Tuesday 31 July 2018


[Image from Pixabay]

We use the verb "to whiffle" in completely the wrong way at GBT.  Here it means to catch a whiff of something that set your nostrils a-twitching in a good way. Usually it's as in "stop whiffling" when the black hairy feline starts pushing his nose too close to our food!

When the rain first fell on Friday afternoon it was the smell of the rain on the earth coming through the open door at my client's house which first drew my attention. Over the weekend I learnt there's a proper name for it- petrichor. It got me thinking about other scents which I enjoy. In no particular order some which sprang to mind are

vanilla, freshly cut grass, laundry dried outside, striking matches, baking bread, creosote, the sea as you approach the coast, frying bacon and onions, lilac, boiling tar, fresh coffee, manure [I know!] and my personal favourite....woodsmoke in old cottages during the winter.


Monday 30 July 2018


Having revealed last week that Mr GBT is not a marrow fan imagine my surprise to be greeted by this monstrous thing on our kitchen worktop when I got in from work on Friday!

"It was disguised" said Mr GBT....he has yet to explain what he believes it was disguised as....๐Ÿ˜„ I think that will make enough pasta sauce to see us out!


Friday 27 July 2018

In the pub car park.

I liked this play on words I saw in a pub car park a few weeks ago. Have a good weekend one and all!


Thursday 26 July 2018

Thrifty Things

Another in the very occasional series of thrifty posts that feature on this 'ere old bloglet of mine.

What the heck is that you might very well ask....

Walking back from a client's last week I noticed that her neighbour had left two marrows on their wall for passers by to help themselves to. Free food my brain thought...ugh thought Mr GBT who hates the stuff with a passion.  Pressure on then to do something exciting with it and get it past the marrow hating barrier. This recipe saved me https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2493639/spanish-stuffed-marrow I used strong cheddar instead to keep it budget friendly. Veggie version would be tasty too methinks. It fed us for two meals plus more of the filling left for tortilla wraps next week and leftover breadcrumbs now frozen.

Have just finished this month's bookclub choice of "The Immortalists" by Chloe Benjamin. 50 pennies to order it from the library. Result and no clutter.

Vix over at Vintage Vixen always maintains if you wait long enough whatever item of clothing you want will eventually appear in the charity shop. I've fancied having a pair of turquoise/blue sandals for a couple of summers, but never seen the right ones at the right price. My luck has changed and all for the princely sum of £2.50.

As is the case for many the garden is producing now [lower yields with no rain granted] so batches of courgette pasta sauce have been made and Mr GBT has started a new lot of elderflower wine with the blooms we had picked earlier in the season [frozen due to lack of time].

Entertainment wise it doesn't get much wilder than evenings spent repainting the garage door [front door and porch next if I can withstand the anticipation] and finding ways of driving our new [well new to us] car in the most economical way possible. We've not had air conditioning since 2005 when the company car went after Mr GBT was made redundant. It's been such a luxury these past few days!

More excitement to follow...food audit to be done this weekend. It's ok you'll be spared the photos I promise!


Wednesday 25 July 2018

Sheep Pasture

If you mention the hamlet of Shipley to anyone in this neck of the woods the chances are that they will tell you it's got a windmill [a smock mill I am reliably informed no less]. It once belonged to Hilaire Belloc and may be familiar to those who have watched "Jonathan Creek".

My motivation for swinging by was to investigate the rumour that the parish church has a standing stone as these are as rare as hen's teeth in West Sussex.

Well did it deliver on its promise? That all depends on who you believe. There is no doubt a large block of stone in the porch.

The church guide says it's a medieval post possibly for mooring posts. We shall never know, but what I do know is that the composer, John Ireland's grave is definitely made from ancient sarsen stones. He was inspired by ancient sites and traditions with a touch of what we might term today as paganism thrown in. I didn't think I'd ever heard any of his music, but digging around on Youtube has proved me wrong.

The church is one of the oldest Norman ones in the county. There's been much Victorianising going on, but these two fellows escaped their clutches. This is the first time I've ever seen corbels with traces of paint on them. It never occurred to me that they might have been colourful originally. I like the grinning one especially!

The mill again captured in one of the stained glass windows.

But why the seemingly irrelevant blog title you might ask. Shipley is derived from the Old English for sheep pasture. It is still the case as I was amazed to see that a goodly chunk of the churchyard is fenced off for a flock to graze. It was quite a surprise to see them wandering through! I gather it's quite common elsewhere, but not here. As I'm always a sucker for a black sheep I'll love you and leave you with this rather toothy one.

Until next time.


Tuesday 24 July 2018

Brushes and Combs

July and 'tis Teasel time. Rather a striking architectural plant whatever the season it's very attractive to the bees as this time of year and many has been the time I've seen flocks of Goldfinches feasting on its desiccated heads in the colder months.

The old country name of "Brushes and Combs" harks back to when it was used to comb the wool or tease it [hence its more familiar name], but it's also been called Venus Basin in its time. The rainwater which collects in the cuplike formation of its leaves traditionally was thought to ease eye conditions.

Apparently in ancient Ireland this was the plant of choice for the first layer of the thatch and it crops up as the companion plant of the Germanic household Goddess Hulda. I've certainly seen it used in crafts and as part of floral arrangements. A blue dye can be extracted from the dried flowers. Recent research suggests that the roots might be able to combat Lyme Disease, although further testing is needed.

We simply enjoyed the spectacle of banks full of Teasel and Fleabane on a recent walk we went on.


Monday 23 July 2018

What's for dinner?

That is indeed the question I am to be found often asking myself in the week running up to friends coming for dinner. I'm quite good at planning a menu, buying the ingredients, doing the prep and cooking in advance. What I'm not good at is cooking for guests when they're actually there. It all sends me into a flat spin and Mr GBT does the honours. For that reason alone I'm sure some of our friends think I never cook as they're never physically allowed to see the evidence!

I like feeding the friends who came last night. She's an excellent cook [former caterer], but they're both always really enthusiastic about what we serve up [or extremely polite, but they keep coming back]. She's veggie which doesn't present any problems, but has also been diagnosed as a Coeliac within the last couple of years. She is desperate to not put anyone to any trouble and always offers to bring her own food, but I can't bear the thought of that. There's always a way round these things and one thing I know for sure is S likes cake๐Ÿ˜

Feeling a little braver than normal I was able to get a veggie tagine going in the slow cooker early on and I trialled a new lemon polenta cake recipe [something I never normally risk doing under such circumstances]. It promised to be easy and it delivered on its promise. The cake was really lemony and the only tweak I'd make is a bit more baking powder and maybe a bit less sugar. I served it with cream and it tasted lovely. Too rich for seconds though.  Recipe here https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/flourless-lemon-polenta-drizzle-cake

As they say "the proof of the pudding is in the eating"!


Friday 20 July 2018


After a year's hiatus I've been able to juggle my work commitments and reinstate my alternate Tuesday off. I hadn't realised just how much I'd missed it and this time I've promised myself that I will keep it clear. That dratted Protestant Work Ethic of mine! This one provided the ideal opportunity to travel up to Kingston and catch up with Arty L.

No photos this time as the day was about coffee and nattering as we took the boat up the river to Hampton Court. That said I couldn't resist this lop-eared bunny which was painted on the side of the cafe near the jetty. 

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend!


Thursday 19 July 2018

The Grovels

This rather nice little pad is Polesden Lacey and was once one of the properties belonging to Ronald and Margaret Greville. Nowadays it's in the hands of the NT, so the hoi polloi can wander its corridors, but I expect news of this would send Mrs Greville spinning in her grave. In her time she was one of the richest women in the country and one of the top society hosts. An invitation to one of her famous weekend parties meant you had made it socially for this was a lady who entertained members of the Royal Family. She was a political animal who sought out those she believed could further her power and influence and it's not for nothing they were called The Grovels in some quarters. Margaret turned brown nosing into a higher art form and made some outspoken enemies along the way.

On previous occasions I've never really warmed to this particular house. However, it made a perfect mid way point to meet friends for a picnic a couple of weeks ago and it was good to get the chance to go back and have a refresh.

A few photos from the day.

Mrs Greville laid down a very strict dress code for her guests. Each was to bring five outfits, so they were fully prepared for all the different laid on entertainment. One needed a Sunday Best, tweeds for sporting activities, informal but smart casual wear, something suitable for tea [her tea dress is shown below] and party gear. It was obviously all rather a headache for poor Mrs G if the comment about the red carpet is anything to go by.

This room most definitely is not to my taste....it would appear that I am not the first person to have had this reaction!

However, there is one little piece of furniture which stole my heart when I went before. This little unobtrusive Polish Draughts table which sits quietly off to one side. The board comes out and underneath is a Solitaire board [all the counters and dice are kept in the side drawers]

Perhaps you might be wondering how I know this level of detail about a single piece. When I said it stole my heart I wasn't exaggerating. Mr GBT went back and sketched it for me, so that I could have my very own copy for my dollshouse. We have sold several others since, but I still have the original!


Wednesday 18 July 2018

A Fond Final Farewell

Sometimes you have an experience which is like no other. This happened to me last week when I went to the wake of a lovely chap who died too young from cancer. He wasn't a chap I knew terribly well, but I've known the family for a long time now and they invited me along. R was a gentle chap, laid back and always one his friends could turn to in a crisis. The one thing he didn't like was formality of any sort and he was quite adamant that his send off should reflect his take on life.

To carry out R's wishes the family went off piste. Rather than the traditional service, funeral directors and flowers the coffin was ordered online and decorated by his closest friends with quotes and symbols which were personal to him. They were able to collect him from the mortuary, have him present in the garden whilst they celebrated his life and then drop him off at the crematorium a couple of hours later. Somehow having him there and being able to stand around sharing memories, tales of his exploits and shed a few quiet tears just seemed so right. There was a pile of green sticky notes in the shapes of apples next to the coffin so those that chose to could write messages. The making and drinking of cider was very important to R! He left as he had arrived on the back of his friend's trailer, but this time to a round of bangs as we all let party poppers off!

I had permission to take photos and the family have already shared images on social media.


Tuesday 17 July 2018

More Woolly Wonders

As promised... a few more from the knitting exhibition I went to at the weekend. The stunning moths are by Max Alexander and the other lovelies are by knitters from the town. I had no idea there was a book of patterns for the Nudiknits characters as featured here https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2016/05/taking-knitting-to-whole-new-level.html . This is Barbara I do believe!

No knitting to be found on my needles at the moment. Instead I'm slowly stitching a bird's skull which is probably a little less mainstream than many designs, but it's to my taste. This gentleman, Sam Barsky, seems to be incredibly productive. I wonder what he does with all those jumpers he creates? https://www.sadanduseless.com/funny-sweater-guy/ 


Monday 16 July 2018

Woolly Works of Art

Well known masterpieces recreated in wool by The Materialistics using knitting, crochet and sewing. Currently on display in our local museum in their latest free exhibition called "Knitwits". I'll endeavour to share a few more shots tomorrow.

They are very effective.


Friday 13 July 2018

Whilst waiting for your flight....

Brussels Airport has found a rather novel way to promote its country's artwork. This installation is called Cupid Skullmapping.


Thursday 12 July 2018

Care to share?

This eclectic group of items came home with me on Sunday and cost not one groat. It was part of Sussex Green Living's inaugural Share Fair and is an idea designed to bring the community together. On this occasion I must admit I didn't get involved with either the organisation or volunteer on the day [beyond making the recycling boards] as I've just taken on a load more recycling sorting for them.

This year they had various pop up stalls including ones doing wild food cookery, the Repair Cafe, recycled crafts and a handful of stalls which were literally giving things away [I did donate some bits too].  Next year it's hoped to make it a bigger affair with people sharing skills and building connections. The concept is simple...just sharing and no money changing hands. I hope to be able to be on board by then.

Finding the peacock feathers was perfect timing. Mr GBT had just been bemoaning his lack of suitable feathers on his Morris hat and I think a few would just finish my peacock inspired coloured dancing mask perfectly. Seeing as it won't get another outing until December even I haven't got the excuse of lack of time to get on with it!


Wednesday 11 July 2018

Not a grey day!

Just a random selection of colourful shots from the weekend. Hasn't the weather been glorious so far this summer!

It's lovely just to be able to go out and kick my heels in the sunshine!


Tuesday 10 July 2018

Sew far sew good.

My Mum let me take this sewing machine from her loft a few years ago when I was helping her to undertake a major declutter and sort. In my head I had grandiose plans of getting it serviced and then learning how to make my own clothes. Two years ago I plonked it on my bedroom floor, bought some replacement bobbins and then there it sat๐Ÿ˜Š

Let's be realistic if it was going to ever happen it would surely have happened by now....all it's been doing since is getting in my way and making me feel a bit guilty. Freecycle is my saviour....I offered it last week not expecting many replies and was quite taken aback by the huge number of requests. In the end I plumped for the lady who has a contact who services the machines. It's then going out to a part of Malawi which has no electricity and it will be given to a lady who will be able to set up her own tailoring business. Sewing for her local community will enable her to put her children through school.

I am simply delighted that my decluttering has resulted in some good.



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...