Friday 23 February 2018

Frou Frou Friday

You might want to double click this to see what made me smile when it came up on my FB feed. Hope you have a lovely weekend one and all.


Thursday 22 February 2018

Thursday madness.

[image from Pixabay]

"You're mad, bonkers, off your head...but I'll tell you a secret, all the best people are!"

This famous quote known to many is, of course, from the pen of Lewis Carroll. This mad old bird has scheduled a post for tomorrow, but is having a mini blogging break. I've been running on near empty for a few weeks now and am in need of a brief breather. Back soonxx


Wednesday 21 February 2018


Recently Mr GBT and I attended a talk given by a local archaeologist in which he reviewed the findings in the district for 2017. There's a massive ongoing housing project here, so the archaeologists are called on site to record the area before everything is permanently erased. It had always been assumed that there was no Bronze or Iron Age occupation this far inland [evidence points to the dwellings being on the coast], but we now know this not to be the case as post holes and circular features indicating roundhouses have shown up. People have been living and farming here for millennia.

At the end the chap who'd overseen the project asked if we had any questions. I asked him simply what he considered personally to be the best find [the soil conditions are not good for preservation here]. After a moment's consideration he replied it was a stone he'd found in the spoil. It was shiny and at first he'd thought it was just a bit of broken glass. He showed it to the on site specialist who told him that it was a worked Paleolithic stone, but showed further Bronze Age workings on one side which had altered its shape yet again. He himself had found it in the Iron Age ditch and he said  the idea that a small number of people had been attracted to this one stone and then lost it, only for it to be refound later and treasured once again with that connection right back to our ancestors he found just incredible.

This exchange has put me in mind of the latest Reading Club book I've just completed.

It's a non fiction book [very short] about the author's search for inner silence in our noisy and distracting world. With a very simple format of short chapters and an easy, accessible style of writing, Erling Kagge is able to explain his ideas is a light, but informative way and it certainly gave me lots of food for thought. Having learnt about the dopamine loop I now understand why I lose so much time pointlessly twonking about on the internet if I'm not mindful of my usage. For that reason alone I've now removed Yahoo from my phone [Facebook and Messenger were taken off on an earlier cull]. I enjoyed the book and the varied anecdotes he told by way of illustration, but the one which springs to mind is the reaction of the Americans who had been holed up and isolated at their base at the South Pole for months. One Christmas somebody smuggled stones in for everybody...when you have been surrounded by ice and snow for anything up to a year and been denied the sight of something so mundane and everyday as a stone the childlike wonder of something so "simple" is reignited. I borrowed my copy from the library, but it really is worth a read if this kind of genre is your thing.

For me realising just the sheer breadth of colours and variation of shape of the stones on Clovelly beach last summer was enough for me to stop and take the photo at the top. I didn't bring one home as I reckoned the memory would be enough. People have clearly been doing this very same thing with stones over a very long time!


Tuesday 20 February 2018


[image from Pixabay]

I suspect I might be a bit of a nightmare when I'm out with friends and loved ones...I'm that person who always stops to read notices or further investigate anything which catches my eye....if it proves its worth then I'll go even further and take a photo. Some of my best finds have come to me this way....further investigations when I'm back at GBT have led me down all sorts of unexpected avenues and provided me with all sorts of stories.

It's from this habit I learnt last summer that at one time dockers had their pockets sewn up to stop them from helping themselves to peppercorns when unloading the boats. It seems incredible that something we consider so everyday now could at one time have been so expensive. With that little nugget it would be a shame not to dig a little deeper and share a little more about these shrivelled little berries.

Pepper and the trading of it has been with us for a long time. It's been used in cooking for more than 7000 years and when the Visigoths sacked Rome back in the day they not only demanded gold and silver in ransom, but a further 3000lb of black peppercorns. In the Middle Ages a man's wealth was measured by his stockpile of pepper....incredibly it was worth more than silver in weight! It remains the most traded spice with Vietnam being the biggest producer.

It would seem it's a highly versatile product which has seen it being put to use in many different ways during history. Ramesses II had peppercorns inserted into his nostrils as part of his mummification. Here's a small selection of some of the other things you might like to try....

A teaspoon of ground black pepper added to your laundry stops colours from bleeding and fading when you wash them.

Pepper can deter ants.

Put pepper round your plants to stop pests.

It has many health benefits including being an aid alleviating tooth ache and indigestion.

Being a simple soul I just use it in cooking. My absolute favourite is grinding black pepper over fresh pineapple [others swear by strawberries]. Take it from me it's delicious!


Monday 19 February 2018

Pot luck

Why, you might well wonder, is the dotty old bird showing us a picture of a pot which has clearly seen better days?!! I'm delighted with my latest piece of free treasure which has been rescued from a client's garage where it was destined to be taken to the tip.

Allow me to rewind. Last week I was chatting to and admiring a smaller version of this pot which was sitting on her kitchen side. She revealed that she had a bigger version, but unfortunately it had got badly burnt on the bottom at some point and was now no longer fit for purpose. She was delighted to hand it over when I confided that I had a cunning plan.....

As of this week I've volunteered to do additional recycling sorting for Sussex Green Living. We get given a lot of plastic tops which are muddled in with other things or not suitable for the Terracycle Brigades we run. With a weird penchant for sorting and being a bit of a neat freak, this new role not only frees up others, but I can do it at my leisure and will be able to ensure that it all goes in the right waste streams rather than being sent to landfill. Some will be hived off for the Aircare programme, milk bottle tops or others with specific codes get sold onto a commercial company and the money helps a local special needs charity [TYM has done voluntary work for them] and the remainder goes to Lush.

My new pot will be the perfect storage container for the Lush tops and it's been a double luck whammy because the lid is the perfect fit for another pan which came from a bootsale years ago and turned out to be more useful than I could ever have imagined. At the moment I use a metal tray to cover it, but without a handle it burns my fingers!

Signing off one very happy womble. Repurposing in action!


Friday 16 February 2018

Frou Frou Friday

Once you've heard Mr Kay's alternative lyrics it's difficult to unhear them!

Hope you all have a smashing weekend!


Thursday 15 February 2018

In my element.

As one with a fascination with and a natural affinity for the ancient sites in this country, it's been a real boon to find there is a whole series of short programmes about this very topic available on Youtube. They're quite light in style, but a good one for starters on the topic of our megalithic landscape. Hanging around on archaeological groups on social media has its pluses!


Wednesday 14 February 2018

Two nicks

I have somebody over on the Strange Things Found in Churches FB group to thank for this little gem after I'd put this rather head scratchingly odd image up there. It's a window in King's College Chapel, Cambridge and looked decidedly unfathomable to me. Now I know it as "the swan with two nicks" [old spelling of necks] which denoted the loyalty of the life long partnership of swans. As today's Valentine's Day [which as usual I'm studiously ignoring] it seems rather in keeping with all things love/relationship related.

Hope you enjoy your Wednesday whatever you're up to!💖


Tuesday 13 February 2018


No word of a lie.....I stood in front of this postbox a few weeks back and seriously wondered why the cipher on this postbox read Elizabeth VII! In my defence I was still very woolly headed and unwell, but really?!

Once the fog had cleared and the farthing had dropped I registered that it was, of course, an Edwardian one....I know I "saw" one once but only because it was pointed out to me. I don't know if others are like me, but hand on heart I can honestly say that I only pay any attention when I'm looking for one if I've got a letter to post!

This little revelation has piqued my interest so I've had a closer look at some of the boxes [there are numerous designs nationally] on my patch when passing. It's been a revelation to find that Horsham has the whole set bar the very and frankly unsurprisingly rare Edward VIII one [although it's very possible there might be one but I'm not so obsessive to be bothered to go looking specially. If you haven't nodded off yet here they are for your delectation!

The oldest box still in use is on Guernsey [1852] and the first ones on the mainland were seen in London shortly after in 1855. Originally they could be any colour, but then a standard bronze green colour was introduced in 1859. The intention was that they shouldn't be garish and stand out...the plan worked so well that people kept bumping into them, so red it was from 1874. For those with a burning desire to know more may I signpost you to The Letter Box Study Group There always seems to be a group dedicated to any interest no matter how niche it is doesn't there!


Monday 12 February 2018

On a sunny Sunday.

"Popping out for a pop of colour" most definitely was not on the List of Doom for yesterday, but you have to make hay while the sun shines especially at this time of year.

Nymans is our nearest NT place and a godsend for when you just want to go out, but not have to think about it. It never stands still..the planting is constantly evolving, there's an ongoing ever changing cycle of exhibitions and development of the grounds. The latest plans [subject to fund raising] are the opening of the ruined sections of the house which were left standing after the distastrous fire in 1947.

It was so life affirming to see the borders brimming with colour and as for the scent of the Daphne. I thought I had died and gone to heaven!  Take heart Spring really is within touching distance. Enough  from me....I'll just let the pictures do the talking.


Friday 9 February 2018

Frou Frou Friday

With the recent news that the Bayeux Tapestry is coming over here [saw it in France years ago and it was amazing] thought this timely comic twist might amuse.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday 8 February 2018

Creative Thinking

"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere".

Albert Einstein


Wednesday 7 February 2018

On the Green Circle

Following on from yesterday's post a new public sculpture trail on the Green Circle was opened in October....naturally being a curious old bird I felt it my civic duty to go and have a snout!

This zinc and steel creation is more interesting than it perhaps looks at first glance.It represents a railway signalman's lever and an interlocking between points and signals which was invented and patented by a local man, John Saxby. He was motivated to do so following two tragic crashes caused by signal failure on the London to Brighton Line [Burgess Hill is one of the stations] in the 1850s. It's the work of Jon Mills.

A length of film made from a porcelain mosaic represents the life of John Bee-Mason and an incredible life it was too. He was an early leader in the field of filming nature as well as a war photographer. In the 1940s he developed a cure for rheumatism for which the sufferer had to be stung on the arm by a bee and he was an advocate of the curative power of honey. If ever a chap was suited to his name!...I "think" the mason bee is one of the solitary ones. The artist behind this one is Alan Potter.

Emily Temple...a very successful artist and wax flower maker from the town. She bought properties, paid for the building of the church and bequeathed the land which is now the main park. There was something very beautiful about how the artist, Helena Roden, had managed to create something so ethereal yet so robust from steel and resin. With the sunlight shining through the cutaways on the skirt there were some lovely shadows cast.

Prior to finding it I knew that the title of the next piece was "Bluebird Contained". Frankly I didn't know what to expect, but it certainly wasn't this. It transpires that a local engineering company, Norris Bros, created Bluebird 7 and then later the Bluebird car which took the land speed record in 1964. Steve Geliot looked to their revolutionary honeycomb design for the inspiration behind his stainless steel masterpiece.

Of course, as tradition dictates I've left the best....well my best to last. I'm sure others might think differently. The two "Flow of Life" boundary markers which reference the amazing plant and wildlife of the immediate environment. They are carved from green oak by Janine Creaye. It's not the first time I've admired her work. Looking back through the archives it transpires that I went to one of her exhibitions at our museum a couple of years ago
Here they are in all their glory. I couldn't resist the dormouse! 


Tuesday 6 February 2018

"Bugress Hill"

"Bugress Hill" is what our family have called Burgess Hill ever since TYM inadvertently renamed it as a very small person. Although it's really not that far from here, I have only ever been once and that was for one of those interminably long and dull day long business meetings we've probably all had to endure at some point. I couldn't remember anything about it and I have to say a return visit yesterday probably explains why. Originally it was a small place which boomed with the arrival of the railway....everything is Victorian onwards and there is nothing which makes it stand out. What it does have though is the Green Circle.....

This is a fantastic set of different wildlife habitats which have been joined up into one big loop around the outside of the town. In effect it has created one of those all important wildlife corridors which allow the different species to migrate between areas and now some of it has been designated an SSI. The mixed environments of woodland, mill streams [one called Pookebourne from the old English puka meaning goblin or sprite] and the river Adur support rare species of insects including butterflies, animals [dormice] and plants. The wildflower meadows have been such a success story [only 3% of our meadows survive] the seeds are now collected and held at the Millennium Seed Bank!

Anyway enough of my waffle....a few shots we captured yesterday. Magnificent old gnarled trees stand in amongst the hedgerows and alongside newly planted coppices.

The view across to my beloved Downs.

Patterns on a fence post and shadows on the grass.

A dog walker's paradise, but the signs say you can only walk a maximum of six hounds. Dog fouling or let's say the irresponsible, lazy minority chucking filled poo bags is a problem and clearly someone had had enough. These notices were stuck on all the posts we passed!

A walk always throws up a few surprises....mine from yesterday. A decorated stone, a glass panel featuring the local Jack and Jill windmills and an eyecatching bench designed by Alison Steele.

Beyond seeing a few celandine in a sheltered spot and buds on the trees the main attraction at this time of year is the twilight spectacle of the starling murmurations. I am already making plans to make a return visit with my nature loving friend H in the summer. Meanwhile the project is still ongoing and I'll put up more photos tomorrow of what motivated me to visit in the first place.


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...