Friday 29 March 2019

Going like the clappers

I have a long weekend of work coming up so there will be no opportunity for getting up to any mischief.  Thankfully TYM is home now and is beyond the age of throwing a surprise party whilst his parents are away. It's lovely to have him back as we hadn't seen him since the beginning of January.

I should point out that he doesn't normally look like an extra from Peaky Blinders. He was dressed up for a uni event!

Have a good weekend!


Thursday 28 March 2019

Pretty Little Thing

Bought on a whim from Oxfam on Saturday in one of my rare girlie moments. This is a vintage jug cover and it just sang Spring to me. What a sweet little treat for a small outlay of £2.99. It will live in my special corner cupboard featured here along with some of my other more delicate treasures.


Wednesday 27 March 2019

Getting the message

"Diversity is being invited to the party; Inclusion is being asked to dance."

Verna Myers

At the moment our town centre is being extensively remodelled and these hoardings have been erected around the site whilst the building progresses. It seems a good way of getting an important message across.


Tuesday 26 March 2019

Free to me.

Sounding rather puffed up, I can honestly say I have acquired [bought or otherwise] very little so far this year beyond the necessary. Such has been our rock'n'roll materialistic lifestyle it's been exciting when we did splash out on a curtain pole for the kitchen and a new washing up bowl after the old one cracked. This was only after exploring the preloved avenues first. However, I have a huge blind spot when it comes to books.....this caught my imagination on Freecycle and has now come to live with me and join my modest collection of Sussex books. In my defence I didn't buy it and I have balanced the scales by freecycling a further three books since๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜„

It is chockablock with all the nuggets I thrive on, so I hope the authors don't mind me sharing this little story from Chiddingly At one point the British surrealist artist, Sir Roland Penrose, had one of his pieces rejected by the RA because it contained a poem with a naughty word in it. However, where there's a will there's a way and he got another one of his paintings under the radar by showing hands which depicted a four letter swear word in sign language. I like his style!


Monday 25 March 2019

Red Lines

[Image from Pixabay]

I can imagine the chorus of groans if you read the blog title. I don't do the "B" word here so you're quite safe. There is a red line in front of each set of benches in the Commons which MPs are not allowed to cross during a debate. Tradition is that they are more than two swords distance apart...probably a good thing with what's going on in there at the present time.


Friday 22 March 2019

Frou Frou Friday

A bit of lighthearted nonsense for the end of the week. Have a good weekend!


Thursday 21 March 2019

Alban Eiler 2019

So here we are at the point of the year once more where day and night are the same length again. I thought these stained glass windows depicting the son and the moon in Lyminster church in Sussex rather apt.


Wednesday 20 March 2019

West Chiltington

Having had a full day over in Hampshire on Saturday with friends we opted for a quick local flit out on Sunday to West Chiltington. I'd seen the church wall paintings with my friend H years ago...when I say "saw" that's a bit of an overstatement....a quick glance was all we got on that occasion with our two then very lively and rather impatient naughty little boys in tow. They are now 20 and 21!

This time I had time to look properly. It stops me in my tracks that in an intervening period of 800 years the artist is still able to convey the message that the figures he painted are brutish and not ones you'd want to meet down a dark alley. Look at those noses!

These horrible pieces of work are beating if he isn't already in enough pain nailed to the cross in between them! Actually this artist seems to have had rather a thing about big conks....the angel is not exactly lacking in the snout department either!

Thankfully Jesus looks a tad jollier in this picture. Here he is standing on a cartwheel with various tools painted in around him. Apparently this was intended as a stark warning to those who may have been contemplating doing a spot of paid work on a Sunday.

This is a hagioscope and is one of the longest ones in the country. I'd always known them as lepers squint, but this is wrong so I now find as they are inside and lepers were not allowed within the church. It was so the server could keep an eye on proceedings at the altar and ring the bell at an appropriate juncture.

A tad more nosing turned up a few more treasures. I didn't stick around to introduce myself to the big, hungry hound nor did I naughtily post anything with money or jewellery in the box.

The gate made me curious though. It was part of a long high wall and I will have to imagine what might have been on the other side. Perhaps I might have met the local witch Old Dame Jackson, who according to my book, could cure earache, toothache, bellyache and rheumatism with adder oil. She would pay a penny for every adder she was given!

There didn't seem to be much to write about when I started this post, but it seemed to have rather mushroomed!


Tuesday 19 March 2019

Solomon's Knot

This well preserved painted Solomon's Knot is high up in one corner of St Mary's church in West Chiltington, Sussex.  It was intended to stand out as it's about a foot in height and width yet nobody is quite sure why it's there. The Suffolk Medieval Graffiti site records similar etchings which possibly were meant to reference King Solomon of the Old Testament. An archangel gave him a ring with a symbol on it that allowed him to control demons. If you could attract them in the first place the possible belief was that they would be compelled to follow the line of the knot....however, this is a line with no end and they would become trapped. Perhaps it had a religious significance which we no longer can access or maybe it was there as a protection against malign forces. We can only speculate.

What is undisputed is that this symbol turns up in other religions and in the ancient empires of Rome and Greece. It's origins may be murky, but its potency has straddled the centuries.


Monday 18 March 2019

The fruits of my labours

Another first for me in the Make, Bake and Create challenge. Inspired by the beetroot and orange curd cake I enjoyed recently I put the slow cooker to work and made some of my own orange curd. I had to wing it a bit using a combination of lemon curd recipes I found, but the end result has worked. If I do it again I'd sub one of the oranges for a lemon as it's just a bit too sweet for me and the reduction would produce less juice. Much simpler that standing over a boiling stove for ages though waiting for it to thicken...I was not blessed with the patience of Job!  I've frozen one lot to use in a cheesecake further on down the line.


Friday 15 March 2019

A graven expression

A quick pit stop as we were passing turned up this 18th marvel in Ardingly recently. It's not everyday I come across a gravestone with some poor woman being stabbed by a lance wielding skeleton! This unusual grave was for Mary Box who died in 1771. We were pressed for time we failed to take a photo of it in its entirety. It was a rather thrilling and unexpected surprise.

Hope you all have a smashing weekend.


Thursday 14 March 2019

Underneath the arches

Guilty as charged....we had done that very British thing of parking up on the side of the road on Sunday in order to eat our sarnies and drink coffee from our flask. It was too bleeding chilly to go searching for anywhere prettier, but I have to say the view from the car wasn't exactly without its merits.

This is the Balcombe viaduct which was built in 1839 and still has 110 trains cross it a day. It's a feat of confident Victorian engineering where they built things to last in the absolute certainty that the Empire would continue forever.

I couldn't help but remark to Mr GBT that this determination and rather arrogant approach put me in mind of the Romans who seemed to hold similar views. They too built with determination and longevity in mind. Years ago I saw a Roman aqueduct in Israel. It might have been 2000 years old , but it was still in pristine condition and looked like it could have been put up the day before. They had a not dissimilar attitude to matters of Empire I seem to recall and we know what happened in the end don't we! The Balcombe viaduct is now Grade II listed.


Wednesday 13 March 2019

The Wings Museum

With the wind blowing an absolute hoolie on Sunday all plans to walk up in the South Downs were cast aside in favour of an indoor activity. I'd only found out about this local museum the day before but it seemed a good contender in the alternative options stakes!

Housed inside an enormous industrial warehouse, this is one of those marvellous and rather less slick museums you get when a load of enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers come together and pool their resources. It's crammed full of exhibits which show the impact and cost of the war. It doesn't shy away from the reality....the crashed planes are shown as they were found....tangled fuselage with any casualties listed with them. Some of the casualties have never been found, but it also touches upon events at a local level. It was sobering to learn of the bombing of a local school when the lone bomber had missed his original military target.....28 children, two teachers and a local lady perished. Yet interwoven with all this horror are details which give an insight into how the war impacted the lives of civilians and everyday human stories.

This German horror was called a butterfly bomb. Many children were attracted by its shape and picked them up thinking they were shrapnel. Tragically they were fitted with time delay and anti disturbance fuses so many young lives were lost to them.

This is one of several recreated crash site diaramas. It puts a very different spin on the other WW2 RAF places I've been to where the planes have been restored to their pristine original selves. It forces you to stop and think.

An original Air Ministry scramble bell which was rung for precisely that alert the pilots to scramble and gave rise to the saying "Don't come round and tell. Ring the bell like hell!" The photo below shows a silk escape map which would have been carried by a Lancaster pilot on operations in Germany.

To finish this small overview the wedding dress of Lily Parish who married her fiance, Arthur just after the end of the war. It's made from a German parachute which Arthur retrieved from a store in Germany when he was out there on active service with the RAF.  Fabric continued to be in short supply for many years after hostilities had ceased.

Now I'm not one that is remotely interested in the mechanics of planes or the historical details of the battles, but even for me it was a place that I would happily return to.


Tuesday 12 March 2019

Having a blanket day.

I had to laugh when this came up on my FB feed last week as I can ahem relate to most of those captions. His Plumpness was definitely in the same boat on Sunday......

With a face like thunder he tunnelled into the blankets [this wasn't a posed shot] on our unmade bed...such was his temper that I left the grumpy git there and didn't attempt to make the bed. I didn't fancy getting a scratched hand....after a five hour cat nap he emerged somewhat sunnier to begin his teatime campaign. His mood has been much better since I am pleased to report.


Monday 11 March 2019

Booted off

A pair of RAF escape boots. They had a knife concealed in the lining which allowed any airmen who had to bale out over enemy territory to cut the top off to convert them into ordinary looking civilian shoes. Amazing ingenuity. I've been to a local and newly discovered museum this weekend.


Friday 8 March 2019

Frou Frou Friday

This will take less than a minute out of your day, but it will hopefully make you smile. Have a good weekend!


Thursday 7 March 2019


I saw this idea being promoted by West Sussex Recycles team who were at the Kinder Living show I went to on Saturday. Having looked up how to make yarn from old sheets on Youtube, it looks to be fairly easy so I am all fired up to have a go. Now to get my sticky little paws on an old sheet!

The potential "makes" for March are definitely of the practical rather than beautiful bent this month. Best find something a little more exciting too methinks!


Wednesday 6 March 2019

The right words.

[Image from Pixabay]

Nowadays I keep a small notebook of helpful poems, quotes and other words of wisdom to help me in my ongoing battle with my anxiety. I regard it as another weapon in my armoury. Some days when it feels like I'm too tired to fight it I draw great strength from them and they help me to restore a bit of inner calm. I shall be adding this poem in this week. I found it on the day I needed it the most

All is well.


Tuesday 5 March 2019


Now I know that this might not count as the most thrilling "make" on the planet, but it's what I did with a worn out old pillow case [the back was ok]. I've done this several times over the last few years and it's kept Mr GBT stocked up with handkerchiefs whilst reducing my waste.

A few hanky related bits of trivia......

A hanky worn on in the top pocket of a suit jacket is known as a pocket square.

At one time hankies were considered so valuable that they were listed in dowries and wills.

There is a tradition of hankies being used as part of folk dances in many countries. Our Cotswold Morris Dancers being a case in point.

At one point the size of your hanky reflected your wealth. Louis XIV issued a decree in 1785 stipulating that nobody was permitted to exceed the size of his own collection.

In the Middle Ages Knights tied hankies given to them by ladies to their helmets for good luck.

To complete the post....a hanky tree which I discovered on a walk a few years ago.


Sunday 3 March 2019

The last dance

Circa 2003 we took our then very small son to the annual Crawley Folk Festival. Back then it was an event with lots of free music and the chance to spend a relaxing afternoon with a young child whilst enjoying a pint of ale and the spectacle of it all. That year I saw Hunter's Moon for the first time. It was my first encounter with the Border tradition. I was new to Paganism and that day my world changed. From then I knew that at some point in the future I wanted to do precisely that and my discovery of the local side Mythago quickly followed. I waited ten years until my son was a young teen and I no longer had to work full time so I could fully commit to my dream.

To this day Hunter's Moon remain my favourite other side. They always perform to an incredibly high standard on their own terms and are a joy to watch. It has been a privilege to be able to perform alongside them. So it was with a heavy heart that I went to their final bash last night. For a multitude of reasons they have decided to disband and us, along with their other specially invited sides, got to dance with them one last time. It was one hell of an evening charged with joy and sadness. This is their swansong

And me well after the witching hour....looking rough as old boots, tired and emotionally spent. I can't say it's every day I come home covered in lots of lovely black lipstick kisses. I never do selfies normally, but this is one of those special moments I wish to remember.

So many wonderful memories.


Friday 1 March 2019

St David's day

Seeing as it's St David's day today I'm using it as the perfect excuse to put up the one track by Sir Tom which I really like. "It's not unusual". It's incredible how TJ's voice continues to get better and better with age.

I'm on Repair Cafe duty this weekend and attending the Kinder Living show. Thankfully I now have two new smashing volunteers who are helping me with the Sussex Green Living recycling as it's grown enormously popular and was rapidly becoming far more than I could cope with on my own. It's great to see so many new people taking their first steps on the path to lighter living.

Hope you all have a fab weekend.


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...