Friday 30 November 2018

Daft as a brush!

You may vaguely recall that I am the owner of a daft black cat who is obsessed with "helping" [call that hindering] me when I'm trying to brush the carpet and kitchen floor quickly before I head out to work in the morning  Having taken a breather over the warmer months [he tends to head off out on secret cat related missions as soon as he's scarfed down his breakfast] he's back...only bigger and bolder.

A couple of days ago he had whirled himself into a spiral and was snoring his head off on our bed. Huzzah I thought...I shall be able to do the sweeping in peace. One brushstroke down and there's an almighty thud above me and then the sound of a rather stout carcase being propelled down the stairs. Ta-dah he's arrived to assist....since then he's upped the ante and now arrives at what he considers an appropriate time to commence the task. It doesn't matter that I might still be eating...he nags until I start.

Weekends he's declared are simply awful for there's no routine and he is suffering from FOMO [Fear Of Missing Out...yes it is genuinely a "thing" I understand]. On Sunday, being a soft hearted dame, I banged on the window and when he turned round at the far end of the garden I held up the dustpan and word of a lie he turned tail and flew across the garden and then flung himself through the catflap to ensure his attendance. Yesterday though I committed the ultimate sin though by getting the vacuum out....he'd been mithering at me for a couple of minutes and I felt so guilty that I went and got the sweeping things and brushed the floor specially so he didn't miss out on his daily makes you wonder which one is dafter really. Him or me!!!


Thursday 29 November 2018

Tech Fights Back

[Image from Pixabay]

When I am tired every piece of machinery I encounter gangs up on me and refuses to co-operate. The computer won't play ball, all the vacuum cleaners at my clients' houses behave as if they have no idea what task it is they're meant to perform, the TV sits sullenly in a grump doing absolutely nowt....this results in me gaining the Guinness World record for losing my temper in the quickest time ever and combining swear words in combinations you never thought possible. Over the years I have become such a master of my art that I can carry out the same process silently in my head whilst outwardly beaming away at my clients. I am now delighted to find there is an official term for this practice.

Lalochezia - the use of vulgar or foul language to relieve stress or strain.

As you might imagine, this is one of those snippets which turn up on FB regularly and not my discovery. Due to lots of non blogworthy activity this week posts will be of this ilk I regret!


Wednesday 28 November 2018

In the shop in the corner....

Hidden away in the National Trust shop at Mottistone Gardens on the Isle of Wight is this rather neglected wallhanging. Aptly titled "Flora and Fauna of the Isle of Wight", this gorgeous piece of work was completed in 1992. Sadly the lady behind the till said that people don't give it a second glance. How? It's magnificent and I'm championing its cause here in my little corner of blogland!

It's inspired me to concentrate my efforts into completing the bird's skull cross stitch I started earlier this year. Some might find the idea gruesome, but I find a haunting beauty in the delicacy of such things. Once it's done [whenever that might be!] I'll pop up a photo.


Tuesday 27 November 2018

Unravelling and Rethreading

I can't speak for anyone else at the moment, but I seem to be at a strange crossroads where everything is unravelling politically, but many around me at a local level are forging new connections and building stronger community links to meet the challenge of Climate Change. Whilst the politicians bicker like children egos clashing and the media has a field day pouring over the day's events, I'm just getting on with upping the ante, being more proactive about our beautiful planet and finding my voice. This beautiful piece of writing by Julie Myers has inspired me.

"The old threads are unravelling. Get your needles ready. We are stitching a new quilt of humanity. Bring your old t-shirts, worn out jeans, scarves, antique gowns, aprons, old pockets of plenty who have held Earth's treasures, stones, feathers, leaves, love notes on paper. Each stitch a mindful meditation. Each piece of material a story. The more colour the better, so call in the tribes. Threads of browns, whites, reds. oranges. Women from all nations start stitching. Let's recycle the hate, the abuse, the fear, the judgement. Turn it over, wash it out, wring it out to dry. It's a revolution of recycled wears. Threads of green, blues, purples. Colourful threads of peace, kindness, respect, compassion are being stitched from one continent to the next over forests, oceans, mountains. The work is hard. Your fingers may bleed. But each cloth stitched together brings together a community. A world, our future world under one colourful quilt. The new quilt of humanity."

This coming Saturday we are extending the opening hours of the Repair Cafe into an afternoon session for clothes repairs/upcycling and in January we'll be holding our first clothes swap. It's fantastic being a part of a local initiative which has been so positively received and continues to steadily grow in popularity.


Monday 26 November 2018

The Devil's Chair

Mr GBT took a photo of this Tudor chair now housed in Michelham Priory back in 2014. At the time its malevolent looking carved arms intrigued me, but I didn't know anything further about it. Fast forward to 2018 and I've recently learnt that it's called the Devil's Chair and it came from Friston church originally. There is a surprisingly jovial devil carved onto the seat [didn't notice it back then, but this blog has it on], but it was truly believed that if you sat on it the devil would enter you through the chair. Whilst at one level it seems a comical idea, it was, I suspect, a truly terrifying prospect at the time.


Friday 23 November 2018

Frivolous Friday

In case you feel the need to stop what you're doing and practise your dance moves!

Have a fantastic weekend.


Thursday 22 November 2018


Pictures from our trip over to Bury have already been shared here this week, but as ever, we maximised our time and fuel and used it to drop into the now redundant church in the nearby hamlet of North Stoke, Sussex.

St Mary's has only had its dedication since 2006 when a letter from 1275 between the Bishop of Chichester and Edward I came to light referencing it. Nowadays it's in the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust.

Nestled at the foot of the Downs along a series of narrow winding lanes, it is largely untouched and retains its quiet ambience.

Pleasingly there are lots of little details remaining which could have been lost in any major refurbishments. These give a real sense of how vibrant the church would have once looked. Fragments of wall paintings and Medieval stained glass.

Is it a ram/sheep? We are in ovine countryside here. Certainly, a rather strange carving possibly brought in from elsewhere. Those in the know have said that sheep don't have upper teeth so it's possibly an early lion instead. The tiny hand depicted holding up the church arch reaches across the ages with its visual humour. I enjoyed being able to still smile at the mason's lighthearted joke.

More of those so called witch marks carved around the exterior of the door frame. It was important to keep those evil spirits at bay.

To close these two were my favourite. I have learnt through bitter experience to do a final recce of the church before I leave because of countless previous occasions when I've later found out that I've missed a treasure or three. It doesn't stop it from happening, but it has increased my batting average. These wall brackets looked pretty standard and not worth a second look really, but I checked underneath. Imagine my surprise when I found these two tiny monks peeking out at me! Lovely surprise.

Until next time.


Wednesday 21 November 2018

Down The Lane

There I was innocently trotting down Church Lane in Bury in pursuit of nothing more unusual than a spot of medieval graffiti in the church I had got wind of when I encountered this......

Some of the scariest topiary I've ever seen...look at the size of it for starters. I shared the photo above on my FB page....the jury is still out as to what the biggest creature is ...some say it's a penguin, but I'm with the one eared rabbit with the big bottom option.

Mr GBT gave me a wry look when I came across them, but hand on heart this time I had no idea they were there. Made me's a very well-to-do area so I'd love to know whether the neighbours are horrified or find them amusing!


Tuesday 20 November 2018

Who lives in a house like this?

I remember Loyd Grosman asking that familiar question in each episode of "Through the Keyhole" whilst snooping around some celebrity or other's pad. Now if I showed you these images what conclusion might you draw?

I expect it will come as no great surprise to find it's called "Gargoyles" and is to be found in the small Sussex village of Bury. The official line is that it was once the home of a stonemason who mounted the carvings to show off his work. However, when we ran into a villager she said that the word on the street is that they were stolen from nearby Arundel Castle. Which version do you prefer?! Personally I might not mind living in a house like this!


Monday 19 November 2018

The colour purple.

We had friends over for dinner on Saturday, so we decided to branch out and try a new dessert recipe. This is what we were aiming for with our ginger and blueberry cheesecake.

However, we decided to forgo the martini glasses [that'll be because we don't have any for starters] and make it in a single dish. Then the blueberry jam chose not to play wasn't swirling and twirling for anyone matey......this was our version.

An exact copy I'm sure you'll agree! It was worth the rather startling shade of violet just to see the brief look of surprise pass across our guests' faces as Mr GBT brought it through. Glad to say it tasted lovely and people had seconds. It's certainly the first time I've ever eaten a purple pud and I dare say it won't be my last.


Friday 16 November 2018

Gorilla Snot

Yes you read that 'orrible blog title correctly. Apparently it's a thing people buy to stop plastic plectrums slipping while playing instruments amongst other uses. That's what comes of being married to a mandolin player! If you don't believe me here's the proof😄

Thankfully it's tree resin so no gorillas were harmed in the making of this product! You can't say I don't bring you variety folks and on the low note hope you all have a good weekend!


Thursday 15 November 2018

Organ donation

Our family carry donor cards and TYM [without letting us know] signed up for one of his own accord on his birthday a couple of years ago.


Wednesday 14 November 2018


Mr GBT took this shot a few weeks ago and I couldn't help but think that it rather put me in mind of an elephant's foot. Looking it up I was not entirely surprised to find it is already named "Elephant Foot Fungus"!


Tuesday 13 November 2018

Whimsical, comical and poignant.

Am still reading more than in previous years...there's nothing like being in a reading group for me to keep at it, but I don't comment on many of the tomes I finish. However, these two had a lightness of spirit about them whilst being able to convey great moments of tenderness and sadness with a healthy dose of irreverent humour. Fannie Flagg wrote "Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe" which remains my favourite film.


Monday 12 November 2018

A ribbon around a bomb.

[Image from pixabay]

"A ribbon around a bomb" was how the iconic artist Frida Kahlo was described at the recent exhibition about her life and work which I attended with Lovely Grey at the V&A. I knew little of her beyond that she was a Mexican artist and renown for her style. She was always to be found dressed to the nines and it was said that you tell a lot about her state of mind from the way she had braided her hair and what she had chosen to accessorise it with.

There were many of her glorious outfits on display [no photos allowed unfortunately] resplendent with paint stains and cigarette she really did practise what she preached and never dressed down whatever the circumstances. What came across so strongly was that she had had more than her fair share of tragedy....the birds of paradise coloured palette she was drawing from and the elegant layers covered the body brace she had to wear at all times [she had suffered terrible injuries in a bus accident as a teenager] and her built up shoes from her polio as a child. Sadly she contracted gangrene in her leg and she died within a year of having it amputated.

As Frida was one for her stunning clothes I'll link it up with some of the beautiful costumes from the museum's Textiles and Fashion Collection. I wonder if she would have approved of any of them? This really is a bit of trot through the contents of the cabinets!

The one below is a tea dress. I love the detailing on the back. It puts me in mind of a humbug.

How liberating it must have been for women as they were able to wear shorter length skirts and even trousers after The Great War. The proof that fashion goes round and round is seen with the rather modern looking pair of platforms. They actually date from 1937.

I haven't shared any photos from the 1940s because they were very plain and rather dowdy as was to be expected in times of rationing and utility clothing. The 1950s ushered in a decade of exuberance and colour. Am always a sucker for a bit of bling.

I remember my Mum having a maternity dress in this lime green and turquoise combination from the 1960s. She used it as a painting smock thereafter.

More platform soles and clothes reminiscent of my 1970s childhood.

Again I've missed out the 1980s. Having worn the originals the first time round they rather make me wince. Am not a fan....only have to watch the reruns of Top of the Pops to be reminded of some of the horrors I wore!! So bringing us bang up to date....more platforms and a rather fun 1960s style dress, but a modern interpretation. If you enlarge it you can see that the fabric design is rather natty.

Phew got there in the end!


Rest awhile and smile.

I parked my ample rump on that there bench and followed the instructions on its plaque.  It wasn't exactly an onerous task to have to re...