Monday, 31 July 2017

The Wanderer Returns!

After three months of voluntary work in Bangladesh The Young Man [or TYM as he will be known as henceforth] is flying home this evening . I know he's had an incredible time and leaves with a somewhat heavy heart, but his Mother is greatly looking forward to his return and hearing about his experience!

We will all most probably need a period of adjustment and that will include evicting the furry one who has taken up squatting rights in his bedroom in his absence. It looks like we might have competition for the Pringles from the same quarter too😸


Arilx

Friday, 28 July 2017

Friday Funny

This is another one of those things which just amused me. Have a good weekend one and all.

Arilx

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

The Kitchen Dodger

Nothing pleases me more than to discover that either Mr GBT has offered to cook or that a previous meal has yielded sufficient leftovers for another meal.  As far as I am concerned it is a triumph and a cause for celebration. I could tell you many horror stories of my time spent doing my Home Economics 'O' Level, but we would be here all night😁

There are many dishes I won't even attempt...anything involving a roux sauce of any description and you won't see me for dust. It's therefore, come as quite a surprise to me that at the grand old age of 50 I made my first ever lasagne. Love eating it, but to my mind too much faff and washing up.


I don't generally inflict pictures of my culinary attempts upon people, but this turned out, not only passably well, but tasty and simples. Always a fan of any type of thrifty TV programme I like to watch "Eat Well For Less" when I remember. The last episode featured how to make veggie lasagne and not a white sauce in sight. They used cottage cheese instead which immediately made my ears prick up. I shared this info with my Mum last week only to find that this is how my Dad's always done it....as ever I am late to the party! Details are here for anyone interested....I would say that the instructions have missed off one of the layers of the pasta and I did without the onion powder and specific herbs. A goodly dollop of my Everyday Tesco dried ones were fine and it's helped use up more of the current courgette gluthttp://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/ratatouille_lasagne_28209

It's fed us again tonight and the last two portions will be frozen.

Arilx

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Reccy

I guess having worked alongside other like minded people through the Sussex Green Living initiative these past few months it's reminded me of some of the projects I'd like to see locally....a scrap store, a facility to buy the stuff thrown away at the tip and some sort of lending library/swap shop would be on my list. Actually I'd really rather like to replicate Totnes, but it's a very different demographic here with a tendency to be far more conservative. However, we keep plugging away and gradually more of us are coming on board. Positive change takes time, but the good news is that following on from successful upcycling workshops and a monthly Ecover refill station run by the Quaker church we are launching a monthly Repair Cafe [not my baby I hasten to add..the work of some of the others, I'm still the recycling sorter and now a moderator on the FB page] in October to give people the chance to learn new skills. Gradually as we attend more events we are drawing more interested parties on board and as we all know there's always strength in numbers.

Whilst travelling I had the chance to have a nose around the share shed run in Totnes...people can borrow tools for a nominal fee.


Then this week I was finally able to visit a book exchange in a local village where I work. Normally I have to head off to another client elsewhere immediately, but they are away so I grabbed the opportunity. Another fantastic scheme....racks and racks of books which you are free to help yourself to and donate your own unwanted books if you want. It's also a chance to have a cuppa and a chat. I brought home this little lot which should keep me out of mischief. Probably best that I can't normally make it otherwise GBT would be groaning under the weight of it all! I shall keep the circle moving and pass them on when I have finished them.


We had our stand at the free concerts in the park earlier this month. Each group was able to say a couple of words about what they do on the stage between the different bands and in our case we also [very much tongue in cheek] sashayed across in front of the audience modelling various garments made out of men's ties. Afterwards a very enthusiastic gentleman came to talk to us.... his line of work is organising the recycling of the fabrics collected at some of the tips in Surrey. Not only that, but he's also involved in the Reuse shops they've got on site and thinks he can help us to achieve something similar at ours. Here's hoping.....we're going over to see the shop next month. Not everybody's idea of a fun day perhaps, but I am fizzing with excitement at the prospect!

Just to end here's one of my teeny recent pale green micro steps I've taken....for some reason it's taken me ages to pluck up the courage to do this one simple thing. Wrapping my Mum's birthday pressie in a headscarf rather than using sellotape and paper....she's returned it to me so I can do the same again. Besides I loathe wrapping gifts and this so much easier!



Arilx

Monday, 24 July 2017

An Amazing Young Man


This young man is a shining example of the power of love.


Sometimes I need a reminder that, despite what the media would have us believe, there are still decent humans aplenty. This film comes from an inspiring BBC3 playlist on Youtube called "Amazing Humans" if you want to see more of this ilk.

Arilx

Friday, 21 July 2017

In the park

Over on the far side of our local park there's a bit of a scrubby patch of meadow amongst all the mowed grass. It's been seeded up and left to the buzzings of the bees and other insects. Actually although due to be helping our local green group's stand on the other side during one of the free concerts which have been happening over the last couple of weekends I tarried a few moments to enjoy the spectacle.








Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Arilx

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Swan upping


This week sees the 800 year old custom of Swan Upping taking place. Originally swans were seen as a great delicacy and ownership of them was fiercely protected. Nowadays the emphasis has changed to one of conservation and education rather than culinary!

During the third week of July the swan uppers take to the river Thames in traditional skiffs to catch any adult birds with cygnets. No harm is done, but it is a valuable opportunity to check the weight and health as well as recording any new ones on the database. The Queen can lay claim to any unmarked mute swans [her uppers wear a scarlet uniform] and ring them. Since medieval times the swans can also be claimed by the Dyers' and Vintners' Livery Companies [the chap in the photo is a Vintner] and ownership can be distinguished by additional rings on the other legs. It may seem a rather quaint thing to do in this day and age, but it provides important data on the numbers and how the swans are faring.

Arilx

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Strawberry Thief

Mr William Morris might have designed the famous "Strawberry Thief" wallpaper, but here at GBT we have The Raspberry Thief and wallpaper, but not together!

Picking the raspberries [and eating a few ripe ones in the process] is one of those daily little rituals I really enjoy this time of year. Most are frozen and will be made into jam at the end of the season, but as they're the Autumn Bliss variety we've got a few weeks left yet. This year though it seems I am not the only fan of these little red delights. Somebody has been dining out in my absence and leaving tell tale bits behind. I wasn't quite sure who the culprit was, but Mr GBT caught a hen blackbird red feathered in the middle of the canes. Nonchalantly she flew out and sat on the fence looking the other way as if it was nowt to do with her....I think, had she been able, she'd have given a little whistle just to complete the scene! Unless she strips them then I've no plans to net them as there are plenty to go round.

Even though our plot is tiny the garden revamp and new raised beds Mr GBT built last year are beginning to pay dividends. Beyond the raspberries the little apple tree is laden with fruit and we have courgettes coming through thick and fast. I cooked up a batch of courgette pasta sauce for the freezer yesterday and have given some to our neighbours and my parents so far. We are intent on making the garden as wildlife friendly as possible. I have a head full of ideas, but they haven't got much beyond putting out a dish of water for any passing hedgehogs [or cats probably] and planting yellow and white osteospermums. I've identified a couple more bee friendly plants which I have yet to track down, but by then our borders will be full. Perhaps I shall investigate the world of pots. The bed shown is full of knock down priced marigolds from a local fete...these are replacing the onions you can see drying in the foreground. The leeks will sit there for a fair while longer.


As for the front, this crazy lady suggested to her husband that like WWII we should grow veg in it a couple of years ago as it's south facing. Said husband was not keen and I didn't mention it again. I was therefore quite surprised at the announcement this Spring that it was now his plan. Again it's producing well and I spotted my first butternut squash today. Am dead chuffed.



After seemingly endless weeks of decorating with breaks in between for other commitments we are getting dangerously close to the end. Perhaps I'm the only person in the world who loves being in command of a wallpaper stripper....it gives me the same buzz as when I used to get PVA glue on my hands and peel it off like skin! Mr GBT has put the new border up in the bedroom. I am a lover of all things American Folk Art so this came from across the pond.


Sometimes it feels like progress is painfully slow, but when I put it down in a blog post I can see that it's not really the case. I just have to be patient and accept that Rome wasn't built in a day! Or alternatively be prepared to sit on my hands some of the time. Not the easiest of things to do when anxiety can be your middle name at times!

Arilx


Monday, 17 July 2017

"I wouldn't trust.....

.....him/her any further than I could spit". I am more likely to use the more familiar version of "...than I could throw him/her" myself [except I have thrown people, but only legitimately during my Judo years!]. This version derives from the hollowed out rods called spits used by the 19th century customs men. They prodded cargo to find out if there was smuggled goods concealed within.

There we go....always ready and willing with another recently gleaned fact to impart. I am a marvellous mine of useless information!

Arilx

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Working Together

I love this. It came up via my green group's FB page. Too good to keep to myself.


Arilx

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Noting Nature and Nature Notes

Reading through a copy of the newsletter from our town's Society yesterday I learnt that they had approached the local council with the suggestion of earmarking some of the small non brown field sites as Local Green Space. Any undeveloped land is going to come under pressure for housing if it's not safeguarded. These are just little pockets which are easily overlooked and taken for granted, but they support wildlife and it's vital they are left alone. I am pleased to say that five have now received this status.

Fired up by the article I suggested to Mr GBT that we have a nose around our local pond last night on our evening perambulation. No photos as I just wanted to look and see what was about. Our half hour stroll paid dividends....a couple of whacking great dragonflies [no idea what type] and a pond full of mallard ducklings, goslings and another type of duck with her four teeny black bundles of fluff. We didn't tarry as she was getting very stressed by our presence. Noted as well that there are now a few blackberries in the full sun turning, a huge scattering of chewed cobnuts [the squirrels have been feasting] and the deadly nightshade berries are out.

Once a month a conservation group meet in our area and spend a few hours clearing the local river and verges of rubbish. I've known of them for ages, but have never quite got round to turning up. What I hadn't appreciated though was that they also plant bulbs, wildflowers and keep a blog of their wildlife sighting. Despite living in a built up area I have been amazed to find out just how much we've got on our doorstep. Although with my other volunteering commitments I won't be able to attend all of the meetings I have diarised the one for August so I shall put in an appearance I hope. After all doing voluntary conservation work for the National Trust was how I originally met Mr GBT so it's rather like going full circle.

Whilst on the topic of recent sightings these images are of the new-to-me sightings from my Devon adventures. It helps me to have them on the blog so that I can refer back to them in the future. If I've got any of the ids wrong please let me know. Much obligedx

Dark lipped banded snail.


Spotted Medick


Beautiful Demoiselle


Plant Bug


Garden Chafer


Arilx

Friday, 14 July 2017

Barbie and Ken

It's good to see the Timehouse Muzeum in Totnes has found a novel way to reuse dolls...these are now the signs on the toilet doors which greatly amused me!



We met my blogging chum Lovely Grey there a few weeks back for a catchup in this brilliantly eccentric museum....us gossiping in the Marrakech art installation.


I was trying to show her some pictures of my son in Bangladesh, but my "smart" [smart? my phone would be bottom of any smart class I can tell ye] was not cooperating. Since then he's sent a few more shots through. Now Ramadan has ended he's had the privilege of attending an Eid celebration in one of the Bengali leaders homes [not the fellow shown here] so he visited the local tailor and had an appropriate outfit specially made. I know as his Mother I'm bound to be biased, but I really do like this photo of him. Usually he's pulling all the special selfie expressions or poses all the young people seem to favour these days...not long until he's home.....I'm looking forwards to his return save for the fact that I'm going to have to get used to sharing the crisps again!


Arilx

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Puzzling

Hello....to be honest I've had a funny old couple of days. You know when nothing is really wrong, but nothing is quite right either and frankly you don't know what you want to be doing with yourself and whatever it is you are doing is still not the right thing!

Not unreasonably several of my clients are away on holiday this week, which has left me with some gaps in my schedule. I did some extra deep cleaning for a client's friend yesterday which swelled the coffers, but once home I kept picking up things, starting and then stopping midway through. I have a List of Doom...gruntwork needing my attention of which a few items got done and a whole host of other things which weren't even down there!

My solution in the end was just to accept the situation for what it was instead of trying to fight it. I decided to abandon any notion of planning and instead settled down to do a comical jigsaw of Sussex which Mr GBT had started several months ago. Once I'd got past the first few difficult minutes I became completely absorbed and it did the trick by settling me right down and quietening the old monkey mind. I thoroughly enjoyed it and Mr GBT joined in. We passed a companiable evening together listening to a new folk CD and nattering.

It's been many years since I've done any more than dip in and dip out of doing a puzzle. I had forgotten how soothing it can be and it certainly meets the remit of a thrifty hobby. Whilst I was sorting through some paperwork for recycling yesterday I found another puzzle which I'll leave for you if you fancy a little go...it featured as part of my CBT course and is an interesting example of how the brain immediately wants to go in one common direction to solve it. The solution is further down the pagehttp://www.brainstorming.co.uk/puzzles/ninedotsnj.html

Arilx


Monday, 10 July 2017

Scratched

There is currently a programme on the I-Player called "A Brief History of Graffiti" which I sat down to watch yesterday while it was so warm [my halo was shining brightly because I had just finished stripping the wallpaper in the bedroom!]. From this I learnt that the word "graffiti" come from the Italian "graffiato" meaning scratched. At one point an example where the picture has been partly incised to create the effect was shown. Afterwards I realised that I had seen something rather similar in Exeter on a recent visit. The detail has been chiselled out by the artist Alexandro Farto and is very effective in my humble opinion.


Arilx

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Historical Bling

For a long time I've hankered after a "Mythago Man" pendant....it's the insignia of the side and features on all of our "merch" as my son would call it. I am here modelling our anniversary t shirt last weekend.


Despite asking those members who already own the pendant frankly he's been a hard little devil to track down. All the suggested searches have come up with nothing over the past couple of years, but a dancing friend with more gumption than me has managed to find a beautiful one on Ebay under "Celtic Man". Hers is in silver and I, fickle creature that I am, wanted one in bronze. This is always a challenge as there is far less bronze stuff about, but persistence pays. A faint nudge to my much addled brain brought about a vague recollection of this fellow being something to do with The Book of Kells....a couple of clicks on the Ecosia search engine and Bob's
Your Uncle success....


This little fellow is now all mine. Not the best of photos but my little camera really doesn't do small things close up. He came from here

Friday, 7 July 2017

Flying Ant Day

There are more of these taking off in my garden at the moment that there are planes leaving the ground at all of the London airports combined. Not sure if I would have noticed had Mr GBT not pointed out this little seasonal spectacle yesterday through the living room window mind you😊


Just one of those moments which are so easy to miss.

Arilx

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Skipping Off!

As the end of term approaches [not quickly enough for some I would imagine] the traditional Sports Day looms for many.


I've done my time standing on the side of the race track cheering my little darling on. He was always incredibly active, but never what you might call sporty [just like his Mother then]. On one occasion he was about to cross the line in first place in a skipping race....shouting madly for him he turned round and headed back the other way to get a drink. Ah the sometimes magical world of Planet Asperger... head bangingly infuriating at times, but not without its charms at others!

In under a month the wanderer returns...he's still leaping about all over the place and is having the most amazing experience. The thoughts he's had of wanting to work in International Development as a career have been confirmed by this trip I think. When asked what's he's missing his reply was....Dominos Pizzas. That's my boy!


Arilx

PS I should thank John over at Going Gently whose post today prompted the memory of this little anecdote.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Modern Day Pilgrim

During my travels and time spent poking around churches I have seen carved scallop shells upon tombs from time to time. This one was from Exeter Cathedral and was indicative that the interred had been on a pilgrimage.


In the modern world there are those who still undertake such journeys for religious reasons....others for deeply personal reasons. One gentleman I know went last year to recover from the breakdown of his 30 year relationship. The time away gave him the space to think, grieve and make major decisions about how he wished to move forwards with his life. He returned in a much better place mentally.

This strange sculpture is called "The Universal Pilgrim" and again is in Exeter. I don't like the piece frankly, but what I do like is the sentiment of the message below it.



Arilx

Monday, 3 July 2017

Mixed Morris and Bawdy Border

I have just enjoyed one of the most amazing weekends ever at Mythago's birthday bash...still on a high today even if I am creeping around a bit like Mrs Overall!

From Friday afternoon through to 4pm yesterday invited Morris sides have travelled up from Devon, crossed the sea from the Isle of Wight, Kent, East Sussex and Surrey aswell as local sides to help us celebrate. Many stayed over the whole weekend, some joined us for a day on the Saturday at Amberley Chalks Pits Museum whilst others for our stands in Horsham. All traditions and ages from very young to erm slightly more senior joined in. People mixed freely...you'd look up and a stray member from another side would know a dance and help others out. New friendships have been made and dances taught so that spontaneous mass dances were possible.

This is one I joined in from Blood Stone Morris....I nearly spat my teeth out when I joined in the words....I kind of guessed what kind of direction the song words might be going in when the first line had the word Billy in it. I've put up an older clip of it being performed if you want to hear the full fruity version.



By the time everyone had left I think it would be true to say we were all drained...the survivors just about still standing! A rare photo of Mythago unmasked!


However, in true Morris style a hardened bunch of us felt the day's proceedings should be rounded off with one last celebratory pint before heading home. I was in bed by 9pm! I don't normally put up footage of myself dancing, but on this occasion this is me performing as the witch....it was near the end of yesterday and I felt like I was wearing concrete filled boots by then. Usually I manage a rather more livelier version, but you can see we were all flagging and having to dig deep by then!


Arilx

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Sharing

Quick one from me today. We are mid 20th anniversary celebrations for Mythago this weekend and there's a lot of partying and dancing to do! Anyways I like this....I'm rather partial to a bit of sharing...except for oversharing and crisps. I like to be able to eat crisps without having to share them if the truth be told, but good manners prevent me from doing otherwise!



Arilx