Friday 26 April 2019


[Image from Pixabay]

As His Plumpness gets on in years [we're talking Humphrey here] the need has arisen to switch his dry cat food over to something more becoming to his stage in life and one which will continue to contain his girth. Now choosing a new food would be one of the easier tasks life throws at me I wrong was I?!!

Firstly you need to be aware if they're a special breed apparently. I can vouch he is definitely not a Maine Coon so that was relatively straightforward. Any ongoing health problems eg far as I know he's currently fit as a flea. So that's another whole load of options knocked out. Age....kind of middle aged. They don't do one for that, but using common sense he's certainly not a kitten, but not a veteran either so am guessing one for about a seven year old should do the trick [he was a rescue so all we have to go on is educated guesswork]. Then it started to get he an active cat?....well depends on whether the wind's blowing, his mood, whether he's trying to get his tea early [that can be from 1.30pm onwards!] he an outdoors cat? .....well depends on the weather, whether he needs a comfort break [involving probably digging a hole in somebody else's garden to do his business whilst all the other cats are in ours doing exactly the same thing], if he fancies patrolling his borders, doing a spot of he an indoors cat? no because he goes out, but not very often so he's kind of a mid way house on that particular he greedy and does he beg?.....he's not as greedy as he'd like to be, but generally he doesn't beg. At this point in time my poor brain was so tied up in knots and I had lost the will so I passed the task over to Mr GBT to suss out.....he left it to the next day and opted for the same product as me. Phew!

We're off to catch up with TYM amongst other things for a few days before he heads off to Uganda for a two month voluntary project so see you all on the other side!


Thursday 25 April 2019

When you drop the recycling off.....

A couple of bags of recycling to be dropped off and on the spur of the moment decision to extend our errand into a longer walk to see what we could see. Camera popped in just in case.....

The cherry tree drooping with the weight of all its pink blossom.

Those wonderful blue enamelled Victorian road signs. I photograph these things because it's so easy to take their presence for granted and they could be removed at any time.

Somebody doing Easter decorations their own way.

Into the town centre and because it's Easter Monday everybody's enjoying the annual parade of sports cars. They don't do it for me by and large [more of a vintage car kind of gal really], but I enjoy watching other people's obvious pleasure and details of the bodywork and colours.

This vehicle simply intrigued me. It was the only one of its type there.

However, as I turn the corner I stumble across this. I might just have to eat my words about not being keen on cars. This one really was just so very different to anything I've encountered before. I gather it's some type of prototype racing car.

Now we're on the way home and there's one final treat in store. I had no idea what this tree was, but thankfully my Dad is a tree whizz and he tells me it's a Wych Elm.

Taking the camera turned out to be one of my better decisions after all!


Wednesday 24 April 2019

Foraging on a Friday

I worked Good Friday morning, but that was fine because I knew I had hatched a plan with W to while away an afternoon which was definitely going to feature tea, biccies and a spot of foraging. Together over the years we've foraged for all sorts and tried a variety of recipes. Some more successful than others it has to be said...I shall never ever make hawthorn berry chutney again for precisely that reason. Nettles and wild garlic though are a constant and always a winning combo. We even have a special secret place we go nettling where we first took our kids when they were small....they're all into their twenties now!

Our personal nettle patch is behind a rather plain church which promises little. It's in an isolated spot and is always locked, so I've never even pondered what the inside was like. However, our luck was in because two ladies pulled up to do the flowers for Easter Sunday and were happy for us to have a look round. Well I must eat my words because it is an absolute gem inside and the impact is even greater when you have no expectations. The law of sod always dictates that I shall only have my crappy phone camera with me, but fortunately W was well armed and it is with her full permission I share her photos.

 There are beautiful windows by C E Kempe with the moniker wheatsheaf and far more common Victorian style ones of saints.....

 However, what we didn't expect to find in amongst the depictions of St Michael and St George was this! Sir Galahad and the Holy Grail. I didn't really expect to find an Arthurian figure here, but now I've had the Christian symbolism explained to me by those that know I now have a better understanding of why he's been included.

After this little treat we both returned to the homesteads to concoct our soups using our chosen recipes. As is always the case we reported that it was definitely the best year it ever is!! This is the one I preference is to omit the celery and rice in favour of the wild garlic. It tastes wicked and is horribly good for you. Thankfully I undid all the good work by stuffing my gullet with chocolate afterwards!!


Tuesday 23 April 2019

Saving the dragon.

Tonight Mythago is performing its dragon story as part of an inaugural St George's day event in one of the local villages. Unlike the traditional tale of the dragon's demise at the hands of England's patron saint the dragon in our tale lives to see another day­čÉ▓

If we're talking dragons today I thought perhaps I'd share this rather endearing poem by Brian Patten that I came across recently.

Little Dragon

I've found a small dragon in the woodshed.
Think it must have come from deep inside a forest
because it's damp and green and leaves
are still reflecting in its eyes.

I fed it on many things, tried grass,
the roots of stars, hazel-nut and dandelion,
but it stared up at me as if to say, I need
foods you can't provide.

It made a nest among the coal,
not unlike a bird's but larger,
it is out place here
and is quite silent.

If you believed in it I would come
hurrying to your house to let you share my wonder,
but I want instead to see
if you yourself will pass this way.


Monday 22 April 2019

Making the bed

Hello....hope everybody is having a splendiferous weekend and enjoying the sunshine. Unusually for us we have been mainly based at GBT just pottering and I have to say I have loved every minute of it. Poor chum who I'd planned to see on Saturday had to cancel due to an emergency op on her dog, so I used the time to get on with this instead.

Finally after much procrastination I have made a mattress and underblanket for my  dollshouse bed using stuff I already had here. Another little one to add to my make, bake and create challenge.

At long last I've been able to make the bed with the gorgeous linen I bought about five years ago!

There's been more of the doing type variety of stuff here with Mr GBT having busily planted veg and some more bee friendly plants we've purchased. However, I am pleased to report there has also been time to sit and enjoy the weather whilst quaffing champagne...... Dom Perignon it was not... homemade elderflower instead. A lucky discovery recently of three bottles hidden under a pile of empty compost bags in the garage after a tidy up on my part. They must be at least three years old so we were fully prepared for a vinegary taste, but it was lovely. Phew!


Friday 19 April 2019

Good Friday

[Image from Pixabay]

Today at 10am there will be a short service by the grave of Nicholas "Beggarman" Smith in Hartfield, Sussex. Smith was a wealthy 17th century fellow who decided to test the Sussex spirit of generosity by dressing up as a beggar to see what the reaction would be. He found a great deal of meanness until he came to Hartfield where he was made welcome. He settled down in the area and left an annual dole of £10 to be split between the 40 poorest parishioners in his 1634 will.


Thursday 18 April 2019


This wooden angel is one of two that can be found in Poynings church. The simple act of someone adding a flower just made it for me. I find it very soothing. There can be great peace in silence.


Wednesday 17 April 2019

Pretty Awful

How can something apparently so pretty have such an awful name one wonders. This is my first introduction to the extraordinary world of slime mould which I now understand are neither plant, animal nor fungi. Instead they are protists. We encountered this one on a Sussex Wildlife Trust walk at the weekend. The current thinking is that this example is one called tapioca slime mould. Don't say I never treat ya!

Tuesday 16 April 2019

By hook or by crook

I wrote a little about our walk on Devil's Dyke last week, but if you know me you know that that alone wouldn't have sated my is to be expected I'd done my homework and popped another little treat [poor Mr GBT...he doesn't know how lucky he is being married to me!] in whilst we were in the area.

Pyecombe sits at the base of the South Downs on one of the ancient drover's tracks. The church is known locally as the Shepherd's Church. It has a rather fine and very rare 12th century lead font which supposedly was dunked in whitewash during the Civil War in 1645 to stop the Cromwellian rotters from melting it down and turning it into bullets! You can still see the white traces today.

This type of gate is called a Tapsell gate and is peculiar to Sussex. It pivots to allow coffins through, but keep livestock out. I've seen one before, but never with a crook on the end.....

Ah but this isn't just any old shepherd's crook. This is the Pyecombe Crook which was deemed to be one of the best in the country by its users. It was made in the village for 200 years. It seemed rather appropriate to be seeing this in mid lambing season.

Earlier in the day we'd wandered around Saddlescombe Farm which is owned by the National Trust. Not having small people anymore I had forgotten about events such as "lambing" ones. It was a bit of shock to the system to be suddenly surrounded by lots of excited children queueing to feed the babies. Following the signs to the donkey wheel we soon left the thronging masses behind only to find that we couldn't actually get to our intended target as the gate had been shut off....for a very good reason though...tucked away quietly in front was the nursery field in front were the ewes with their still tottery new lambs who were struggling to coordinate their legs. Seriously high cute factor and a lovely surprise!


Monday 15 April 2019


This fellow looks totally fed up with being on sentry duty and it's only Monday morning!

Let's hope the rest of his week is a little better. Seen in Surrey.

Friday 12 April 2019

The Oxford Services

When I am the service station at the unholy hour of 6.30 am [having left home at 5] I'm going to be casting around for things to amuse me....this sign was a gift when you have a brain wired like mine...

I searched high and low for it promised much....could it be the tossing of pancakes or even more exciting the tossing of cabers I wondered. I was to be sorely disappointed to find it was actually referring to salad. Ah well. Have a good weekend folks!


Thursday 11 April 2019

Upon Not Blowing The Budget

It might have been teeming down with rain on Tuesday in Battersea, but that wasn't going to dampen my spirits. Arty L and I were meeting again at another antiques fair and by some magic means she was able to get us free tickets.

As a pair we both derive enormous enjoyment from just looking at antiques...thankfully these pieces are so beyond both our budgets that buying isn't even on the radar so we can look guilt free. The stall holders were extremely generous in allowing me to photograph their stock when I asked for their permission.

One can but dream.....

Regency Austrian Ladies Gaming box and contents.

French nodding elephant

Wind up bear.

Painted and studded leather box.

This one I commented looked like a scarab beetle. The vendor laughed and said that it was indeed a scarab footwarmer.

Wurlitzer in stunning condition.

This shoe was absolutely enormous. Some type of advertising gimmick perhaps. Sadly I shall never discover the back story.

As it was to be expected not everything was to my personal taste. I took a photo of this French crystal galleon because, although I wouldn't choose to give it house room, I've never seen anything remotely like it before.

To finish with...this is one of a pair of Elizabethan corbels. Anyone who's been reading this blog for any amount of time will know that this was always going to tick the boxes. Probably it was a good thing that I didn't have £1200 about my person otherwise they might have come home on the train with me. I shall have to content myself with a photo and the memory of them instead.


Wednesday 10 April 2019

Pig free blankets

I could see the fear in Mr GBT's eyes when I casually mentioned that I was planning to make Herby Halloumi in Blankets using this recipe I have an exceedingly short temper and a very bad track record when it comes to the rolling out of pastry of any sort, but he kindly gave me a helping hand and they were delicious.

My tweaks were using a block of puff pastry as it's much cheaper than the pre-rolled stuff and the halloumi was one with chilli running through it [same price as the plain]. I brushed vegetable oil on as I haven't got any olive oil in at the moment and omitted the sesame seeds as again none in stock [and this dame is too gnat bottomed to part with pennies for things which will live out their days in the back of the cupboard forgotten and unloved]. This did all three of us for supper with some leftover for lunches. Another small win on ye olde make, bake and create challenge.


Tuesday 9 April 2019

Devil's Work

Old Scratch has played merry hell in different parts of Sussex with all his shenanigans­čĹ┐ This time his handiwork can be seen on the South Downs. In his infinite wisdom he decided that he would rather like to flood all the churches in the Weald. To achieve his aim he started dig a great ditch through the hills towards the sea, but because he was making such a rumpus an old woman lit a candle to find out what all the fuss was about. Panicking he thought it was daybreak and fled before he had completed his task and thus we are left with Devil's Dyke.

If you so desire you can pay your own personal visit to The Horned One and his Missus because they are apparently buried in these two long barrows. Should you actually fancy a natter with the nefarious old devil then it's simply a matter of running seven times backwards round the grave holding your breath....

I decided to pass up on this opportunity and chose to watch the mesmerising antics of a stoat. I've never seen one in the wild before and was amazed at the speed and the fluidity with which it moved. What a privilege. No chance of a photo I'm afraid.

John Constable apparently claimed that it was "the grandest view in the world" from the top of the Dyke. Clearly he didn't experience the same weather conditions as us then...I'm sure that there is a fabulous view, but the mist remained constant up high and we couldn't see any of it!

However, further down we were able to enjoy the warm Spring sunshine and the banks of wildflowers. I'll leave you with the delicate Hawthorn arch we stumbled across during our gentle three mile pootle.


Shropshire Church Crawling Gems

Sifting through all the photos from my annual holiday church crawl, I've picked out these which I hope people find to be of interest. It...