Thursday, November 30, 2006


Reigate Castle

Yesterday we explored Reigate Castle.
It is not more than 10 miles from home and yet we had never walked there before.
It was a delightful morning.

In truth, there are no remains of the original castle at all. It had been first built in about 1088 and no doubt was extended and adapted considerably over the next few hundred years. We know that by the 1500s it was in a poor state of repair, but a hundred years later was still in use as a garrison for Royalist troops in the Civil War.

The original castle was mounted on the top of a huge mound or hill, situated to the north of what is now Reigate High Street. A large ditch or dyke was dug out to add to its defensive nature - a motte and bailey castle.

After the Civil War the land was abandoned until a wealthy land owner took it over. He built a castle gate from local stone, reputed to be from the ruins of the old castle.

This gate house was built in 1777.
This picture shows the large dyke round the hill very well. I took it from a web site.
The hill has been planted with many attractive trees and I admired this tall Californian redwood (I think!)

We liked this huge beech tree growing on the side of the hill. The ground below was covered with beech nuts and fallen golden leaves. There were many squirrels gathering nuts and playing in the branches.

Pine trees are always a favourite of mine. This one is growing on the steep side of the castle mound.

This is the site of the original castle, on top of the mound. I am not sure what the pyramid covers, but we do know that there is a maze of tunnels and caves within the hill, under the castle and probably it links down to this system. I hope we can explore the caves when there is an open day next year.

There were rose beds round the outside of this grassy area.
This delicate bloom is covered with water droplets from the melting frost of the cold night before.

The day was wonderful with sun and blue skies, but the roses would not survive
another cold night.

This shows the clock tower on top of the old market hall in the High Street. Reigate nestles between the chalk North Downs and the sand stone ridge to the south which you can see in the hazy distance.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Rocking Horse in December

Today I will show you one of my spaces in Rocking Horse, the antiques and collectors' shop.
I often change the layout of the stock, but the shape of my space stays the same of course.
It is a small and quite narrow shape, but there is enough room for people to browse.

I decided that, with Christmas coming, I would make the collectable toys a strong feature for a few weeks.

I have some shelves for kitchen things. Most of the things could be used, but I think that most people who buy will have the things to make an interesting display in their kitchens.

Here is a close up of some of the toys.

I bought that needlework set last Sunday in Dorking. It is complete and unused.
The little monkey came from a car boot sale in Wiltshire when we were with Roger and Sue. Sue thought it was ugly!

I arrange my china and glass into colours.
I seem to have a lot of blue at the moment.
The glass clowns are very collected and should sell for £30 or £40 - I am just waiting for the buyer to come and find him.

Black and yellow is typically 1950s.
The younger generation after the war loved to experiment with new ideas and turned their backs on the pretty floral designs of pre war days.

Red also was popular in the 1950s and 1960s.
The plate in the front with the couple on it is from Norway and people collect that manufacturer.
I bought that last Sunday.

This is the first view that customers would have of this area.
The shop is very long and not very wide.
People tend to come in and walk round the shop in a clockwise direction, looking mostly to their left first.
My area is on the right, so I think it is important to attract people's attention before they get to the end of the shop.

At the moment there are 14 of us selling in the shop. The 14 of us take turns to look after the shop and we are open every day.
Each of us could be selling to the customers every day, even when we are not there.
Every item is priced with our own code (usually our initials) and the ticket also states how much can be knocked off the price if anybody asks - and nearly everybody does these days. Most of us also have a code for the item so that we can keep track of it in our own records.
All the sales and the tickets are recorded in the sales book.
At the end of each day the person on duty adds up and then makes sure that each person has the right amount of money. It works very well.

Scroll down a while to find previous entry.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Trees through the seasons

Today I am showing you the view from the front of the house through the seasons.
I was talking with Jessica about the seasons today (Skype of course!) and I told her that at this time of year the trees tell us that Winter is coming. I explained that the green leaves on the trees turn to orange and brown and then they fall off.
"Why?" she wanted to know.
Well I found it a bit difficult to explain this to a 5 year old who has a different concept of seasons.
So here are some pictures for her so that she can see what happens.

This is the view that I saw this afternoon. The sky is grey and the trees are mostly bare.
At this time of year we can see the road which is sometimes busy.

This is a similar view about 3 weeks ago.
And here are the same trees in the summer time.

Here is one of the trees without any leaves.
The tree is not dead, Jessica. The tree will rest through the winter and then in the Spring it will grow beautiful new green leaves.

Winter trees can look very beautiful against the right background.
We could see these trees one morning at sunrise.

Monday, November 20, 2006



Today I am displaying pictures which show the generations of the Frost family.
This is not straight forward of course, because the generations are mixed.

Jenny was married to Harry - and therefore is the same generation as him.
But she can hardly be described as being part of the older generation, for she is much the same age as me and only a little older than Roger.
And she is certainly fitter than either of us!

This picture includes 2 of the next generation down - Roger and me.

Roger is here again with 2 others from the same generation - Matthew and Ruth.
Matt and Ruth are our half brother and sister and are in their 30's.
Ruth is expecting a baby next year - another Harry grandchild.

Cousin Malcolm is the same generation. He is the son of Dad's sister, Dora.
He has a brother, Ian.
There is much resemblence between Malcolm and Dad - though Malcolm is not blessed with the thick dark curly hair that Dad had.

Michaela is the next generation down. She is my niece and one of Harry's grandchildren.
Michaela is the daughter of my brother Robin and his wife Ann; he died in 1980.

Here is Simon, another Harry grandchild.
He is the son of Roger and Sue.
He has Michaela's son in the carrier on his back.

And here is Megan - Roger and Sue's daughter with Anna.
Anna is the daughter of Matthew and Suzie.
Both Megan and Anna are Harry grandaughters.

Here is Joel.
Joel is Anna's older brother - and another Harry grandchild.

And Robert (Michaela's son) is a great great grandchild.

Harry had 5 children - Paula, Roger and Robin from the first marriage and Matthew and Ruth from the second.
Harry had 8 grandchildren - Jamie, Ashley, Cameron, Michaela, Simon and Megan. Cameron died in the year 2000. These are grandchildren from the offspring of the first marriage. Joel and Anna are grand children from the second family - son and daughter of Matt and Suzy. A new grandchild is due next March (to Ruth and Dede)
Harry has (to date) 8 Frost great grand children. Cameron had 4 children - Clayton, Crystal, Craig and Rick. Sadly we have lost touch with them; they live abroad with their mother we think. Jamie has Jessica and John. Ashley has Ekatarina. Michaela has Robert.
He has 2 nephews - Malcolm and Ian, that he knew well. There is also Heather (his niece) who is Jean's daughter. Jean is the Frost we discovered only last year, not long before she died. Jean was the older sister that Harry never knew.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Harry's Walk to The Quarter Mile

Harry's Walk
subtitled - the Rellies in Wellies!

Yesterday 16 family members gathered together to remember Harry - my Dad.
It is 10 years now since he died, though this seems incredible for he is so very much with us.
The main activity of the afternoon was to take a walk, a circular route round the fields at Ifield which the family have been doing for almost 50 years.
We are lucky that so much of it remains unchanged.

We can walk directly from the house into the countryside. The walk takes me to one of my childhood playgrounds, shared with my 2 brothers and lots of friends.
We roamed free in the woods and fields.

We walked along Tweed Lane and I mused on the people we knew who lived there when I was a child. The lane narrows into a footpath, where meadow sweet once grew. We cross the stream by a narrow, now quite rickety bridge.

Once over the bridge we now take a different route. There is now a fence to our left - there never was a public footpath across that field, but it was once more open.

The focal point for this walk is a long field, known as The Quarter Mile. It is a wide field used for growing crops, with a broad track down the middle. The Parish Church stands close by.

My first picture shows the men folk, walking in imitation of Dad - hands behind back, walking seriously, observing closely the changes in the seasons.

You can see it was getting quite late in the afternoon.

Here we have left to right, Roger (Dad's son), Matthew (Dad's son), Malcom (Dad's nephew), Joel (Dad's grandson), Simon (Dad's grandson) carrying Robert (Dad's great grand son).

This picture is at the start of the Quarter Mile.
Michaela (Dad's grand daughter) and Sue (Dad's daughter in law) walk on.
Behind is the gathered group, chatting and laughing - Megan (Dad's grand daughter) is on the left.

This was at the beginning of the walk - leaving the garden to cross the football field behind the house.
Matt and Ruth (Dad's children from his second marriage) accompany Malcolm (nephew) and his wife Chris.

Here we are in the field, having clambered down from the rickety bridge.
Michaela smiles at her son Robert who is enjoying the fact that we can see planes taking off from Gatwick Airport.
Simon carried Robert round the walk.
In the background are Jenny (Dad's second wife), Ruth and Joel.

There are a number of stiles to climb over on the walk.

Here, Jenny waits for Chris to get over the stile, with Matthew in the background.

Some of us will think of Dad with the words "get over the stile". He told us over and over again, as children the story of the old woman and her pig, the pig who wouldn't get over the stile.

Ruth and Malcolm share memories and news as they walk.

The walk to The Quarter Mile was a happy occasion on a lovely crisp afternoon.
Dad would have enjoyed being there - and in some ways he was, for we talked of him a lot and recalled the affectionate way we all enjoyed his approach to life - his knowledge, his fair mindedness and also his foibles!
I will put more pictures on the blog, showing people back at the house, where we enjoyed pictures memories and games.
I hope, too, that I shall also put a selection of pictures taken by Roger, Sue and Simon - there were some good ones amongst them.

Friday, November 17, 2006


Jamie and his Grandad Frost.

Tonight I look forward and back.

This weekend my family are having a party. It is 10 years since we lost my Dad. This hardly seems possible because he still feels very much with us.
I am sure there will be much love, laughter and joy amongst us. There are plans to do some of the things he liked to do on family occasions and we will eat some of the things that he liked to cook for everybody, like parkin - a type of sticky ginger cake.
And of course I will be sharing it all with you after the weekend.

I have combined the thoughts I have this weekend for my Dad with the desire that Mam has to see lots of pictures of Jamie as a small child.

This picture shows 4 day old Jamie being held by his Grandad.

This was March 1969.

And here is a family party at our house, Christmas 1976.

Paula, Ashley, Michaela, Rog, Sue, Jamie, Dad, Matthew.....back row.
Robin, Cameron, Jenny, Ruth, Ann, Bill...front row.
The cat was called Jasper.

Roger and Sue's children Simon and Megan had not been born.

I must add that we no longer have the 1970's floral cover on the armchair that you can just see - but we do still have that carpet!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


The Family Grave.

It was in 1987 that Bill and his brothers and sisters lost their Mother.
Mum had been suffering with a brain tumour and died in St Catherine's Hospice in October.
It was a difficult Wednesday and through the following night was The Great Storm.
It was a night of hurricane winds and a great deal of destruction, death even, throughout South East England, never to be forgotten.
It was easy for the grieving family to take it personally and feel that Mum was creating a fuss at being taken so early - only 65.

But sadly, a funeral had to be arranged. Nothing had ever been discussed before. Julie had the feeling that Mum would have opted for burial and so that is what was organised.
I think we had all heard her joking, in times of good health, that she should just be put on the compost heap!
It turned out that the plot for her grave was very close to where Dad had once had an allotment, so very nearly the same spot as his compost heap.

Bill goes to the grave from time to time to keep it clean and place flowers there. Others in the family also go occcasionally. Lesley likes to keep the small amount of ground around it planted with some flowers.

Recently the local council asked that Bill instruct the stone masons to work on the headstone for there seemed to be some risk that it might topple over. In truth this was most unlikely and it would have been impossible for anybody to get hurt. But we had to arrange this or the stone would have been removed.

Grave stones nowadays are normally small and without much ornamentation. This is also local council policy. There is no personal space in front of the stone. This makes it easier to keep the grass neat. Shame really - I like all the personal touches in a European cemetery.

Today Bill has been to the cemetery with some flowers and to check that the work has all been done properly.

I must explain that this grave plot is for 2 couples now.
Bill's parents were laid to rest there first.
Now Aunty Pink's ashes have been interred on the plot - and though we don't like to think ahead to that day, Uncle Bill will also be here.
It is simply because the 2 couples were always close and very closely linked.
It was a case of a brother and sister Monk (George, Bill's Dad and Aunty Pink) marrying a brother and sister Brand - (Doris, Bill's Mum and Uncle Bill). Uncle Bill takes some flowers every Saturday.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006



Autumn - season of mists and mellow fruitfulness as John Keats wrote.
The constant changing of the seasons is eternally interesting and each provides us with pleasure.
Autumn is a strange time for it is tinged with a sadness that summer is over and the year is swiftly drawing to a close. Some even compare the passing of the seasons with the passing of time itself, and I guess I have to admit that I am now in the autumn of my years - early autumn I hope.
Autumn has come late to south east England this year. It is still unseasonably mild - we wouldn't normally expect daytime temperatures of 16 degrees centigrade, even 18 degrees on some days. Perhaps it is a sign of global warming or perhaps it is just a variant of normality.

But despite the mild temperatures, time marches on and the trees suddenly make us aware that summer really is a distant memory.
This week the trees outside the house, especially the small ones, have turned golden and even on a dull day, like today, our trees glow with colour.

This is the view from our front door.
The trees are not, of course, really ours, but we love them dearly.
Soon the golden leaves will fall, leaving the stark bare branches.
I will then begin to search for the growth of new buds and yearn for the delicate new green leaves of springtime.

This year the trees and bushes are heavy with fruits and berries - a real season of fruitfulness.
The birds are enjoying a feast.
This is part of the little tree in our own garden, which I can see through the window as I sit at the computer.
The blackbird stands guard and plucks ripe fruits by the dozen.
He is wary for suddenly a flock of starlings will descend and pluck the fruits from the branches.

Autums days can be divided into 2 types. Today there has been drizzle, wind, scudding clouds and grey skies. It has been gloomy.
Other days are quite beautiful, with clear blue skies and sunshine and fantastic autumn colours shimmering.

This picture was taken at Wakehurst Place last Autumn.
The gold leaves against a bright blue sky make for the best sort of autumn day.

More golden leaves at Wakehurst Place.

Monday, November 13, 2006



This map on the notice board at Portmeirion shows the location of the village.
The village faces generally south across the wide estuary of the River Dwyryd.
Around the headland is the ocean.
Today I show you some of our photographs of Portmeirion.
It was a wonderful autumn day; it was a little chilly, but the skies were clear blue and the sun shone down.

There is so much to see and it would take several visits to explore the coastline and also the wooded slopes above the village.

We walked out to look across the estuary first.

The rocks down by the water's edge were beautiful and good for climbing on.

The concrete boat creates the atmosphere of a Mediterranean harbour.

People do live in the village, but it is more of a visual spectacle than a community.
It is possible to rent a house there for a holiday. It must be lovely in the evenings when the day trippers have gone home.

The sky is so blue. It was easy to imagine that this could be a real Italian village.

A peaceful archway and cottages beyond. It would be lovely to sit outside the door with a glass of wine.

More lovely cottages with the water and mountains beyond.
Captain Katya and Crewman Jack were looking out for a cottage for the night. The Captain chose one called Angel Cottage.
The trusty crewman would have loved time in the white cottage in this picture.

If you would like more information about Portmeirion there are many web sites. As usual Wikipedia supplies all that most of us would ever need to know.

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