Monday, 23 August 2010

Fingers, Toes and Eyes ....

All of these will be crossed for tomorrow's G.C.S.E results..
This goes out to all the parents who have spent anxious months, weeks, days and hours guiding your children through this minefield of learning ...
Good luck to all the students who are bracing themselves and living on tenterhooks..
Not forgetting the long suffering tutors too!!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

It went like this ...

It was one of those days that didn't seem to be going anywhere.. tired of staring at a pile of blank cards that had to be finished... turning a blind eye (yet again) to the growing pile of ironing which was taking root in the corner.. I had itchy feet and a weary mind..
It was not long before we found ourselves pootling along the road to a regular haunt of ours.. so regular that we should have realised that it was closed on Wednesdays..
So it was we found ourselves with a small crowd of assorted children, mothers and a single gent sporting a jolly umbrella.. stood outside the gates of The Courts in Holt.. a place to wander, play hide and seek behind the silly yew hedges and ponder over a cup of tea and a slice of high rise cake ..

A previous visit

The minutes ticked by and no-one came to welcome us.. the gate stayed firmly locked.
It was then we read the notice on the wall... opening times... excl. Wednesdays!!
Oh.. now what.. now where?
Much muttering amongst the mothers and scratching of head of the single gent with the jaunty umbrella..
A plan B soon hatched after the single gent took out his NT guidebook and spoke of another place on the map.. a hop and a skip (in Gulliver's steps) from where we were standing. Well..
feeling of good spirit towards our fellow traveller who had arrived at the locked gate from various train journeys and on foot.. we offered him a lift to plan B...
Some things are meant to be.. and this diversion was one of them..
We arrived here..

Great Chalfield Manor.. built in the 1400's and recorded in the Domesday Book...

A place of great history, great character.. beauty and peace..

Hide and seek was played amongst the Yew hedges..

The walled garden was admired and sniffed...

Eyes rested on water watching the shadowy trout beneath..

Frogs were spoken to .. not kissed..

Tea was sipped in an ancient barn..

Seats were earmarked for another day..
It was the best of all plan B's and we came away with happy thoughts..
So much so.. that we are returning .. without the single gentleman.. today.. to have a guided tour of the house!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Days like these ...

I am sure we can all relate to this statement.. and never more so, than during the holidays when family and work compete with each other and absorb every moment of the day. As the days whizz by, I am acutely aware that the holidays are melting away and in two weeks time my boys will be returning to an unforgiving timetable.
The joys of being self employed are many.. nipping out to smell the roses, stealing a few moments to phone a friend or putting the kettle on whenever the fancy takes .. but it also means that holiday time is measured by 'jolly' days out, tempered by days at the desk keeping up with the demands of customer orders..
Summers are punctuated by flirting with the festive season as Christmas card orders start to come in.. so it might be sizzling outside but the snowmen are keeping their cool on the drawing board.
It was a week ago that we took off to rendezvous with good friends and take part in the Homespun Fair in Portscatho Cornwall. We staggered our journey by staying at a newly discovered B + B in a place that has become very close to my heart... the almost too perfect town of Chagford on the Dartmoor fringes..

For those of you who have followed my blog.. you will know only too well that I LOVE this little town. In my 'lottery win' fuelled fantasies.. I would be living in a stone cottage, perched on a hill within skipping distance of the town centre...

I have already earmarked my house.. see if you can spot it ..

Dragging ourselves away from our B + B at the crack of dawn.. we made our way to Portscatho without the help (or hindrance) of our sat nav hostess.. to arrive in good time and be greeted warmly by Jane who had cunningly set up her magnificent display the night before...

Whilst I wrestled with dust sheets and pondered the dilemma of my table display..
Gradually other Homespun members began to arrive and soon the hall was filling with colour and all manner of tasty treasures.. These gorgeous bouquets greeted the visitors as they arrived at the door..

Viv's exquisite brooches ... were amongst many enviable items ..

Gertie's wonderful collection of vintage sewing boxes ..

Sal's vibrant array of fabrics..

Amanda's fabulous floral quilts..

Kirsty's charming flotilla and fish ....

These wide eyed characters did amuse me.. they looked like I felt...

Finally.. Cowboys & Custard merchandise and the 'Kennel Club' my collection of vintage dogs which all managed to find new homes...

There were many other lovely stalls which I failed to photograph as before we knew it the hall was flooded with visitors and a swarm of vintage hungry customers..
It was a hugely enjoyable day and hats off to Christine and Jane for organising yet another very successful Homespun Fair.
The whole weekend was a perfect distraction and escape from the treadmill that was waiting for me back home..

Friday, 6 August 2010

Sunday West ...

The car is stuffed to the gunwales with all manner of object curios and we are all set to point our wheels towards the west and our Sunday destination of Portscatho where the 3rd Homespun Fair will open it's doors to the good folk who come from far and wide.
If you are on your merry hols in Cornwall and are suffering withdrawal symptoms from all that is vintage.. then come along and feast your eyes on the wonderful collection of stalls that will be filling the village hall from 10.30 a.m - 4.30 p.m ..
Look forward to seeing you there.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Away with the fairies ...

T'is the season for festival fever and having decided back in the 80's that Glastonbury was becoming too big for my comfort I switched my attentions to the smaller and more 'up my street' festival that is W.O.M.A.D .. Not having been for a few years and being fortunate enough to know someone in the 'right'places .. we had tickets for this year's event at Charlton Park in Wiltshire...

Being not too far from the comforts of home, so did not require wrestling with yards of canvas and guy ropes, nor listening to the curious nocturnal sounds of 1000's of neighbours.
In fact we were lightweight festival goers this year and had a Sunday afternoon stroll along to W.O.M.A.D .. a wonderful alternative to watching Woodstock on DVD.

The world of music and dance... is just that and a great deal more..

It is a wonderful place for studying anthropology .. as all walks of life.. cults and fashions are contained in a large field full of the most wonderful music which comes together from all four corners of the globe ! When we arrived we were greeted by some rather tired and crumpled folk wheeling their temporary homes and chattels back to their cars in a convoy of wheelbarrows.. These were gentle folk of all ages.. I saw babes in arms to grandmothers milling around the festival family ... which made me feel most reassured and content...

This event is for everyone.. and all come together to have a jolly and peaceful weekend listening to sublime music.. eating a veritable feast of global food.. I myself tucked into a big bowl of noodles with tempura vegetables...

It was utterly scrumptious.. and followed by an equally tasty Italian hazelnut ice-cream..
We saw a whole host of colourful costumes..from bearded man in a dress, William Tell on his day off ..

Fairies of all sizes and gender, fishnets and top hats, African cloaks of many colours, hats of every description .. In fact fairies were well catered for with a stall selling new wings.. just in case some were lost!

Where else could you find a hand crafted musical instrument next to a hat with horns.. maybe W.O.M.A.D should stand for.. world of madness and diversity. One thing is for sure.. we will return next year for more fun and frivolity!