Thursday, 31 March 2022

March Moths

 It's been a great joy for me to see the moths starting to fly again this month. There aren't many about, but I was so pleased to find, in amongst the ones that have come, three new-to-me species- Oak Beauty, Double Striped Pug and Shoulder Stripe.




Arilx


Monday, 28 March 2022

Sunshine Saturday

 With a massive pile of ironing to do I decided to go out and enjoy the sunshine instead...it turned out to be a bit of minion themed walk this time. As I've often said you never know what's out there waiting for you😍

Froths of blackthorn blossom. I expect to start seeing the Hawthorn out too in the next few weeks.


These poppies I pass on a near daily basis when I'm driving to work. They're attached to the local school's fence and I'd thought that they'd made them from plastic bottles. Close up they're actually wire and are really effective.


With the crocuses coming to an end I wanted to capture some photos of the daffs before they too go over. I took the chance to sit for a minute and enjoy them when I heard a strange quacking noise coming from a roof of a nearby house. It rather foxed me because all I could see was a trio of crows and all I've heard them do is caw in that not very attractive cronky way they do. One of the adults had a piece of bread and it's the sound the youngsters make when begging for food apparently.



Whenever I see anything like this I wonder if TM still loves SP and what their story was?


Stumbling across personal artwork in unexpected places is always such a pleasure. This house had painted boards either side of the front door.


And minions....I did promise minions. One jazzing up a meter cupboard and the other reusing old tyres to make a planter.




The ironing did get done upon my return and I'm pleased to say using free leccy from the solar panels😀 That will be it for blog posts for a couple of days as we're off to enjoy the Christmas present from my parents. See you all soon.

Arilx




Friday, 25 March 2022

A mixed bag sort of post

You know sometimes you have bits and bobs to impart, but none of it is going to knit together properly. Usually I can order things, but this particular bundle of snippets has had me defeated so here it instead in all of its jumbly tangle.

Firstly a little update to the post here https://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2022/02/falling-back-on-familiar.html. I'd found this gorgeous door in our parish church tucked away in a corner near the altar. Judging by all the wonky metalwork I had reached the conclusion that it must have some considerable age to it. A lady has now confirmed that it's the oldest door in the church and that once it led to the Lollard's Tower where Lollards or protestants as we would now call them were imprisoned whilst the church investigated where they had got their illegal Bibles from. This ceased under the reign of Henry VIII and the break with Rome. Apparently the key to it is pretty hefty and could do some serious damage. Nowadays the space is used as the vestry. 

Even in my weird little world it's not every day that a friend texts you to say that you need to be careful when opening your front door because she's popped an envelope through of fragile 40 million year old fossils. Witchywoo had spent four hours with another friend finding these tiny little treasures on the beach. The triangular one is a shark's tooth. My friends give/lend me such interesting things. Another one has sent the current issue of the Fortean Times back via Mr GBT for me to borrow and have a read through.


Finally, for anyone who was a fan of the TV programme TimeTeam back in the day many of the original members have reunited and a new episode was put out on their "Time Team Official" youtube channel last weekend. It's got different presenters, but it's more of a return to the format of the earlier series and felt like putting on a pair of old comfy slippers. I find it very soothing and really am delighted to see its return after 10 years. It's being funded by Patreon members so there will only be a few digs and episodes released per year. It's free to view.

Have a great weekend.

Arilx


Thursday, 24 March 2022

Brockham and Beyond

We hopped over to Surrey earlier this month for another walk/explore of an area that's within half an hour of home, but not very familiar to us. This time we were starting from Brockham [near to Dorking]. The village is known for its massive November bonfire and we've danced there on occasion on the following day when it's traditional for all the sides to throw their broken wooden sticks onto the smouldering embers and more importantly imbibe a celebratory ale. Obviously there was none of that type of shenanigans going on this time....one needs to behave properly when one is in Surrey unlike its unruly Sussex neighbour😀 I didn't commit any nuisance on the bridge whilst I was there!!


Brockham is very picturesque [and busy with visitors in the warmer months] It's all set round the large green with the village pump at the centre. This was built in memory of a local landowner and worthy called Henry Thomas Hope [more of him later] and is kept well maintained by the Brockham Bonfire Society. Unusually for this part of the world it's still able to support two pubs...one has a rather fabulously named restaurant called "The Grumpy Mole"!




Leaving the village behind us we were soon amongst the trees..there were some fabulous examples to admire on our way round. 



As you know it's my life's mission to provide you with examples of great English eccentricity....even I couldn't have predicted this one though lurking behind the fence surrounding the angling pond of the fishing club....there were a whole series of these gun toting figures all round the edge, but the others were too far away for me to see. Why? Your guess is as good as mine!!


Neither can I explain the orange and blue cow in one property's back garden...probably bought after one of the themed animal fundraisers which have been done all over the place. We had an elephant trail here which I featured in a post some years ago.


We were right in the middle of the North Downs here. Probably the most well known is Box Hill....during the 2012 Olympics a lot of the cycling was done on the roads around there. It's another one that gets rammed at weekends so we tend to give it a wide berth then. You get some great views from it though and it has some good NT tracks round it.


This though was my starting point for choosing this particular walk...the ruins of Betchworth Castle. It was fenced off from the public, but I was pleased to find out that this is no longer the case. Although it calls itself a castle, it was actually a fortified manor and Edward I is recorded as having spent the night here on 14th May 1294 [he stayed on a local farm just outside Horsham the next night] on his way down to Chichester. The then owner John Berewyk was a close friend of his. By 1570 much of the building had been remodelled and added to to reflect Elizabethan taste and it's this phase you're looking at. In 1835 Henry Thomas Hope [he of the Brockham pump fame] bought it and deliberately made it into a romantic ruin. It remained in this state until a local historian, Martin Higgins, bought it from the council in 2011 for £1. He's seen that the remains have been shored up and repaired. Now the plan is to set up a charitable trust so that the site can be preserved for the local residents. If you do go it's free entry and if you time it right perhaps you'll encounter the ghost wringing his hands...he's supposedly a former owner who fatally ran his sword through his own son believing him to be the escaped criminal he was chasing. Don't hang around though if the black dog appears for he's an omen of death. Don't say I haven't warned you!


Arilx




















Wednesday, 23 March 2022

At a loose end

 Good old Covid still has a nasty habit of sneaking up on you and scotching your plans. That's exactly the situation Mr GBT and I found ourselves in last week...his friend and my client had both succumbed which left us with an unexpectedly free afternoon. No doubt we could have found dull jobs to be getting on with, but the temptation of the sunshine and the justification that we could run a few needed errands in Horsham whilst on our way to our favoured destination was all it took for us to make our minds up.

We are most fortunate here to have a former farm and its land within an half an hour walk of home. It's owned by the council and maintained by a brilliant group of volunteers. Nowadays Chesworth Farm is a wildlife haven popular with local families and dog walkers not far out from the town centre. It's not very big, but a lovely little oasis to step away from the spinning plates of our everyday lives for a gentle hour or so. I just captured a handful of shots to give a flavour of it. The colours on the parish church door need no explanation.










Arilx

Monday, 21 March 2022

Alban Eiler 2022

It's such a lovely feeling to have made it to the official first day of Spring and it's reflected in the glorious weather we're enjoying here in Sussex. Although I've spent the whole weekend holed up working [successful show though] we were treated to a beautiful sunrise on Saturday morning as we made our way up the motorway...there has to be some positives to leaving the house at 5am🌞

 Being naturally quite a busy bee I'm not used to sitting down for extended periods. However, this time I spent several hours doing the handsewing on the the latest Mythago kit I'm working on so it felt like I'd used the time well. Over the last couple of weeks I've cooked up and painted a design on the new Earth Mother mask [another dancer had already kindly put the base colours on , but she'd run out of time]. Normally I avoid this type of thing like the plague as my brain freezes. This time though I gave myself a good pep talk and just took my time. The face is now finished and although it's simple it needs to be able to be seen at speed and from a distance so I'm happy for once with what I've done. I've included the tree of life and lots of spirals as symbols of the Goddess. It still needs to have the fabric strips sewn on as the "hair" and the tatter front to be done, but now I've got going it shouldn't take too long to finish off. 

Arilx



Friday, 18 March 2022

Amusing myself on a Monday afternoon.

 We have a new temporary [I suspect] charity shop that has opened up in a huge empty retail outlet. The rumour on the street is that Aldi will be going in there soon, so I think they're filling it to the gunwhales with anything they might be able to sell in a limited time frame. Round here all the chazzas are heavily curated by the volunteers with only the best quality goods making it to the shop floors. It's absolutely necessary I understand, but I did rather enjoy the rummagey jumble sale feel to this one. Occasionally things I spot just make me titter...so for a quick spot of silliness these were the finds which amused me.




In my younger days I was always brilliant at wearing high heels....that was so long as I could stay on the spot and not move an inch... it was the walking in them that was always the problem. As I looked at these particular pair of shoes I thought to myself that I'd look more like a pantomime dame if I was to don anything of this ilk nowadays. They are great fun and I hope that whoever buys them really enjoys them. They'll certainly have themselves a bargain as they are designer shoes by Kandee and originally sold for £160.

In amongst all this I did do the decent thing and bought something. They are raising much needed funds for refugees.

Have a great weekend...we shall be away working so no rest for the wicked.

Arilx

Thursday, 17 March 2022

The World of Stonehenge

I'd heard lots of hype about the upcoming Stonehenge exhibition during the latter part of last year, but decided to hang fire before booking as I wanted to find out if it was worth the trip first [you know that good old delay and pay thrifty technique to check that we really want to do/own something]. Once it had opened it began to receive rave reviews and a friend who'd been came back with a glowing report too. Knowing how serendipity works, Lovely Grey popped up with it as a suggestion for our upcoming meet-up....once I'd got wind of some of the big hitters on display [things I've always wanted to see] I didn't need to be asked twice. Now my lovely pal has been far more organised than me [for personal reasons I'm doing things at a pace that suits my current situation] and has written a fabulous post about it already https://lovelygreyday.com/british-museum-the-world-of-stonehenge/

Here's my offering....better late than never eh! I've tried to include a real cross section to give a flavour of what's shown and any write-up surely should include the German Nebra sky disc. I remember this being rescued from sale on the black market after it was illegally dug up by a night hawk. Thank goodness it was intercepted otherwise it would probably have disappeared into a private collection somewhere and remain unknown. It's the oldest known depiction of the cosmos and shows that even back then people were trading as the gold on it comes from Cornwall.

Another of the big hitters on display is the Folkton drums. Touchingly some of these chalk cylindrical objects were found in a child's grave. Their purpose is unknown, but one theory was that if cord was wrapped round them they could be used as a type of measuring device. 

Equally mysterious are these carved stone balls which mainly come from Scotland. The latest "Digging for Britain" series. showed some new ones being excavated last summer. Some of the patterns are very intricate whilst others seem to have been left unfinished [perhaps deliberately or maybe people just gave up on their artistic endeavours...a stoneage equivalent of an Un.Finished.Object or UFO so common in craft project parlance!]. We were lucky enough to see several on Orkney a few years ago. I love the fact that it demonstrates that folks had time to be creative.

I have been intrigued by stone tools for a long time. There were some beautiful ones on display where people went to tremendous trouble to source unusual stones from inaccessible places. We know that some were just for prestige [bit like the Rolex watch of their day maybe?!] and wouldn't have been any use as real tools. Some fabulous alternative axe head shapes shown and even after they'd had their day people still valued them thousands of years later. There have been axe heads found in much later graves and some referred to them as thunderstones http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/search?q=thunderstones The one which has been set in silver was worn in the 1800s as an amulet to protect against kidney disease. However, it's the one with the preserved wooden handle found in a Scottish peat bog that really caught my eye. It's only by chance it's survived, but it immediately gives me that window into the past to show how it was used when it was first made. The stone in it has come from Ireland

Talking of stones if it's that you're wanting then there's several big uns to choose from. The one shown here is from the Alps and if you look closely you can make out the sun and depictions of wild animals. Obviously bringing Stonehenge itself could have proved a tad tricky, but the wooden Seahenge is there in all its glory.

There's a lot of bling to be seen with cases full of gold objects and impressive bits of statement jewellery. Coming in at 90cm tall if you were wearing the Schifferstadt hat you would either have to remain standing or sitting I would imagine so that it didn't fall off! What was certain was that you were definitely going to make an impression! It was most probably worn by a shamanic figure and the patterns are thought to be connected to solar worship.

One of the items I was pleased to see for myself was one with a local connection to Sussex. The Hove Cup is made from a single piece of Baltic amber and was found in a hollowed out oak tree trunk coffin within a burial mound in 1857. 

However, with me it's always going to be the rare survivals which tell me about the people's everyday lives...the little rolls of birch bark used to make the resin to fix the flint arrow heads to the shaft, the fungus they would have carried for fire lighters and most moving of all the bear skin which was wrapped so carefully around the cremated remains of a young woman in Dartmoor 3600 years ago.




Mr GBT is coming up with my parents next week....I shall be interested to hear about his experience of it.

Arilx







Bushy Park

 My friend Arty L has spent most of her adult life in London and prior to Covid she was a nature lover, but preferred living in the city wit...