Friday, 30 October 2020

Samhain 2020


 Seeing as it's Halloween ๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ tomorrow I thought I'd share this rather dishevelled witch from the Farnham Sculpture Park. She rather looks like she might have partaken of a cauldron full of Witches Brew already! As usual I shall enjoy a quiet celebration with the couple I always mark it with. Hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Arilx

Thursday, 29 October 2020

The Bomb House


When we visited the Devil's Dyke in 2019 I noted this ruin on the horizon. From the looks of it and based on what else I've seen I had this down as either a relic from the feared Napoleonic invasion [which thankfully never happened] or more probably a leftover from WWII [Sussex is littered with different examples]. Only now have I discovered that more unusually this dates from the Great War. It was known colloquially as "The Bomb House", but its purpose was not rediscovered until 2012. Built in 1918 it had steel lined walls to enable the testing of bomb detonators to be carried out. With it being put into action so near to the armistice it only saw a short period of service before being abandoned.

Arilx

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Returning to the screen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9EC3juydY0 

I was so pleased to learn that another series of Worzel Gummidge is due to be aired soon. This new interpretation is of the moment. If you click on the link above you can hear the haunting "The Scarecrow Knows" by the Unthanks band who provide the soundtrack for the programme.  My latest encounter with a scarecrow was a rather friendlier looking fellow. He was propped up outside a local pub!


Arilx


Tuesday, 27 October 2020

The Anchoress

We passed by St James in Shere a couple of weeks ago and much to my delight I found it has recently reopened. I'd heard rumours of a possible connection to an anchorite, but these things are usually pretty vague and with little detail about the individual who had chosen to be sealed within a cell. Most were women and it was a practice that ceased before the Reformation. Bar one or two who made a name for themselves, history has not recorded their names. 

The first photo shows the remaining outline of the original cell which was 4' wide and 6' high. It's sited on the north wall of the church i.e. the coldest part and would have had some kind of aperture to the outside world where people could bring the occupant food and drink. Unusually it's known exactly who lived here. Christine Carpenter [her father William was the village carpenter] for records of her exist in documents held by the Bishop of Winchester under whose jurisdiction she came. She was first enclosed in 1329 and then for reasons unknown she sought permission to leave before she went back in in 1332. The quatrefoil [complete with apotropaic marks] is where she received the bread and wine and next to it is a hagiosphere which would have allowed her to observe the high altar.



I idly wondered what life would have been like being shut away like this. No doubt it would have been hard and austere, but seen in the context of the living conditions of the time perhaps it wouldn't have been terrible if you were getting enough to eat and your body wasn't being wracked by hard, physical labour or being constantly pregnant. A friend signposted a recent Radio 4 series on isolation which touched upon this very subject. It concluded much the same as me...the church was back then the central hub of the community and you would have seen and spoken to many people who would have sought your spiritual guidance. One little detail I loved was the revelation that in one place there were three anchorites in adjacent cells and they had a pet cat๐Ÿˆ Some even had servants! It provided a fascinating insight into this chosen way of life.

Arilx

Monday, 26 October 2020

A load of old balls.....

This year has been the one for exploring what's under our nose....it turns out I don't know my home patch half as well as I thought I did. Local friends took us out on a walk through the copse on the outskirts of the village where they live. The weather wasn't grand, but I don't mind some showers especially if there's woodland cover for most of it. Although I haven't stumbled across some of the more exotic fungi I've seen others sharing online we did find a few less showy examples. The first one was the size of a penny and oh so delicate.





Even in the dull light with the rain gently falling the woods still looked magical. Those moss covered stumps are like something out of Middle Earth! England does a mighty fine shade of yellow when it comes to its autumn foliage.



As ever this area does timber framed buildings with style and there are barns and farms aplenty. Many are the more traditional black and white, but we are on clay here so bricks feature heavily too. The main farmhouse was well back and hidden so I had to make do with this smaller affair next door. The pots on the drive are a mix of old chimneys and pipes I believe.


With these to end I was delighted to come across the bright pink berries of the Prickwood tree [aka Spindle]. Such a welcome change from the more traditional fire colours of the autumn palette. They were known as Robin's bread for the bird's penchant for them and the ferocity with which this feisty favourite would defend its food source from invaders.

You might by now be wondering how the blog title fits in here....well your normal forager would probably be collecting crab apples or nuts of some description at this time of year. Not us.....nope we came home with pockets stuffed with old golf balls that crossed the course boundary and then rolled down into the copse. TYM has bought himself some clubs [from the charity where he's volunteering a few hours a week] and they're for him. Saves him a few pennies when he next goes with his mate!

Arilx


Friday, 23 October 2020

Fleeced

It was the beautiful tones in this ewe's fleece that caught my eye recently. The ram in the field had a very impressive set of curly horns, but I was guessing that he wasn't delighted by our presence if the deathstare he gave us was anything to go by as we went past. Perhaps some clever person could let me know what breed this particular ovine is please?


Have a great weekend!

Arilx



Thursday, 22 October 2020

Now more than ever....

 


At dark times or on dark days I stop and notice the beauty of the world around me. It brings me back to a place of calm and hope.

Arilx


Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Butting in.


Not the most gripping delivery that has ever been received here at GBT, but a "practical" [or dull as my younger self would have said] one nevertheless. After several weeks of traipsing back and forth from the back garden to water the veggie planter out the front I suggested to Mr GBT that it might be easier for us to have another water butt out there instead and then we could harvest more rainwater from the roof.  Somehow one morphed into two, but am pleased to find that these ones from BeGreen are made of 100% recycled plastic.

With being on a water meter this should hopefully keep our consumption down. You have to work hard to maintain a gnat bottomed reputation so we've decided to use any water in them to flush the toilet over the winter months. I like to make our purchases work hard for us๐Ÿ˜

Arilx



Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Fancy Free

 I'm a fan of the Fancy Free walks site. We have done a handful of them this year and it's brought forward new corners of my locality that I simply don't know, The best part is that new ones are being added on a regular basis and the details for all of them are kept up to date. They provide the perfect antidote to a working week when we find ourselves with a quiet day at the weekend and the weather is dry. Just pick one and go. This one is around nearby Friday Street.

The starting point was from the now sadly closed village pub. This was once one of Oliver Read's drinking holes. Nature is rapidly reclaiming it, but as is oft the way of the world round here it's earmarked for demolition and new housing.




Thankfully the second pub we came to is still vibrant and viable. The MG club is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year and some of the members had brought along their beloved cars for a meet up in the carpark. 



They weren't the only vintage vehicles we encountered on our way round. This beautifully restored Fordson Thames Flatbed Truck dates from the 1940s. It looked a little incongruous stuck next to a muddy tractor.


With a rather lovely shaggy parasol mushroom to finish for 'tis indeed 'shroom season๐Ÿ„


It might have been a tad on the overcast side today, but still a pleasure to walk the woods and enjoy the great outdoors.

Arilx




Monday, 19 October 2020

Please shut the gate.

 


I saw this on our walk yesterday. Whilst I understand why we needed to shut the gate I am still none the wiser as to the type of livestock from the image๐Ÿ˜† we were supposed to be keeping in. My friend suggested anteaters and it seems as good a guess as any! I do love these little oddities you encounter when out and about.

Arilx

Friday, 16 October 2020

Superhero

 This was the winner in the local village's annual scarecrow competition. The theme was "superheroes" and Captain Tom Moore is the real deal.


Have a fabulous weekend one and all.

Arilx

Thursday, 15 October 2020

The Final Incarnation

Following on from yesterday Eltham Palace underwent its final and possibly most dramatic transformation when it passed into the hands of Stephen and Virginia Courtauld in 1933. With millions at their disposal this couple set about creating a modern masterpiece which would incorporate the Great Hall and sit sensitively alongside it. On this occasion I think it best that I simply share images of what we saw and let them do the talking. This was the final one of our "holi"days.












It was quite a departure for us from the type of place we normally visit and I enjoyed the complete change in direction.

Arilx


Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Royal Favour

In the late 13th century Anthony Bek, the then Bishop of Durham, bought Eltham Manor. It didn't meet his idea of a residence befitting his station so he rebuilt a grander affair with a moat. Upon his death it was bequeathed to his friend Edward I. He too thought it fell below the standards he would expect for his domestic arrangements as the Monarch so once again it was upgraded into a palace. 

For many generations it remained as a Royal residence. The hunting was good, you could hold lavish Christmas festivities for 2000 and it could sleep 800. It also provided an excellent base for diplomacy. Henry IV holds the record for being the only King to have entertained a Byzantine Emperor in 1400. All the stops were pulled out for his visit....a joust held in his honour and even fire breathing dragons [now that is something I'd have liked to have seen!]. Henry VIII spent much of his boyhood here and I rather liked the detail that he had his own fool, John Goose, there with him. However, us humans like novelty and new shiny things. We also like whichever option is easiest and with the building of Greenwich Palace this one's days were numbered. The new palace was far easier to reach by river and Eltham was quietly abandoned. Cromwellian troops running amok in the 1640s caused damaged to an already vulnerable building and by 1663 it was being run as a farm. Little remains from this time bar a few old walls with their diapered decoration and the footprint of some of the demolished parts. The bridge is now the oldest working bridge in London




The most magnificent part though is thankfully still standing. This is the Great Hall which was commissioned by Edward IV in the 1470s. During the site's time as a farm this was used as a barn, but thankfully a few enlightened souls realised the merit of saving the ruins and restoration started in the 1820s. I'll cover the next chapter of this amazing place in tomorrow's post, but for now I'll leave you with photos from the inside of this imposing edifice with its hammerbeam roof and interior details.








Arilx


Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Galling

 


This funny looking little thing is called a Robin's Pincushion gall and it's usually to be seen on wild roses. I've learnt that it was known as a Robin Redbreast's cushion in West Sussex and if you wore it around your neck it would cure you from whooping cough [along with many hundreds of other folkloric cures!]

Arilx

Monday, 12 October 2020

In for a penny in for a pound.

As a clothes sorter volunteer for a local charity, we're allowed to keep the odd item for ourselves. One of the items that came out of my bags was a Per Una skirt which I really liked. "Keep it" my friend urged as it was destined just to be recycled even though it's still in very good condition. Reuse is better than recycle, so I brought it home even though I knew it was far too big for me. 

I'm no seamstress, but the one thing I've learnt this year is to give it a go and not get too hung up on the results. Not having had to pay for it what did I have to lose by trying to alter it....worst case scenario was that it ended up being put back in the recycling next month. Having thought my way round it before I touched a pair of scissors I whipped out the zip and lining and then cut a section off straight across the top. With some black fabric I already had I made the tie, stitched back in the lining and restitched the side seam. I don't mind the shorter length as I always intended to wear it with long boots and a cardigan so it suits me fine. Not having a machine has made this the perfect project for the cooler evenings whilst catching up on the TV programmes I've missed.


It isn't perfect, but I'm pleased with it and I now feel encouraged to have a go again if I find something else that could become wearable with a bit of tinkering with.

Arilx


Friday, 9 October 2020

Insulting

If somebody's got on your wick today please feel free to draw from the list below and come up with a unique insult to inflict upon them...perhaps wisest not to tell them๐Ÿ˜ˆ



Have a good weekend.

Arilx



Thursday, 8 October 2020

The Scream

I rather think of this image as being akin to Edvard Munch's "The Scream" only in castle form. It's the  shot many visitors, including us, take of Pevensey Castle, but it is rather dramatic. The other images below show a much more standard view of this medieval castle. It started out as a late Roman fort and the remains can still be seen in the outer wall and it has continued to be used for defending our shores throughout the ensuing centuries. It was built by the Normans and then rebuilt during the 13th century in the form we see today.

Despite periods when it has been allowed to fall into a ruinous state it was repaired during WWII  as a viable base for defending the country against coastal invasion and repaired so that the soldiers could live in the towers. Many of the war related alterations were later removed leaving no trace, but the locals petitioned for some of the features like the pillboxes to be kept in memory of those who'd fought. The pillboxes [no photos as they're currently under scaffolding] were built to blend in and blend in they do. They are covered in stone and flint and if it wasn't for the gun slits you wouldn't notice them! 

As is oft the case at the moment not everywhere was open to us, but there was plenty to keep me happy. This is the remains of the chapel. Apparently castles would normally have a room set aside for this purpose, so having a separate building especially with associated burials is quite unusual. I would imagine that it's the broken font you can see in the middle.


Meanwhile this innocuous looking thing looked all the world to me like a well. Sadly it has a far darker history. It's a type of dungeon which could only be accessed from a hole in the roof and was known as an oubliette. My rusty school girl French remembered oublier as a verb meaning to forget and chillingly it met its brief. Once incarcerated down there you could be abandoned and left to die. 

Please forgive me for inflicting a photo of me scowling at the camera, but I was included to give an idea of the scale. These are trebuchet stones which were found in the moat. One of those could do a lot of damage!


Having thoroughly enjoyed our visit we spent the afternoon admiring the views out across to the Seven Sisters and then a very pleasant walk out along the Cuckmere Haven. I am embarrassed to admit that despite living in Sussex since I was young this is the first time I've spent any time round here. See what I've been missing! It was one of the last really warm afternoons we enjoyed last month.



This was the last bar one of our "holi"days. One final visit to write about will feature next week and then I will have to start scheming again. Hmmmm.......

Arilx


Zooming in.

 Once a month I clean for for a lady who has three of the teeniest cats I've ever seen. Although they are fully grown they all had a rea...