Wednesday 29 June 2022

A Jaunt round Malvern Fleamarket

 Sunday was the June Fleamarket at Malvern.  I took my friend Pam along and nearly walked the legs off her! 23,000 steps by the end of the day.  She really enjoyed herself and gosh we chatted non-stop!

What I would have bought if I'd let myself .  I think I have noted it before - it was £22, so she obviously wants £20, but I will let it go to someone else to treasure.

I would have given this house-room too, but made myself settle for just a photo of it.

Warning - photo of ancient mummified cat next.  If you are of a "yuk don't like such things" disposition, quickly scroll on by!!

A mummified cat.  These (once dead) were placed in thatched rooves or walls of cottages to deter mice and rats (supernaturally - the hunting spirit of the cat carried on). There's one in the little Museum at the top of Gold Hill in Shaftesbury.  I also have a whispered memory of one at a pub on the A31 just before Henbury (on the Wimborne Minster - Blandford road in Dorset).

Isn't this horse head amazing?  All made from motorbike parts by the stallholder.  I told him he was very talented.

I really liked this vase - had a look of Exeter pottery about it, but the chap wanted £50 and wouldn't budge a penny.  Crikey, he even wanted £100 (!!!) for one of those round mesh egg holders - French - it came from a Chateau so that made it a lot more valuable apparently!  I bet he didn't sell it at that price.  I'd have put it £45 max.

I've never seen a grey and white bunny (hare) tureen before.

Some photos from our favourite stall, which always has really interesting items.  I had a good chin-wag with the lady who owns it, as usual.  She asked where "Mr £5" was - e.g. Keith!  He's always cheeky and offers her a fiver on something with a MUCH bigger price.

A lovely carving of a head, using a chunk of Chestnut log.

I was idly scanning this stall and suddenly did a double take :)  The things you can buy at Malvern - ithyphalic African carvings . . .

It's all go for me in the kitchen now, redecorating, though some colour choosing needs to be done first.  The ancient yellowing white on the windows and skirting boards, and two glass "windows" between the Utility and the kitchen and on the staircase at the side of the kitchen is looking very tired.  I don't want white again so am looking for a pale and wan "touch of verdigris" colour.  The Ivory (or rather White Lace) paint I've started to paint the kitchen walls in makes the units look properly cream, but isn't quite right, so will have to be the base (two coats at least to cover those blues) for the creamier top-coat.  I think it's going to take a couple of weeks to do it all.  I did all the preparation to cover the old tile marks yesterday so that just needs rubbing down this morning.  Just as well it's grey and rainy - but still polleny - again outside.  Watch this space.

Tuesday 28 June 2022

My new kitchen - a mini "tah-dah" moment

 A sort of mini "tah-dah" moment, as the kitchen is 3/4 finished.  Just waiting on the electrician to come back and finish off and today I start to fill in old holes, rub down and smooth over rough edges where the old tiles went up a little higher, and then I can start painting.  Most of the kitchen will be Ivory, nice and neutral, but the wall at the other end of the kitchen, where we eat, is going to be a sort of mid Teal-ish blue to tie in with a colour within the splashback.  I didn't want to have the paler turquoise.  Colours are hard to see properly on-line and when Tam found this, we thought it was slightly greener - as in Verdigris, but it is definitely  turquoise which we already have in the bathroom.  So . . . watch this space for the finished thing.  I still love it, especially when the sun is shining on it.

It was an absolute delight to know we wouldn't have to keep setting the alarm for 7.30 (builder arrived at 8.15) but of course, I still woke before 6!  Today will be a Polyfilla sort of day, but I hope to be able to paint some areas.  Two different colour blues and a yellow at the far end of the kitchen!!

First before . . . definitely in need of improvement as it dated from 1996, doors were falling apart, knobs falling off and the tiles NOT to my taste.  We still have a lavender roller blind for the moment but that will get replaced later.

There was a two foot wide gap between the cooker and the unit we had to butcher to get the new and larger cooker in.  You can see the scorch marks where we had to cut through the counter.  Modern kitchens come with a stack of drawers instead of drawers at the top of each unit, so I've had to do some re-arranging, but it's worked out ok.

The crowded area which is where we make tea.

The beginning of the end for the Old Kitchen.  What a MESS!

Now, that's a bit better I hope you will agree. I just wanted simple Shaker style units. The tiles are several different blues together with brown, and they are called Wightwick - which of course tied in with visiting Wightwick Manor 3 or so years ago. I didn't chose them for the name, but it's nice to have the connection!

I chose a single bowl ceramic sink and drainer.  The counter top is a lovely stormy grey with a little brown in it too.  It's called Purbeck (another coincidence, as I used to do a lot of walking in the Purbecks when we lived in Dorset.  It reminds me of a stormy sea. There are little narrow infills either side of the cooker, which pull out and have mesh baskets in them, so I have stored pills and potions in one side, and small empty (new) storage jars in the other, which are waiting for me to get creative in the autumn, to make little gifts for Christmas.

This is the Aged Copper splashback.  Tam found this and we went with it as the tawny brown ties in with the browns in the tiles.  The turquoisey areas looked more Verdigris (greener) in the photo on line, and each design differs so we have less brown than the one shown at Premier Range splashbacks website. My first choice of paint for the wall behind the settle, at the other end of the kitchen will now be a mid-Teal colour which also appears in the splashback.  The rest of the kitchen will be neutral in Ivory.  We love this but I know it won't be to everyone's taste.

Now I have useful storage beneath my wall display cabinet.  The cat food lives in here, and room for plenty more besides!

There is also a matching full height larder cupboard in the Utility, which also gives me plenty of space for storage.

BTW, little Ghengis is totally healed now - in fact, 8 days in the big wound had closed up and just had a tiny scab on it.  We were able to take the "donut" collar off after just 4 days! He didn't lick it but DID remove the puckered scab which had formed and was holding the edges of the wound apart.  He's a little Trooper, bless him.

Right, this won't do.  It's bin day and I need to get cracking with the Polyfilla once I've got Keith's newspaper. Watch this space.    Quick glimpse of hand-sewn quilt I am trying to get finished:

I'm working on squaring it up now.

Oh, and before I forget, we went to view a suitable Mobility Scooter in Llandod yesterday and have bought it.  Just need to wait for the ramps I bought yesterday evening to be delivered so we can collect it.  This is an expensive model when new, which does go on grass but this chap has been struggling to sell it (lots of them about on Facebook Marketplace) and people tend to go for the cheaper ones. Glad we didn't go down the Tramper type route as they are VERY hefty (but go cross-country!!)

Monday 27 June 2022

A wet t-shirt sort of day

 My brain is officially switched off this morning.  I have driven long distances 3 days in a row and walked miles round Malvern yesterday.  Then I woke up at 4.45 this morning (same time I set the alarm for yesterday but today it was set for 7.30 . . .)  I am going to be resting up today I think.  

        On Friday K and I went to Abergavenny to check out Mobility Scooters at the Mobility Centre there.  Well, even the medium range folding one was too heavy to lift in the car when broken down into pieces. 25 Kg for the main part.  I can't lift that 2 feet off the ground these days, with arms wide apart.  A sack of something that weight I could just about manage by grasping it round the waist . . .  Plan B . . .

        Anyway we decided to check out a "virtually new and unused" mob. scooter (with ramps)  at Ludlow on Saturday.  The weather made for interesting driving - torrential rain approaching and leaving Knighton.  You could hardly see the road.  We passed a pair of stoical walkers, with backpacks, and I don't think there can have been a dry inch on them - talk about a wet t-shirt competition!  

When we got there, the property was at the back of a semi-circle of houses and Keith had to walk 100 yds to check out the mob. scooter - too lightweight we reckoned, but it didn't go either.  They either had never ever charged it, so the battery was caput, or they just hadn't done so recently.  They knew we weren't local (it's over an hour's drive) - you think they would have mentioned this to save us a journey.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't pay good money for something that can't be proved to WORK!  Unsurprisingly, Keith was on his hunkers yesterday and not much more mobile today. 

        On the way home we were going through Leominster, so Tam and I (she was here for the weekend) abandoned Keith to his newspaper and quickly scooted round Leominster Priory Church which has Herfordshire Romanesque carvings.

We couldn't resist taking a photo upstream along the River Lugg before heading for the Church.

It is quite imposing.  In the Domesday Book, the town is recorded as being held by the king and there were 6 priests there.  Henry I refounded the Priory in 1123 and the nave and West front of this Romesque church still survive and archaeological excavations have revealed an eastern arm, crossing and transepts.

A small lion head sculpture was used above several windows.

The left capitals of the West doorway have beautiful Herefordshire school carvings, and you may recognize the Birds on the left from Castle  Frome church. Obviously a design the masons were familiar with.  Indeed, the fighting men topping the central pillar can be compared with those at Kilpeck - note the same padded garments, clearer in the photos below.  On the right are two serpents entwined with foliage - a similar design to that used at Shobdon.

Those "beehive" hats made me smile!

The serpents look almost as if they have beaks. 

In his book about The Herefordshire School of Romanesque Sculpture, Malcolm Thurlby calls these "two affronted lions with big, floating paws and large heads turned en face."  They have such character. Indeed, they have a larger relative inside the Church . . .

The wonderful Norman West door.  Tam and I could hear an orchestra inside, and wondered if we would still be able to go in and look round.  It turned out they were tuning up and practicing for a performance that  evening so we were able to go in the areas they weren't.  The music was a wonderful backdrop to our visit.

As we were in a hurry (K in the car) we missed some of the sculptures around the windows, but I will go back and check them out next time we're in town.

A very grand chair indeed, with wonderful carvings on it.  I wonder who gets to sit in this?

The font is a modern one.  I would love to know what was there in the 12th C.

A green man, this seems to me, but Thurlby describes it as "a human mask with biforkated, plaited beard spewing leafless vines." 

In case you can't read it clearly these are 12th C Ddoor Hinge Hooks set in lead. They were recovered from the masonry of the West Norman doorway to make way for larger hooks when the new doors were hung at the time of the Coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953.  They date from the time of the original building of he doorway.  This part of the church was concentrated in 1130 and were therefore in use for 823 years!

Isn't this Lion amazing?  Not sure what he has been used for but 

More beautiful carving on the Pulpit.

This was just amazing - a Mosaic of The Last Supper (see below).  This is by Peter Barnes and is on temporary display here. I didn't realize it was made using keyboard keys, so there are messages within the design.

A beautiful hand-sewn screen.

Sadly the light was very poor and I couldn't get close to take better photos as the orchestra was sat nearby.

One of the earlier still legible gravestones along the outer wall.

Goodness, this has taken me all morning to write up, and two days to get photos up as SO tired and busy.  Yesterday was a Malvern Fleamarket day and will take some getting over.  Went to St Mary's Church, Kempley (again) and Much Marcle on the way home.  The friend I took is probably suffering from cultural indigestion now!