Sunday 30 April 2017

And the Mystery Object was . . .

The mystery object again.  Very carefully made.  Cunningly wrought.  As some of you guessed, a trap of some kind.  It's actually a rat trap.  It has a really strong mechanism - the dealer nearly took his fingers off when setting it to show us what it did! I should imagine any rat who fancied his chances grabbing the bait and doing a runner, was soon disabused of THAT notion - and pretty flat by then too!  Probably a West Country rat trap (they grows 'em big down there!) and gosh, VERY affective!

Builth - part 2

I hope you all like the New Header.  I think it should have a title - How Green is my Valley.  I did take a little artistic licence and use the gizmo which brightens up the colours, but it was a dull day and with the sun on them, those colours wouldn't be far out.  I'll do a river walk photo posting tomorrow.

I am not usually drawn to paintings of Industrial England, but this was SO good - the light and reflections in the puddles, the yellow light in the windows, the grey on grey.  Quite a powerful painting.

Pretty cushions (all new of course).  I especially like the Pansies and Violets.

A touch of the Drew Pritchards here!

A lovely early 18th C table, with fabulous patina on the top, but Ireckon that will go home with the dealer, nice as it is.  Fashions have changed so much in recent years.

This lovely old chair has been hand stripped - having had several layers of paint (top layer red I think!)  It could have done with some beeswax polish on to bring it up a bit- though perhaps they just wanted a limed finish.

On the same stall, a lovely old Welsh spoonrack with a bevy of spoons adorning it.

From the stand where we bought my costrel, some more delightful things to tempt you to part with your money.  This and the next four photos.

Isn't this beautiful?

Some horn and sycamore spoons amongst the treen.

We'd have had this if it had been cheaper (£700!)  An absolutely adorable primitive child's chair.  Not that there are any primitive children in our house these days . . .

You may be able to read the price tag for this beautiful love token dated 1845.  I think it is £245 . . .

Does what it says on the label.  Some stunning glass from the Isle of Wight studio.  Just LOOK at that fabulous lamp base.

Well, this has taken me all day, on and off, to load.  The internet is SO slow, but only the thought of having to ring India is putting me off doing anything about it.  BT - I pay good money for this and it takes 20 minutes to load a photo?  No wonder businesses struggle so much in the countryside . . .

Saturday 29 April 2017

Day off - a Busman's holiday!

Isn't this Cucumber Jug fun?!  Just one of the things we saw at Builth Antiques Fair & Fleamarket today.  It's held twice a year and we always look forward to going and looking round.  It isn't a good fair for buying stock at - most of the traders there know their onions and not many bargains to be had, but I got a pretty glass jug which is in the Unit already, and K got a couple of blingy knives, which are also already offered for sale at the Unit.

I clocked up nearly 14,000 steps walking round so that burned enough calories up for me to be tempted by a Llanfaes Dairy (Italian style) icecream at the end - mine was Raspberry Pavlova, with a nice sharp raspberry taste, and K had chocolate.  I have since walked up the hill and beyond, taking photos, and am now on 19,000 steps, so will walk up the hill a bit again to round it up to 20,000.

As usual we saw lots of friends, either stalled out there or else - like us - walking round and seeing if there was anything worth buying.  It's always interesting to see what other folk are selling and what prices they hope to achieve!

We found our favourite stall was one from North Devon who sold treen, but WHAT treen, and some really unusual and rare things, as well as some really nice period chairs and small pieces of furniture.  We could have spent a fortune with him, and can confess that my Christmas present for 2017 has already been sorted!  - a really unusual costrel (I collect them).  This has now freed up three lesser (but still nice) costrels from my current collection which will go into stock, and I have fewer but better pieces on display at home.

I'll leave you with a funny moment from today.  K was on one side of a friend's stand and I on the other - it was narrow enough that we could have touched hands.  I saw something I wanted to draw his attention to and without looking, as I knew he was behind me, I put my hand out and tapped him on the bottom. There was no response, so I turned round and found K had moved and it was a stranger's btm I had been patting!!! To make matters worse, there was a giggling lady stood outside the stand, and I asked her - "Oh dear, was that your husband?"  Needless to say, it was!!!

I am having great trouble loading photos tonight, so will TRY to load one more whilst I am in the bath in a moment (yes, they take THAT long to load).

A lovely photo to end with - what is THIS for?!

Tuesday 25 April 2017

Some photos from the Antiques Fair at the Botanic Gardens

We are still recovering from a long (3 day) weekend.  All the setting up at an Antiques Fair takes a goodly while and it takes just as long to pack it all away again!  Here is a view of the rather splendid Welsh Folk Art chair, made entirely of thread bobbins, and dating from about 1880 - 1900.  It had been stored in a barn for a while, judging by the dust on it, so guess who got to clean and polish every bobbin?  

Some of the dust collectors offered for sale . . .

And yet more dust collectors.  I especially love the 1960s Royal Copenhagen blue bowl at the front.  Not to mention the Sami knife to its right, which has wonderful scraffiti reindeer engraved on it.

A selection of chairs and masks, and some more humble household stuff in the basket.

Bits and bobs - both the Beatrix Potter plates sold.

More ethnic stuff - lots from Africa, a splendid Omani dagger . . . and a really unusual Chinese bronze bed warmer . . .

My "Military Advisor's" end!!

Dashing off out now.  Hope you enjoyed this glimpse of our "other life".

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Across those well-loved fields - Malvern and Dymock

Easter Monday saw us rising at 3.45 a.m. to drive to the huge Fleamarket at Malvern.  It was dry but cool and the Fleamarket was packed out with buyers and sellers alike.  We bought some good stock and then, after a rest, headed back via Dymock, as I am compiling photos for a talk I've been asked to give on the Dymock Poets next month.

Above and below are photos across Malvern Vale.  a little fuzzy probably as I wasn't letting the camera focus properly before I took a photo.  Tiredness (I hadn't slept the night before, which was par for the course!)  The bright yellow fields of Oilseed Rape stood out well.

Above: long distance shot of walkers on the top of the Malvern Hills.  I've been up there but the once, over 35 years ago now.

I stopped the car on the road out of Malvern (which heads back down to the market town of Ledbury).  Some views across the fields.

Rain was heading our way!

Above: the cottage loaf type top of British Camp, which is an Iron Age hillfort.  I will direct you to the Wikipedia page, as that gives much better photographs than I could manage.  One of these days we will go there and just walk, instead of heading for home, exhausted by our early start and walking round the fair. We clocked up 18,000 + steps on Monday and walked for 5 hours.

A slightly blurry photo (again) of Bluebells in the woodland beside the layby.

Farmhouse just outside Ledbury, showing Oasthouses and newly-planted orchard.  There are new orchards being planted up throughout this area, as cider is so popular these days.  It is good to see the land being used to grow fruit trees, fruit bushes and vegetables.

The old train viaduct heading towards Ledbury.  It was completed and opened in 1861 and built by the respected Colwall engineer Stephen Ballard, who died the same year it was opened.  The 5 million bricks used to build it (by Ballard's brother Richard), were made on site, and the viaduct has 31 arches.

On to Dymock, and I stopped for photos whilst we were looking for the Dymock Poet's cottages. This may be May Hill in the distance (sorry for the pun!)

I dare say this landscape would seem quite alien if the Poets were suddenly to be reincarnated there today.  The fields would be much bigger, and the oilseed rape quite alien.

This tree would have been unrecognizable but makes a lovely shape in the current landscape.  More photos of the cottages will be over on my Edward Thomas blog (see sidebar) when I can get back to it.  We have a 2 day Antiques fair at the Botanic gardens this weekend, and sorting everything out for that is taking priority, with "spare" time being taken up with working on the Dymock Poets talk, gardening, and if I work the night-shift, redecorating down in mum's flat . . .  I think I need to be cloned . . .

Thursday 13 April 2017

Justice - as it was in 19th C Devon and a bit of a manslaughter in the family

"John East, for having stolen, on the 18th February last, at Newton St. Cyres, stolen a horse, the property of John Osmond; transported 10 years."

"Mary Ann Browning, for having stolen on the 2nd March inst, at East Stonehouse, two pair of ear-rings, the property of Harris Cohen,; transported 7 years."

"George Trustcott, for stealing a tea caddy; transported 7 years."

"James Coram, for stealing on the 28th Jan last, at Devonport, for stealing a rabbit, the property of Richard Radmore, imp., and kept to hard labour 6 cal. months."

"James Farmer, indicted of having, on the night of 15th of October last, having stolen a black mare, the property of  Wm. Warren of Ottery St Mary; the prisoner having been before convicted of stealing cows and other property, was convicted to be transported for 15 years."

"Robert Clapp,  for stealing at Witheridge, 3 meat cloths, 3 months, to hard labour."

"Thomas Nosworthy, charged with having on 1st January last, nr. Northtawton, wilfully and maliciously stabbed Richard Bolt, was remanded to the next assizes."  (Richard Bolt is, I think, related to my Moretonhampstead Bolts, being born there.)

These all date from the early months of 1840 . . .

                                                            *                 *                *

Thomas Nosworthy, 19, was charged with the manslaughter of Richard Bolt, on the night of the 1st January last, at Northtawton.  Richard Bickel lives at Northtawton: On the evening of the 1st January I was at the public housein that place.  The prisoner and Bolt, the deceased, came into the pub together and they had some ale to drink.  Bolt then went behind the settle and peered through a hole and saw the prisoner laughing and talking with another person; Bolt appeared to be thinking they were talking about him, and went in again and said, "Damn your eyes, what are you saying about me?  I can bear the share of the beer as well as you can.  After that they became good friends again."

John Cleane:  "I saw Bolt lying on the floor in Webbers' house,; Dr Budd shortly after arrived. I took a knife from the prisoner and next morning gave it to the Constable.  Bolt was bleeding from a wound in his neck and the prisoner was crying very much. "

Ann Stanley:  "I was at Webbers' house early in the morning of 2nd January.  I saw Bolt come in and fall down under the table; he did not speak.  The prisoner came in also."

Cross-examined: "I have lived for 2 years in the same house with Nosworthy, he was of a very quiet disposition."

William Ellacott:  "I was a fellow servant with the prisoner.  On the night of 1st January I heard a loud talking in the road.  I was afterwards called up.  I was told that Nosworthy had cut Bolt's throat.  I saw the prisoner, and he asked me if Bolt was dead.  He also said that he felt the knife hitch in him and that he would not have done it for a thousand pounds."

Hugh Pike, constable:  "I apprehended the prisoner on 2nd January.   I received a knife from Cleave, the prisoner said was his."

Dr William Budd:  "I am a physician at Northtawton.  I saw Bolt on the 2nd January, about one in the morning.  He had a wound on the left side of his throat, the other was on the chest.  I attended him till his death.  He died on 23rd March.  I believe his death to have been caused by the wounds he had received from the prisoner."

By the Court:  "The wound in the neck was about 3/4 inch in length and very deep; the knife must have penetrated to the handle.  It had divided an artery, the external carotid; the wounds got well some time after.  There were several nerves divided too.  The wound in the breast was not deep, and it was not of much consequence.  The deceased died of matter forming in the lungs, of inflammation, that inflammation being caused by the wound in the neck.  I made a post mortem examination of the body.  I thought the inflammation had been going on several weeks."

Ann Stanley recalled, "The deceased had generally very good health."

Mr Cockburn addressed the Jury in a very able and eloquent manner, on behalf of the prisoner, and called several witnesses who gave him a most excellent character.

The Jury returned the verdict, guilty of manslaughter.

Mr Cockburn remarked to the court that the prisoner had already been in prison for several months.

The Chaplain and Governor of the gaol here stated that the behaviour of the prisoner since his confinement had been exemplary.

He was then sentenced to one year's imprisonment with hard labour.

This taken from the Western Flying Post, Sherborne and Yeovil Mercury, 10th August 1840.

I am fairly certain Richard Bolt is "one of mine" on the Moretonhampstead side, so further investigation is needed as to the closeness of the relationship.

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Small achievements

I think this is Cardinal de Richeleau - although it could be Tuscany Superb. . . .

A couple of random rose photos for you today, as I have been planting roses.  I treated myself to a straightforward floribunda rose recently - Champagne Cocktail.  It has large scented semi-double pink-flushed yellow flowers.  It's gone in a gap in the main border and should grow well there in full sun.  I potted on a D.A. rose which has lost its label (one I got for about £7.95 at a stall in Malvern last summer, and couldn't resist - I bought 3 I think.)  I'll have more of a clue which it might be when it has flowered . . .

Yesterday I decided I would plant up one of my David Austin roses I've had growing in big tubs, as it wasn't looking terribly happy as I'd had to prune back its exuberant growth (it's a rambler).  This is the bewitching Veilchenblau, so now I will have to put up some trellis for it.  I will wait until we have finally moved (please let it be soon) before replacing it.  I have to say, it went in a nice deep hole with a good watering and a couple of handfuls of pelleted chicken poo and is looking happier already.  I got a tub of slow-release rose feed granules today and have gone round all the roses, and given them a good watering.  It's been dry for a while and everything in a pot is gasping.  I even remembered to pot on the two small White Foxgloves I got for 50p a pot recently, and which needed a bit more room to grow.  

I have begun - and finished in very short order - a new-to-me Diana Gabaldon book, "Virgins".  I shan't recommend it (though it was a pleasant enough read) as it is just a short story padded out at the end with the first couple of chapters of Cross Stitch (well, it was called that when I bought it, now renamed Outlander).  I think that was a bit mean.  A short story for the price of a book!

Now I have started on Elly Griffiths: The Chalk Pit and even a few chapters in, think I will soon be hooked on her novels.  I am glad there are a few more to read.

I made a double batch of Cornish Fairing Biscuits (ginger biccies) this morning. The dough is very satisfying as you melt the butter and syrup with the sugar and combine it with flour and spices to make a nice ball which you can roll into littler balls and then flatten on a greased tray.  The fat made my hands nice and soft.

Our bed is changed and remade, but I have just made the decision to replace the current duvet which is a bit long in the tooth, though top quality when bought so it has lasted well, with a duck feather and down summer weight one which had a hypoallergenic dustmite-proof cover, and a pair of matching pillows. I hope this will help my asthma as my main allergy is to dust mites.  

It is now looking rather gloomy out, and I am rather hoping it might rain as the garden could do with a drink.  Mind you, tomorrow might do, as I have left the shallow shelf of the wildlife pond to dry as I am going to put another layer of pond liner over it and tuck it away under the edging stones, as it has worn through there, and then I'll put a series of big stones across the front edge in the water to hold it down.  It has a little leak somewhere so I am hoping this will stop it.  All the tadpoles have died - some got washed into undergrowth when the water levels rose a couple of weeks back, and then it dropped and they were left high and dry.  In the main pond, they have just faded away - yet there were thousands in there . . .

Right, a bath and a good book are in order.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Yesterday's walk - the Oaks are weeks ahead

I was in the kitchen the other evening when I heard the unmistakable sound of a hot air balloon's burner, as they tried to gain height.  I grabbed my camera and rushed out into the garden, where this balloon was right over the house, and nearly low enough to smell their aftershave!  When mum lived at her cottage in Milo, she was always delighted when the chap with the balloon who lived a few fields away, took advantage of a calm warm day and put the balloon up.  This is the same guy.

In an attempt to finally clear my sinuses, as my cold goes into a 3rd week, I took myself out for what turned out to be a two hour walk, up the steep valley side to Ty Coch, and then around the bridleway loop.  The first Bluebells are out, but I had the camera on the wrong setting, so had to delete the out-of-focus photos.  An obligatory river photo to begin with, down by the Mill.

Above and below: near Carmarthen Lodge, the lane crosses a little stream nowadays, but 100 years ago there was a ford here across this stream, if you wished to continue up the hill, and the MAIN lane went straight on - it is now just a trackway into woodland . . .  One of these days I am going to climb over the gate and go exploring!

Welsh Mountain Ponies and a couple of cobs in the background at Ty Coch farm.  They have plenty to eat, but their feet can't be doing to well in all that mud.

This lovely cottage was derelict for quite a few years, but then property prices improved and it has been done up and more recently, done up again, this time the cement mortar between the stonework replaced with lime mortar, so the walls can breath properly.

Across the fields, a different angle on Bannau Sir Gar, the Carmarthen Fans - the Black Mountain that I take photos of at the top of our hill.

Behind the cottages, I take to the bridleway.

Fiddleheads of ferns ufurling.  In America, various types of fiddleheads were cooked in the spring.  Some are toxic (Bracken for one) so care needs to be taken.

The main bridleway (leading away South from where I joined it.)  This heads over towards a lane which joins up with one to Cwrt Henry.

A good collection of beehives along the hedgerow.  Our builder, Steve, used to have beehives on our top field, as there are plenty of wild cherry trees in the woodland, and our half a dozen apple trees too.

It gives me such pleasure to see the trees getting their leaves.  This year, the sudden warm spell has encouraged the Oaks into leaf and they are FAR ahead of the lazy Ash trees, so let's hope for a good summer, as in recent years they have been neck and neck and it's rained a lot.

The lane ahead . . .

. . . and round the corner, the view across the valley, and an Oak tree springing into life.

Finally, a close up photograph I got right - this is the flower just emerging on the Navelwort.

Right, this won't do, back to the talk on the Dymock Poets I am trying to write.  There's another new post in my ET blog in the sidebar (Dust on the Nettles).