Monday 30 April 2018

Aril and the sparkling omission.

Tea break at Mythago practice on a Wednesday is the time when we're supposed to discuss important Mythago related matters such as up and coming gigs etc. In reality it's a free for all when we all dive into the biscuit tins like a pack of hungry wolves and catch up on all the gossip.

This week I proudly told my friends how I had found a linen black dress and a sparkly silver body [like a leotard] for Mr GBT in the charity shop and how chuffed I was that it still had its original label in it so was therefore unworn. Frankly I was a bit baffled about why B asked me if I meant the tops which had the poppers along the bottom......

The penny dropped when I realised that I had omitted to explain that these garments were chosen with the express intention of cutting them up into tatters for Mr GBT's new rag jacket. Knowing Mr GBT's standard attire of check shirts, woollen jumpers, Clark's shoes. the vision of him in a glittery top is quite something! Those around me were killing themselves when I finally explained myself!

Perhaps I should point out that I don't give a stuff what people choose to wear, but with that little frisson of surprise it's given me the perfect excuse to share Lola by The Kinks.


Friday 27 April 2018

A Sneaky Tweak

Take one rather dull charity shopped navy for purpose yet instantly forgettable....three fab buttons bought from the Foundling Museum shop and one Aril, who for the first time in her life, has done within the week what she promised on Saturday....i.e picked up a needle and stitched them on rather than adding it to the multiplying stash of unfinished projects and ta-dah!

There seems to be an award for just about everything these days so if you'd be so kind as to give me a gold star in the category of "Just Getting On With It" I'd be very appreciative! A small change, but a definite improvement upon the original methinks.


Thursday 26 April 2018

Through The Twitten

Now I'm a gal that likes to work to a list when out doing distractions, bish, bash, bosh and back to GBT. Mission Accomplished. On my last day off I had the luxury of time and feeling frivolous, I decided to go off piste and use a twitten [Sussex word for alley] I'd never noticed before. It brought me to a recreation ground which I had taken TYM to along with another Mum and her baby a couple of times when they were wee mites. Never been back since.

Luckily for me since my last visit one of the local schools, working in conjunction with artists, has made this rather splendid mosaic marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar [the roads around there are Nelson themed]. Now we're not talking recently here....2005 it was put up. I shared the photos on our town's FB page expecting to be the only one who had never seen it. However, I was wrong...apparently this little delight is so well tucked away that many of the locals who are far more familiar with the town didn't know it either. It's that naive quality of the little children's work I enjoy so much.

It's always worth having a never know what might be waiting for you!


Wednesday 25 April 2018

Tuesday 24 April 2018

"Go Gentle Babe"

These poignant words appear above one of the displays at the Foundling Museum and the entire visit with Lovely Grey tore at my heart strings at times. Many people still have very difficult lives and suffer, but the sheer level of abject poverty which drove women to abandon their babies on the streets is hard for me to imagine in our country now. The sight of these infants in Rotherhithe drove Thomas Coram to set up the Foundling hospital in 1739 and to give the Mothers a chance to save their children and offer them a better life.

By no means were all those who sought the support of the hospital accepted. Mothers had to prove they were not wanton and their children had to be disease free. Upon entry the past was stripped away from the babies as they were allotted a number and a new name. The photo shows one of the books in which the details of the child were recorded including any distinguishing marks. A piece of fabric from the clothing was removed and cut in half with one piece being handed back to the Mother and they were asked to leave a small token of sorts for ease of identification should her fortunes change and she wish to reclaim her child at a later date. Some did- Anne Costley left her son in 1759 with a gold buckle. Tragically when she returned ten weeks later he had died.

These tokens were all the destitute could afford...a flattened thimble, coins with personal messages engraved on one side and this beautiful hand made heart. The museum haven't yet been able to match it to the original entry, but it has a small slip of paper pinned to the back with "William" on it.

The children were sent to foster parents for the first three years before returning to the hospital where many were apprenticed from as young as nine. There's a film playing which records the experience of those in the care of the foundation in the run up to WWII and it was the recollections of the lack of affection [the only time they had contact was when they were being punished] and the fact that they had nobody they could confide in which struck me. Thankfully there was a sea change in attitude after that and now Coram focuses on the fostering and adoption of children.

There were these moments when it made me stop and take a sharp intake of breath, but believe you me the day was more than balanced out with much laughter, a trip to a pub and a visit to a trippy art installation called "The Alien Sex Club". Honestly you couldn't make this stuff up! There'll be another gad about with Lovely Grey later in the year!


Monday 23 April 2018

St George's Day 2018

This rather stunning depiction of the Saint and the dispatched dragon could only be Victorian in my humble's got more than a whiff of the Romantic Arthurian look about it [St Martin's in Dorking]. Prior to being a Morris dancer I'd never done/been to anything to celebrate England's patron saint, but with the gorgeous day we had yesterday I was out clashing sticks and bending the old elbow at a local watering hole. It seems extraordinary that it is five years ago already that a very nervous Aril had her first dance out on this very same date and at the same pub.

I still get a few butterflies just before I perform, but I'm able to enjoy the experience nowadays rather than feeling like a rabbit caught in the headlights. It was the turn of our newest member to get the jitters today and how do I know that you might well ask?! Ta-dah

Why Mr GBT has joined the Mythago musicians....that's him lurking over by the wall with his mandolin and new hat! He survived the ordeal and is looking forwards to joining us on a regular basis as a participant rather than a spectator...hmmm suppose that means I'm going to have to carry all my own kit now he has his own tut to lug about!


Thursday 19 April 2018

A Sprinkle of Fairy Dust

Never one to be put off once on a mission I popped by the known site of a fairy door elsewhere in the town today...a little spot of persistence paid off.  The contents have changed since I first saw the photos last week on Faceache so do wonder whether it's a geocache.

Whoever has been busy creating this little bit of magic around out town I'd like to thank them for putting a sparkle in my life this week🌠🌠🌠


Wednesday 18 April 2018

One fine Spring day.

At last it seems Spring has decided to put in an appearance albeit fashionably late. Seeing as the weather forecast had been threatening sunshine rather than shunshine for once and positively balmy [or should that read barmy!] temperatures I invited my chum E along to look for fairy doors in the local park.

Yes you read that right....a local social media group giving me even more madcap ideas [as if she didn't have enough of her own I hear you sigh] has got a lot to answer for! I have to say we were singularly unlucky in our quest and decided that had we still had four year old children rather than late teens/early twenties we would have probably been more successful. No matter was also about catching up after E has had an enforced period of rest for several weeks. She's a whizz on her trees and I always come away having learnt something new. There was a lot of very gentle pootling and a great deal more energetic chattering!

All of a sudden everything is bursting forth with new buds on the trees and budding flowers. The first photo is of a Wedding Tier tree [a new one on me ] and the yellow "cowslips" somehow didn't look quite right to me based on previous ones I've seen. I checked with People Who Know and they are indeed False Oxlips which are a hybrid cross between primroses and cowslips.

This very old oak looks like a moose on one side and now I know that the London Plane has a distinctive camouflage trunk I now find that not only are they in the park, but also growing along the road where I live. Typical!

Part of the enjoyment of these fuss free trips with E [aside from the promise of the delights of the cafe] is simply observing and nattering over our shared experience be that a sighting of a tufted duck, a moving memorial to a loved one on a bench or stroking the dragon in the middle of the maze.

Thankfully there are plenty of secluded spots in which to simply sit and watch the world go by.

On the way out I noticed this lovely little vista of the wild violets growing on the top of the park wall. The perfect end to a lovely afternoon.


Tuesday 17 April 2018

Flower Power

We are at the very earliest stages of starting a conversation about buying a new set of wheels [when I say new I mean new to us] as the old girl has given us good service, but things are just starting to go a bit Pete Tong. This may not even happen until next year, but we're looking to see what might tick the boxes.

Now if it was down to me I'd choose this one in a heartbeat.

I'm not sure that Mr GBT entirely agrees with my criteria of blooms and bumblebees as being a logical argument. I am afterall that girl who when told somebody has a new car simply wants to know what colour it is. I couldn't give a fiddler's flute as to the make....I use the same principle when choosing wine....once the price is right then it's down to how pretty the label is, a quirky name or an unusually shaped/coloured bottle. I know I'm a hopeless case aren't I! I saw this delightful car in the Uppark carpark a few days ago.


Monday 16 April 2018

Pack it in!

It seems Humphrey has decided to try out the delights of a term away at uni too and no matter how many times TYM evicted him back he came. Being all black he blended in rather well with the luggage and even more so when he hid in the big black laundry bag. To say TYM was getting a bit hacked off at his sheer persistence and antics is an understatement. Finding him snuggled down on his clean pile of clothes was the final straw and he found himself unceremoniously plonked on the other side of the closed bedroom door.

We did check the feline's whereabouts before embarking on our trip to take Himself back!


Thursday 12 April 2018

Below Stairs

Evening has been poking around the NT property of Uppark. I took my camera hoping to wow you with all the splendour of the posh rooms, but alas and alack I was thwarted because of a rule which only allows pictures in the servants' quarters. No matter.

If I can't show you images of the real thing why not the not so tiny dollshouse downstairs eh!

This rather magnificent 18th century edifice belonged to Sarah Lethieullier and she brought it to Uppark upon her marriage to Matthew Fetherstonhaugh in 1746. She was quite the gal because she accompanied her husband on the Grand Tour to Italy...a most unusual state of affairs for a woman to enter what had traditionally been very much a male only domain. No doubt a few eyebrows were raised at her impertinence.

The property seems to have had more than its fair share of strong willed women. The miniature servants might be depicted as mute and servile in this setting, but I should think there was a great deal of tittle tattling as the staff went about their work below stairs. One can only imagine the conversations held in the kitchen, the scullery or even the Butler's Pantry......

...after the rumours of one rather fast lady [for want of a better word] called Emma Hart dancing on the tables naked [you might know her better as Lady Hamilton, mistress of Nelson] or when old Sir Henry Fetherstonhaugh married the estate dairy maid who was fifty years his junior. Perhaps these tales were related to a young H G Wells when his mother, Sarah, was the housekeeper in the late 1800s. She was very hard of hearing and a special extra homemade set of bells had to be rigged up so that she would know when her services were required. The writer later recalled just how hopeless she was at her role and eventually she was sacked by the family!

From my perspective I was keen to find out what an old piece of bone was doing amongst all the shoe cleaning stuff and what on earth the butler used the curved tool for.

The marvellous room steward [is there anything they don't know?! I am in awe!] sated my curiousity and I now know the former was for pushing the polish into the boots to waterproof them and the latter was heated and then used to iron out the creases of top hats. That little bit of info was enough to keep me happy and sally forth to refresh myself with a well deserved cuppa and a bun!


Wednesday 11 April 2018


As you have probably noticed it is not that unusual for me to take a wander around a cemetery if the opportunity presents itself. Quietly reading inscriptions and taking in the details of the individual stones, it gives me quiet thinking time and the chance to step back for just a few minutes.

Again taken at SS Mary and Gabriel in South Harting these two graves stood out to me. On the first one I found the quote very moving. Since poking about online I now find it's by Edith Sitwell.

"Love is not changed by death. And nothing is lost and all in the end is harvest."

This one though was the one I found particularly touching. Amongst all the more standard skulls and cherubs was this 18th century one with the lovely personalised depiction of the couple kissing. I've certainly never seen the like before. The 8/9 part of the date has had me scratching my head! Can anyone enlighten me as to why it is shown in this way please?

Until tomorrowxx


Tuesday 10 April 2018

The Angel of the South

Grand plans for watching the wife carrying race over at Dorking were swiftly cancelled when the rain persisted [hopefully next year the weather will play ball] and a new scheme was hatched.

En route to our final destination we stopped off in the small West Sussex village of South Harting. There's not a great deal there, but we did as per usual take a quick shuftie at the church of SS Mary and Gabriel. As it's never been on the radar really I didn't know what to expect, but as ever I have been surprised.

This is the Archangel Gabriel who is seen as an uplifting symbol of  hope. The near invisible suspension wires make him look as if he really is descending in flight. The figure is life size and was created by the sculptor Philip Jackson. Commissioned by a private benefactor it is in memory of Charlie. Whilst not a religious person, I was able to admire the piece as a work of art showing me once again the beauty of when humans are creative rather than destructive as is oft our wont.


Friday 6 April 2018

Collecting the collective

The first time I learnt the collective noun for crows...a murder of crows I was hooked on this often strange way of naming groups of animals and birds. Most will know a gaggle of geese, yet it's a skein when they're flying. These differing nouns occur with other breeds depending on their activity at a given time. Sometimes a breed will have more than one collective noun or one noun will cover more than one type- a parliament of owls or rooks anyone? From the lists I've got in a couple of my books they don't get any less peculiar the more you look into it either. Rather than repeat verbatim another's research this article offers up some theories as to where the descriptions derive from

These are just a few of my personal favourites.....a bouquet of pheasants, a piteousness of doves, a scold of jays, a convocation of eagles, a deceit of lapwings, an unkindness of ravens, a richness of martens or if you prefer the animal ones, a business of ferrets or a kindle of kittens. There are many more I could have chosen from! All quite intriguing if slightly barmy and unfathomable! And no don't ask me what the birds in hats is all about...I was just overthrilled to have found a corvid in a hat last week to match my pheasant in knitwear from last year!


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...