Friday, 31 July 2009

Recovering and resting...


Finally, after waiting a few months, I had my 'Laparoscopic Choleocistemy' (gallbladder removed, in non-medical speak). It went fine, no more unpleasant than any of these things are and the hospital was briskly efficient (despite evidently being thrown into chaos by taking in extra swine flu patients) and, thankfully, chucked me out at 8 pm. My 'responsible adult' (partner) took a very dozy person home and I have been on sofa ever since. I am planning to brave my first walk out tomorrow! I can now stand up straight, and as long as I don't sneeze or laugh or bump into anything or anyone nothing hurts undully.

I am now taking orders to rest (have sick leave for three weeks), and am reading lots of books and dozing. However, without the support of my 'responsible adult' (I had to declare I had one on the medical forms, though my partner said that the answer to that question was surely 'no') it would all be a lot harder. In fact, my 'responsible adult' has been following this armchair preserve maker's commands, whilst we try to save as much produce from the overabundant plum tree this summer.

So far: chutneys and jams. One stunning recipe was found online: Mirabelle with silver edged lavender

So, I am overdue the post on French markets! Imagine, if you will, entire villages in Nord-pas-de-Calais with people setting out their stuff: from desirable garden produce like peas in their pods to onions as large as a curled up cat; to lots of kitsch like embroidered pictures of Pierrot or clowns holding on to lamp posts, or winsome kittens; and last year's most unwanted present, coffee makers... there were a zillion families trying to get rid of their tassimos and nespressos and whatnot. Is French tat any more chic tan English tat? Well, yes, it often is...

I will share purchases made next blog entry!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Music Room

Sonata :
My husband plays the double bass , electric guitar and the keyboard . When I saw this chap standing in a tiny , moored rowing boat in Amsterdam a couple of days ago , I was overcome with admiration for his partner , who seems to have solved the whole music/practice room problem . Why didn't I think of this ?

Meanwhile , if you're queueing for the Ann Frank house this summer , this is the man you can thank for "La Vie En Rose ".

Friday, 24 July 2009

There's More Art Deco Than You'd Think

Sonata :

If you only rarely venture out of London , you're surprised to discover the Art Deco charms of England in July

Colchester's Dutch Quarter , for instance , is full of brightly coloured cottages .

Chester ( not a pet name for Colchester but somewhere quite different ) was all Elizabethan beams and hollyhocks by leaded windows . Not to mention masses of ladies , young and old , dressed to kill in pretty frocks and , what Smitonius assures me , are called fascinators . But more of this some other time .

And Scotney Castle had too many charms to mention .... including this boat house on the lake .

Because Art Deco , as used in greetings cards and nursery rhyme books , seemed to be everywhere last week , I was pleased to discover this plaque to Jane and Ann Taylor in Colchester . Jane wrote the words to "Twinkle , Twinkle Little Star " two hundred years ago and I still sing the song on an almost daily basis to toddlers today .

And in Lincoln , ( when I buy a 3-day travel card I use it ! ) I found an Art Deco tin , full of old buttons, which I'm still sorting through and admiring .

Meanwhile I'm delighted to say that Smitonius , minus gallbladder and impressive gallstone , is feeling better by the minute and will no doubt be blogging very soon .........about France or , indeed , Chester .

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Twelve Hours By Rail


Feeling rather like this

having spent an awfully long time in grown-up versions of these

carrying rather more luggage than this

so will now go and lie down in a darkened room .

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Summer days


Whilst my mother visits her grandson (age 2. A boy who, for the last two weeks, has been pretending to be a cat). She will no doubt finds loads more textile and button treasures up there in the Midlands, but I am escaping in the campervan for one night. We are crossing over to France, hoping to visit loads of Brocante and Braderie (flea markets to you and me) on Sunday. Will show photos on return! In the meantime, this is my idea of a Summer's day, bees buzzing and bobbing on lavender flowers.

The bee was hard at work in the gardens of Scotney Castle, and although, for some reason, I failed to photograph the house itself, I did take one of their picturesque ruin at the bottom of the garden. I could live in that quite happily!

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Lovely blogs!

Smitonius and Sonata:

Thanks to Tania from Myrtle & Eunice for nominating us as One Lovely Blog!

There are rules, and we need to name 15 blogs... unsure we will get that high (not because they are not there in the blogosphere, but we have a very small circle of virtual acquaintances!) Although named, you are not tagged, unless you want to be!

1. Molly Chicken: for lovely stuffies and her sense of humour!

2. Luckybeans: for her photos. and warm gentle blog.

3. petit details: eye candy!

4. Redwood House: for all manner of beautiful cards.

5. Cowboys & Custard: all the lovely photos and her cards!

6. Aunt June: for her quilting and colours.

Of course there are many more, and we will probably think of 16 after we have published the post, but these are a few of our favourite blogs.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Temptation Alley


No sooner had I arrived in London and had a fleeting drink with my daughter than I shot off to look for buttons. So first to the various Cloth Shops (Berwick Street and Portobello Road), where they have button tins, the contents of which they sell for 10 pence per button for charity. Really pretty vintage ones as well as modern ones. And then to Temptation Alley (Portobello):

A tiny shop where they sell every kind of ribbon and trimming known to crafter, look at this lovely wall of glitter!

And , under the influence of all this extravagance , I chose glittery buttons as well!

What do you think about the hat shaped one? Apparently it is from the 1940s.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Swap bounty!


I participated in Clasheen's handmade Summer swap, and received delightful goodies from Chrissie Galley. She shall receive my goody bag next week (though I gather from her blog that she is away somewhere truly beautiful until mid-month). Chrissie spoilt me rotten, I must say: at first all I could see was a muslin bag tied up with string, and at each end of the string a small moss-green and lavender felt heart.

Inside the bag, lo and behold! (excuse flowery language, for I was truly impressed): little packages wrapped in old clothes pattern tissue paper, and a sweet little box. Oh, what to open first....Tis truly a daft question. The box, of course!

Which contained treasures: small snapshots, a felted acorn beautifully life-like, lots of tiny paper hearts and one ceramic heart, and an old British coin should one just happen to find oneself walking in-between-the-linings of time and wind up in a sweet shop (hopefully just after rationing stopped).

There was, also, a hand-made felt brooch

Gift tags and a small note-book handprinted by SORT

But, hold your breath, for I have not yet finished. This amazing woman also included a hand-made felt bag in navy blue.

If you love her stuff, pop over and feast your eyes further at her etsy shop. I must dash as I have rather a lot of spoling to hand-make and post in return!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

More Randomness ....or is it ?


Is randomness a word ? Anyway , another couple of random photos . I love these graphics !

Art Deco heaven . A vintage Halma game for sale in a recycling shop . It wasn't complete and was startlingly expensive , so I didn't buy it , I'm afraid .

And the second photo is of what I did buy .

Someone's sewing box bits and a few buttons .
In fact , these aren't really random's just me finding more stuff to hoard, isn't it ?