Monday 28 November 2022

Weekend doings.

 You're getting a bits and bobs sort of offering from me today as it was precisely that sort of weekend. There's been a lot of this going on [minus the feline] over the past two be frank I will be very happy to not sew anything black for quite some considerable time. I can't even mither really as I chose to do it♥❤🖤, but thankfully the finish post is now in sight.

In between shifts of sewing [my hands are telling me that I've done lots of little stitches over the last fortnight] I nipped into town for a spot of necessary festive retail therapy. I don't go shopping very often so am hopelessly out of practice, but I did get there in the end particularly after being fortified by a particularly good cuppa and a coffee bun at the Repair Cafe. Since I stopped volunteering at the beginning of the year [I'm still on the recycling team for Sussex Green Living] due to time constraints I've not been free when it's been held. It was good to catch up with some familiar faces and see what they've been up to. It's a dynamic charity and there's always something new being added into the mix. This is the cape of good hopes which shows people's love of nature and positive hopes for the future of the planet. It is secular and promotes inclusivity. As you can see it is still very much a work in progress with new patches being added on a monthly basis including several from local Ukranian refugees. I have my own patch to work on in the New Year. It was inspired by Barbara Keal's Coat of Good Hopes which was walked from Peacehaven up to COP26 in Glasgow last year. 

After all that saintly doing of jobs there had to be some respite so we did venture forth yesterday to visit somewhere new [I'll leave that for another day] with a spontaneous drop into a nearby church. It's not that far from GBT, but it's simply not been on the radar. This made coming across an unexpected set of wall paintings dating from 1300 all the more special. Mr GBT could vouch for my ignorance of their existence otherwise we'd have been over long before now😁....I mean look at those skeletons💀 We were in Charlwood, Surrey

Now it's not often that I talk about specific books I've read, but this one is a keeper. It came to me via my FB book exchange so I knew not one jot about it. Back in 2011 many Japanese people tragically lost loved ones in the tsunami. Itaru Sasaki built a white phone box in his garden six months after his cousin died of cancer. Inside is an unconnected phone from which he and now many others ring the people they're grieving for. It is called the phone of the wind and he was approached about having one here in the UK so people could ring those that had died in the pandemic. Although this novel is an imagined account of the story of those left behind and what a part the phone comes to play in their lives it is incredibly moving, but with a light touch and sprinkles of hope.

So as not to finish on a down note we rounded off our shenanigans with an evening out at the folk club. One of the local morris sides is celebrating its 50th anniversary [several members are also in the club] and they'd come all in kit to entertain us. There was a bit of dancing, lots of lively music, the odd risque song and poem and these....jig dolls. I have absolutely fallen in love with these little folk art treasures...even the squeeze box goes in and out! I've never seen any in action so to speak....brilliant.

Thus ended another weird and wonderful weekend in the life of Aril!


Thursday 24 November 2022

In the long gallery.

Lanhydrock house in Cornwall is a Jacobean marvel built in the 17th century. Tragedy struck in 1881 when a fire ripped through great swathes of it leaving a trail of destruction and devastation behind it. It underwent a massive rebuilding project to bring it back from the brink and restore it to the splendour you see today. Despite the carnage it wrought I'm pleased to say that the long gallery escaped the ravages of the smoke and flames and we were able to enjoy the stunning original ceiling. Various scenes from the Old Testament are depicted in the detailed plasterwork. On this occasion I am shamelessly sharing Mr GBT's photos for he's the one with the long lens😁 I wondered about how much to include in my post about our recent visit [this was our day of relaxation post the Dark Gathering dancing and before we had to travel back to Sussex], but in the end I have plumped for the part which made the greatest impression upon me!

Hope you all have a great weekend. More jobs for us, but I've been cracking on with my Mythago kit making this week so we'll make a bid for freedom on Sunday and go somewhere new.


Monday 21 November 2022

While the weather outside is frightful....

While the weather outside is frightful let's go somewhere delightful shall about the classically inspired gardens of Stourhead in Wiltshire?

Under normal circumstances this type of heavily designed and landscaped gardens is not to my personal taste. However, this one is the work of Henry Hoare II, one of the so-called "Gentleman Gardeners" [which I'm guessing translates as he had the ideas, but got others to do the work for him] in the 1740s. He was heavily influenced by the Grand Tours of Europe and this shows in the pantheon, the palladian bridge [after the 16th century architect Palladio] and the temples to Apollo and Flora. The later addition of the heavily restored medieval Bristol Cross [built in 1373] in 1765 seems rather at odds with the other garden statuary, but it had been moved a couple of times around Bristol and was basically causing a nuisance. Rather ignominiously it ended up being taken apart and the pieces stored in the cathedral for two years. Eventually Hoare was offered it by the Dean and we all like a freebie don't we😆

Stourhead underwent further changes when it passed into the hands of Henry's grandson Richard. He put his stamp on the place by removing some features and planting an extraordinary 90000 trees in 13 years. He is also noted as a pelargonium fanatic. In its heyday he grew 600 varieties and even now the estate grows a slightly more modest 100 types. By 1946 the house and gardens had been passed over into the care of the National Trust and it was awarded a listed graded 1 status by the Registered Historic Parks and Garden of Special Historic Gardens in 1987.

Sadly our time was all too short here as we were travelling back from Cornwall and just breaking our journey. Should we pass by again I'd like to make time to visit the house.


Saturday 19 November 2022

The box of delights.

 I have, of course, shamelessly copied the title of the book by John Masefield for this blog title, but this box is of a rather different nature. Back in 2018 we travelled over to the local hamlet of Shipley to pay a visit to the church of St Mary the Virgin. On that occasion I was in pursuit of a rumoured standing stone and a couple of bonkers carvings that I'd got wind of I didn't make any mention of the Medieval reliquary facsimile it had on display so I guess I wasn't aware of it at the time. Subsequently I learnt that the original box had been stolen in 1976 and had not been seen since. Thankfully I am delighted to report that in the last year the story has moved forward as the current owners recognised what they had in their possession. They had no idea how it had been obtained and have very generously returned it to the church. It's a rare survivor and much smaller that it looks in the pictures.

Despite the church from which it came being one of the Knight's Templar ones [rebuilt by them in 1139] and the reliquary being contemporary c1200 it's not believed that it was in its ownership as there's no mention of any such item on the inventory of 1308. It would have been made to house the holy relics of somebody very important. Unfortunately for us the knowledge of that individual for whom it was intended has not come down to us. The oak carcase is covered in the stunning Limoges enamelwork which was very popular for its bold colours and intricate designs between 1100-1350 when it was at the height of production. The effect was created by the design being etched into copper plates [later attached to the wood]. Where colour was needed there were troughs added into which a paste of glass powder and water was pushed. To set the enamel it was then fired at 1000C in a kiln and finished with polish to catch the light. It's on temporary loan to Horsham Museum so I seized my chance to see it today when we escaped down the town for a breather between chores!

There bet you didn't expect a post from me on a Saturday did be honest I hadn't planned to write one either, but the lure of sharing current blog material rather than the backlog of stuff I know I've let pile up and haven't yet dealt with proved just too tempting!


Thursday 17 November 2022

Autumn blues

I was delighted to come across this unexpected colour [not natural I know] amongst all the Autumn tints of reds, oranges and yellows on my recent travels. I hope everyone has a good weekend....blogging has been a bit sparse of late due to a lack of time [am busy finishing the Mythago kit as we're now doing the story again next month for which it's intended] so have made no plans. We both have a lot of catching up to do jobs wise. Ah well there's always wine and Strictly👏



Monday 14 November 2022


 We met up with a local historian on Saturday. Last year I found an unusual [for West Sussex] church carving and I notified her as it was not recorded anywhere and this is one of her areas of interest. Since then she has done some research on it and had a short article accepted for publication next year. The editor had requested some additional photos so Mr GBT had agreed to help her out. This lady is a lively raconteur with a fund of fabulous stories and after we'd finished she shared this little gem.

One of this lady's friends lives in a very old and rather spooky cottage. She's been to stay there in the guest room which is up in the eaves and all the cobwebs and spiders don't trouble her in the least. One night though her friend was up there and as she lay in bed a little black human looking hand appeared round the edge of one of the beams before quickly disappearing. As you might imagine she wasn't quite sure what she'd witnessed and her imagination began to run away with her...thoughts of imps and all sorts. Looking again the little hand reappeared so she got up to investigate further. The mystery was solved....a bat had managed to get in under the roof and then couldn't find it way out again🦇 After a fairly strenuous chase she managed to direct it towards the open window and it made good its escape. I don't know what I expected the punchline to be, but it certainly wasn't that😁

The picture is included simply for amusement...I discovered where Blogger keeps all my old draft posts yesterday and this was in amongst them!


Friday 11 November 2022

In remembrance 11th November 2022

It's not often that I have had personal experience of people sharing their wartime memories with me, but I do remember falling into conversation with a delightful lady a few years ago when I was out walking, Then in her 80s, she recalled as a six year old being at home with her Mother and Aunt. Her Aunt had lost her husband to influenza in 1919 after his return from his service in the Great War. Their only son was away fighting in WWII and on that day she recalled the policeman Norman coming to their front door. Her Aunt stood up saying it would be for her and he gave her the news that her son had died. It was the sound of the scream and then the two women crying which had stayed with her the most. Her recollection made it seem so much more real that reading about it.

I've been quietly photographing all the beautiful work which has appeared round the town in remembrance of the fallen. 

The Unknown Soldier


Wednesday 9 November 2022

Peering along the pier.

 It's not often that I get to saunter along the pier, but if you're ever in Worthing I can heartily recommend paying theirs a visit. It wasn't a bag of chips or a chance to win a cuddly toy that we were after, but E wanted me to see the 'windows on the pier' project. The wind break which runs along the centre is full of panes of different stained glass panels depicting images of all sorts. Some mark historical events, local groups, loved ones, landmarks in the town....the list goes on and on. It's still being added to and the intention is to create a cathedral like effect. With the sun shining through them they certainly seem to have more than achieved their aim. I have only shown a small selection, but I hope that it gives you a taste of the sheer variety on show. You can see more images here


Monday 7 November 2022

Thought for the day.

It's surprising where I stumble across inspiration. This was stuck on somebody's postbox in Lewes. 


Friday 4 November 2022

Fork handles


This caught my eye on the way to work yesterday. I had time between my clients to park up and take a photo. It took me a minute to work out what it was all about, but those of us of a certain vintage who enjoyed the Two Ronnies I only have to say "fork handles or four candles" and you'll get it. This won first prize in a local scarecrow trail over the weekend. Had I been here I'd have gone to have a look, but I was in the company of boggarts and giants......

An extraordinary day of dancing alongside the incredible Beltane Border Morris and Boggarts Breakfast at the Dark Gathering in Boscastle. It's a real privilege to have been invited and aside from Beltane who are a mainstay of the annual event, you only get asked once. I took the decision to not photograph the event bar these two hastily snatched ones [I was literally about to go out and dance again] as I wanted to drink up the atmosphere in real time, not filtered through the camera lens. If you want to catch a glimpse of it for yourself the organisers have put up a short video here

Have a great weekend one and all!


Peace and Love

 Peace and love...two things the world needs more than ever. I saw the painted house when I was away recently and came across these two beau...