Wednesday 31 May 2017


This tiny little roundel is sitting quietly off to one side in the church of St Michael's in Amberley. I've fiddled about with it to make the image a little clearer, but in reality, it's barely noticeable tucked away and very faint. There are far showier wall paintings nearer the altar and this is, but a scrap of something, which would have been much bigger in its day. Beyond it being woman's upper body dressed in medieval clothing I can't explain what drew me to it so much. Looking at it again today I've noticed that she actually has the side of her face touching another lady who is even sketchier [she only shows up if you enlarge the photo]. It speaks to me of serenity and affection and I am extremely taken by it.


Monday 29 May 2017

The Other Royal Family

We're talking Royalty of the Pearly kind here. Beyond knowing the Pearly Kings and Queens as an iconic symbol of London I've only ever glimpsed them on the box at big Royal occasions and frankly I thought vaguely that they might perhaps be something to do with the old music hall other words "I ain't got a Danny La Rue"

As ever, being somewhat behind with my blogging, I was tickled pink unexpectedly to see the real deal a few weeks ago at the Hackney Half Marathon.

This encounter has set me off on a quest to find out a bit more about the Pearlies as they are known. Ready yourself for a few facts.....

First the history.....the tradition evolved after a young orphan called Henry Croft started work as a road sweeper in the London markets. Noticing that the costermongers stitched pearl buttons onto their garments to draw attention to their businesses he began to do the same in a bid to raise his profile and thus his ability to raise funds for various charitable causes. Over time he collected sufficient buttons from the streets to completely cover a suit and after a while the costermongers started to help him in his personal mission. By the time he died in 1930 he was thought to have raised £5000. The first Pearly Society was established in 1911.

Every London Borough has its own Pearly family. The title is inherited and the children are known as princes and princesses.

A completely covered suit is called a "smother" and one with fabric showing a "skeleton". The symbols picked out on them each have their own meaning. In my photos the horse shoe is for good luck, the cross for faith, the suits of cards for life is a gamble and the wheel is for the circle of life.

Each Pearlie family is associated with a church and their primary role is to fund raise for a wide variety of London charities.

Having found out a little more about what they do they sound like good hearted folk to me.


Saturday 27 May 2017

Apache Blessing

I have felt honoured to attend the handfasting of friends today. Never having attended such a celebration before, it was a beautiful and centring experience... in a moment of madness Mr GBT agreed to jump the broom stick with me for luck!

The officiant [another friend] ended with this blessing...I found it very moving in its simple yet profound sentiment and thought you might just enjoy it too.


Wednesday 24 May 2017

A Small Smile

A very simple post from me today, but one that I hope might just make you gently smile.

As a housesparkling elf I have a yellow acrylic version of one of these.

I don't normally cart a feather duster round with me,  but I have found it helpful at one of the houses I clean which is within walking distance [a friend of mine says it makes me look like Ken Dodd with his tickling stick!] Walking home last week I had my hand through the hole in the middle....a lady passed me carrying a little fellow who pointed at me and informed his Mummy that I was carrying a flower. Aww.


Tuesday 23 May 2017


For all those affected by the evil actions of others both in Manchester and all around the world today.


Monday 22 May 2017

From drab to fab!

The street furniture in my home town is very tasteful....think Harrods....that classic combo of Goose Turd green [as the Tudors so wonderfully called it] with just the right accent of gold. It runs across from the benches to the signposts and the bollards. Very middle class, very classy....however, it's distinctly lacking in the imaginative department. The naughty side of my personality would rather like to see some maverick soul just repaint one...perhaps the phantom scribbler might strike again!

It was with much joy then that I encountered these in my former stomping ground of Winchester where I lived as a student many, many years ago. Scooting past to get to our first dancing stand with Mythago on Saturday I just caught a quick glimpse of them, but Mr GBT being the good soul he is, kindly went back and photographed these marvellous bollards for me so that I could enjoy the spectacle when I got back home. Inspired by the work of various artists the posts were repainted as part of an art project in 2013

I've put up a selection of my personal favourites. If I had to choose just one it would be the Klimt one, but I think they're all gorgeous.


Sunday 21 May 2017

You Learn Something New Every Day.

Isn't that how the perceived wisdom goes? I suspect I do, but in reality most of it doesn't stand out enough for me to really notice. However, if you were to ask me what three new things have you learnt this last week I would be able to answer this time.

1. Unscrewing/screwing things. Usually I try each direction randomly until I find the one that works. Now I know it's "righty tighty, lefty loosey " it's been filed in the memory banks under "Improving your D.I.Y skills".

2. I've been unpeeling bananas from the wrong end for years. Pinch the bottom end a treat.

3. My son has a pet toad living in his bathroom in Bangladesh called Fred. Not information that's of any use to anybody else, but it made me smile. I didn't make any promises about the quality of it did I now!!

Then something I don't know....what the heck is this grotesque on Winchester Cathedral doing? I haven't the foggiest, but I'm sure somebody will come up with a very plausible explanation.


Thursday 18 May 2017

Looking to the Future.

Spotted this week. The idea simply aligns with my own take on such matters. That's all.


Wednesday 17 May 2017

Better not to cross the cross architect!

Upon the completion of his plans for 54-55 Cornhill, London the architect was most aggrieved when the vicar of the church next door brought legal proceedings against him for encroaching upon their land by a foot.

Returning to the drawing board the architect tweaked his design whilst plotting his revenge. Upon completion of the building it was noted that it was now adorned by three devils [henceforth known as the Cornhill Devils] who were positioned so that they could scowl upon the members of the congregation. One is rumoured to bear more than a passing resemblance to the man of the cloth who had caused him such offence.

I am unable to account for the veracity of these events, but whatever the truth it makes for a good yarn and his handiwork can be admired to this day.


Tuesday 16 May 2017

The latest celebrity must-have?

We've seen the rise of the hairless cat and dog, but is the hairless beaver the next in line for the must-have pet to be seen with I wonder and oh so soon after its reintroduction!!

Much as I realise this probably crosses the line of good taste [well frankly it must have traversed it both back and forth several times] this did make me inwardly cackle. Not sure how long the local beautician will get away with it but full marks for trying. I, meanwhile, was innocently passing by on my way to see if our parish church had anything in the way of interesting aged graffiti on you do!


Monday 15 May 2017


"Light the incense! You have to burn to be fragrant."

Sometimes I'm a Nag Champa/Patchouli kind of girl others times more a vanilla/lavender. Then I have my Vampire's Kiss days💀

Frankly I love burning incense full stop. One of my small yet frequent and cheap pleasures. This little lot came from Brighton and actually smell divine despite the Hammer Horror names!

No one's more surprised than me some days the twists and turns these blog posts take sometimes🙌


Sunday 14 May 2017


One who collects or is very fond of teddies. I'm not the greatest fan of the cuddly toy, but the odd teddy [ a certain cider quaffing chap called Albert springs to mind who took up residence after my chaps won him in a raffle years ago when I was bed ridden with a goodly dose of real flu] and a Steiff elephant have crept over the threshold from time to time. Yesterday I added to my very modest collection...this little lady is about 2" and has emptied the pocket money coffers in one go. I am a very thrifty bird, but when I do occasionally splurge I like to do it with style. I have named her Effie.

We have been working at the Kensington Dollshouse show this weekend. It was always touch and go whether Mr GBT would get the toilet table finished in time. To rush it might have spelled disaster, so other than here, we kept its launch quiet. Anyway in this day and age where technology allows us to know so much more a good old fashioned surprise is a bit of a novelty. It's been three years since we've had a new piece and I just loved watching the faces as the visitors caught their first glimpse of was pure magic! I am delighted and thankful to say we have just had our best show ever by a mile!

Since my last posting I have had a Skype call with our son. Beyond adapting to eating with his right hand he's playing a lot of badminton and cricket in his spare time and enjoying the local curries. One of his team has just put up a brilliant film of them and the young Bengali people who are working along side them having a massive water fight....all you can hear is them all screaming with laughter. Fun always transcends cultural the end we're all from the same tribe aren't we!


Friday 12 May 2017

Up and Down

It's been a tiny bit of a rollercoaster this week emotionally at times. Now I'm one who likes to keep her emotions in check whenever possible, but I've been caught out once or twice these past few days. I deal with these situations by ducking under the radar for a few minutes to give me the chance to regroup and regain my perspective until I feel ready to be with folks again.

Unusually for me [I'm a girl who loves a plan] I decided on a whim to park up and have a quiet wander around St Margaret's in Warnham when I was passing by. There was no great motivation behind the visit beyond needing a spot of calm after finishing work on Tuesday. It's a church I've been to before [it's within walking distance of GBT], but it only stood out in my mind for being fairly unmemorable. Sadly a victim of the Victorian zeal for "improvement", the interior is pleasant enough, but frankly pretty dull. My expectations were not exceeded. However, as it was sunny I thought I might as well just double check the outside to make sure I hadn't missed anything.....

Even now after all the stuff I've seen I was stunned to glance up and see this fellow gawking at me.

Where there's one normally many follow.....

This one I can't make head nor tail of, but I feel it must be older somehow. It's hidden way up on the tower and is a bit of a titch.

 My first ever "owl" least that's what it looks like to me. Do let me know if you think otherwise...all input greatly received!

And this one....the first foliate face I have spotted on a church within my little patch. Knowing my love of all things Greenman it felt like such a lucky find and gave me just the boost I needed.

Much as I love visiting and documenting the extraordinary and the quirky features in the more well known churches, it will always be those unplanned trips to the most unpromising ones which, when they deliver, give me the greatest thrill especially if they are local. I haven't been able to find any photos of these gargoyles and grotesques let alone a mention of their existence in the guidebook. I love being able to share these finds with anyone else who's interested.


Wednesday 10 May 2017

The Guardian of the Garden

Humphrey guarding the seedlings in our new raised you can see the netting which is meant to keep the cats off is working a treat😼


Tuesday 9 May 2017

Significant Anniversaries

On their ruby wedding anniversary meal my Father was heard to mutter "I'd have got less time if I had committed murder" when commenting on the forty years of marital bliss he had enjoyed. Thankfully said with his tongue firmly in the side of his cheek, he has survived to enjoy another 11 since then. I had to laugh when I read this quote from Dame Sybil Thorndike when asked if she had ever considered divorce during her sixty years of marriage...

"Divorce? Never. Murder, yes, but never divorce."

At some point over the first ten days of May [we cannot agree/even remember when] Mr GBT and I celebrate, or it may have already gone past, 27 years together as a couple. Perhaps he should be grateful that he's only been married to me for 23, particularly as we are now home alone sans enfant for the next three months. The teenogre has safely landed on foreign shores, his Mother meanwhile starched her upper lip and just about [with a wobble or three] managed to hold it together until he had got out of the front door. It's very quiet here this morning, but you know what they say about while the cat's away the mice will play...lots to look forwards to and thankfully we still very much enjoy each other's company. Just as well really!


Sunday 7 May 2017

The Phantom Scribbler Strikes Again

Back in February a series of painted black rats appeared running around the bottom of our local Sainsburys Whilst nipping round the town centre quickly earlier in the week I clocked this....with only my phone to hand I snapped it in passing and promptly gave it no further thought.

Once a month I read a selection of articles from our paper- it's recorded and distributed to various visually impaired listeners who live within the district. Lo and behold this had made it in [must be a quiet week news wise!] with the speculation of whether it could be a Banksy. Me? I'm more cynical and would suggest more "In the style of Banksy". I shall eat my hat if I'm proved wrong...whatever, I do like a spot of clever graffiti.


Saturday 6 May 2017

Learn Yerself Sussex!

If you have a spare few minutes today perhaps you might like to learn a little of the old Sussex dialect gems...would make a change from the more normal holiday conversation lingo!

Beazled - tired

Draggle-tail - a lady of loose morals or slack in her housekeeping standards

Dumbledore - a bumble bee

Foundle - something you find

Hagstrack - circles of coarse grass created by "witches dancing at night" [caused by a fungus]

Quilt - when cats claw a carpet [or the nearest human's lap!]

Scaddle - wild, mischievous

Skitterwaisen - from corner to corner.

It might come as no great surprise I have a new book from which these are gleaned. It was a Victorian collection, but I think some of the words could do with reviving!


Friday 5 May 2017

A Sea of Green

As a child I only ever knew about the Mayday festivities from books. Following the Victorian moral crusades such scurrilous drunken celebrations had largely been consigned to the historical records, but now it seems that people are looking back and recognising that if our customs are to survive, new life needs to be breathed into them. Thankfully traditions from throughout the seasons are being revived and spreading fast. The Hastings Jack-in the-Green was brought back in 1983. It pays homage to the celebrations of the past, but has been allowed to grow organically into the amazing all weekend event it now is.

This is the Jack. He is attended by bogies [the chaps in green] who guide him up through the old town of Hastings. Accompanied by music and dancing he celebrates the coming of Summer. Best ignore the lashing rain then!

Here we are braving the elements in the parade.

Despite the evil weather first thing I have to say it's a feast for the senses and has the most amazing atmosphere. Just a few of the cast of characters.....

Yes if you look carefully at the end of the gentleman's staff your eyes are not deceiving you for this is all about the fecundity of nature!

This chap has tiny figures around the top of his hat...they should show up if you wish to double click the image.

I now have serious hip flask envy....look at the size of that one! I wouldn't say no to her green boots either!

As for these two charlies.....they don't quite cut the mustard do they with their cabbage leaves stuck on their faces...they did make me laugh!

If you're a serious people watcher like me an event like this is manna from heaven!


Wednesday 3 May 2017

Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This....

How timely that Haribo should bring out this new range just as the teenogre has completed his last half marathon. He doesn't have a sweet tooth by and large, but these do tickle his fancy and have been his sweetie of choice during his recent running adventures. Sadly I found them too late for his last run at Hackney on Sunday, yet seeing as I am a Kind Mother I have bought him a pack anyway! I will confess that he is very glad to not have to do any more running and even gladder that he doesn't have to don the blue face paint anymore. It wouldn't have been much of a challenge if running was something he loved doing now would it!

Hackney was a somewhat larger affair than the two previous occasions. 11000 runners, loud music and a chance to high five this fellow meant that the whole event had a far better vibe to it from his perspective and for once, he wasn't the only one in fancy dress!

Having seen our offspring safely start, his aged parents sought out the peace and quiet of the Hackney Marshes cafe round the corner and away from all the artisan vans doing street food at high end prices before embarking on a quick spin around the Olympic Village. We didn't have much time to explore as he doesn't hang about, but I enjoyed what I did glimpse. I am a huge athletics fan and it's going to be really fantastic to see the site being used again to host the World Champs this summer.

Now you know wouldn't be an authentic Aril post if I didn't manage to spot something just a tad unusual. Having had recent encounters with the gold and black ones, I seem to be attracting non standard phone boxes of late. This sculpture, along with several others where the boxes have been cut up and reassembled in different forms are to be found all around the site. Always good to find a bit of oddness on what promised to be a sensible sort of day.

That is the end of our running tales...back to the safety of my parallel universe once again!


PS I have shown my son face on this time..he's just taken the rise out of me for trying to find one of him where his face is covered. So it's with his permission I've chosen this one!


Being a soul who could win an Olympic Gold if overthinking was ever included as a sport, one thing which really helps me to slow down and be...