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!


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 warned๐Ÿ˜†


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!


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 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.


Friday 24 November 2017

Can you "bear" it?!

One to amuse for a Friday.....

Have a good weekend all you kind people who stop by and read my wafflings!

Thursday 23 November 2017

Out of the mouths of babes.....

This articulate young man is inspirational and  his speech on Climate Change nails it. Dare I say it some of the dinosaurs currently in charge worldwide would do well to listen and take note.


Wednesday 22 November 2017

What's up Doc?

This fellow is apparently suffering a bit of an identity crisis as, depending upon what you read, it is either a 12th century head of a hare or a rabbit. Most seem to favour the former option, as do I with those long upstanding ears. It reminded me a bit of Bugs Bunny who is supposedly a hare too. Whatever the correct answer it is to be found on the chancel in St Margaret's church, Eartham, West Sussex. We were pushed for time so no other photos this time I'm afraid, but I wanted this one as I've only ever seen a whole rabbit depicted before.

If it does transpire it's a rabbit there were strangely disturbing ideas circulating about the bunny in the Medieval Mind if this set of manuscripts is anything to go by!๐Ÿฐ


Tuesday 21 November 2017

Avian Delights

If you've got the choice of doing the ironing or this.....which would you choose?

I'm afraid the domestic trivia got postponed until the evening in favour of a visit to the local nature reserve whilst the weather was so glorious.  It would seem that Lady Luck wasn't on our side though as we managed to miss the kingfishers darting around by a matter of minutes each time we moved on from one hide to the next. I'm sure they were just beyond our eyeline chuckling away. Thankfully, the heron played ball and as if on cue, appeared on the far side of the millpond .

As we left to continue our walk we felt though that our fortune had changed for who should be nosing about in the reeds just a few feet away from us on the path.....

We always wind up at the woodland hide at the end of the visits. It's probably my personal favourite....obviously nothing to do with the fact that I stand more of a chance of correctly identifying the different avian species then! The exotically coloured plumage of the Woodies and the Goldfinches always seem at odds with the majority of our subtler shaded birds in the UK somehow...not that I'm complaining.

Fired up with enthusiasm when I got back to GBT I went and filled our feeders. We've not had any cover in our garden since last year when we had to remove our diseased buddleia so the bird visitors have been few and far between. Thankfully the cutting Mr GBT struck has taken and we now have a big and healthy bush for the little garden birds to shelter was with much joy and excitement that I saw my first ever flock of Gold Finches and a Coal Tit at the feeding station on Monday morning! Much as I enjoyed the reserve this experience on home turf knocked it into a cocked hat!


Monday 20 November 2017

A Strange Set of Coincidences

From frequent mentions in the press anything Titanic related is always a huge news story. For me though, beyond it being a terrible human tragedy, it's never really been on my personal radar. When in Belfast last year we visited the Titanic exhibition [my chaps wanted to go]. It was interesting, but I chose not to blog about it.

 An old college friend though is fascinated by the whole subject and is tremendously knowledgeable. Jack Phillips, the chief wireless telegraphist came from her home town and he is locally celebrated [there's a pub named after him]

Recently J has been to Belfast herself and when she came for lunch a few weeks ago she mentioned that apparently one of the victims came from Horsham. Had I not just read a local survey of one of our redundant graveyards a matter of days before I would have been amazed as there is no mention in the local museum or a commemorative plaque anywhere. The town is silent about this chapter of our history, but yes tucked away at the back of the cemetery is a rather unkempt gravestone which makes a brief mention of this sad loss at the bottom.

John James Charman was a young saloon steward on his first voyage. His body was not recovered, but poignantly he is immortalised in stone on his parents' grave.


Friday 17 November 2017

Wednesday 15 November 2017

Holten House

Following on from my struggles with my 40 count needlework kit last week I was asked in the comments if I could share a few photos of my dollshouse.  At the moment everything is everywhere as Mr GBT plunders it for the furniture he's made me which we display on our stand at the shows we gets unceremoniously plonked back in until the next time and then I sort it all out again over the summer, but purely by chance I snapped a photo of the outside of it last week for a FB thingy I was doing.

Mr GBT made it for me in 1994 and it's still nowhere near finished. Back then it was a different world pre TYM and both of us working in very different fields to what we do now post redundancy. As he's now a maker it's a bit like a busman's holiday if I ask him to do anything on it too often, but we have finished the bedroom since this older post was written
This is a common scenario I come up against again and again within the miniatures world!

As I haven't got anywhere near to actually physically removing anything from my house I'm being very lazy and with Mr GBT's full permission I'm sharing some of his pictures of the stuff he's made me. I'm a lucky devil as I choose what I would like specifically for me and then he makes the first one for me before we launch any new pieces at the shows.

I love them all, but this one remains my favourite as it was made specially for my 50th birthday last year.

Hope you've enjoyed the little peek behind the doors!


Tuesday 14 November 2017

Busy as a beaver.

These past couple of days seem to have been rather busier than I was anticipating and although I've got a head full of ideas for blog posts, there they must remain until my thinking is clearer and I can write something coherent. Instead please forgive me for taking the lazier option and leaving you with a picture I took recently of the pattern the light made shining through the stained glass on the cathedral column. There was something quite beautiful about it.


Monday 13 November 2017

"A fat slug filled with venom"

Hon Mrs Greville [1863-1942] was a Society Host who moved in the highest circles. She was on personal terms with the Royals of the day [she and her husband were known as The Grovels in some quarters] and the Queen Mother spent her honeymoon at Polesdon Lacey [now NT], her country pile in Surrey.

From the humble beginnings of being born out of wedlock [her parents didn't marry until she was 21] her father, William McEwan, made his millions from brewing. Upon his death and as his only heir, she inherited his extraordinary wealth and her meteoric rise continued when she married Ronald Greville, eldest son of the 2nd Baron Greville. Sadly she was widowed relatively young in 1908. Without children of her own and limitless funds at her disposal, she became famous for the lavish parties she threw. However, although loved and admired by many, the Hostess with the Mostest made arch enemies of some.

When asked by an opposite number if she would ever invite Mrs Ronnie [as she was known to her closest friends] for a meal she acidly replied
"I would prefer to have an open sewer in my drawing room".....

I have my Dad to thank for this little snippet which he passed on to me after a visit to the property earlier this week.


Saturday 11 November 2017

11th November

To mark the centenary of each life lost in the Great War a quarter peal is being rung in the village where Mr GBT is a ringer. Each one takes 45 minutes to complete and there will have been 31 done by the time we reach November 2018. Tragic and sobering.

The photo is of an Anglo-German tapestry designed by Ursula Benker-Schirmer. It was stitched both here in West Sussex and Germany and took three and half years to complete. It's theme is one of reconciliation and it now hangs in Chichester Cathedral.


Friday 10 November 2017

Going Boss Eyed.

It's been a while since I've shown anything I'm working on craft wise. Rest assured though I have been plugging away at this little project [little being the operative word] for several weeks. There have been times when I could have happily thrown it out of the window, such is the level of frustration I've had with it, but I am quite steely really and once I set my mind to completing something I tend to see it through. I know how pleased with myself I will be once it's finished, but in all honesty it may well be a one off!

If you are wondering about why I'm using magnifiers this kit is 40 stitches to the inch and my eyesight is much less sharp than it was once upon a time. I can't even see to thread a normal needle without my glasses these days let alone this small. It's a bell pull for my dollshouse and is one of the beautiful kits designed by Nicola Mascall I've had to write all the rows out one by one so that I don't go wrong and limit myself to only a few minutes stitching at a time. N'er mind I'm slowly getting there. I've just popped up another photo to give you an idea of the scale I'm trying to work to.

It will come as no great surprise to any fellow stitchers out there in blogland to hear that I've already got my next project lined up and ready to go!


Thursday 9 November 2017

You've been reframed!

Which part of my brain thinks it's a good idea to change the frame on a picture on a whim half an hour before you have friends arriving for brunch....mine apparently. I can confirm that it is definitely not a good idea, because you find out that the mount has faded and this fact shows up nicely within its new setting. Ho hum.

After a couple of days of pondering, I came up with what seems to have been a quick and cheap fix. Having lopped off the nasty mark and reduced the size of the mount I set to with ruler and pencil in hand to draw out a very simple Viking design I'd seen on line [artistic is not my middle name] which I then drew over in two shades of gold pen. It doesn't bear too close an inspection, but it's worked out fine and is now hanging in my front room [note to self...must reposition it so it's equidistant from the top and bottom!]. The frame came from a box marked free outside a former art shop in the town and the image is of the lovely St Nectan's Glen in Cornwall.


Wednesday 8 November 2017


I won't be mentioning the 'C' word this month, but I have made the mincemeat. Heavenly smells and great joy in hurling it all in and then sloshing a bit of brandy and rum in. Stir it all round and bung it in a lidded box in the fridge to marinade for a few weeks. My kind of "cooking"๐Ÿ˜‹


Tuesday 7 November 2017

At 11.03 precisely....

Lord Fairhaven was a chap who liked things to be precise. If the butler brought dinner in at 8pm sharp, it was impossible to his mind to say that dinner would be served at 8pm too as the process would take 3 minutes. For this reason dinner at Anglesey Abbey was always served at 8.03. He was a gentleman who saw that his shoelaces were ironed and that the maid went behind him sweeping away the shape of the footprints he left on the carpet pile. Beyond his quirks [perhaps we would call this attention to detail "obsessive" in today's parlance] he was a man who dreamt big and delivered. The skylight garden was one of his ideas.

The grounds of the property are ones which span all the mean feat to achieve I would imagine. As we were there at the crossover many of the gem coloured dahlias were still flowering their little socks off, yet the promise of the forthcoming months could already been seen in the subtle autumnal hues and the architectural skeletons of the plants in the borders. The trees are Himalayan Birches. Even on a gloomy day their beautiful trunks were reflecting the light. It's one of those National Trust places which seems to be able to cater to many tastes successfully.


Monday 6 November 2017

Dot's Cookies

I was forced [yes forced๐Ÿ˜] to make a batch of this new-to me recipe and then I was forced to taste them in the name of quality control. I rarely make biscuits, but these were for this month's Repair Cafe with maybe a couple held back for us here at GBT. Mr GBT is rather partial to a biscuit, particularly if it's homemade.

Lightly grease two baking trays and preheat oven to 190C. Chop 3oz plain chocolate [I did mine in the mixer first and then tipped it out]. Blitz together 3 oz caster sugar, 3oz soft brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extra, pinch salt, 6oz SR flour, 3oz soft marg [I used a blended butter] with one medium egg. Add the chocolate in just before the end of the whizzing. Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mix on the trays and bake for 8-10 mins [mine were bigger so took 10]. Leave to cool on a wire tray.

If you are curious as to the Dot reference...she was a lovely lady I used to housesparkle for who sadly died earlier this year. We often used to enjoy one of these or her cheese drops [recipe here ] with a cup of coffee for our elevenses on a Wednesday.


Friday 3 November 2017

Not empty handed.

This is Henry VIII in all his glory outside Trinity College, Cambridge holding a very fine chair leg in his hand. Rumour had it that it was placed there by some wag, but now it is thought that it was the handiwork of a now retired window cleaner, Peter Binge, who put it there as a joke and where, to this day, it has remained

Hope you have a lovely weekend. Fingers crossed that mine includes a spot of mincemeat making at some point!


Thursday 2 November 2017

The good, the bad and the ugly.

After the exquisite ceiling knew it could only go one way didn't you and that was never going to be up!

The Lady chapel in Ely is the biggest in the also has some of the more "out there" roof bosses I have seen in my time [and I have seen a few believe me]. One wonders with some of these whether their creators had been on the henbane beer....

It all starts off rather well.....most jolly and wholesome....

But, then it begins to nosedive with this array of maverick characters.....

Before we get to the ugly....hand on heart, I have never seen the like before. Actually I find it quite disturbing and it feels like a dire warning against man's proclivity towards deviant behaviour. However, it's much smaller than the others and so high up that its detail couldn't be seen with the naked eye. As someone commented on the Strange Things Found In Churches group over on Facebook it may, of course, be nothing more than a Medieval depiction of the measles! If you have any other theories please do share!

Well what more can I say?๐Ÿ‘€


Peace and Love

 Peace and love...two things the world needs more than ever. I saw the painted house when I was away recently and came across these two beau...