Saturday 29 February 2020

Fired up

Apparently at some stage in the last 24 hours [without consulting me I hasten to add] my brain has decided that if we're going to enjoy a special 29th February I'm going to be writing an extra post. As ever it's just a dash of colour to enliven a soggy, grey day.

More hearts from the craft stash [I knew all those little bits and bobs would come into their own one day!] The elephant came from the front of a card and it's mounted on recycled sari silk.

Phew finally after many hours of cutting, pinning and then unpinning because I'm not happy with the layout of the colours or I've pinned them through too many layers and then hand sewing the front for the fire element is finished.  I always forget how time consuming this is, but I'm now happy with the effect I've achieved. It's been built up on the back of a man's shirt [charity shop] which I've cut to our standard pattern so it will [she says keeping everything crossed here] fit on the front of everybody's black tatter jackets. They are attached by velcro to allow us to add and remove them quickly for kit changes as the story dances require. Still have one more thing that needs to be done to the mask itself which I will need to do alongside my fellow makers and then I can show you the whole shebang!


Friday 28 February 2020

A Book Nook

I've not encountered these before, but I am pretty sure I could accommodate one of these on my shelves without too much difficulty!

Whilst, on the subject of all things book related may I please cheekily ask what you have been reading in any book clubs you belong to of late? It's my turn to pick next month and I'm drawing a blank at the moment. The only criteria are that it needs to be fiction and available in paperback. Many thanks!

Have a good weekend!


Thursday 27 February 2020

Back to Guildford

Well seeing as I had to scotch my plans to go to London on Tuesday with Arty L due to not feeling well, I thought perhaps you might not mind me inflicting a few more photos of my trip to Guildford upon you instead!! Ice Badger and I did what we always do...just mosied around and stopped at anything that caught our eye. Naturally such wanderings were interspersed with essential cafe stops. After all we are there to support the local businesses....well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

The river Wey runs through the centre of the town. This bridge looks to be normal scale until I tell you that the railings running along the top are only waist height. The arches are tiny. A bit like these weeny "doors" that run around the base of the nearby church. I know people used to be much shorter than today, but I don't think they were ever pygmy sized were they?!!  I believe that the river has been up over the past few weeks with the storms we've recently had and the evidence of the flood protection over the church door. Ironically the sign recording the highest ever flood level was right next door to it.

Ice Badger pointed this delightful street name out to me. It used to colloquially be known as "Piss Pot Alley"!

"The Bargeman" stands next to the riverbank. The way one of his legs has dissolved into a molten pool of metal fascinated me, but I'm not quite sure about that expression on his face...whether he's incredibly jovial or slightly unnerving!

This rather grandiose edifice is there to disguise a tunnel entrance, but as it stands opposite the castle [in the next photo] it blends in well with its surroundings. The rather poignant memorial to the young man who drowned trying to save another boy is hidden away on one of the inner walls.

The original castle was Norman, but it's seen many changes over its time. At one time Eleanor and Edward I lived within its walls as recorded in this archetypal and rather fabulous 1972 sundial.

To finish a few eyecatchers we came across as we meandered back to the park and ride. I'm sorry, but that fake dormer window isn't fooling anybody!!

We have promised ourselves that we will return to look at the cathedral another time. Unfortunately it's a bit of a way out of the town centre so will need a separate trip.


Wednesday 26 February 2020

A new hobby.

It's going to be a short and sweet one from me today as I'm a bit under the weather. Humphrey has a new hobby. Indoor bird catching....he sits on the back of the chair and hurls himself at the window when the cheeky bluetits come and taunt him from the windowsill on the other side of the pane of glass. It's an arrangement that works well because it massages his ego, but he gets to stay dry and no birds are harmed in the process. I'm not sure how much more abuse my wooden candlestick can take though as he clatters into it on his descent. Other people sometimes have ghostly bird impressions on the outside of their homes where the birds have collided with the windows. I think we might be heading for the first ever household with an impression of a fat, black cat on the inside!!!

This is not my birdfeeder. It's rather chaotic appearance appealed so I snapped it on one of my recent adventures.


Tuesday 25 February 2020

In wonderland

Two sisters, one reading and the other looking into the middle distance. What has caught her eye?

A rabbit about to evade capture down its hole.

And thus the opening scene of the classic "Alice in Wonderland" is set.

This is the work of Edwin Russell, but is not the only nod to the work of Lewis Carroll. Hidden away in the castle grounds and backing onto a private house called the "Chestnuts" we have this by Jeanne Argent. "Alice through the looking glass". It has a rather more sombre feel to it, but a beautiful ethereal quality.

I had no idea that Guildford had any connection to Lewis Carroll or the Rev Charles Dodgson to give him his true name. Neither did my friend Ice Badger who was at uni in the town and couldn't quite work out how she had walked past them many times and never noticed them [bit like me and the city walls of Winchester which I managed to completely miss in my student days there!]. Dodgson never lived here, but his sisters lived in "Chestnuts" and he came down to stay with them. He preached from time to time in the nearby St Mary's church and actually died here. He's buried in The Mount cemetery. There's the Mad March Hare pub and the Mad Hatter milliner's nearby just for good measure.


Monday 24 February 2020

Please take a seat.

Imagine my surprise and delight to discover that the cafe I'd popped into with my friend Ice Badger not only offered delicious food, but also a fine array of funky seat covers. Much as I'd have loved to photograph them all it's not really the done thing is it when people are just there to enjoy their lunch in peace[these were the ones at our table]. However, I simply couldn't resist taking a sneaky shot of the mouse covered one when the table became free!!

We were enjoying a day out in Guildford.


Friday 21 February 2020

Champers dear boy?

Now that's what I call a decent, Aril-sized, corkscrew....only need to find a big enough bottle to accompany it! Extensive research tells me that a Melchior sized one would give me a mere 144 glasses of bubbly. Sadly the reality is that more than a couple of glasses of the stuff gives me a cracking headache😆 Ah well I enjoyed coming across this in the window of our town's rather classy wine shop. Needless to say I have never crossed the threshold of this particular establishment....have a sparkling weekend!


Thursday 20 February 2020


"Steampunk is nostalgia for what never was."
George Mann

I love Steampunk. My parents are away on their travels and sent me this. It ticks all the boxes.


Wednesday 19 February 2020

Towering Tales

Years ago one of my former students told me the story of when she lived next door to this church- St Mary Magdalene in Rusper, West Sussex. When they were digging the footings for a conservatory in their garden they dug up some human bones.  The appropriate authorities were called in to evaluate the remains. All I remembered from our conversation was that they turned out to be nuns. I filed this little nugget under "might come in useful" one day and found out the backstory several years later.

This church is Victorian, but a much earlier one stood on the same site [only the tower is older]. There was a small Benedictine nunnery nearby, but the deceased nuns and prioress were buried here. As it transpires this was not the first time some of the nuns had been disturbed.....back in 1840 when work was being carried out other skeletons were found. They were reburied at the base of the tower. In 1975 a boy scout fell from the top of the tower. Incredibly he escaped with only a broken arm. It's the local belief that it was the protective spirit of these nuns that protected him and saved his life.

The same afternoon and another local Victorian church. This time I was at All Saints in Roffey [a district of Horsham]. In all my years of living here it's always remained resolutely locked so I grabbed my chance to have a poke around when I realised it was open. Not much to report from my perspective...high churches aren't my taste. However, there's another tower related tale to tell.

As the church was nearing its completion in 1878 a wild swan flew into one of the remaining scaffolding poles on the tower. Sadly it did not survive and fell to the tower base. Strangely though, Mrs Cecil Martyn, who paid for the building of the church, had a swan rising out of a crown as her family crest. This was deemed to be a good sign and some of the bird's feathers were included in the original altar frontal. I have "The West Sussex Village Book" by Tony Wales to thank for this particular gem. There is always a story to be told if you dig deep enough.


Tuesday 18 February 2020


Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Caroline Flack's death on Saturday. 


Monday 17 February 2020

Throwing in the trowel.

For a few years this odd little brick pillar with its pointing trowel has sat rather inconspicuously just off the  Horsham bypass on one of the junctions near a roundabout. I knew of its existence, but, I'd never been quite sure where it was until last week. Various people have put theories forward about what it represents....a memorial to a local bricklayer who lost his life on the road perhaps or a nod to the now closed brickworks? There's no name on it and nothing in the way of flowers. I understand it has been decorated with Christmas lights though at the appropriate time of year!

So there this little oddity stood on its ownsome lonesome and then a couple of weeks ago until this new version mysteriously appeared.

It now has a companion! The rumour is that the original one was put up by a local bricklayer as a joke. As to who's behind this one....I have no idea, but it makes for an unexpected surprise and talking point. Maybe the point of them, like follies, it to be just that....pointless!


Friday 14 February 2020

Valentines Day 2020

I found this rather appropriately themed window for today in a local church earlier in the week. Hope you enjoy your day whether you celebrate romantically or ignore it like us. I must remember to dig out that 50p chocolate orange I bought Mr GBT in the Christmas sales which is lurking somewhere in a cupboard....I know how to spoil him!


Thursday 13 February 2020

Hedging your bets.

What are the chances of finding two examples of hedge finery in a single afternoon....the topiary Gods were being kind to me I think.....both local to GBT. The little ones enjoy walking past the smiley face on their way to school apparently.

I myself was just out making the most of the sunshine on my day off.🌞


Wednesday 12 February 2020

Will the real Mr Williams please step forward.

Sunday morning is deemed a "special breakfast" day in our household. By this I mean we ignore the usual fare of cereal and porridge in favour of something like croissants, hot cross buns etc. We like to take our time eating it over a leisurely cup of coffee whilst nattering and often playing some sort of relaxing classical music.

A few weeks ago I suggested to Mr GBT that we might like to listen to the greatest hits by John Williams I'd bought him for Christmas. Expecting some uplifting guitar music imagine my surprise when I heard the theme tune to Starwars closely followed on by the one for Jaws. Not quite the ambience I was going for! What a way to discover there are two popular John Williams out there. Note to self....check the playlist before purchasing. Thankfully Mr GBT loves all the classic blockbusters so this alternative is perfectly acceptable even though it's not quite what I was aiming for😳 Ah well you live and learn!


Tuesday 11 February 2020

The weekend "doings"

The pair of us have truly had the weekend to end all rock 'n' roll weekends here......Saturday I met my fellow wombles and the team of volunteers who sort all the recycling that comes in on a Wednesday for a mega session to get it all in boxes and ready to be sent off. I have to say I didn't realise how jolly it could be with 6 of us sorting bag after bag of donated goods...the lady packing the crisp packets has turned it into a higher art form. The banter [or bants as TYM would call it] was much better than doing it all on my ownsome in my garage as I used to.

As storm Ciara confined us to barracks it was deemed a day of "catching up" on Sunday. Mr GBT saw to the hobbity booze [wine] whilst I finished the back of the head for the latest Mythago mask. I hope that the colours I've chosen immediately suggest the element I'm working on!

We have finally got round to hanging my Christmas present in the bathroom too. It's a devil to photograph, so difficult to do it justice. In real life it's a 3 D image with the water lilies on top and lots of sparkly glitter throughout to enhance the effect. It's a water nymph and is the work of Caroline at A House of Wonders.

However, as the old adage goes about all work and no play we did managed to squeeze in the occasional takeaway we enjoy a couple of times a year with friends.


Monday 10 February 2020


Our friends are getting married [not a first wedding for either of them] in the Spring and they've not only invited us to the party they're throwing on the day after, but to the wedding itself which is lovely. I haven't been to a wedding in years and this one will be a low key affair. what's a dame to wear to such an event I wondered. Well it took me all of about 15 secs to decide and spend the last of my birthday money on this hand embroidered frock. Not normally being a dress wearer this one will be able to be incorporated in my usual summer wardrobe afterwards. Always got my eye on the usefulness of any purchase I make and wearability. Old habits never die!

Mind you I think I might need to source some suitable footwear too now😁


Thursday 6 February 2020

A Roundabout Tale.

Increasingly when we travel I am noticing that roundabouts now quite often have interesting things plonked in the middle of them. As a child roundabouts were simply something you went round and maybe you got a floral display if you were lucky. Over the past few years I've seen all sorts of structures and sculptures. I note them, wonder briefly about them and then we're on our way and I've forgotten all about them. For once I had my phone in my lap on Saturday so, although the quality is rubbish, I did get a photo of this boat on the Holmbush roundabout near Shoreham whilst we were queueing [obviously Mr GBT was driving at the time].

This vessel is an original Higgins landing craft and was used for the D day landings and it was also one of 6 which featured in "Saving Private Ryan". It's been here since 2007 as a reminder of the area's maritime history. I feel a whole new slightly off beam hobby involving roundabouts and strange things found thereon.......


Wednesday 5 February 2020

Natural Beauty

Thought you might enjoy this clip of the Rainbow River in Colombia.


Tuesday 4 February 2020

Cutting Edge Technology.

Oooh we did all so covet the titanium coloured scissors one of my fellow friends was using when all the Mythago ladies convened last weekend for our latest kit making session. I totally understood why she bought them on impulse when she clapped eyes on them recently. Probably just as well that I wasn't with her at the time as I could easily have seen an identical pair coming to join me at GBT!! My everyday fabric scissors are rather more standard orange handled jobbies, but I do have these which are strictly for display only.

The form of them will be familiar to many. I'd never actually stopped and asked myself what the bird was....perhaps a crane, but I am now aware that they depict a stork.  I learnt recently that these scissors were never originally intended to be used for embroidery. Instead they were used up until the 19th century by midwives to clamp the umbilical cord and the shape of the blades reflected this use. Furthermore this explains the choice of bird with the stories of the stork dropping new babies down the chimney. Some pairs even had a little space on them which, when revealed, had a tiny baby in...I've included a photo on the link here The change over to sewing it's believed is simply down to the midwives spending the waiting periods stitching.


Monday 3 February 2020


In between sorting bottle tops, sewing with the Mythago Elemental ladies and performing on the stage at the Anderida Druid conference I snatched a bit of time over the weekend to use up some woolly odds and ends I've kept from other projects.

I've still got three more colourways to do and then the plan is to make all sorts of hearts the same size but without any outlay....I intend to use up stuff I've already got and recycle other saved bits where possible. Longterm I hope to stick them onto my kitchen door to cheer it up and hide the its current ugly look. Here's hoping anyway!


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...