Friday 21 April 2017

Birthday Boy

It's SD's Birthday today.

SD is rubbish at Birthdays.  Well, at his own anyway, he's pretty good at other peoples.

The thing is he never wants anything.  He doesn't want a fuss.  He doesn't want a cake and he doesn't want presents.

I do not understand his complete disinterest in his own Birthday!

It's so at odd with the way I feel.  I like a fuss, I'd be so disappointed not to get a cake and I love presents.

But it's SD's Birthday so I do it his way.

There won't be a huge fuss although I think we will go out for dinner.

There won't be a cake which is a shame because cakes are my THING, they're what I do to show people I love them.

There will be a few presents.  Things I know SD will like because at some time over the last year he has pointed them out.

But it will be a quiet affair.

Not much of a Birthday at all in my opinion but that's not what counts.  It will be the Birthday SD wants and it will be a happy occasion without all the fluff and glitter that I like.

The thing is, we have LOTS of special occasions.  We don't limit ourselves to Birthdays and other more traditional celebrations.  We have had so many special days over the last year, over the past few years actually.  SD is very good at special occasions when they don't involve his Birthday.

I've picked out a few photos from the past year or so.  There are many, many more I could use and each and every one of them was a very special occasion for us.

Budleigh Beach - this just makes me smile :-)

SD found the perfect car to match his redneck look in Shaftsbury!

Budleigh again - SD doing his poster boy pose - those trousers!  You either love 'em or hate 'em   (I LOVE them!)    

Sitting outside the Logan Rock Inn in Cornwall on a beautiful day last Summer

Shaftsbury again - SD standing at the top of Golden Hill where the iconic Hovis advert was filmed

Us in the Beach Buggy at Swanage last year just before the start of the parade of 30 or more beach buggys through the town

Minehead a couple of weeks ago - not the prettiest of places but the view still looks good to me!

 I'm just happy to be spending his Birthday with him - he's very special you know.

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Down The Park

It was Tuesday yesterday so I was half expecting the text from Mumbling Bob.

'You out to play???'

'Yes' I typed and hit reply before noticing that, horror of horrors, my phone had inserted xoxo after the word yes!


I don't put xoxo on texts EVER - why did my phone think I wanted to for Bob???

Did it perhaps KNOW about the heart shaped stone Bob pressed into my hand the other week?  The stone that SD insists looks more like a loaf of bread?


Off I trundled to the park passing our Noble Secretary on the way who was putting out his rubbish seemingly unaware that the bin men had passed our way over an hour earlier.

I met Bob by the pavilion. 'Got to go to Audrey's' he told me, 'you better come too - that woman in the top flat 'talks' if I goes there on my own'.

'Bugger the woman in the top flat' I said, Bob sniggered and winked at me.

'You've caught me in my all together' said Audrey answering the door in her dressing gown, 'what must you think of me??'

Me nothing, I'm often in my dressing gown at 10am but that woman in the top flat ...

Back at the pavilion our noble secretary had arrived and outside was a wheelbarrow with a large black bin in it.

'Got to water the seeds' he said as he filled up a bucket with water ready to pour into the bin.

'Hold hard' shouted Bob, there's a bleddy gurt hole in this bin.

'No, no,no, no, YES, your right, there is!' said our noble secretary sadly peering into the bin, 'I didn't see it in the shed, too dark'.

'Ever thought of turning the light on?' mumbled Bob.

Luckily we found another bin without a hole and set about filling it with water to transport to the far side of the park.

Laden with forks, spades, wheel barrow and a dirty great bin full of water we arrived in the wildlife garden.

Our noble secretary stood and scratched his head.

'I'm not ENTIRELY sure where I planted the seeds' he said looking around in bewilderment.

Bob and I got to work digging up weeds while our noble secretary happily pottered about with his tiny watering can filled from the bin of water sprinkling a few drops here and a few drops there.


'Bollocks' mumbled Bob as Sue appeared around the hedge.

'I am here to spread joy and seeds!  No, not YOUR seed you naughty man' she chortled playfully slapping Bob with a rolled up newspaper.


'Ere' said Bob, 'don't you go talking about my seed like that!  I'm not sprinkling ...'  He tailed off clearly uncertain how to continue with that sentence.

'NOW' Sue shouted at our noble secretary - HAVE YOU SORTED THE DAHLIAS???'

'No, no, no, no, no, YES, all sorted' he exclaimed.

'Good' said Sue, I didn't want to have to tell you again! Now, I need you to come round and stand on the bottom of a ladder - DO YOU THINK YOU COULD MANAGED THAT????'

'Well, no, no, no, no, no, NO - not today, I'm busy after this'.

'TOSH' shouted Sue, you've PLENTY of time, what could POSSIBLY be more important???'

'Well, I've got a meeting you see ....'

'EXCUSES!!!  I'll expect you at one sharp, I have Jaffa Cakes you know ...'

'NO' she shouted rounding on me - 'it just WON'T DO!!!'  She walked over to the wheelbarrow I'd been throwing weeds in and plucked out a stray leaf.

'This' she announced, 'THIS is NIGEL!' and she carefully planted Nigel in my freshly dug soil.

'Do NOT dig him up again!'

I assured her that Nigel would henceforth be safe.

'Here' she said handing me a small bottle of Vimto - 'give Nigel a bit, he needs perking up'.

I looked at the bottle, looked at Sue and then unscrewed the top and gave Nigel some Vimto.
'I would offer him a cigarette after his traumatic experience' she said but the Vimto will probably do him more good'.

'Where's my eggs then?' asked Bob.

The chickens at the farm have gone into laying overload recently so as well as the dozen that SD's Mum give me every week there are plenty to spare and I'd promised Bob half a dozen.  This week there were even more and I picked up an extra half dozen for our noble secretary too.

' I forgot to bring them, I'll pop home now and pick them up'.

On the way back I decided to leave our noble secretaries eggs at his house with his wife rather than give them to him as he would probably lose them on the way home.

Mary and I had a little chat when I dropped them off.

'Sue's helping down at the park' I told her.

'Oh god' she said, 'she called round the other day, I was upstairs so I pretended to be out and she shoved a load of newspaper through my door.  Ten minutes later the phone rang and I was in the front room talking to my daughter when I saw her peering through my front window!  She saw me so I had to answer the door.  I said I was on the phone but she thrust a pint glass into my hand and it had a tube of glue in it and then she pushed a stick through my letter box. 

Why did she DO that?  What do I want a STICK for??  The door was open anyway, why didn't she just GIVE the stick to me???

Then she said I had to take the glue back by four o'clock.

I didn't want the bloody glue in the first place!!!'

Back at the park Bob was talking to Sid.  I don't know what his real name is but he's a regular at the park and often stops to speak.

Sid's age is difficult to determine. He could be anything from 30 to 45.  I suspect he's never worked and he is often seen drinking cider with his cronies in the park (which has an alcohol ban) well before lunchtime.

However, Sid is harmless and amiable and doesn't leave his bottles lying on the grass so we let him be.

'Must be two years since you planted them trees' he said nodding towards the fruit trees lining the edge of the wildlife garden.

'I remember 'cause it was around that time my Mum died.  I want to plant a rhododendron for her, she liked rhodedendrons'.


'Which one' said Sid.


'I live on the ground floor' said Sid looking confused 'and I have two dogs and both of them are fine'.

'Break a bit of the tree and plant it for your Mum' said Sue.

'I don't think that's a good idea' said Sid, 'you can't just break bits off trees.  Anyway, I wanted a Rhododendron not a tree'.

'A rose bush then' Sue went on, 'plant a rosebush for her'.

'But I wanted a Rhododendron ...'


Sue went over to the wheelbarrow and picked up the half empty bin of water and proceeded to pour it all over the grass next to the flower bed.

''NO, no, no, no, NO' shouted our noble secretary, 'that's for the SEEDS!!!'

Sue stomped off in a huff and, as she passed me she muttered out of the side of her mouth, 'I'll be keeping YOU close - you know too much about me!'

Then she wandered off across the car park and peace resumed for a while.

On her return she said to Bob, 'I have something for your to share with your good lady wife but on no account are you to give any to the dog!'

'Ere' said Bob, 'I don't HAVE a wife, I keeps telling you that!'

'Well' said Sue, 'that woman who lives with you like she's your wife then'.

'But I don't HAVE ...'


She shoved an open packet of Jaffa Cakes into Bob's bag as our noble secretary looked sadly on seeing his bribe for standing on the bottom of the ladder disappear.

Soon after we packed up and headed for home in the sure and certain knowledge that next week there will be more madness down the park.

Tuesday 18 April 2017

You Inspire Me

You all do.

In different ways each blog I read inspire me in some way.  Very often the posts I read will either prompt me to re-post something from the past (Joe's post today reminded me of a post I wrote called 'Tall Poppies' many years ago and I may well re-post that one in the next few days) or will remind me of something that I want to post about.

Val talks about many things that aren't in my world and then she tells about things that are so relevant to me, mostly the similarities between Hick and SD that make me smile.

Sarn and Di who reached out when I had a perplexing situation with blogger and who have since become firm bloggy friends with crafting skills well beyond my own.

K, who I don't visit half as often as I mean to since she disappeared from my blog roll somehow so now I have to go looking (I may not be there as often as I should be but I'm still here lovely).

Polly, who just makes me feel good every time I pop over to visit.

Mike who writes beautifully illustrated posts about his trips around Britain sometimes stopping by at my favourite places (Mike, I forgive you for not loving Swanage as much as I do!).

And others, too many to mention and, even if I haven't mentioned you by name you still inspire me so thank you!

Today's post is inspired by Emma Kate.  A lady who doesn't know the meaning of 'can't'.  Emma takes the ordinary and turns it into something very special.  Her skills and bravery far outstrip mine but because she is so down to earth in the way she blogs she makes me feel I can do it to.

Without Emma Kate I may not have been brave enough to take a can of gloss paint and turn my very ordinary bamboo clothes basket from this:

Into this:

And I'm fairly sure that when SD and I stopped by at an antiques/junk shop on the way to the beach a couple of weeks ago and spotted a marble topped washstand in fairly bad repair that I wouldn't have thought, 'I can fix that!'

We had been looking for something to sit in an alcove in the dining room for some time. It housed a rather scruffy computer desk which was only really used as a dumping ground for paperwork etc and the idea was to find something nicer, a cupboard perhaps so the paperwork could be put away and then SD planned on putting in some shelves above it.

I wanted something to compliment the pine cupboard that I finally finished that sits in the alcove on the other side of the fireplace (a post on that at some point too!).

This really WASN'T what I was looking for but as soon as I saw it I knew it was exactly what I wanted!

I don't have a photo of it in it's entirety unfortunately as we had to split it into two parts before we could move it.

Marble is HEAVY!!

So, here it is in pieces:

This is the top part that stands on top of the cupboard - I've had to flip the photo as for some reason I took it upside down, probably trying to avoid getting my shadow into it! 

The marble top that sits on the cupboard was very dirty and has some scratches, some of which I have polished out and some that are too deep so they will stay but overall I don't think they detract too much from it.

The worst bits were where the piece on top had been sitting and dirt had got underneath it and it had been painted in situ leaving a rim of paint on the marble.  Very carefully I used a razor blade to scrape off the paint and dirt before polishing it.

Then we put the marble back on top of the cupboard (I forgot to take a photo before I painted the cupboard but it was a dull yellowy cream, very chipped and dirty) and SD replaced the door latch which he had taken off  and polished.

I did wonder if I was doing the right thing trying to make it look perfect but in my experience you really need to know what you are doing if you want to distress or shabby chic a piece and frankly, I don't so I will let time do the job for me.

I also wondered if I should have taken the doors off and removed the hinges before painting but, like Emma Kate, I don't like hinges!  I decided in the end to not worry about getting paint on them and as the doors are opened and closed it has rubbed off some of the paint and I quite like the look.

Finally we had to put it in place.  To do that we put the base in first and then lifted the marble and the top piece which SD had fitted back together and sat it on top.

I don't know yet what I will put on it, I'm just grateful that all my  crap important paperwork is out of sight but I've dressed it a little with things I already have for the final photo:

And here it is!

Yes, I know it still has crap important paperwork stacked underneath it but that's not staying there!

The things on it are things we have picked up in our endless quest to visit every charity and antiques shop in every town that we visit.

The small carpet/rug beater with a green bakelite handle came from a second hand shop in Budleigh Salterton and the little metal butterflies from a gift shop in Topsham when I visited with my sister late last summer.

The grey shoes were picked up in a Charity Shop - far too small for me even if they were wearable but I fell in love with them because they are SO unwearable.

The metal tin was a find when I was helping a neighbour clear out his garage.  He was going to throw it away!!!

And the topiary trees in the first picture I bought at a Christmas fair in town many, many years ago.

Overall I'm really pleased with the way this turned out.  We probably paid about half of what it was worth and, after a bit of TLC, (SD had to mend one of the legs that was split too) - some elbow grease and a few coats of paint it's really transformed that corner of the room and blends in perfectly with the grey walls and the (soon to be blogged about) cupboard in the opposite alcove.