, just over the border in Surrey. Sometimes I think I must have standing stones on the brain. We passed this sculpture and the carved spirals put me in mind of the swirling patterns I've seen in photos of the Neolithic burial tomb, Newgrange.  I mentioned my observation in passing to E, but thought nothing more of it until I got home. On this occasion it transpires that I wasn't actually far wrong. This piece is called "Oak Stones" and is by Walter Bailey. Indeed it is paying homage to the megaliths left by our ancestors. Each side has a different set of patterns and this was the view from one side

Through The Square Window.....

... a final selection of randomness from Bolney. "Sculpture" dotted around the churchyard. A rather jolly weather vane at the vineyard. We are most definitely in pheasant breeding territory here in West Sussex. Shooting is a major part of country life here. This is my first ever encounter with the invasive American Skunk Cabbage. Some are up in arms about it but I, along with some of my fellow walkers, admitted that we were rather taken with the colour. It was first introduced in 1901 and gains it name from its notorious "fragrance". Lastly this little fellow.  The woods and hedgerows are really starting to come alive again. Lots of violets, bluebells, primroses, cuckoo flowers, wood sorrel and spurge. One of my favourite times of year. Arilx

Through The Arched Window......

Image appropriately themed window for the season! And a beautiful stained glass panel jazzing up an otherwise non descript garage. Shots again all from Bolney. Arilx

Through The Round Window....

Anyone who is of a certain vintage will be familiar with the words from the blog title borrowed shamelessly from the children's programme "Play School." I will complete the set over the next couple of days. Allow me to present the First World War memorial in St Mary Magdalene's Church in Bolney, West Sussex. A rather attractive central panel which caught the light beautifully, but nothing particularly unusual about it you might think.... But look again.... Surely the dates for the WWI are 1914-1918 yet this clearly shows 1914-1919. Mr GBT spotted this anomaly. Having discounted the possibility that it was an error we hatched various erroneous theories about why this was...all wrong we later discovered. We now know that some are carved with this date in recognition of the signing of the Versailles treaty in 1919...even more rarely others show an end date of 1921 which was when the USA signed the Berlin treaty with Germany. This was one of the things w

Function with Flair

"Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate." J.R.R Tolkien Gates and doors are a useful everyday item. They are not by and large distinctive nor eyecatching. I am always on the lookout for the exception to the rule. This stunning portal is off a sidestreet in Storrington. I've been up the road before but with a chum, probably chattering and completely missed it. On my own I look through the world with different eyes. Arilx