Monday, August 31, 2009


Bank Holiday Monday

I suppose one day I might not be able to have days with two halves - two activities.
Already I begin to feel too tired.
And too tired can lead to digestive complaints. Enough said - I have just swallowed down more Immodium!

Not that today was a day of 2 equal halves.
We went to the car boot sale at Collyer's School at about half past seven.
Hooray I found the people selling mother's things before most buyers. They didn't want much for mother's things - just the freedom of not having to think about them anymore.
I paid £1 for a Stratton compact, which mother had never used and all sorts of odds and ends - including the large white plastic bride and groom that decorated mother's (and presumably father's) wedding cake in the 1950s.
Bill found the man clearing out his collection of toy soldiers.
So Bill has some more to add to his collection at the shop.
Yes - we do tend to think of the things on our shop shelves as being our collections, even if we might not keep these treasured items for too long.

We got back home and got ourselves ready for the Bank Holiday Monday athletics meeting at the Crawley track.
Scary! This was the 30th year we have been involved with this meeting - the first was when Jamie, as an 11 year old, showed promise as a sprinter. That first year I did my first stint as an official - field events, not timekeeping at all.
We have missed some of the meetings - and of late wished that we had - because they were not well enough attended.
But today's meeting was really lively with lots of lovely youngsters competing.
There were over 30 sprints races - for athletes of all ages.
Long jump has always been popular - but we were surprised by all the teenage girls taking part in the shot competition.
Bill was chief timekeeper today - there were 5 of us; thats just about enough.
It was pleasant sitting in lovely sunshine for the afternoon, working and chatting.

And so to bed, soon.
Tomorrow we want to go to the shop with some interesting new stock and to collect monies taken during the week.
We have to time it right because we will go straight from Dorking to the hospital for my ultrasound scan. I do hope the information I was given last week on the phone is correct and the scan will not interfere with the wee bag.

So the holiday weekend is over. Hope it was good for you.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Walk like an Egyptian!

Before I fall asleep this evening I should recall yesterday evening's fun.
We had been invited to a barbecue - this turned out to be a meal at the table, cooked in the kitchen. The weather was just not good enough for an evening in the garden.
Our hosts were Sue (Bill's cousin) and Chris.
Sue is the daughter of Bill's Uncle Sam Brand.
When I first met them the family were living in London.
But Sue and Chris moved to Crawley to live and work with a young family of their own. I always admired Sue. She was awaiting her O level results when a hasty marriage was arranged and her education was put on hold. Later, with 2 children, she trained to be a teacher - showing determination that I would never have had.
I would meet Sue in various schools and we heard of some of Chris's exploits as a local councillor - he was Mayor of Crawley for one year.
But we have never socialised or really got to know them.
So we were happy to put things right.
There were to be another couple enjoying the evening with us.
At the last minute Chris phoned to warn us that the other couple would be wearing Egyptian costume - and in fact it seemed that Chris and Sue would be doing so also. The foursome had recently had a holiday in Egypt.
You can imagine we began to feel like shy outsiders.
"Oh well, - we needn't stay too long." we thought.
In fact we stayed until almost midnight.
I had my camera with me and intended to take a few snap shots - but never got around to it.
The other husband was like Chris from a London Irish family, a Catholic and an ex Labour councillor.
It turns out he was our councillor until last year.....and I was one who didn't vote for him!
His wife had been a county councillor.
But still we didn't feel like outsiders.
In fact there was lots of laughter and each showing interest in other's activities.

This morning we went to Reigate. I am not sure that I should have bought the doll's house. Hopefully when sorted out it will sell, maybe before Christmas. But it takes up a lot of space.
But we did buy enough apart from the doll's house to fill the trolley.
I haven't got round to sorting much of it.
I have been describing. Cricket lovers will know of the annual Wisden Guides. I bought one dated 1924 - with potentially £100 plus of value. The other one I bought was 1957. I wanted both these described and listed on EBay straight away.
These 2 books belonged to the same cricket lover - he has written his name in both. I wonder what happened to the 30 or so books that came between them.
I also have listed half a dozen railway books. Then Bill and I decided that the 6 bicycle manufacturers metal badges (to be fixed onto the frame) should also be listed. They were bought this morning.
So I was quite busy.

I have already been dozing this evening - very much an autumn type evening.
There was an edition of the Antiques Roadshow and I felt I wanted the cosiness of drawing the curtains as we obviously would in winter.
Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday - the shop is not open.
We will go to Horsham for another car boot sale. Then we have to get ready for an athletics meeting.
I think there will be a drastic shortage of timekeepers. Especially as we have not been given any details about the meeting. Most people who thought they just might be attending won't bother. One of us will no doubt have to be chief timekeeper.
I have already agreed to do that next Sunday - so maybe tomorrow is Bill's turn.

Time for bed - soon! Its only 9 o'clock, but after a drink I shall be ready for some sleep.

Finally - welcome to the family tree, Caleb. Our niece Fiona - daughter of Bill's sister, Pam gave birth to Caleb yesterday evening.
A good family name - a great great grandfather of Bill's was Caleb Ellis.
Later in the year we expect Ruben - another from the Ellis family tree.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


Saturday morning.

This is a day in two parts.
We have enjoyed the first part and the second is to come this evening. I am not sure what time we will get back home.

We went down to Ford on a bright sunny morning - and not as breezy as I thought it might be.
We didn't buy a lot of items - but those we did buy were interesting and should sell well.
I am pleased to have some more Homemaker china - 1950s black and white - which always has a following. I also like the wooden shield shape for a rings game, complete with 6 rings. It looks to date from the 1930s and could sell well for Christmas.
Bill bought some more trench art - decorative items made from WWI shell cases etc.
A little more about Bill's purchases later.

We also bought bread, cucumbers and eggs.

I decided we needed to avoid routine (and Littlehampton) and followed up something that my friend Marion told me of yesterday for a place to visit.
Marion had good news this week - her breast cancer has not spread to lymph glands.
So she says she is lucky!
I always said that too - lucky to be alive and to have received such good treatment.
We both wear bags and try to feel lucky about that too.
I think it is a sensible approach to find things to feel lucky about, even when you are hit with cancer. I do recall that there were many days though when I didn't feel so lucky!

This morning as I was cleaning my teeth I began to feel lucky. For some reason I had images of many people I have known who have died of cancer flitting through my brain.
They were not lucky.
"How dare I feel depressed?" I wondered. Particularly when one of the things that is causing me to feel so down is, in fact, of benefit to the community.
But if chemicals in the brain get unbalanced, depression can be hard to control.

Anyway - back to our jaunt.

We drove towards home and stopped at a cafe called The Orchard.
There is indeed an orchard which the owners have recently developed with many old varieties of fruit, including quinces, medlars and unusual apples and pears.

We walked through the orchard and down to the station - a disused station.
We found ourselves on the platform of West Grinstead Station and we had a stroll.
We learned that the disused railway is part of the Downs Link walk - from North to South Downs, from Guildford to Shoreham.
I now have plans that we will do this 37 mile walk. It is neatly divided into manageable stages
and the website gives transport possibilities to get oneself back to where the car is parked - and of course the bus costs us nothing.
So, another project for the winter and spring.

Then we had a very good breakfast and almost unlimited tea and coffee.
Today was the first time I had dared to eat black pudding - and it was tasty enough.
I always feared it, after having a cookery book which fell open at the recipe for black pudding which began "Take a quart of pig's blood". I didn't like to think about it, let alone eat it!

We have busily written up today's purchases.

And now we must make sure we are ready for an evening out. We have been invited to a barbecue at Bill's cousin's - Sue and Chris.
I really want to quiz them about family history. And will do so a little, though they have invited some other friends too.
I expect we will have to arrange for them to come to our house for a meal in order to get all the details.

And now for a few pictures of the disused railway.

In the distance is the bridge which carries the A272.

The lever still operates the signal.

An old carriage at the end of the sidings. This carriage is open at some times and has information within.

As we finished our teas and coffees, Bill began to play with some of his purchases.
There are better pictures below.
They are just lovely, aren't they?

Friday, August 28, 2009



I have nothing to say really.
Some days are like that.
We did enjoy some really good beef this evening - an organic joint was well reduced in price because it was at its use by date.
Lets hope the weekend bucks me up a bit. I don't like feeling empty and down.
Neither Bill nor I realised it was the weekend already.
Hibernation has set in.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


A "nothing much" sort of day.

Not much today!

We got up, made a cup of tea and then went out. We were strolling the near empty aisles of Asda at just gone 8 o'clock.
It is a good time to shop.
We came home and did some eggs and waffles for breakfast.

Bill has been printing pages all day long. He felt a bit daunted by how behind he had got with our photo album - especially having spent time printing an album for Ekatarina.
But it is all up to date now.

I have been describing. EBay have offered 10 days of free listing and so I decided to get some things on with higher opening bids - 14 more items today.
It won't have cost me anything even if they don't sell.
So this time I have described things other than books - mostly.
There are 2 cute Hummel ornaments which can fetch high prices if you find the right buyer. The right buyer doesn't appear to have ventured into Pilgrims thus far. I have started them off at £39.50.
There is a BOAC paper fan, a Swatch watch from the 1996 Olympics, a snow globe with a Vespa motor scooter etc.
I am not sure why that hasn't been added to my own Olympic collection - except that I feel the time for hoarding might be over.
The Muffin the Mule tin I bought at Edenbridge is listed now, which I also found at Edenbridge last Saturday. The recipe book has already attracted a watcher, and so has the snowglobe.

I don't seem to have done much else really.

I confess there have been a few more rounds of Cradle of Rome. I enjoyed the game before and when the new computer was installed I was right back at the beginning and thought I might as well have another go.
And so is the recipe book published by the Bengal Girl Guides Association in 1940.

Well, to bed soon. Goodnight.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The depressing day after.

Yesterday was a special day - but what I didn't say was that I do find my birthday a bit depressing.
It is a day that symbolises my new beginning as a baby, but also the passing of the years.
It is also symbolises the passing of summer.
This does mean it brings new beginnings, but not one I really relished.
My birthday has for as long as I can remember marked the end of summer. Those hazy, lazy days of summer are behind us and the new school year beckons.
I didn't like it as a child and I think I feared it even more as a a teacher. I was not a willing teacher really - loved the relationships with the children of course, but I never felt I was good enough for the job. I think each new school year had me fearful of the failures to come - not really getting to grips with all that needed to be done.
There is no doubt that teaching was a mistake for me - but I made the best of it. And I know that some of the children (now very much adults) have some good memories of things we did together.
My body clock is very well attuned to this regular seasonal feelings - even though this is the 19th year that the new school year has not been a part of my life.
So, today has been a day to feel negative.

And what happened? A fence happened.
We were expecting it - but it hurts.
I am in mourning today for the freedom of having easy access to a field for play and to look at.

Take a look at it last year.
This was the view at the front of the house.

Now look!

There is no further access.
I suppose the builders might move in very soon.
And just to increase my feeling of depression - today has been gloomy and grey and chilly - and now it is raining quite hard.
I will close with a little Edward Kennedy philosophy.
Were we wrong, as young people, to believe in the Kennedy dream?
They were just politicians after all - and powerless against the might of high finance and industry.
I hope we were not completely wrong - or it means that nobody with a dream can dare to change things.
Edward Kennedy's little tale tells of the dream very well.
A little boy sees an old man collecting starfish on a beach and throwing them back into the sea. "There are so many" the little boy asks " What difference can your efforts possibly make?"
The old man studies the starfish in his hand and tosses it to safety,
saying "It makes a difference to that one."
Thanks to Mark for that one.
Now scroll down to see the joy of the birthday celebrations.


Birthday celebrations.

Birthdays, so they say, should be about being with those we love and eating and drinking together and having fun.
Well, you'll be happy to hear that I enjoyed all of that this year.

What a lot of lovely cards. I thank people for that reminder that I am loved and cared about.

Lunch was a picnic with Roger and Sue at Vyne House, a National trust property near Basingstoke.
Sue had enjoyed a birthday picnic the day before and there was some cake and a candle saved for me to celebrate too.

All I wanted was to have the candle lit - not much to ask. But it was just too breezy.
I used up loads of matches.

Bill tried to creates some shelter for the flame, but it died almost as soon as it was lit.
Never mind the other 3 sang Happy Birthday for all in the car park to hear!
The picnic site is in the overflow carpark and on a summer's day there were too many cars for the car park.

The National Trust picnic tables and chairs are very good.
You can see rain gear scattered around.

Sue and I exchanged trivial but fun little presents. How clever of Sue to remember that jelly babies are on my approved list of sweets to eat - lower in potassium.

Before lunch we wandered in the grounds of Vyne House and enjoyed the walled garden with neat vegetable patches and a lovely herbaceous border against the wall which had fan tailed fruit trees.

Chatting with one of the volunteer gardeners.

For a while we were stranded in the greenhouse - my, it did rain hard.
We were not alone - there were others to be sociable with.
Later in the afternoon we enjoyed the tea shop - a cup of tea and some cake was just right. The others had scones with jam and cream. I found some gluten free blueberry cakes - and it was moist and good. Sometimes gluten free can be so dry and flavourless.

Where there is a lake there are water birds to enjoy.
My apologies to the pretty little coots - we have no photographs!

The Canada Geese strutted on the grass or took to the water.
They thought they were top birds - until a swan chased them and that caused a hurried flight of geese from the water with the swan chasing along behind, never quite getting wing tips above the surface.

"Come on swan, you know you want some of my nice fresh grass"
But she didn't want to get her cygnet into bad habits and declined.

But she put on a bit of a show for us.

The cygnets made us chuckle.
Maybe they don't like walking. They walked a few steps and then both instaneously sat down in front of Bill.

And then turned their backs towards the photgraphers - well, I had the advantage of seeing their faces.

After a happy day we bade farewell to Roger and Sue.
It is amazing how exactly halfway between our two homes we were.
Roger had checked a web site and discovered that they were one hour 20 minutes drive from home and we were one hour 21 minutes.
But we didn't drive straight home and I am not sure what Roger and Sue did.

We drove through Farnham - and vowed to explore this pretty town one day.
We stopped in Loxwood, situated by the Wey and Arun canal. This canal has fallen into a poor state, but volunteers are raising money to restore it.
Loxwood needed much money - new bridges were built and new concrete banks to the canal and a firm towpath re-established.
This is now on the things to do list - we should walk from Loxwood down as far as the aqueduct.

It was a bright evening.
We decided to have our dinner at the canal side pub, The Onslow Arms.

I really enjoyed seabass fishcakes with lime and ginger.
It was much closer to dusk when we came out and walked a little by the canal to see new locks and new humped bridge.

My camera coped less well with the fading light. I had to lighten it a lot on the computer.
I wanted to show Bill by the lock which, for now divides the new canal from the old unrestored canal.
And so it was time to go home and feel satisfied with a lovely birthday.
Scroll down to see pictures of Vyne House - the focal point of our jaunt.


Vyne House near Basingstoke

Now let us take a look at the house we had travelled to see.
Vyne House is north of Basingstoke.
It was built in the early 1500s for Lord Sandys, Henry VIII's Lord Chanceller. The King visited Vyne House 3 times.
Catherine of Aragon stayed here after the divorce.
During the English Civil War the Sandys family fell on hard times and were forced to sell.
Vyne house was bought by Chaloner Chute, a London barrister and MP.
The family continued to reside at Vyne for 400 years.
Each new Chute made their mark and added to the treasures to be seen within.
The house was sold to The National Trust in 1952 for the benefit of all.
The National Trust is run by people with high ideals and has the purpose of conserving buildings, countryside and wildlife.
People who dedicate their lives to a cause can sometimes get a little blinkered. They have rules and routines that become fixed in stone.
I am happy that there are people doing the work - both as officials and volunteers.
But I do find it irksome that photographs are not permitted within the buildings. They say is is for security reasons - and they are the trustees of some very valuable national treasures, so perhaps they are right.
But I can by pass the rule a little with the purchase of some postcards and search of internet sites.
We picked up a free guide for our tour of the house and also the children's quiz. The quiz asks questions and gives you particular items to look out for - better than just gliding round and missing some interesting details.
The volunteers stationed in each room are always very happy to talk and are most informative.
I like coming away from these places feeling I have added knowledge to my own life and felt that I have got to know, just a little, the lives of the people who have made a house what it is.

This view shows the main front entrance - yes, we could have taken this shot for ourselves.
But as the daffodils prove, this one has been copied from the National Trust website.

This picture shows the "back door".
The grand portico was one of the Chute additions.
You can see that the land gently slopes down to the lake.

I loved the 16th century tiles on the chapel floor.

The library

The 16th century oak gallery.
The staircase - designed by a later Chute in a sort of Wedgwood blue.

Here are gathered some of the 21st century visitors.
Bill and me with Roger and Sue.

I do like chimneys.

Original 15th century brickwork.

The weather vane. The hand clasping the broken sword must be a family motif, we saw it more than once.
A look back to the house as we ambled towards the car park.

And a chance for the technical minded to admire the ram pump - a 19th century modern convenience.

If you enlarge you will see that the Chutes patronised local craftsmen. The engine was made in Basingstoke.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Thank you for my 65th birthday.

There are so many reasons to be thankful on this special day and so many people to thank.

I should begin at the beginning and thank my parents for giving me life. What a special evening that must have been for them, 65 years ago, as they snuggled up together in their cottage with their first born baby.

And from that moment I have so quickly, it seems, acquired 65 years of life behind me.
For all, but the first 18 years, Bill has been at my side through birthday highs and lows. I thank him for his love.

I am thankful for many memories of birthdays past - Anglesey for my 11th and Paris on my 15th. Many birthdays have been spent away from home - being blessed with a summer holidays birthday.
Once, in France, Bill completely forgot that it was my birthday!

I am thankful that on my 50th birthday I was able to be with Bill, Jamie and Ashley. We had a meal together at Tilgate Lake. There had been times in the preceding 3 years when it was thought I might not live to enjoy a 50th birthday. I am so thankful I have had the years to see my wonderful sons grow into family men themselves and to know my grandchildren.

And on that note I send thanks to all the medical people and supporters who carried me through the dark days. It is dramatic to think of people who have saved my life - but some truly did and others gave me the strength to continue the doctor's work and save myself. The more recent battle was less of a struggle for me - but yet again without medical science and skills I almost certainly would not have known this day.

And so to this years' birthday. I have been truly blessed.
I have received so many greetings - cards to display, some so beautifully hand crafted, along with the lovely collection of greetings that have arrived on my computer screen. Thanks to the PC Doctors who gave me back my computer so smoothly!
I have enjoyed some lovely little presents too. Thank you everybody.

Thank you to Roger and Sue who have shared this day with me. We have enjoyed a good day.
At lunchtime we picnicked and I tried, in vain, to light a candle on a cake - it was just too breezy. But Bill and Roger and Sue gave a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. I was oblivious to any observers there might be.

Thank you to Chaloner Chute too. Who? You might ask. He was the first of the Chute family to own the Tudor mansion we visited today. He and his descendants created a home which a 20th century Chute bequeathed to the nation 50 years ago.

This evening Bill and I stopped at a pub in Loxwood for a celebration meal together and a stroll by The Wey and Arun canal. Thank you Bill.

Thank you to the world that, despite everything, is a wonderful place to experience.
I am so happy that I have enjoyed 65 years of experience and fully expect many more years - 30 more at least please!

Tomorrow I will have pictures of the day to share with you.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Busy Pilgrims

Busy busy!
It has been a happy day at Pilgrims with many buying customers to share it with.
I always thought of August as being a lean month in the shops - and you would have thought that in these days of "credit crunch" sales would be few. But we have had the best month ever.
So perhaps the customer who came in just before 5 o'clock is on the right track - he will be opening an antiques shop just along the road in a month's time. Today he bought silver because he loves it, though he will be concentrating on furniture in his shop.
Of course the silver was not amongst mine or Bill's stock.
But I did sell well - one of those "ornyments" I bought at a woman's house a while back sold for £35. I also sold a 1960s vase to a German couple from Guglingen - Dorking's twin. And I sold a brooch.
We were busy also with our own areas.
I had bought the geometric knick knack shelves on Saturday. Bill hung them on the wall this afternoon for me and I then rearranged.
Monika and Julie have been kind enough to think of me on my "special" day tomorrow.
I have some little presents and cards.
Frieda called round when we got home with her card and gift and she also had some lovely flowers and a bottle of "medicine" from Jo, who had called in earlier.
Later we took a small gift to Jo - for her "special" day tomorrow. Hers is more special than mine!
Sadly, being us - we had not organised her bigger special present for the three score years and ten. It will be sorted, Jo.
Right, we must get to bed. Bill is already dozing. I still have a modicum of adrenalin flowing after the buzz of activity today.
Tomorrow we are having a day out.
We are meeting Roger and Sue in the car park of a National Trust property near Basingstoke - about half way between our two homes.
We will explore house and garden - 4 cameras at the ready!
Hopefully the weather will be fine and we will have a picnic at lunch time and maybe some afternoon tea somewhere later in the afternoon.
Depending on fatigue levels Bill and I might eat out in the evening - or maybe just get something take away.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


Sunday - day of work.

It is Sunday evening - the end of another busy day.
We made a mistake first thing - we assumed that the Reigate boot sale takes place on the 2nd and 4th Sunday each month; we were wrong - its the 2nd and last Sunday. We arrived at a nearly empty field, though we were not alone in our error.
So we drove quickly back to Crawley and went to the Pease Pottage boot sale once again.
It was very full of stalls and customers - and we had arrived later than normal and the crowds were already building up.
I bought some interesting books about UK towns, which seems to be my EBay speciality.
Everything has been written up.
I have a box ready to take to Pilgrims tomorrow - and so has Bill.
I described 6 more items for EBay. It will take time to get the box emptied - and I have started filling another box, which I would like to deal with during the 10 days of free listing.
Sport has been the background to life today.
I have been "watching" the cricket on the BBC web site - just the score card and comments. One of the comments was from a Jamie Monk in Thailand. He can see the cricket on his satellite channel.
As the scores and fallen wickets came up on the screen I joined with the millions both here and abroad getting increasingly excited because England would win back The Ashes.
The pictures I have seen have been from Berlin - the last day of the Athletics World Championships.
One of today's stars featured at Matt's induction as a Baptist Minister in Cirencester.
The athlete was not actually there - but the preacher from London used her and her ambitions and her family as a pivot on which to hang his spiritual message.
Today the dedication highlighted was rewarded. She was a medallist in the 1500 metres.
It might have been a bronze medal - but the "winner" was disqualified for knocking an athlete over and so Lisa Dobriskey won a silver medal - and was just one hundredth of a second behind the gold medallist.
These events are now over.
And so is the Tour of Ireland cycle race - the final day in torrential rain. We watched this as we enjoyed our dinner this evening.
And I almost forgot the Grand Prix. Bill watched the start - I think he dozed for a while during the race. I didn't see any of it this time.
Bill has finished printing Ekatarina's diary photographs today.
And I spent a while making the ironing pile disappear whilst dinner was cooking.
So, a busy day.
Of course we want a busy day at the shop tomorrow - but a rest would also be appreciated.

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Saturday activities

This has been a good day of work...... working at our hobbies, you understand; though it is to be hoped that there might be some profit in it for Bill and me.
We drove the short distance to the car boot sale at Faygate at about quarter past seven.
I don't think we bought a great deal of interest - though I do have a Clarice Cliffe meat plate.
Most people know that she is one of the most sought after names in the world of china and porcelain of the 20th century. Some of her work epitomises the art deco period. My meat plate does not - the design is a bit boring - but that shouldn't stop the buyers who yearn for the well known name; well, I hope so.

We got back and chatted a while with Abdel - a neighbour. He is such a nice man with a lovely family. He has only just heard about the proposed medical centre to be built and was appalled at the loss of green space and trees.
He gave us 2 figs from his tree which we enjoyed with our breakfast.

I had time this morning to describe 6 items for EBay. They are listed now and so my fresh start begins. I have so much that I want to sell on EBay during this winter.

Later Bill and I - and my shopping trolley set off for Edenbridge.
The trolley is such an asset and saves aching arms - but today it was also a bit of a liability. The Edenbridge boot sale is in a different field. It is truly a farm field - clearly having been used by cows during the previous weeks and it was so rough and rutted that the trolley was hard to steer.
But it soon became full - Bill even had to manoevre it back to the car so that we could start again.
We have found some interesting things - yet more for EBay and some for the shop.
I picked up a Muffin the Mule tin, a book describing all the episodes of The Avengers and another about The Prisoner and a cloth badge of Starsky and Hutch and paid £5 for these items - I was expecting to have to pay much more. The most popular TV programmes continue to attract interest and collectors.
From the same stall Bill bought a large clockwork stage coach, which works well and has had us chuckling this evening.
He also has a boxed Trigger - the horse, that is, as ridden by Roy Rogers. The box is a nice display item and includes a video of a Roy Rogers film.
I bought some old recipe books. Now how come I found this one in a field in south east England today? It is Round the World with a Recipe Book, published by the Bengal Girl Guide Association in 1940.
We bumped into Kate at that stall - a colleague in the Rocking Horse days. She was friendly of course - but spoke a bit huffily when she spied the books I had...." I see you have found some books" she commented enviously.
We were very happy with what we had found.
We also bought Kent Victoria plums.
It seems that local growers might have to let fruit rot on the trees because the big supermarkets would rather buy their fruit from foreign climes.
Well, we will help by eating some of the local fruit - even if it upsets my digestion.
We also bought a pot of Victoria plum jam.
And so home to start to write up the stuff. I haven't finished - I spent lots of time chatting instead. I talked for a while with Ekatarina and then later Ashley and I talked for a long time.
Ashley has ordered another computer which will be delivered during next week.
The athletics was on the TV at the same time - with the sound turned down.
It has been a good world championships - just athletes from all round the world competing to their best and sharing together in a big occasion. Politics and race have kept out of it, thank goodness. Though these issues were recalled today as Jesse Owen's grand daughter presented the gold medal to the winning long jumper in memory of her grandfather's achievements in the same stadium at the 1936 Olympics. Hitler's politics were humiliated briefly by the lanky black man on that occasion.
Now we must make yet another cuppa and prepare for bed and plan our activities for tomorrow.
Yes, another car boot sale - but which one?

Friday, August 21, 2009


Routine - and another's computer problems.

Almost routine!
I wish I could say that computers have not been a cause for concern - but they have.
But - not ours.
This afternoon Ashley rang with a tale of woe about his machine.
Very strange. It was bought from the same place that we bought our troublesome one and at nearly the same time about 2 years ago.
Ashley described symptoms like this one showed - so we have suggested mother board, graphics board etc problems.
Now I do believe that some manufacturers build in a certain amount of working life into their computers.
And Ashley will have to do what we have done - replace the workings.
Tomorrow he may head for PC World - regretfully I guess, but it might be the only source of an easy solution for him. Though Bill has contacted a little company in Bangor High Street who might be able to help - and it is certainly closer.
Ashley, like me, uses the computer to sell on EBay.
He is one stage behind me this summer.
Today I have sold 8 items that had been relisted and were being their last chance. The failures might try their luck in Pilgrims - or may get sent straight to a charity shop.
There are no more things waiting to be re-listed.
I was about to make the fresh start with describing at least 6 items to be listed.
But Ashley was wanting to get his re lists onto EBay so that he could give them their last chance.
I offered to do it for him.
But Ashley doesn't do things by halves.
There were 281 items to be dealt with.
So my fresh start can wait.

This evening my body doesn't feel like making a fresh start. It feels like going to bed. I fell quite deeply asleep as athletes performed on the track in Berlin.

This morning Frieda was round for a while.
It is always so easy to challenge Frieda and offer her new ideas or experiences.
I am not sure how the subject of what to spread on bread came up.
I was so amazed that she claimed never to have tasted Marmite, that I immediately sliced a little bread and put some butter on and thinly spread Marmite for her to sample. I sliced some cucumber - just in case she didn't like it.
They do say you either love it or hate it.
Well, she loved it.
So we continued and tried her on meat paste - it needed using up anyway.
Everybody had fish or meat paste sandwiches when I was a child - surely she did too.
"Ooh I say" she exclaimed "there are so many different things to put on bread - I always have jam". Bet she has the same jam every time too!
I hope she follows this up by buying a small jar of Marmite. Jamie has suggested she try Twiglets - I'll get her a small packet.

So that has been my day.
The England cricketers had a much more lively day. The press had been ready to write them off as not being good enough on the first day of The Test. Well, on this second day they showed that the Australians were less good - very much less good.
It could happen - we could regain The Ashes.

Time for a quick drink and then to bed.
Of course we will get up early and go off hunting - firstly just to Faygate, we think.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


What can I trust?

I am not sure what I can trust this evening.
Can I trust the computer?
Finally all seems to be well.
The most recent problem - when Bill attempted to connect the two computers by cable was, in fact, easily solved.
The shop had sold Bill the wrong cable.
Now, that's not fair because he deliberately chose the small company tucked behind PC World; he has used it before and the man running it seemed to be reliable.
But this time his mistake was the last straw.
But just now if anything seems a bit slow I start to think "oh no".

And today I have not been able to trust the "wee" bag. Last time I had a spell of problems I could work out the reason. I am not sure this time.

Damn it the "wee" bag almost made me miss the 200 metres final at the World Championships.
Thank goodness for the little old TV in the bedroom.
The Jamaican did it again - the world record again. Usain Bolt was just born with a body that makes him fast, very fast.
Yesterday we saw somebody else born with a body that made them a gold winning very fast 800 metre runner.
She is an 18 year old South African.
And she has been subjected to worldwide scrutiny concerning her gender.
I am very happy with the way the BBC team of commentators have dealt with this matter. They have been measured and wise. Steve Cram pointed out that nobody is 100% male or female and we all fit somewhere along a scale. We have too many stereotypes foisted upon us of what a person ought to look like.
I can look back to a Czech runner, Kratochvilova. She was powerful and looked quite masculine and was fast. Being an Eastern European at that time then maybe she was pumped up with hormones or drugs - but she was a woman. And when she retired from the sport, she went on to become a mother.

I have been reading during these last days. At the Edenbridge car boot sale there was a box of books, 25p each or 3 for 50p. My final choice, the free book if you like, was the book written by Gloria Hunniford about her daughter who had died of breast cancer.
This has raised feelings within me that I don't trust.
I see too many mirror images of how Caron, the daughter, reacted and dealt with the cancer fight - including a bit of a breakdown and analysing every relationship around her and searching for reasons and clutching at straws.
But we all got through it and I have come out the other side wiser and with a modicum of self belief.
Caron didn't get that chance.

Bill has also fitted in some other things besides doing things with the computer and fretting about them.
He has scanned a box load of books for me to describe for EBay.
He has started to prepare Ekatarina's pictures for her diary album.

And he has enjoyed creating a character for the papier mache pig that Ecky and I made at Godstone Farm with Jo and Florence.
Ekatarina is a Pokemon fan - and we found one of the characters as a soft toy at a boot sale. That was Pikachu.

And now may I introduce you to "Pigachu"......

Wednesday, August 19, 2009



If this sounds muddled then I apologise. My brain feels addled.
This has been a truly frustrating day.
I guess it shouldn't be me feeling so frustrated - for it has been Bill working hard and failing to achieve.
What is happening to what was a happy computer set up?
I can't remember now what went wrong and when.
I suppose that first it was the sudden failure of my computer to be connected to broad band via the wireless router.
Bill tried to put that right.
But we called out the PC Doctor for help and all seemed to be well.
Then my computer began to freeze and the screen to break up - often.
Then it just failed to function.
So, a new box of tricks was installed.
Bill has successfully installed all the programmes like Turbo Lister.
But the wireless router was not working properly.
Broadband is available - but then when I do something it cuts off. A little later it appears again.
So Bill decided that maybe it might be best to connect broadband via cable. He went and bought a cable and spent time fitting it and putting it through the wall etc.
But it doesn't work. It just announces that something is not connected. What?
Bill talked to Pete for ages this afternoon. Pete is good at tinkering with computers. But, of course, Pete is 300 miles away.
So we are no further forward. I can use my computer and sometimes manage to do things on line...briefly.
It looks like the PC Doctor will have to return. The man who was with us yesterday has apparently been instructed to phone - but not sure when.
What frustrates me even more is that the wireless router opens broadband on the laptop upstairs.
So something is not set up right on my computer - but we don't know what.

I have been washing things. Mostly it has been the things purchased last weekend. There were some old interesting bottles. The Steyning ginger beer bottle was still filled with mud!
I have also cleaned some loo chains! I bought some in from somebody at the shop on Tuesday. They have nice ceramic handles.
I have polished a brass coal scuttle.
Everything has been written up and stowed in the garage.
I also cleaned the stains off all our tea spoons when I did the breakfast washing up.... not sure how and why we have 23 tea spoons

It has, of course, been hot. But the frustration we are feeling has masked any enjoyment of the sunshine.
I guess it will all get sorted some time. It is not actually life or death and shouldn't matter so very much.

I shall now spend some time with the TV - Who Do you Think You Are is on.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Feeling sick, the doctor and dead!

Has it been a good day?
I am not sure if I would know. I have felt so under the weather - and today, niggly with myself.
I have realised that whilst Ashley and Ekatarina were with us I relaxed my controlled diet.
I don't think I relaxed too much.... but of course I failed to get back to a sense of discipline when they left.
I know - you have heard it all before. You have heard "Never again!" before too.
I have been eating some bread; that's bad. What a shame that the lovely locally grown vine tomatoes that I bought too many of at the Ford boot sale are also bad.
For a while I must return to wheat free and very low potassium food.
I am sure I shall feel better soon - the dreadful weariness and depression will flee along with the digestive complaints.
I look forward to feeling better.
Bill has been to the doctor today about his swollen ankles - which actually had gone down a lot since he made the appointment. Nevertheless he was taken seriously and was told to arrange a quick appointment if the pulse rate should go up high again, for an ECG.

And on top of this my computer which was very sick indeed was pronounced dead.
Yes, the mother board had failed - and the graphics board and any other board that might be in there. Well, we were correct in our assumption that it was a hardware problem.
Cynical me wonders if the things sold by some companies (and PC World in particular), have a built in obsolescence, so that people have to buy new computers every couple of years.
The man who came today was pleasant - nerdy and friendly and not at all pompous. He is a member of the National Trust.
Well, that says it all doesn't it!
He was also prepared to admit that he doesn't know everything - for example he says he ought to be able to block all people on Skype, except one's own choice of contacts. But he has spent time looking at it and failed.... every now and then one gets called by somebody like Sexy Sam inviting you to view her anatomy!
Anyway - back to my dead machine.
A new computer was installed. I kept the keyboard and screen etc.
My old hard drive is now external - and it contains almost all my existing work and play.
Bill has taken on the role of installing things that had to be done. It will take a few days before everything is in place as before.
We are still not completely confident about the wireless radio link.
So it has not been a good day for the bank account.
But at least the work has been done and Bill has not been pushed into feeling too hassled - except by niggly me, perhaps.

Tomorrow, perhaps we can get on with work that was planned for today. Bill has photos to print for us and for Ekatarina. We promised we would make a diary for her, using her photos and ours. There just wasn't time whilst she was with us.
I have Sunday purchases to write up.

I have idled much of the day with the athletics on TV - another gold for GB today. But I did take a walk during the afternoon to post a parcel and buy some milk and bits.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Grumpy old woman

I started the day feeling niggly - though could find no reason.
As the morning progressed I was of the opinion that my colleagues were giving me plenty to feel niggly about!
The problem seemed to be that customers had taken over the shop and interrupted their leisurely way of doing things.
Poor Julie, normally enjoys her Mondays. She is given a life of ease and attention. She likes some time to slowly reveal things she has brought in and to get them written up in her book, priced and arranged on her shelves.
For a while there was no way I could give her much attention.
She seemed to grumble that everything seemed "confusing".
I was not confused - just dealing with a couple of dealers on a buying trip.
Monika was no help. She comes in on a Monday for a bit of time and space to sort out her own affairs.
She spends a lot of time on the phone - just at the moment sorting out what she can get from various companies when she has a new phone.
She explained that her old one is useless - and then spent most of the time using it!
She did come to life when she persuaded the dealer couple to buy something of hers. She was back to the counter; her items were wrapped and labels removed before I could record them on the invoice I was making for the customers.
I didn't snap though - felt inclined, but knew there was nothing to be gained.
So now I let off steam!
I made just a brief point by preparing lunch for Bill and me and taking our plates out to chairs in the shop back garden, telling Bill that we could take 10 minutes.......from doing all the work, I wanted to say!
The afternoon was actually quieter than the morning - it is usually the other way round.
Despite the fact that I normally enjoy the hard work, this week I was glad to leave and get home.
I have seen more of the athletics. I was happy to see the favourite, Bekele of Ethiopia, win the 10,000.
I have just been reading about his life on Wikipedia; I have noted before that Wikipedia postings are updated very quickly. There must be a team of people to add, almost instantly, latest events in a person's biography. This evening's win was, of course, already written up.
I will get to bed soon - having already dozed a while.
Perhaps I have felt niggly because I have been tired.
Then there is anxiety caused by computer problems. We are both of the opinion that there is a mechanical fault in a the hard ware. This should be easy to repair, though it might have to be taken away.
I do hope it would come back with all the information it leaves with.
This morning it was working for nearly an hour. Then "click" the screen broke up and nothing more could be done. This evening it will not start up.
Sorry - this evening I have sounded like a very grumpy old woman. Tomorrow I will get the sunshine back in my heart I hope.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Athletics day

Today has been a day to recall all the things I have always enjoyed about being involved in athletics.
We were timekeeping at a well attended meeting at the Horsham track, with the sun shining down.
The timekeepers were of high calibre and relaxed. We gossiped and commented on life, the universe and everything and took pride in giving accurate times to the runners.
There was lots of laughter and comradeship.
The races were good with young people giving of their best and supportive parents cheering them on.
We came home to watch World Championship Athletics.
I wonder why joyous occasions bring tears to the eyes.
There was lots to relish, but the last events of the day were simply joyous.
Firstly, the very sweet Jessica Ennis became a GB world champion in the heptathlon. The multi event competitions are fiercely competitive of course - but always end revealing true bonds between the competitors. Hugs and smiles all round. And those tears of joy - from Jessica and for me too.
But even before these young women could complete a joint lap of honour the men were on their marks for the 100 metres final.
It was hard to see anybody beating Usain Bolt of Jamaica.
And nobody came near to him at the finish as the amiable buffoon stopped the clock at 9.58.
We used to feel thrilled to witness somebody just breaking 10 seconds - so, a time of 9.58 was ...... I can't find the words I need. But I was moved to those tears of joy again.
The time spent at the Pease Pottage car boot sale - pushing my trolley around, seems like a lifetime ago now.
I know the trolley proved to be so valuable to me and all items purchased are now on the dining room table waiting to be sorted.

For a short while Bill had my computer working. It wasn't until the moment that I walked into the room (only a few minutes later) that it froze again - and is now refusing to do anything at all when switched on. There may be a minor mechanical fault or it might be something more major - we know that we will need help to get things sorted; though thank you to people who have come up with suggestions.
Hopefully the PC doctor can come on Tuesday.

We will be out at the shop tomorrow.


Saturday, August 15, 2009


A great anniversary present for me

Another Saturday and another trip to Ford and Littlehampton.
It was a grey day.
And the wind was quite fierce and chilly on the sea front - no beach parties this week, just small family groups huddled behind the breakwaters.
My first purchase of the day at Ford delighted me - I wanted one for some time.
I'll leave you wondering, until the end of today's ramblings, to see what it is.
It has been a toy day - I bought 2 dolls. One is a hard plastic 1950s doll and the other is a clockwork doll who shuffles along. Bill bought more farm animals.
I bought a little china and glass - and a huge whisk. One has to wonder what size bowl the cook would have been using when wielding this whisk.
We seemed to be at Ford for ages.
Later we parked the car at Littlehampton and tucked between 2 coaches was an interesting lorry loaded with pigeons, destined to race back to the Northampton area.

We chatted with the driver, but he couldn't be sure when he would release them all. He wanted to give them the advantage of some sunshine and clearer skies.
"Could be 10 minutes.... could be an hour" he told us.
He said many of the pigeons were novices and would need the sun to guide them.
I am not sure about that..... surely even intelligent homing pigeons wouldn't know if they were north or south or east or west of their home. They wouldn't know if they had to fly with the sun on their backs or in their eyes.
But somehow they do know which way to go.
The man reckoned they would be back in their pigeon lofts about an hour and a half after their release, especially with the wind behind them. That's a lot quicker than our driver friend would do the journey.
We wanted to see them fly off - but didn't want to hang around for an hour. Shame really.
They were gone when we returned.
From pigeons we turned to the swans. Just for a change we had remembered to take some bread for them this week.
Swans have a sixth sense and are very quickly gathered together, attracted by a supply of bread!
The swans look so interesting from above as we stand above the fast flowing River Arun.

Then it was time to feed ourselves - or let The Balaton family feed us.
Picture below.
The kitchen is through the hatchway.
We have to walk through the busy kitchen to get to their Mediterranean style garden, where a pretty, clean loo is situated under the cafe.

Once back home we could sort out our purchases....... and here it is..... my purchase of the day!

At last I am old enough to have a shopping trolley!
It is for use at car boot sales and will save aching arms, hands and backs. And maybe there need not be so many trips back to the car.
I loved using it today.
Tomorrow I will try it out on the Pease Pottage field.
Shame we can't go further afield, but we can't be out for too long because we have agreed to do timekeeping over at the Horsham track.
At this moment Bill is vacuuming my computer!
My computer is sick.
Not sure what is causing it - but it is freezing up frequently. Bill wonders if dirt and dust might be causing the machine to over heat.
Maybe Ashley can advise - for he had this problem recently.
Do we have an infection by a deadly virus?
If he can't make a suggestion then perhaps we'll have to call the PC Doctor once again.

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