Wednesday, 31 December 2008

All good intentions..

Greetings one and all...
I trust that you all had a wonderful Christmas and that most of you managed to dodge the battery of bugs that were spreading themselves about .. and for those of you who succumbed to the variety of viruses on offer this year .. my utmost sympathy!
I am still cultivating a bark and a voice not dissimilar to Marianne Faithful when she sang Broken English.. and it has nothing to do with a life of debauchery or 20 Woodbine's a day.. just the remnants of my flu bug .. which .. thanks to the tender care of Nurse Florence .. had mostly disappeared just before the festive day!
I have .. however been left with a bad case of lethargy and chronic... sludginess.. which is the only way I can describe this leaden feeling I wake with each day.. finding it hard to lift my hand to the chocolate box or Christmas cake that is still going strong!
I am longing for some normality, a routine.. a different rhythm to this current one..of flopping around and consuming far too much in the sugar department..
SO it is with this in mind that I am going to start my detox and general self improvement plan just as soon as this next bout of merry making has passed..
This will involve abstaining from all things pleasurable.. this includes.. chocolate, biscuits, cakes, sweets of any shape or size... bread.. accompanied by a lot of putting one foot in front of the other ..i.e Exercise!
This is just one of my growing list of New Year Resolutions... that I seem to remember is the same as last year's and the one before and the one before that!
If I had received a gift of willpower for Christmas then there would be little problem in keeping these good intentions.. so I am relying on my weak willpower and the constant reminder when I look in the mirror that I look like Hattie Jacques to spur me on to my goal this coming year.
I sincerely hope that you realise your dreams and goals and aspirations for 2009 and you all find peace of mind and happiness in abundance for this year to come..
and on that note.. I would like to wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

All is calm...

The parcels are wrapped under the tree, the mince pies are waiting patiently on the plate, Nurse Flo is blissfully off duty and will be for the foreseeable future if I have my way... please don't encourage her!
I am just clocking in to wish you all a truly wonderful Christmas and plenty of good cheer for the coming year..
I am so grateful to have had your company for this last year and raise my glass of clementine juice to you all....
Happy Christmas dear blogging friends!

Monday, 22 December 2008

Nurse Florence's Guide to a Healthy Christmas..

Hi medical students and fans of Nurse Florence's caring tips for Christmas. I am delighted to be able to help you out this festive season with a few simple tips for all you carers out there who may be saddled with a malingering good for naught hanging around your surgical gown as you are basting the turkey and preparing the mulled pies and minced wine.
Tip 1: A sharp clip to the back of the head with the (previously warmed) bedpan. More often than not this will teach the patient the error of their ways before any symptoms really emerge.
Tip 2: A good dose of laxative in the minced pies can remind the patient of the need to drink regularly and not to spend too long resting in any one place.
Tip 3: A raw chilli placed under the tongue (a good pretence is to prepare the patient with talk of a thermometer) will soon have the ne'redowell rushing around like a picture of health.
Tip 4: A critical one this, pay absolutely no attention whatsoever to the patient at any time. This is really vital as any fuss will merely prolong their problems. I find loud music and even leaving the room will help you in avoiding any eye contact or direct conversation. If you must converse limit yourself to sign language.
Remember, avoid any sympathy (as this only encourages them) and take care of yourself: liberal applications of food and wine are key to the really effective maintenance of medical care. I myself find a pint of sherry and a dozen mince pies helps one to care. Indeed sometimes one or two doses of this support and I almost forget the patient altogether.
So remember my tips students and critically... no sympathy!

Nurse Pickles assists

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Ready or not....

Move over Mr Custard I am back.. well almost... in spirit if not exactly in mind or body.

I feared that if I didn't try and reclaim my blog soon then Mr C would muscle in and take over the reins of Cowboys & Custard, seeing how popular his last post was...
Of course I am most grateful for his nursing care and his wonderful bedside manner (!) and that of his sidekick.. Nurse Pickles.. They really went to town to look after me... for a day.. then it was off with his Florence Nightingale costume and back on with the suit and off to work.. leaving me to my own devices for the last week....
I can hardly blame them.. My relentless cough soon turned in to a hollow bark that any dog would have been proud of and I swear that I saw Pickles wearing earmuffs to deaden the noise!
I am just beginning to surface from my week of solitary confinement and wake up to the fact that Christmas is going to happen whether I am ready or not.... Not ... in my case!
I have made some concession to the festive season and I will leave you with these to prove that we are not total humbugs in this household....

There are certain shades of The Grinch about my Christmas Mantelpiece but I so enjoy making up this little winter scene with my collection of vintage bottle brush trees bought last year on Ebay at 3.00 am G.M.T from the U.S.A.. definitely worth setting the alarm for.. Vintage bisque snowbabies .. another passion of mine...This glittery little chap has kept me company for the last 50 years and is one of the few surviving decorations from our family ..

Another treasured relic from my family is this beautiful Victorian globe which my mother decorated with this festive floral piece...Our Christmas tree in an action shot...And.. now standing still...
One of my most recent purchases is this gorgeous little Santa tin that I bought from lovely Lucy...
The mantelpiece in all it's glory... or some might say gory!

Now I am off to hit the bottle... the Benylin bottle and ponder on how to get all my Christmas shopping done without leaving the house.....
I know.. Get Mr C to do it for me!!!!!

Thank you so much for all your get well wishes.. they really did cheer me up and my solitary confinement was not nearly so solitary knowing that you were out there wishing me well...
Love to you all..xx

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Lumpy Custard ....

Well gang be ready for a change of style!

Mr Custard here.

The usual author (my dear lady) is off sick with the lurgy that she was bragging about not having yet (anyone mentioning unkind words like "justice" will not be going to heaven!)
So feeling power crazed as I do at this moment, I need to contemplate what I shall write!

The reason I am allowed to interfere in this way is because beloved is too poorly and yet she has to announce the winner of her "giveaway" so, for one day only, I am free to lumpify the custard with all manner of additions.

Now I could give you some interesting photos of vintage guitars (a particular interest of mine) which would be thrilling for you all. I could go on and on an on (like a Status Quo refrain) about Primary Education, which is my real passion and would have you enraptured for hours, or I could pollute the custard bowl wholesale with my distinctly uncustardy style of sardonic drivel!
Perhaps I had better do none of these things and attempt to be "on message".

I will put on my Florence Nightingale dress and warm up the thermometer, send out for Lemsip and Kleenex and leeches and velcro the cat in the other room out of the way.
Ah yes, the Pickles section: well he is about as much use as a bag with a hole in it as usual. Massive contributions such as chasing his tail, complaining about room service at 0630 hours and sleeping (an olympic sport in Mr Pig land) have made absolutely no useful contribution at all. Now, what I chiefly need is to be able to train him to wear a stethoscope and carry a doctor's bag, to mop fevered brows and encourage patients to say "aahh" as opposed to "ARRRRRGGGGHH!"
Here he is demonstrating perfectly why he is not a brain surgeon!So Monsieur Pickles...... nil point!

Now the Bath scenery bit. Its blooming cold and wet and foggy! But beautiful.
See below photo I took earlier as I was pacing the floor in the small wee hours of dawn at the Custard Sanatorium fretting myself into a shadow with concern for beloved's health!
So, a cautionary tale is woven between the words of today's cowboys and custard blog.
When you're ill, change your passwords!

and the winner is...........Emma at

Silver Pebble.

This was Mrs Custard's choice of course, all takeovers have their limits!

So well done Emma and any X factor style prolonged weeping with joy is entirely understandable.
please could you email Michele your address so that she can send you the Horace cards.

Mr Custard signing off... normal service to be restored very shortly when the sickly one surfaces from her lurgy!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The X factor.....(and a small giveaway)

Don't worry...this isn't about the controversial.. love it or loathe it.. talent show..
If you peer very closely you... you will see an X painted on our front door....The door of a germ ridden house!
My boys have succumbed to the dreaded coldy .. fluey.. bug that is doing the festive rounds and our home is currently awash with soggy tissues.. coughs.. splutters and the usual moans that you would expect from the male quarter.. Who said women were the weaker sex.. Ha!?
I am reaching out to touch the wooden table as I say this.. but as yet.. I haven't had a cough or a sneeze.. so hopefully I will be spared the seasonal sniffles.

Despite the feeling of living on the set of Casualty..I have enjoyed this week immensely... harping back to weather matters.. the mornings here have been sublime.. stunning.... and downright cold!
The skies at dawn have had me running around the house looking for the camera.. which is never where I left it before.. and snapping the incredible painted landscapes that have decorated our view from the house..
How about this one for starters.. yesterday morning...
Or this Blake like...shaft of light that burnt its way through the clouds...Unfortunately.. my rather amateurish attempts at being arty with the camera ...didn't do justice to this shocking pink sky and silhouetted trees..If you squint.. it might improve the picture..??Being true to my winter habits.. I am very happy to hibernate indoors.. albeit with the coughing crew... but at the end of the day...If you would like to tell me what it is that warms your cockles... then please share your comment with me and I will choose my favourite on Sunday 14th December teatime 'ish.. and send the recipient some Horace cards...and a few little extra surprises..... sorry..not Pickles!

Bon chance mes amies!

P.s April... 1000 apologies for not doing your tag.. yet! I will give it some thought just as soon as I have some space to think.. I haven't forgotten!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Frozen assets..

I have long had a bit of an obsession with the weather in this country.. being true to my British side.. and I love to listen to the weather reports.. especially the shipping forecasts that speak of mythical places to my mind...Viking ,North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher and German Bight.. These wonderful names conjure up far off lands that belong to the world of C S Lewis..
This last week has seen the most beautiful of weather conditions.. sharp frosty mornings with dazzling lapis blue skies.. that softly melt in to the amber glow of a winter solstice sunset...
Mr Pickles having had a reprieve and being removed from the Christmas bazaar due to family protestations.. has become my faithful morning barometer..
He is always the first to press his nose against the front door.. eager to go outside and survey his kingdom... for the last two days he has revved up to leap outside and like some comic book character..screeched to a halt within millimetres of his nose hitting the cold air.. doing a sharp U turn and retreating inside to curl up in a suitable nest for the day...after a quick game of hunt the walrus..................................................... don't ask!Sunday morning was a particularly stunning morning.. a heavily frosted landscape greeted me when I opened the curtains and instead of joining the multitudes ..pounding the pavements in town.. we headed in the opposite direction.. for the sublime peace and stillness of this corner of Bath... St Catherine's Valley..
A very short drive from the madding crowds and another planet altogether...Wrapped up like the Michelin Man character.. we stumbled along a wooded footpath .. savouring the frosted landscape and in the back of my mind.. a half pint of Guinness and a roast beef sandwich was calling me from a nearby Inn...I still haven't got the urge to join the annual pilgrimage to the retail mecca of town... and I know that sooner or later I will have to take the plunge and join the slightly frazzled throng to purchase my Christmas pressies.. but till then.. I am happy to sit by the fire and contemplate my next mince pie..
I would like to thank all of you who have purchased some of my Cowboys & Custard merchandise... I am so very grateful.. It will all go in the Mince Pie kitty!
I have just one last item to share with you ...
Long time ago.. in another life.. I loved to paint and doodle.. and one day this character was born on my sketch pad... His name is Horace the Hare.. Here are some note cards or Christmas cards.. whatever you wish them to be... A set of 5 for £5.00 inc postage.... I call them.. Wish Upon A Star cards....
My last posting date will be Friday 19th December...Have a lovely cosy week .. one and all! XX

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

A nation of shopkeepers..

You could say that it is in my blood..
Certainly I inherited my artistic bent from my father who was a dab hand with a pencil and drew many fine sketches..
It has however become more and more apparent to me over the last few years.. just how much I inherited from my mother..
From my early childhood my mother had always dabbled with buying and selling antiques and it was only in her latter years that she turned her attention to vintage and antique toys.
I would love to visit her in the Bath antiques market where she had established herself over 20 years as a knowledgeable dealer in her passion for toys...
Sitting on a small stool behind her shop counter.. I would sit and chat and share her latest finds... a beautiful collection of Shucco Circus animals.. or her latest Steiff find.. a pretty kitten hand puppet. Dolls houses.. miniature lead gardens, wooden peg dolls..a pull along dog on wheels ( that my young son called Baggy for some curious reason as there was nothing baggy about the Triang fox terrier) there was always something new and exciting that my mother loved to share with me.
I remember these visits with great affection and a certain tinge of my dear mother would often remark how I might like to take over the running of her toy business .. but I would balk at the idea of all that responsibility.
My life was otherwise engaged in other matters.. my greeting card business for example that I started 14 years ago when my son was born, as I wanted to stay at home and watch him grow up.. childhood being so fleeting and precious..
I declined my mother's offer on more than one occasion... an eternal regret!
I now find myself with sad irony.. doing just what my mother loved so much.. buying and selling toys.. and indulging myself in childhood nostalgia..
I like to think that my Mum is pulling the strings and I hope she approves of my new venture..
So with this in mind.. I am opening my shop again today to offer more goodies in my Christmas Bazaar...

Please form an orderly queue....

Here are some pretty little wooden toadstool pins 1½" tall... for pinning items on to pin boards...
£4.50 inc postage... on either a green card..3 pins per card.
Or pink..
I have these 'Thank You' cards in a set of five with matching cream envelopes from the Cowboys & Custard card range..
Packaged in a cello bag with pink raffia tie... £5.00 inc postage

These are a personal favourite of mine... these gorgeous little 60's vintage pin skier brooches..
Very Cath Kidston.. actually.. very Cowboys & Custard!!
£3.00 inc postage.. please specify which colour you would like.. packaged in a small cello bag.

* * 2 Green Jumper skiers sold.. thank you!
I have oodles of magnets and mirrors on offer...
These are all magnets ..The Noddy magnets are all made from original vintage print so are one-offs.. all the other designs here can be ordered in any number..or as pocket mirrors or both!
£3.00 inc postage for magnets ........ Mirrors are £3.50 inc postage I love these..!
Mother of Pearl button heart key ring with a Cowboys & Custard tag...
£7.00 inc postage.. I only have 3 of these left.This is the bargain of the week.. One slightly used.. chewed....eccentric moggy.
Comes boxed and gift wrapped.. £10000 inc postage.

The purrrfect Christmas gift...

Thank you to all of you who have purchased from Cowboys & Custard!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Cowboys & Custard Christmas Bazaar

Try saying that after a few glasses of mulled wine...!
It would sound more like Crowbars and Crusty kissmas bizarre...

A certain amount of calm has filled the Custard household since the festive frenzy of the fair last weekend..until BAM!!!! hit me like a train... CHRISTMAS.. is looming and I have hardly given it a second thought let alone a first..
So with a rising panic and a hurried list of non inspired pressies.. I hit town this morning to elbow my way through the coach loads that descend on Bath at this time of year... to make for the Christmas Market. Somehow I managed to miss..or was it avoid this last year due to a nasty bug that was doing the rounds.
I felt that I should prepare for this foray into town by wearing my son's rugby kit, shin pads, groin guard and fetching gum guard..but it was hardly necessary as I seemed to be one of few who had descended on Abbey Churchyard in Bath to attend the annual Christmas market...
Not a scrum in sight.... but lots of lovely little cabin style stalls.. selling everything from buttons to bows and lots more....
I tend to find that I don't venture too far these days to do my Christmas shopping.. I much prefer the comfort of my armchair to browse the Internet and to search for the weird and wonderful or downright obscure presents for my family and friends...
SO with this in mind.. I thought I would bring you a little home shopping.. and as Cowboys & Custard is primed with stock for the season.. I am offering the blogging folk.. some of my handmade greeting cards and more...
First off the shelf is this genuine vintage little Bambi lookalike...
He is made of vinyl plastic, stands 4½ " tall and is sporting a jaunty little bell around his neck..
I have two of these for sale at £5 each inc postage and packing..            * 3 Sold.. thank You!      Also on the shelf are these 60's vintage brooch pins.. measuring ½" tall.. There is a cat and mouse, ladybird and puppy dog .. each mounted on a vintage game card.
These are all £3.00 each including postage and per cardNext up I have a large variety of pocket mirrors.. there are vintage Noddy, 30's hat ladies, Scottie dogs...little girl with blue bow etc... Price £3.50 inc postage and packing..I have lots of the Noddy mirrors which are all one- offs so I can't guarantee which image you will receive..All of the mirror designs can be bought as magnets.... £3.00 inc postage and packing..
There are three 30's Hat lady mirrors or magnets designs.. please specify choice .. Blue Ribbon, Pink Hat.. Feather headdress...
Lastly I have a selection of my badge greeting cards.. These all come with a detachable badge to wear with pride!!!
Each card is supplied with a high quality envelope and comes in a cello bag..
1. Let it snow... Wistful snowman on pale grey snowflake background..£3.00 inc postage
2. Christmas Fairy.. £3.00 inc postage
3. Christmas Star... £3.00 inc postage4. Snowflake snowman £3.00 inc postage
5. Santa Baby... £3.00 inc postage
Before I leave you to empty your piggy banks... I would like to share my latest card designs with you..
These are £2.50 inc postage..
Snip snip snap.. with mother of pearl buttonFlowers need care.. with lucite flower.. while stocks last..
Come to tea with little silver spoon.. real plastic!

And I promise this is the last...
A friend to Flowers.. with wooden ladybird..
If you are tempted by any of these.. please email me!

Now.. back to the grotto for more packing!