Monday 31 October 2016

Happy Halloween

Blessings to all those who celebrate the old ways.
Hallows Eve by Show of Hands.


Sunday 30 October 2016

Bench Marks

What amazing weather we've enjoyed this October. I'd hoped that it might last out to the end of the month so there would be a fighting chance that the Autumn leaves at Winkworth Arboretum would still be hanging on. I am happy to report that they were amazing. However, it was the original seating arrangements that really caught my eye. Some had bodies sitting on them [not unreasonably], but I took a few snaps of those that were personless. It's fab when something so mundane and everyday is transformed so imaginatively.


Friday 28 October 2016

October Scavenger Hunt

Joining in again with this month's scavenger hunt organised by Hawthorn Spellweaver from  Every month she kindly puts up a list of words for us to interpret with our own photos. If you link back to her blog you can see the other entries.

1. 'A' is for aardvark. A shop sign in Chester which appealed to me greatly. The colours remind me of Elmer the Elephant.

2. Lunch. This is the lid of my son's old lunch bag from when he was a really small person. I keep bird food in it now, but seeing my elephant sketch reminded me that this was drawn as a reminder that if he kept only eating his crisps and not his fruit the elephant would tell me and there would be no crisps the next day. He only tried it on once and then decided he'd eat his fruit thereafter!

3. 11 o'clock. As Remembrance approaches this time of day always put me in mind of the two minute silence.

4. Black and white. I love corvids. Many I know do not share my enthusiasm.

5. Looking up. Anyone familiar with my blog will probably be expecting a roof boss of some sort. Instead my version of looking up is the frequent checking of spelling and synonyms needed to complete the crossword clues.

6. 'T' is for a Lyons Tea sign in a local village which is still on the side of a cafe wall. Perhaps a rare survival.

7. Landscape. I am cheating here and reusing a photo from a walk up on Leith Hill which I did with my good friend E and her bonkers sprocker Toby. It's a reminder of a lovely morning spent together and hopefully to be repeated this weekend when we see each other again.

8. Two. Two gift vouchers for cream tea given to me as 50th birthday presents. I am known for my cafe habit and love of cake and am looking forward to enjoying these treats over the coming months.

9. Swing. The pendulum in the clock in our lounge swinging from side to side.

10. My own choice. I love and am very drawn to the unusual/quirky. I don't go looking for it, but seem to attract it. This frog trio were seen in Chawton when we visited Jane Austen's house earlier this week. They are adult human size!


Wednesday 26 October 2016

Cheap Thrills

OK I'll admit it...Mr GBT and I are technological dinosaurs but, just occasionally,  and after deliberation, we spend some of our hard earned groats on a modern thing which will make our lives a little easier.

For years we navigated in the car using a good old atlas [we always keep one spare as a backup], but with the purchase of two cheap smart phones we decided to trial a freebie navigation app which you could stand on your dashboard and use much like a sat nav. For several months this worked a treat and Bossy Bertha and we shared a good rapport. She sounded rather like Penelope Keith and had a tendency to get rather huffy if we went wrong...we were crisply put back in our boxes with a sharp and slightly accusingly "recalculating the route". Over time though she has frankly become a bit of a Slack Alice [I suspect she's acquired a rather alarming Bombay Sapphire habit] and on a few occasions she has sulkily refused to co-operate. We finally decided to sack her when she brought us onto a private road and confidently directed us down a public footpath...bit tricky when you're in a car I find!

[image from Pixabay]

Negotiations and deals tracked down, we are now the proud owners of a Tom Tom. This time it's an Aussie chap who sounds wonderfully like the comedian Adam Hills. Confidently he assures us which lane to be in, where to turn off and oops, if we exceed the speed limit, he triumphantly bashes out a little tune on his xylophone so that everyone in the car knows of your misdemeanour. When we arrives he announces "You have reached your final destination. Windows up, grab your sunnies and don't let the seagulls steal your chips!" At the present moment in time I am slightly in love with him, but in the depths of January this cheeriness may wear thin I appreciate. He promises me that he can plan many types of different routes for me including a Thrill Route....I have high hopes for this one, although he has not as yet clarified what type of thrills one might expect. My overactive imagination is working at fever pitch. If I take the plunge then I'll report back ;-)


Tuesday 25 October 2016

Potty Woman

Newsflash! The potty woman has bought a potty woman pot. Well I did have some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket. She is by a local ceramicist called Jean Holder who I featured in an earlier blog post here

She is now cheering up my kitchen window sill.


Monday 24 October 2016

Views from the weekend.

Sam over at her blog Newframereference asked what readers had got up to this weekend. Beyond the usual grunt work, I didn't think I had anything particularly thrilling lined up. On the back of this I decided to take my press and point and just take a few random snaps of anything that caught my eye. This is the result.

I finally finished the net bags out of my Mum's old curtains a couple of weeks ago. Despite my initial shyness at the possible reaction of the cashier in the supermarket, I plucked up the courage to use them last week. Needless to say nobody took any notice! The idea is to try and reduce my use of plastic a little bit further, whilst incorporating a bit of upcycling. In the background you can see the yellowstickered chicken I bought and froze during the week [this became the basis of our slow cooker supper tonight] and a bowl of apples I cooked up. They were from a box of free windfalls left on somebody's wall which I saw on my way to work on Friday. Mr GBT made some custard and we mixed them in to make apple fool for our pud.

Lunch and a walk with my very good friend J out from her home and up on to the hills behind Alton on Saturday. I liked the flowers that the farmer had planted along the field verge.

J chortled at me taking photos of these two additions to the roofs we passed by in the village on our way back. As my ex college room mate she is well used to my batty ways. Winton on the road sign is the abbreviated form of Winchester.

Today I've been to a local art show. There were some fantastic exhibitors and I have invested my birthday money in a piece which I shall show once I get my rump in gear.

This has been recently written on the door of a shop which has been empty for several years now. I found it rather poignant.

To wind up my meanderings...the weather has been stunning. so I decided on a whim to walk back through the park. The Autumn paintbox didn't disappoint.

So all things considered it's been another good 'un!


Saturday 22 October 2016

People Power

Mr GBT snapped this in London for me last week because he "thought you might like it". He knows me too well.

A people powered bus upon which you can enjoy a pint because you're not  the one "driving". Looks great fun.


Friday 21 October 2016

Monday Pie

Our son took the decision last year that he wanted to take a year out of education to give him the chance to spend some time in the real world working and hopefully volunteering abroad for a given period. With our full backing, he is currently working his little socks off and saving as much as possible [with a beer allowance built in your understand...after all he is 18]. With the extra time he's got we're making sure he knows how to cook [he's already up to speed on other domestic stuff.....I made sure he can do the same things that I would have expected any daughter of mine to do. His ironing is streets ahead of mine]

So far so good...he's produced some inexpensive and tasty meals. It's been a good experience for me too as I've been trying out some new recipes along side him. This week I've made the Monday Pie recipe out of one of his student cook books. It's along similar lines to this one  except mine was rather more simple. An onion and mince browned together first then a stock cube added together with a can of baked beans and lashings of Worcester sauce and pepper [I added in some leftover sweetcorn too]. Topped off with thinly sliced potato [standing up like rows of gravestones rather than flat] I baked it for an hour at 200C [check it after 45 mins] the others declared it "moreish". I think a good sprinkling of smoked paprika would work well too for another variation

My kind of cooking.


Wednesday 19 October 2016

The Perfect Eye Test For The Beer Goggles Wearer.

Or basically anyone who has over imbibed on their poison of their choice!

As I am sure you are aware, the media are having a field day at the moment with their doom mongering. This is in response to their "if it bleeds it leads" approach to the news. In order to regularly deliver a spot of light relief, I do solemnly swear to keep the flag of silliness hoisted from the turrets of Gnat Bottomed Towers!


Tuesday 18 October 2016

The Magic of Mushrooms

Bracket fungus [possibly Turkey Tail] which is growing on a tree stump in the garden of a place we pass by on one of our regular stroll routes. It will be past its best within a few days, so I am grateful that we have been able to capture its fleeting beauty.


Sunday 16 October 2016

How many onions?

It is guaranteed that I am always to be found in the most heavenly of moods when preparing supper [not] and one evening, last week, I grumpily thought to myself "how many bleedin' onions must these hands have chopped over the years?"

I looked down at my hands and then began to ponder just how difficult it would be for me to chop an onion if I wasn't fortunate to have a fully functioning pair of paws. It was with some wonder that I realised just how many tasks a day they allow me to achieve and I don't even notice. They don't just allow me to go about my daily business at work and running the home, but they allow me to operate machinery, to drive between places, to create and repair, bake, sew and move. I can think of times when they have held new life [my son, a newborn guinea pig] and touched death. They have been used to caress, scold, comfort and express both joy, anger, fear and confusion. I've held ancient objects and those newly made, explored surfaces unseen and experienced textures and temperatures across the scale from a glacier to parched dry conditions. These hands have had nails painted in colours from the deepest blood red to sunshine yellow and been adorned with rings of silver, hula hoops, gems from my ancestors and the rings I wear everyday to mark my marriage.

So, perhaps once in a while, it's good for me to remember just to be quietly thankful for one of those everyday marvels I never "see". As for the question of onions....I never did reach any sort of conclusion. Just bleedin' sackfuls mate!


Thursday 13 October 2016

Good Golly Miss Molly.

Shamelessly pinching Little Richard's lyrics there, I have just encountered my first Molly Morris side at last weekend's day of dance in Lewes.

Originally it started out as an outlet for the ploughboys to make a bit of much needed money during the fallow season. All males, one would dress up as a woman [the molly] and in order to disguise themselves, they would black up their faces with coal [yes the "controversial" blacking up which has been in the press for all the wrong reasons recently] Basically, if you didn't pay 'em they might plough up areas of your land you didn't want 'em to. Over time the tradition died out, but was revived in 1977. Seven Champions are the creme de la creme of this particular tradition. They dance without any of the normal Morris paraphernalia....just hobnail boots. This is their dance "Invisible Bert", which they performed on Saturday.

It's good to see this type of dance not only surviving, but thriving. By poking about online I've unearthed this little gem. Pig Dyke Molly really have reinterpreted the genre and put their stamp on it. Can't tell you how much, given the chance, I'd love to share a stand with them. I can't imagine that a combination of them and Mythago would stand out in the slightest!!


Tuesday 11 October 2016

A Very Modern Welcome

Holy Trinity Church in Guildford. Sheer genius. Double clicking will enlarge the image.


Thursday 6 October 2016

Mr Fuller...are you completely off your folly?

Mr John Fuller [1757-1834] or Honest John as he liked to be known. A Sussex man of means, an erstwhile MP and a philanthropic soul who stumped up for the first life boat in Eastbourne, provided work for the local community and was a patron of the Arts and Sciences [he sponsored Michael Faraday].

All that makes the Squire of Brightling sound like Captain Sensible.....erm except he often wasn't and he is most well known in this county for his mad cap folly building, examples of which are dotted around his stomping ground.

This one is quite tame for starters.....the Brightling Needle. Built for no good reason save he could so he did.

The sugarloaf. This was built as a result of a drunken wager [Mr Fuller was very fond of the grog] as he bet that he could see the spire of St Giles in Dallington from his house. The legend goes that when he awoke in the morning he found this to not be true so had this spire put up quickly so he didn't lose. The door halfway up relates to when the folly was occupied during the 1930s and had an upper floor put it. If you look carefully you might just spot some Old Bird wearing her '50' birthday badge. Can't think who she is, but she bleeding well turns up all over the place!

This is the village church...looks like it would be out of place on the set of The Vicar of Dibley.

Except for this final piece of Mr Fuller's handiwork. One socking great pyramidal mausoleum built 23 years before he shuffled off this mortal coil. Once again the rumour mill went into overdrive as it was claimed that he had been interred sitting down fully dressed with his top hat on and a chicken and bottle of claret laid out on the table before him. Sadly the truth is much more mundane for he's buried conventionally.

Now perhaps you are beginning to get a sense of why we call our great Sussex Eccentric Mad Jack Fuller! As for me...having hunted down greenmen in Rotherfield this was how I chose to spend the remainder of my birthday. The Sussex streak of eccentricity is alive and well it would appear!


Wednesday 5 October 2016

Revelations From Round The Card Table

Sometimes I am party to the gossip from the local Bridge scene. Being neither a card player nor a competitive soul this pithy little quote is not a million miles away from what I am told...all I can say is that the fine and noble art of  back stabbing is alive and well in certain quarters!!

"Bridge is so like relationships. All hearts and diamonds to start. Then you look for a club and a spade."


Tuesday 4 October 2016

Doom Not Gloom.

When one's dancing chum [he of the Uffington White Horse adventure fame] mentions to me that he's visited a church that day that he thinks will be right up my alley my little ears prick up.....

For there's one of these......propped up by a multitude of telegraph poles [why do we call them that...wasn't it telegrams everyone used to send?]

Along with masses of these........

But he overlooked this unrestored doom screen with Jesus sitting on a rainbow and looking extremely worried.

This is St Denys in Rotherfield, East Sussex. It's off the beaten track and I may not have got there had I not already had other plans in place for my birthday outing. However, it's a funny old world and I took its proximity to our final destination as a sign that I was meant to drop by. Delighted I did now!


Not going to the art gallery.

 Mr GBT didn't really want to visit an art gallery whilst we were in the Midlands last month....he's a clever fellow though and dist...