Monday 30 November 2020

The writing's on the wall.

I'm that woman who always has to check out any graffiti she spots on walls, tunnels, bridges....anywhere basically where it shouldn't be. Some of it is dross, some is very artistic. That which interests me I photograph and the shot below was an example from a tunnel above Shere in Surrey from a walk last month. I liked the fellow with the horns.

This one though that I found daubed under one of the railway bridges in the Sussex village of Rudgwick left my friend H and I scratching our heads. Neither of us could come up with a plausible theory for the thinking behind it!!

Most perplexing😀 That though is the joy of walking. Coming across the inexplicable and unexpected.


Thursday 26 November 2020

Jack and Jill were already up the hill.

Please meet Jack....he's unusual because windmills invariably are given female names. He's a tower mill and there was I thinking that perhaps I might know a single windmill fact having correctly identified him as a smock mill. It turns out the difference between the two is because the former is cylindrical and made of brick/stone not timber. He dates from 1866 and is privately owned. I have to say he's definitely in the rather scruffy "little brother" know the one with the dirty face and scabby knees. Hopefully he'll see a lick of paint before too long.

This is Jack's rather more well turned out older sister Jill. She's a Grand Dame and will be 200 years old next year. She's a post mill and was restored to her former glory in the 1950s. During the Great Storm of 1987 her sails caught fire, but thankfully she was rescued in time and nowadays she occasionally comes out of retirement to grind some of the locally grown organic wheat. She's benefitted from the lockdown as it's given the volunteers time to take down and repaint some of her sails. The young man we spoke to said that he's set up a table in the carpark a couple of weeks ago filled with bags of flour after they'd been milling and was amazed to sell 50 bags in the first hour! It's free entry, but you can only go in one at a time at the moment.

There can't be many places in the country where you can see two mills right next to each other.....



Wednesday 25 November 2020



This is me doing one of the things I do best...befriending and cuddling sociable cats [and dogs too] that I meet upon my wanderings. I encountered this one on holiday a few years ago, but yesterday I was to be found stroking another very similarly marked one. This particular one is a familiar sight around one of the housing estates that I cut through on my way home from the town centre and now I know it to be a Bengal. His owner popped out whilst I was introducing myself to tell me that his name is "Beast", but he does not live up to his name. His favourite thing in the world to do is to be cuddled by all the school children who go past....apparently he's so well practised at it that he leaves the house bang on time every day to catch the passing trade. They have no idea how he knows, but know he does! 

These little exchanges always add an extra something to my day.


Tuesday 24 November 2020

Graven humour

A friend recently asked me if I would like to visit a natural burial ground with her. I know that perhaps it might seem a rather unusual choice, but she just wanted to scope it out with a view to buying a plot. She's currently sorting out her affairs and this is one of the things on the list. I have to say it's a lovely peaceful spot surrounded by woodland with newly planted trees and a longterm vision of creating wildlife corridors which will blend in seamlessly with the area of outstanding natural beauty in which it sits. 

Each grave is marked with a small wooden plaque. Some simply record the name of the person, others have memories, nicknames, details about the person or express the sentiments of those who have been left behind. What I didn't expect to see on one anonymous marker was this......

Perhaps some might feel that such humour is misplaced in such a place as this, but I for one think it very appropriate if it's how that individual was in life. I must thank them for giving me a real and very unexpected laugh when I was least expecting it!!


Monday 23 November 2020

The Monday Group

 Walking again on Saturday this notice across the front of the stile caught my eye.

I come across all sorts of stile styles [try saying that after a couple of small sweet sherries!] and in all states of repair, but I have to say this one was up there with the best. Sturdy, well designed and even that little extra detail of providing instructions for our canine friends.

It transpires that the Monday Group are the fabulous set of volunteers behind the stile. May I just extend my thanks for all your efforts....I, for one, greatly appreciated your hard work in Clayton, West Sussex.


Friday 20 November 2020

Walking in the wet.

My good friend E maintains that you don't have wrong weather when outdoors only wrong clothes.  For once I'd done the sensible thing and checked the forecast.....rain it said and rain it delivered on our walk. No matter I was prepared and dressed right for it and even though I returned home a whole heap soggier than I'd left we had a faberoony time. This combined with another walk with Guiding J a couple of days later has shown me some more examples from the extraordinary world of fungi. I've seen all sorts of incredible coloured ones/shapes/sizes that people have been showing online, but mine are far more muted and I suspect common. They are devilishly difficult to accurately id so I'm not going to even attempt it with my complete lack of knowledge save the last one which I believe is a White Saddle.

Hope you all have a good weekend.....more walking here I hope!


Thursday 19 November 2020

Ode to the West Wind

Ode to the West Wind

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing 

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red

Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou

Who chariotest to their dark Winter bed.

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low

Each like a corpse within its grave, until

Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth and fill

[Driving sweet buds to feed like flocks in the air]

With living hues and odours plain and hill:

Wild spirit, which art moving everywhere;

Destroyer and preserver; hear oh hear!

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792-1822

I spent some time wandering around the town's park last week. It came as rather a surprise to come across a poetry corner tucked away which was put up to celebrate the local year of culture in 2019. Shelley was born in Horsham.


Wednesday 18 November 2020

The Community Fridge

About this time last year I heard that a local group had come together to try and raise sufficient funds to start a community fridge. The idea behind it was to be able to offer perishable supermarket goods that did not meet the criteria of the foodbank free to anyone so that they would not go to landfill. The fundraising deadline was looming and they were still some way off target. It's the sort of volunteer initiative that fires me with enthusiasm so I promoted it on social media and used the Sussex Green Living FB page to raise awareness as I would have hated to have seen it not get out of the blocks.

Fast forward to this month and I am thrilled to say despite the challenges of lockdown and having to find another site to host the fridge it's became a reality. It sensibly sets limits on how much each individual can take per visit, but I felt really elated after paying it a visit yesterday morning. Already it's being well received and they are hoping to extend their opening hours. I was very pleased with what I picked out and those grapes didn't last long once TYM and I got going!!

It will all get used. Projects such as this remind me just how many good people there still are volunteering for the greater good of the community....unlike our local MP who voted against feeding the children who needed it most during half term😢


Tuesday 17 November 2020


I took this photo of a dunnock in our local park on one of the sunny days we had last week. It posed beautifully for me and I am only sorry that my little camera couldn't do it justice. No doubt some will categorise it rather unflatteringly as another Little Brown Job, but it has stunning if rather understated grey and brown plumage. At a quick glance you might think it's a sparrow, but the beak is a different shape.

Having shared the image on FB I learnt several interesting snippets from the responses about this unassuming little bird and it seems it has quite a fan base. Apparently it has an amazing song and according to Irish folklore if you hear it at midnight this is meant to reflect the cries of the unbaptised babies as they return to try and find their parents. One of its other names is Hedge Accentor meaning "one who sings with another."

Now there's a saying that the the quiet ones are always the worst and the dunnock's breeding habits are not always quite the standard pairing. Some nests might operate on the more common avian pattern of a monogamous couple who mate and raise their young, but some dunnocks also practise polyandry which is one female to two males. One of the males will be the dominant one, but it is possible for the female to lay eggs in the same clutch that have been fertilised by both and subsequently the chicks will be fed by both fathers increasing the chance of raising a successful brood. It was believed that if you placed their blue green eggs in your home they would keep away witches. Sadly their eggs are one of the ones the Cuckoo can imitate, so their nests are always at risk of being targeted by this unwanted visitor. 

The old English name for this bird was "hegesugge" literally meaning flutterer in the hedges and usually they are to be found skulking away doing exactly that. It seems that I was very lucky to find such a bold one who allowed me to view it at such close quarters and didn't fly away. I suspect it's more used to being around people. I feel quite honoured!


Monday 16 November 2020

Loafing around

 I'd heard rumours before that you could make bread in your slow cooker, but didn't actually know that my friend actually uses her for just this. She sent me this recipe 

 With a morning off work and all the ingredients already here I thought I might as well give it a try. 

Whilst it's definitely on the rustic rather than artisan looking side I'm delighted to report that it was really easy to make and tasted lovely. It disappeared at lightning speed. The only thing I would do differently is add a little more salt. With limited kitchen space it's always a boon to find additional uses for any of our pieces of equipment.


Friday 13 November 2020

Thursday 12 November 2020

Not home from home.

Mr GBT and I stayed local again on Sunday with a short drive which brought us to the other side of town as our starting point.  With having living here most of my life it should have felt familiar yet I've never walked nor driven through some of the hamlets it took us through. It all felt rather surreal to not recognise anywhere, yet in a good way it felt rather like I was away on holiday for a few hours. Where there is exploring to be done there are things to see and maybe stories to be told......

I rather fancied a swing on that old repurposed tyre....however, seeing as the signs in the pictures below it came from the same farm there was to be no wandering off the public footpath [I don't trespass knowingly really!]

One local landowner has taken matters into his own hands as sadly his livestock has been attacked by dogs off leads on several occasions over the years. He's removed all the permissive paths and fenced it all off. This has not gone down well in some quarters.....

Now I love a rustic hand painted sign and this one does the trick....the little heart in the corner has a rather jolly smile!

Despite the misty conditions, the red foliage of this tree really stood out against the white house behind it. This property stands at the gates of the privately owned Sedgwick Park. Sedgwick Park House was where Alice Liddle [she of Alice in Wonderland fame] spent her honeymoon. There is also the remains of a Norman castle within the grounds which is now a scheduled monument. It's not accessible to the public. If you fancy buying yourself a new pad in the Sussex countryside SP is currently on the market....only make an offer if you've got more than 5 million quid though!

I have to say stumbling across a rather weather beaten Fred Flintstone in somebody's front garden wasn't on the agenda of expected things to see....I used to love watching the original cartoon on TV as a kid. Really corny, but some very imaginative details that were easy to miss.

The final leg took us through part of Chesworth Farm which has now been turned over to a nature reserve. We parked ourselves on a bench to crack open the flask [it's seen a lot of service this year!] and I noticed this. Absolutely 100% agree with the sentiment expressed.



Wednesday 11 November 2020

In Remembrance

 In remembrance of one life, amongst many, lost in war so that we may live in peace.


Tuesday 10 November 2020

Saturday's Stroll

There may be a few more walking based posts than usual until things open out I'm still working this time round and we have limited options for what we do on a social basis, walking is my activity of choice. I love it and am delighted by what I keep coming across here within my locality.

This time I was in St Leonard's forest with my friend WW. The woods are local to her and we spent a glorious three hours just wandering up any path that took our fancy and getting lost basically. It all adds a bit of excitement to the proceedings and with the beautiful sunshine I wasn't in any hurry to get back to GBT and do my jobs😆 Top up the old vitamin D for free whenever you get the chance I say.

The wood gets it name from the 6th century French Saint Leonard who happened to be hanging around this part of the Wealden forest for reasons unknown [it's sounding more plausible by the moment]. To pass the time he slew the resident dragon which was giving the villagers a bit of trouble and in the process accidentally cut himself. Saint's blood is potent stuff and where it fell supposedly lily of the valley now grows. As a reward Leonard got to banish all the snakes and silence all the nightingales so that his prayers wouldn't be disturbed by their singing. Actually I'm not sure Leonard really did fulfill his promise if the discovery below is anything to go they say best let sleeping dragons lie so we tiptoed past and made our way on. The legend may possibly be an echo of a hermitage that might once have existed within the wood.


The true version is that we bravely sat on the bench and cracked open our flasks of is very rock 'n' roll these days, but I had a ball.


Monday 9 November 2020

New Found Land

 I have always pronounced Newfoundland as Newfundlund thereby giving no thought whatsoever to the compound of words from which it's formed. A snippet on a programme made me realise that the name of this famous Canadian province is literally based on it being new land found.  Talk about a forehead slapping moment when the penny finally dropped! 

We have a similar example here although granted it's on a teeny weeny scale by comparison. Just outside the town is a hamlet called Newfoundout. It does have an official sign, but I was feeling too lazy to walk further up the road so this sign will have to do instead.

The story behind the origins of its name lie in the mid 19th century when the Irish navvies were around the area building the railways. There had already been one temporary pub set up for them to quench their thirst, but these fellows were notorious for setting up their own illegal shebeens. There would have probably been many that went undetected, but the local excise men found a still in one of the local cottages and shut it down and supposedly thence the hamlet's name was born. The first time the name is recorded in use is 1871. Well that's the local tale behind it anyway.......


Friday 6 November 2020

Birds of a feather.....

 Birds of a feather stick together....especially when there's velcrow involved.....just one to make you smile.

Look forwards to catching up next week!


Thursday 5 November 2020


Did anyone read this news story about the Dad who secretly built a Harry Potter street in his daughter's wardrobe? Yes please.....I'd willingly give up my kitchen for one of these😍

I, for one, feel I could do with a sprinkling of fairy dust today and even though I faithfully promised earlier this week to write up a couple of other recent adventures I am easily distracted and the chance to share pictures of a fairy door proved just too tempting.....

There is always magic for those that seek it....


Wednesday 4 November 2020


Needing to filter out all the mainstream media I went off hunting for some good news stories for a change yesterday and came across the Ever Widening Circles site to which I've now subscribed. Its content looks to be uplifting and anything that keeps your pecker up at the moment has to be a good thing as far as I'm concerned. One of the articles suggested listening to the Ted talk on Youtube by Ingrid Fetell Lee about joy and where to find it. It's only a few minutes long, but I found it most interesting. Many of us find joy from the same sort of things. That got me wondering....if I had to pick one photo to spark joy which one would it be?

This one I young son laughing away whilst playing with a washing up bowl full of water in my parents' garden.


Tuesday 3 November 2020

Dripping with Jewels


They might not be rubies, but these berries near GBT are glorious at the moment. Grabbing the chance to have a walk between showers I not only came across these, but this rather bedraggled little beauty. It's a Box Tree moth I do believe. It seemed unlikely that it would fare well sitting in the middle of the pavement so I moved it to a place of safety well away from human feet.

I might not be able to scheme to the extent I usually do, but I hope that there will still be new things to learn and see in November. I have a couple more adventures from the last few weeks which I will share this week.


PS I'm afraid I don't know what the berries are, but I've put a close up shot up below which might help with its identification. If you double click the picture it will increase its size.

Monday 2 November 2020


 It's been a bit of a tough weekend in some ways hasn't it. What I find hardest is the fact I can't offer a hug to those I value when it's needed....somehow words alone just don't have the same effect. However, it is what it is and I won't be joining in the ferocious debates I see enacted elsewhere. My intention as ever is to keep this blog a place of sanctuary and with any luck it will provide some bright spots at what it a challenging time. Change is with us again, but I shall take the opportunity to meet a friend at a time and get some walking done at the weekends. This weekend I have had the joy of touching base with one of my longest standing school friends who still lives locally to me. WW chuckled when I showed her this on Saturday....that's us aged 13 and 14 [I'm the one with the red trousers]. We're now 54 and 53 and still natter for England over a cuppa!

Meanwhile this is my old friend from work with whom I always celebrate the turning of the wheel. She has had a rough year, but is very stoical and is living her best you can see she was really going for it this Halloween...nothing was going to stop her having a good knees up. Was a most excellent evening.

I will continue to find the best in whatever I'm doing.


Back to the town of painted doors and alleycats

 💕Ah Tewkesbury💕 Do you know what...I flipping love this town with all its curios and layers of history. It is entirely down to Mythago an...