Thursday 31 August 2023

Keep it under your hat.

 "Keep it under your hat" is just one of those phrases we trot out without giving it a second thought. I learnt recently that archers used to keep their spare bow strings under their hats to keep them dry. A wet bowstring was of absolutely no use to them.

Have a great weekend.


Wednesday 30 August 2023


 If I was one for living in the great outdoors under canvas [which I'm most definitely not] this would undoubtedly be my tent of choice. Its painted decorations are inspired by the Macclesfield Psalter dating from c1330-40. If you'd like to take a peek at the original and slightly bonkers illuminated drawings they're on the link here 

I was lucky enough to see this at Michelham Priory last weekend. 


Monday 28 August 2023

One man and his Dog

Please meet one man and his Dog. Now it might look like a Khaki Campbell duck, but I can assure you that its name is Dog. This gentleman has hatched many ducks over the years, but he said this fellow was different right from the start. As soon as he came out of the egg the duckling fixated on him and they've now got a special bond. He said it's never happened before with any of the others that he's bred and it was never his intention to have one as a pet. He's happy to be handled and was completely relaxed perching on his arm as they wandered around the East Sussex Living History event. You never know who you might meet and what tales they have to tell.


Thursday 24 August 2023

Running away

It's been a very busy week here at GBT and somehow time has run away with itself.....she lies, she lies 😄 One has done only what has absolutely needed to be done and beyond that One has been sitting square eyed watching as much of the World Athletic Champs as she can get away with.  Seeing as the upshot of all this is that there has been no work done on any blog posts this week whatsoever let me distract you with something shiny......

This beautiful scarf twinkled at me in the charity shop on Saturday so home it came.  Not a bad purchase for five of my good English pounds! Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.


Wednesday 23 August 2023

Middle English

 [Image from Pixabay]. For any Middle Earth fans out there the Gutenburg Project has Tolkien's 'A Middle Earth Vocubulary' available to read or as a download here Pretty niche I know, but for any bloggers with an interest in language like me I hope it might be of use or interest.


Monday 21 August 2023

The missing man

This couple is Alexander Denton [b 1542] and his wife Anne [nee Willison] who died aged 18 in childbirth on 29th October 1566. It's believed that she had a little girl called Janne and the infant is very tenderly shown wrapped in the folds of red cloth upon which her Mother is laid. It's strange really because before this year I'd never seen such depictions where the Mother and child are shown together on a monument yet I've now encountered three. None in Sussex though as far as I know. There is a similar Tudor tomb in our local church where the recumbent lady is on the tomb, but no baby even though I have read that she died aged 25 in the same circumstances. 

However, things are not always what they appear to be because what we're looking at is actually a cenotaph to Alexander as he's not buried here. He went on to marry Mary Martin, a 15 year old and by her had his son Thomas who became his heir. She died in 1574 and he on 8th January 1576. Both are buried in Hillesden church in Buckinghamshire and their monument can still be seen today. I gather that this creation of two monuments in different places for the same person is highly unusual.



Thursday 17 August 2023

A moving tale

"Why?" you might well be asking yourself is she showing us a picture of a microwave with a pile of stuff. TYM is moving from his shared house into a furnished flat in another town next month [still renting] and due to the insurance on the property there are a few mobile items with plugs that you have to provide yourself. That in itself really isn't news. He has decided to buy himself a microwave, a toaster and a vacuum cleaner. Although his salary has increased with his recent promotion so have his necessary outgoings so he has to be mindful when spending. Only a couple of weeks ago I found out that there's a local house clearance company who are trying to improve the reputation of the business by not just throwing everything they can't sell into landfill. Instead they offer items within a specified area for free which you can ask for on their FB page. If they select you they then drop it off on your doorstep for free when they're working or travelling en route in your location. Last week one of the things was a working microwave which incredibly I was given and then this week amazingly I was lucky again and have been given a Henry Hoover. Lots of people requested it. It's been such a treat to be able to text TYM and surprise him twice in the same week and it's all now in his old room here. The company have a list of items they accept which go out to poor communities in Africa and they're happy to take any donations when they come to you to drop off. Mr GBT's bike [which was second hand when we bought it] is now winging its way on a new adventure. The whole experience has been rather life affirming and moving in all senses of the word.

Hope you have a great weekend.


Tuesday 15 August 2023


 Sometimes it's just too damn hard to find large dollops of positivity or dig deep enough to unearth the blessings of the day. If you're going through a rough time right now perhaps you might like these words I came across on my FB feed.  

"Have you heard about 'glimmers'? They are the opposite of triggers. A glimmer is a tiny micro-moment of happiness, a sign of hope. Once you begin to look for them, they will start to appear everywhere."

Deb Dana, psychotherapist specialising in complex trauma.

I hope that you find many glimmers today if you need them. The photo is from Pixabay.


Monday 14 August 2023

Two years down the line.

Cue a rather damp Monday afternoon and a wander round the local nature reserve with my friend H. Last time I went a couple of years ago it had recently undergone a radical makeover, but the new borders were still waiting to be planted up 

The work is now complete and it's all looking rather gorgeous in the Shelley Wildlife garden even in the rain! Quiet moments spent in the bird hides watching the fledged magpies with their still fluffy heads trying to work out how to extract the seeds from the feeders and the chilled herd of British White cattle taking on their latest project and keeping the undergrowth in check. No doubt they'll be off to another of nature sites in the district shortly to carry on with their good work. I think this Marsh frog with his snazzy lime green stripe was having the best time of all though kicking back on the lily leaves in the pond.

We were not so hardy....after an hour or so we scurried back to GBT and the delights of a hot cuppa and biccies😊


Friday 11 August 2023

Pretty as a picture

A deconsecrated chapel in Horsham was converted into a hairdressers a couple of years ago. It's now sporting these bright painted flowers on its door [by artist Deborah Ann Crago]

The entrance gates to the Human Nature garden in the park have recently undergone a fresh paint job too and the details really ping again.

At the top of the wooden gatepost there is now a small hole. Curiosity has always got the better of me...just a quick peep I think....wouldn't want to miss anything. Ta-dah my efforts were rewarded. I'm sure that it must be a fairly new addition. I'm too nosy to have missed it!!


Have a great weekend!


Wednesday 9 August 2023

London Calling

A few short hours spent in London with my sister last week. It's not a sentence I was sure I would ever write as it's been more than nine years since I last saw her. Oversharing personal stuff is not what I do save to say real life can be complicated [this was down to issues not related to me]. Her personal circumstances have recently changed and she is in a different place. It was good to see her and we talked non stop. Striking out from Victoria Station we had a picnic in Lower Grosvenor Gardens [where the shell follies are located] and then had a good nose around Belgravia or the place for the haves and have yachts as somebody recently called it👿 I'm not putting up any explanations....I simply wanted to capture a few memories.



Monday 7 August 2023

Palmerston's Folly

Castle Hill, overlooking Newhaven, has been a defensive site since the late Bronze Age and was occupied for at least a thousand years from that time [it had a hillfort upon it]. When Britain feared invasion from the French during the 19th century the site came into play once more. Despite the government's reluctance to heavily invest in a series of forts along the south coast Lord Palmerston got his way. They were built, but the threat never materialised and they remained unused. They became known as the 'Palmerston's follies', but this large example continued to play a defensive role during both World Wars. It isn't a place I might go to of my own volition [it was the second part of Mr GBT's birthday outing], but it approaches the military period of history for which it was active from many different angles. There was much of interest for both of us. I'm reluctant to use the word "enjoy" because it seems very trite when the subject is war. It's closing at the end of this summer until Spring 2025 to  undergo a major refurbishment. The images and the words I've shared are what stood out for me personally.

Although they don't really show up in my photo these bollards are shaped like torpedoes.

The fortified is the only one with a drawbridge and they meant business with the heavy metal door! There are stencilled figures representing the different eras of activity all along the tunnel which opens out into the main courtyard.

The fort was first armed in 1873 with guns needing cartridges full of gunpowder. The grand magazine could hold up to 1356 barrels of the stuff and there had to be exacting rules for all to follow to avoid explosions and death. The candle lamps were kept behind glass both here and in the laboratory where the gunpowder was loaded into the shells and cartridges.

This image from WWI is iconic. I take it by Margaret Aquith's rather tart "If, Kitchener was not a great man, he was, at least, a great poster" remark that he was unpopular in many sectors. Initially there was no problem with recruiting men to fight for their country and it was quite a struggle to process the huge numbers of volunteers who came forward. As the huge losses started to affect the war effort conscription was brought in. From January 1916 all unmarried men aged between 18-41 were called up and married men from the May. By 1918 the upper age had been increased to 50.

Those who did not agree with war and conscription were at the mercy of the Order of the White Feather. The women in the order were encouraged to publicly humiliate any man they saw who wasn't in uniform and give them a white feather for cowardice. The conchies [conscientious objectors] and anyone else who didn't want to fight were their intended targets and despite an increasing unease with many members of the public at their unregulated actions the government seemingly did little to deter them. They didn't stop to ask those that they verbally attacked and many were shamed even though they were underage, in a reserved occupation or those who had  been invalided out of the forces or convalescing away from the front whilst recovering from injury. Eventually men were given 'on war' badges, armbands or proof that they were waiting for the call-up so that they could provide proof,

Everyone in society was affected by the war [the King gave up alcohol save for private medical use to do his bit] and emergency legislation was brought in without debate [the pandemic gave us all a flavour of how that works]. The Defence of the Realm Act [DORA for short] changed all sorts of aspects of society. Women were brought into the workforce and the government were able to seize factories and land to use for munitions production. As it evolved more restrictions were brought in including no bonfires, flying of kites, no possession of cocaine [unless you were in a medical profession], no whistling in the street in case it was mistaken for a siren and the strength of alcohol was reduced to that productivity wasn't hampered. Even today we still have British Summer Time which was introduced to increase potential working hours to the max.

By 1939 the country was back at war again. Below is one of the famous Howitzer guns and a selection of the propaganda posters.

The sensation of sitting in a mocked up air raid shelter with lights dimmed and the sounds of the air raid sirens and explosions was quite disturbing and frightening even though the rational part of my brain knew it was only a simulation. I can't even begin to imagine the terror people felt. Besides the constant worry of losing loved ones you were struggling on all fronts every day just to cope. I know it's always said that people were much healthier during the war, but it's documented that they were also constantly hungry and tired with many working long hours in very physical jobs whilst running homes and bringing up their families. Many foods were heavily rationed but not fruit and veg nor interestingly beer. Indeed the government went to great lengths to keep shortages of it down because it was recognised that it was an important element in keeping morale up. For reasons I know not it was an offence to use icing sugar as well as wasting or allowing others to waste precious resources which makes far more sense. Nothing was overlooked from the size of labels being reduced on tins to thinner newspaper. 

There are many WWII displays, but it was the heart breaking Dieppe Raid on 19th August 1942 which moved me the most. It was doomed to failure from the start with many errors made even before the soldiers left the Newhaven shore. Their luck ran out even before they landed as the Germans already knew and were able to pick them off one by one. They didn't even need to aim their guns at a specific target to hit someone. So many lives were pointlessly lost with the Canadians suffering particularly high losses. The sweetheart bracelet below is made from buttons from the Carleton and York regiment of Canada and was given to a landgirl by her boyfriend. Sadly he was one of the ones who didn't return. 

Incredibly Sooty, the ship's cat, survived even though the Landing Craft she was on was one of the many vessels which foundered. She managed to swim clear and was awarded the Dieppe Raid Medal much later in 1992. Valuable lessons were drawn from the disaster and the experience shaped how the D Day landings were planned and carried out in 1944.

Not wanting to finish on too serious a note there are many tunnels dug deep into the hillside below. Some of them were used as a space for the RAF 28th Air Sea Rescue Unit to spend their off duty hours. One year they held a Christmas party and in the spirit of making do they used all their leftover boat paint to decorate the walls with themed murals. Most are not accessible to visitors, but this door is a prime example of their artwork. Let's hope they had one hell of a time!!



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...