Sunday, 31 December 2017

New Years eve

We were very lucky to catch the Medieval Baebes on their Cathedral Tour earlier this month. As ever they were brilliant and amongst the songs this was their version of Auld Lang Syne. During the introduction we learnt that this was the tune which Rabbie Burns had wanted to use, but he was overruled by his publisher. I don't know about you, but frankly I have enough trouble with the normal tune when sober as a judge never mind when a tad tired and emotional after a couple of celebratory shandies. Lovely though this is I wouldn't stand a cat in hell's chance with this version!


Wishing you all the best for 2018. Thank you to everyone who has kindly popped their head over the fence here at Gnat Bottomed Towers. Your company is always appreciated!

Arilx

Friday, 29 December 2017

Wrapping it all up.

Since dipping my toe in the world of self-employment, this week between Christmas and the New Year has always been a bit of a curious egg for me as I do a strange kind of half working and half holidaying  thing depending on what my clients' needs are. Yesterday I went to the flicks with Mr GBT  [morning show reduced price tickets yay!] and mucking out GBT so that I can see friends and kick my heels over the weekend.

As I was tidying I grabbed the old press and point to wind up the plethora of festive posts with a couple of snaps of some of the gifts I was treated to. The pentacle was made by a fellow Morris Dancer and the book is spot on. It's a new title and not one I've heard of so am looking forwards to getting my nose stuck into that one.



With 2018 fast approaching I've been giving a little bit of thought to anything I might like to tweak. The one thing I do want to put in place is to spend more time reading for pleasure. With this in mind I recently joined a very informal reading group [I checked before hand as I have no wish to go back to "studying" books in depth] which meets every six weeks down at the local pub. I understand that about 20 minutes is actually spent discussing the book and the rest is general nattering over a drink. Sounds perfect and something new to look forwards to starting in January.

Arilx

Thursday, 28 December 2017

New Threads

A text message came through on Christmas Eve from my friend Nurse L which simply read "I'm having a clearout. There's a black cord gillet, a bit Steam Punkish I'm getting rid of. Wondered if you were interested?" It sounded interesting so she kindly dropped the garment off with me. I wasn't sure from the description what to expect.

Certainly not this....a beautiful long jacket. I wore it with my red Coachman's hat https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.co.uk/search?q=hat on Boxing Day once we'd finished dancing and retired to the cosiness of the fire in the pub snug for a music session afterwards. It fits me like a glove. There will most definitely be a couple of bottles of craft beer winging their way over to  Nurse L's to thank her for her generosity.


Arilx

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

About Bleeding Time

One of my gay friends has wanted to give blood for a very long time and has been frustrated that he has been unable to do so.  On occasion he has spoken of his disappointment that he has not been allowed to do so and from time to time he's shared online petitions to try and get the law changed.

Coming from a family who give blood [sadly I can't now, but TYM started at 17] I can sympathise with him and have signed everything that has come my way. It was then with great delight that I learnt from him yesterday that there has finally been a sea change and, as of last month, some relaxation of the rules. He excitedly told me that he has his first appointment as a blood donor on 8th January. And what is he looking forward to the most you might wonder? Finding out what blood type he is apparently!

I do so love being able to share a nugget of positive news with people!

Arilx

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 24th December

Night Before Christmas


Up until Tuesday this week I had not acquired a single extra decoration [quite a personal achievement for me...usually there's at least one!] However, I saved this little wooden fellow from being thrown into a bin at a client's house and I couldn't bear to see him destined to end up in landfill, so he's joined us here at GBT.

Today we have the friends who always join us coming here for soup and some little party food snacks at lunchtime. This evening I shall open the mulled wine, fill my greenman goblet to the brim, read the Father Christmas Letters and then turn off all the main lights, so that only the magical colours of the fairylights are cast. Once the preparations are finished this part of Christmas Eve is simply my favourite night of the year.

Thank you so much to Julie for organising the Scavenger Hunt and all the lovely comments fellow bloggers have taken the time to leave for me.

Wishing you all a peaceful break from all of us here at Gnat Bottomed Towers.

xxx


Saturday, 23 December 2017

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Holding my hands up, I will freely admit that I have never seen any of the Christmas Classics...I'm a bit of a Grinch and a bah humbug if the truth be told when it comes to all that schmaltz. Equally I'm not a fan of Tim Burton either [although perhaps if I actually sit down and watch his films maybe I'll be converted], so I still have no idea what possessed me to part with 100 groats for a copy of his "Nightmare Before Christmas" dvd in the charity shop last year.

Putting it on I expected to hate it within the first five minutes and for it to be put back out in the first charity shop bag to drop through the letterbox. How wrong I was....it was amazing. For fans of the film here's a rather clever cover  by Voiceplay with an unexpected twist.




Arilx



Christmas Scavenger Hunt 23rd December

Dressed Tree


Mr GBT has done the honours once again and kindly decorated the tree. 

Arilx

Friday, 22 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 22nd December

Crackers

TYM has a distinctly savoury taste when it comes to food and a firm favourite is crackers....any that he can find in the cupboard basically. So as to avoid looking like Old Mother Hubbard during the festive period I have "bought" him his own bleeding great box as a silly gift so he can leave ours alone😋 [ I knew that voucher I "earnt" through market research would come in handy for something!]

Arilx

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 21st December

Father Christmas


As one who follows a Druid path, today being the Winter Solstice is an important one for me. I'm a lover of the woods and the Yule evergreens, so this rather more unusual depiction of Father Christmas with his green coat and holly wreath feels more authentic to me. We have the Victorians to thank for the red coat....prior to this FC was depicted in anything from green through to brown or even blue! The rather scary almost Krampus type figure in black is actually the Mythago drummer and he's a lovely chap behind the mask!

Arilx

PS Alban Arthan blessings to all those who celebrate the old waysx

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 20th December

Stocking


This rather oversized stocking found its way home with me from the charity shop. It cost a princely 50 pennies and it was with great glee that I left it outside my teenager's door last year. Having texted him at uni to see whether, at the grand old age of 19 and a half, he still wanted a stocking I received a "yes please" reply within moments. The offerings inside will be of a practical or edible nature...most useful when you're a hard-up student!

Arilx

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Christmas Titter

If you're a fan of double entendres and knitted nudity then please press play!


Arilx

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 19th December

Undressed Tree

Many apologies, but I failed miserably to get a photo of the tree before Mr GBT decorated it. Instead I'm offering this as an alternative.


Arilx

Monday, 18 December 2017

For a change....

After a successful first term away I'm delighted to report that TYM is home for a few weeks. He's no longer eating meat which is not a problem as I have always cooked a far higher percentage of meat free meals here at GBT. I'm always on the lookout for simple, thrifty, fuss free yet tasty new recipes to add to the repertoire. I tried this one recently and it got the thumbs up http://www.waitrose.com/content/waitrose/en/home/recipes/recipe_directory/b/baked-sweet-potatowithspicedchickpeasandcoconutmilkyogurt.html

As ever I made the following tweaks to fit in with my time schedule and what I actually had in the cupboard. The chickpea mix was quickly put together in the morning and left in the fridge to marinade, the onion/chilli/garlic combi was fried until it had softened as I think it would have remained quite raw otherwise, I didn't have any coriander in stock so that got left out this time and I really didn't want a half full pot of coconut milk yogurt mouldering away in the back of the fridge.....instead I grated some cream coconut and watered it down with a bit of water and a dollop of the Tesco Everyday cream cheese and then added some salt for flavour. I thought it made a very tasty dish and the big bonus for me was that, unlike baked potatoes, sweet potatoes count as one of your five a day. If you're not a fan of yams [as is the case with TYM as he struggles with the texture] I reckon the mix would be equally good served over rice.

Arilx

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 18th December

Christmas Wrapping Paper


A photo of scarves is probably not what you were expecting. Gleaned from the ever fabulous Freecycle, this year is going to be my first foray into Furoshiki which is the Japanese art of wrapping gifts in fabric. Mine won't be pretty, but it will quicken a job I don't enjoy and I can reuse the wrappings. This is how it should be done😊


Arilx

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 17th December

Wrapped Presents

I am unashamedly awful at wrapping gifts and it's a much loathed task, so rather than inflict any photos of my dog dinner efforts I am sharing this little film called "The Present" again which appeared on here a few years ago.


Arilx

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 16th December

Sleigh


The owners of a house near here went to a lot of trouble a couple of years ago to decorate the outside of their house to raise money for charity. It must have taken them hours to put them all up!

Arilx

Friday, 15 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 15th December

Snowman


I have absolutely no idea how many years ago TYM and Mr GBT made this snowman as I didn't recognise it when I found it in our archives. It will have been when I went back to work fulltime, so it's been lovely to see this for this first time. We haven't had any snow here, but our son has got lots where he's at uni....I wonder whether he's been out and built another snowman?!

Arilx

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Hoodening


Hoodening, or oodening as it is sometimes called, is a tradition specific to East Kent. As with many of the Christmas Mumming type performances, it is another comedic play which centres around the themes of death and resurrection with a lot of topical references thrown in for good measure [not a million miles away from panto really!]. Its origins are murky, but the play was originally performed by farm labourers for money and later on absorbed into the Morris tradition. 

The central character is the hobby horse which, unlike the Mari Lwyd horse, is a wooden head rather than an actual horse's skull mounted on a wooded pole and covered with sack cloth. The general cast include the Groom [he carries a whip] who leads the horse around, a jockey who makes several failed slapstick attempts to mount and ride the horse and a Mollie figure who is portrayed as a simple soul with her/his broom as it is customary for this to be a chap dressed up. This version by Rabble is unusual because it features a lady Mollie and two horses.  Despite it dying out by WWI it's been fanastic to see sides such as Rabble, breathe new life into it and drive its revival. It makes for fabulous family entertainment and is always great fun to watch!


Arilx

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 14th December

Something handcrafted for Christmas


Garter stitch knitted squares. Very plain and not what you might expect for a Christmas gift. A local lady put out a plea recently on social media for knitted squares so that she make blankets for the homeless down in Brighton. Mum and I have each done a few. 

Arilx

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 13th December

First Christmas Card


The first one which has come in the post. Others have been hand delivered.

Arilx

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

One size doesn't fit all.


"The shoes that fits one person pinches another;there is no recipe for living that fits all cases."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Arilx


Christmas Scavenger Hunt 12th December

Holly and No Ivy


This huge Winter decoration is above the fireplace in Bayleaf at the Weald and Downland Museum. As the smoke rises it gently goes round and round. It used to be traditional to keep all the greenery up for 40 days until Candlemas when it would then be burnt otherwise bad luck would surely follow. Apologies for the lack of ivy.

Arilx

Monday, 11 December 2017

Too late!

According to the Pottermore site, the Niffler is a British magical creature. Mole like in appearance, it has a love of all things sparkly and although affectionate, should not be kept within a domestic setting due to its destructive burrowing habits. Too late, too late I'm afraid for look who joined us here last week at GBT!


It is very possible that you have no idea what I'm nattering about....this character features strongly in J K Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts" film and I fell in love with the little devil when I saw it last year. Earlier this year I discovered that one of the lovely miniaturists I've worked next to at shows a few times makes a 12th scale version. She has kindly made me my very own one, so this is my very own un Christmas present to me from me! I am rarely so rash with my hard earned groats, but occasionally a treat such as this is good for the soul methinks!

Arilx

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 11th December

Christmas Book


Pure magic and one I reread every Christmas Eve.

Arilx

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 10th December

Winter


For me the Winter is all about the amazing sunrises and sunsets we get during the cold, bright spells. In all honesty it's more the evening skies I see as I'm usually still tucked up in bed to catch the early morning show.  This was the view over where we live.

Arilx




Saturday, 9 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 9th December

Nativity


This nativity was outside our RC church a couple of years ago. I liked the additional polar bear.....


Arilx

Friday, 8 December 2017

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 8th December

Robin


I've plundered the blog archives for this one I'm afraid. We saw this robin at the beginning of the year and I was so taken with Mr GBT's photo that I now have it in a frame in my bedroom where I can see it every day. 

Arilx

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The key thing is....


Keys...such an ordinary, everyday object and yet one most of us are reliant on. How fast does it all go downhill though when we lose them or lock ourselves out!

The first "keys" can be traced back to the Egyptians, but not in the form that we would understand them. It will probably come as no great surprise that the terribly organised Romans are the ones behind the lock and key as we use them today. The first ones were a wooden pin system, but over time they evolved into the longer lasting metal form.

Beyond the obvious representation of opening and closing there's quite a lot of folklore attached to this humble item. I've just picked out a few random ideas which caught my eye.....

Don't leave your keys on the table otherwise arguments and chaos in your home will ensue [there seems to be a whole raft of things you mustn't leave on the table including shoes?!]

Keys left in the bed were supposed to help women with childbirth....not great if you happen to lie on top of them though might I suggest!

Very old keys were deemed to be good luck amulets...some wore them around their necks, especially the wives of sailors left behind on land.

Keys in the shape of crosses cure boils and church keys cure whooping cough.

If you throw a bunch of inherited keys at a door with an eavesdropper the other side that person will become deaf for life.

I meanwhile clank around like Marley's Ghost at times with keys to various properties which I clean. Each one has an identifying colour on it, but obviously no personal details! With that responsibility I keep them in a separate place from ours and am very mindful about making sure I return them there when I've finished with them.

Arilx

The photo was take in the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 7th December

Bells


These are my dancing bells. You can never sneak up on anyone when wearing them!

Arilx

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

So what's new?

On average I manage one trip to the Weald and Downland museum in West Sussex per year. Arriving early before it's too busy and we're performing, I like to have a quiet wander around first to catch up with what's been happening since my last snouting.

It would appear quite a lot this season if the wall of new reception buildings are anything to go by. There's a snazzy new shop and cafe combo, but I'm much more interested in this new old building.

This is the reconstruction of a Saxon house based upon the footprint left behind by an authentic one in the West Sussex town of Steyning. My understanding is that it's going to be left untouched to see how it is affected by the elements and to give the archaeologists an idea of just how long it might have stood intact in a habitable condition. The rectangular aperture is where the mattress would have been and there is another one situated in the opposite wall.




As a lover of dragons this recent piece of chainsaw piece of wizardry has appeared in the new children's play area. This particular dragon is the Knucker and is local to Sussex. Details of his story are here https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/dancing-with-dragons.html The superb bench depicts the female Knucker guarding her eggs, with one being cracked it looks like it won't be long before her babies arrive! This is the work of Rob Beckinsale.






Arilx

Christmas Scavenger Hunt 6th December

Favourite Christmas Recipe


I'm not known for my love of cooking so on the big day I help with the prep and clearing up, but Mr GBT does the food [I make an appropriate dessert ahead of time]. None of us are particular fans of traditional Christmas fayre either, but the one exception is mincemeat. This well thumbed recipe is my go-to one and I make a batch every couple of years. The spicy smells as I mix it up are gorgeous.

Arilx

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Funny Folk

Counting folk music as one of my favourite genres of music I have to say that there is more than a grain of truth in this tongue in cheek pie chart.....


Arilx

Christmas Advent Scavenger Hunt 5th December

Angel


I took this photo because I am sure that I have never seen a completely blue angel before [Blue Nun wine yes but then that's a completely different story!]. Located in one of the side chapels in King's College Chapel, Cambridge.

Arilx

Monday, 4 December 2017

All Singing and Dancing

It's coming up to five years since I joined Mythago and it's still one of the best things I've ever done. Over the last two years there's been an increased flow of creativity....music for dances has been rearranged or combined with other tunes, old dances have been tweaked and new dances added [we have a repertoire of at least 30 and we have to memorise them...eek!]. However, by far and away the most exciting thing which has happened recently is a new story has been developed and it's been a privilege to see the process in action. The funniest thing was that there hadn't really been any discussion or planning for it it's just happened really quickly.

This weekend has seen the first two proper performances and as a first we've added in singing. No one was more surprised than me when I volunteered for this new twist and although very intimidated by standing on a stage with a microphone, I lived to tell the tale! The photos are from the Weald and Downland's Tree Dressing Event with our unseasonal tale of John Barleycorn....it was quite refreshing to take a breather from all things Christmassy if the truth be told. No singing from me this time...with a smaller side I was back in my more familiar territory of dancing instead. The costume was made by my friend Ice Badger.



Arilx


Christmas Advent Scavenger Hunt 4th December

Letterbox


I've only had the pleasure of seeing two of these special gold post boxes, but they bring back such positive memories of the amazing 2012 Olympics. This one is in Alton.

Arilx

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Christmas Advent Scavenger Hunt 2nd December

Bauble


I have never seen such a huge bauble. This and more like it, is strung along the ceiling of our shopping centre.

Arilx

Friday, 1 December 2017

Christmas Advent Scavenger Hunt 1st December

I'm taking part in the scavenger hunt kindly organised by Julie from http://kcscourt.blogspot.co.uk/ this month. Each day I am hoping to be organised enough to post a photo from the list.

Mistletoe 


Growing on a host tree in Petworth Park, West Sussex.

Arilx

Building Bridges Not Walls


Arilx

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Pegs are history.

When I need to change our kingsize duvet cover Mr GBT ably assists as it's so much quicker and simpler with two of us doing it. When I'm on my own working I've worked out a system involving pegging the corners of the duvet to the cover....this works reasonably well provided that I have access to pegs...otherwise it involves all sorts of weird contortions and a few possible potty mouthed moments.

There is though I gather a solution which needs no props if you are on your ownsome. It even has an official name....The California Roll [thanks to my Mum for this one] and for some reason known only to myself [in reality trying to make something mundane marginally less so] I've chosen an instruction video with a superhero 


As ever in all my blogging randomness....until next time!

Arils

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The right attitude.

I have every other Tuesday afternoon off, so the last couple have been spent in the town getting organised for next month. I keep the whole thing very simple and prefer to do it when the town is still reasonably quiet and crowd free. I've puttered about and thankfully broken the back of it without getting ratty. I had to laugh when I saw this parked outside M&S.....I so hope I've got a sense of humour like this still when I reach my golden years!



If you're more in the Ebenezer Scrooge rather than the Jolly Jingle Bells camp when it comes to the festive celebrations then this might make you smile. Myself? well I like a bit of appropriate spirit, but in moderation and only much nearer the actual time. I might need to keep a few of these sweeties about my person to hand out if it all starts to get too much and I begin to honour my inner Grumpy Old Mule. Don't say you haven't been warned😆




Arilx


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

On trend [in 1982]

When I occasionally crawl out from under my stone I make new-to-me discoveries...this might be a TV programme, a book or in this case a song. Pleased to reveal my new discovery I then find that I am usually several years late to the party or in this case a whole generation's worth! Of what is this I speak? Jethro Tull's "Broadsword" released in 1982!




Arilx

Monday, 27 November 2017

A Warm Wellcome.

The Wellcome Collection in London is what I think you would most definitely call a one-off. Its aims are clear from the sign which greets you above the reception.


When I first floated the idea of this for a possible visit with my lovely blogging chum Lovely Grey I have to be honest that I didn't know a great deal about it so had no idea what to expect. It fits in what one might term a "niche" market and is not one for the squeamish as it doesn't shy away from some difficult subject matters, but I found it really stimulating and thought provoking. You are warned that there are body parts on display which many may find disturbing and although I've taken photos for my own personal reference, I have chosen not to put them up here. Instead I've picked a selection which I hope reflects the fantastic experience I had.

There the plain odd. This skeleton had me scratching my head for a moment as I knew something was wrong. but it took a minute to pinpoint exactly what was wrong!


We both had our photos taken in the Spirit Booth. It was believed in the early 19th century that the afterlife could send images through which could be captured to form visual memories which could be captured. It was exposed as a scam, but not before many people had had their groats spirited away for this "spiritual" service I suspect!


Another one of those things which made me look twice....in the 18th century if you had nearly drowned the physician would send the tobacco smoke from one of these up your bottom to revive you. And the theory behind this? Pass....maybe the warmth had some effect....perhaps we should be grateful that this particular medical practice has become obsolete.


There are those things which have the power to shock.


The mask on the right is one of those dreadful Scold's Bridles with which women were punished and humiliated and the other one is a Portuguese executioner's mask.


Small things which are poignant. A lock of George III's hair which shows a high level of arsenic. It's now known to exacerbate porphyria which leads to severe mental imbalance and is probably the cause of the King's bouts of madness and the hope for protection from a higher power attached to WWI amulets. The museum has amulets stretching right back over many thousands of years which demonstrates how much the talisman is such a part of the human condition.



To cap it off a bit of light relief..a photo I sneakily snapped of my partner in crime [before she dragged me off to the pub kicking and screaming....we'd only had coffee and cake at this point in the proceedings!] and a humorous note left on one of the kaput displays....very much in keeping with a place which is heavily biased towards all things medical!



As you might expect from thrifty old me this was another gem without an entry charge.

Arilx

A Tale of Two Villages

Mr GBT and I do our best to do something if we find we have a day without any commitments at the weekend. What we do varies according to tim...