Wednesday 31 March 2021

March Moths

The conditions haven't always played ball for the trap this month and so we've only put it out a couple of times. With being rank amateurs we're still learning what might work best so there has needed to be some tweaking and rethinking. It is also still quite early in the season. However, I have now seen my first Chestnut Moth. 


Tuesday 30 March 2021

Going back over familiar ground.

 Isn't it amazing how you can redo recent walks, but with a friend this time and be shown completely different stuff. A fresh pair of eyes and all that.  Friend E joined me for this seven miler [plus a couple of coffee breaks] and was raring to go out and explore. Although she lives nearby she hasn't been into the town in yonks and basically she said anything we did would be fine. She was just so excited to be out of her village😆 So without further ado and with no repeats here's another selection unearthed by the pair of us.

I pass these wonderfully patterned chimneys at least once a week if not more, but I haven't paid them a huge amount of attention until now. It was quite a pleasant surprise to find that each one is differently patterned. Naturally I couldn't stop at just the one photo.....they are on a rather magnificent building that now stands in the middle of a rather up market housing estate. Originally Tan Bridge House was a family home for the Olivers with its own estate and built in 1887. It was one of the earliest homes to have electricity in the town and stood on the site on an earlier 17th century place. I understand that a couple of the fireplaces were retained and reused here. After a while it was sold on and became the Girls High School for many years, but in 1994 the school relocated [it was mixed by then] to a new modern site. It was earmarked for demolition, but one of the former teachers campaigned to have it saved and nowadays it has been converted into exclusive apartments. It's very near the town centre so the location adds to their desirability.

We both liked the rather low slung window on this charming listed cottage [we were standing in the garden of the church next door at the time]. It forms part of a row of pastel shaded cottages that I have always thought of as the icecream cottages.

I was on a mission to get myself up to the bakery in search of a bun at this point, but I did rather like the flowery trailer of the local honey seller all set up in the Saturday market.

Our local church with its lovely shingle tower....we were looking for a grave with a skull on it that I'd found on an earlier occasion...don't ask💀😉

Up until its closure in 2015 the Tanners Arm was a local pub known for its music scene. I have to be honest and admit that in all my years of living here I never went there as it's a fair way from me. Since its demise the building has been turned into a private home, but the original pub sign made from micro mosaic has been left in situ and adds an eyecatching detail to the frontage.

This part of town is full of little side streets of Victorian terraces, alongside even older cottages. One house is still as it was the day it was built....the stone cladding has not been painted over and the ridge tiles along the top of the roof remain. It's the only one like it still in the street.

The final images are just of things I like. Motorbikes might not hold much interest for me, but show me a well loved scooter and I'm sold.

Next time E and I get together we are hoping that we will be in a position to venture a little further afield in our joint adventuring. Nevertheless not a bad haul for a path already well trodden.


Monday 29 March 2021

Further down the line.

From another stroll with my friend H last weekend along the disused railway line which used to run from Horsham to Guildford [axed by Beeching in June 1965]. Nowadays it's been converted into a locally popular public path called The Downs Link. I've walked along different stretches in the past few few months, but this route was a new one for me.

This amble started out from the village of Rudgwick [yes my second visit this month....still doin' that local yokel thang until I can travel freely again😄] and took us out to Baynards where the original station and platforms are still standing.  It's now privately owned and has been sensitively restored. You can see the platforms from the path, but there is a notice asking people not to share photos of it online as it their home.  It has featured in different films and if you've ever seen the Poirot episode "The Hollow" it's apparently in that.  

There are however, other remnants in the public domain that I can share. Back in the 1970s H and her brother used to be able to climb inside this ventilator which originally came out from the tunnel below. Since then the entrance has been concreted over. The tunnel is home to a bat colony.

The bridge has some very stylish brick detailing.

Further round there's a rather imposing large Victorian house called Baynards Manor. I didn't take any photos other than this one and only because I couldn't read the blue plaque on it. Although the house is now the registered office for the charity "The Baynards Zambia Trust", I wanted to find out who the famous former occupant was. Unlike London, blue plaques are not ten a penny around here, so it's always exciting when I come across one...particularly ones like this in the middle of the countryside. You can see that I've had to sneak a photo over the property wall as it is!

Once back at GBT I was able to zoom in on it to find out more and I can now tell you that it is for an artist and sculptor called Glyn Philpot who lived here from 1927-1935. Being very unfamiliar with many artists really I looked him up online.  He was most well known for the portraits he painted during the 1920s of the well known figures of the day including Siegfried Sassoon. He was a founder member of the National Portrait Gallery in 1911. Over time his success gave him the financial means to travel and a growing interest in less mainstream subject matter. He had converted to Catholicism in 1905 and this, alongside his acceptance of his sexuality, saw him creating work in a far more modernist style and a rejection of some of his pieces by the Royal Academy because of the imagery they showed. Sadly he fell out of favour and died suddenly in 1937. His longterm partner took his life on the day of Philpot's funeral. Nowadays I am pleased to say that his work has seen a revival of interest and he is celebrated as an early LGBTQ painter. One of his murals can be seen in St Stephen's Hall, Westminster.


Friday 26 March 2021

Classic Comedy

 This still makes me laugh. The Trotters at their finest!

Have a fabulous weekend!


Thursday 25 March 2021

Hogs and Logs

 You would think that as a fellow who spends his working hours making things out of wood the last thing Mr GBT would want to do in his spare time is do more of the same. Ah well there you'd be the 30+ years we've been partners he has always been busy designing and/or making something and more often than not it's out of wood.

Somebody has cut back several of the bushes near us on the main road and left a tempting pile of logs....somebody else might have bought one or two home with him from his daily meander. Now we have scattered as part of some informal log piles we've created for the wee beasties and these ones he's drilled holes into to make some more bee hotels. They're attached to the new trellis he made a week or so ago.

More recently I caught him with a piece of paper and pencil in his hand secretly sketching. He disappeared into the workshop and then reappeared muttering darkly about how he needed more wood [we've got loads, but it's all antique mahogany for his business so definitely NOT fit for purpose😆] and where he normally buys from is currently doing trade only because of Covid. There was a brief hiatus and then he resumed his shed shenanigans. Now I have very own hedgehog house. It's all made from the wood from our son's old cot and a spare kitchen door that we had left over when we replaced our old ones [there's still an entrance tunnel to be added]. We've considered taking it to the recycling centre on several occasions, but we both felt that maybe one day we might find a purpose for it so it's had a stay of execution.

 I can only now hope that we might just get some prickly visitors come to stay. I haven't seen any hogs around, but we if don't try we'll never know eh!


Wednesday 24 March 2021

A drop of joy.


When I was working yesterday I happened to look up and see a blue tit tugging for all its worth at what looked to be a worm from where I was standing. This rather puzzled me as I didn't think I'd seen this behaviour before. Looking again I could see that what it was actually doing was tugging away at a particularly stubborn thread of moss in the lawn. Intrigued I watched it for a moment as it quickly gathered a beakful of downy material and flew away. I carried on and within a minute or so it was back again, repeating the same process. This time I stopped to track where it was going and to my delight saw it fly into my client's nestbox that she has on the back wall by her kitchen window.

As my client came through I commented in passing about enjoying watching the little bird and how hard it was working. She was so excited as she hadn't known and said how much she will enjoy being able to watch their antics. She is 92 years young with an incredible zest for life. I hope that I have her same joy if I ever reach that age!


Tuesday 23 March 2021

Wombling Free

I have gone all out on the litter front this week. The "Adopt-a-street" litter picker got a dusting off [our road has very little litter so doesn't need doing all that often thankfully] and a quick whip round soon got it all licked back into shape. The wind had lifted some of the contents of a skip in the carpark so that was seen to and it produced a nice fat wodge of clean bubblewrap which came home with me. Mr GBT will soon use that up for his orders!

Due to my ever changing work pattern I have continued to sort the bottle top recycling we receive for Sussex Green Living [free Terracycle schemes] in my garage. It might sound a bizarre way to spend one's free time, but actually it's surprisingly meditative. Everything's become hugely popular over the last couple of years and we have long since passed the point where I could still do it on my own and these days there's a whole bunch of lovely volunteers called the Wombles [I called them it originally for the Whatsapp group] who meet twice a week at the local Unitarian church. We have a special shed up there and it's all very organised. What used to take me 40 hours a month [which was still quite a lot sometimes] now takes them 40 hours a week. Unfortunately all my contact has been virtual so far as I've not been around up until now, but my schedule has just changed once again which will mean I can be around every other Friday afternoon.....

With this new window available to me I wasted no time and finally got down to meet my fellow Wombles [I'm known as the Original Womble and the lovely lady who runs the team is the Chief Womble😀]. Well what a fabulous group of people and who knew you could bond over stuffing hundreds of empty crisp packets into boxes eh! With SGL being a voluntary group people have been permitted to continue to meet up outside even in lockdown provided that the numbers are restricted and social distancing is adhered to. Some weeks the weather hasn't played ball, but on Friday it was sunny and warm in the sheltered spot where we were working. It was just such a joy to be able to freely converse and socialise in a small group of people who are very much on the same wavelength as me and we even stopped for tea and biscuits. It was an odd sensation of being weirdly familiar yet also a novelty. Am aiming to touch base once a month with them from now on.


Monday 22 March 2021

Mortared in


Someone just couldn't resist the temptation of adding their stamp to the wet mortar could they! It did make me and my friend chuckle when we went past. She walks that route regularly, but because it's on the end of a low wall, she hadn't seen it before. All the best for a terrific Monday.


Friday 19 March 2021


Indeed. I am that left field person. 

Have a fabulous weekend folks.


Thursday 18 March 2021

Doorstep Delights

Shots from my last two Friday doorstep wanders around different parts of my local town of Horsham. As ever many are just the random extra details that make my explorations just that bit more special and give me a greater appreciation of what's on my home turf. Much as I am looking forwards to go further afield these trips have been enriching and enlightening.

This is one of several pargetting panels on the outside of an Indian restaurant. The seahorses are rather glorious. One day I'll ask Mr GBT to take some better close-ups so that I can really take in the detail.

These tufted ducks are some of the regulars to be found on the nearest pond to us. There is so much pressure round here due to excessive building [we are in very real danger of losing 30% of our green space imminently] I was thrilled to read that the local residents who live round this pond and the common took matters into their own hands. The land came up for sale and they clubbed together and bought it at auction to stop it falling into the hands of the developers last December.

Some of those things that put our individual marks onto our houses and make them our homes. In the photo with the two front doors I was actually looking at all that detail on the porch. It was only when I looked later on that I spotted the gnomes on the left hand one😆

For a long time Sun Alliance [as it was back then] had its main office here and most of us at some point worked for them. Although there has many been mergers and takeovers in the last few years the buildings remain. The logos are the Sun Insurance from 1710, Alliance 1824, London Asssurance 1964 and Phoenix Insurance in 1984. The hexagon in the centre formed part of the company's logo and was actually inspired by a local glazing pattern used in some cottages further up the same road.  

Horsham does do a good line in repurposing old premises and breathing new life into them. Various stable blocks [often the accompanying houses have been demolished and the land sold] and Victorian warehouses now house a multitude of businesses. The Old Grain Store has been particularly well done with these marvellous metal roses adorning the windows and gates.

By contrast this one is from the 1970s. It's an interesting design and I'm told it's won awards, but it doesn't really do it for me....the description someone gave it of looking like a load of portacabins stacked one upon another isn't that far from the truth. It makes a distinctive landmark when giving directions I will say though. It's called West Point and was built by Armstrong Smith Associates [job architect P M Goss 1973-75]

Now this did excite me and I thought I had stumbled across an undiscovered ghost sign hidden away up an alley on the back of a house. Naturally, by the time I got home my bubble had been well and truly burst as many others already knew of it. Who G Dean Nurseryman was or when they traded I have been unable to find out.

How fantastic it was to find that both these old signs have had a makeover. The top one is on a building that has recently returned to being a pub [it was a Japanese eatery for several years] and appropriately it runs its own micro brewery onsite .

The Rock Brewery from Brighton seems to have had a lot of customers up this way and one of my books relates how the then owner, Mr George Griffith, would regularly travel up to Horsham to deliver orders and collect monies. Sadly he came to an untimely end in February 1849 when he was shot with a loaded pistol he'd been carrying for his personal safety following a written warning he'd received a few days prior about a robbery that was being planned. His killer was never traced . The sign below has just been restored to its former glory by the home owner, but back in 1917 it was owned by the brewery and traded as The Nile off license. The company wound up in 1928.

Until next time.....


Wednesday 17 March 2021

A Rustic Ramble

 A rustic ramble round Rudgwick and Rowhook with sights to see and mud to march through. Yes that just about sums it up. We were treated to sunshine and one short shower whilst we tried out this newly added Fancy Free walk


Not going to the art gallery.

 Mr GBT didn't really want to visit an art gallery whilst we were in the Midlands last month....he's a clever fellow though and dist...