Thursday, July 31, 2008


31st July Another playground day.

Another day and another playground.

For most of the year we hardly notice the playgrounds and suddenly we become aware of the best and most stimulating and realise that this country does well for its children by providing places to play.

This morning we stayed at home. Children's BBC was on.
We pottered aimlessly.

We didn't feel we should be quite so aimless for the entire day and thus we went to Ifield to say hello to Jenny and to play in the playground. That facility was not there when I was Ecky's age - but many an hour had been spent by me and my brothers on the village green/common. In fact 5 generations of the family have spent time there, watching or playing cricket and generally amusing ourselves.

Ashley and I sat on one of the seats and watched insects that looked rather like wasps darting into holes in the ground. They knew before we did that there would be a shower and were looking for their shelters. Late comers, those who dawdled aimlessly got back to find all the holes occupied; though one brave creature set to and dug out a new a hole.
We still have not yet discovered the names of these insects.

The shower didn't last very long.

We went back to Jenny's house ready to come to her assistance. The car she bought only a few weeks ago has run into a lot of trouble. We took her to the Toyota garage to collect the courtesy car she is having until hers can be sorted out.

We got back home for Ecky and others to watch the first Harry Potter film - Ashley had found the DVD in a charity shop during the morning. She has read the book 7 times already!

The heavy rain predicted has not yet arrived. We just hopes it does its worst before morning because we have planned a long day out at Godstone Farm.

Now for a few playground pictures.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


30th July. Tilgate Park.

We are exhausted grandparents!
And we have done just one day!
This morning Ashley took himself off to London for a long day. Assuming he catches the last train back to Crawley after the Prom Concert he should be home by about 1.00am.
We spent the morning playing and shopping.
Ecky and I walked and played on the field in front of the house.
Then we went to Asda to make sure we had things that she might want to eat.
We saw something that she said she really, really wanted - but we said she should wait - more on this later.
After lunch we went to Tilgate Park.
The people of Crawley and the surrounding area are so lucky to have this amenity. And today, a hot day during the school holidays, of course there were many (very many!) enjoying the facilities.
The nature centre is a children's farm zoo really and is free to visit, though donations are asked for.
We met Jo and her grand daughter, Florence and after initial shyness the 2 girls got along very well, sharing in the nature centre experiences.

Wooden animals like this are fun for children to play on - but their primary purpose is as donation collection boxes.

Ekatarina and Florence are looking over the otter pond - I don't think any were out in the open though.

What are they thinking about?

Ekatarina took this picture of ducks on a log in an enclosure by one of the lakes.

This pig was having a cold shower. The man said that pigs can't sweat and they need a shower to feel healthy - well, so do we all!

And here she is in the shade of her shelter.

There are big animals like cows and also the lovely rabbits and guinea pigs and many examples of poultry. The centre is renowned for its rearing of a rare breed of cattle called White Park.

There are other endangered species in special enclosures from all round the world.
But I don't think a wallaby is under threat, they are just charming

Within the walled garden are lots of separate areas.
Here Ecky poses on a ball as a bird standing on its perch.
Then it was time to go to the playground. Ecky had memories of the car which is mounted to ride like a ship tossed at sea. She spent most of her time in this car. But she did climb on the large climbing apparatus and went down the big slide.

I love the expression on the boy's face who had his hands on the wheel.

Looking across a climbing apparatus of metal bars and tight ropes towards the car.
We arrived home exhausted - ready for a cup of tea.
Then we had dinner. Ecky has had 3 good sized meals today.
Then it was shower time and I read the first part of a book called Stardust.
Grandad then showed Ecky why he had gone back down to Asda. Remember that item that she really really wanted, well we decided that grandparents may treat grandchildren with gifts when they meet up so rarely and Bill had bought a Tamagotchi!
If you don't know what one is (maybe lucky you) then I can just explain it as an electronic little toy that creates the illusion of being a real person - or in this case a family of people; but the imaginary people within a Tamagotchi need tending so it is an absorbing toy.
I guess it was serendipity - because we didn't know that she had brought with her a book about tamagotchi from which she had learned that she would want one.
Ecky reckons that her grandad deserves over one thousand kisses and 7,000 hugs.
Now tis time for sleep - but Ecky is finding it hard to settle. Everything is strange and of course it is hot.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


29th July. Grandmother and Ekatarina.

For most of the day I have been me, gently ambling through life.
For the last 4 hours I have been Grandma!

We picked Ashley and Ekatarina up at Three Bridges Station at quarter to five.
Ecky first needed to check out her room of course.
She is still an Angelina Ballerina fan and the box of clothes and Angelina Mouse doll are popular, as are all the magazines; all found at car boot sale of course - the magazines and accessories would have cost somebody a total of about £75 over a couple of years.

We had some dinner together - Ecky now devours Heinz spaghetti and she had some mini sausages.
We had sausage and mash.

After dinner we went for a short walk - we needed some milk from the local Tesco Express and went the long way round to take in a children's play area.

I have read Angelina Ballerina stories from the magazines. Perhaps I can persuade her to let me read something a bit more "meaty" - after all she reads proper books for herself, including Harry Potter.

I put some plaits in her hair to keep it all more tidy in bed - playing with a little girl's hair is a delight for me; not something I ever did as a mother.

And very soon it will be my bedtime too.

Monday, July 28, 2008


28th July Dorking and Ebay dealings.

Wow - it has got so dark so early this evening! We must be heading for a thunderstorm.

This morning I got busy with wrapping - 13 small books had bids for this afternoon.

Then we drove over to Dorking to check the shelves and collect any money from sales.
My first thought was that I had done much better than expected for there were quite a few items missing - but a second look at the new window display showed that this week the collectables window was showing off some of the new sorts of things to be found in the shop - my things.
We introduced ourselves to the people on duty today. There was Julie, a reasonably elderly woman from France and Monika.
We were there for longer than planned because Monika was glad to slip out for an hour to deal with family business and I was able to have a good long chat with Julie - comparing our health experiences and a little of our lives. She is lovely and I felt a good bond with her.
Obviously there was not much time to chat with Monika - and anyway she was suffering with quite severe laryngitis and had virtually no voice.
I was happy to put some of my recent purchases on the shelves and now I wonder where the window display person will put the items from the window when it is changed again.

You have already seen the black and yellow vase - but I did take a quick picture of it with the black and red one bought at Edenbridge on Saturday.
Do you see those ear rings? They are plastic with a sparkly "jewel" and they are magnetic! A magnet goes behind the ear lobe and the decoration obviously is placed on the front - and the magnet just about holds them in place, but don't do any wild dancing!

Don't worry - photos of my stock will stop now. There will be a period of people and places photos as we all enjoy a holiday atmosphere.

We stopped in Reigate on the way home for a bite to eat and to get in more supplies for the Ashley and Ekatarina holiday.

When we got home I was quickly into the routine of invoices to successful bidders and then dealing with payments. It is so good that most people pay within a few hours.
I might have a problem with one buyer - whose bid was successful on the 17th of July. After 5 days I sent a reminder (always very polite and understanding of course) and he did reply with apologies.... he is on benefits and run into financial bother and has just adopted a stray dog which is causing more expense and he said he would pay on Tuesday. Well Tuesday is tomorrow and I wonder if any payment will arrive. He also said that his group had made a CD and he would send me a copy - I am not sure if he thought I would accept that instead of money!

The storm I foretold has begun - raining hard with flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder. It is really quite wild. And silly little Harry - our nervous little cat is out there somewhere. We have called him but no doubt he has decided that where he is might be be safer than making the dash for home. He hates thunder and often hides behind the sofa during a storm...................................
Bless him! With that thought, we just checked to see if he was in fact out of doors - and no, he was behind the sofa!

Tomorrow will be an at home day apart from posting parcels, taking a box to a charity shop and then picking up Ash and Ecky from the station.
It will be the last morning of a quiet cup of tea in bed. There will still be cups of tea of course, but Ecky will be with us playing and talking and story telling. She checked with me last week that we would still allow her to come into our room in the mornings - well, just don't trip over the night bag!

I am sure the storm will clear the air - it has felt humid. But I hope it doesn't clear away summer - I am just getting to feel really content with the warm sunshine.

Goodnight folks.

Sunday, July 27, 2008


27th July Working and dozing

Working and dozing - that has been our day.

We went to 2 car boot sales this morning and this time it was Bill's turn to buy the most.
My best buy was a Midwinter jug - designed by Sir Peter Scott, the naturalist. His "Wild Geese" set was issued in the 1950s.

The jug was bought at Reigate - but there was not much to find.
So we decided to set off southwards to Poynings.
We met up with a couple of stall holders who we know - one of them was actually Graham who used to work with Bill at the college. Both Graham and the other one, Chris used to do a lot of the toy collector's fairs that we did and today were clearing stock.
Bill bought some model soldiers and animals from Graham and some model cars from Chris.
I didn't find much to sell on.
I bought a couple of "boho" tops - that's the fashion term, I gather, for retro smock type blouses.
And we bought a pretty pink check duvet cover and pillow case for Ekatarina's bed.

It has been hot today. "How hot?" Mam wanted to know. I think she was impressed that we had almost reached the Phuket levels.

This afternoon we slowly got all the purchases of the weekend written up.
Below is a picture of the glass we bought yesterday at Edenbridge. I particularly like the lustrous opalescent glass. That large piece with a sort of butterfly on is hollow, but still quite heavy.
The candle stick was bought in France at a sort of car boot sale/ flea market we found at a village fete in Normandy in 1994. That holiday meant a lot to me because it was our first holiday after all the health traumas of the previous 2 or 3 years. I was still quite weak, but during that holiday I found so many things that I wanted to do and I began to find some self confidence again.

The circular straw mat the glass is sitting on was one of the free items picked up at Edenbridge yesterday.

This evening we have, of course watched the final stage of The Tour de France. It was a race on the day and yet for the leaders it was more of a celebration of their achievements after 3, 500 Kilometres. The Spaniard in the yellow jersey had a glass of champagne whilst pedalling through the countryside into Paris!
Both of us actually had some difficulty staying awake after a tiring day in the sunshine.

Bill is now out watering the garden.

Tomorrow we shall go to Dorking to see what might have been sold - not much I am sure. We will take some fresh stock with us anyway.

And I have my last bits on EBay finishing until after Ashley and Ekatarina return home.

I will put the kettle on now so that we can have another drink before bedtime.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


26th July Fun and games and out to tea.

We were up early on a sunny morning and went to Faygate car boot sale, which had many more stalls than last week.
I bought mostly items suitable to be listed on EBay at some point - but it will not be for a while, because I don't intend to do much during Ashley and Ekatarina's holiday.
During the morning I posted some parcels and then wrote up the Faygate purchases.
At about midday we were off out again; this time to the boot sale at Edenbridge. This sale was also much busier than last week.
Almost immediately we were standing before a stall filled with beautiful good quality paperweights and art glass - I wanted all of it! But we contented ourselves with just 4 pieces. One of them is now on the table in the lounge for us to enjoy for a while.
Bill carried the glass back to the car and then we were on our way again - up and down the aisles.
We turned one corner and I spied an item 30 or 40 yards away and told Bill that I had to have it! Of course I didn't know if it was damaged or not. It was perfect and is a match for the 1950's vase I bought (and photographed) at Ardingly antiques fair last Wednesday. This item has the same zebra pattern and is bright red on the interior.
Of course we don't just buy to make a profit, there are also many items for the home and garden that we can buy.
Bill bought a second cordless phone for us at home.
And I bought a dress - not just any old dress. If I did choose to buy clothes from a shop, then Monsoon might be the shop of choice. On the occasions that I have wandered in, I have wandered out fairly quickly because their clothes are quite expensive; indeed even on EBay second hand Monsoon clothes can be £20 or £30.
I bought a couple of books from Kate - ex of Rocking Horse. All of us who had been there have boxes of unwanted to stock to deal with.
We were almost back at the car when the fun began!
There was a woman house clearance dealer who began to put items down on one side of her tables and said that everything there was free - she just wanted her boxes emptied. Well, how could I resist? I filled bags with all sorts of items for home and garden - a cooking pot, a basket, candles, table mats, 2 nice walking sticks, railway magazines, a wooden box, music cassettes etc etc.
What fun!
But then we really did get on our way to go and visit Bill's cousin Ann and her husband Gordon.
We sat out in the garden with tea and cake - Bill had bought some lovely iced carrot cake at Faygate. I only had a sliver of this cake (honest) and contented myself with a meringue which is much more suitable for my body.
Ann and Gordon are good company and talk flows easily.
Gordon is now very fragile and finding life at 87 very hard.
It is hard also to realise that within a month, Ann will be 80. She says it cannot be true, because she is actually only 40!
We later sat indoors with some tea. I had taken a supply of rice cakes with me.
When we got home we sorted our things out a bit and then sat and enjoyed the penultimate stage of the Tour de France.
Today's stage was a time trial and it was assumed that the arrogant Aussie would claw back enough time on the pleasant Spaniard in the lead.
I yelled at Sastre, the Spaniard, to pedal like mad - and he did.
Therefore he, as leader, will be wearing the yellow jersey into Paris tomorrow. Convention has it that whoever is in yellow for the last day will be the final overall leader - so Sastre has won the Tour de France.
And now we must sort ourselves out for bed.
Yes, of course we will be up early for another hunting expedition in the morning.

Friday, July 25, 2008


26th July quiet day at home.

This has been another quiet day.
There was some wrapping of parcels to be done, ready for successful bidders on EBay.
But that was after we were busy before breakfast. Bill got the hose pipe out to water the gardens and I did a bit of tidying and dead heading with the secateurs.
I took a few pictures in our tiny back garden.
Bill has now booked a boat to take us to the Isle of Wight for a day with Ashley and Ekatarina. Somehow it just about turned out cheaper to take the car over than go as foot passengers. And of course having the car gives us greater flexibility. If we had left the car on the mainland there would have been parking charges and then on the Isle of Wight there would have been bus fares for for the non old people - Bill and I have bus passes of course.
Now we have to hope for a day without rain.
Bill has fixed the 2 pictures of Chinese women to the long wall on the stairs and the old dragons have come down.
They have been there for almost 40 years - but nothing ever need be a permanent fixture, and they very much belong to an earlier time in our lives.
Though I am not sure how long the Chinese pictures will stay.
This evening we have been watching the big athletics meeting from Crystal Palace, remembering the days of old when we rarely missed a big meeting with all its atmosphere. Even better were the few times when we were timekeepers at bigger meetings. I shall soon make a cup of tea and we shall catch up with The Tour de France, which we recorded earlier.
The cyclists arrive in Paris on Sunday.

Now for some garden pictures. Remember to click onto them to make them bigger if you would like to see them in their full glory!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


24th July. Home, health, garden and family.

Today has been a home based day - no, we haven't been to Homebase! Not a favourite destination for me is Homebase!

It has been hot, I guess. What I noticed most was energy and a feeling of contentment which springs from sunshine and warmth.

We have been away from home a couple of times.
This morning I saw the dentist - all ready to patch me up yet again. Bill Clinton (the dentist) doesn't believe in removing teeth that can be saved for a while longer. He says that considering all my health history, my teeth are actually doing very well - the ones I have left. He means that they are not prone to decay - just crumbling and chipping.

I spent some of the rest of the morning writing up the rest of last weekend's purchases and also yesterday's.

This afternoon we went to Horley for a Lidls shopping trip. Already we are stocking up on Ashley and Ecky's needs.

We have talked with Jessica and John today - it was Jessica's 7th birthday today. She sounded very grown up as she chatted - but the thoughts of a child were there..... "Nannie, have you bought me a present?" The parcel should be arriving about now, though we have known them go missing before. I do hope this one arrives safely.
John sounds much more grown up too - it was almost bed time and we finished with a "Night night" and an "I love you Nannie" - this was unprompted and pleased me no end, because I am not much more than a memory and a face in a photograph.
Ekatarina and I talked for a long time later - she forgot to let her Dad know that I was on the phone! She is so looking forward to her summer holiday with us and full of ideas and plans.
Her excitement will have to carry me through the tired times!

The garden needs some water - it will have to wait until the morning. Here are some pictures in the front garden. Bill has taken some very striking pictures of the alliums - and a few more homely flowers.
I will have to take some in the back garden tomorrow.

As always they can be seen in full glory with just a click on the picture.
Long may the summer continue (despite the need for watering the garden).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


23rd July Ardingly Antiques Fair

We arrived at the showground at Ardingly just after 8 o'clock. It was still quite quiet and we began to browse the stalls to see what interested us and to learn things and just to have a good time.
We did enjoy ourselves - but it is exhausting, walking around the vast area. Our legs ache this evening.

I think the most valuable thing we learned was that generally we are pricing things about right.

We have good quality items at reasonable prices - you can't say that of all the things on view today.
I suppose we have seen everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.

If I had a plan in my head it was to seek out something very 1950s and also something juvenile. I also planned not to buy more art glass today, because I have a reasonable amount - but I could have been so tempted by wonderful 50s and 60s glass in a range of colours and shapes.

I have admired this stall on previous visits to the fair - the dealers display so well. Most of this glass is earlier than that which I would specialise in.

Here are some juvenile items that we didn't get tempted by. Japanese tin robots from the 1950s can sell for hundreds of pounds - but these were not them.
They were caked in dust - so thick was it that we wondered if it had been sprayed on to give an illusion of age.

Well of course I am not into furniture buying.
I just liked the line up of old chairs on the grass. There were in fact 6 chairs, but one was standing on a blue tarpaulin and was not photogenic enough to be included!
You can see that we spent most of our time wandering round the outside stalls, deluding ourselves that these stalls would be cheaper than those inside.
We had the pleasure of chatting to a number of the dealers - but saw nobody who we knew.
Friends might have been there - but the chances of bumping into anybody in that size of fair are pretty slim.

I said we saw ridiculous items - now I wonder who is the person who might be tempted by the dummies.
And by the look of the wording of the van, the seller may well have brought them down from Bradford in hope of finding a buyer.
But then there are people from all over the world at a big antiques fair - many French and Dutch come over to sell.
So, we refused plastic robots and dummies and couldn't afford fine glass - so did we buy anything?
Bill did not.
But I found my juvenile items and a 1950s vase.

I hope I can at least double my money on these nursery rhyme items.

The 1950s vase is by Beswick, one of the most collectable 20th century makes and is everything a 1950s vase should be. I love it.
I had to pay £20 for it - and maybe will only make a fiver on it, so I shall just enjoy it and feel proud of it on my shelf in the shop.
These days I don't think we should be buying very much for us - the house is full of our collections of things and we realise that we should be reducing the amount, rather than adding to it all.
BUT...... I just couldn't resist.
I have a good collection of Olympic Games items and one stall had many tins of all kinds which I also love.
So we bought a tin in almost perfect condition for the 1956 Games in Melbourne.

This will join the display in the bedroom this evening.
Interestingly it was bought at just about the same spot that a photograph of cousin David and one of his Ayrshires were photographed at the beginning of June at the agricultural show.
Yes - the tin was bought from one of the inside dealers.
By half past twelve you can imagine that we had had enough. Our legs felt weary and so did our brains. It was impossible to take any more in.
We could have gone straight home, but decided to treat ourselves instead. We went to The Red Lion at Turners Hill. It must be 10 years or so since we have been there; back to the time when we were with Pat and Jo at the antiques shop in Turners Hill.
The pub has changed hands since then, prices have risen but the basic village pub has not changed a bit.
I had Thai fish cakes, rice and a sweet chilli sauce. Bill had haddock and prawns in a cheese sauce with huge chunks of brown bread and salad.
This evening we have needed very little to eat - just lots of drink. The riders in the Tour de France in the Alps today must have needed lots of drink too.
The ability to race up steep 15 kilometre climbs is just amazing.
Well, time for another cuppa very soon and we can catch up with Emmerdale.
I think we will have a day at home tomorrow - apart from my trip to the dentist in the morning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


22nd July Nutley and Ashdown Forest

I love Ashdown Forest. For a few months, as a toddler, I actually lived there and ever since I have looked on that landscape as if it belonged to me.
And I love the sunshine, which we have enjoyed greatly today.
It was good to get out; we both needed it.
We walked and talked.
Bill was able to acknowledge that the low level depression that has been part of his life for many a long year has seemed much worse of late.
The state of mind has made it so difficult for him to feel enthusiasm for anything and explains why we have not been able to arrange a holiday of any sort yet.
Who knows why Bill, or anybody else, suffers from depression? He has had a lot to deal with - my health issues of the last couple of years and the car accident, which was perhaps the last straw.
I think we will wait a while to see how the rest of the summer goes and then, maybe, he should seek medical advice.
He is not so bad that nothing gets done - but sometimes it feels that way.
There is a medical name for the condition - disthymia.

We decided to start our time out with a walk in the village of Nutley, where we have never stopped before. We visited the church and then an antiques shop, which is quite delightful.
We talked with the lady on duty today about our lives and then wondered if Dorking does close by the end of the year whether a move to Nutley would be possible. They have no spaces at the moment - but we could go on a waiting list.

The church is not old, built in 1843. It is dedicated to St James the Less. There were 2 apostles named James and one had the Less added to his name to distinguish between the two.

The most charming aspect of the church were the hassocks/kneelers. Each one had been done as a tapestry and each one was different. We went from one to the other calling out with pleasure.
Pictures ranged from the village tug of war to the nativity.

This one was my favourite - a typical Ashdown Forest landscape with a clump of stunted straggly pines.

Stained glass windows produce lovely effects in the sunlight.
We had aimed to walk from the village to the airman's grave - but chose the wrong track. It was a pleasant enough walk - but with no destination. The airman's grave, which we have visited before, will be there for another time.
We walked back to the village and then drove up onto the Ashdown Forest ridge, parking in the Friends Car park - referring to the Friends of Ashdown Forest.
It was here we found a bench to have our picnic.

The views and the colours were just stunning.
Bill enjoyed watching the many flights into and out of Gatwick airport - some way distant to the north.

This circle of stunted straggly pines is known as Friends Clump; high on the ridge it was visible almost everywhere we went.
We could see this grand mansion from our picnic seat - it is known as Old Lodge, but seems to be much bigger than a lodge would normally be.
Sadly the carefully thought out walk which we had printed from a web site lay languishing at home and our guess work caused us to miss the path to the windmill and so a bit of detour had to be made to work back to it.
The windmill is owned by The Sussex Trust for Windmills and is only open to the public on one day a month. The Trust seem to be doing a lot of renovation just now and the sweeps and sails were largely missing.

From the windmill we walked down into the valley. My skirt had been rolled up and put in my bag so that legs could get a rare outing to enjoy the warmth of the sun.

Bill with Friends Clump up on the hilltop.
It doesn't look it from there but when we took the path back up we found it to be a steep climb and it made me puff a bit.
I am sure I haven't worked heart and lungs so hard since before the operation.

From Friends Clump we could look southwards to the Downs. It had become quite hazy.
Sheep roam freely on Ashdown Forest - and motorists must expect sheep to cross the road suddenly with no thought of safety.
We planned to go for a cup of tea at a tea rooms in Duddleswell. This was one option on the route for the walk. The other one showed that even the BBC (who issued the route) can get words wrong. It was suggested that a pub in Nutley could provide one with sumptious food; now did they mean "scrumptious" or "sumptuous"?
The tea shop was closed when we got there - closed on Tuesdays we were told.
We had run out of drink and we did need some refreshment, so turned back to the village of Fairwarp.
We sat outside The Foresters Arms with ginger beer and lime. Bill had a "sumptious" ice cream too. It was made at a farm at Ringmer and was superb quality - yes, I had a little taste of the blackberry flavour that he chose. But it was so full of milkiness that I knew I should have very little.

Just look at those hanging baskets. I could capture the image, but you'll just have to imagine the rich heady perfumes.
Tomorrow we are going to Ardingly for the antiques fair. It is some years since we have been and feel we should go and see what is going on - there is always more to learn; and maybe things to buy.
So, having walked a bit today, with more walking at Ardingly tomorrow, I reckon it is time for bed.
We want to be at the fair tomorrow by 8 o'clock.

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