Tuesday 30 November 2021

November sky

 Am so excited for I have been out with my friend E. On days such as this I am reminded exactly why I so love living in Sussex. Big skies over my beloved South Downs. 


Monday 29 November 2021


What do you do when faced with an old exhaust pipe, a couple of curtain rings, a drawer handle and a big old plastic bottle lying around your homestead? You could dispose of it [hopefully recycling as much of it as possible] or you could do this...

Make yourself a massive old bit of cheery "folk"art and stick it outside the front of your house for all to enjoy! I've just taken on a new client in one of the outlying villages and was delighted to find this fellow on my way back home on Friday.


Friday 26 November 2021

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 really rough start to their lives and ending up being rescue kittens. One has a thing about helping you out when you're working....in my client's case she hops up onto her shoulder when she's working from home on the computer [even during a job interview she had earlier in the year!] However, this little soul doesn't show any favouritism...it was quite a shock when I was crouched down in the kitchen one day and she did the same to me! It's not something that any of the cats I've had over the years have ever done. One of her absolute favourite work related activities she enjoys is participating in online meetings....when I saw this it reminded me of her antics!

Hope you have a great weekend.


Thursday 25 November 2021

Putting it out there.

Normally I don't have too much problem with coming up with blog content. Occasionally I miss a day if I'm not feeling inspired or I'm in a quiet spell like now. However, I didn't want to be defeated by this yesterday so a new positive approach was called for. Being a bit of an old hippy at heart I decided to put in a request for something suitable with the universe and then step back and let the magic happen. Within a matter of minutes this unusual piece of artwork jumped out at me..... a depiction of trees on pieces of wood forming a tree. As it was outside somebody's house I needed to be quick snapping a photo without looking shifty! 

So there we are with many thanks to the unseen powers that be I got given what I asked for. Perhaps I should try this approach more often!


Wednesday 24 November 2021

76 years on.


Way back in the depths of lockdown one of the local golfclubs allowed people to roam freely across its course [in those days when the playing of golf was strictly verboten!]. E and I took full advantage....https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2021/02/on-golfcourse.html 

With the recent marking of Remembrance there was a post on FB that spoke of someone spotting a carved name on the pew in front of them and their upset at hearing the same name read out as one of the fallen only moments later. Suddenly that name became a real person. It reminded me of the piece of graffiti that E had spotted inside one of the wartime pillboxes. Beyond speculating that it was most probably one of the Canadian soldiers stationed near here and from the date on it 26th October 1945 likely to have been waiting to be sent home I didn't do much with it once a quick search failed to come with any matches to the name Gordon Bullock.

On a whim I decided to share my photo on one of our local history groups on Remembrance Sunday because I thought it would be of interest and now that the golfcourse is off bounds again [except to members] most people won't get the chance to see it for themselves. As I so often find with these things...once you take a step like this things take on a life of their own and your reward is that you come away having learnt more. One chap spotted that the surname was actually Bulloch and he forwarded it onto a Canadian geneaology site. 24 hours later we had a response and some of his distant family members were traced. I now know that Gordon was born in 1925 and he did return to Canada, married and had two children. He died in 2001. Amazing that you can find out so much from a tiny scrawl and hopefully his descendants will enjoy this little glimpse of his time here in a small village so many miles away from Manitoba.


Tuesday 23 November 2021

As calm as a millpond.

I think the phrase "as calm as a millpond" would have not been far out for describing the millpond at our local nature reserve on Sunday. From 1247 there has been a water wheel [to power a grist mill], a cornmill and a blast furnace mill for the iron industry on this site at different times. The photo below shows some of the iron stones that have recently been found during recent renovations.

This 92 acre mixed habitat site was bought by the council for the public back in 1987 and reopened in its present form as a reserve in 2006. Even though it's so close to home I haven't been here for over a year and it's undergone quite a transformation during this time. Nothing is ever static here and I enjoy visiting for exactly that reason.

This is the newly opened discovery hub. The view of the millpond was taken through the huge glass viewing panels they've got facing out over it. On such a cold day it was a real treat to be able to watch the cormorants drying off inside instead of sitting there shivering in the bird hide!

The newly created Shelley garden only has the bare bones of its structure to look at for now. Later down the line it will become a wildlife haven for pollinators. All that green is wild turf which apparently consists of native single flower varieties...for reasons I know not they're better at attracting winged critters than double flowers. It's been named in honour of Percy Bysshe Shelley who was a local lad and supposedly learnt to sail on the millpond.

Another of these fabulous bug hotels even if this one is on a much grander scale than the one we have have here at GBT! They've even recycled the old wooden signs that used to be up before the refurb!

I may have only been out a scant hour and it may have only been a very local trip, but it was the first time [bar for work etc] in over two weeks. Really appreciated feeling well enough again.


Monday 22 November 2021

A bit prickly

 After finding two young hoglets in our garden earlier this month, I've spent the last couple of weeks reading up about hedgehogs and the right way to go about supporting them from people who really know their stuff. I hadn't appreciated just what complicated little creatures they are. I had been labouring under the misapprehension that our prickly friends hibernate all over the winter, but apparently this isn't the case.

At this time of year when natural food is scarce they are in a race to put on enough weight to see them through the cold months. However, not all hibernate and many will need to have a top up feed every few days to build up their fat reserves. There are many things they can't eat, bread and milk being two of the worst things alongside suet, pumpkin and mealworms [some also say fish, but the jury seems to be out on that particular one].  I was concerned that if you "help" them by putting appropriate food out for them on a regular basis you might make them dependent and prevent them from following their natural behaviours, but this isn't the case apparently and they continue to travel and forage. With that worry allayed we have gone for it....one new plastic box [100% recycled plastic though], dishes from the charity shop, wood from home and appropriate complete dried kitten food and we now have our very own cat-proof hedgehog feeding station. We have put it out in the garden well away from the hedgehog house with plenty of clean water outside it so fingers crossed that we might get some prickly visitors!!🦔

As for baby Celia my friend L has been in contact with the wildlife hospital where she was taken in and I'm glad to say that she's doing ok so far. If she makes it then L has said that I can come over and see her be released back into the wild next Spring.


Friday 19 November 2021

One Thing Friday

This dinosaur skeleton cast is at the Natural History Museum. It was found in Hell Creek, South Dakota in 2004 and research upon the bones revealed it to be a new discovery. It is its flat headed skull with the combination of bony knobs and spikes that have got the experts all hot under the collar and its resemblance to mythical dragons has not gone unnoticed....in celebration of this it has now been named "Dacorex Hogwartsia"! [nb this one is real!] If you fancy viewing more highly unusual skeletons then this site might be the place for you....http://www.merrylinmuseum.com/ Sorry to spoil the illusion, but it is actually an art installation [not open to the public] by Alex CF, but there were those who believed it to be true when it was launched.

Have a great weekend.


Thursday 18 November 2021

One Thing Thursday

I'm back in Bury St Edmunds today with a rather odd Lloyds Bank sign I spotted. The green is right, but where's the familiar equine? This one with the beehive is its precursor and was the bank's symbol from the 1820s. A quick scrabble round dear old Goggle tells me that it symbolised thrift and industry and the black horse didn't come in until 1884. The bank used both of the symbols until the 1930s.


Wednesday 17 November 2021

One Thing Wednesday


This is one of the doors of the Tudor House Hotel in Tewkesbury. You can still see the gouges left by the Jacobite battleaxes following the coronation of George I in 1714. Sometimes buildings literally do record the scars of history.


Tuesday 16 November 2021

One Thing Tuesday


This rather folorn looking gentleman is known as "Melancholy Man" and is claimed to be London's saddest statue. He stands tucked away largely unnoticed in a niche in Holland Park and I only snapped him in passing as I was leaving. Nothing is known about him except that he's made from limestone and may date from the 16th century. For those who watch "Who do you think you are?" Holland Park was recently featured in the episode about Josh Widdicombe.


Monday 15 November 2021

One Thing Monday

 Seeing as I've picked up my first cold in over two years I've been confined to barracks these past few days and all plans have had to be cancelled. Rather than scratch around this week for blog content I'm just going to make things easy for myself and show a single photo of something I've seen this year which I haven't shown on here before. Once I can get out gallivanting again normal nonsense will be resumed!

This is the Pillar of Salt in Bury St Edmunds. It is thought to be the first internally illuminated road sign and was designed by the architect Basil Oliver in 1935.  It definitely has an Art Deco look to it, but I'd plump for it looking more like a lighthouse if they'd asked me to name it! Nowadays it's a Grade II listed building.


Friday 12 November 2021

Slip up

This just amused me when I spotted it in London at the weekend....makes a pleasant change from the standard signage warning about slip hazards🍌 Have a lovely weekend.


Thursday 11 November 2021

Lest We Forget

A personal remembrance made anonymously that has appeared in the town centre this week.



Wednesday 10 November 2021

Holy Moley [showing animal specimens]

I've pondered these past couple of days about how best to blog about the Grant Museum of Zoology that I popped into with Lovely Grey last Saturday. In the end I've just decided to dive in head first....if the subject matter is zoology then it's never going to be pretty things in those specimen jars is it! Robert Grant set the museum up in 1827 as a teaching/educational aid for UCL. Its establishment meant that the university was the first one in the country to teach evolution. 

I think three photos should suffice to give you an idea of what was in all those showcases. It's most known for this jar of moles....precisely why I can't fathom. The others are a fuzzy shot of a sample of 12000 year old mammoth hair and the skeleton of a large flying fox.

I'm sure that some people seeing these will loathe them, but I have always had a strange fascination with anything like this....at a young age I was taken to Walter Potter's Museum of Curiosities which was filled with scenes that Potter had set up using animals that he had taxidermied and then dressed  up https://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/12/walter-potter-museum-of-curiosities.html Although later on the museum closed and the collection was broken up, I can still remember it clearly. Likewise my science lessons were spent with a dissected rat in a piece of perspex propped on the end of our bench.  As with many things in life, I have reached the conclusion that we are a mass of contradictions when it comes to this sort of thing....many of us will happily visit stately homes  with animal heads mounted on walls or view stuffed birds behind glass without giving it a second thought. Perhaps it's just what we're accustomed to. However, I know that I'm not the only one judging by the number of other people there too!

No doubt Lovely Grey and I will manage to find something else out of the ordinary to see next time we meet!


Tuesday 9 November 2021


After 18 long months and many WhatsApp video calls Lovely Grey and I finally were able to meet up in London again. We revisited the Wellcome Collection to take in their current exhibitions on Joy and Tranquility and left with much to ponder on. Unashamedly I am hanging on the coat-tails of her blog post here as I think she's summed it up beautifully https://lovelygreyday.com/days-out-in-london-the-wellcome-collection/#comments
What I will do though is share a photo of us reuniting over a couple of pints of ale....I don't think we've ever not finished our time together by not spending time in a pub....it's a vital component in our time together and that space for us to put the world to rights whilst sharing lots of laughter. 


Monday 8 November 2021

Hogging the limelight.

It's been a bit of a prickly week here at GBT. Last Wednesday afternoon we spotted a small hedgehog snuffling about eating bits of leftover birdfood. We were initially unsure what to do, but I understand it's never good to see these nocturnal mammals out in the daylight as it means something is wrong. We're coming up to hibernation season and they need to reach 600g to survive. Hedgehogs are terrors for having another batch of babies in the late autumn then evicting them once they've been weaned. I guess its Nature's way of survival of the fittest and some getting through if we have a mild winter. After a chat to our local vet they said to catch it and bring it in. They would then check it over and pass it onto the local wildlife rescue place they use. 

By chance Wednesday night we had Mythago and I was chatting to one of my dancing friends about our hog as I know she has hedgehog houses and a lovely wildlife garden out in the country near here. What I didn't know was that she's a registered hedgehog carer and a wildlife release site for another local rescue hospital. She's very experienced and said to contact her if it happened again. 

Friday afternoon and Mr GBT rang me to say we had an even smaller baby in our garden. It was only 180g and would never make it without intervention. This time we knew exactly what to do....within half an hour L had got her hedgehog hutch ready and we rolled up with our little spiny charge in a shoe box. I was worried that it might not still be alive, but she peeked in and it was still very much with us. After we left she took it along to her local vet to have a tick removed and since then it's been very lively. As soon as it got back it stuck its nose in its food and has been pretty much stuffing its face ever since. Honestly I'm like a first time parent again, but am pleased to report that it's now sleeping during the day and then waking up for its tea at nighttime. We can but keep our fingers crossed for young Cecil as L's named him [or maybe Cecilia!]


PS Since I wrote the post I have learnt that we have a little girl so she's now called Celia. L has checked with the wildlife hospital and because she's too little to keep herself warm she's now been transferred to them to be kept in an incubator for now. She's doing well and L has requested that she have her back again so that she can release her back into the wild next year when she's ready. I have used L's picture with her permission.


Friday 5 November 2021

5th November


There will, no doubt, be lots of people enjoying the whizz bangs tonight celebrating Bonfire Night. However, if you happen to be in the Devon village of Shebbear your choice of entertainment might be very different.

At 5.30 a number of strong chaps will be turning the Devil's Stone after the bellringers have let loose with as discordant a peal of bells as they can manage. Hopefully the cacophony of noise will be enough to keep the devil away, but if you want the next year to be lucky then the 6' long stone needs turning. It's rumoured to weigh a ton so it's quite a job....just as well there's a pub nearby to restore the flagging spirits afterwards eh😏

It's not clear how long this folkloric tradition has been going or how it started. The legend is that the stone was dropped by Old Scratch when St Michael booted him out of heaven. It is more likely to be a possible former standing stone and is referred to an erratic. The type of quartz is not found in the local geology so has either been brought here by humans [rather like some of the Stonehenge menhirs] or deposited here during one of the periods of glaciation.

Have a good weekend one and all. 


Wednesday 3 November 2021

Killing time

 Mr GBT and I are pretty punctual, so this left us with a few minutes to kill before the wedding at the nearby registry office last week. Having parked opposite the parish church of SS Mary and Nicholas in Leatherhead, I was never going to miss an opportunity to poke about....even dressed in wedding attire and heels didn't slow me down😈 Even with the church locked and only 10 minutes an Aril can locate something to unearth......

More of those devil deflecting marks around the porch door that I like so much....you will have seen similar on previous posts here.

Plus two 18th century gravestones side by side in remarkably good condition. The carvings have been done by the same hand, but are subtly different. I haven't often come across such good and unusual examples of Memento Mori in my part of the South East so I was delighted. 

It was only when I got home and edited the close up of the Eye of God which features on both that I noticed that it is enclosed by a snake eating its own tail. The official name for this is an ouroborus
and it is apparently one of the most ancient alchemy symbols. It represents the circle of life and infinity and has been with us since the time of the ancient Egyptians.


Tuesday 2 November 2021

"Found U some blog content"

 That was the message on my phone on Sunday morning with a series of photos taken by TYM on his way back from the pub on Saturday night. What might you imagine would a fairly typical 23 year old lad be taking pictures of for his dear old Mother.....this!

One of those decorated post box toppers I am so fond of....clearly I have trained the boy well😆 As this is close to home, but I had completely managed to miss it I went back to have a look in the daylight yesterday on my way home from work.

Much to my glee there was this one just round the corner too.

The attached label was addressed to the world leaders at the current COP26 in Glasgow and calls for real action to be taken. It's good to see the WI using craftivism to get its point across and it's got local people talking about it.

I don't think that TYM will be making a regular contribution to the blog content somehow, but he was quite chuffed that he had managed to spot something before me!!


Monday 1 November 2021

Halloween Nuptials

 After an 18 month Covid induced delay, we were finally able to go to our friends' wedding on Friday....as you can see it was far removed from the more traditional wedding and they had reinterpreted every aspect of their day to match their taste. For us it was a fabulous day and their friends were all so sociable...I'm not generally a great lover of such events, but I'll make an exception for this one. Lots of us stayed overnight and all reconvened for a leisurely late breakfast....just what was needed after an evening of purple dragon's blood cocktails!! I think the selection of photos will give you a good idea of what we experienced❤❤


PS The skeleton is called Boney Tony and he normally lives in their dining room💀

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...