Showing posts from January, 2017

A Measure of Humanity

How about a snippet of good news? The teenogre went up to London last week to have an interview for a ten week voluntary placement abroad helping young people. Since he was 14 and he first started at Oxfam, volunteering has been part of of what he does in his spare time.Initially it was motivated by the wish to gain experience, so he could apply for paid work, but not now, although it certainly helped to begin with. To date he's been a Young Leader at scouts, completed the National Citizenship Service scheme between school and starting college, ridden in the London to Brighton bike race when he was 15 funding raising for the BHF and is now helping out at a local charity in his spare time [he's working full time at the moment on his gap year]. This is all down to him....fear ye not he's still a typical teen with nights out clubbing [10pm to 10am drum and base event on NYE!] with his mates and throwing jager bombs down his neck at 'Spoons. I have no idea whether he'

The life, the universe and everything.

January is traditionally the month for working out what you might like to change and working out how you're going to achieve that. I don't make formal resolutions. Instead for me 2017 is all about sowing new seeds to harvest a new crop. Certain things trigger my anxiety...imperceptibly I roll out the familiar internal dramas [some are worthy of scenes in a soap opera believe you me!] and then cave in emotional and weary. Funnily enough I live to fight another day, but there's a lot of energy needed when going through these scenarios and frankly I am fed up with it. A couple of weeks ago I was in full flow when I became aware of what I was up to....the monkey mind got unceremoniously plonked on the naughty step and I screwed up my courage to relax and allow myself to trust that maybe, just maybe, everything would be fine without all the fuss. Always keen on a plan, I decided to follow a bit of Pam Grout's advice and ask the Universe for two specific items to be deli

Thank You

"People are frightened by what they don't understand" "I am not an elephant! I am not an animal! I am a human being!!" John Merrick Thank you John Hurt for the amazing body of work you have left for us. Your portrayal of John Merrick in "The Elephant Man" was one of the most poignant performances I have ever seen and it still brings me to tears. Arilx

Not My Words...

But my sentiments entirely. With the maelstrom of events going on both here and abroad this week, these all seem all the more pertinent right now. I have the Non Consumer Blog to thank for bringing the quote to my attention. I might choose not to comment publicly here, but I am finding my voice. "Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. Maggie Kuhn Ghandi. Arilx

Toilet Humour

It always pleases me greatly to see a slightly sillier version of the bog [geddit!!] standard toilet notice. I've been out for a spot of mischief this morning with my chum Nurse L which included brunch in a local independent cafe. This made me smile for I am a dame with a highly sophisticated and finely honed sense of humour [not]! It didn't take me too long to suss out which particular set of facilities was the ladies. Arilx

Tales From The Riverbank

One of the things I enjoy about walking is that the usually reserved British public will often share a hello or even a few words. I met a fellow litter picker yesterday and we did precisely that....a particular sore point we agreed is those individuals who seem to think that decorating the trees with little hanging plastic bags of canine fecal matter is acceptable. I will pick up most sorts of rubbish but not that! Anyway swiftly moving on. Sometimes these brief exchanges result in the telling of a tale..... Ambling across one of the fields we encountered a lady of advancing years who emerged from the hedge. Initially I didn't make eye contact.....well we hadn't been formally introduced had we now, but she seemed keen to make our acquaintance. Her name we found out was Mia and she was taking a short cut in order to get home faster. Mr GBT looked a little startled though when she then proceeded to start howling.....reassuring him I told him that like W's akita, that's

The January Blues?

Yes definitely a good dose of the January Blues in this little part of Sussex today. Thankfully though it was of the blue sky variety. For once I have been paying close attention to the weather this month and I have been surprised that that in these 'ere parts, despite the shocking reputation for January, it's not been all that bad. Granted we've got off far more lightly than other parts of the country, but there's been far more dry days and pleasantly quite a few of them have been blue skied. I no longer dread the month and am actually really enjoying [whispered] it...well most of it. I've had my moments of otherness, but that's par for the course whatever the time of year! There's been lots to keep me amused. The Riverside Walk is a 13 mile circular route around my home town. It's recently been given a facelift with new signage and information boards. Having wanted to do it for a Very Long Time and spurred on by our walk at Pagham last week, I have

Pared Back

"All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song." Louis Armstrong This track came up on the radio early one morning when I was driving back from shopping [I often make some of my best discoveries in the most mundane of circumstances].  I had no idea who it was by, but I knew it had made my spine tingle. It was with some surprise that I found it was "Million Reasons" by Lady Gaga. I particularly like this pared back performance I found on Youtube. Arilx

In The Pink

[image from Pixabay] If I think of pink dresses it puts me in mind of one person in particular....Barbara Cartland. I know this quote from Clive James about her application of eye makeup is a little cruel, but it did make me guffaw! "Like two crows that had collided with a chalk cliff." Arilx

Polar Opposites

Senior chap likes chocolate and biscuits, whilst junior chap likes crisps and crackers. Senior dame sits somewhere betwixt and between. The snack of choice is likely to be savoury [yes I am the original crisp monster and for that reason alone they do not appear in my shopping trolley all that often]. When indulging my cafe habit a cheese scone is my idea of manna from heaven whereas Millionaire's Shortbread or Rocky Road is, for me, hell on a plate [Mr GBT would vehemently disagree!] . Being a fickle creature though I do like to have a little homebaked sweet treat in my lunchbox every day. It was against this background that I decided to try out a new recipe per month for either a sweet biscuit or savoury cracker. Kicking off this weekend I have made a batch of rosemary shortbread biscuits  The flavour of the herb is not overpowering, but definitely present. I'm afraid that I didn't rush out a

A Bird's Eye View

There are two things Mr GBT enjoys greatly- taking photos and watching birds in their natural habitat. Pagham gave him the opportunity to do both and these are his photos I'm sharing. My absolute favourite is the robin at the end. If you double click the image to enlarge it you can really see its plumage in all its glory. I would have never been able to see that level of detail with the naked eye. Red Shank. Flock of Widgeon. Hundreds of Brent Geese on the wing. Curlew. I was secretly hoping to see a Shag or a Blue Footed Booby, but sadly it was not to be my day. However, that very sentence has calmed my sniggering inner 5 year old because I've been able to include the names legitimately within the body of the text!😁 Arilx

Pagham Harbour

A natural inlet of salt marshes and lagoons and now a R.S.P.B reserve...throw in a glorious January day and watch the magic unfold. Big skies, beauty all around, but tarry not for the tide comes in apace and you could be swimming rather than walking before you know it! Surprises abound. This is the restored Salt will not surprise you to find that indeed it was once used to store precisely that....salt. During WWII it saw service as a base for the Home Guard. What does one do with a non seaworthy vessel...why upcycle it into a shed in your coastal garden of course. View across the reed bed as the tide started to come in. The area is known for its overwintering flocks of birds. These were Brent geese which had just landed. Speaking of birds...if I see an imitation bird upon a thatched roof I "know" what it's going to be don't I. Hardly worth a second look as they're always pheasants in my experience. I was in for quite a surprise w

Ruffled Feathers

One wonders whether this is the avian equivalent of a human's bad hair day?! After a bug earlier this week which kept me off work for a couple of days and confined to barracks, it was good today to enjoy the glorious weather walking at the Pagham Harbour Nature Reserve with the Sussex Wildlife Trust. Postlets and photos to follow. Arilx

Picking Up The Threads

Winnowing my craft stashes last year to remove the chaff not only produced a collection of gorgeous vintage fabric fabrics and sewing notions, but it also kick started a creative process for me. For a few months a vague idea rolled around my head, but it refused to be pinned down to anything concrete, so I left it on the back burner to fully form in its own time. Here we are further down the line and progess is being made. I am tackling one section at a time and quietly moving forwards until eventually it will be a wallhanging at the top of my stairs. Everything came via the charity shops or jumble other than one lot of lace I culled from a no longer fit for purpose chemise I had. The buttons were given to me by one of my late house sparkling clients. The silk roses originally clipped onto my wedding shoes. Arilx

Humph in a Grump

Don't be fooled by the big googly eyes or the air of apparent innocence...fifteen seconds earlier he'd had his ears back and his eyes slanted like the devil incarnate as he swiped an unsheathed paw at the teenogre who tried to give him a stroke in his bag of choice. This normally placid fellow was having one of his rare offdays. He'd taken umbridge when I'd snatched away my feather duster after I'd caught him "killing" it and pulling bits off. Not much of a feather duster if it doesn't have any feathers is it now! Haughtily he stalked off and sat on the lid of the compost heap pointedly ignoring everyone, until he felt we had earnt his forgiveness. Unfortunately within minutes of his triumphant return he and I had clashed again for I had turfed him off the dining table in disgust. He knows full well that he's not allowed up there.....his rump is to remain firmly away from any sites of human food consumption/preparation whether that be the

What Are Little Boys Made Of.......

If the rhyme is to be believed "slugs and snails and puppy dog tails". From my personal experience may I be so bold as to add to that little list that mine was, in addition, a dirt magnet with an abiding interest in all things bottom related. Recent decluttering activities in the loft have unearthed this and stirred a few memories in the process. We always did do a sophisticated line in reading here at Gnat Bottomed Towers. Beyond Elmer the Elephant this rated amongst the favourites.... The story of a little mole who is quite rightly aggrieved when he pops his head above ground only to have some darstardly soul drop a whoopsie from above which lands upon his head. Rather than let this unpleasant episode go unpunished, he sets forth to find out who the perpetrator is, so that he might wreak his revenge. For anyone desperate to know who the guilty party is.... being such a kind hearted soul I have managed to track down an animated version for you. I'm all heart yo

Brunus Edwardii

Now is the time of year when many of us go down with illnesses of different sorts. Remember though to check the health of all members of your household, not just the human ones. If teddy is ailing then this report from the Veterinary Record might just help you identify the symptoms of the affliction   Alfie's illness is an obvious case of over indulgence of Howzat cider and is not covered. This spoof was an April Fool's jape in 1972. I have W to thank for bringing it to my attention! Arilx

Small treasures give great pleasure.

Rather a special treat to come home yesterday to find a bunch of daffs left for me by my parents in my kitchen sink. A marvellous excuse to add the 25p glass bottles I found in a local charity shop in their sale to the small collection I sourced from a jumble sale a few years ago and to put them all out on display on the tray which Mr GBT first made when he was learning cabinet making as a hobby. Arilx


I don't sing much at home as it's a small, shared space and I'm flitting about too much to commit to listening to music. Behind the wheel though, radio on and it's an entirely different matter.....the trap is opened wide and I yowl along with the best of them. With the 50 years I have clocked up on the planet I must know the lyrics to hundreds of songs....well let's use the term "know" loosely shall we because I often can't hear the correct words, but over time I have developed the art of singing something which scans. It's doubtful I could tell you what I sing was quite a shock when I saw the right version of "The Sound of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel....nothing like the one I had faithfully reproduced many times!! A few months ago our Mythago foreman guffawed when he realised that I had always believed it to be "fine, four feathered friend" [I know, I know] rather than "four fendered friend" in Chitt

Twelfth Night

It has to be said that in times of yore around Christmas our ancestors knew how to celebrate in style and throw one helluva party....none of this namby-pamby couple of days off, back to work and then one day for the New Year before nose to the grind stone once again. I can't even imagine partying for twelve days straight let alone having the energy left for the revelry of the big night which topped it all off. Starting in the Medieval period, the Twelfth Night Revels are legendary [except for when the party pooping Puritans got their paws on it and banned any form of behaviour which might have been construed as fun] as a period of dancing, gambling, feasting and of course drinking. It was marked by rowdy behaviour ...a time when normal rules were turned on their head and the accepted order was temporarily suspended. The Twelfth Night cake was at the centre of this display of mischief....whoever found the bean, pea and clove in their slices would assume the roles of King, Queen a

What a little star!

Poor old Mr GBT....never a moment's peace when his dearly beloved spots something and gets overexcited. Calling like a fishwife, patiently he left the warmth of his cosy armchair to come out into the cold night air and dutifully see what I was hollering about. Now you will have to believe me that these two looked a lot closer than they do in the photo...something to do with how the human brain arranges images. I wasn't quite sure which planet I was looking at. I knew it wasn't Mars as that's a definite red colour, but I guessed it was Venus. "That looks like the Evening Star" said Mr GBT knowledgeably. From the coverage in the media today I now find that they are one and the same....a day when you learn something new in my book is never a day wasted. Since deciding to adopt some more tools to help me appreciate what a lucky so and so I really am I've been informally keeping a note of some things that have given me pleasure over the past few month

Ushering in the new.

For the first time I have found an author who writes about the world in the way I want to view it. Discovering a book by Pam Grout in our local library recently I found her words really resonated with me.  I'd like to start my blog off as I mean to go on this year....on a positive note from the beginning of 2017. "Isn't it time to give up the world we keep re-running in our mind, to overthrow the status quo? A new more imaginative and free world is possible. But we must retrain ourselves to look through optimistic eyes. To say "thank you" and recognise all the beauty and largesse in our lives." Thank you Pam and I'll raise a glass to that! Arilx