Tuesday 31 August 2021

Dwile Flunking

 This local pub is more of a gastro affair these days [that's Sussex for you!], but back in the 1970s it was a traditional watering hole and a place apparently where people indulged in a spot of "dwile flunking".  You know when you see something written down and you have absolutely nothing to hang your hat on for a possible explanation. Well that was me...I literally had no idea what people were referring to. Now I know it to be a harmless bit of fun in which those who had [most probably supped a few pints of ale] participated.

Rules- one team would hold hands in a circle [k/a girting] and go round a member from the opposition [the flonker] who was stood in the centre with a long stick [k/a driveller] which had a beer soaked cloth on the end [the dwile]. This person would go round in an anti clockwise direction whilst trying to flonk all present with his dwile. If it missed it was a 'swadger'. The team who got the most points was declared the winner, but would have a point deducted for any member still sober. It's hardly surprising that the recollections of such matches tend to be a little hazy then is it!! The rumour was that this sport had been an East Anglian harvest game, but the truth is that it came from the fertile imagination and much missed Michael Bentine in the 1960s. There was an attempt to revive it, but this was thwarted by Elf and Safety regs so a memory it must remain. I shall never know how good a dwile flunker I might have been given the chance!


Monday 30 August 2021

Down the pub.

Having barely been inside a pub for months I seem to have gone a bit mad this past week. Visiting two before 8am on a Saturday morning has to be a record even for me, but their doors were firmly shut at that hour. On a whim on my way back from shoppping I decided to take a detour to check out something I'd spotted earlier in the week....it's certainly not every day that you encounter a flying bride! I would love to speak to the creator to find out the thought process that went into this. This is one of the entrants in a month long scarecrow trail that is finishing soon. Whilst there I snapped the pilot too. He's standing in front of a lifesize model of a spitfire which I blogged about here https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2021/04/on-a272.html

Think of me later on today as I'm out performing at another inn with Mythago. It will be the first time in 18 months [we've only been back practising a month] so the nerves are jangling a bit. Tomorrow evening we are out at yet another one again....this time watching a friend dance. We're making the most of what's left of the 2021 Morris season!

Until tomorrow.


Friday 27 August 2021

A sweet fib.

 Some of my friends are/were teachers and one in particular often regales me with the exploits of her young charges. Most recently one of the little boys managed to get himself locked in the office. He didn't seem fazed by the situation, but eventually they managed to extricate him. As he strolled towards her my friend asked him if he had eaten any of the sweets that were in there. "No" he assured her with great confidence and chocolate all round his mouth. "That's one box of choccies that the staff won't have to share!" she commented wryly🍫😋

Hope you have a great weekend.


Thursday 26 August 2021

What Mr GBT did next.

 Mr GBT has been a busy bee designing and making a new piece for when we attend the shows we're booked in to do in the autumn. Being a lucky lady I get to choose the design and put the first one in my dollshouse. This time I reckoned I needed a washstand💙💚💛💜 and my lovely husband has obliged.


Wednesday 25 August 2021

A Mammoth Undertaking

[Image from Pixabay]

You know how much I love my ancient history. This short film shows how some of our forebears may have built their homes from mammoth bones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNP8ZjZ_cRU&t=183s


Tuesday 24 August 2021

Shell craft.

 Oops did you spot my blunder yesterday....I got my dates muddled and managed to accidentally schedule two posts for Monday instead of one. As a result this is a little extra one I'm popping up.

Well it's one thing to do when you find yourself with a load of shells in your craft cupboard. Surely this has to be the least scary lion in the world🦁 I thought he was rather hilarious, but I think that many people might miss him. This little 18th century Scottish one lives at the bottom of a glass cabinet at the back and facing away from the way most people walk. It's one of the many treasures to be seen at Parham.

On a related shell trivia note the company of that name was so called because its founder, Marcus Samuel, started out selling painted shells as part of his first business.🐚


Monday 23 August 2021

Reuniting over a jaffa cake.

[Image from Pixabay]

Back in mid March 2020 we had one of my closest friends and her partner over for lunch. It's a standing joke that we always buy a ready made pud [she's the sort of friend who doesn't stand on ceremony] and on that occasion we tucked into a Tesco Jaffa Cake Mousse. It went down a storm and so for old times sake I unashamedly repeated the exercise this time round.

J and I were room mates at college and further on down the line she was one of my bridesmaids. This year has been very tough for her, but she's not one to wear her heart on her sleeve. She much prefers to roll her sleeves up and just faces head on whatever is thrown at her. My role has been to quietly keep in touch with her and offer support without making a fuss. That's the way our friendship has always worked.  

Nowadays she has a very responsible job, but when you've known somebody that long there is always a good fund of stories to be had. On one occasion when we were first year students we rashly decided to take part in a three legged pub crawl for rag week. For reasons I can't remember we decided to go as Neil and Vyvyan from "The Young Ones". I scoured the charity shops for a pair of flares and spent hours making the appropriate hippy wig. J meanwhile sprayed her hair orange and borrowed a sleeveless denim jacket. We were stumped though when it came to sorting out the punk chains to adorn it [the thought of going to an ironmongers simply wouldn't have entered our 18 year old heads], but we managed to come up with a solution. Basically we pinched all the plugs out of the bathrooms in our hall of residence which seemed like a good idea until you get sozzled and then liberally sprinkle them around the pavements of Winchester never to be seen again. Our cleaner was very unimpressed when she came in the next day, but neither of us breathed a word! By the second year we were living out and sharing a house with a delightful landlady called Mrs T who treated us incredibly well. J was always rather more considered in her drinking than me and never really showed any sign of being tipsy except for one occasion.....I came down the stairs after a rather good evening out to find her chatting very "sensibly" to Mrs T. She would have got away with it had she not had her Thomas the Tank engine cushion balanced on her head at the time🚆😄

I'm not a great one for looking back, but when it's daft memories like these it's fun to do so.


Like an explosion in a paint factory.

 Last Friday afternoon was cool and overcast, but we were going out come hell or high water. Mr GBT had worked his little socks off all of the previous weekend so I managed to persuade him to play hooky with me and we made our way over to a privately owned stately home a few miles from here. I last went when I was a child and usually resist because I think it better to use our NT cards, but the experience of this past year has left me hungry to explore what's on our doorstep. 

Well what can I say?! The gardens were just incredible....now I'm well known for my love of strong colours and they've featured many a time on here. However, this took my breath away. I have never seen such brightness on this scale before. There are many photos, but I wanted to be able to share the experience with you in full technicolour!! These are from Parham House.


Friday 20 August 2021

All dressed up with somewhere to go.

 I like dresses. For reasons unknown I hardly ever wear dresses. If I ever venture onto Ebay it's always full of suggestions as to what might tickle my fancy. Occasionally it hits the bullseye and one of the dresses it showed me I really loved. However, I rarely buy new and I didn't need it so I politely ignored its advertising and that was that.

Now I need a dress for a wedding and....well you know where I'm going with all this!

I already have a natty pair of long turquoise boots which will go with it. The wedding is going to be a steampunk/pagan affair so conventional wedding attire wouldn't be appropriate...just as well really!

Have a lovely weekend.


Thursday 19 August 2021

Murder at the Red Barn [Warning human body parts shown]

William Corder was not a pleasant chap as his lover and mother of his child, Maria Marten, was to find out to her cost. He took her life and then buried her in the so called red barn [due to its colour at dusk] where they had met up for their trysts. He'd lured her there on the promise that they'd travel together to Ipswich where he would marry her and thus stop her from being arrested for having children out of wedlock [she had already been abandoned by previous lovers when pregnant with their children] as the law stood in the early decades of the 19th century. She laid undiscovered for a year whilst Corder lied to explain her absence before his crime finally caught up with him. Without an alibi he was sent to the gallows in Bury St Edmunds and then onto the anatomist, Dr George Creed's table within the hour. In 1828 this was the standard treatment of a felon's cadaver, yet demand far outstripped supply and people had to face the very real fear that the bodysnatchers might steal their newly buried loved ones.

Aside from the salacious interest in the case at the time it's how Corder was treated post mortem that continues to generate interest. The remains of anyone who had been executed were quite deliberately treated with dispassion and intended to cause public humiliation of that individual. Ultimately it was thought that such actions would deter future criminals. Several casts were taken of his head which were then pored over by the pseudo scientists of the day to see if he had the physical features that would prove that he was predestined to commit such acts. Thankfully such bunkum [or phrenology to give it its formal title] is no longer credible. Although this type of thing would have happened to many, the main difference here is that some of the kept trophies have survived and are now on display in the very town where this man's life ended. They are exhibited in a designated case in the Moyses Hall Museum. Below you can see the death mask, the murder weapons, the preserved scalp and the book about the trial bound in the skin which was removed by Dr Creed and was originally added to his private collection.

Whatever one's personal feelings about such matters they are of interest because they record the attitudes of the time. Originally the skeleton was donated to a hospital, but it was eventually cremated in 2004 and the whereabouts of the ashes remain undisclosed.


Wednesday 18 August 2021

Sunshine and sundials

The trouble with library books I find is that they send me down all sorts of rabbit holes....all it needed was one comment about a unicorn to get me out of my front door and into the sunshine. Perhaps you'd like to grab an icecream and join me on my quest. 

Whilst Banksy might have been busy paintings all sorts of thought provoking art work on his holidays in East Anglia this has appeared near here....perhaps not quite on the same level. More of a "room for improvement"!

The borders running by the side of one of the town's surgeries have been planted up with wild flower seeds. It's caught my eye several times and finally managed to have my camera with me to capture its transitory beauty.

The Victorian Provender Mill. At one time it ground corn and was powered by water. It sits tucked away behind foliage in a corner and I haven't really looked at it properly before. It's now been converted into flats and has the first of today's sundials on its front. Restored in 1990 [so some other kind soul told me].

This next sundial is my personal favourite and is one I've shown before http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2015/09/our-local-sundial.html This was why I was so surprised to learn that there was not only a unicorn that I'd missed but also a dragon. Well I did find them this time but they're right at the bottom and only 2" apiece. Hardly surprising really is it then.   That even diddier looking chap sitting up in the tree [how huge is that hedgehog in the foreground👀] is meant to be St Leonard who gives his name to one of the local woods and was reputedly a hermit...I told his legend here http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2020/11/saturdays-stroll.html

Feeling rather smug with myself at having hunted down my prey I headed off for the conservation area. Put that camera away Aril you know it like the back of your hand...so why the heck is there some plastic lizard nailed to the clapboard frontage on one of the houses that I've never seen before. Apparently it's been there since the late 1970s when the fellow who was lodging there brought it back from his holiday in Greece. At the time he worked for the RSPCA whose headquarters was across the road back then [it's moved to new premises on the outskirts of Horsham now]. The chap is now deceased but was quite a character by all accounts and there is stays in memory of him!

I love a cheery painted door and if it has some panes of bullseye glass all the better. It's a lot more exciting than some of the modern office doors we've got round here.

This is a new and very much welcomed initiative in the town. It's been permanently set up in one of the empty retail units and offers all sorts of free services around healthy eating and lifestyle aswell as taster exercise sessions. The community fridge operates out of here too.

When compared to some of the medieval buildings you can find in the town centre this one may not have any great age to it [mid 19th century], but its form is imaginative and rather pleasing with all the curves.

Out of the town centre and onto the local park to revisit my final sundial on the walk. This fellow sits slap bang in the middle of the Park House Garden which was opened in 1991 by Lord Snowdon. It's more commonly known as the sensory garden as all the beds are of a height and planted thoughtfully in such a way that everyone who visits including those who are blind, partially sighted or disabled can enjoy it. Recently it's undergone a makeover and so now he sporting some rather natty gold highlights in his beard. 

Some years ago our registry office moved out of our old town hall [now a restaurant] and into Park House which was once the home of the well appointed Hurst family. Nowadays it's council owned and their former garden a public space. My friend's daughter got married recently and this was where she had her wedding photos taken. With a few shots of the flowers currently blooming it's a gorgeous spot for any celebration. As for me...well I have totally fallen for those double hollyhocks. I had no idea they even existed!

Hope you enjoyed my latest mini tour of my home town.


PS The next post is likely to be of a more gruesome nature as I'll be touching upon an historic murder. Please feel free to give it a miss if you don't like photos of human body parts!

Tuesday 17 August 2021

Breakfast in bed

Sorry I've run out of time and energy this evening to write a proper post, so I'll leave you with the latest window display in the rather fabulous independently run deli we have in the town centre. They always come up with something imaginative and this one rather made me smile.


Monday 16 August 2021

Weekend Musings

After a busy week where TYM has started working in London and had his first driving lesson a quietish weekend where I've been able to catch my breath has been very much welcomed. I've got up to date with lots of jobs and poor Mr GBT has had the dubious delight of spending hours fixing his workshop where the wood has gone rotten. Thankfully it's stayed dry and not got too warm. We did head out to friends for an evening in their garden [along with another couple] to catch up over a few drinks and shared nibbles as we watched the bats and satellites going overhead. Their resident hedgehog also put in an appearance which delighted me.

Seeing as I've been home based so much I snapped a few shots of the latest doings in the garden....after a month of unsuitable weather we finally put the moth trap out again. To ensure that they don't all escape as the sun rises and become a bird's breakfast I always go down early to cover it over [we keep them indoors and release them safely at dusk] ....imagine my surprise this time when "our" [I say that loosely knowing that they can easily travel a kilometre in a night in the hunt for food] hedgehog shot across my path at 5am🦔 I had to keep my excitement to myself though as Mr GBT would not have thanked me waking him up to tell him at that unearthly hour [I am that annoying early bird person!!]. The good news is that we also had a fabulous crop of moths including this beauty.....Scalloped Oak.

Finally after what seems like months of waiting the Sneezeweed has flowered. It's so called because its leaves used to be dried and made into snuff.

Mahonia aka Angel's Breath because of its sweet scent.

St John's Wort. We've chosen this variety because the berries go from a pale lemon through to salmon pink then red and finally black. Everything we've put in we have carefully planned for there to be something for the wildlife all year round.

With a spare afternoon I took myself off for an amble....more tomorrow.


Shropshire Church Crawling Gems

Sifting through all the photos from my annual holiday church crawl, I've picked out these which I hope people find to be of interest. It...