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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Date for your calendar...

I have just received our local 'Village News' magazine through the door, and David Austin Roses have a feature page.
Now I know you're going to either have to plan a day out or be fairly local but they are having a SUMMER EVENT on Saturday 16th July 2011 which will be a Strawberry themed two-course lunch £12 per person, which inclueds a glass of wine.  And for ONE DAY ONLY are offering 50% off the beautiful pink English Rose Strawberry Hill £7.95 instead of £15.95.  If you are thinking of going for the lunch you will need to book, telephone 01902 376334. 
I'm not being paid by David Austin Roses to advertise this, and have no connection with them, BUT I know there are a lot of fans out there!  Sadly, I cannot attend as we already have plans :o(

                                                             Enjoy the rest of the week!

                                                                       Best wishes

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Then, just as I was leaving.... (And an admission)

Hi gang!  Phew, it's so hot today  28c (82.4f) I'm rendering down - I wish!

Dear hubby has gone to Germany for a motorbike rally this weekend. so I've been left to amuse myself :o)   (I don't think you know I've been a pillion rider since I was 8 years old on my Dad's motorbikes).
Yesterday, a miserable 'moist' day - I decided to go to TK Maxx to see if the two things I'd liked were still there - pah! should have got the blue and white Chinese pottery stool and the 'seaweed' candlesticks when I saw them last week :o(  Both gone.  So to cheer myself up I called and had a carvery lunch at the pub we go to in the week for a meal. ( I'm so boring, it's with either with a pot of tea or a diet Coke).  After a lovely lunch I toddled off in the car for a mooch around.  Back through the village to the charity shop.  There I found - two topiary frames.

A duck

and a squirrel.
I have some small box plants - these may fit over them to train.
50p each

3 books of sheet music total £1
just in case I find inspiration to use it in crafts.
I thought this one was apt though.
The original price was 2/- each, (that's 10p)

Then,  just as I was leaving - AND I nearly missed it...
I found this, I couldn't believe my eyes.

an ORIGINAL Staffordshire 'flatback' figurine spill vase!
(Okay, it's not too pretty...) 10.5" tall.

I love the basket of fruit though.

not the handsomest couple either!

The gold lines are rubbed just enough too.
I've REALLY studied these, my friend and neighbour has too and we both conclude they're genuine.
I haven't told you the price yet have I?  Believe it or not £1.50.
Truthfully, I have to find the 'right' place for it yet - but I will!

Then, I fancied a 'ride down the lanes'.  Brewood, the village I went to see Henry Sandon in had a few signs out for 'open gardens' so off I popped, though by now it was raining quite hard.  I drove to the car park and passed a private garage that had a few things for sale, got out the brolly and found another haul!

A Portmerion Christmas Candle, unused.

A couple of Quantock Pottery cats,

A funky 'crown' mirror approx 12" tall, and a couple of Good Homes magazines all for £1

Then,  just as I was leaving... (do you notice the pattern here?)
I spotted this.

A heavy wooden kitchen stool! 
Okay, not exiting I know - but when you suffer occasionally with a bad back it's just the ticket at the kitchen sink :o)
Oh, another pattern here......£1.50!
It was rather dirty and a bit rickety, but a good wash down with Pledge Wood Wash and tightened all the screws soon sorted that out.  I may get daring and give it a coat of paint, who knows?
By this time it was raining SO hard I decided to go home and have a nice cuppa.

Now, for my admission.  Last week I returned to David Austin Roses.  I was over half way there and realised that the camera was still on the kitchen worktop :o(  I know you'll all scream as most of the roses were in bloom.  It looked and smelt astounding too.
I'd had those puffins playing on my mind....
to the left of centre.

I'll be honest, I was dreading looking at the cost, but I'm happy to say they were only £3.99.
Then I saw another tile I liked too - they're actually pot stands. 6"x 6"

Now they hang in the entrance hall - by the doorway.
We have a seaside theme going on here, I found a couple of other things there too that I just couldn't leave behind.
The first was the 'oyster' painted sign.. (36" x 5") £12.99

That hangs over the beautiful boat tile (14" x 11") that started the whole theme off.
And lastly, I've been after a Monkey Fist knotted door stop for some time, but the cost has been astronomical for what they are - the cheapest I'd seen was £30!  I spied one in their (new) display, and tentatively looked at the price tag.  I was astounded £14.95 :o)

So now it sits, waiting to hold the door open :o)

I'll have to show you more of the hallway and downstairs cloak another day.

Hope you forgive me forgetting the camera.

Have a great week everyone - hope the weather stays good (but a little cooler)

Best wishes to all.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

An evening with Henry Sandon.

It's taken me a week to decide weather to post this or not, for fear of upsetting fans of Henry.
My dear husband treated me to a ticket to see An evening with Henry Sandon (of The Antiques Roadshow fame) along with Gerry Berwyn-Jones BA (Hons) of Bonhams auctioneers. (Sorry, no images of Gerry Berwyn-Jones)
Cotswold Auction Company - Mr Henry Sandon

(Photo taken from

I was really looking forward to the evening held to raise funds for the Historical church society and Katherine House Hospice, held at Brewood Church. (Pronounced 'Brood').  We were able to take up to three items each to have valued (which we paid extra for), and the main tickets included a glass of wine and canapes.  I arrived promptly with my three items and paid at the door for the valuations. 

                  I had taken, a 19th Century watercolour painting of 'Bridgland' in Wicklow Eire

A book/library press

(more about that later....)

                an autograph book that once belonged to my Mother in Law (of Tea Bread fame!)

I have passed the church on many occasions but had never been inside.  There are some most beautiful stone carvings behind the alter, but sadly I did not have any opportunity to take photos.  Should you like to read about St. Mary & St Chads church  click on the link and see photos.
Henry Sandon and Gerry Berwyn-Jones were over an hour late arriving due to the heavy traffic on Friday night.  The organisers had decided to amend the evening to suit as there wasn't enough time for both the valuations and Henry Sandon's talk, and so the valuations would be the talk.  Henry pounced upon the Royal Worcester and Flight & Barr pieces, and gave good details about them and of course the valuation.  Gerry Berwyn-Jones was mainly interested in artwork and silver.  There were some interesting things, and I was surprised that some of the lovely old pieces of pottery were almost worthless!  A gentleman had brought in a grimy painting that he had only purchased 48 hours before at a house clearance auction held locally for £30.  I cannot remember the name of the artist (sorry) but Gerry Berwyn-Jones thought it was painted by one of the 'Glasgow School' and if it 'checked out' after further investigation it was worth many thousands of pounds!
I'm afraid to say that I was most disappointed by Henry Sandon, who was quite rude about some of the things 'on the table', he seemed to be quite tactless.  He had bought with him some items that he passed around though, and one of them was a copy of the famous Ozzy the owl that was discovered years ago by Henry on the Antiques Roadshow.  I have seen the real one on display at the Potteries Museum in Stoke on Trent.  He also had a candle snuffer in his image holding Ozzy.  A Cadogan teapot with the faces of both Henry and John Sandon, Henry's wife Barbara demonstrated how it fills and pours. Barbara also held the reference books and looked up marks for her husband. Henry also passed around his 'Gotcha Oscar' awarded by Noel Edmonds (who he was SO rude about I couldn't believe my ears), which it seemed he had no finer thoughts for and asked if someone could break it as it was handed around - he wasn't joking either.
Gerry, did pick up my watercolour about four times but didn't talk about it or value it.  I have owned and loved it for about 15 years (it hangs in the stairwell on a north facing wall to protect it from sun-light), I had chosen it as (an expensive) birthday gift.
There was some flashes of  Henry's Roadshow personality during the evening, along with a few jovial comments.  The evening came to an abrupt end.  We were told that anyone who had not had their items valued could stay behind and speak to the experts.  I really wanted to know about my library press.  A plain looking Victorian item that I had picked up at a boot sale about ten years ago.  I'd spotted it and handled it, and asked the stallholder what was on the 'plates' in the press.  He told me the plates were missing, but I said no, the plates were there.  At which point he got quite shirty with me and said if I wanted it, it was £5.  Well, you have to barter a bit don't you?  I said I'd give him £3 as there were NO PLATES!  I think he was fed-up with me by that point and accepted my offer.  So off I trotted back to the car for a sheet of paper to put in the press, and guess what read:

Beeston Castle
L.M.& S. RY
Tel 28 Tarporley

It was only one from a railway station that had been closed by Dr Beeching!
He told me that normally they are worth about £15-£20 but as it is connected with the railway I could times it by 10 to 15 times :o) :o)

The little autograph book....My MIL was an avid fan of the soap Crossroads and in 1980 won tickets to meet the stars of the show past and present.  This was the Autograph book she took along with her.  All the stars that were in attendance signed the book for her, it was one of her treasured possesions.
Again, I didn't ask for the value, I was SO annoyed by some of Henry's comments (which I won't repeat on here) I   just wanted to get home.  On reflection I should have taken some of my Worcester and old silver items - maybe then I'd have had them valued?  There wasn't any opportunity to get any photographs - I think I'd have been escorted off the premises if I'd attempted any!

Hope you're having a great (dry) weekend!
Best wishes

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Ginger Jars....another collection!

Hi all,  I've only got one 'find' this week, it reminded me that I really should do another post about one of my collections.  First the find.
A modern 'Past Times' jar standing 8" tall was £1.75.  Surprisingly the colour caught my eye!
(Click to expand any photo)

Here's some of my others displayed on my cane 'bus stops' (as hubby christened them years ago!) in the conservatory.

They've been collected over the last 15 years or so.

I doubt that any one of them cost me more than £5.

Discovered at a boot sale, my favourite

it cost £1, and stands 13" tall and I love it!

The 'pumpkin' shelf, a closer look at the biggest

This cost me £2.  Standing 9" tall, the smallest pumpkin stands only 3" tall.

Another favourite, from memory cost £2.50 (Car boot sale)
Standing 9" high.

There HAD to be a few cats sneaking in!
The tallest jar is 8" high.
The dragon jar on the left is an oil burner my dear daughter bought me years ago :o)  She knows me SO well...:o)

The glass butterfly was a 50p find from a charity shop, it's 'sprung' and quite difficult to place.
(The frogs are part of another collection)
Another close look,

This one is 6.5" high, the smallest on this shelf is 2.5" high.

Now, I'll let you into a 'trade' secret, I have been known to pick up a jar and drop the lid :o(
but the cure is - I now stick the lids on with blue tack, no more broken lids :o)

Well, that concludes showing (some of) this part of my collection.  I'll have to show you another collection soon!
(You may have noticed a colour theme though LOL)

See you all soon, keep well.

Best wishes

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Look what's in my garden :o)

I've had my suspicions that I have an evening visitor to my garden..... It's just past midnight and I've just had a quick look...and here's what I found :o) 
(Click to expand pictures)

Can't see it?  Here's a closer look

Still can't spot it?

Mrs Tiggywinkle!

(You may spot my little stone hedgehog by the pots in the first photo)

I love hedgehogs, and when I spotted some unusual poop in the garden and wondered if it WAS a hedgehog.
Low and behold Google came up trumps, it was - who else would get excited over poop?  LOL.
 So I looked further into feeding information and discovered that the bird foods I put out are ideal fodder.  Each evening at dusk I've been putting out a dish of water and a dish of mealworms, sultanas, sunflower hearts and crushed peanuts pushed under my tiny chiminera and each morning it's been eaten :o)  I did spot it a couple of nights ago, but in my exitement I forgot the camera!

I've been watching the BBC's Springwatch live, and they mentioned a scheme called "Hedghog Street" I think I'll apply for a pack - my only worry are the houses with dogs as they will attack and kill the little dears.  My little helper Sid has more sense and just sits and watches it's movements :o)

Well, I'd really better close now.  I'll be back very soon with a 'normal' post ;o)

Best wishes to all, bye for now.


Pam and Cathy asked if hedgehogs do damage to the garden?  The answer is a resounding NO!  They forage in the soil and eat worms, beetles, catapillars and other invertabrates - though should they find a birds egg they certainly wouldn't ignore it.  They do eat slugs too, but I've discovered that they would only be a small percentage of it's diet - which is be a good job as slugs carry a type of lung worm that can kill hedgehogs.

I was outside at about 7.30 am pegging out washing and I've discovered a Blackbird nesting in the Kiwi :o)  Just hoping now that Sid will not cause any problems :o(  The last time we had a bird nesting in the garden was about 20 years ago, a wren made it's home in the dry-stone wall.

Bye again from one happy blogger!

Monday, 6 June 2011

A little home cooking.

Picture this - A warm, sunny Sunday.  Men in whites on the village green with the crack of leather on Willow.  A typical 'English' Cricket match.  (For me, the most boring sport in the world LOL!)

My Mom-in-law Brenda May used to make the cricketers tea for the team my brother in law played for.  The house smelt of home baking for a couple of days before 'the match', one of her recipes was for Tea Bread.  It's a family favourite and a very simple fat free, flexible recipe.  I mix it by hand as you will not need a mixer.  I made some today and I'd like to share the recipe with you.  Ideally, start the mix a day before baking to allow the fruit to 'plump up' overnight if possible.

Brenda-May's Tea Bread

Ingredients for a 1Lb loaf

1 cup of black tea.  (I use hot freshly brewed)*
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of any dried fruit
(I used sultanas, currents and candid peel)
2 cups of SR flour
(OR for the US
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt)
                                                                             1 egg


Place the dried fruit, sugar and tea into a mixing bowl, mix together.  Cover and leave overnight if possible, but even an hour or two would do.
(After the overnight soak, nice plump fruit)

Then, next day line a loaf tin with enough silicon paper or foil to lift over the mixture to form a loose 'tent' to prevent burning.
Give the fruit mixture a stir and add the flour and egg,

then mix to amalgamate the ingredients well.

  Pour into the lined loaf tin
then lift up the excess lining and make a loose 'tent' to prevent burning

 and bake for approx 1 hour (checking after 30 minutes) at 180 Deg. C, 375 Deg F, or Gas 5.  The loaf is cooked when a skewer** comes out clean. (** no skewer?  Use a dry spaghetti stick!)
Lift out the bread with the liner and place on a baking tray to cool.
Slice and serve warm or cold
or, as we do and butter - lovely with a cuppa :o)

Store in an air tight container.  It keeps and freezes well.

* I make three times this amount at a time as I have 3 tins!  I halve the sugar (I'm diabetic).  I use half wholemeal and half white flour.  I have posted this recipe on an American site and it has been adapted to use with other fruits such as cranberries and fruit teas.  I have also added a couple of chopped plums that were left in the fruit I stated a VERY flexible recipe!  They also dared to just grease the tin and not 'tent' over the top without it catching, but I wouldn't dare to as my oven can be unpredictable.

Hope you make it and enjoy it :o)

Best wishes to all, happy baking!

07th June 2011

I've just found a photo of Tea Bread made with all white flour, looks different again!