Friday 30 September 2016

The Lovely Post (the kind you love to get)

Earlier this week I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. 

This cold is dragging on a bit and dragging me down.

I'm definitely on the mend but I can't seem to shake the cough that's keeping me awake at night.


I happened upon a post by the lovely Sarn at Stamping For Pleasure.  Sarn makes the most beautiful cards and I love stopping by to see what she's been up to.

On Monday she posted about a get well card that she had made.  I mentioned in the comments how much it cheered me up just seeing it and that I was going to pretend it was for me.

Well, next thing I knew Sarn dropped me an email and said she would like to SEND me the card so it really WAS for me and I didn't have to pretend!

How lovely was that?

It arrived yesterday and it's just as pretty in the flesh as it was in Sarns post - maybe even prettier, look:

Thank you lovely lady, this is one card I will cherish forever!

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Chazzing (Because It's Not ALL About The Beach ...)

Did I really just SAY that???

Ok, so it's MOSTLY about the beach but SD and I did spend some of the Summer mooching around various Charity/second hand and Vintage shops.

I'm so glad we share that love because then I have someone to carry stuff for me it's great spending time together and between us we have found some really cool things.

I know not everyone will get my love of old kitchenalia but (as you may remember) trying my hand at being a food blogger so those Thermomix people would send me a freebie didn't really work out that well ...

So old stuff it is!

Incidentally - Chazzing is a phrase coined by Emma Kate who's blog is full of such stuff and beautifully restored furniture and Emma Kate herself often running amok with power tools (a woman after my own heart!)

Some of the stuff we find is actually usable but most of it is destined to either sit in the cabinet in the front room or (when I get more organised) one of the glass fronted cupboards in the kitchen and some of it will hang on the kitchen wall once I've decorated adding a splash of colour.

So, want to see some photos?

Ok, well, I faffed about with these a bit trying to be arty - not sure I really pulled it off but never mind ...

I bought this Farmers Market Wall hanging thing from Home Sense with some of my Birthday money - it will eventually hang in the kitchen but for now it seemed like a good way to display stuff
Most of these thing probably date from the 60's 70's with their painted wooden handles and I like the worn look where some of the paint has rubbed off with use.

This ones for Val - I told you I had one too!  

I bought this tiny VW jelly mould from a very odd couple at a car boot sale at the beginning of the Summer.  I didn't really take to the man at all and hesitated about buying it.  He was asking £3 which seemed like a fair price but I went away to think about it.  When I went back only his wife was there and she said i could have it for £2:50 so I bought it and went happily back to show SD.

As he was looking at it the man from the stall suddenly appeared behind him.

'Bought it then did you?'

I nodded thinking 'isn't it obvious I've just bought it unless you think I pinched it while your back was turned!'

' Spose she let you have it cheap - could be worth a fortune you know - I should have put it on Ebay - HOW MUCH DID SHE CHARGE YOU FOR IT????'

SD stood in front of me - 'Then maybe you should have put it on Ebay in the first place - can I suggest that if you have an issue with your wife selling it then you take it up with her?'

Bless him for thinking I need protecting from bullies.

Bugger me if his wife didn't come over a few minutes later sobbing because he's shouted at her for selling it!

What a knob! - I did consider for a moment letting her have it back but I'm not sure it could have fixed the problems in that marriage.

Anyway, this is what all the fuss was about and, although it's probably not that common, it's certainly not worth the fortune he suddenly decided it was once it was sold:

The enjoyment in owning this was somewhat tarnished by this just like the mould itself.

Mostly we have good experiences when we buy stuff.

I love this set of Salter scales with it's unusual oval shaped bowl

And these tiny rabbit and fish moulds

But, it's not all about the kitchen either (although SOME of it still is as you can see by the Spong mincer still in it's original box!)

 SD picked up these old tins - the yellow one is for Iodised Throat Lozenges for the /voice, Mouth and Throat (it says on the tin)  all for the princely sum of 1/9 in 'old' money.

The round tin is Bibbings Carbolised Areca Nut Dentifrice Tooth Powder - which apparently removes tartar, whitens teeth and prevents decay sold in 9D tins (again, 'old' money which I'm sadly too young to really remember).

The Rupert Bear book is only from 1983 which makes it 33 years old but considering it's a paperback it's survived pretty well and it's so sweet.

Another thing that isn't old is this:

 A set of crayons I bought for Miss Mac when she was about 4 from Laura Ashley.  I found them when I was sorting through some boxes and now they live in my cabinet with all the other things I love.

But, like I said, it's not all about the kitchen (not that that IS but you know what I mean).

The tin is another SD find.  It once held Medium Navy Cut Cigarettes and this tin was to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

It now hold the Singer Sewing Machine booklets in the photo.

 One thing you can't see clearly in the photo is this:

The original receipt for a Singer Sewing Machine

 The sewing machine belonged to Big D's Great Grandmother and it was given to me after she died - I found this in one of the drawers.

The receipt is made out to Miss Ivy Chapman (Big D's GGM) on the  17th August 1920 for which she paid the princely sum of £14.16.0 (after a 20% discount).

Isn't it fantastic?

There was of course also SD'd Top Hat that I picked up in a vintage shop in Penzance

And this tin which makes me smile because it pretty much sums up my life!
That isn't EVERYTHING we bought but the post is probably long enough for now.

Is it just me who loves this stuff - AM I completely mad? Does anyone else out there collect this kind of thing?

Monday 26 September 2016

It's A Coffee Morning Jim (But Not As You'd Know It ...)

So, Friday was the Macmillan Coffee Morning day.

It's a serious business raising money and awareness for those fabulous nurses but well, this WAS organised by our park group so it was ALWAYS going to have an element of comedy about it wasn't it?

I arrived a few minutes early to find several of our member already there having set out the tables and begun loading them with homemade cakes.

'Where the feck have YOU been' mumbled Bob as I put my humble offering of a dozen cup cakes on the table.

'It's like the bloody Sahara round here - put the fecking kettle on!

I glared at him and put the fecking kettle on.

'Buy a tombola ticket' demanded Marg - 'I didn't spend all morning putting tickets on them just to have them sitting there you know!'

I wandered over to the tombola.

'Well', I began, 'I don't really EAT tinned meatballs OR those jelly fruits (which, when I looked closer appeared to have gone out of date in May 2012) and I'm not really in the market for a scarf either ...'

'It's NOT a fecking scarf' snapped Marg.  'It's a SNOOD!!! - Now buy a fecking ticket!!!'

I bought a fecking ticket and collected my puce coloured scarf/snood wondering if I could sneak it into the next Bingo raffle without anyone noticing.

Suddenly there was a pounding on the door making poor Eve,  who I hadn't noticed in the corner, slop tea all over Sam, her little Jack Russell who had been sitting quietly on her lap.

'HA' shouted Sue erupting into the room - 'You all thought it was a demented Woodpecker didn't you?  But it was ME!!!'

She proceeded to pull a pack of sausages, a block of cheese, a jar of pickled eggs and box of grapes out of her tartan shopping trolley reminding me of that time that Rowland rang me up to enquire if a boil in the bag cod was a suitable thing to take to a bbq.

She examined the cheese closely. 'Just cut off the bits with teeth marks' she told me and it'll be fine.

'Can I entrust you with this' she whispered gripping my arm and pushing her face SO much closer to mind than I would have liked.

Into my hand she pressed a phone and a little silver tin with a marijuana plant embossed on the front - I quickly put it in my pocket.

'I shall be seven minutes' she said - 'I'm going to talk to the crows and you know what that means!'  She winked at me and left (for the record - I have NO idea what that means ...).

'Are you looking at my BUM' she shouted at our noble secretary as she left the room.

'No, no, no, no, NO' he replied hastily looking at his wife, 'I was just ....'

'Because if you WERE I'll have you know that these are NOT my BEST pants'  then she left banging the door behind her.

We all looked at our noble secretary.

'What?  WHAT??' said the poor man.

'Near drove me mad t'other day she did' grumbled Marg. 'At the flag raising - where were YOU by the way' - she looked at me accusingly.

'I was sick' I bleated.

'Said you'd be there' she said giving me a stern look.

'Sorry' I whispered trying to look sorrowful ...

Tried to pull me out of my wheelchair up the bleedin' steps to the flag pole and there's me barely able to walk - fecker wouldn't take no for an answer - had to tell her to feck off and leave me alone in the end!'

'Marg!!' I gasped in horror - 'that's no way for a lady of 85 to talk!'

Eighty five she screeched - Eighty Bleeding Five!!!!  I'm not eighty bleeding five, I'm eight fecking FOUR!!!'

Just then Ronnie burst in like a breath of fresh air.

'Cake' she sang - 'I bring cake!'

'We've GOT fecking cake' snapped Marg - 'Buy a tombola ticket and why have you got those silly purple streaks in your hair - you're FAR too old for such nonsense '. (this from an 84 year old who swears like a navvy!).

'Well, I don't really eat ...'

'Just buy a bloody ticket' I muttered out of the side of my mouth.

She bought a ticket and looked in horror at the meatballs in tomato sauce she had won before hiding them under the table and sitting down with a cup of tea.

'I SAW YOU THE OTHER DAY' Shouted Sue as she came back in precisely 7 minutes later.

'On that exercise bike in the park - going like the clappers you were and at your age too!

By now Ronnie was staring to look slightly affronted at the constant reference to her age.

''I was under the bush with Williams and Smy' said Sue  and with no further explanation she picked up a piece of cheese, stared at it for a moment and then smoothed out an errant tooth mark that I had missed with her thumb before placing it back amongst the grapes.

As she started to rearrange everything on the table I heard a sharp intake of breath from Marg.  Sue peered at her over her glasses.

'I'm annoying you again aren't I?'  shes said.

'Yes!' snapped Marg - 'Just leave it the feck alone!'

'I CAN'T' said Sue.

'You CAN'

'CAN'T' - 'CAN' - CAN'T' - 'CAN!!!'

'I CAN'T - my doctor said so and he's had me tested but I suppose you think YOU know better what with you being a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL and all!!!!'

I distracted Marg with a fondant fancy while Mary tempted Sue away by walking slowly in front of her shaking the tombola tickets to the far corner where there was still some supermarket own brand rice pudding to be won.

'Bugger' muttered Eve as William, our noble secretaries Grandson bashed her ankles yet again with  his tricycle as he rode by scattering crumbs of stolen sponge cake behind him.

'And another thing' said Sue crossly to our noble secretary - ' I don't even WANT a chair!!!'

No, no,no,no,no, YES stammered the poor man - 'I KNOW you don't want a chair'.

'You should make your signs clearer' Sue went on reprovingly - 'I thought I was making a £5 donation to the cause and you try to give me a bloody chair!


'No, no,no,no,no,NO! - I know ... - I'll come and take it away ...'

'I think I'd better take William home' said Mary - Eve looked very relieved.

'Come and give your Aunty Sue a big kiss' leered Sue heading in his direction.

'Yes, do it' exclaimed Ronnie in delight - 'Just sweep that beard to one side and pucker up' she chortled.

William looked dubious - Mary looked horrified.

'Just wave to Aunty Sue' she shouted gaily dragging William towards the door.

'Less than 70 quid' said Marg with some satisfaction having upended the donations box onto the table in front of her.

'Of course when I did the coffee morning we never raised less than £150!'

She gave poor Mary who was still hovering in the doorway and who had spent the last few days slaving over a hot stove baking cakes a smug look.

'Oh, just FECK OFF' muttered Mary under her breath.

 Shortly after that we packed up and trundled back to our respective homes until the next time a community event should bring us all together to spread love, joy and harmony.

Thursday 22 September 2016

Living And loving

I was reading a blog yesterday written by a lady who, amongst other things, has a great love of live music.


It got me thinking about how lucky I am that SD and I share this love and can indulge ourselves on a fairly regular basis.

For me the 80's were pretty much taken up with childcare and, while I don't begrudge a moment of that it did mean that there wasn't really time or money for much else so I didn't get to see some of my favourite bands in their heyday, the closest I got was listening to the chart countdown on the radio or watching Top of the Pops.

Thank god so many of them had staying power and are still around today!

I sat last night trying to compile a list of the bands/artists SD and I had seen together. When I ran it past SD he thought the only one I'd forgotten was Hugh Cornwell (the original lead singer of The Stranglers) - sorry Hugh, you were AMAZING!

So far together we have seen (some more than once):

The Manic Street Preachers - Super Furry Animals - Echo And The Bunnymen - Adam Ant - The Stranglers - Public Image Limited - Madness - Bad Manners - Wheatus - The Kaiser Chiefs - Heaven 17 - Pop Will Eat Itself - Jesus Jones - The Damned - The Dickies - The Wonder Stuff and of course Hugh Cornwell.

It's a pretty impressive list isn't it?  And we have tickets to see The Specials and Feeder later in the year.

This isn't really a 'proper' post, it's really just me trying to keep track and to remind myself how fortunate I am that I get to do all of this with someone who shares so many of my loves in life.

We may have taken FAR to many years to get to where we are but I'm looking forward to a future of more bands, more beaches, more festivals, more 'chazzing' in charity and second hand shops (which I MUST write a post about SOON), more fruit picking, more drinking beer in pubs listening to local bands, more dressing up in silly outfits and partying with friends, more lying on my back in the dirt painting the underside of cars, more messing about at the farm, more sitting in the sun high on the cliffs in Cornwall.

Just more living and loving I guess.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Don't Come A Knocking ...

SD stopped in his track this morning.

'What's wrong with your face?' he asked.

I was affronted!

I'd dragged my sorry ass out of bed despite having spent most of the night coughing like a cat with a hairball stuck in it's throat just so I could make SD and Miss Mac a nourishing breakfast before they went off to work and college when obviously I would have preferred to have stayed in bed surrounded by crumpled tissues soaked in Olbas oil and now, when I was SMILING at him despite my pain, he asks me WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY FACE!!

'It's my WINSOME look' I told him indignantly - 'I am SMILING at you!!!'

'Winsome' he replied picking up his bag - 'I think you might have lost that one' and he paused clearly thinking about giving me a kiss but then just patted me on the head before walking out of the door.

All that when I was still smarting at the fact that I don't own a rat shovel!  I didn't even know it was a thing until Joe pointed it out on my last post and BP also wondered why I don't have one but now I feel cheated.  Why don't I have a rat shovel???

I've got a churn brush - I don't suppose everyone's got one of those but a churn brush is no good when you have a rat to dispose of is it?

SD has shovels - I KNOW SD has shovels because the other day when we were at the farm and David (the farmer) had been moving sheep some of them had wandered down the drive to the house and left lots of tiny sheep turds all over the path.  SD thought it would keep me amused for a while if I dealt with it and told me to get the short handled shovel by the coal bunker and flick the poo off the drive where it might be stepped on and then walked into the house and flick it into the hedge (kind of like lacrosse with sheep shit I imagine).  While I was busy flicking (and it was actually rather more fun than it sounds) SD passed by and asked me why I was using the really short handled shovel when he had clearly told me to use the short handled shovel!

I'll bet they have a rat shovel at the farm too - it stands to reason doesn't it?  I mean, if you have a special shovel for sheep shit OF COURSE you have a rat shovel too.  What I want to know is why don't I have one?

I may also require a frog shovel.  After the worm and the rat yesterday Squishy decided to bring in a frog!  They don't kill frogs, I don't think they taste very nice so she dumped this one in the middle of the kitchen and sat watching it.  The frog SCREAMED really loudly - have you ever heard a frog scream?  It's a pretty scary sound and then fortunately it just hopped back out the door so although I didn't really need a frog shovel this time NEXT time I might!

Anyway, last night I was having a bit of a brighter spell so SD decided to take me out to Asda (the old romantic) to do a bit of shopping.

While we were there I saw they had Pernod on special offer.

'Ugg, I HATE Pernod' I told him - 'I drank a load of Pernod and black once and it made me SO sick - I thought I was throwing up BLOOD'.

'I'm not a fan either' said SD.  We got drunk on it at James' house once.  His parents were away for the night and they had a pool so we grabbed a couple of girls and had a party.

James was SD's partner in crime for many years when they were young - it was he who was with him when they inadvertently ended up at a young farmers party in a marquee in the middle of a field in their punk days and were surrounded by a load of angry, burly, tweed jacket (with elbow patches) wearing young men who thought they were after their women (quite right - they WERE) as they danced along to Soft Cell's Tainted Love, hands clasped together, chains hanging from their torn jeans and Mohawks quivering as they warbled 'I'm sorry I don't praaaay that way'.

'I ended up throwing up all over the girl who was asleep beside me'.

'What did you do then' I asked in horror.

'Not sure' he said, the next thing I knew I woke up naked in the bathroom with Henry licking my feet'.

'Jesus SD, WHO was HENRY and why was he licking your FEET?'

Turns out that Henry was James' parents Irish Wolf Hound and SD thought he might have been concerned the he was dead.

Bless him, I LOVE Irish Wolf Hounds, (after Gus of course) they are my very favourite dogs and I love to have one (or two) I would call them Rufus and Seamus.

'So, what did you do' then I asked - 'Well' he said, 'I did think about getting back into bed but to be honest she didn't look quite so appealing covered in purple sick so Henry and I curled up on the couch together'.

We then talked a little about James.  James went on to married a hairdresser.

'I've never really been interested in hairdressers' said SD.  I remember clubbing with James, his (now wife), her sister and a friend.  They were all wearing these really long skirts in a kind of stretchy material that went down to their ankles and they all went to the loo together.  Bloody skirts were so restricting that they could only take tiny steps which is great if you don't want them to get away but a real pain when it each loo trip takes at least half an hour!

'And they giggled a lot' he added as an aside.

I was always more interested in Art students - SO much better dressed!

'So you've never dated a hairdresser then' I enquired.

'No' he said - 'Well ... there was this ONE time I dated one from Weston for a while - I think I was bored of the Taunton nightlife and fancied a change'.

'I remember now' he went on - 'she shared a flat and they had bunk beds!!!'

'SD - you DIDN'T!!!'

He looked sheepish ...


'You know what they say he said ...' (may I now refer you back to the title of this post ...).

Tuesday 20 September 2016

It's A Jungle Out There

Albeit a very domesticated one in this case.

I sat this morning as I always do when it's dry, in my garden on the step leading to the decking underneath the archway covered in Jasmine.  It's my favourite place to drink a cup of tea before the day starts proper.

I'm actually on my 5th cup of tea of the day and it's only 10:15am but a steaming hot cup of tea seems to be the only thing that makes this cold bearable at the moment, I'm like some kind of tea drinking chain smoker, the kettle's on before  my tea hits the half way mark in the mug.

Anyway, as I was siting there something hard DROPPED on my head!  A snail had obviously misjudged the edge of a leaf or something and bounced off my (rather springy it has to be said) bed hair before hitting the ground with a gentle thud.

I was actually quite proud of myself, I'm kind of like a paramedic for gastropods!  Had I NOT been there the fall would surely have cracked that poor snails shell and he would have died a lingering death.

10 minutes later as I walked back out to the garden with cup of tea number 3 I felt a crunch under my slipper (NOT SD's stolen slipper socks which I learned from bitter experience do NOT hold up well to being worn outside but rather the sturdy pair with proper soles that SD bought me after the demise of his last pair of slipper socks) - Ooops ...  Well at least I gave that snail several minutes of extra time AND saved him from a lingering death so maybe NOT a paramedic but at the very least a well meaning first aider or something ...

After I'd carefully wiped the snail juice from the tread of my slipper I went inside to catch up on my emails and make a restorative cup of tea (restorative to me of course - the poor snail was past the restoration stage).  Within minutes Postie (the little black cat who got caught up in the barbed wire and cost SD a fortune in vets bills) who has now for some reason been re-christened Chicken by Miss Mac wandered in to the dining room making those noises that tell you a cat has brought you a 'gift'!

I hate it when that happens ...

She was SO insistent that I thought I'd better go and have a look, after all, Postie/Chicken had so far NEVER brought anything in so this was clearly a big deal for her.

At first I couldn't see what all the fuss was about, she was shouting and yowling and looking SO pleased with herself that I thought she must have tackled a deer at the very least but no, as she moved aside, there it was on the carpet - a WORM - all those hunting skills passed down generations of farm cats clearly wasted on her.

I DID get a photo of the worm but I can't post it because when I looked at the photo it was fairly clear that my carpet was in need of a hoover which is a real shame because the photo would have made a nice change on FB from all the boring holiday photos people have been posting lately don't you think?

Anyway, Squishy, my other cat (also funnily enough named by Miss Mac) clearly felt this usurper needed putting in her place - after all, it's HER job to provide me with presents and anything Chicken can do she can do bigger, better and more disgustingly (believe me, I clean out the litter tray so I KNOW that's true!).

So she brought me a RAT and left it just outside the kitchen door before stalking off as though to say, 'I don't need to make a song and dance about it - just know your place bitch'!

I'm saying it was a rat, to be honest, I'm never really sure, it was about the same size as a mouse but it had long hair (that's a rat right?).  Again, I didn't get a photo of it because it's a RAT!!!

I did leave it there for a bit hoping that she would take it away again.  Normally SD (what with being brought up on a farm and all) would dispose of things like that but it's hours until he's back and I really didn't want to touch it.

When I looked out of the window Squishy was sitting with her back to the rat but bloody Chicken had decided it would be a really cool thing to play with and she was tossing it up in the air before running after it and throwing it again.  Clearly she was trying to pretend it was HER kill but Squishy and I both knew the truth.

I tore off half a roll of kitchen paper (just as well SD wasn't there - he is obsessed with how much kitchen paper I get through - if he had his way I'm pretty sure I'd never use any and it would just sit there on the side as decoration!) scooped the rat up, ran to the bin and put it in then spent the next 10 minutes fumigating my hands.

I think I need another cup of tea ...

Monday 19 September 2016

Constant Catchup

That's how it feels with the blog at the moment both with posting and reading others blogs.

We've been back from Cornwall for ...  Hmmm, must be 3 weeks now and I've only blogged as far as day 3!!!

Meanwhile LIFE has been happening and I have loads more to blog about and I don't know where to start.  If I leave writing a post for too long I find I lose momentum and then I hurry it and then it really isn't doing it justice.

So, this weekend just gone ... (neatly skipping over the rest of Cornwall AND drag racing at Stratford which I WILL come back to soon!) we hitched up Maudie (our tiny 10ft retro caravan) and headed to Washingpool Farm just outside Bristol for the Bristol Aircooled event.

This event is only in it's second year, last year it was more of a private party with around 300 invited guests and it had such a chilled, relaxing atmosphere with a small beer tent, a rockabilly band playing on a trailer and a huge fire pit that we all gathered around in the evening.

This year it was slightly bigger although Adrian (who runs numerous events for upwards of 10,000 people) wants to keep this as a smaller, more intimate event to round off the summer.

On the way up I'd felt a slight tickle in my throat which told me I may be in for a dose of the cold Miss Mac had happily been trying to shower me with earlier in the week but I ignored it and focused on enjoying myself.

We were SO lucky with the weather.  I'd been watching the Met Office site all week (because SOMETIMES they get it right) and they had promised a warmish (17/18 degrees - not bad for September all weekend with a little cloud on Sunday).

Well, they got it WRONG again!  It was a glorious weekend (the little cloud we did get soon cleared) - I even got a little singed yesterday!

We sat in the sun, caught up with friends, ate some amazing salted caramel ice cream and wandered around the site checking out the eclectic mix of cars:

For some reason Adrian decided to buy a bus - last year it was a boat - who knows WHAT it will be next year!

These vans have become really popular as food vans - the ice cream seller also had one.

You probably have to know far more about cars than I do to understand why this was SD's favourite car of the show.

I liked this one because it was SO cute!

Hated this because it's SO ugly!

And really liked the rest of them:

As Saturday wore on that tickle in my throat started to get worse, my glands started to swell and my joints were beginning to ache.  I took some paracetamol, cracked open a beer and watched the sunset over the vans:

And it was a lovely sunset!
But I wasn't getting any better and by 8pm all I wanted to do was curl up with a box of tissues and feel sorry for myself so I sent SD off with friends to listen to the band and drink lots of beer and I took myself off to bed.

It was possibly one of the worst nights I have ever had - SD said he had a pretty bad night too with all my tossing and turning not to mention getting up twice for the loo AND constantly reaching for a bottle of water.  EVERYTHING hurt.  I couldn't swallow without it bringing tears to my eyes but at the same time I had a raging thirst.  All my joints aches and my head was full of lead.  I cursed Miss Mac and her rogue germs!!!

By 7am I'd had enough I wondered across the field still in my PJ's (a pair of old jogging bottoms and t-shirt with a hoodie over the top which I'm saying CAN pass as day wear when you feel as crap as I did!) to the carboot sale in the next field where I knew that in exchange for my £1 entrance fee they would give me a leaflet that I could in tun exchange for a hot cup of tea (and I was CRAVING a hot cuppa!). 

I had a bit of a wander around the carboot.  Stopped to chat to a parrot (a real live one) sitting on a perch at one stall.  Picked up a pair of nearly new Converse for a couple of quid in Miss Mac's size - it's habit thinking of her - she was still NOT forgiven!  Had another cup of tea and started to feel a little better.

After a brief visit to the loo (Maudie is only 10ft long - NO loo!) I happened to glance in the mirror and realised that while my PJ's may just about pass as day wear (well, at 7am anyway) last night makeup (which I'd put on before I threw in the towel) and last night hair which was an interesting and slightly scary shape did not but hey, it was far too late to worry about that so I hurried back to Maudie to try and sort my face and hair before the day visitors arrived for the show proper.

Sunday was (as I said) the proper show day with several hundred more visitors.  There were stalls to visit, I stopped by Retro Rachel's and bought these:

 I know, you are probably thinking 'what a heap of old junk!' but they aren't for use - I'll be hanging them (along with some other bits of kitchenalia) in my kitchen when I get around to decorating it.  I love this stuff with it's painted wooden handles, I like it even better when the paint is a bit worn.  My kitchen has plain cream shaker style cabinets and the walls will stay plain too so any colour will come for things like this and I have some interesting ideas on re purposing every day kitchen items (stay tuned for that one).

There were also some fun games going on in the arena including lowdown limbo:

This car thought he had it nailed

Until THIS one came along:


 Other than feeling crap and missing out on the evenings entertainment I really was a lovely weekend and the last time we will be taking Maudie out until next year.

Thursday 15 September 2016

Another Crappy Crafting Post (sorry Joe but this one's for Holly)

Well, I WAS going to blog about day 4 of my Cornwall holiday when SD took me to Hells Mouth (think I may have called it Devils Mouth for some reason at the end of my last Cornwall post ...).

I will write about it in the next couple of day but before that I'm going to show you how to make really simple pom poms!

This one's for Holly.  Holly writes at Full of Beans (And Sausages)  and she moved from the UK to Canada to be with the love of her life, Luke.

I've followed Holly's blog almost from the very beginning and I love it - she has a touch of Julie Powell about her (from the film Julie and Julia) and her blog is an eclectic mix of travel stories, her childhood home in Cornwall (I ALWAYS think of Holly when I write about Cornwall), knitting (something I'm always impressed by as the most I can manage is a straight line of knitting without being ale to cast off so if you just want a never ending scarf well, I'm your girl!) and cooking.  At the moment Holly is following The Great British Bake Off and cooking something from each week.

ANYWAY - Holly is also going to have a baby in a few months and she's had a pretty tough time of it with pregnancy although hopefully that's now in the past.

My niece is also pregnant and I'm hugely excited about it - this will be the first baby in our family for 15 years.  At the moment my niece is in Spain as she has been for the entire Summer, a combination of working and soaking up the sun and she is absolutely blooming now:

Love this girl SOOOO much!!!
She is back in England next month for a short stay before flying out to NZ (where she has lived on and off since she was young and her husband is from) to have the baby before returning for hopefully a much longer stay some time next year.

I'm gutted that I won't get to hold that little bundle when it's first born but she (because we know it's a girl just like Holly's baby) will be surrounded by people who love her).


I can't be there but I DO plan on sending her back with a little present.

It can't be anything too big because it has to fit in a suitcase with all their other stuff so I asked SD's Mum if she would mind knitting the baby a blanket for me.

SD's Mum is a prolific knitter and spend much of her evening watching TV as she knits the most beautiful blankets, tiny jackets and booties that she then donates to either Charity Shops or the local hospital.

But I wanted my gift to have some kind of input from me too (other than just asking someone to make it and providing the wool) so I thought I could perhaps embellish the blanket in some way.

I was taught how to make pom poms the old fashioned way by my Grandmother when I was a child.  It involved cutting out 2 donut shaped pieces of card, winding the wool round and round them and then carefully snipping the wool between the card.  It was a long process and really worked best with larger pom poms.

Well, I want tiny ones and I also wanted something a little quicker and easier as I need to make lots so I turned to the Internet and found several different methods.

One involved winding the wool around the tines of a fork - I tried it and it worked!

Another was just using your fingers and winding the wool around them - that also worked!

After a bit of experimenting:

With some wool left over from something else
I worked out the best way to make the pom poms the size I wanted.

I bought some pretty pink wool with a little sparkle in it and started making my pom poms:

First of all you wind your chosen wool around 3 of your fingers:

I found 35 times gave me the size pom pom I wanted
Then carefully take one finger out of the loop of wool:

And cut a length of wool about 3 or 4 inches long
Then, in the gap you have created between your fingers tie the wool around the whole thing:

Fairly tightly (but you can tighten it more in a minute)
I used a small pair of nail scissors for the next step:

Carefully cut the wool up the side of your fingers on each side
Which will leave you with this:

Doesn't look much like a pom pom yet does it?
Then get trimming, and trimming,and trimming!

Getting there
I want my pom poms to be quite dense as I don't want any loose fibres around the baby but you can leave them longer and have a fluffier pom pom.

Eventually you will end up with this:

I've left the tails on for now for attaching them to the blanket
I'm debating now if I should attach them.  I don't want to spoil the blanket if I mess it up and will my niece worry about the fibres coming out?  I'm not sure ...

I will have a think about it while I make some more but if I decide it's not a good idea then I will make her a pom pom garland with them which she can hang anywhere so she will still have a little present made especially for her from her Aunty Sarah.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Topsham - A Little Gem

I have just spent a glorious day with my sister in Topsham, a charming maritime town on the Ex estuary in Devon.

Topsham is just a short train ride from Taunton but it's like stepping into another world.

There are many beautiful Dutch style houses dating from the time when Topsham was an important cotton port exporting to Holland and Dutch bricks were brought over as ballast and used to build houses there.

Our first stop was  Pink String, a previously undiscovered (by me) shop which had a sign outside saying 'stock clearance'.

Well, I can't resist that and I'm SO glad I didn't.


How pretty is this place?  I could have bought everything in it!

But I didn't ...

I limited myself to just these pretty lavender coloured candles (because lavender may be my new grey ...) and a few delicate metal butterflies because they were just too pretty to leave:

After a little mooch around a few Charity shops we stopped for a restorative cup of tea at the The Cafe - not the most imaginative of names but it makes up for it with bundles of charm, great food and a pretty courtyard garden:

Thirst sated we headed down the hill towards the harbour passing by some of those beautiful merchants houses:

Aren't they stunning?

Many with equally stunning views across the estuary:

to the harbour itself:

To the right lies my Topsham house (I have at least one house in almost every place we go, it's the house that I would buy were money no object).

What do you think - will it do?  I hovered in the gateway to take this photo, I would of course have preferred to walk right in and get a better one but I'm learning not to do that kind of thing ...

To the left we passed by the Topsham museum with it's period town house and popped in for the briefest visit (it really deserved far more consideration!).

After a final stroll up the hill we went back to The Cafe which, shock, horror!!!  had run out of scones so NO cream tea for me!!!

But a pot of tea went down pretty well without it and we walked back to the train station hot, happy and with an even deeper love for Topsham.