Friday 29 November 2019

The Wine Song

We'll be cracking open a bottle tonight.....afraid it will be without any finesse whatsoever! This was performed by the wonderful Sally Ironmonger and Brian Carter from Rochester at the folk club last weekend. Great fun and more than a passing resemblance in style to the late and greatly missed Victoria Wood.

Have a good weekend chaps!


Thursday 28 November 2019

Frog Blog

Sometimes I just crave a bit of innocent and straightforward fun. The promise of an exhibition of Quentin Blake's drawings and 10 huge frogs inspired by his "The Story of the Dancing Frog" fulfilled that craving rather nicely.  Perhaps I was the oldest kid there by about 50 years, and maybe I only whooped with joy inwardly at the corny play on words or resisted the urge to climb upon them knowing that it might be a tad unbecoming at my age. What I am sure of though is that I enjoyed it as much as any of the small people there!!

M C Hopster

Kenny Froggers

Margot Frogteyn

Charlie Stone


Sam Badansa

Lily del Pond

Tad Pole Disco King

Lyn D. Hop

Frog Astaire

What a break from the more usual Christmas themed events to entice the families to visit....NT's Nymans gardens in West Sussex.


Wednesday 27 November 2019

Blooming November!

"Blooming" as in flowers that are still blooming in November!
These lovely fuchsias and other ones, which I don't know the name of, are still valiantly soldiering on in Nymans garden. A pleasure to see at this time of year when it is often dark and drained of colour.


Tuesday 26 November 2019

A Whole New Hole

The time had come and we could put it off no longer....our side of the fence wasn't going to withstand another winter of high winds and bad weather so we had it all done this week before the really inclement conditions are upon us. The fencing chap wasn't in the least bit surprised when we asked if he could leave a special hedgehog hole at the bottom to allow these little prickly marvels an access point. Apparently this is an increasingly common request. Next stop a house for the hoggies.

When we moved here we always had hedgehogs in our garden. Sadly I don't know if they still come. Our visiting bird numbers had also dropped dramatically, but persistence with the feeders has paid off and we've enjoyed visits from long tailed tits and nut hatches along with our more regular visitors this week alone. It's a hive of activity on there these days and I had a robin shouting at me yesterday. He kept flying over to the empty seed tray and then scolding me. I took the hint and filled it up for him! We've had success with our new bug hotel too this summer so I am hoping that by putting the infrastructure in place and supporting our spiny friends it may tempt them back.......


Monday 25 November 2019

On the horns of a dilemma.

Much as I hate to admit it I do share more than a little of the sentiment expressed in the above photo. Perhaps I'm just very cynical but all those glossy manifestos are to my eyes just a marketing ploy to get my vote...what is promised and what is actually delivered are two very different beasts. Stepping aside from the mainstream parties though it doesn't mean to say that I don't derive a little mirth from the the looming election......

In my innate wisdom and sheer nosiness I decided to peruse the entire list of all the candidates standing in the country...all 222 pages of it. It made for some interesting reading....I've narrowed it down to my two favourite parties.

Church of the Militant Elvis are proposing that there should be a free neutering for all stray cats and Boris. They have suggested that Noel Edmonds should be brought in to negotiate Brexit after all the experience he has amassed in his years of hosting "Deal or No Deal" With regards to another People's Vote the options should be A] In the EU B] Out of the EU and C] Pretend to leave but stay in. Amongst all their tongue in cheek suggestions they do have some very heartfelt and serious ideas.

The Official Monster Raving Loony Party are fielding lots of candidates this year. As ever they are having no truck with anything that smacks of being sensible and they have faithfully promised that they will not be acting upon anything from their manifesto. This is their complete list of "policies" I rather liked the naughty suggestion that all our MPs should do half an hour of Tai Chi every day to counteract the 231/2 hours they spend on Chi Ting!

I wonder how Count Binface [formerly known as Lord Buckethead] will fare in Uxbridge...his major rival is one Mr B Johnson! Unfortunately here in Horsham we have no such political shenanigans. Unless enough people do a complete about turn we will remain true blues as we return the highest Tory majority in the country. It gets ever so slightly controversial when disgruntled folks express their displeasure by voting for the Lib Dems in the local elections, but they always revert to form as soon as we're back in a General one. The only alternative for me is the Peace Party here, but if I was going to go off piste then the Independent Captain Beany from Beanus might win my support. He's been standing since 1986 and does a huge amount of fund raising for charity. He is also the founder of the Baked Bean museum so frankly what's not to like eh!!


Friday 22 November 2019


"Angels fly because they take themselves lightly."

Have a fabulous weekend. This is from the church in Thakeham, West Sussex.


Thursday 21 November 2019


"The most remarkable thing about my Mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found."
Calvin Trillin

Murphy's Law states that if you are making a cake on a wet Wednesday afternoon in October it will rise to perfection.....unless it's for a special occasion and then the dratted thing will sink in the middle. Yes I've made loads of successful sponges, but that's what happened to me. After a bit of a tantrum I made a much better one and the offending item got stuck in the freezer until I decided what to do with it.

We had friends here for lunch on Saturday and after mulling over what I could make for pudding I decided to press that cake into service as the base of a Black Forest Trifle. I thought I'd got away with it until my friend asked me what I'd used for the base...ok confession time! She laughed like a drain and agreed that she too can't abide waste. This is the proper version for those who might fancy trifle with a twist.

Black Forest Trifle

chocolate Swiss roll
blackcurrant jelly
couple of tins of drained cherries or mixed berries or frozen berries
pint of custard [use 1.5x as much custard powder to make it thicker]
400g plain chocolate
600ml pot of whipping or double cream

Slice the Swiss roll and scatter the fruit over. Make up the jelly but only use 3/4 pint of water. Pour over the fruit and leave to set. Break the chocolate into squares. Make a pint of custard and stir in chocolate whilst it's still hot. Leave for a couple of minutes to slightly cool and then pour it over the jelly mix. Leave to cool. When the custard is cold add a layer of whipped cream over the top and grate chocolate over or sieve cocoa powder on top.

There is only approximately three days of calories in each portionšŸ˜‰ so I don't make it too often!

What I didn't tell her was that the Fidget Pie also had the leftover gammon in from a few weeks back when we cooked one up in the slow cooker!! Not that she'd have given a monkeys!


Wednesday 20 November 2019

Log entry

Back in Petworth Park again there's a chestnut tree that came down in the Great Storm in 1987. Rather than remove it the trunk has been tidied up a little and left in situ to be reclaimed by nature and enjoyed by lots of children climbing about on it. We took five minutes out of our time there to photograph the patterns and details which would otherwise have eluded us. It's so easy to miss the beauty that's right there under our snouts sometimes.


Tuesday 19 November 2019

In search of the ancient ones.

We have been blessed with a couple of sunshine filled Sundays here in West Sussex of late. Such days are interspersed with many more that have been dull and grey so I've been out taking full advantage of the beautiful light! Reading up about Petworth Park [not far from here] I stumbled across their "Ancient Tree" walk. Boots on.......

There's something about a British autumn that just makes my soul sing. It lacks the stunning colours of the New England Fall [which blew me away when I was there years ago], but the palette of golds and russets is very rich on a bright day.

Unfortunately I'm a bit rubbish when it comes to identifying trees, but we saw many new ones on our amble round including the pin oak, the red oak and the scarlet oak which are native to North America. The red ones below are Swamp Cypresses and were planted in the park in 1638.

This Common Lime is 600-700 years old and is completely hollow. Apparently though it's still got several hundred years of life left in it. I think those are red shoots round its trunk.

There are many trees which exceed 500 years old. This Sweet Chestnut's branches have twisted themselves into an amazing arch and the oldest oak is 940 years [no photo]. It seems almost incomprehensible to me that it was a sapling when the Normans successfully invaded in 1066.

However, this final specimen came with its very own name plate.

According to the NT website there's been an oak of this name shown on maps since 1779, although this one is later.  It marks the parish boundary and it's thought that the name is down to the belief that the land beyond it was spiritually suspect! 


Monday 18 November 2019

Conked out.

Just a lowkey weekend spent with friends on Saturday and then with Mr GBT's sister and hubby yesterday. Lots of tales exchanged and calories consumed and no photos bar this one.

My SIL has recently added to her pack of doggies [she stopped working a year ago]. Alongside a very venerable old terrier and 10 month old Pebble the beagle she now has this little lady. River is 12 weeks old and after a couple of hours of furious playing and fun with Pebble she was ready for a cuddle and a nap with me. She's at that scrummy stage of having a huge puppy tummy!

Puppy snuggles are a marvellous way to spend time I find!


Friday 15 November 2019


When the pair of you are actually hobbit sized I can't tell you how satisfying it is when you get the long shadows with the low sunlight at this time of year. It looked like we'd grown into giants last Sunday!

We're back to our normal short selves now, but we enjoyed it while it lasted. Have a fantastic weekend everyone!


Thursday 14 November 2019

Why Christmas shopping is so expensive!

"What!" I hear you cry...I thought you were a gnat bottomed blogger not some spendthrift. Fear not for I have not been kidnapped and exchanged for a Mrs Jingle Bells [I like a slug of festive spirit, but don't go mad!] all of a sudden. Instead the issue is that I cross thresholds of retail outlets that haven't seen my custom all year. I don't buy hugely extravagant gifts or many of them for that matter, but when I do I try to make sure that I've put thought into it. The downside to all this is that I see things I rather fancy owning too and all of a sudden I find myself with something I hadn't planned on. This happens every year, but one outlay is usually enough to settle the material girl down enough to stuff her back in her box!

This is this year's unexpected little treat.....

I couldn't decide which side to show so both it is then. However, things are not quite as bad as they seem. Yes it was a spontaneous buy, but the lining in my old one is unrepairable. I wasn't going to turn down such a splendid leather bag in the charity shop for a bargainous five pounds .I can't help thinking that it puts me in mind of some of the worked pieces I see in crocheted blankets!


Wednesday 13 November 2019

The revenge of the Blue Bonnet!

The bird table we put up last year is proving to be quite a hit with our avian friends these days. When the noisy boys [starlings and pigeons] aren't around we get a good range of the smaller ones and we've been enjoying the antics of the nuthatches and goldfinches recently. Even when the squabbling masses are there the quieter birds have learnt to quietly perch on the far side of the feeders where they can fill up without interruption and competition. You do learn a lot about the pecking order by observing them as we do with our morning coffee.

Last week one of blue tits broke rank and uptipped the balance. Clearly fed up with the pigeon's [I like pigeons by the way] vast backside taking up the whole of the table and not allowing it a chance to get at the tasty mealworms it pecked it on the rump. The pigeon was so startled that it flew off in shock! Bluetit 1 Pigeon 0


Tuesday 12 November 2019

Passing Through

This war memorial bench is the work of Simon Smith and is outside the Great Hall in Winchester. It's a WWI soldier's kit and was installed to commemorate the estimated two million soldiers [of different nationalities] who passed through the city's transit camps during the Great War.

I have Alison Davidson to thank for this level of detail. She wrote the design brief for the piece and commented when I posted the image in a FB group.


Monday 11 November 2019



Not with vain tears, when we're beyond the sun, 
We'll beat on the substantial doors, nor tread
Those dusty high-roads of the aimless dead
Plaintive for Earth; but rather turn and run
Down some close-covered by-way of the air,
Some low sweet alley between wind and wind,
Stoop under faint gleams, thread the shadows, find
Some whispering ghost-forgotten nook, and there

Spend in pure converse our eternal day;
Think each in each, immediately wise;
Learn all we lacked before; hear, know and say
What this tumultuous body now denies;
And feel, who have laid our groping hands away;
And see, no longer blinded by our eyes.

Rupert Brooke, 1913

Friday 8 November 2019

Calorie Free Cake

I'm not offering anything in the way of wit or wisdom [as if!] this Friday....just good wishes for an excellent weekend and a slice of calorie free chocolate cake. A family member had a birthday last weekend.


Thursday 7 November 2019


I have been unashamedly borrowing ideas from the Japanese form of darning called boro. When I clean other people's houses I wear my oldest clothes....sadly I do not apply this same logic when cleaning my own and I splashed bleach on the front of this denim skirt.

The first instinct was to put it straight into the recycling, but having recently learnt just how polluting clothes are, I had to have a rethink. This is how I've fixed it. I'll probably just wear the skirt at home. It's never going to win me any prizes, but I'm quite happy with the result.


Wednesday 6 November 2019

Old Folk[ies]

After literally years of talking about going to our local folk club it took an invitation from a friend to see this group to get us there at last. This is Alden, Patterson and Dashwood from Norwich who performed a couple of fabulous sets.  They've been the support act for the more well known band Show of Hands. If you're wondering what the instrument is it;s a dobra which is more commonly seen in Blue Grass music. This is their "Little Red Canoe".

As for us we've pledged to go back again [it's on every Sunday night] and if we get our act together we might even join!


Tuesday 5 November 2019

Bonfire Night

This is the lantern Guy Fawkes was carrying the night he was caught in the cellar in the Palace of Westminster. This pivotal moment stopped Fawkes from igniting the gunpowder.  I shall be watching the fireworks from a bedroom window....Humphrey will be hiding underneath the bath. Unlike me he's not a fan! The lantern is in the Ashmolean Museum.


Monday 4 November 2019

Consuming not all consuming.

Shopping...these days it's something I do when needed [although the occasional ahem spontaneous buy does sometimes get under the radar!]. I never was one for shoes and that hasn't changed so it was somewhat reluctantly that I set out to replace my well loved, but worn out black boots.

Frankly I didn't relish the experience. I went into a handful of shoe shops to see what they'd got in stock and could very quickly see that nothing appealed nor did some of the prices. A quick tour of the chazzas only produced what I would term fashion boots with skyscraper heels or made out of unsuitable material like suede. Believe you me I can find that single puddle within a five mile radius and step in it. I've ruined suede before on the first wearing so am not to be trusted.

Arriving back at GBT I was a bit hacked off with the whole thing,but being a woman on a mission I decided to give Ebay a whirl. Now I'm not the right person for online bidding and have only used the buy it now option before occasionally. This time though I discovered that some buyers offer you the chance to make an offer.....well my luck was in and I now have exactly what I was after and all for a very modest outlay and preloved. I'll spare you the photo [they're practical rather than thrilling], but this has left me some birthday money over [which was what I was using] for more exciting things....

For anyone who follows Vintage Vixen's blog this was featured on one of her recent posts. It had my name all over it and I simply couldn't resist. It had its first outing to a ceilidh on Friday night!


Friday 1 November 2019

Making something of nothing.

This rather amusing little sign has appeared on the wall of a local restaurant.

Hope you weekend consists of something good and nothing bad!


That was the week that was.

I'm a touch staggered to find that it's been a week since I last dropped in. Usually such an absence is down to me being away, but t...