Friday 28 April 2017

April Scavenger Hunt

I mean to do this every month, but somehow it never happens. I can see another six months has passed since I joined in. Linking to Kate

1. New...a webcam. This has been recommended as one of the best ways to keep in touch when our son heads off to Bangladesh for three months. I shall be pleased to be able to "see" him as well as speak to him every couple of weeks. Sometimes I curse technology, but Skype is fantastic.

2. Rust...this is actually a paint effect called faux tina. Seen in Brighton last year.

3. Box...this glass box contains the London skyline made up of coffee related waste. It's part of a campaign to draw attention to the appallingly low recycling rates in this area.

4. Ingredients...what you need to be a Morris Dancer. The tankard is not obligatory, but show me a dancer without one...they are a very rare breed!

5. Begins with D.....This is Dobbin who lives at the NT property, Standen. His saddle asks you not to touch him because he's old and frail. As a child I always loved rocking horses. It was always with great excitement that we went shoe shopping....nothing to do with shoes, but the chance to ride on the rocking horse they had in the shoe shop back then!

6. Mechanical...Victorian "Thunderbox". Only available to those who had money. It must have seemed such a huge improvement on what went before. Thank goodness for flushing toilets! This example is at the Farnham Rural Life Museum

7. Something seasonal Seeing as I didn't do anything for St George's day blog wise I shall make amends here. This example hangs on the wall in Southwark Cathedral

8. Recently finished At long last the stitching on my wall hanging has been completed. Just need to stitch some tabs on it so that it can actually go up somewhere! Every part of it has either come from the charity shops or jumble sales over the years. I plan to paint one of my son's old cot bars cream to suspend it from.

9. Begins with R Red Kite. It still thrills me whenever we see one of these, but we are invariably travelling in the car when we do. They are beginning to appear in my little pocket of West Sussex. This one was circling on the thermals up above our son when he was running a half marathon near Windsor recently.

10. My own choice Jukebox in a Sussex pub. The notice said that it still worked if you put 20p in it. We only popped in that day fleetingly so didn't get the chance to try it out.  When I was at college in the 1980s we had one in the Student Union bar. I can remember playing Tom Jones "It's not unusual" on it one summer. Funny really because I am not a TJ fan in any shape or form, but I do have a soft spot for this track!


Wednesday 26 April 2017

The Great Dictator

I found this quote in a book I've read recently. Simply liked it. It was said by Charlie Chaplin at the end of the film  "The Great Dictator". This was in 1940 yet its sentiment is oh so modern.

"We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness..."

Anyone want to start a revolution with me?👊


Tuesday 25 April 2017

It's a tough gig....

...but hey somebody has to dance with this lot. I shall heave my carcass out of bed at some ungodly hour on Monday [having had a late night Saturday and an even earlier start on Sunday....this 50 year old bird is mighty glad she has a day off on Tuesday to recover👵], strap on some bells and do some stick clashing whilst accompanied by this lot down at Hastings. Of course, I don't enjoy it one little bit😆

Kempshott Hunt. Recorded at our local on Saturday. The dancers are to be seen "relaxing" [drinking in popular parlance] in the background having done two sets in unexpectedly warm temperatures. Another really great stand.


Sunday 23 April 2017

23rd April

Tonight at 6.45 the monthly vigil will be held at the Crossbones Graveyard just a stone's throw away from Southwark Cathedral. Poems will be read and ribbons tied on the railings to remember all those on the fringes of society who were buried without honour in this piece of unconsecrated ground.

The earliest bodies were those of the anonymous Winchester Geese. These were the prostitutes who worked in the stews [brothels] in this area of pleasure seeking which was beyond the walls of the City of London and outside its jurisdiction. Ruled over by the Bishop of Winchester, they plied their trade legitimately and he earned income from the taxes he levied from them. Most it is believed died from syphilis or in childbirth.

This area continued to be in use as a more general mass grave for paupers until it was shut down in 1853. It lay forgotten until 1993 when excavations for the Jubilee Line started to unearth the bodies and it is now reckoned that it contains about 15000 people, over half of which were infants. Over time it has become a focal point for many to gather to honour these lost souls. Hidden away in a backstreet its stark simplicity and heartfelt messages sends a tingle down the spine. The memorial garden next door was shut, but I definitely want to return. More info from here

This quote is by Tish Thawer.


Saturday 22 April 2017


Recently I shared my dislike of slugs At the bottom of the post I mentioned in passing my equal distaste for the komodo dragon and the blind mole rat. A friend has flagged up this article about the latter. I guess I have to give the ugly little blighters a modicum of respect after finding out about their rather impressive survival skills!

Much as I think every creature is fully entitled to its place on the planet [I often think humans deserve theirs the least] it still doesn't endear them to me, but I will accept [grudgingly] that I do need to soften my stance a little. Shan't be having one as a pet anytime soon though👿👿


Friday 21 April 2017

Black Box

This was a first for me. The phone boxes are painted black to denote that they are within the city of London.


Wednesday 19 April 2017

Seeing Southwark Cathedral

At last I have material with which to write up a report of a recent jolly which we managed to shoe horn in between work and running commitments. Huzzah!

We've been a-wandering along the South Bank and nosing around the Square Mile in our glorious Capital. Having snouted around prior to our visit to see what else was in the area beyond the walk our son had paid for [Xmas pressie], my eye alighted upon Southwark Cathedral...a far quieter "attraction" than either St Paul's or Westminster. Entry is by donation a big fat tick from me then!

Having served the majority of its time as a parish church, it only gained cathedral status in 1905. It's seen periods of neglect and with the Victorian zeal for improvement [call that by and large sanitised and dull] it's not a building with the greatest impact. Mr GBT commented that the vaulted ceiling is more similar than it should be to the Victorian sewers running below the London streets!

Thankfully though it has retained many features which redeem it. These are saved medieval roof bosses. I'm wondering if the chap with the funky hairdo and beard bottom right hand corner is a depiction of Moses

Apparently the smiley face at the top is the devil snacking on Judas. I simply couldn't fathom it at first, but realising that you're looking at these straight on [they were removed during the restoration] they were meant to be viewed from below looking up. A second look clarified the image.

The most striking part of visit for me was the variety of tombs spanning such a long period in history.
The chap below is one of the oldest surviving wooden effigies of a knight. Dating from 1280 we can't be sure who he was. Possibly a Crusader, crossed legs at the ankle may confirm one crusade....or so some theories go.

How about this for a bit of Medieval bling. Poet Laureate, John Gower [1330-1408] is shown with his head resting on his greatest works. It's not a name that has come down to us through the ages [I appreciate academic circles are quite a different matter], unlike his more famous friend Chaucer. It doesn't show in the photo but trust me the lion at the end must have been the inspiration for Parsley the lion in "The Herb Garden". He's a dead ringer! The photo will enlarge if you double click it.

A rather more macabre affair- the cadaver tomb of Thomas Cure, saddler to Elizabeth I, who died in 1588. It was intended to be a blunt reminder that whatever your status in life, in death our earthly remains are going to decompose the same way. Unlike now, death wasn't tidied away in a box marked "do not open". Our ancestors had a very different attitude and lacked our modern squeamishness.

This is the Humble Monument. Richard Humble, alderman is seen here with his two wives, Elizabeth and Isabel. The records show that the naughty chap was fined for grazing his sheep in the churchyard without permission! Clearly he didn't live up to his name then!

At Southwark you are a stone's throw away from the Globe and all things Bard related. It's claimed the man himself came to the church. It is known that his brother, Edmond, was buried here in 1607. Below the Shakespeare window William has a sprig of rosemary in his hand for remembrance.

Another fellow who looks the picture of wonders if he actually died of boredom having got cornered in the tavern by the local hypochondriac listing all his ailments. This is Dr Lionel Lockyer [d 1672] Nowadays I think we would want to insert the word "Quack" in front of his title....all manner of medical claims were made for his famous pills which included such readily available ingredients as sunbeams. I expect you'll find something similar for sale today on the internet somewhere! Ripping people off is nothing new is it!

Perhaps I should end my brief tour with the not so surprising gargoyles. Mr GBT [he's getting his five minutes of fame in this post isn't he] is quite convinced that the mason used the lamprey for his inspiration with those sharp, pointy teeth!!

That's all folks...until next time!


Tuesday 18 April 2017

Bright Monday

I rather like this name used for Easter Monday by the Eastern Orthodox Church. A day without commitments saw us and a dear friend who has been through a very troubled time of late, take the opportunity to get out and enjoy the local village woodlands for a short while.

It was rather overcast and chilly yet signs of new life abound....I am enthralled by the different shades of green mantle emerging on the trees. They're all wearing a light fuzz at the moment so the light still gets through to the woodland floor. More unusually the oak is ahead of the ash this year...maybe the promise of only a splash will mean a dry summer this year!

The slowly unfurling bracken...the still tightly packed fronds at the base put me in mind of an ammonite fossil.


Fairy flowers....the local countryside is gloriously awash with bluebells at the moment.

Treasure. H immediately spotted it's a woodpecker feather. Into the pot of woodland treasures it goes...if only I could find another jay one. I've managed to lose mine sadly. [Edit- thanks to K for letting me know that this is a guinea fowl feather. Learn something new everyday!]

Back to the ranch with a spring in my step. Aside from the beauty, it's now thought that trees emit certain oils which have a positive impact upon our health. The Japanese call time spent this way "forest bathing".


Sunday 16 April 2017

Going For Gold

Hope everybody is having a relaxing break. My plan for today is to remain horizontal for as long as I can decently get away with it having had a couple of busier days so far.

Yesterday we were here at Dorney Lake where the 2012 rowing was held.

'Twas another day of blue face paint and running Smurfs. One more to go. He's still very embarrassed when he's in costume and once again he was the only one. He did relax a bit though when he realised that he had kudos with the little ones there when he was asked by one of the parents if they could take his photo with them. I am delighted that he's now exceeded his fundraising target.

 Ah yes that will be the gold phone box I saw on the way in through Eton just before we got there. This celebrates the success of ex pupil Constantine Louloudis who won a bronze medal in the coxless four. It's used as a book share now. We were waiting in a queue so my son just snapped it quickly on his phone for me.

Speak soon.

Saturday 15 April 2017

Being Mugged By A Pug

Nothing pleases me more than being greeted by a friendly dog when out on our evening stroll. The other night we met Dotty, a black pug [the image here is a Pixabay one] who was ecstatic to make our acquaintance. How did I know she was friendly? Why it said so on her red harness😆 I was tickled pink!


Thursday 13 April 2017

50th Birthday Gift.

Three years ago Mr GBT and I enjoyed spending a day in Salisbury. We saw all sorts, but the highlight for me was Mompesson House. The original write up is here What particularly caught my eye was the metamorphic toilet table. Known as the Rudd table, it's based on one owned by the infamous forger and erstwhile 18th century courtesan, Margaret Caroline Rudd.

Since 2005 Mr GBT has worked as a miniature furniture maker. It was never meant to be a full time job, but the redundancy axe fell and with no further openings in his narrow field of expertise we had to adapt. Many sensible souls would have had a business plan, but we've never fallen into that category. Instead every piece he makes has been based upon my gut reaction to furniture that I see just when we're out and about...he designs the first piece for me and in my dollshouse it goes. This was one of those occasions, but he now has an 18 month waiting list, so it seemed unlikely that a Rudd table would be coming my way anytime soon.

Despite the odds being stacked against me, he has worked like a Trojan in his spare time and has proved me wrong. It's taken him two years from inception and has been worth every minute of the wait! If I say that the top is 4" x 3" this will give you an idea of the scale of it. We will launch it at the biggest show in London next month.

Oh dear I fear I shall have to skive off my assistant duties when I'm there and see if I can find some lovely teeny things with which to fill it! Life is hard!


Tuesday 11 April 2017

Roadtesting Recipes

I have a slightly different approach to menu planning than the average person. To be honest I don't think I've ever opened a new cookery book and thought "yippee"...instead my thought process goes something along the lines of this.....

1. What ingredients are needed? Now I don't mind buying something different as I'm not a creature of habit when it comes to eating....I want to try all sorts. What I don't want is a one off thing which will sit at the back of the cupboard, forgotten and mouldering away, pricking my conscience every time I rediscover it.

2. Are the instructions easy and clear to follow....don't tell me half way down "to add the cooked chicken" when you have failed to mention at any point that something needs to be precooked/marinaded until I'm half way through....I could break the world discus record chucking a frying pan if I was riled enough believe you me💪

3. How expensive is it? I don't have Heston Blumethal's budget for the weird and wonderful...I'm going to eat it not wear it for heaven's sake!

4. How quick is it going to be to prepare? I have about a 25 minute window of patience before I start getting stroppy....I can't tell you how many times Mr GBT has magically appeared just in the nick of time to save both me and his dinner [he's a much better cook than me]

So, if a recipe passes all of the above plus doesn't produce too big a mountain of washing up and is not too heavy on the fuel use then I'm at least going to try it. If it then tastes good then it's a keeper and into my red notebook it goes.

Now I live with two confirmed carnivores who have, over time, got used to eating veggie at least 50% of the time. This dish has got past the bacon radar [the one when they say it's nice but could be improved by a bit of bacon!], I was able to put it all in the slow cooker at once without precooking anything and it was scrummy. The only tweaks I made was that I sliced the root vegetable as I have never known my slowcooker to get them beyond the al dente stage, I substituted sultanas and a dash of lemon juice for the apricots as Mr GBT really doesn't like them and I cooked the meal on high for the first few hours and then finished it off on medium. I might try it on low next time just out of interest. There is enough for us to blitz it and have it as soup for tonight's supper.


Sunday 9 April 2017

Blowing Your Own Trumpet!

I don't play an instrument, but this could tempt me🎷

For those in the know can anyone confirm if this is a tuba?

Enjoy the sunshine today!


P.S. I have now discovered that this eccentric busker is called Fire Tuba! He is a Polish chap called Christopher Werkowicz. It would seem he has quite a following!

Friday 7 April 2017


Not much of the stuff I like to write about going on right now. We're pretty much working, decorating, prepping for the Bangladesh trip. Very busy, but nowt worthy of reporting. Am enjoying the lighter evenings and the wild flowers in the verges greatly though. Never fear though there are plans in the pipeline, so more tales to tell in the near future. For now then may I just wish you all a happy weekend and shuffle off leaving a couple of random photos of the papier mache wishing well in the "Two Feathers" Native American shop down in Brighton. I did ask permission before I took the photos.


Wednesday 5 April 2017

Tracking It Down

There's been a track I used to enjoy as a student in the 1980s, but haven't been able to remember the details of [how I do love thee holey old menopausal memory!]. Once in a while I'd catch a snatch of it on the radio when driving, but always missed the announcement of what it was. I've wracked my brains and tried various bands which I knew I was into at the time....that in itself has been an interesting experience so discover how my taste has changed. Some I still loved...others, well frankly they made my ears bleed! Thankfully I now have it due to some kind listener choosing it as part of their personal choice on one of the programmes. This was my version of the era....

The Cult "She Sells Sanctuary"

Mystery solved!


Sunday 2 April 2017

Running Around In Circles!

Not me, but the teenogre. He's completed his first half marathon in Croydon today for his rapidly approaching trip abroad.

Accompanied by his aged parents his greatest concern? Being the only one in fancy dress. Yeah well he's 18 isn't he! I confidently assured him on the train that I was sure there would be somebody else in costume [keeping everything crossed...oh the half truths we feed our children!], so sod's law ensured that he was the only one. I think in retrospect it was actually a bit of a blessing because he was running on his own, and not knowing anyone, it got people talking to him asking what he was up to and laughing with him in all his get up.

As for us two, we had to keep ourselves amused while he slogged round the route a couple of times....due to the clement conditions we were able to take a leisurely stroll. We did witness the ambulance cyclists pedal past us at high speed at one chap had collapsed, hopefully he recovered quickly.

Immensely relieved to see that some of the good people of Croydon are happy to go off piste when it comes to the choice of exterior finish on the family vehicle😊

Pleased to report our son made it round ten minutes quicker than he predicted and all in one piece. He was definitely the only blue faced finisher in amongst a sea of red faced ones!

He has another two races to go with the final one being in Hackney. I know that's the one he's most looking forwards to as it will go all around the Olympic Park. Thinking back to 2012 has stirred a few memories including this priceless one. There are some things us Brits just do amazingly well and this was one of them!


Saturday 1 April 2017

About as useful as.....

...a chocolate tea pot or a cardboard welly? These are the two I use. More digging has revealed further examples [there are many more far ruder ones out there].....

Perhaps a glass hammer, rubber lips on a woodpecker [uttered by Gary Burbank playing the fictional Earl Pitts], a screen door on a submarine takes your fancy?

Or you prefer these ones...a newspaper raincoat, Captain Hook at a gynaecological convention, mudguards on a tortoise or maybe none!

My personal favourite is a knitted condom.....of course, the knitting pattern exists to make your very own one should you be so inclined. Thus it will come as no surprise that I have taken it upon myself to provide the link....

I can go to great lengths to avoid the ironing sometimes!


Back to the town of painted doors and alleycats

 💕Ah Tewkesbury💕 Do you know what...I flipping love this town with all its curios and layers of history. It is entirely down to Mythago an...