Monday, 31 August 2009

Dorset Delights

Mr Custard announced at breakfast.. put your walking boots on.. we are off on a 'Jolly' today. Who was I to object and so clambered into the 'mighty Honda' having just scraped through it's M.O.T, to be driven to unknown destination. How I love an adventure.. truly. I would like to think I was one of the 'Famous Five' in a previous incarnation.. never happier than embarking on journey to unknown pastures and discovering treasures.
The treasure I was taken to in the folds of the Dorset hills, is a real jewel.. bright and shiny (the sun did just about manage to emerge) and rare.. particularly as we were just about the only visitors.
The place I talk of is Mapperton House.. a very special place in my heart.. discovered on one of our past rambles to this corner of Dorset. Without a need for 'Charmiane' our opiniated Sat Nav, our motor seemed instinctively to know which turning to take, along winding lanes until we arrived at the impressive entrance to the house ...What a beautiful house it is too.. though sadly we had missed the date for entrance to the house but were very content to wander around the gardens as these had made a great impression on our first visit a few years ago.Notice the small alcoves carved in to the gate posts.. I suppose these were for footmen to rest as they certainly provided a comfy seat in which to tarry a while..
On to the garden.. a masterpiece of landscaping and design.. I hardly know where to begin this tour.. so I first I will tempt you with some flowering abundance.. Japanese Anemones..There are so many little nooks and crannies in the garden..little corners to sit in seclusion To take tea... Or just to admire the stunning vista..What I love so much about this garden is the romance of it.. It would be the perfect place for a party of decadence and frivolity.. I can just see the ladies in their silk flapper dresses perched demurely on the stone benches, of which there are many, whilst being wooed by men in sharp dark suits and pencil thin moustaches.. What a fertile imagination.. as fertile as this gorgeous terraced garden.. Herbaceous border..Imagine sipping cocktails in the Orangery.. dressed in your finery...I would have to take a pair of secateurs in my little beaded bag to snip away at the plentiful topiary.. It was getting a little unruly in places..There is very much an air of 'The Draughtsman's Contract' about this place.. lots of places to conjure up clandestine trysts..Not too sure I could cope with those cobwebs..The more I think about it... I suspect that I was a woman of a certain repute (!) in a former life.. much less of a wholesome Enid Blyton character..
This place brings out the devil in me..Just as well I had Mr Custard with me to keep me in check!

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Whimpers and Wishes..

With one week to go, these summer hols will have passed in the blink of an eye.. or so it feels. It really doesn't seem credible that 8 weeks ago I accompanied my son to his end of term service in Bath Abbey..and watched as the pupils poured out after the service wearing broad smiles and a sense of freedom in their hearts. The hols had begun..So where have all those days in-between gone?
I suppose we have trundled gently along, keeping to some kind of routine but allowing ourselves some 'escape time' to head off to all points of the compass.. North to visit Hereford, Hay on Wye and Tetbury, Jayne for a morning of coffee, friendship and much needed chat about the V & H Fair to come.. South to Branscombe and 24 hours of sea breezes, sun and sand between our toes. East to our local supermarket, didn't get very far in that direction other than a few short walks around the hills of Bath..Heading West to a place I have grown to love so dearly and long to return to at every opportunity, one day for good I hope .. Devon, Drewsteignton to be precise and the banks of the river Teign. So beautiful in all seasons.Finally all the fun of the fair in Portscatho in Cornwall for the much anticipated Home Spun Fair and Friday last, which was a day of much laughter and fine friendship courtesy of Niki in her fabulous home and some girly time.. so badly needed!Why oh why did I not take more photos of her exquisite home!?

We haven't really ventured that far and yet I feel we have had some great adventures and have brought home the best kind of souvenirs of many happy memories.
Our last little jaunt was to a place we head for frequently.. being only half an hour from home..
The pretty town of Tetbury in the south of the Cotswolds.. A place stuffed to the gills with antique shops .. but one in particular that I make a bee-line to with quickening steps.. Lorford's.. A shop of the most enticing kind. As I step through the doors into this cave of delights.. I love to play my favourite game of.."If I won the lottery.. I would buy...." and this is why..
I will lead you through the rooms and I am sure you will lose your head and heart to something in this extraordinary place..I could happily ride that little horse home..
When can I move in to this des res..Now that is what I call a plate rack...I'll take the lot please.. no need to wrap anything.What do you fancy?
Love that chair..Mirror mirror on the wall..Such beautiful colours..These little blue bottles make an attractive collection..
I will end that eye watering tour on a sigh.. and something I spotted on leaving Tetbury outside the deli.. Spot the deliberate mistake!Now the hols are drawing to a close, I can almost smell autumn upon the air.. and look forward to days of golden sun on bronzed leaves, foraging for berries to make jam with and lighting that first fire of the season. Getting down and cosy.
There is of course one other shop that I am rather fond of.. and that is Milly & Dottie's Emporium.
Milly and I have been bustling around filling the shelves with some lovely new items. Take for example Billy the boss- eyed pooch.. How much is that doggy in the window? You'll have to visit the emporium to find out!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Back from Beyond...

I am back on the wagon again after having fallen off for a few weeks..Not in the drink sense I hasten to add.. more in the 'taking time out' sense. Time that has been spent switching off from the normal routine and taking stock of life.. and a escaping to a few favourite haunts.
The Custard clan have done a fair bit of mileage over the last two weeks..first to the wild west of Devon and Cornwall then back home again for family matters.. off again for a mad dash to Branscombe to dip our toes.. and in my case.. whole body (shock horror) in the beautiful briny sea. Followed by a short foray 'oop north' said in my best Yorkshire accent.. though we didn't go to Yorkshire and I haven't got a Yorkshire accent but I do love the sound of that gutsy dialect! The north I refer to is .. north of Bath, a bit.. to the heart of Wales and border country.. Hereford and Hay on Wye.. a gorgeously eccentric place chock full of book shops, that has been on my list of 'must go' places for 20 years at least.. since my mother once told me, one could buy books by the yard there.Our first happy trail was two weeks ago today.. Mr Custard and I set off at the crack of dawn.. tiptoeing out of our B + B at Drewsteignton, as quietly as we could, whilst also loading up a car full of assorted vintage toys and paraphernalia to take to the Home Spun Fair in Portscatho. A much anticipated event that was a perfect antidote to all the difficulties of the days prior to our escape.
We hit the highway on a beautiful bright morning, the journey being a breeze, roads not being particularly busy at 6.a.m. I was sure we would be sitting outside Portscatho memorial hall twiddling our thumbs waiting for the doors to open as we were in good time.. until that is.. we took the wrong turning at Truro for The Roseland Peninsula. Finding that we were the wrong side of the River Fal and the King Harry Ferry didn't sail until 9 a.m.. we back-tracked to Truro and then started to navigate with the help (or not) of Charmiane..our faithful sat nav. Dear very confused, as did we, as she steered us through a farmyard up to a five bar gate, urging us to continue. At this point, I disconnected Charmiane and we asked a local jogger the way.. much quicker and more accurate!
Well.. what can I say about the Home Spun Fair.. lots actually.
It was a lovely day from start to finish.. the hall being a perfect venue for such a vintagey style event.. The room was decked with bunting and a friendly hum of ladies setting up their stalls.. Despite my sleep deprivation of the night before.. I managed to arrange just about everything in some coherent manner on my table I was then able to sit back... or rather stroll around and meet up with some of my favourite blogging chums.. dear Viv.. a fabulous lady, so talented and with a mutual love of vintage dolls was there, Sue with her amazing emporium of vintage textiles ..and much more besides.. Nicky and her gorgeous menagerie of animals.. teddies, rabbits and an adorable dog that I badly badly wanted to adopt.. Clare and her elegant handmade hats beautifully displayed.. Leonore and her extraordinary display of vintage goods.. too many to mention and last but not least Jane and her lovely array of handmade boats, dolls, framed collages and more..There was a happy and healthy stream of visitors from the minute the doors opened and I was delighted to meet Sarah who came and introduced herself to me..and Maureen who I had 'met' through the Vintage & Handmade Fair.. Such an unexpected pleasure to meet new faces.. and make new friends.. dear Helen who with her husband entertained Mr Custard and I throughout the day.. Let's play I Spy...see if you can spot Viv & Sue.

There was a lot to bring away from this day.. memories of a happy day , a very successful event organised by Jane & Christine and new friendships that iced the occasion.
Even Mr Custard lasted the distance.. and enjoyed being amongst the throng of lovely ladies ..well which man wouldn't !?

This summer has been a strange affair.. good times.. very good times.. some bad times too... but the autumn is approaching and I have so much to look forward to.
New products to design for Cowboys & Custard, new stock to fill the shelves in Milly & Dottie's Emporium and a Vintage & Handmade fair to organise .. so there is no time to lose.. much to do and much to occupy the mind.I hope to add to this list some regular blogging.. I have been out of sync in this dept but hope to get properly back on track soon..

A bientot !

I would like to thank you all for your very kind condolences on our recent bereavement. We do appreciate your kindness and empathy..