..

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

The space I love...

the most in our new home.  I knew I would.I potter, I sweep, I rearrange, I draw rain water from the water butts.  I hoover it up with my eye all the while tweaking as I go.  In charity shops I am constantly on the lookout for unusual artefacts to set the scene.  This morning as I was contentedly fussing, I thought not many of my friends get where I’m coming from in my thrill of the grouping of odd, what to them is tat?  Am I bothered?  Not a bit of it!
The garden will over time revert to my usual let the plants and flowers dictate what they require.  Alright as it is now there is a very well structured designer something in flower every season, type of vibe.  I plan when money allows to have a sedum roof on the garden room.  As it is now the garden is devoid of wildlife other than a plethora of birds which in the Wrenery have now discovered the feeder.  They are constantly having a bath in the shallow water troughs put out for just this purpose.  They fly in and out completely happy with the fact there is a glass ceiling.  My idea of us sitting out there to have coffee has been thwarted by the growing collection of old tut!


The Wrenery.
If you look very closely you can see a sparrow on the wall top looking up into the square feeder trying to assess how to get up and in to feast on the goodies.  It has been up a few weeks and the first to find it was a
 robin who flew up onto the light and in.  The next was an ambitious sparrow who did a circular fly past, the next recce she flew in a semi circle from the top of my stone bookends and straight in.  The sparrows kick out what the don’t want, the robins delicately sit inside and select the 
mealworms.  It is fascinating to watch.  The beauty of the sparrows MO is the dunnocks get a share of the grub as they very studiously potter about on the ground tidying up the 
mess.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Dog update.,.

the yearning is bubbling up in both of us.
Himself is the sensible one, who puts the brake on my Calamity Jane... ‘Well slapper my thigh, let’s get cracking!’
The voice of reason... now is not a good time what with the two lots of workmen trolling into the house, the Scottish trip etc., etc.
Yes, yes, I totally get it but it doesn’t harm me looking!  Well, actually it does!
Yer, yer, YER!
I have seen two, one a very nervous young collie, so husband is obviously right on this one.  The other is a more outgoing collie cross, who unfortunately has been spoken for and worse than that has a reserve waiting in the wings.  That to me is a mere bagatelle, as we are so obviously the right family for either dog.  Well I would say that wouldn’t I?  A famous quote from Mandy Rice Davies.
The nervous collie reminds me so much of Lettice and the joy she became over the years of work, love and encouragement.  She would definitely have to wait for our return from holiday, as she would need a calm home to come to.  I think she might not be chosen for all the qualities that appeal to us, so she could still be available on our return.  Trouble there is as her foster carer has told me the longer she stays with her the more she bonds and thinks she has found her forever home.
The other one, if I could by sheer weight of personality railroad the others out I would. Well I say that but don’t really mean it.  All I really, really want is for both dogs to
 find the right people for them, can I help 
it that being biased I think we are the right ones for them?
Best not to look LL, I hear you thinking, 
however...


Monday, 29 July 2019

My neighbour...

 Donald Downs Esq.

Eccentric man of fish and maybe bosooms?
Hopefully you can read the blurb alongside  the photograph?
This was the gentleman I was referring to in my last blog post.
Donald was my next door but one, neighbour. We lived on Hosey Common which is just a mile from Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s home.
His cottage was a Hansel and Gretel pretty brick built abode.  Although he was an 
architect he never felt the need to install a lavatory or hot running water.  Preferring to go to the lav at the bottom of the garden. That was fine until the day when he was laid low with the flu, which is when LL rode to the rescue.  In I went with a nourishing bowl of stew and tatties and there before me was the vision of Donald sat by the fire amongst the detritus of bachelor living, clad in long nightshirt topped off with a night cap.  On a previous visit I had braved the rickety-rackety stairs to see him in bed. Ever mindful of where I put my feet in order not to walk into the many and various bottles full of Tizer, Irnbru and Dandelion and Burdock... or maybe not!?!

Donald was definitely one of life’s true eccentrics, he was a ‘Scot’ although this 
particular Scot was born not a million miles 
away from where we lived!  He effected a broad Scots accent and was immersed in all things Scottish.  Googling his name today I was amazed to see Donald Downs ‘Baird’... an affectation?
Every Hogmanay we would share a quaich of whisky.



My sandstone cottage is on the right of the 
pair.  Donald’s is the next one up.  Photograph is Circa 1900, give it another 101 years then through the rose surrounded window  is the scene of Breastgate!  This picture I have on my wall a copy given to me by yes you’ve guessed it... Donald.


Thanks to Frances for giving me the subject of this my next post.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

You know how it...

is when you step out of the shower and wander around the house with just a towel wrapped around you?
Picture the scene if you can, I was living alone after Simon had died with just my faithful companion the dog.  In the kitchen I felt the towel begin to slip, to this day I have no idea why instead of turning to the window looking out onto the back garden I turned to the front opening the towel wide in order to get the maximum amount to go round my ample curves.  Only to look into the face of my bachelor neighbour two doors up called Donald. His middle finger was held in the air much the same as you would if you were giving someone a rude gesture from which hung a freshly caught trout!
His mouth opened and closed as if he was a fish in an aquarium, much the same as mine must have done!
I’ll leave you to guess who was the most embarrassed?
Incidentally he was a very talented if eccentric man who practised his casting on the common opposite our cottages.  An artist who composed the most wonderful and amusing sketches and ditties which he performed at local folk singing events.

I often wondered if my double d’s we’re ever immortalised in song and sketch?

# The two that got away! #


Funny the things that come into your mind?

Saturday, 27 July 2019

We have a better...

calibre of bag lady in Ludlow and no I don’t mean me!?!
Just yesterday walking into town a rather large bott was facing up to the sky, clad in  taupe linen dungarees with acres of white skin showing underneath.  Her head was firmly in the rubbish bin, now whether it is because Ludlow is such a happening town the refuse is of a higher quality I really couldn’t say!
As I passed by I wondered what was she doing as she definitely didn’t look like a bona fide tramp?
A couple of years ago in Canterbury sitting outside a restaurant I spied a slim elegant, (well to say elegant wasn’t strictly true, elegant in my mind.  Which in itself is questionable?) woman pushing a bicycle. She was a vision completely and utterly in her own sweet world.  She stopped and from the many bags adorning her bike she got out a pair of shoes which she tried on, admiring them as she turned her foot this way and that!  Her hair was powdered, yes powdered with what looked like the contents of a box of Fred’s finest Homepride flour.  She was adorned with jewellery of every colour and bling.  I walked up to her and said how much I admired her style, which I honestly did.  She obviously wasn’t used to being spoken to, as she stood looking at me in the same funny way that I had looked at her. On reflection we must have looked strange two odd woman gazing into each other’s eyes.  Hubs, meanwhile looked on as only husbands can! On closer inspection she had gold chipped nail polish and was made up to the nines, well eight and a halfs.  Alice Cooper would have been proud.
I carried on chatting not caring that I wasn’t eliciting any response.  As I said goodbye she did grunt in a positive way!

On getting home, I routelled out my much loved gold nail varnish and some tiny white stars on fine wire, which I suggested would look good threaded through her hair. Some other odds and ends I thought she might like and sent them with a message to the sorting office in Canterbury to deliver to the lady with the bike in Canterbury.  With an accompanying fan letter.
I never got a reply, nor did I expect one.



Thursday, 25 July 2019

How is it...

that some folk you meet look so glossy, polished and clean?
They positively sparkle with skin glowing, clothes bandbox smart, neat as a pin and good to go!  You stand before them and stare taking in the clean newly pressed collar without the merest hint of a grime line. Shirt ironed to perfection, trousers pressed and brushed to within an inch of their lives.
Women who have a beautiful natural coiffured hairstyle without the merest hint of
Trumpesque wind tunnel defying Elnet firm hold.  Linen dresses that wouldn’t be so bold as to do the very common thing linen always does... crease! 
Tanned smooth legs devoid of the merest sensation of a hair.  Upper arms that are well honed and used to cracking walnuts between fore arm and upper, a daily workout no self respecting paragon would ever think of passing on!
Looking you over their bright 
miss-nothing eyes take in the vision that is you. Lingering over the tie dye dress you bought in Chang Mia in the early noughties and have worn without fail every summer since. You love it: the fact the bleach used to make the pattern has eaten into the fabric is a mere bagatelle.  The canteen medals of bygone meals over the intervening years have never quite washed away.  Their very faint but oily presence just completes the bag lady persona that you have without realising it become.



Me in the garden in Goudhurst 24 July, 2012 knocking out the odd blog.  As I sit here now I am wearing the same dress...




Monday, 22 July 2019

Samovar a.go.go...

just signed up with the Ludlow League of Friends for a licence to drive the tea trolley around the wards of our little community hospital.
A breath of fresh air or a pain in the arse?
I’ll leave you to decide...


Sunday, 21 July 2019

Is it the...

creepage of the years that suddenly I can no longer spell very well?  Not I hasten to add did I ever have the full command of language!
Now even the simplest of words evade me, some days more than others.  I kid myself that the very real reason for my failings isn’t the rapidly dying grey cells but this infernal thing... blooming spell check!  Added to which the thing thinks it knows better than me what I want to say, adding the most weird words?  My trouble is, I decide the gist and take off with fingers flying over the keys.  In my full-on style I haven’t the time for mere trifles like grammaticals (I do love words that aren’t correct, but somehow strangely right).  An English teacher would have a field day with my prose, the dunces hat would become a permanent perched on the top of my empty head.  Am I bothered?  Not a bit, I enjoy the flying in the face of the norm.
What’s bought this post about you might idly wonder?  Well, I’ll tell you: just this morning reading out a piece in today’s paper I said Democlots.  Laughing  fit to bust I had a passing horrible thought maybe the brain is seizing up?  A Freudian slip? Depends which side of the fence you’re on I suppose?


Saturday, 20 July 2019

With heavy legs...

and even heavier hearts we walked away!
I was convinced this sweet girl had spoken to me from the electronic page.  I phoned up to enquire, I filled in the forms and reserved her in readiness for her to come home with us.  Off we went to deepest Staffordshire, full of hope, lightness in our step.  After much deliberation a name was decided on.  The job was as far as we knew a good’un.  On the hour and forty minute journey we rationalised about if she wasn’t right we would walk away.  Both of us convinced this was the one!
Pulling in to the rescue centre we we both impressed with the well run establishment.  This is it!
As we sat at the desk with the barely concealed excitement of the full expectation of good exam results after months and months of hard slog... what could possibly go wrong?  I had given husband the full-on power of my persuasive rhetoric.  I had done such a good job I think he was secretly more convinced than I was?  
The wheels started coming off when the guy behind the desk came to the bit about our plans to holiday in the Highlands in late September.  ‘This dog hasn’t had her first season yet and it could be that she comes into season when you are away! This could present big problems!’  Himself worryingly looked at me.  Me, who I ought to say wasn’t having any of it!
‘We could easily get around it!’ I grandly replied from my usual no nothing position!
‘Best you don’t meet her if this is going to
 be a problem!’ the guy said. Husband got it,
 I needless to say didn’t.
I wanted to see her.  And see her we did: she was a very nervous sweet little collie who the minute I clapped eyes on her, knew, just knew she wasn’t the one!  The husband was sold.  Call it a woman’s intuition but there wasn’t even the tiniest of sparks for me.
We walked her around the green space, she didn’t walk at all well on the lead, that wasn’t a problem as I had experienced just that with Tish.  Personally I just couldn’t no matter how hard I tried, feel the love.
I think as we drove away we both felt we made
 the right decision on all counts.



Sunday, 14 July 2019

My Highlander wants...

a working collie.
I phoned him last night to say we would be there in September.  His news, his calm and lovely collie had come to the end of her life, her poor body was riddled with cancer.
 He was so sad, like so many shepherds he loved his dogs and treated them as pets.  On our last phone call we were talking about my wanting a dog.  He said the way to train a dog is through love not fear, that had been his way all his working life.  A couple of years ago his dog had had a litter of pups, one of which he offered to give to me.  At the time I wasn’t ready, added to which I thought it unfair to take a dog with a Highland life ahead to bring away from the environment it was bred into.  Sadly he didn’t keep one of the puppies for himself.  He is now struggling to find a working bitch, as so many folk are using quad bikes on the hill.
I suggested he put a advertisement in the local paper, that most definitely isn’t the Highland way.  He has asked at the market and the word is out.  The trouble is at eighty he hasn’t the time to train a new dog, so his only hope now is to find a shepherd who is retiring.  Most, you would think would be keen to keep their dogs as companionship in their retirement.

Me, being me, has written an advertisement for him.  It is in the post as we speak! Husband has advised against my usual approach... just do it without him 
knowing!?!  We do go back along time and I 
have  the greatest love and respect for him as he has for me.  Regrettably I think Hubs has a point... 
‘Don’t interfere LL!’  For once I will be 
sensible and follow his sage advice.




Any ideas?  Maybe, just maybe you know of someone... vain hope, but there you are!



Saturday, 13 July 2019

Two topics to...

write about today...
Spam
Becoming a hermit
Which to choose?
Both of which hold me in a thrall
Can you help me to decide?


Well, spam it is then!?!
Just this morning I deleted 75 spam comments that had snuck onto my blog.  Is it a man, a machine or does it as if by magic appear when a word has occurred that floats its boat?  I really don’t want to go to the trouble of... the prove your not a computer sort of thing. It all becomes too tedious for the reader and the blogger.  And does anyone actually 
think ... I know what I’ll do... I will ring up about learning sandscript or maybe a trip out to Mumbai would fit the bill at this particular time in my life?  Oh and what about ‘Tortoise Haters Anonymous’,best I give that a whirl. Ooh, what a good thing this spam has reminded me to renew my membership for the ‘Cabbage Patch doll Appreciation Society’.
Then there’s the ‘Wagon Wheels were never 
this Small when I was a Kid Club’.  Or ‘I well remember the Blue Police Boxes which were shelter from the rain for six hairy old coppers before Dr Who turfed them out Society’  Good job the spam has 
reminded me of just a fraction of all that this wonderful world has to offer.  In the meantime the life of becoming a hermit becomes ever more appealing...

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Does anyone know...

why the presenters of serious and interesting programmes talk and then trog off after giving to camera another nugget of information about the subject?  The two presenters who come to mind are Alice Roberts who over the years has given us such fascinating topics from the human bod to archaeology and all stations in between.  All the while stepping out over fields and hills, streets, snickleways and thoroughfares.
The latest is Lisa Hilton presenting 
Charles I Downfall of a King.
She stares into the camera lens with the oddest of blue eyes and a wart on her chin.  The hairs on my neck stood up as I waited for her to blink.  And then like Alice she struts off, or on occasions, lays on the floor to admire the wild frescoes, that Banksy would have been proud to call his own.  Ballerina like she twirls on the spot, no, not the one on her chin, to take in the room in which she finds herself.  Then you’ve guessed it her itchy feet take her off again.  Personally I wouldn’t mind if occasionally they nipped into a Macky D’s, Kentucky Fried or even an odd public lavatory... but no the subject matter is far too weighty for such mundane happenings.
Then there’s the man with the brolley and the Scottish bloke with the man bag all wandering across our screens?
Brian Cox does it too and all I can think about as he strides up a hill to get closer to the moon, is for goodness sake watch where you put your feet as there’s bound to be 
rabbit holes up them there hills!



Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Tales from the ...

countryside smack in the middle of town.
Today has been a pottering day, the clock was put on the wall, it will be ages before himself jiggles it until the clock settles to keeping the right time.  Patience is needed just as well I’m not put in charge of marking time.  If it were me I’d give it a smack and tell it to behave itself.  The husband talks soothingly, encouraging and gently massaging until the clock with a sigh accepts that this is to be its new home.




The bird feeder has been put into the Wrenery filled with seeds and mealworms and we wait patiently, that word again for the birds to discover their new feeding station.






The nesting box has been sighted in amongst the ivy on the wall in plenty of time for the small birds in the winter to use it to roost in.  Later hopefully for a robin to call it home come the spring.  Can you see it poking out in amongst the greenery?





I’ve made a start on the sauce for the vegetarian moussaka for supper.  The bread is proving in the warm of the Orangery.
 I love these not really achieving a huge amount, but nevertheless enjoyable pottering days, don’t you?

Sunday, 7 July 2019

The thing is...

I’ve had a bit of a day.  I don’t think I want a dog now!?!  Today after the excitements of the last couple of days I was really, really looking forward to a fun day at the Shrewsbury Dog Trust.  Even the husband was getting into the whole idea.  I packed a picnic and after the requisite stop-off at the council dump, he knows how to treat a girl to a magical day out, we set off.  Parking the car cheek by ‘growl’ in a field, it seemed to me as if evey car had a dog in it.  Alright I know the invite said dogs welcome, however...  I looked at every variety of owner and dog and thought the world has gone mad.  What are we all doing when there is so much hunger in the world, so many dispossessed travelling the planet for a space to call their own and the assurance of a daily meal, not a lot to ask. Pampered pooches, the latest must-have accessory, as seen on the television were thick on the ground.  In the shade of a tree we sat, my mind awhirl with the magnitude of what I was going to say to himself after all this time of whinging and moaning about wanting a dog.  The sight of dogs in the kennels, some resigned to being peered at by these strange folk called human beings that some had every reason to know weren’t all they were cracked up to be. I walked back to the car with a heavy heart thinking and ultimately saying to himself would he mind if we had a rethink?
We go up to my old township on the north west coast of Scotland in September and know that in a heartbeat my wonderful chum Iain would 
find me a dog.  Without the merest hint of my wishes, we will go and see how things pan out.  My last much loved dog chose me and maybe, just maybe, it may happen again, this time a Scottish dog from a much loved friend?  Lettice was such a special dog, she will be a hard act to follow...


Friday, 5 July 2019

The story of the errant ...

hat.
All was quiet, himself had gone to the osteopath for a little light manipulation having walked into a bollard the day before.
This is 100% true, however the mishaps don’t stop there.
Nipping into the downstairs cloakroom for a quick wee, washing my hands I happened to glance into the pan.  I was horrified to see what looked like an enormous happening.  My first thought was a blockage and after all that money we have spent on the getting to the bottom of the pong!  I quickly turned on the light as I am nothing if not mindful of the planet!  On cautiously peering a little closer, I discovered his newly bought brown sun hat with a rather fetching topping of white toilet paper.  With great care I fished it out idly wondering how it had got there?  Into a bucket it went and was given the treatment, all the while me thinking good job it was only a wee piddle and nothing more robust?  I hung it to dry on one of the bamboo canes in the Wrenery.
On his return I kindly inquired as to how his strained hamstring was, with the over-ride of 
‘You lost anything?’  Along with your dignity yesterday with Bollardgate, which I obviously didn’t say... thought it though!
Scratching his sunhatless head his reply was a cagey... ‘No!’

‘Well feast your eyes on the new bamboo topping!’
A manly grunt?

‘This was found treading water in the bog!’

After lunch we stepped out with himself wearing the damp hat...

‘To keep my head cool you understand and it will dry faster!’



No answer to that!


Thursday, 4 July 2019

I have a thing...

about...
enamel cookware
mirrors on outside walls
unusual earrings
magnetic bookmarks
dahlias, which to me are like garlic 
to a vampire
manicured gardens
men in singlets, orange in particular 
televisions on in every room with nobody watching any of them
noise, man made
politicians
big talkers 
tomatoes, I am the founder member of 
Tomatoholics Anonymous  
cheese
mascara, where would us girls be 
without it 
men adjusting their bits
celery
smelly dogs, or don’t you notice the pong of your own dog
beetroot, my tipple of choice these days is beetroot juice and spicy tomato
champagne, except I’ve lost the taste
crisps, so good but so bad
housework, what is the point as within hours the dust is settling again 
having lots of ideas but being too idle to do much about them
feeling guilty when for too many years to mention I have worked blooming hard, and now feel flaming uncomfortable doing nowt
swimming, alright I know it’s good for you 
but what a bind it is trying to get a damp 
bod back into a brassiere 
oatcakes
fashion in things from veganism, dogs, the colour grey, Dr. Scholls with soles fashioned from railway sleepers, kaftans, clean eating... wot is that?
mobile phones
wipes, what was wrong with Bronco, alright not the most comfortable I agree

My thoughts, just the tip of the iceberg: which en masse are rapidly melting into the sea taking along with it, the pack ice, the polar bears’ hunting ground. 

Bet you can think of many more?
Good and bad...








Monday, 1 July 2019

The garden room is...

now sorted, well after a fashion?
The huge cupboard is stuffed full of boxes with all the paraphernalia of a crafting life that with the best will in the world hasn’t gone stratospheric!  A huge box of felting-making clobber, another full of felt enough to make Joseph a Sunday best coat, making his weekday coat very drab in comparison.  Snippets of Liberty fabric, an odd assortment of fabrics, a drawer full of every colour of sewing cotton.  My sewing machine sits forlorn under my desk, its sole aim in life these days is for me to rest my feet on!  Knitting needles enough to lay end to end and reach the moon, that you may have guessed was a fib?  Crochet hooks the same, that’s an even bigger one as they are so much shorter, obv!
After I’ve artistically rearranged the long book shelves all I need to do now is sit outside with Lacrosse stick held aloft and catch some talent floating by on the gentle breeze over the river Teme, easy!?!  On second thoughts a butterfly net might be better as I suspect the spores of talent are minuscule as thus far they have managed to avoid my flailing arms!

The interesting thing I have discovered on looking back on my last oh so many diaries is that all these years I’ve been on a diet and my flaming weight has stayed the same.  Is there a hidden message there I idly wonder?  Alright half a stone here and there, but an average taken would be pretty much as I am
today.  No reason for complacency LL I tell 
myself as today Monday another diet hoves  
into view!

The garden is stuffed with the most beautiful array of flowers and interesting plants with I suspect something showy for every season.
Yesterday I lashed the garden hoe and rake across between two arches as the two clematis were determined to join together in holy 
matrimony. I decided to make the union formal by sealing their fumblings with string and gaffer tape.  I’m nothing if not an advocate of doing things right and proper!?!
As I stepped back to admire my handiwork, mindful obviously of making sure I had got off the ladder first!  I fast forwarded in my mind’s eye to next year when I will introduce a larger arch.  This cobbled together way at
least let’s me see whether my idea would work
 or not?



My other idea of replacing some of the paving stones with a creeping thyme or camomile lawn  have been scotched by my reading that a dog’s  administrations would kill them off!

Oh, by the way I forgot to say we will be getting a rescue dog!

Sometime after the two lots of fairly major jobs have been done and we have returned from our trip to the Highlands in September.  
Then all will be set fair for settling a lost soul into a loving home.

Life on the

allotment.  A flavour…   Ludlow town wall stands guard    No Dig is the way forward Charles Dowding