Monday 27 February 2023

The artists in residence

 Back in 1907 the now controversial sculptor Eric Gill [you may remember his Prospero and Ariel statue on the outside of the BBC Broadcasting house was defaced by a man with a hammer a couple of years ago] moved to the small East Sussex of Ditchling. In 1921 he set up the Guild of St Joseph and Dominic which was a Roman Catholic community of arts and craftsmen which drew many others to join him. The museum focuses on this period of the village's development, but Gill is less prominent than he once was reflecting the changing attitude towards him. As a man he was deeply flawed, but the magnificence of his work speaks for itself. I went with my friend E and it was a first visit for both of us. To be frank I can't for the life of me see what drew people here in the first placeπŸ˜†

The village has been here since at least 765AD and was in the hands of King Alfred the Great by the 9th century. By 1086 it was noted for having 196 households which would have been considered large by the standards of the day. It's never been on the rail line and the locals have campaigned hard to stop encroaching development which has kept it small and largely unchanged. It just has a lot more traffic thundering through it these days! Just to warn you that the photos are very buildings heavy this time.

This one is called Crossways and has on it a plaque to the local Dr Linton-Bogle who died in 1964. The side gate has the medical symbol of the rod of Asclepius. He was a Greek God venerated for his healing and his cult believed snakes to be divine creatures.


This one dates from 1573.

Ancient bits of timber upcycled into porches.

The Green Welly cafe even has a huge welly on its roof and an appropriately themed door knocker.πŸ‘’

Close up of a very old lock on an equally old door from the 15th century house "Tudor Close". It looks like it could well be an original feature.

I vote this fellow for being quite the ugliest dragon I have ever had the pleasure to meet. The Saxons often called them wyrms and this one fits the bill rather nicely and whilst we're talking πŸ”₯ breathing monsters the old Fire Station and a Guardian Fire and Marine Insurance Company Mark. Rather surprisingly they were an American company not British as you might have expected.

So to wind it all please allow me to share with you photos of quite the ugliest building I have ever come across....awful isn't itπŸ˜€ Nowadays it's called "Wings Place.", but once it was called "Ditchling Garden Manor". It was originally owned by Lewes Priory, but then dear old Henry VIII got his fat grasping paws on it after the dissolution of the monasteries. He passed it over to Anne of Cleves as part of the divorce settlement. It's unlikely that she ever visited, but when combined with the house in Lewes he also gave her I don't think she fared too badly from their brief marriage did she.  It is truly spectacular and is even more so when viewed in the flesh.

Another lovely day of adventuring enjoying more Sussex gems.


Friday 24 February 2023

Reasons to be cheerful part 8

 Picture me sitting in the car waiting to start my afternoon's work [nowt wrong with that bit], but it's a grey Friday afternoon and it's just started to drizzle...well that was me last week, but then I saw this parked just up the road.....the colour alone cheered me up no endπŸ’›πŸŒžπŸŒ». It belongs to a local company which have been based at the same site for over 100 years. Besides their earthmoving business they own a whole fleet of traction engines which they take to lots of events in the district and beyond. They show great support and contribute greatly to their community. I have a further personal reason for being drawn to this particular little car.....we had an Austin 7 for our wedding car the only difference being that ours was a rather more subtle midnight blueπŸ˜†

Hope everyone has a good weekend.


Wednesday 22 February 2023


 "Focus on the good and the good will come into focus."

Esther Hicks [I believe]


The mosaic is one of a series outside an optician's in Brighton

Monday 20 February 2023

The Clapham Woods Mystery

 The woodlands near the small Sussex village of Clapham have earnt a reputation for dark and strange phenomena. It's supposed to be at the meeting point of a series of leylines and there have been reported sightings of UFOs, orbs, spectres and weird beasts. Certainly there were rumours of dogs going missing, four bodies were found between 1972-81 and it was claimed that a satanic cult practised black magic there. I've linked this article here if you want more details It's certainly a favoured destination for many paranormal investigators and a quick search on Youtube will turn up any number of people's night time explorations. Personally I am open minded about what people experience up there, but I shan't be one that ventures forth into any woods after dark. However, I can vouch that the claims that no birds sing up there is complete bunkum as proved by my visit there with Nurse L on a sunny Monday morning last weekπŸ˜€

These ancient woods are very atmospheric with stunning views out across the South Downs. The magnificent beech tree is known as the "Devil's Altar" and there's dear Finn nonchalantly drinking out of one the little pools of water which has collected in the network of its roots. He doesn't look exactly bothered by the rumours of Old Nick now does he!!

In the Spring the whole floor will be carpeted with flowers, but during these bare months it's all about appreciating the tracery of the tree branches and enjoying the different forms of the mosses and lichens growing on the trunks.

It would seem that some still return to the woods under cover of darkness to practise magic of some description. There have been photos shared of the things that people have found, some of which involve hexing and are not of positive intention, but in the main the offerings seem harmless enough. We did look for ourselves, but the best I could come up with was this chalked Herne figure and a fairy house🧚
We heeded the warning and didn't disturb themπŸ’š

If you fancy a trip up there yourself there's parking in front of the church.


Friday 17 February 2023

Reasons to be cheerful part 7

 πŸΆI keep my eyes peeled at all times for signs which amuse me. This was on a house in a nearby village. Have a great weekend folks🐢


Wednesday 15 February 2023

Up on the Downs

 Knowing I was due to meet my friend Nurse L on Monday I deliberately got there early to give me time to nose around the 12th century church of the Blessed Virgin Mary which sits proud upon the top of the hill overlooking the tiny Sussex village of Clapham.

Outwardly it looks like a fairly typical flint church from around this area leading down to the South Coast. I know it was restored by Sir Gilbert Scott between 1873-4....that'll be a quick pop in, whizz round and straight out then I thought smugly to myself.....think again Mrs GBT!!

There are lots of ancient brasses and tombs inside and even three bells which were cast between 1350-60 by Alan Rous [probably] making them the oldest triple ring in the country. If that wasn't enough to whet my appetite I then came across this monument to Sir William Shelley [same family as the poet who came from near me] who died on 4th January 1549. Aside from its remarkable condition what's of interest is the depiction of Sir William in his hood and coif which is very unusual. He served as a judge in the Court of Common Pleas under Henry VIII. One of his daughters looks like she's dressed as a nun, but it's actually showing she was a widow. 

From an artistic point of view I often find little of interest around the altars in churches, but the backpiece to this one is the very distinctive work of William Morris and was a lovely surprise, being the huge Arts and Crafts fan that I am. It's the four archangels set against tiles featuring vines and grapes. The church notes state that it's only one of three of its type still in its original position. I'm afraid I was so entranced that I got rather carried away taking photos, but thankfully L arrived just in time with her dog Finn to save me from myself and from you having to look at too many!!

We had a walk planned around one of the most reputedly haunted parts of Sussex.....πŸ‘»πŸ‘» Details to follow....


Tuesday 14 February 2023

A Heart of Gold


"Having a heart of gold" is a lovely thing to say about somebody, but for today's useless bit of information we all have a bit of trace gold in our hearts along with other metals. Of course today it's all about romance so I shall gleefully ignore the whole thing. I have invested a whole 75 pennies on a packet of Mr GBT's favourite biccies, but beyond that it's business very much as usual. I'm not completely hard hearted though because I know for many it's a very special day which they like to mark so here's my latest appropriately themed topper seen on my adventure out with my friend E on Sunday.

Hope you enjoy your Tuesday however you're spending itπŸ’“πŸ’•πŸ’–πŸ’—πŸ’˜πŸ’πŸ’žπŸ’ŸπŸŒΉπŸ’Œ


Friday 10 February 2023

Reasons to be cheerful part 6

 One of the hangovers from when I was a full time working Mum is that I still go and do the weekly shopping ridiculously early....the logic back then was that I wanted to spend as little of my precious weekend in the supermarket as possible. Some things never change. You might not think of your local Tesco as a source of entertainment, but it's surprising how often I come back with a small tale of mirth to tell Mr GBT. Overheard snippets of conversation, exciting tattoos, novel haircuts [yes I am that woman who stopped the customer in the bakery to tell her how stunning her apricot and baby pink bob looked...she looked a little startled but then smiled at me] or the lady wearing the fabulous Joe Brown coat. Sometimes it's the items for sale which amuse me....I had an interesting chat with a fellow a few weeks back and we agreed that Christmas Pudding flavoured crisps are just plain wrong. A couple of weeks ago it was this by the front door which made me look twice......

The first thought which popped into my noggin was "oh God that looks just like my old school tie"......I am guessing this wasn't quite the response they were hoping for. Needless to say I left it behind for others to purchase. Have a good weekend!


Wednesday 8 February 2023


"Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision."

Salvador Dali

This is the type of art which resonates with me. Lovely Grey and I both thoroughly enjoyed the "Objects of Desire" exhibition which is currently showing at the Design Museum.  Dali's sofa was based on Mae West's lips.


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...