Monday 30 September 2019

A Devil to Photograph

Hello I thought you might enjoy these two rather splendid blue devils I discovered lurking on one of the panels in the Lady chapel in Winchester Cathedral. Judging by certain details I am assuming it's Mr and Mrs Devil! I can't tell you just how excited I was to find this hidden was all I could do to walk at a measured pace to go and tell Mr GBT and ask him if he could take a photo for me [it was too challenging for my little camera]. The temptation to gallop the length of the nave was all consuming, but I did remind myself that I was in church and such behaviour might be frowned upon [especially from a 53 year old woman who should know better!].

The original painting dates from 1500 and was done in oils on the stone walls behind the wooden panels upon which these copies from 1937 are painted. The earliest pictures of the devil were done in blue. There seems to be various theories as to why this is, but one suggestion is that the originally the devil was shown as a blue angel [Lucifer] before his fall from grace and his becoming Satan. The colour implied cold and being the furthest away from the warmth of God. As Christianity became more popular and polarisation between good and evil more extreme artists began to incorporate different features until he evolved into the red cloven footed and horned figure we know today.


Friday 27 September 2019

Large Ranunculus

This beautiful moth landed on my garage door earlier on in the week. Frustratingly despite my best attempts to identify it this one evaded me, so I asked those in the know on FB. Large Ranunculus I'm reliably informed. Hope you all have a splendid weekend...we are off for a spot of adventuring hopefully!


Thursday 26 September 2019

A Blast from the Past

Yesterday when I got in from work Mr GBT greeted me with the words "Guess who rang on the doorbell today?" I had no idea, but was delighted to find it was my German friend K who I haven't seen for 12 years and had lost touch with since she went back to Germany [she popped back later on in the afternoon for a cuppa].

We met when we were pregnant [our sons are a matter of days apart in age] and we supported each other through the stresses and strains of having young children when she lived round the corner from me.  I looked after her son for three days when she was in hospital waiting endlessly for her daughter to be born [it was an emergency cesarean in the end]. She is now 19!

K is over here on a flying visit for a course, but apparently it was still possible to catch up on a lot of news in the precious two hours we spent together. Frankly it felt like she had walked out of the room a mere five minutes before. This time we have nailed down our contact details and we have an open invitation to visit her in Germany. It was actually my 26th wedding anniversary too and this unexpected surprise was the icing on the cake.

Normally I don't agree to selfies, but this was a special occasion.


Wednesday 25 September 2019

In attendance.

This mug is in the likeness of Martha Gunn and dates from 1800. It's on display at the Ashmolean and I took a photo in passing last year thinking that she might be an interesting character to explore further. Naturally in the meantime I've forgotten all about her, but I came across her name again last week which has given me a prod.

This lady was a dipper or in modern day parlance a bathing machine attendant. Swimming in the sea became all the rage in the 1740s, but mixed bathing was not encouraged. Gunn was born and bred in Brighton and she was one of the dippers who allowed the ladies of the day to retain their modesty as they bathed on the ladies only beach. In time she became famous for her friendship with the Prince Regent. Some sources state that she was indeed the Prince's dipper, but this is disputed elsewhere. Whatever the truth she became a legend in her lifetime and was featured on many types of merchandise. She is buried in the churchyard of St Nicholas's.


Tuesday 24 September 2019

A Feather In Your Cap.

Mr GBT has a bald pate so needs to wear a hat on a sunny day. His original one is decorated with feathers and all manner of Morris dancing badges he's bought at various gigs. Since joining Mythago, he now has a second hat which also needs feathers and frankly the state of the feathers on both were rather moth eaten. He started muttering about buying some pheasant feathers....well I nearly fell off my perch. BUYING?!! when you get them for free! Being a tight old bag that was never going to happen. My lovely friend was out walking with us on the day this conversation happened back in the summer......she has taken matters into her own hands.

H has collected this gorgeous selection whilst out on her daily walk around the woods with her dogs. She passed them over to me yesterday. Mr GBT is going to be spoilt for choice and lucky, lucky me the stunning jay ones were for me.


Monday 23 September 2019

Thoughts on the road.

Well that's it for another few months....TYM is back at his uni house [final year!] and his parents are home again. It's a long haul stuck on the motorway which gives my skittish brain oodles of time to ping about all over the's a small selection.

Spotting the female names on the Eddie Stobart lorries...that's a way of filling in a few seconds which amuses me. Apparently I find that I have very strong opinions on whether I like the choice of the name or if I can do anything about it! Is this the equivalent of train spotting I wonder? There's an official club of 35000 people who do exactly what I do. The only difference is that I don't record them and I only ever do it when I'm stuck in the passenger seat on a long journey.

A sign which warned of " bridge pier repairs" led to Mr GBT and I discussing which bit of the bridge is the pier. We both reckoned [rightly] that this was the upright does this mean that the pier part at Brighton is the upright bit then and not the bit we all promenade along in search of chips and fluffy pink candy floss? I still don't know.

Coloured traffic cones....when did they expand into another range beyond orange and white? Green and white, blue and white and most thrilling of all a green and purple one with...wait for it....a purple light on top. I am ridiculously pleased by such novelty.

How do people reach over the side of bridges on the motorway and manage to graffiti the words the correct way up even though they must be writing upside down?

What on earth is goblin racing? That I now know is some type of kit car which runs on electricity and is used for racing.

Finally when a distinctive orange car overtook us...that's not a car colour you would want to commit a crime in!

I have to say I did really enjoy watching the red kites circling above us and no I didn't share all this nonsense with Mr GBT. I left him to concentrate on the driving!


Friday 20 September 2019

Dad joke.

"I've been diagnosed with a fear of giants."


One to make you wince at its corniness this Friday morn. This fellow is a Chester giant. Have a good weekend peoplesx

Thursday 19 September 2019

A Welcome Break

Now the dancing season has slowed down once again Mr GBT and I seem to have been rather frantically trying to catch up with domestic stuff here so we haven't travelled far. At the weekend both of us decided we had earned a breather, but didn't want to lose a whole day. We are very lucky that we can walk from our home out to the nature reserve within half an hour. It might be a well trodden route, but change is always afoot. I chose the word "welcome"  in the title because rather weirdly we encountered it twice on our break!

Our first welcome sign made of horseshoes. It took me a moment to realise what it actually said.

 Now can anyone explain this one to me. Why has somebody gone to the trouble of screwing three golf balls into an old tree stump...perhaps it is literally a load of old balls!

We weren't the only ones out enjoying the sunshine. I know pigeons get a bad press, but I do have to admit that I do have a grudging respect for them. Just because they're successful it doesn't make them rats with wings as some refer to them.

This is a dual purpose sculpture designed by a Lewes based artist called Will Nash. Reusing old stone that had been removed from the Peace Garden in the town, he supervised its building by the Green Gym volunteers. It will provide a roost for overwintering bats as the stone maintains a constant temperature inside. It's called the Bats Bothy.

Guelder Rose Berries. That crimson colour sums up the beauty of the changing seasons for me.

This is another new flower for me. It grows in water and is called Arrowhead after the shape of its leaves. I prefer its other name of the Fried Egg Flower.

This was our final welcome picked out in fircones on the forest floor and very welcome it was too as we turned round to start the journey back to GBT.


Wednesday 18 September 2019

Weights and Measures

This building with its rather strange "Weights and Measures" above the door in Horsham has never really piqued my interest before. It's up a road I rarely walk up, but this time when I passed it I decided to find out a little more about it.

If the truth be told my research didn't turn up much beyond this probably being the place where the the town traders weights and measures were checked against the standard ones to stop any malpractice. All the imperial weights and measures were brought into line in the Acts of 1824 and 1878. A 1963 law abolished all the arcane ones apparently. Being of the generation that straddles imperial and metric quite happily and switching between the two as the occasion demands I wondered what these arcane ones might be. I can't shed any light on the origin of their names, but it's been fun unearthing some of the wonderful names. A sample for your delectation [some of these are still used I should add]

chaldron- [used for coal and equal to 36 bushels]
scruple -0.333 of a dram [used by apothecaries]
These ones are from brewing-
tun- 6 barrels
hogshead - 1/4 of a tun
kilderkin- 1/2 barrel
firkin- 1/4 barrel
pin- 1/2 barrel
yard of ale- 2 pints
a few miscellaneous ones
slug- 32.17lb
hand [familiar to many] is 4" but a palm is 3"
and how about a get three of them to the inch...perhaps I can understand why some of them fell out use!


Tuesday 17 September 2019

Another one off the list.

Mr GBT and I have a long running joke that whenever we visit one of the hides in our local nature reserve somebody will turn round and tell us that we've just missed the kingfisher. It's reached the point where my husband was seriously considering leaving his camera behind on our most recent trip, but he shoved it in at the last minute. Just as well he did....

At last Lady Luck was on our side. Mind you there were a lot of shots of a kingfisher's bottom as it dived into the water too. So it's another one off my list of birds I want to capture on film...just the jay now. The standing joke with that one is neither of us ever have a camera with us when we see one...perhaps that will change in the future too. Here's hoping.


Monday 16 September 2019

No Hoarding!

Thought these were too good to keep to myself so instead I'm sharing my hoarding pictures. Actually I was in town for an appointment, but decided that I'd go and take a look at these hoardings which have been done by a selection of local artists whilst I was there. This marks quite a change in heart from our local council. Normally hoardings would be left plain, so I hope this continues and there will be more artwork to follow.


Friday 13 September 2019

A Dog's Best Friend?

On train journeys I have discovered you can people watch by looking at their reflections in the windows without getting caught out staring. I was intrigued to see the lady across the aisle pull one of these out of her bag to show her travelling companion.

What on earth was she going to do with this fairly sizeable Boris doll I wondered....back home I have discovered that it is dog toy! To keep it politically correct I should inform you that there is an opposite number for Mr Corbyn should you feel the urge to purchase one...after some of the behaviours I saw last week by the elected members of the Commons I think the very least they deserve is a spot of lampooning!

Have a lovely politics free weekend!


Wednesday 11 September 2019

The best laid plans.

Yesterday I met Arty L in London. Our original plans had to be abandoned because the place we had in mind has closed for a couple of weeks. So it had to be plan B and The V & A is always a perfect fit in such an emergency!

Rather than spend lots of time seeing as much as possible we hatched a plan to spend our limited hours in just two galleries....textiles and jewellery it was then! In my head I thought there would be lots of photos of the beautiful things we saw....another plan scotched I'm afraid. The combination of glass, no flash and reduced lighting meant lots of blurred images. The best laid plans of mice and men eh! Instead I have selected only three with the hope of it being the case of quality over quantity.

Evening coat from 1937. It was designed by Elsa Schiapaprelli and Jean Cocteau. First I saw the roses, then I noticed the faces and then finally the vase. Cocteau was well known for his love of the double image apparently.

This one just for the impact of the jewel colours against the black background.

Leaving the best till last. This modern necklace [2012] is by the English jeweller Kevin Coates and is part of his Bestiary of Jewels. This one is inspired by the parrot Loulou which features in Flaubert's short story " A Simple Heart". There are more photos featured here


Tuesday 10 September 2019

My post of the day.

With a few minutes to kill before I could start my monthly voluntary slot [I'm part of a team who read the local paper and then the recordings are sent out to visually impaired people in the district] I spotted this. This wonderful handmade postbox is on the wall of the building where the local branch of our Men in Sheds is held. It's a fantastic initiative to allow men with a practical bent to connect with other like minded souls and socialise. Our chaps have made some great wooden planters and they repair wooden items for the Repair Cafe. Further info is here


Monday 9 September 2019

Feelin' Groovy

You would think that it would be near impossible to not be able to find your car in the car park. However, I have achieved this feat on more than one occasion. It's not a common occurrence, but from time to time I have borrowed my parents car and then forgotten and gone looking for ours instead. However, even I would struggle to lose this one I think.

I saw this parked up on Saturday when I was making my way down to volunteer at the Repair Cafe [I've been away so much with the dancing over the summer that I haven't been since April] and simply couldn't resist the temptation to cross the road and take a photo even if I did only have my rubbish camera phone on me. This is my idea of a perfect paint job and I'd have it in a heartbeat. Instinct tells me though that TYM and Mr GBT may not be quite so starry eyed about this little psychedelic beauty!


Thursday 5 September 2019

The Breeches Bible

According to Wikipedia, the so called Geneva Bible [many of the Protestant scholars fled to Geneva during the reign of Bloody Mary] is one of the most important versions of the English Bible translations. It was mass produced and available to Joe Public. Shakespeare would have been familiar with it and a copy was carried on board the Mayflower. Sometimes things did rather get lost in translation though.

There aren't many of these Breeches Bibles surviving,but this treasured example is in St Peter's, Chester. It gets its name from the mistranslation of "loincloth" into "breeches" in Genesis, Chapter III,  verse vii. People found it rather humorous, but this attitude was not to be tolerated and later versions were changed to the more sober "apron".


Wednesday 4 September 2019


This is one of the gifts TYM brought back from his recent working trip to Uganda. He managed to fit in a day long safari and had an incredible experience seeing hippos, elephants, warthogs and lions. Sadly his two month stint came to a rather abrupt end when there was an outbreak of Ebola in the area he was based, so he was transferred to Kenya for the final three weeks just to literally be on the safe side. Sadly the family involved lost several members to this horrible disease.

It was a hairy moment for us as his parents [we were away on holiday], but if you've got a kinderling that is intending to do International Development as a career then I guess this sort of thing goes with the territory. His experience has only strengthened his resolve and shown him that he is far more resilient than he realised. Since he's been home he's been back working at his old job in Horsham full time and then he'll be back to start his final uni year up north later this month. It will quiet here once again at GBT as his Father and I readjust to it just being the two of us again.

Speaking of giraffes I read in a back copy of Sussex Life last week about one Mr Nick Harvey from Crowborough. His presence on Twitter is well known apparently for his marvellous photos which quite unusually feature the "Sussex Giraffes". Some more gullible souls have believed that we do indeed have our own county herd.
Try as I might I've never spotted them myself!


Tuesday 3 September 2019

The Butterfly Collector's Lament

Oh woe is me! Would you believe that I have been moaning for weeks that everybody else has had a slice of the action....the wonderful year of Painted Ladies I mean. Blogs have had joyous posts and stunning photos of these not a murmur. Wasps galore [that's fine. They are very important pollinators], but I am a butterfly collector....a collector of butterfly photos not the real thing you understand. Obviously this whinging has remained as an inner dialogue only as it's rather indulging my toddler tantrumimg self otherwise.

The little star aka Mr GBT has come up trumps once again. His steam powered phone has died [unlike my one which is still soldiering on], so his replacement has come with a decent camera. This was the first photo he took with it. I love that little patch of green fur behind its neck. Apparently the little devils have been frequenting our raspberry bushes while I have been out earning a crust.

Thankfully I saw two with my very own eyes in the garden the next day, so I can stop stropping now!!


Monday 2 September 2019

Three things I didn't know last week.

Exhibit 1

I like to photograph these old painted advertisements on the sides of buildings whenever I get the opportunity. They are part of our heritage, but frequently overlooked and neglected. Personally I would like to see them preserved. Many are in danger of disappearing completely if we're not careful I fear. This one reemerged in Horsham after building work was done and has been left exposed for people to enjoy. Now I know that these are called ghost signs.

Exhibit 2

My friend E tells me these are called eyebrow windows [seen in Sullington]. In my ignorance I would have just called it a I shall be able to stick the word eyebrow in front of it and pretend I know about such things!

Exhibit 3

I took this photo of this decorative effect in Compton, Surrey just because it added textural interest to the brickwork [I can imagine my 20 year old self rolling her eyes at what a dullard I have become in my senior years!] The mortar is inset with little chips of stone. The correct term is galleting apparently.

Wonder how long before this all falls out of my noggin once again!


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...