Sunday, November 30, 2008


Exciting new world in Dorking for us.

My title yesterday centred on it being a wet grey November day - and today was just the same.
We have been to Dorking - but not for the car boot sale.
We had a leisurely cup of tea in bed before loading up the car and setting off.

The work in the shop is not yet complete - so pictures will wait until tomorrow.
But I am so pleased with the result.
My new area looks like.....well it looks "my" space.
It is bright and cheerful and full of interest - and I shall keep it that way.
I have another box of things to fit onto the shelves tomorrow - which will mean moving some of my less important pieces up of down a bit.
Bill made a start on his enlarged area and it will look good and I hope he continues to do well.

We got in nobody's way today because the pair who planned to do the Christmas window did not appear.
Jonathan one of the other dealers came in and he knew that one of the window decorators was not too well.
Jonathan is friendly and cheerful. He rents a lot of space in the shop. I presume he buys a lot at auction.
He does no duties. He gets round this by giving his dross to a couple of ladies (maybe more) who do the duty and have whatever is made from the tat. To be fair some of it is quite nice, but clearly doesn't fit in with Jonathan's image of himself as fine antiques dealer.
It seems the ladies love him - but he is not a "lady's man" - if you get my drift.

We were busy for close on 4 hours. It was still raining when we left and got home for a welcome lunch.
This afternoon I have wrapped books which sold on EBay - 5 out of 6 sold today. The best seller of the day was a book listing and describing the history of London's traditional pie and mash and eel shops, which still abound.
I have never eaten eels.
This evening we had a pork and vegetables done in a lime, coriander and red chilli sauce. It was very delicately flavoured. We have more for tomorrow. On Tuesday I shall mince up further remains and make pork meat balls. The bargain piece of meat for £3 will have lasted us 4 days.

It will soon be bedtime. And then we repeat the day tomorrow - back to Dorking. There will be less work to do, although hopefully the customers could keep everybody busy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Cold and wet November day

The three hours we were out this morning seem an age ago now.
Well it was over 14 hours ago that we went out on a grey morning (still dark). I am glad I had the sense to take my thickest coat with me because it felt really cold on the old airfield at Ford.
We bought some interesting things.
Some will be off to the shop tomorrow and others will wait their turn on eBay.
There are clocks, barometers, glass, china, books, a railway level crossing etc.
All have been sorted and written up in the stock files.

I have packed more things up for the shop.
We will be in Dorking tomorrow fitting in the new shelves and arranging the first of the stock in the new area.
I hope to take most of my stuff out of what will be Bill's area when we arrive.
But I mustn't get in the way of the two who do the window displays - they are doing the Christmas window tomorrow; there have been instructions that we must not impede the creative flow by being in their way!

The weather got worse through the day - the cold wind has brought cold rain. But I have not needed to go further than the dustbin or the garage.

As is traditional on a Saturday winter evening we have enjoyed a roast dinner. I was wary about buying pork - but it was the bargain offer because it was at its use by date. I am never sure if I really like pork that much - but it was fine, well seasoned and flavoured. And, as for Bill..... he thought it was beef!

And Winter Saturdays see us in front of the TV. I really did get a tingle when Austin, the rugby player performed his Paso Doble.
I might have ignored X Factor because they were doing Britney Spears songs - not good at the best of times. And some of the contestants just couldn't make them sound good and hadn't wanted to sing her songs. Fortunately they sang an extra song tonight (not Britney) . Maybe there was time to fill because I read that Britney contributed nothing to the show like other stars do when they are featured.
Now we wait for the results.

I shall get ready for bed before X Factor results come on.
Good night.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Little Notes for Little Folks.

I have spent the day being an aunty - though maybe there were many who looked at me and thought I was a grandmother.
Well, I am a grandma - but not to Felix and Otto.
I went to Horsham with Ruth for Felix's music club called Little Notes.

This website also has a link to the local paper report about the good work that is done there.

On a horrid rainy morning we were quite early; it was too wet for a stroll in the park. So we went for a drink in the Christian Bookshop cafe.

Little Notes has a sweet young woman leading the toddlers; she is a professional musician and exceedingly capable.

My job was to keep Otto amused whilst Felix and Ruth joined the other mothers and little ones. Otto half had his eyes open for a while and seemed to be listening, but actually slept for much of it and needed no attention.

After lunch I chatted with Jamie on Skype. He is feeling very cross about the demonstrators who have taken over Bangkok airports.
They are costing the country a lot of money.
And despite the word Democracy in their name they are not working towards a democracy for the country. As far as they are concerned the economic problems are due to the poor people and less well educated people having the right to vote - and damn them they seem to want to vote for a party who promises to make them a bit better off.
Once he got that off his chest, he told us the family news. They have bought a second car.
It sounds extravagant, but I do go along with Mam that Jamie riding a motor bike to work every day (40Km round trip) is potentially quite worrying.
I remember one of my parents saying many, many years ago that a young man wants a motor bike and keeps it until his first accident - and some accidents of course prove to be fatal.

Conversation with Ashley today has been through facebook.
There was a big disappointment today. A while back Ecky won a competition to design a mouse mat at school and these would be made up and sold at the Christmas Fair.
Unfortunately the powers that be didn't do this and had other designs on mouse mats for sale.
I was going to be very proud to use my grand daughter's prize winning mouse mat.

Later we went to buy food for the week.
And then we went over to see Ruth again.
We had bought things for her in Ikea and it was easiest for us to take them over to her.
So we went more time with the children.
We watched Thomas Tank Engine videos and I fed Otto.
And we ate toffee apple crumble made by a friend of Ruth's who was also there.

And that said Grandma, is that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Shop day in Pilgrims

It was a good day in Dorking - a chance to be sociable and helpful.
I spent most of the morning sitting in what will be my area, with Judy. My first impression of Judy was of a rather daunting headmistressy sort of character, but, like the rest if us, she has her own hang ups and vulnerabilities.
She is about 70, but can appear younger than her years.
Some weeks after the cafe organiser gave up she decided to push Stephen to re-open it and she would run it with his help.
I still feel unsure that it is the right thing to do because she doesn't have the experience to make it seem really comfortable and homely.
And she charges a lot for slices of the Marks and Spencers cake! But maybe thats how the good people of Dorking like it.
She serves soup and toasted sandwiches too - well, at least the sandwiches are prepared by hand!
But today she was quite busy in the cafe and she is happy.
The cafe only opens 3 days in the week and she wonders if I would like to serve food to anybody who asks on Mondays. I don't think I want to do it on a formal basis - just make a cup of tea for a customer maybe, as if they were a friend.
Anyway I worked a bit for Judy today - washing up things because I think the little kitchen gets untidy and then Judy gets muddled.
I am not completely sure that health and safety regulations are being adhered to.

I spent a little while this afternoon at the shop desk, and took money for things and wrapped.
There was no money for me or Bill today. In the last 2 weeks Bill has sold pretty well but it looks like I shall only just cover my costs.
But I am happy too and I look forward to creating my new area on Sunday and Monday. Bill will also have to work on our existing little area to make it his own.

We left a little early because there were more than enough people in to cover the duties and I knew Jill and Hilary would stay until 5 o'clock. They live quite close together near Croydon and have become good friends, though they are very different people.

This evening I have watched our favourite soaps and continued with the Roman Empire (time wasting computer game - Bill is doing Babylon). I still have fears that I shall fail at the level I am on and be knocked back to Level 42 (isn't that a pop group?) Well - Ashley and Mo will understand!

Tomorrow I am out in the morning. I am joining Ruth with Felix and Otto at a toddlers' music club in Horsham.

Right, time for a drink and to catch up with the dreadful news from Mumbai. Of course the situation in Thailand feels closer to us - but at least it is only destructive demonstrations rather than killing terrorism. Jamie is most frustrated by it all and wishes there could be the election the demonstrators want. Then everybody could see how democratic the Peoples' Democratic Party actually is - he is sure they would not be voted into into power.

And fancy a UK High Street without a Woolworths on it - looks like it will happen. I told people this a couple of months ago (having heard on radio 5) and people wouldn't believe me!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008


We made it to Ikea today

We are sitting here, Bill and I, each at our own computers.
Bill is doing a competition on the YouGov survey page.
He is calling out the questions and I am looking up the answers.
Quite fun.

And I guess the trip to Ikea was quite fun.
We don't seem to find it the hell that some others do. People think they have to walk round in a set pattern, looking at all the departments - and yes it is possible to do that.
But it is also possible to take short cuts and head just for the things you are looking for, having already looked in the catalogue or on line.
We had specific things to get - some for Ruth.
I now have a very cheap, but attractive enough extra shelf for Pilgrims. It is metal and bright red and cost £7.99. It makes me feel more positive about my new area.
OK - we did succumb to a sort of impulse buy. It is something we have talked about. We need a new bathroom cabinet and/or mirror.
We bought something about 40 years ago and there was space enough to put a small mirrored tile in to use whilst shaving etc. It was set at a height convenient to Bill. I always had to crane my neck a bit and no doubt the boys had to stoop a lot by the time they became men.
And Bill has got shorter over the years, so now he has to stretch his neck to see his chin in the mirror.
And goodness know how visitors have coped!
So we have bought a new cupboard with a big mirror.
I don't know when it will get put on the wall. We have some rolls of wall paper (bought at a car boot sale) which will have to be put up first.
And the kitchen floor is of greater priority.

After returning our cushions and buying our things it was time for lunch. I opted for the pumpkin and sunflower seed strudel again with mixed root vegetables and Bill had Swedish meat balls.

We were home shortly after 3 o'clock.

This evening I have enjoyed chatting with a customer who came to collect his 95p post card. I must write him a positive feedback shortly.

Tomorrow is a day in the shop. We may not be there all day. Hilary is going to start doing more than she is obliged to do once again and do all the Thursdays, except when she is doing an antiques fair. We will do those 5 Thursdays in the year.
I suspect that by mid afternoon it will seem pointless for us to be there and we can leave Jill and Hilary to finish the day's trading.
I won't take extra stock in because on Sunday and Monday I shall be setting up the new area.
We will take one set of wooden shelves in because we don't have room for 2 sets in the car - not made up; and Bill doesn't want to have to unscrew everything and then rebuild them.
I am now looking forward to the hard work and the new creation - I hope it will be successful enough.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The aborted Ikea trip.

We got up in leisurely fashion.

We posted some parcels and set off for Ikea.
We sped up the M23 and then, going through South Coulsdon, Bill suddenly said "I don't think I have got my wallet".
"Never mind" I said " I have my purse with money and cards."
But unfortunately the last Ikea receipt was in the wallet and we needed that to return the cushions we bought and had realised we didn't want.
So, about turn, and head back for home.
Perhaps we needed the rest anyway!

I have described and listed 12 more things for EBay and Bill has scanned my latest box of things that I want to describe and list in the next week or so.
There is a bid already on a book I listed less than an hour ago.

I wish I could say that I have worked on laudable challenges at other times.
I am amazed at my Facebook Word Challenge score - but then Ashley taught me the technique for high scoring. I thought you had to complete every round - but no once you have a word using all the letters you can earn a bonus and go on.
He also taught me better techniques for negotiating the Roman Empire - though I have still been shunted back to level 48. But I now see some hopes of moving on, with a bit of luck.

I have Skype chatted with Jamie. He sent me a web site for beautiful pictures of our spot in Slovenia - taken by a customer of his.
And I have talked with Ashley.
The news of his finger is not really that good. It may never properly heal and be a good finger.
It was X Rayed once again today.
It probably should have been pinned on the first day.
He now has no dressing or splint and exercises to do every 2 hours.
He has an appointment for 6 weeks - unless he runs into trouble.

So, tomorrow we will go to Ikea. We now have more on our shopping list because Ruth wants a couple of items.

Today I became friends with the mother of the ex pupil of mine on Facebook! Where will it end?
Actually Val had been amongst a group of people I spent some time with about 30 years ago.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Monday. Networking and Ebaying and chatting with neighbours.

We were out early again this morning. Ashley was at the station at half past seven and is now safely back in Bangor.

I spent much of the day dealing with eBay business - wrapping, invoicing, dealing with payments, accounts and posting.
I had a lot of things listed on ebay that has been on before and as they had failed to sell last time I put the opening bid at the lowest price possible (and still not making a loss). Buyers like that - and they are determined not to have to pay more than that low opening bid for things they actually quite want. There were half a dozen bids in the last 15 seconds!
One book I knew should sell for more - and it did. It had not been listed before - a 1933 edition of How to tie Salmon Flies.
This afternoon somebody from across town called to collect it and handed over £33.

After he had been, Isobel came round - neighbour from round the corner and we caught up with family news. Good to see you, Isobel.

I have sent many family members the web address for the Picassa album of Roger's birthday photographs. But for those others who might be interested here it is.

Now I know how to do it, I guess I can have albums which include more than I ever would have on the blog.
But maybe just a few is normally enough - after all they are mostly for us. We have them all in files on the computer and many are printed in Bill's beautifully produced real albums.

This evening I was contacted on facebook by an ex pupil! Lisa is/was a lovely girl. She is 43 now!
I shall probably see her next week when she attacks me with a needle. She works in the blood taking department at the local hospital and I am due another blood test.
And within seconds I was contacted by distant relation Fran about
I don't really want to get involved in yet another social networking site and I hope she might consider a move to facebook.

Tomorrow we are going to Ikea again.
We don't need a great deal, but we do want our money back on 4 dining chair cushions that we bought. Once home we could see that they were not as good as the ones already on the chairs.
So, once we are there we will stock up on a few more things.
As we ate meatballs bought from their food department this evening I shall probably opt for the pumpkin and seed strudel that I had last time, which was delicious.

Time for bed soon - I am really tired.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


What a weekend. A party and a little snow.

There is so much I could be writing but so little energy!
Yesterday was a long and special day, which I will come to in a moment.
For much of today I have been idle - idle to the point of being asleep in the middle of the day.
We had promised Ashley a car boot sale and therefore that is what he got.
We set off for Dorking on a cold morning, hardly light at 7'clock.
We had not got much past Charlwood when it began to snow. It wasn't lovely dry snow which would make a Christmas card type scene, but wet cold snow.
We carried on regardless.
We were mad of course - but not as mad as the stall holders who presumably were not planning on a quick getaway. There were lots of other customers too.
I bought a Portmeirion cheese dish and Bill bought an ice scraper for those frosty mornings.
Ashley bought CDs.
We were out so we thought we might as well return via Horley.
I bought 2 chickens (for storing eggs in) and an OS map to sell on.
Ashley bought books.
So we have a collection of things that we must take to Bangor the weekend before Christmas.
And since then idleness has ruled the day.
The snow turned to rain and later in the day the skies cleared.
I have sorted out the photos taken at Roger's party and tomorrow we will send on a web address with all of them once we get them onto the Picassa web site.
We had some lunch in Devizes and looked in some of the Devizes charity shops - where I decided to increase my layers of clothing by buying a Berketex cream cardigan.
We arrived at the Market Lavington Community Hall at just gone 3 o'clock and soon were wrapped up in conversations with our nearest and dearest and those we see less often - and some of Roger's old friends who I hadn't seen for years.
We sat at the tables with cups of tea and coffee and helped ourselves from the large range of cakes that Sue had prepared.
And all the while there was talk.
I did slip away and move around with the camera to take snap shots. The standard is not particularly good, but they do capture the scene and those who were there.
Sometime after 7 o'clock dinner was served - again a huge range of different tasty meals were there to be sampled.
Sue has worked so hard to make the party a success - along with her trusty helpers, Simon and Meg.
There were puddings too, which most tucked into with gusto. I knew I had eaten enough by that time.
Later 60 candles were lit and Roger blew them all out (not all in one go of course).
Some people stayed at Roger and Sue's, some had booked into bed and breakfast places and others drove home.
We drove home on a cold clear night and the journey was smooth.
We got home just after midnight.
Now for a few pictures. I selected the ones that show Roger's immediate family and his home.

Happy birthday baby brother! The date is actually on Tuesday.

Megan and Tom light the 60 candles.

It was hard to get a picture of Sue - I was too,busy talking and she, bless her, was too busy.
I think she managed some talking too.

Simon, Tom (Meg's partner) and Nikki (Simon's partner).

A general view in the hall.
The Community Hall has only recently been opened and is magnificent.

At one end of the hall is a mural of the village - a sort of picture map, with contributions from residents showing their own homes.

Meg created this image of Locksands Farm.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Saturday - off to a party in Wiltshire.

And today's blog will be very short indeed.
The day hasn't happened yet!

We will be driving to Wilstshire to join up to 100 people to celebrate my brother's birthday.
We gather in the village hall and Sue, with help from Simon and Megan and no doubt others will treat us all to a sit down meal.

Bill, Ashley and I will return home this evening - but I guess it will be late when we get in.
We could have found somewhere to stay, but in the end opted not to.

We will leave soon and get a light lunch in Devizes, maybe by the canal. I shall see what soup they have to offer.

So, I hope you have had a good day.
I can share with you some of the photos of the party during the next few days.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Nothing much

Very brief notes about the day.

I slept well last night, having dosed myself up with Ibuprofen for an arm pain and antihistamine. I took more this evening and have already been sleeping.

I have described more books - not sure when I shall list them on EBay.

This afternoon we went to Lidl.

And that is about it.


Thursday, November 20, 2008


Quiet Thursday.

This will be brief tonight.

First I apologise if the pictures I put on the blog yesterday are a bit confusing. Computerised imagery as produced quickly on a lap top gives a good impression but the colours are not right.
The kitchen was always intended to be cream and cream coloured it is. There is no green to be seen.
It is simple and has uncluttered lines and for the moment uncluttered work tops.

Bill and I spent the morning at home. I described six books for EBay.
And I have talked with people on the phone or on Skype today.
Ashley went over to Broadfield again to be in the church.
Bill went outdoors with the strimmer - he would have liked to have the mower out there, but really the grass is so wet and soggy right now.

This afternoon we went over to see Jenny, Ruth, Felix and Otto.
Felix was in fine form - though having an audience (or something) made him feel rather excitable as the afternoon wore on.
He is charming and willing to please.
Otto was smiling sometimes, but having had a BCG innoculation he didn't feel he had much to smile about.

And so to bed soon. I have resorted to my old friend - the Immodium tablet this evening. In addition I took one of my anti histamines in the hope that it will help me sleep.
But these are but small problems.
There was another EMail today from the husband of an old school friend who has just started radiotherapy - the cancer has already caused him to lose an eye. He is full of good spirit and humour. Good luck Norman.

And before I close I must spend a moment in thought with you for it was about at this moment 12 years ago that my Dad died.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Sri Lankan food and the kitchen

I needed some rest today. Maybe I have consumed too high a level of potassium over the last few days; certainly there were symptoms. I wasn't too worried because I felt sure I will get it down again by being careful.
Bill has been out in the garden, starting to "put the things to bed" for the winter. Well, at least it looks a little tidier.
Ashley went out this morning and spent his time at 2 different churches. He has gone back to one of them this evening too. For those of us that do not attend church it seems a bit of a surprise to find that about 100 people were at the lunch time Mass today in the town centre, This is not a special feast day, just an ordinary Wednesday.
Hey - the news wouldn't have it has an ordinary day - the day John Sergeant quit Strictly Come Dancing!
Bill and I met up with Ashley at lunch time to have a meal at the Sri Lankan restaurant.
We filled our plates with with delicate spicy chicken and salad (the starter) - and I kept well clear of the tomato!
Then there was a meat curry and a vegetable curry - both reasonably mild. The vegetable curry had a fragrant sweet and spicy flavour. There were 2 sorts of rice and poppadoms of course.
Ashley only managed one plate full - is he getting older or something!
His plate had been well filled and he opted not to have more and to feel thoroughly bloated.
Bill and I will be back - we feel very comfortable there and very well fed.
This afternoon I sorted out photos of the kitchen. I regret that we didn't take more whilst it was all being done. It all happened quite fast really and during that week the room just didn't feel like our domain.
And I played Cradle of Persia. Ashley has got to the end; Mo has got to the end. I got to level 99 (just one more to go) and I lost every life and have been shunted back to Level 62!

Now for a first glimpse for you of our kitchen.......

These first two show the old kitchen has already been removed. Barry did that in about 2 hours. New cupboards and doors in boxes are strewn everywhere and some bases are already in.

Now I have some pictures which show the original plans that we made which had been transformed into computerised pictures and how the same shot (nearly the same shot) looks now.

This shows the view as you enter the kitchen from the back hallway - or as we see it from the lounge if the door is open. It usually is open because Harry the cat gets upset if the room door is shut!
I am very pleased that we opted to keep the original tiles, for they match everything very well.

These pictures show the room as you enter from the door from the front hall

This just shows new cupboards and looking towards where I have the computer and the circular dining room table beyond.

Opposite the cooker was meant to be devoted to office needs. But when we sorted everything out we found we needed the cupboards for other things and most of the "office" type things are in the tall cupboard
There is a small circular occasional table, beyond the tall cupboard, which you can't see. There are silk poppies in a vase. Today Bill cut the remaining magic lanterns (Physalis) from the garden and they are in a vase on that table too.

I think these two pictures make the room seem very narrow - well, the room is a lot smaller than some of the wonderful kitchens we see on some of the TV house programmes.
This shows the view from the front window.
You can see that we still have to lay the new flooring. But what is down now really doesn't look too bad. Since the picture was taken we have put down the rug that that we bought.

The kitchen sink. It is a large sink with a smaller draining board - at least it wouldn't take a normal dish drainer. For a week we got used to having no drainer but I think we will be glad that we found this one on the Lakeland web site. We also bought from them a glass work top protector which can take pans of any heat to go beside the cooker (which is also an original).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Tuesday - Dorking and a fish pie.

I haven't done so very much, but feel tired.
Mind you, I do keep waking far too early.

Bill and I went to Dorking to measure up the space and see just what will be possible - perhaps a little less than I thought. It seemed so cold in that area and I began to wonder if I could ever make it look welcoming - but Jo already has things in the cafe area next to where I will be, and it looks good.
It is mainly the cafe that doesn't look good and I wonder if it should be there at all.
I know people would come in and ask about where the cafe had gone and I can see why Stephen and Judy are trying to make a go of it. But it is only ever an an extra for them. This morning whilst we were there a single woman came in and asked about a drink. "Oh I can make you one" said Judy. And the woman sat alone in the cafe, feeling cold and I would have thought, uncared about.
Anyway my commitment to the cafe area is only 3 months and then we can reconsider if necessary.
It was nice to meet and talk with Spanish Ana.
Ashley went to a church thing this morning.
After lunch I got busy and made a fish pie - white fish and smoked haddock.
I was interrupted in the washing up by Frieda, but she was happy to sit and watch for a while until I had finished and then we had a cup of tea.
We had the fish pie earlier than we normally eat because Ashley wanted to go out again to Mass.
And that is all I can write this evening.
Tomorrow I will get some kitchen photographs on.
But we will be out for a while in the middle of the day. We are taking Ashley to the Sri Lankan restaurant.
Now for a cuppa. Because we ate earlier than normal it feels like it ought to be bedtime - and I think I will go up quite soon.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Jigsaws, Cameras and Chichester.

It was a lovely crisp morning - with just a hint of pink in the sky to foretell the miserable end to the day.
Ashley went to Mass at one of the small Catholic churches in the town to find that the Bishop of Arundel was there to lead the service.
Ashley came home to join us for breakfast and then went to Broadfield for further devotions.

Bill, meanwhile, pulled lots of stuff from the garage to sort things out. Two shelves were to come out so that I can use them in the shop and in place of them, the unit Bill had built many years ago was slotted in.
At one point all the jigsaws that I have which are waiting to be checked were piled and strewn across garden.
I decided that there really were too many and have discarded anything less than interesting or too tatty or which actually said that pieces were missing on the box.
Later Bill took rejected puzzles and other bits and pieces to the dump.

After lunch we went to Reigate to see a lady who we had met in the shop last Thursday. She is dealin with items that had belonged to her now deceased husband and that included cameras - scores of them.
He had been a member of the Horley Camera Club.
None were particularly interesting, but Bill has brought home a box with about 40 cameras in.
Others we persuaded her would be better being offered to a charity shop.
Ashley had come with us and he had set off to look round the charity shops and maybe to enjoy a cup of tea in a cafe. He gave up on that idea because he realised that his old mobile phone was receiving no signals and I wouldn't be able to contact him when we had finished with the camera lady. So poor man, he waited outside Morrisons supermarket watching the weather close in until it became horrendously gloomy and wet.
We had planned to go to Dorking to check measurements in the shop. But we all felt tired and just wanted to get home in the warm with a cup of tea.

And now for a few photographs from yesterday.

The sunbeams through the clouds at Bognor Beach were interesting.

The autumn leaves and moss on the old roof tiles could be anywhere. But they were in Chichester.

Chichester Cathedral is the Anglican centre of our area.
Although "centre" is hardly the word, for Chichester lies at the very furthest point from Crawley but still is in the same county.
In my youth the family tended to go to the other end of the county and I didn't know Chichester at all.
In recent years we have been more often.

We walked in the Bishop's Palace garden and enjoyed some fine trees. This one I spied from the City wall and was attracted to it and spent a little while under the autumn leaves feeling the tree trunk. I feel I can take some strength from a tree.

Another view in the Bishop's Palace Garden.

A view of the cathedral from the garden.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Sunday - to Fontwell, Bognor and Chichester.

This has been a long day which began with a big disappointment.

We thought we would take Ashley to a couple of the bigger boot sales down near the coast - Fontwell and Chichester.
Fontwell is on "every Sunday" - except for the rare Sundays when there is a horse racing meeting there. Today was one of those days.
All we could do was drive on into Bognor.
We stopped at the small boot sale there and found very little.
We enjoyed a good breakfast in a Bognor cafe that we have visited before. It was warm and friendly and had the Sunday papers to read.
After that we went to Chichester and parked the car, at 10 o'clock, close to where the boot sale would be.
It is a strange sale. Every space was filled with sellers already and not one of them was allowed to begin to set up their stall. That can happen only when the hooter is blown at half past eleven.
So we had time to kill.
We walked through the interesting old streets of Chichester, passing cottages and Georgian grand town houses.
We found the Bishop's Palace garden which we had not found before. There were some wonderful old trees there, surrounded by the Chichester City wall.
At all turns the tall spire of the cathedral was part of our view.
We got back to the boot sale and waited for the hooter, when all hell lets loose, as stall holders frantically try to get their tables filled and customers pour in like locusts.
The first look round leaves me feeling careful.
The second time round I went back to a stall that had attracted me already.
I don't know who they were or even if they were completely honest. I know they didn't always have their facts straight about their wares.
But I bought quite a lot, just because I look forward to having interesting good quality stock on the shelves when I have the bigger space in Pilgrims.
When we got home we realised that the stall holders couldn't add up and I had paid more than I should have done - it was certainly more than I expected and I should have checked.
Never mind I have the good stock and hopefully £100 profit can be made.
We were tired by then. Ashley dozed a little in the car on the way home. He hadn't found very much and had found battling with the hordes quite an unrelaxed affair.
I have written up my purchases.
Ashley has been to church.
We have eaten cold turkey with jacket potatoes.
And watched the results of Strictly come Dancing. It is ridiculous but slightly gratifying that an older man (who doesn't actually dance so very well) with a serious political commentator role on TV should have attracted the interest of the people so much. It is good to see that it is not just the soap opera stars and such like who enthral the voting public.
What I have not done today is deal with photos taken in Chichester.
I'll find time tomorrow, I hope.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Saturday ramblings and Niton village

I am writing my blog mid afternoon - there are still hours of the day to experience.
But I can guess pretty well what will be.
It is Saturday and it is our evening to join in with the popular TV programmes.
The one difference is that Ashley will be with us. He has experienced Strictly Come Dancing because Liz is a fan - maybe X Factor is not something he would choose to be involved with. Maybe he will go to his room and read.
The general purpose of this stay with us, for Ashley, is to have time for peace and quite and more opportunities to explore his own pursuits.
He expected to spend quite a bit of time in the Crawley Catholic church but he has discovered that it is undergoing renovations and is closed. Weekend Masses are held in the church hall and during the week Mass is at St John's Church, the Anglican church. It is good to see such co-operation.

So far today I have dealt with payments and been to the post and wrapped some books ready to sell this afternoon. This afternoon I will sell one about Snowdonia that I bought in Bangor - wonder if that is where it will return to. There is also one on early 20th century Liverpool.Come along people of Kirklees! Don't you want my book about your 20th century history?
I report that an hour later there was a last minute bid for the Kirklees book and also for one on The Ancient Traditions of Derbyshire. The Snowdonia book is off to Berkshire, not North Wales.

Potatoes have been boiled in readiness to roast later on, to be eaten with slices of roast turkey (from a joint that had been in the freezer for 18 months!).

Bill has painted over the bits of kitchen/dining room wall that still had wall paper showing. It looks better and maybe that is all that needs to be done until the Spring.

My computer is now back in my domain - tucked between new kitchen cupboards and the dining room table.
We still haven't found a way to restore the quality of the type back to what it was when it was first moved. Have we damaged the monitor in some way?
Perhaps Ashley will know - we tend to assume that the young things who have been computer literate all their lives know about such matters.

Bill has washed the car, using the hose attached to the outside tap that was installed with the kitchen. Much easier - except he got rather wet!

He gossipped with a neighbour and discovered what has happened to the Sri Lankan men who lived at the back of us. Well, no that is not quite true - we don't know where they have gone. But we do know that the house has been repossessed. We don't know the landlord who let it go to rack and ruin. It will need a lot of work on it - but maybe a bargain for somebody.

And now back to the Isle of Wight - not much more!
I wanted to share a few pictures of "our" village before we left it. Niton is quite a big village and a living village, not a tourist attraction.
We liked it a lot.

The old postcard below shows the village nestling in the Downland at the south of the island.

A view of old cottages through the lych gate at the entrance to the church. The old local stone arch looks as though it has been part of the village for centuries.
But no - look below and see the postcard from the 1900s looking up towards the church. There is no arch; though the gates were in place.

And to finish with just a couple of cottages that caught my eye during our brief walk round the village.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Relaxing Friday and restful Ventnor Gardens.

Today I have sorted out my EBay affairs. I had all sorts of intentions to get a lot done during November, but, in fact, I have let things ease off quite a bit.
Or perhaps putting items back on that didn't sell in September and October has not turned out to be worthwhile - the sales have been a bit weak.
Never mind - nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Today I sold 2 old racing programmes from Brands Hatch; one for powerbikes and the other for big trucks.
Bill has been out doing chores - back in B & Q once more.
This afternoon I went with him for a routine blood test. Once again we got the timing right - at halp past two there was nobody waiting.
We then popped into Asda to make sure we had enough for Ashley's first weekend with us.
But generally I have felt the need for some rest and have been glad of a relaxed day.
Soon I will go and prepare sausages and mash - which appeared on my list of 50 things which make me happy.
I wonder what that list would look like if I did it again today.
How could have left out watching the masses of different birds that come and feed at our bird table?
The Isle of Wight memory today ws also relaxed.
We had been to the Ventnor Botanical Gardens in August with Ashley and Ekatarina. We had a picnic there in the children's playground.
This time we had soup, sitting outside enjoying the views of the flowers.
We might have chosen to eat inside because it wasn't quite warm enough - but the cafe was full with a noisy group comprising the Friends of the Garden. There must have been 50 or so of them, all enjoying their day out.
So here are some pictures of plants seen on a slightly chilly out of season October day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


At Pilgrims - what have I done? And at Steephill Cove.

Ah well! It is done now!
I have been offered a larger area in Pilgrims and I have decided to take it.
Bill will stay in the position we both share and I will have a space right at the back of the shop alongside a space that Jo has taken to display her furniture and also small bits too.
Like Jo, I have agreed to give it a try for 3 months.
The big problem about that is that if I decided it wasn't working well enough I would then have to squeeze back in with Bill and he might not be too pleased.
The rent is very good for this space, which will be 2 or 3 times bigger than I have now. I am sure I can make enough money out of it, although it might not seem to be a prize area in the shop.
The room that Jo and will have is part cafe.
It used to be all cafe, but the woman who was trying to make a living from the cafe felt she had to give it up in July. Recently Stephen, who runs the shop and Judy (a sort of universal mother figure and especially for Stephen) now organise a cafe with drinks, cakes, sandwiches, soup on 4 days in the week.
I like that because people will see my things whilst relaxing.
The cafe is being run in a very amateurish way but some people like that and I hope they continue to do it.
Plans can change so easily can't they?
I didn't know this morning that I would embark on this scheme.
We will have to make a further trip to Ikea to buy shelves like we bought on Monday for the back bedroom - they are the cheapest we know. I may well be able to use a couple of our folding shelves too.
There will be quite a lot of work to sort it all out.
The new area will begin on December 1st, which is a Monday and from then on Bill and I will be in the shop every Monday.
I like the idea of having a regular day. People will always know when we can be reached in the shop.

I might not have felt quite so positive if I had not done quite well in the last 2 weeks - and for the first time, better than Bill.

It is has been a lively day in the shop. I had been quiet and a bit moody last time we were in (and very cold) and today I was determined to make sure my open, friendly side could be seen.
I feel we got to know Stephen and Judy at last and I met a couple of dealers who I had not met before. There was Spanish Ana and also Val, the poor lady who lost all that jewellery in the burglary on Monday night. She came with her nephew to take the damaged cabinet away. I don't know how she views her future.

The weather turned very dull and then wet and it still felt quite cold. The problem is that when people come through the door it doesn't then close properly. One day maybe Bill can attempt to sort that out.

Today I think we both felt we had become a more integral part of the Pilgrims community.

My Isle of Wight memories tonight take us to a tiny community by the sea - Steephill Cove.
There is no access to the cove by car and our route to it was you can guess down a very steep path - though it can also be reached by the coastal path from Ventnor.
Even out of season on a slightly grey day it was delightful.

This cottage gate leads directly onto the beach.

There is fishing here for crabs and lobsters.

And little beach huts for the holiday maker who likes their seaside holidays to be like those of their childhoods. Do click on this one to see the interesting curtains at the windows alongside the deckchair coloured doors.

The next 2 pictures were from a web site.

A Panoramic view of Steephill Cove.

And a disappointment for me. I had been so looking forward to my crab pastie in the garden by the beach.
But it was too far out of season and the crab shop was not open.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Need to rest a bit

No pictures tonight - no Isle of Wight.
I feel too tired.

The shelves and sorting stuff on the shelves has now become a tiring chore.
Although I now realise that much of the family history papers in the back bedroom need a good tidy. There is a large pile of stuff that relates to each and every one of my or Bill's ancestors. It will one day be out with the right section.
But not this week.

I decided that the kitchen needed to be the background for "real cooking".
I bought some minced beef yesterday and this morning reached for my oldest recipe book - the one I have had since our wedding day.
But did I stick to the basic recipe? No, of course not.
I was making meat balls. The recipe didn't include carrot and certainly didn't suggest paprika and nutmeg. I think my improvements made them much more tasty than they might have been.
We enjoyed our dinner this evening.

I had settled down for a rest with the cats close by on the sofa. George was nestled right alongside me, patting me with a paw when I ignored him for too long.
Bother bother!
The paw had claws extended and the scenario I have pictured more as a silly cartoon situation became a reality.
My clothes were wet and urgent action was needed in the bag department.

Apart from tiredness I want to watch the programme about Prince Charles.
He and his life hold a fascination for me.
I have grumbled a bit in my life about too many expectations - but that man has shouldered expectations and judgements at every stage of his life.
Without those he might have married the woman of his choice in the first place.
It is interesting to have a glimpse of how he copes.

Perhaps like me he has been able at the age of 60 to put the expectations in the past.
I hope he is happy.
I was persuaded today to write a list of 50 things that make me happy.
It was the list for today - on another day the results could be somewhat different.
But blue skies were jotted down almost first - and we were blessed with them today. hooray.

Tomorrow we can forget about work at home and be in the shop.
There will be much talk about the break in.
It seems it was well planned in advance and the object of the thieves was just one cabinet with expensive jewellery.

Right, time for a cup of tea and to curl up on the sofa, keeping George at arm's length!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Medical test, shopping, shelves & Niton Oratory.

Suddenly today the clouds disappeared and there has been sunshine.
But we have again been indoors for most of the day.
Today was the day to sort out shelves in rooms other than the kitchen.
We made a brief start before a medical appointment. Today was the day of a routine breast screening for me. Despite a history of cancer I do tend not to be worried too much about cancer in the breast; though it will, of course, be good to get confirmation in writing that all seems to be well. That will be in about 3 weeks.
The travelling XRay facility was parked in the Sainsbury's car park. We needed a little, so it made sense to use this supermarket, which I don't normally choose.
I was struck immediately by the higher prices.
We spent quite a bit. We needed a good supply of cat food and a few other things and soon I was looking in the trolley and realising we were getting close to £50 - and for the last day of the offer we would get 5p a litre off fuel for the car if we spent over £50. So we made an effort, by buying some cider and chutney and our total came to £51 - now we must wait until the car is almost running on empty and then fill up.
I am pleased with the way I have moved things around in the house, enjoying seeing things with fresh eyes.
Tomorrow I will have to set to work on the back bedroom. I have thrown out some things already and I guess there may be more as I deal with all that is piled on the bed.
I think I am truly beginning to believe the opening line of one of my favourite books, "The Go Between " by L P Hartley....... "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there."

The past is not something that I need to cling on to come what may.
The people of the past matter to me - and I still keep many things that were a part of the people I love or have loved. But I have carefully , for example, about 100 magazines - Book and Magazine Collector, for many years. I don't look at them and they are serving no purpose. It would be better that the paper is recycled to be useful again.

But I do love the past. The latest episode of our Isle of Wight holiday moved me just because of its long connection with the past.
It was perhaps my favourite IW place, blessed as we were with a sunny day.
We walked up the hill to the oratory, not far from our village.
You can see some history of this tower on the information board which we photographed.
I just loved to touch the 700 year old stones and to feel close to the hundreds and thousands of people over the centuries who have climbed the hill like we did.
I am sure they raised their heads too, to enjoy the wonderful views.
I loved the chalk hill, like the South Downs on the mainland.

Just the tower remains - standing tall over the south coast of the Isle of Wight.

I really enjoyed the climb up the hill - but was glad of my stick on the journey down.

You would have to click on this one to be able to read the brief history.

There was a trig point at the very top of the hill. Gone are the days when a photograph was taken of one of us standing on top of the little column. We no longer have the strength for such feats.
But the view could hardly have been better from a vantage point only a few feet higher.

This view is across the green of the Isle of Wight to the north. The sea of The Solent is just visible.
One last back to this splendid spot.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Ikea and Culver Down. Both on wild weather days.

What a wild and wet day!
It was a day for staying indoors - and we were safely in the warm and dry under the huge roof of Ikea in Croydon.
We had quite a list of things we wanted to find. Some we failed to find and some others we changed our minds about - and bother it, there was one item that was out of stock.
Though it was something we hadn't planned to buy.
We have come home with a set of cheap tall shelves for the back bedroom. The more expensive shelves we had pondered over for our bedroom have been left for another time - we should see first if we can utilise the white shelves which are at the moment in the back bedroom.
We have under the cupboard lamps for the kitchen in two points where it can be a bit dim.
But we don't have a dish rack for the draining board.
But we do have some containers for cold meats and cheese in the fridge.
And a little square basket for "things that need to be dealt with". Such things tended to be just left on a work top in the old kitchen.
The impulse buy would have been a big one - and maybe it is as well they didn't have it. It was a dining room table. Bill has commented that he might not be so very keen on the circular one that we have (bought from an EBay seller). We saw a lovely table - small and square, big enough for two, but with good pull out leaves.
I think Bill will have to learn to like the circular one!
We bought Swedish foodstuffs from their small food shop. Lots of interesting jams - lingenberry, cloudberry etc, biscuits, salmon spread, cheese etc.
And then we went to eat in the cafe. I have a pack of their meatballs for the freezer and so I decided to try something different today.
I was pleased with my choice - a pumpkin and sunflower seed strudel with root vegetables, courgettes and aubergines and red onions - and potatoes. Bill had a beef and ale casserole along with the vegetable mixture. These 2 meals and unlimited tea and coffee came to £6.50.
We treated ourselves then to a slice of almond tart, on special offer, and yet more drink to keep us going.
So, on the whole a satisfactory visit. We will be back sooner than planned. We bought 4 tie on cushions for the dining room chairs and we don't like them. Not liking your purchases is a good enough reason for Ikea to refund your money and you have 90 days to return the items.
The journey home was in heavy rain - but then there has been heavy rain all day. At times we could hear it beating down on the Ikea roof.
This evening Barry, the kitchen man has been back to finish things off and the boss man has been to check the work and to ensure we are happy. He has one more little job for Barry to do.
And now back to rather wild weather on the Isle of Wight - very strong winds we had that afternoon, but no rain.
We had eaten some lunch in the baker's shop in Bembridge - having read of the fish soup that Mo had in a Bembridge pub I now wish we had been there. But my soup was good at the baker's and Bill had a fabulous looking load of ham, cheese and bechemel sauce piled onto a baguette and crisped up in the oven.
Then we went for a walk on Culver Down.
Oh my, it was windy up there on the headland overlooking Bembridge and the busy shipping lanes of The Solent in one direction and westwards towards Shanklin.

There was actually one point when I though I might be blown off my feet. Fortunately I was by the notice explaining about the military history of the place and so I clung on to it.

At least I had a "hoody" and could keep my ears covered. Bill felt quite chilly.

It wasn't actually very late in the afternoon but westwards the light has captured an eerie mood.

There is a monument on Culver Down to the memory of the Earl of Yarborough who died on his yacht in 1846. He was the first Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes.

A view eastwards towards Bembridge Head. Bill had the binoculars out to study various naval vessels sailing in to Portsmouth Harbour.

Just as at The Needles, Culver Down became a strategic point in the mid 19th century to keep watch for a French invasion, and there were remains of that episode in history.
We were happy though to get back to the car and drive to Ros and Harry's to share flapjack from the Bembridge baker's over a cup of tea. (Ros is Bill's sister).

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