Monday 31 October 2022


 It had to be done didn't it๐Ÿ˜ˆ๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ‘ป๐Ÿ‘น๐Ÿ‘€. Happy Halloween. 


Friday 28 October 2022

Little works of art

 All the work that has gone into the making of these beautiful children's shoes๐Ÿ’— I have never seen so many pairs in one place at one time. To appreciate the workmanship I thought they merited some close up shots and a post all of their own. My friend E and I couldn't decide whether those were owls or little Japanese gentlemen adorning the front in the third picture down! From one of the displays in Worthing museum.

Just a short one today. We have exciting things happening this weekend so please keep your fingers crossed that the weather is clement. 


Wednesday 26 October 2022

The folkloric tree

Nowadays this rather sorry looking oak sits forlornly on the corner of a roundabout with traffic rushing past on the outskirts of Worthing. However, it was once the centre of all sorts of shenanigans and would have some stories to tell. This is the "Broadwater Oak" and it's a true survivor. The information board tells you everything you need to know....๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ‘ป 



Monday 24 October 2022

The Saxon Shaman

 For some time now I've thought to myself that it would be rather good if the wizard in Mythago's version of the Herne the Hunter story could have a specific kit. Up to now the character has worn a cloak. I hadn't ever got beyond that, but finishing off the Earth Mother mask earlier this year triggered a thought process. In my head I am the side's secretary, what I'm not is an artist. However, this idea arrived fully formed and I thought perhaps it would do me good to fling myself way beyond my comfort zone and see whether I could manage it. I mentioned it to our squire in passing with the caveats that there would be no deadlines involved and if it was rubbish it would never see the light of day. In true Aril style I made a tentative start on a design, hit a bump in the road and left the mask untouched for several weeks. However, I'm not a quitter and it was important for me to see this one through so after a rethink about how I could achieve what I wanted I gave it another whirl and this is the result. Rather than a wizard per se I wanted to do a Saxon Sussex shaman using original artefacts as my inspiration. We are a Sussex side and were one of the last Saxon places to be converted to Christianity.

The only trouble is that I now feel like I've finished, but there's all the hair and the front still to go so it's going to be a while yet before it will be seen in public!


Friday 21 October 2022

Unexpected encounter.

 On some Fridays I drive out to a client who lives in a small village out in the sticks. Part of the journey is down some rather windy country lanes. In the main it's wide enough for cars going in both directions, but on this particular day I had no option but to pull over onto the verge, switch off the engine and wait the for the vehicle to pass. There are lots of farms round here so I'm used to seeing tractors, but a traction engine?! They gave me a wave as they went past and it certainly made my trip home just that bit more exciting than normal. One of those small enjoyable moments.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday 19 October 2022

Lewesian Tales

 I went to Lewes for the day on my birthday and returned home with some tall tales to tell.

This unremarkable looking Sussex marble [type of limestone, but looks like marble when polished] table top now lives in the Anne of Cleves house in Lewes. Originally it stood in the hall of Old Malling. On 31st December 1170 the four knights who had killed Thomas a Beckett two days prior, travelled to South Malling [near Lewes] from Canterbury. Upon their arrival they threw their arms onto this very table before they made their way inside for supper. Supposedly the table hurled their arms back at them in protest at their murderous crime.

This is Keere Street. It's also known as Scare Hill because apparently the Prince of Wales [the future George IV] drove a coach and four horses down it at breakneck speed to get to Southover Grange. Most likely only to be a legend.

Tradition has it that a 17th century Lewesian serving girl was accused of stealing a silver spoon from her Employers. Despite there being no proof and her protesting her innocence she was thrown out onto the street. When the house was undergoing repairs many years later the builders are said to have discovered a rat's nest containing not only a mummified rat, but also the silver spoon. They were preserved together in memory of the luckless girl. Knowing people's penchant for concealing things to protect their home from evil spirits I wonder if this wasn't placed there for apotropaic purposes. We shall never know.


Monday 17 October 2022

Getting there

 Although I'm still getting tired quite easily post Covid, it's a great relief to be able to start to regain some semblance of 'normality' or as I understand it anyway these past few days. It was lovely to have friends over for lunch and a slightly proud moment when we fed them a pie which was filled with our homegrown apples and raspberries [made by Mr GBT's fair hand...I was on main course duty this time round], but we slept for two hours after they left!

Now my brain is starting to fire again I've been on the case of the leftovers. My parents very kindly gave us all their perishables before they went away which we have worked our way through these past few days and I've tried a bit of experimenting to use up a few sprouty potatoes we had lurking. Our first trial was making our own hashbrowns. I adore these, but only ever have them if we're away and they come with a cooked breakfast. Using this recipe were very pleased with the result. They really do need to be seasoned well and we're quite tempted to sprinkle something else in like curry powder when we next do them. Another thing I can make not buy.

Yesterday we upped the ante again using the slow cooker and made very passable roast potatoes [we just followed the info online]. We added in a few sprigs of our rosemary to pep them up. Am delighted that we now have another means of having roasties without needing to put our electric oven on.

Whilst I may not have been anywhere special for a couple of weeks that hasn't stopped this old bird from doing a bit of doorstep exploring. I spotted this painted on a fence lst Friday when I was driving between clients....of course I had to stop and see what it was all about [I knew of it but have never been in the vicinity or had time if I was]. The sign said it was of Catbells in the Lake District. As it's local I thought it would be of interest to people in one of the town's FB groups so I shared my pictures without giving away its location. Upon editing the bottom photo I thought I saw the Loch Ness monster [the classic image you see in the old photos] which I mentioned in passing [obviously wrong location], but I did think it could have been just fanciful thinking on my part [I know never been known๐Ÿ˜‰]. Lo and behold the artist commented and confirmed that I was right and that next time I'm passing I should see if I can spot the wild swimmer as that's his wife. He confirmed where it was so I think he'll be having some more local visitors to come and admire his work.

Next time I shall touch upon what we got up to when we headed over to East Sussex recently.


Friday 14 October 2022

On the doorstep

 I took this photo in the carpark just round the corner from GBT last weekend. Sometimes you just strike gold๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿงก๐Ÿ’– Have a great weekend.


Wednesday 12 October 2022

Outside and inside the Avebury circle

Last post from Avebury for you. This small Wiltshire village is known primarily for parts of it being built within its world famous Neolithic complex of stone circles, avenues and henges. So often I read that churches were deliberately built directly on former pagan sites [Knowlton is slap bang in the middle of a henge]. St James does not follow this pattern and I, for one, find it interesting to note that the Saxons deliberately chose a site very much outside the circle. For what reason one can only guess, but my pet theory is that maybe there was still some residual belief in the old gods and they didn't want to risk upsetting them. Best to keep both the old and new appeased. Whatever the reason it's a smashing church with a friendly warm ambience. From the outside it looks rather imposing, but is surprisingly compact inside. It has all the bits and bobs I enjoy. 

Although this started out life as a 10th century Saxon church little from this time remains, but we do have three of these charming circular clerestory windows set up high in the wall to admire.

The Norman tub font has some rather fine carvings with a headless, crozier carrying figure being admired by a couple of dragons. There's lots of graffiti nearby too, but not shown.

How about this for a gorgeous Medieval rood screen which is a rare survivor from the Reformation. Those still my beating heart.

It doesn't matter how many gurning faces I encounter on my travels they still make me laugh. This one is to be found hanging around amusing the masses on the corner of the hagiosphere. He's easy to miss.

Likewise I can never get enough of a Romanesque carved door and my admiration for the workmanship of those stonemasons.

Quite often I find bits of old, damaged masonry tucked away all over the place. They've done something different here by incorporating them into the fabric of the porch where they are protected from the elements. I liked that approach by bringing them back into service and making them part of the building once again.

It made rather a good contrast to have spent the morning looking at the more recent history of the village as I was to then spend the afternoon in the stones. We were asked to perform as part of the ceremony for raising the new archdruid of Avebury which was a huge privilege. It was very moving. For me it was a chance to meet like minded souls and spending a couple of hours in a very special place. I don't suppose I'll get to repeat the experience.


Monday 10 October 2022

Not in the manner expected of a manor.


Above is the rather delectable 16th century Avebury Manor. It's now in the safe guardianship of the National Trust, but this is the final incarnation of this site. Back in 1114 Henry I granted the estate to his chamberlain, William de Tancarville, who quickly in turn gifted it to the Benedictine abbey of St Georges de Boscherville in Rouen, France. A timber priory house was put up here, but the monks were evicted after the French/English spat in 1379. By 1411 the priory was owned by Fotheringhay College until its dissolution in 1547. Like pass the parcel the Crown bequeathed it to Sir William Sharington [he also owned Lacock Abbey by then]. He had the buildings which stood there pulled down and replaced by what we see today. Had he not been a naughty boy and defrauded the Bristol Mint where he was the undertreasurer then he wouldn't have needed to sell it to William and Mary Dunch in 1551 to pay off the hefty fine he incurred as a punishment. He was lucky to escape with his life. So given that potted history as a visitor you would probably arrive with some preconceived notion of what you might expect to see....some of this sort of thing perhaps?

It all comes as rather a surprise then when you are greeted by the NT staff and told cheerily that you may touch anything you like apart from the Chinese wallpaper and that's only because the paint comes off. Actually when you do take a closer look at the paper in the 18th century dining room it is a bit odd because it features many of the traditional motifs but then there's the Avebury stone circle in there and since when did an entire room devoted to 1930s Art Deco fit the story.

Of course, the explanation all makes perfect sense when you know that the house featured in a BBC series called 'The Manor Reborn' back in 2011. The point of the programme was to decorate nine of the rooms in five different styles which would have featured in the house's history- Tudor, Queen Anne, Georgian, Victorian and 20th century using some original restored features and some recreated. This approach applied to both the room fittings and decorative styles and you are left with a film set feel to the place. It adds a rather different twist to your normal NT experience.


Friday 7 October 2022

Beautiful berries

 Just a quick post from me today to thank everyone for their kind messages. Am glad to say that we are both feeling much better than at the beginning of the week and seem to have caught one of the less harsh strains. The sudden drop in energy levels catches me out, but it's nothing on a par with when I had a bout of proper flu a few years ago. Humphrey has enjoyed the new regime of the staff napping [lap availability is much improved ๐Ÿ˜ธ] and sitting down more than is usual [have so enjoyed the Michael Palin series on Iraq over on Channel 5]. I think it will be a few more days yet before I'm back to my normal whizzing about, but as ever I have plenty to do [gently and pacing myself] and it's been a joy to reread "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett which I hadn't read since I was a child [I picked up a copy on a whim when I saw it in one of those converted telephone box book exchanges]. That and "Tom's Midnight Garden" were two of my firm favourites. Earlier in the week I was delighted to see that the cutting of Callicarpa, which my parents gave us last year, has produced its first fabulous of purple berries and just further along the same stretch of fence the Firethorn is dripping in orange ones. They should look quite dramatic side by side in years to come when both bushes have matured๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿงก

Have a great weekend.


Tuesday 4 October 2022

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...