Friday, 30 October 2009

Ghostly goings on...


In Bamburgh (northumberland), the church is the resting place for Grace Darling, a local heroine. But what really caught my eye was a stained glass window which illustrates a virtuous woman. Now I know my price is not far above the proverbial rubies, but, for crafty reasons, I rather liked this particular stained glass window panel:

It was far too rainy to take decent photos of Northumbrian castles, and we took refuge in a pub for a gastro lunch. There was a van parked outside with the following ghostly transfers on the doors.... erm, now we know already which of the two ghosts I might be! But I rather like the moto: 'reality is an illusion created by a lack of alcohol'.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Floating About In The Ether


Felled by a headache at work yesterday , I came home early and spent the rest of the afternoon under a blanket on the sofa , like a moulting owl .
I never get headaches .....not as a matter of principle , I'm just lucky and don't . If I get anything , it's a sore throat ( no smirking from those who know how much I talk ) . So I had to consult my handy Enquire Within for remedies .

I see that one " should lie down in a darkened room with a cold bandage round the head . A few drops of ether may be used on a rag and added . Cover all with oiled silk to prevent evaporation " .
Unable to face climbing back on my bike to seek either oiled silk or ether , let alone do anything so noisy as rip an old sheet into bandages , I looked again . Luckily I then read that some cases are benefited by taking a strong cup of tea or coffee .
And it works .

Friday, 23 October 2009

Bubbly on a beach


On academic sabbatical this year, and one of the perks is not being tied to the schedule of meetings and classes, which means that I can accompany my partner to Northumberland for a week. Both of us are working during the day, one sorting out someone elses archives, and another catching up on reading (my challenge this week: to read a novel relevant to my research which is in Catalan, a Romance language I am not familiar with but can, with the aid of a dictionary, interpret adequately... have completed 200 pages out of 399!).

The evenings, though, are our own, and last night we dashed with a friend down to the beach at Beadnell. It was a rare evening without rain, though the sea was rough:

We toasted the three brave Guillemots that bobbed unperturbed on the crashing waves with a glass of bubbly wine.
Hope to snap a shot of a castle or two tomorrow on our return home!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

French Chic


Husband goes off to his sister's in France tomorrow to prune vines , walk huge dogs and possibly even build things of a rustic nature .

But this cannot be done without the right clothes , which can only be found in the right shop , his all-time favourite emporium , "Welkoop ". Rolls of chicken wire , Nordic socks , stacks of bamboo canes , trellis , dungarees , twine and creosote , rabbit hutches , clogs and shelf after shelf of "what's this for ? " .

Till this week . Now Welkoop has let him down . Things are really going to the dogs when you can't rely on your home-from-home to stock the only sort of shirt to wear while fetching a baguette or downing a Pernod before a day spent reshaping chunks of Provence .

So the last remaining example , dug out of the duster bag , ...." what's this in here for ?? ".... must be mended by tomorrow .

Bearing in mind the Biblical stricture on putting new patches on old cloth ( or was it old on new ? ) I hunted through the vintage stash and beyond . Couldn't find any blue that didn't have teddybears on . I need Vyella , blue Vyella and the will to patch . Off to the thrift shop , then . Mind you Welkoop sells Duct tape .... too scratchy ?

I won't show him Wee Wonderfuls duck or he'll want webbed plaid socks too .

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Jabs And Consolations

Sonata :

Stand still long enough in this town and you'll become an extra in someone's school project . Today , as I joined the aged and infirm in a queue that snaked right round the doctor's surgery and onto the main road , waiting for a 'flu jab , two young girls slowly panned their camera along our length . Old codgers noticeably brightened under the glow of the lights . What was the subject ? If it was about the Mexican 'Flu , they were a month early ....that's in November ....TWICE . As a diabetic of nearly 40 years standing , I'm used to injections , almost blasè , but the fact that the Mexican 'Flu vaccine involves two jabs , a fortnight apart , galls me . Less than getting the damn 'flu would , though .

Never mind , my heart was lifted by the arrival of Friend's contribution to the Innocent Big Knit and I sent them all off this afternoon . She'd made loads , including this shy charmer , looking sheepish among his beaded , buttoned and bowed companions .

What else has my butterfly brain been caught by this week ?

These somewhat spooky heads waiting in a Collector's Fair for a doll lover/restorer to buy them
and bring them back to life :

My new vintage fabric find

and new buttons ....

always buttons .

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Darkening days in the garden


I am way late on blogging, to the extent that Sonata, my mother, may disown me (we wouldn't want that, would we?). But there have been reasons, some work related and others not. The arrival of Autumn, with the crispening up of the air and the sun setting earlier each day, has brought a little sadness into the garden.

One of our resident foxes (many years ago a vixen made a fox hole behind the Hidrangea bush and, since then, cubs and others have rotated residency) turned up to drink out of the pond. Upon taking a closer look at him drinking, we noticed he was badly injured. A stressful call to the RSPCA followed, and the catcher arrived an hour later. Sadly, the fox was able enough to run away, because he really needed veterinary help.

However, some other residents, appear to be coping fine. The squirrels are madly burying their winter stores, and have eaten all the green tomatoes (so no green tomato chutney will be made in this house!); the birds are still flitting in and out to eat from the bird feeders; and this little chap popped in from somewhere....

Friday, 2 October 2009

Old Magazines


As promised , a quick look at the 1920s/30s Bestway Fancy Dress Pattern book I picked up last week .

I didn't actually didn't buy it for the pictures , so much as for the ads . James Hunter of Manchester has "all accessories and costumes for hire or purchase " and the lists of supplies one could order from have made me breathless with desire !
All this could have been mine : Crepe hair , all colours @ 7d. a yard . Tarlatan , organdie , Fairy muslin , Satinette , Tinsel gauze , Fancy prints , Rainbow gauze .... I could have ordered Ballet shoes , Swords ( long ) , Folly bells , Gypsy powder , Punchinella sticks , Noses ( turned up ) , Noses ( Turned down ) , Top hat ( with spring ) , a Full Face Punch ( sic ) , spangled trimming or a Cupid set , Floor polishes ( 1/- per bag ) or imitation swansdown . Were I in a hurry , I could have taken the Prêt -a Porter route and ordered The Peanut Vendor , Rooster , Mephistopholes or The Picador's Partner costumes . Given that it's nearly Halloween , I might have made this simple but effective Witch outfit , though the giant broom might have made me unpopular on the dance floor ,

But "Miss Santa Claus " would be surely be a winner on the younger woman .

Now it's Friday evening and I can loll around again main ambition in life these days , I fear .
But first : Every week in the winter , it's some charity's turn to go door to door collecting donations . Tonight a young mother and her small daughter appeared and I went to find some cash . Little girl rattled huge tin busily and beamed , "This is Daddy's Piggy bank " . Mortified mother and I laughed like drains , child looked offended .

In answer to "31 giraffes ? ": this Sunday it's Animal Day here , rather on the lines of Mother's Day . We thought giraffes might make a nice change from pets for the preschoolers and I got landed with most of the cutting out . And no , not all the 40 are in the same group !

And finally . "An exciting , tasty Weekend Lunch "from a 1950s mag. " Cheese salad : Make a pretty arrangement of leftover cold cauliflower florets on a large plate . Decorate with sliced tomatoes , sprinkle liberally with mature grated cheese and salad cream . " Or there again , maybe not .