Thursday 30 September 2021

Spot of silliness


Belgravia always seems like a place that takes itself rather seriously. At least one soul apparently doesn't thank goodness👀😁

Thank you for all my birthday wishes....lovely day. Short of time again....after this weekend is done and dusted things should settle. I always knew this past three weeks was going to be manic and so it has proved to be.


Wednesday 29 September 2021

Sweet surprise.

 I went to a belated Mabon celebration with my friends S & A last Friday...what I didn't anticipate was being presented with a massive birthday cake A had made me the day before🎂😊

I'm usually the one doing the surprising so this is rather new territory for me, but in a good way you understand. Here I am today another year older and no doubt not another year wiser!


Tuesday 28 September 2021

Milling about.

Much as I loved my old job the one thing that always irked me was the shortage of time. Every weekend was a mad dash just to try and keep all the plates spinning [even worse if I was working on a Saturday morning]. When I was made redundant I went part time and promised myself that I would ensure that we would try to do something non work related at some point over every weekend even if it was something very small. During the past ten years I have pretty much achieved that.

This weekend was a short jaunt up the road to visit the mill at Ifield which opens for a few hours once a month over the summer months and is free to see, so we decided to nip in for its last one this year. This one is a water mill and that pond was completely dug by hand!

Shamelessly parroting from the info provided the records of a mill on this site go back to 1274, but between 1500-1700 the mill that stood here [an earlier incarnation] was actually a finery forge and part of the iron industry. I was getting a bit confused by this point, but apparently "mill" means a machine with gears and wheels and the miller is the one who operates it. The water power would have been used for the bellows and to move the hammers. By 1660 it had become a corn mill and was again rebuilt in 1683 by the then resident miller family Thomas and Mary Middleton [plaque below]. By the 1920s it had become financially unviable and closed until a group of dedicated volunteers took on its restoration some years ago.

Not being one who is all that interested in the physical workings of the machinery side of it, I was however, surprised to find that a millstone has named parts and there was me thinking that all those ruts on it would just be called grooves. Naturally I am delighted to have found that I was provided with an accompanying sign to photograph so that I can always check back. It's included in case there are any other fellow geeks like me reading who might enjoy this type of detail [or perhaps not😂]

This last one is just here because it was a pretty🎕

It doesn't need to be anything grandiose for me to enjoy it. A short local outing pleases me just as well. Fuel situation pertaining we are due to be working away [and staying away] this coming weekend so there won't be any opportunity for any wanderings. There is a mid week day out to look forward to instead coming up thankfully!


Monday 27 September 2021

Meanwhile in other news.... life goes on despite what others might want us to believe.  A lovely Egyptian goose and its goslings. It was good to see these little souls dibbling about at the water's edge on our walk yesterday.

The Repair Cafe reopened on Saturday for the first time since February 2020 [we have had to postpone it a couple of times] and we're now in a much bigger venue. Alongside it Sussex Green Living's latest initiative "The Green Hub" was launched. This brings together all the different green projects that have been set up in the district into a central space once a month to raise their profile and so people can get a feel for what's going already going on. After all the continuous doom mongering that goes on it was great to see so many good things happening and lots of positivity going forwards.  I definitely benefitted from being able to resume my volunteering with the team. My Mum was there lending a hand too wearing her Community Fridge helper Mother like daughter!!


Friday 24 September 2021

Flat Cap Required

If you fancy a coffee from this particular gaff it looks like you're going to need to don your flat cap to get served😉

Sorry about the ghastly picture quality...we were waiting at the junction to turn right onto Kensington High Street....never an easy thing to achieve at the best of times and certainly not during the rush hour....I had plenty of time to snap this whilst we waited our turn [I wasn't the one driving]. Have a great weekend.


Thursday 23 September 2021

Project Alleycat

I came across this rather charming sculpture of a cat called Czar on one of our evening walks in Tewkesbury when we were there for the weekend back in the summer. It's the work of Diane Gorvin. At the time I noticed a mention of "Project Alleycat" on sign that went with it and I meant to look it up. I've finally got round to it. The aim of the project is to create permanent and temporary art works in some of the many alleys that fork off the main roads through the town. Had I realised this at the time I might have taken more detours, but as luck would have it I had already captured a couple simply because their folkart nature appealed to me and of course they feature moggies!

The good news is that it will give me something new to pursue when I'm dancing there next summer [hopefully that is].


Wednesday 22 September 2021

A green oasis.

Last Friday I finally got to see my dear friend Arty's been two years and although we've spoken regularly in the intervening period it's just not the same as physically being with someone. I knew I needed to stay close to where we were working, so after a bit of head scratching I suggested that we meet here...the free Kyoto Garden.

It was a beautifully warm day and turned out to be the perfect choice. One thing London does exceptionally well is splendid green public spaces. L lives in the capital, but she'd never visited either so it was a truly shared experience. It might be small, but it has a calming zen like quality the minute you go in. We smiled at each other as we realised that we had automatically dropped our voices to a whisper to not avoid disturbing others. People were quietly walking around or sitting on benches watching the world go by. The garden was built in 1991and features Japanese Maple trees and a pond full of the most enormous Koi carp.

We did chuckle though when I got photobombed by one of the feathered locals seconds after taking the last photo🦚🦚 He wanted a drink and was frankly having none of this human zen nonsense!

It was the perfect antidote to the busy morning we'd had.


Tuesday 21 September 2021

A Tale of Two Villages

Mr GBT and I do our best to do something if we find we have a day without any commitments at the weekend. What we do varies according to time of year, weather, budget etc, but walking is always a favourite. The Fancy Free site of straightforward walks has already come up trumps on a myriad of occasions and has become my go-to if I'm lacking inspiration/ideas. On our last most recent free Sunday we opted for one of the Surrey walks around two villages. We live very close to the border so it was no distance for us to get to the starting point and to the best of my knowledge I've never been to either!

Newdigate and Capel. Within spitting distance of one another, but both with a completely different feel.

Both have churches that have been "restored" [for want of a better word] by the rather meddlesome Victorians. Newdigate's was shut, but Capel's was open and welcoming.

Newdigate seemed a much quieter place. It doesn't have the stampede of visitors and is the recommended one of the two to park in. It has a rather stylish carved cricket sculpture sitting hidden round the side of the clubhouse, a brick works that provided London with the materials it needed after the Great Fire in 1666 and a natty red heart made out of old bicycle chains outside one of its factories.

Between the villages you get to enjoy views such as this at this time of year and an old railway sign which is a reminder of the former train track that you follow for part of the route.

Capel has quite a different vibe. Lots more people about and more vibrant. I was rather chuffed to spot that vintage footpath sign just poking out of the middle of the overgrown hedge. The gravestone is the oldest surviving one in the churchyard and records the death of Alys Clarke who died on 28th June 1694 aged 70. Not only did she live to a great age for that time, she also lived through the execution of Charles I, the civil war, the leadership under Cromwell and then the restoration of the monarch. Extraordinary times in the history of our nation.

Over all my years of exploring one of the things I have learnt is to photograph anything that might be termed a curio. Sometimes these things might turn out to be something of nothing and I simply delete the image, but this is often not the case as they are often the ones that provide the most interesting stories. This stone is propped up outside the church and there have been various theories proposed as to what it might be. The more down to earth suggestion is that it was once a well cap, but another is that it was brought over from France by the Knights Templar and it would originally have been positioned close to the altar where the remaining communion wine would have been discarded down through that hole. I'm plumping for the latter sounds much more thrilling!

So there we have it....a tale of two villages for you. Until next time.....


Monday 20 September 2021

Underneath the arches.

There are many worse places I could think of spending my lunchbreak last Friday😉...

Pleased to report that the show went well and that from my personal perspective I greatly enjoyed seeing Sir Tony Robinson [he of Baldrick and Timeteam fame] from afar. He was there in the capacity of a visitor, so people were respectful and didn't trouble him.


Friday 17 September 2021

Thursday 16 September 2021

Yew better not believe it!

Back in 1977 the villagers of Capel in Surrey decided to celebrate their yew's 1000th birthday by holding a dedicated pageant. Attaining that great age was certainly something to mark, except that when it was reassessed in 1993 its age was recalculated to be 1700 years old! It's thought that originally it was one of six trees forming a sacred grove around a pond [now filled in]. The local legend has it that if you walk around it 100 times at midnight a ghost of some description will appear, but it's a little light on the specifics! While we were there I couldn't stop but stand back and admire the scarlet berries with their waxy many generations stretching back before me have stood there and done just the same I wonder! 



Wednesday 15 September 2021

Noticing the notices.

 Yesterday I touched upon my penchant for investigating notices....some really do turn out to be as dull as ditchwater as was this one in Henfield.

This one in Tewkesbury proved to be worth the effort though. From the pavement all I could read was "Stonemason's Yard" so I expected to be told something about the building.

Wrong! It provided me with a much more interesting story about Glennie Nos. If you double click the image it will enlarge and you can read it for yourself if you wish to.

Looming up at the end of this week is our first show in two years which means I will be technically working with Mr GBT. I say "working"....nattering with all our loyal customers and meeting new dollshouse enthusiasts. However, I might just have a small plan up my sleeve for a couple of hours away playing hooky. This won't provide me with a lot of blogging material for next week, but the plan [famous last words] is that I'll travel back to the summer and write a bit more about what we got up to when we were away.


Tuesday 14 September 2021

Highlights from Henfield

Henfield is by rights a large village midway betwixt here and the coast. To my mind it's more of  a small bustling market town with an excellent high street full of independent shops and good community facilities. Please allow me to offer up a selection of photos and accompanying snippets and perhaps you'll get a flavour of why I was rather taken with it. 

These two mosaics were made by Creative Waves and installed as part of the 2019 Horsham Year of Culture [it's within the Horsham District]. The first one recalls the violets which were grown locally and the link they had to the suffragette movement which I wrote about here Since then I have learnt about a local actor and another suffragist called Elizabeth Robins who's shown in the panel below. She used her 15th century farmhouse to shelter the women who had been on hunger strike after the 1913 Cat and Mouse act. She offered them not only refuge, but a change to recover from the ordeal they had suffered in prison. Unfortunately they would then be returned for the whole terrible cycle to begin again. They fought so hard to get the right to vote for women.

Now you might think that this would be a place you would secure your dog [maybe not wise in these times of canine theft] when you popped into a shop....apparently it's only small 🐘 you can tie up here!

It's not often that I get to admire the herringbone brickwork of old houses at close quarters. This one stands exposed on the corner of a side road so I was able to to admire the handiwork of builders from many generations ago.

These sit outside the firestation..I know not why. Slightly creepy if you ask me😱

A Victorian building with a modern door. The combination of bold design and use of light wood works well to my eyes and compliments the brickwork.

Now for this one you're just going to have to squint and believe me when I say there's a circular earthwork there. Apparently it shows up much better from above with a drone. It's all that remains of Stretham Manor. Rather marvellously we know that this was the home of Count Warbald and his wife Tilburga in 770....such rich sounding Saxon names.

Rye Island is an odd one. The village info confirms that "rye" means island and in this case if you bought the 14th century Rye Farm [see photo below in the distance] you literally needed to buy a houseboat too. The area completely floods most years and the house sits surrounded by water. In order to get anywhere you had to row out in a boat. The situation has improved somewhat for the owners these past few years as there is now a raised causeway running alongside it.

Go large or go home I say...if you're going to have a topiary bird you might aswell enjoy it. I was transfixed by the sheer size of it in that front garden, but in a Wow kind of way. That's one heck of a cat scarer!

Inevitably we did poke our noses round the parish church of St Peter's. It's another one that the Victorians got their sticky paws on and "improved"  cue for took anything out that would have been of interest me, but I did spot a couple of bits of protective graffiti they'd missed high up and this rather charming memorial to a lady who sounds like a really lovely person and enriched the lives of those who met her.

The church is sited on the rather unusually named Pinchnose Green [so named because of the horrible smell of the leather tanning industry that once operated near here] along with the extraordinary Cat House. Last time I visited it it was hissing down with rain, but I did cover its intriguing story here It was nice to be able to appreciate it in the sunshine this time!

Frankly words failed me when I encountered these two. I'm still not quite sure what look the makers were going for, but they are vaguely sinister looking without their heads.

As you will know by now I am an avid reader of signs [no doubt I drive my husband quite mad as I'm always getting distracted and wandering off to investigate things I've spotted]. It's proved a great way to learn all sorts of stuff. This little poem was pinned up on a noticeboard as we made our way back to car. It may not be quite Poet Laureate quality, but it was a nice little find to wind up our Sunday afternoon exploration.


The Knight of the Garter Stitch

 In my time I've come across knights made from stone and wood, but this is my first encounter with a knitted knight. We came upon this f...