Thursday 29 April 2010

Back to Acton Scott

I have been a little distracted recently and forgot to post the bestest bit of Action Scott, for me, which was the Bailiff's cottage.

Here you can see the Farm Bailiff and his wife (well, for the day anyway!) enjoying their lunch. Home made (Leek and Potato?) soup - and boy did it smell good - and doorstep sandwiches. I was really taken with the range in the background, and it fairly chucked out some heat.

Next door was the laundry room. Here you can see all the washing day paraphenalia of a bygone age - the tongs (m-in-law had a pair which had been her mother's and probably her grandmother's before that) for getting hot laundry out of the "copper". The Washing dolly, the glass washboard. As you can see, the "copper" here was set in a brick base. I read somewhere recently about country folk sometimes having their bath in the copper of a Saturday night, so as to be clean for church next day. I think it would have been a tight fit in this one!

My favourite room, the larder, which was lovely and cool and roomy and full of all sorts of containers which were familiar to me (mainly as I have a fair few like that at home).

Looking back from the laundry into the kitchen. Note the mangle on the left and the washing tub with a long-handled dolly in it.

In the little hallway was a bread oven which is apparently fired up and used on occasion. I have one downstairs in the big inglenook, but we can no longer use it now that the chimney is capped.

The parlour. A pretty little spinning wheel, centre, and a rag rug, and we have a chair just like the Windsor in the foreground.

One of the bedrooms, complete with utalitarian home-made quilt. I used to sleep in a bed just like that one when I was little, when one of the neighbours got a new bed and we had their old one. Wish we still had it!

Another beautifully-crafted smock on display in a case.

Another bedroom complete with home-fashioned quilt. I fear the wash jug and basin would have offered only cold water in the good old days.

I could quite happily have moved in here and not noticed THAT much inconvenience. An elderly Dorset aunt of my first husband's lived in a cottage with no running hot water (only cold, which was pumped up from the well into the kitchen sink). There was no bathroom and no inside loo - just a honeybucket in a tin shed up the garden, which rubbed cheek by jowl against a rat trap, various garden implements, old buckets etc. and no end of cobwebs! This cottage was a lot more sophisticated!

Sunday 25 April 2010

the Fleamarket

OH and I popped down to the Antiques Fair and Fleamarket this morning. To be honest, it's the Fleamarket bit we go for, as it has more interesting bits of junk! There are always stands packed full of beautiful pieces of glass and ceramics inside, and jewellery and stuff we can't afford. We have a gallop around that part, but it's the outside stalls we like to fossick around.

After about a fortnight of sunshine, it WOULD chose last night to rain, and so it was a little damp there this morning, with the occasional light shower, but it kept dry in the main. I always hate to see furniture or worse still, books, being ruined by the weather, and there are so many people who really DON'T care that stuff is being spoiled and don't even try to cover it over.
I went mad and spent two pounds on a gorgeous little plate in a pattern I have a meat plate in. I think it is the most beautiful design I have EVER seen. Think it's 1940s/50s - Crown Ducal Florentine "Rosalie". (See top of page, obviously!) I would love a whole dinner service in this pattern.

We were on a strict budget yesterday. OH was looking for knobs and brass handles for projects. I was just looking, with an eye open for unusual books. I found a great book on basket-making for just 50p, and it has really made me want to do another course. I have found one locally at the end of next month, so just debating whether to splash out on it. I rather think I will as it is an interest I would quite like to become proficient at - enough to make baskets for sale . . .

Then, the strangest thing. We went indoors to look at the pretty-china-and-glass stalls (you know, see one, you've pretty well seen them all, and we couldn't really afford or indeed have room for, any more china!) Anyway, there were books on offer too, but none of the authors I collect. Then we spotted a book called "Maid of Sker". Now hereby hangs a tale. OH has always been fascinated by a house called Sker (which this book is associated with). It used to belong to the T'Urberville knights of old and there is an upper room with the most wonderful plasterwork coats of arms in it. It fell into utter disrepair and at one stage was offered for sale for £1 I think, but you would need to spend best part of getting on for a million to do it up. I managed to dissuade OH from putting his pound on the table . . .

Anyway, the strange thing was that only the previous day a thought had suddenly come to me about this very book!! I thought, if I ever see it, I shall buy it for OH. Of course we parted with our money (£4) but I honestly believe this is more than pure coincidence, given other "things" which happen regularly in my life, and so, did I conjure it up - e.g. subliminally cause the seller to pack that book, or did her packing it subliminally get through to me? You will all probably think I am barmy, but it is a VERY unusual book and I've never seen a copy, even at Hay-on-Wye . . .

I will do a seperate post on it as the story is an interesting one too.

Saturday 24 April 2010

Well really!!!

Looking across to Rhossili Bay and Worm's Head on the Gower.

Well, I am absolutely SHATTERED. I was awake for 2 hrs in the night again, and then up with the alarm at just gone 6 because of the car boot sale. We just went to the one in town, and we sold a few things including all of D's Lego, but then had to dash back home early and empty the car, and then shoot off to the beach with D for his beach party with his pals.

I decided I would have my walk on the beach for a change today and did about 6 miles - practically the length of the beach and back. As I got further away from the "busy" part (imagine perhaps 100 people in all, very well spread out on acres of sand), I drew level with the chaps doing beach fishing. I looked to my right and saw several men walking about the dunes, just in shorts. Oh, they'll get a nice tan, I thought. I glanced across again and saw bare buttocks with an all-over tan. Aha, I thought, like the nudist colony at Studland. Then as I carried on walking, other men kept popping up and looking round, and then dropping out of sight again, and I think, as I only saw MEN, it may have been, ahem, a Gay nudist colony!

I marched on, determined to find the wreck which had been there a few years back, but no sign of it. I walked back,and was perhaps half way when a chap walked up to me and said, "You walked a long way then." I said indeed I had, up past the rocks and beyond. He leered at me and leaned across and said "What are you here for then?" I answered sharply, "The EXERCISE!" and marched on. Dear God, I'm not much of a catch these days, but Hell's Teeth, HE never had been!!! Gruesome! Urggggggggh!!!

Tomorrow OH and I are off to the Antiques Fair/Fleamarket on the showground, so we're looking forward to that - the Fleamarket bit rather than the indoor stalls, which tend to be a bit samey with nice glass and china.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Thank You

Marsh Marigolds growing at the edge of our wildlife pond.

I just wanted to say a few words in thanks for all the kind comments you folk have left. You have no idea how comforting it is to know that people are thinking of you, even though we have never met and are so far apart - oceans between us in some cases. I have kept very busy today as I find that is a coping mechanism that works for me. I have managed not to cry so far, though I nearly cracked earlier, imagining Hun-Bun running towards me across the paddock, as she was wont to do.

It is our son's 19th birthday today, and we gave him a sword. Well, you do, don't you? ! Just goes to show we are a bit oddball, but we knew he loved the replica sword I gave my husband for Christmas one year and this one just happened to turn up in need of a little tlc at the local car boot sale. It is sunk into a big chunk of yew, which OH smoothed and oiled, so that all the beautiful grain shows up.

And yes, that is the Morning Room, with a CARPET LAID!!! I have waited about 12 years for the room to be sorted and this carpet laid (we bought the roll - it is Wilton - at auction all those years ago. Perhaps we wouldn't chose this pattern nowadays, but it was what was on offer at the time and we liked it then. It makes the room look even more enormous that the 16 feet or so square it is . . .

Tuesday 20 April 2010

R.I.P. Honey

Honey has been back and forth to the vet's recently, first with a mouth abscess and then what appeared to be another bad tooth. She went in to have the bad tooth removed today, but they found that her jaw was badly infected and reiterated that all this infection was probably due to Feline Leukemia or Aids. We made decision that she had suffered enough in these past couple of weeks and she was put to sleep this afternoon. She was only 5. At least she had some freedom in the two years whilst she was with us, and she loved her hunting. Poor little girly . . .

Sunday 18 April 2010

Car Booty and an afternoon walk

OH and I went to a different car boot sale this weekend, one held yesterday at Ffos Las, the new racecourse near Kidwelly. It was so warm and sunny and we thoroughly enjoyed strolling round, and bought a few things:

I really don't know what this is. The lady selling it thought it might be a little butter maker for a small household! I will have to look through my Dorothy Hartley type books and see if I can find it. Any suggestions?

We needed a map of Ludlow, so this one fitted the bill. The talking book was the result of a £1 raffle ticket in aid of the charity Scope. The Barbara Woodhouse book I just couldn't leave behind as it brought back so many childhood memories. Do you remember her on tv? "Walkies!" She came across as a bit batty but looking back on her now, I think she had a lot of proto-Intelligent Horsemanship genes - way ahead of her time! I will do a proper post on her later this week.

This is a fabulous little magazine with all SORTS of goodies I'd like to make, ahem, in my spare time . . . It was only 20p!

My choice - I think I may have the Arthur Rackham, but did a just-in-case purchase. The Paul Deveraux book is interesting reading . . .

OH's choice. I've been dipping into the archaeology one as well.

These three books came home for No. 1 son, who was delighted.

Beautiful embroidery on an old tablecloth, but sadly it had a hole in the middle and some staining, but at 30p I wasn't complaining and I am going to cut it into four pieces and turn them into pretty cushion covers.

I saw the edge of this plate in a pile of others and asked to have a look. I just couldn't resist it!

Then when we got home, this book was waiting for me, complete with all the patterns. It felt like Christmas, what with all those car boot sale goodies!

After lunch I took a walk up the valley to see if my neighbour's TB broodmares had foaled yet . . .

This little lad is about a week old and he's going to be a racehorse when he grows up.

This is his half-sister, who is only day old, bless her. She was curious about this new world she had come into.

One of the two remaining ladies in waiting, who has started waxing up so is due any day now.

Another lady in waiting, even bigger! Sadly her hind legs are getting a bit filled ("lymphy") as she's not been turned out for a while now.

Dinner time for the one day old baby!

Friday 16 April 2010

10th photo tag . . .

This post is prompted by Al's recent blog post of 8th April where you go to your first folder of photographs and choose the 10th photo. He tagged me. I won't tag anyone specific, but if you want to join in, let me know in a comment to this.

These Johnson's Blue Geraniums are planted in a semi-circle around the apple tree by the paddock. The original plant came with me from Dorset, 22 years ago. I had bought it on a coach trip to Leeds Castle in Kent. I think it cost the princely sum of £1. Anyway, I added to that one little plant and am rewarded each spring by a mass of flowers (shame about the dried-up raindrop on the camera lens in this pic . . .) I have various other hardy Geraniums in the garden too, and have a bit of a soft spot for them, along with the Aquilegias which are my favurite cottage garden plant.

My garden is very important to me. It is a definite factor when house-hunting, and although I have found some absolutely perfect gardens, the house or the situation has let them down! One exception - and it was overpriced and we couldn't afford it! My ideal garden meanders a bit. You can't see all of it at once. It isn't neat and tidy, but the combination of colours and flowers give a WOW factor. Ideally it has views, and mature shrubs and trees, and a wildlife pond, and room for a polytunnel, vegetable patch and hens. It should have soft fruit and a small orchard, or room for one. It is a country garden, not a town one. If someone had done all the hard work and planted it up I would be more than happy, as I have had to start all my gardens, bar one, from scratch. That takes time, effort and money and I am now more than happy to walk straight into a ready-made one. The words "plantsman's garden" in the brochure really make me prick my ears up!

Not for me the vast expansions of flat lawn and straight borders of bedding plants. No garden fences in sight please. No postage stamps posing as "gardens". No high-falutin' designer gardens or Japanese gardens with strategically-placed boulders in a sea of gravel. Oh, and NO DECKING. I absolutely LOATHE decking.

Oh, and as a passing note to my dearly beloved one, the property in Shaldon, perfect though its Gothic bits are, offers only a concrete roof garden, and the cats and I say that WILL NOT DO!!!

Thursday 15 April 2010

Recent books

This is one of the views from on top of the Long Mynd in Shropshire last Sunday. Fabulous scenery . . .

I just realized that I forgot to mention the books I bought in Hay-on-Wye last week. I was delighted to find a little Country Book Club copy of Alison Uttley's The Swans Fly Over, illustrated by Tunnicliffe too, and a delightful little book. I found a paperback copy (as a spare to give to a friend) of C Henry Warren's England is a Village, illustrates in scraperboard by "BB" - the front cover has a lovely picture of an "old bwoy" riding home sat sideways on a Shire. I couldn't resist Dorothy Hartley's The Countryman's England with its detailed recording of times gone by and skills we have largely lost. Finally, I bought Mollie Harris's Another Kind Of Magic, which tells of her journeys on foot and on bicycle into the byways and villages of the Cotwolds, and the wonderful country folk she met on her journeys.

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Acton Scott continued . . .

I have long aspired to make one of these and indeed, have just found a pattern of sorts at Sense and Sensibility though I would need to modify it a bit to resemble the above. Mind you, this is a winter project - I will settle for finishing my Devon Village x-stitch design for the moment, aas it is nearing completion.

Various butter-making and dairy-related items on display in one of the barns.

Various farming-related items in a corner of the barn.

This lamb was on his own next to a ewe with twins, so perhaps this is being bottle-reared. It was zzzzzzzzzzzzing in the sunshine . . .

A shelf inside the lambing caravan. If you enlarge this photo yoou will see a triumph in marketing - the packet of Viper powder . . .

Old blacksmith-made horse bits hanging on a beam. The take on the "twisted" snaffle on the left would have ripped a horse's mouth to shreds . . .

Acton Scott House.

A newly-calved Longhorn cow with her baby.

More again tomorrow . . .

Day out at Acton Scott

As you know, we had a lovely day out at Acton Scott, the historic working farm in Shropshire. There were a couple of chaps there doing bodging (using a pole lathe in other words) and another one making a handle for an adze. We spent some time here and my husband would have been happy to stay and chat all day I think! He was also very taken with the wheelright's workshop, but then he loves to work in wood, so that is no surprise.

I would have liked to have seen the butter making display, but first of all we were twenty minutes too early, so we went for a stroll to see the new Longhorn calf, and then when we got back, the demonstration was jam-packed, but i was going to try and squeeze in when an officious mother shoved her children through the door in front of me.

We would LOVE to go on one (or preferably LOTS more!) of their courses, but finances dictate otherwise. Ah well . . .

More later.

OH in the wheelright's workshop.

A view across the farmyard towards the dairy display (white door) and the bailiff's cottage (red door on the right).

Gloucester Old Spot piglets and below, with their mum.

Two Shires in the lovely stables. I'm not sure if it was Tory and Clumper (as their names say) as someone went in to see them and said "hello girls" and I thought Clumper was a gelding . . .