Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year to all..

Before we turn our backs on this year.. may we reflect on all the good times that 2012 brought to us.. and may the bad times become a distant memory.
Wishing all of my blog followers, friends, family and four legged friends.. the best of times in 2013!
With love
Michele xx

Monday, 24 December 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like......

Well here we are again on the eve of Christmas and I can hardly believe a year has passed since the last Christmas eve.. and oh what a year it has been!
We had earmarked just the right spot for the Christmas tree to stand, down to the last bauble  .. but then the arrival of our four legged friend somewhat scuppered our plans as to have a tree with all of the trimmings...

1 playful cat + 1 delinquent puppy + Christmas tree + fairy lights  = Disaster!


So we have had to compromise with other sparkly decorations hung around the place and everything vaguely chewable, elevated to new heights!

With the fire lit.. the mince pies warming in the oven and tummies rumbling.. we are ready to welcome another Christmas day!

 From all of the 'Custards' and Mr Pickles and Minnie the Minx.. we would like to wish you all a
                                        Happy Christmas and a very good year to follow.
                                             Wishing you warmest wishes of the season.

 Have a wonderful time!

Monday, 26 November 2012

Never work with Children and Animals .. part II

The last four weeks have been a steep learning curve for our family.. and may I say.. our long suffering Mr Pickles. Minnie the Minx has got all of her four paws firmly under the table and has transformed our every day lives as we once knew them.   If Minnie is not busy chewing an illicit toilet roll.. she is chewing an illicit vintage teddy bear snuck from my office, or chasing a weary cat around the house or barking at the hoover for having the audacity to make a louder noise than herself. Minnie is certainly not a mouse.. and it has to be said.. she is a small dog with a whole of lot of attitude and a massive character.

    A Moment's Peace

Whilst juggling card orders in the run up to Christmas and trying to craft some festive sparklies for The Vintage & Handmade Fair I have been  attempting to keep some kind of order and equilibrium with our dear little girl .. no easy task. Every box of vintage fayre destined for next Saturday's fair, has been elevated to a safe shelf or table where Minnie can't get her muddy little paws on them.. It has been a lesson in patience, cunning and persistence as we are both as stubborn as each other when it comes to staking  a claim to a vintage toy.
I hope that all will be safely packed and priced and ready to take to the fair by Saturday 1st and if Minnie isn't careful.. she will be the fairy on top of the tree at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall next weekend.

If you want to find that extra special vintage or handmade gift for this Christmas.. for your loved ones or just yourself then put on your warm hat and coat and come along to our Christmas Fair and get into the Christmas spirit next Saturday.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Never work with Animals or Children....

Take 1
Take 2

Take 3

The Vintage & Handmade Winter Jumble Sale
Rangeworthy Village Hall
Saturday 3rd November
10.30 a.m - 2.00 p.m
Free Admission
Teas and Cakes from Rangeworthy W.I

Puppy not for sale!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Minnie the Moocher

There is a song being sung at every available opportunity, in our household. Call it a kind of fanfare for the expected arrival of our fine furry friend.. Minnie the Moocher. It is impossible not to think up a host of nicknames for this beautiful little girl who will be coming to live with us in just over a week's time. Minnie the Minx, Minnie Moo.. Minnie Ha Ha.. Minnie the Moocher.. and there will be many more names in time.

Pickles the cat has his own set of names for his imminent sibling.. but probably not wise to mention them on this blog. He is mightily unimpressed by the arrival of a dog bed, crate and a new set of toys that have little cat appeal. I mean... what good is a tennis ball and a chew rope!

 Minnie is now seven weeks old and we have been very fortunate indeed to have known her from 10 days of age when she hadn't yet opened her eyes or even barely resembled a Border Terrier.

So here is our gal.. full of fun and mischief and already loved so much!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Notes from a Country Convert....

After moving out to the wilds of Wiltshire, nearly three months ago now.. I have fallen head over heels in love with our new life amongst the leafy lanes and pastures that surround our home. It didn't take long to become bewitched by the rural treasures on our doorstep and after investing in some rather stout footwear and much needed wellies.. we soon settled in to a daily routine of walks.

On leaving the house we have to decide on a left or right turn..

The left, taking us up a hill into woodland just a few minutes from our door.. and further on to lofty fields that gaze down on village life...

 The right turn takes us down to the Bybrook and fields where we have gathered new friends along the way.. Margot the solitary Swan and Henry the Heron who we often see fishing for frogs in the marshy fringes of the fields.

The greatest thrill for me is discovering the Kingfishers that flash like neon darts along the mill stream.. Such a treat to see these dazzling little birds.. and miraculously I managed to spy one sitting on a water duct pipe.. and with hands shaking I took this blurry photo. It looks all the better if you squint at it...

It had been our dream for at least ten years to move to a quieter world.. a less frenetic pace and a place to watch the seasons change before our eyes..and we have surely found it in this beautiful corner of Wiltshire.

Instead of the traffic drone from city streets at night, we now have an owl that sits in the tree opposite and actually says.. To wit, to whoo... Something I always thought of as some kind of pastoral myth. The hedgerows are ripe with Elderberries and Blackberries and foraging has started in earnest.. with our freezer slowly filling with berries ready for a spot of jam making.

The garden has had a bit of a makeover with cottage garden plants replacing the shrubs we inherited which hid this beautiful stone wall..

The climbing rose has already romped up the old dead apple tree, closely followed by a Clematis Montana..

 I can't wait to see the plants burst into life in the Spring and fill up the gaps.. with a whole host of Narcissi, Tulips and Alliums which have recently been planted.

Life is good.. life is rich and there is so much more to look forward to.. Christmas for a start! Sorry to mention the C word so early.. but one has to think about where the Christmas tree is going to stand this year. Isn't that one of the first things people think of when buying a new home?

There is something even more exciting on the horizon.. something with four legs and a little wet nose.. Next month we will be welcoming a new member to our family and I will be busy refereeing a very disgruntled cat with the arrival of a Border Terrier puppy called Minnie... She is only three weeks old so has a lot of growing to do before we can bring her home where we hope to have primed Pickles the cat in how to get along with a new sibling!

 Life will never be the same again .. but it will be better and we hope to be fitter with even more reason to go walkies!

  The summer was eventful to say the least.. with a house move.. a visit to the wonderful Homespun Fair down in Portscatho, where old friends and new friends mingled amongst a host of vintage treasures. Hello Mandy if you are reading this.. It was lovely to meet you at the fair.

Then we had The Vintage & Handmade Jumble sale in Rangeworthy.. a popular event with bargains galore to be found. On September 2nd The annual Biddestone Boules tournament was a date firmly etched on the calendar and in true Gallic style, team Cowboys & Custard embraced the bonhomie of the games and had a wonderful day.. lobbing boules.

 I am beginning to feel a shift in the gears even though the season is slowing down for hibernation time.. This move to village life has given my creative flow a good kick where it was badly needed.. and I have recently revived my bookbinding skills to make a collection of books.. ready for The Vintage & Handmade Textile fair  next week.

It should be a wonderful day .. one I am very much looking forward to with new and old friends gathering to showcase their fabulous talents and vintage wares amongst 40 stalls.
Do come along if you can.. Chipping Sodbury Town Hall.. Saturday 29th September 10.00 a.m - 4.00 p.m.. Hope to see you there!

P.s Thank you for all of your warm and friendly comments on my previous post.. They were greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A Jumbling we will go.....

I am not sure there is such a word as jumbling but it sounds just like the kind of thing that will be happening at  The Vintage & Handmade Jumble Sale at Rangeworthy Village Hall this coming Saturday .. The hall will be awash with oodles of lovely vintage wares and when the rummaging has got too much for everyone.. the wonderful W.I ladies will be administering tea and cake to revive the eager shoppers.

So.. if you want to dodge the rain and find an alternative to another soggy Saturday afternoon indoors.. come on down to Rangeworthy village hall from 10.30 a.m until 2.00 p.m to hunt for that vintage bargain item you have always wanted! Admission is free ... so even more pennies to spend on some jumble!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Butter on paws...

There is a belief that if one butters the paws of a cat when moving it to a new home, that it will not stray from it’s new abode as it is so busy licking the butter from it’s paws. Well, I managed to forget this little tip and it was some days after we were ensconced in our new home that Mr Pickles found himself daubed in best Anchor Butter.. much to his delight and bemusement as he had already tasted his new environs by escaping on day two of our move and legging it down the lane despite my calls and bribes with a box of cat munchies.

I am glad to say he returned and has not ventured further than the wall at the top of the garden to flirt outrageously with the pretty kitty next door.
So… we finally moved home.. despite the months of fearing it would never happen, we arrived at our new/old home on 22nd June. The day was predictably stressful and made more so by a timely phone call from our solicitor to say that the monies for transfer could not go ahead due to Nat West bank having a monumental cock up in their system. As the last item had just been loaded onto the delivery van we were pretty determined to go ahead with the move… come what may and were lucky enough to have had the luxury of an empty house to move into with the blessings of the vendors. So, it was that we arrived at our pretty house and set up home as squatters for the weekend until Nat West managed to rectify the problem on the Monday morning. 

Waking up to this on our first day in the cottage we pinched ourselves believing that we were on holiday and it was all a rather surreal dream....

Three weeks into our new home and we feel not a crumb of regret or backward glance to our time in Bath. We miss our old friends and neighbours though they are only 10 minutes down the road we have also gained some lovely new friends and neighbours here as was testament  by the mass of cards and bottles of welcome wine that were given to us on our arrival. 

We have swapped the nocturnal sounds of sirens and nighttime revellers for the din of a screeching owl and the morning racket of Sparrows and church bells. A good trade off I think!

The terrace which is a wonderful sun trap.. or would be if the sun shone!

The toy collection is feeling very much at home already..

So here is a glimpse of  some of our Hobbit house.. as we have named it. It was built in the early 1700's and we feel we are very fortunate indeed to be it’s custodians for the next chapter in it’s life!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Heaven in the rain

Every summer I eagerly look forward to the NGS National Gardens Scheme little yellow book of local gardens to visit in the balmy (!!!) summer months. Yesterday we took time out from the bubble wrap and cardboard boxes to visit one of these fine floral havens and donned our wellies and Souwesters to visit Hazelbury Manor in Wiltshire.

 Despite the weather's attempt to thwart any enjoyment outside.. we had a wonderful time wandering around the heavenly gardens of this beautiful historical home.

At every little twist and turn there were beautiful borders brimming with my cottage garden favourites, vibrant red Poppies, frothy green Alchemilla Mollis, dainty Aqualegias, dusky Lavender, perfumed Old English Roses, pompom Alliums crammed into every border to delight the eye.

Despite the more refined planting .. I was totally dazzled by this gorgeous display of the humble Foxglove.. hundreds of pastel spires filled with buzzing bees, intoxicated on their rich pollen.

 The rain added a new dimension and also brought out the jewel like colours of each plant against the grey sky.

Sadly this fabulous garden with it's stunning Laburnum archway topiary, rooms of roses and lily pond is only open once a year but as we are soon to be neighbours, I am hoping I can vault over one of the stone walls and pay a few clandestine visits to this special corner of Wiltshire!