Thursday 29 September 2022

Seasonal display

 A very easy post from me's my birthday so I think I can get away with it๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‚ Just had to share the autumn decorations that are currently adorning the Victorian kitchen in Avebury Manor. Absolutely adore them.

We're sneaking over to East Sussex for some shenanigans.


Tuesday 27 September 2022

Autumn Glory

 We were warned last week that Avebury would be packed and parking tricky because of it being the Autumn Equinox. We'd been booked for an event [another post methinks] so we left home early and got there just as everywhere was opening. This left Aril and Mr GBT a goodly chunk of time before we were due to perform to get in a spot of adventuring....NT cards at the ready๐Ÿ˜

Please do come for a wander with me round the gardens of Avebury Manor which were looking particularly resplendent in the morning sunshine [appearances can be deceiving though as it wasn't very warm mind you!]. We struck gold as they're currently hosting a sculpture show. 

I find being in a garden in the first throes of Autumn a magical experience.


Friday 23 September 2022

The Rogues Gallery.

This week it was Mythago's AGM. As secretary I get the dubious pleasure of running it, but after a few years worth of practice as a former PTA chairman I've got it down to a fine art. 15 minutes later we were done. Post pandemic we are now starting to have some lovely new people join our ranks. A charming young Hungarian couple became members a few months ago. One of them is an artist and later on during the evening she produced a sheaf of papers and announced she had a gift for all of us. Laying the pile on the table she simply said we should look for ourselves. Here we have the Mythago Rogues Gallery! She has managed to capture a likeness of all of us very accurately.

This pair will be celebrating their wedding anniversary on Sunday. After 29 years of being very happily married we're still enjoying ourselves and most importantly having fun!

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday 21 September 2022

The Langley Vale Centenary Wood

Since 2014 a large tract of former agricultural land near Epsom has been in the ownership of the Woodland Trust. With sponsorship from Sainsbury's gradually the land is being turned into a woodland commemorating the centenary of the Great War. 

As you walk up through the fields you come across a boat shaped clearing. The avenue leading up to it is marked by 14 oak porthole markers [the work of Andrew Lapthorn] commemorating the British warships lost in the biggest naval battle of WWI- the Battle of Jutland. One sapling has been planted for every life is sobering to see 6097 trees across such a large area. John Travers Cornwell holds the dubious title of being the youngest person to have been awarded the VC for his bravery. He was only 16 when he died of the injuries he'd received. At the centre sits the steel sculpture by Christine Charlesworth showing a sailor in the uniforms of 1916 and 2016. It is going to look amazing when all the trees have matured.

Further round the site stands the Regiment of Trees. The placement is very deliberate because this was where Lord Kitchener carried out his inspection of 20000 troops in January 1915. 12 standstone figures carved by Patrick Walls represent the recruits from the 2nd London Division of Kitchener's New Army. It was a bitterly cold day with blizzard conditions. The men had already been standing outside for hours [having been woken up at 4am] and many were ill prepared for the weather. Lord K showed up for five minutes at 10.30 and subsequently some poor souls had to be carted off to hospital and treated for hypothermia. 

Off in one corner stands this beautiful wooden edifice. It's called "Witness" and is made up of 35 pieces of oak. Standing at 6m high you can sit within it and read the carved excerpts from some of the war poems. It is very atmospheric and the creator, John Merrill, has been able to bring forth one of those special liminal spaces that you only come across once in a while. It represents the twisted forms of the dead trees on the battlefields.

It's a place which conveys the horror of war without glorifying it or demanding a mawkish sentimentality. Everything is understated yet it is also a place of hope. Nature is thriving and the Trust have created a community orchard. During the summer months the former fields are now awash with rare wild flowers which had been relegated to the outer margins. The land is ploughed every year so that the seeds are agitated into growth. Below is Common Toadflax, but nowadays you can see Red Hemp Nettle, Night-Flowering Catchfly, Ground Pine and Prickly Poppy.

Until recently this place was not easy to find, but I gather that they are in the process of building a carpark to encourage visitors. We followed the fancy free walk over to it.


Tuesday 20 September 2022

Hints and Tints

 So slowly the fingers of Autumn are beginning to creep into the early and later parts of the day. The leaves are not yet turning, but there is a coolness before I leave for work and there is much talk of foraging and preserving of crops. With some small errands to run I took a couple of shots as I made my way leisurely back from my stroll into town.

However, with my temperament, I'm not one who likes to be still for too long and Sunday provided a day of pure uplifting joy for me. Originally, I had planned to organise a simple pub danceout with another Morris side which is something I have done several times during the summer. However, on this occasion the universe had other plans for me. I'd asked one Border morris team if they would like to join us, but they already had another commitment this weekend so they weren't free. However, as I'd been casting around for a suitable date with another border side it seemed to fit the bill and so they accepted. Within a matter of days the other side came back to me and asked if they could now come because their event had been cancelled. The pub landlord and lady were very accommodating and welcomed us all. There were other glitches on the way which raised my anxiety levels, but in the end the feedback from everyone was what a great time they'd had all dancing together [they're two Surrey teams who know each other] and please could we all do it again! For me the pleasure was just taking a step back and watching the others enjoying themselves. It was a new venture for us, but worth repeating I think.

Yesterday we took our foot off the gas again a little. More using the hay box and my first chocolate sponge in the slow cooker. I don't know why, but I'm always sure these things aren't going to work, but am glad to say Pooh Bear not Eeyore won the day and it was a success. Not the sort of cake you'd serve for tea, but the sort that goes perfectly with icecream or custard! The recipe was on one of the links here One we'll keep for an occasional treat I think!


Monday 19 September 2022


 Part of the purpose of this blog for me is to record transitory but significant moments in our country's history. These are my own memories taken during the last few days. 

Someone shared a clip of the local councillor making the official announcement about the new king last week. She got through her speech without any hitches and then proclaimed 'God save the Qwing'. Everybody laughed. It's going to take a while to adapt.


Saturday 17 September 2022

Thrifty Saturday


Food storage and thrifty ways to achieve it. I haven't bought clingfilm or freezer bags for more than 20 years. The only times I've ever bought ziplock bags was when we needed them for the rare occasion when we fly....these are then washed out and used until they're no longer fit for purpose [then recycled]. This is just what I do...gnat bottomed by name gnat bottomed by nature๐Ÿ˜

I've found that the bags which house breakfast cereal make fabulous freezer bags [they're also good for separating burgers when you want to freeze them and not have them end up in one big lump]. They're sturdy and keep the contents from going dry. When it comes to securing the top I have some bag ties, but I also keep the ties which come with the coffee bags, bits of stray garden wire, clothes pegs and even cutting the top of the plastic bag and then wrapping it round the neck works.

Clingfilm. If I have to wrap something then I use foil and then, as every other thrifty person I know, clean it and fold for reuse. Otherwise I use the old fashioned method of putting a plate over a bowl in the fridge or turning half an onion cut side down on a saucer. Besides a couple of plastic lunchboxes I bought from the charity shop anything else gets put in a lidded margarine pot. Before we went away on holiday I finally sussed that I could freeze my leftover milk in marg pots without any worry of them splitting and leaking which had been my concern with storing bottles on their side in the freezer drawer. Just don't overfill them. I've read about people using glass containers in their freezer, but it's not something I'm keen to try.

Ziplock bags...despite my family's eyerolling ๐Ÿ˜† those zipper bags which cheese comes in make a good alternative. Again once they've conked out they go for recycling [in the soft plastics in the supermarket or in my case through the scheme our local green group runs].

Hope there might be something of help there. Please feel free to add in any more tips in the comments. There's strength in numbers and mutual support.


[Image from Pixabay]

Friday 16 September 2022

Fluttering in

 Look who came to check out our trap. Our first sighting of a Brimstone moth๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’› Researchers have recently announced that moths are another very important pollinator.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday 14 September 2022

Lightening the mood

 Whilst totally understandable it's all been rather sombre these past few days hasn't it. I'm not being disrespectful .....just trying to lift the mood a little๐Ÿ˜Š A small selection of some of the dafter things I've encountered on my travels of late.

Perhaps it's down to me spending a lot of my time kitted up in tatters and mask for Mythago, but by and large I'm not one for donning the contents of any dressing up boxes I encounter. However, in Leicester I broke my own could I not resist! Such is the gorgeousness of these shots Mr GBT is still trying to decide which one he wants to put in a frame๐Ÿ˜ˆ

Last weekend we were out walking up near the Epsom racecourse [details to follow about what we were up there for]. The route took us past countless fields of very expensive thoroughbreds, but I like to think that at least a few of them might enjoy this jump I spotted!๐Ÿท๐Ÿ– It would bring a whole new dimension to the Horse of the Year show wouldn't it.

Whilst in Hastings we passed a series of flats where the residents had decorated their front gardens. The one on the very end looked like this....the million dollar question is though....were they posher than their neighbours?

I'm saying nowt....I'll leave you all to make up your own minds.


The Not So New Town

 If I asked you to name a New Town you might say Welyn Garden City, Milton Keynes or here in Sussex we've got Crawley. Some have fared b...