Sunday, 25 September 2011

Ceramic Sunday, cream pot.

I'm going to the Yorkshire seaside this coming week so I thought that I would show you this lovely little pot. My younger daughter bought it as a present for me some years ago when she was living in Scarborough. I like this sort of simple brown stoneware, so much more pleasing than plastic!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Autumn clothing

It is cool and damp and shorts and summer dresses have been packed away until next year. Janet, at the gardener's cottage  is still happily wearing light summer clothing. She does a regular posting on her clothes and bloggers all over the world look at her choice with interest and appreciation. She is disciplined, making ethical choices and keeping her purchases to a minimum. Other bloggers make comments about what clothes might be appropriate for their age. They all seem to be considerably younger than me. What do I think is age appropriate? Do I care? Am I disciplined?

I don't buy many clothes. What I do buy I expect to last for ever. Of course my favourites wear out, but that's because I use them so often. The purchases that never wear out are the ones that were a mistake. They take up valuable storage space until I admit my folly and pass them on to friends or take them to the charity shop. 
I like lovely fabrics, natural materials and comfort, and don't mind where I find such clothes or how 'appropriate' they are supposed to be for my age, which is nudging towards seventy. I think that it's attitude, not age that matters - if I had good legs I would show them regardless!
Today's outfit, for a dull, damp mid-week, is the following;

Purple Jigsaw coat.
Very old Benetton white cotton blouse. (When I say 'very old' I mean several decades.)
Boden purple cashmere cardigan.
Comptoir des Cotonniers grey cotton skirt.
Grey tights.
Custom made purple suede flats - also very old!

This is my favourite spring and autumn coat, purple velvet by Jigsaw. It is wonderfully soft and feels (and some may say looks) as though I am wearing a comfortable old dressing gown. The cuffs are generously buttoned with linings of striped fabric, like old-fashioned shirting.

You'll notice that I like the colour purple - if I post my clothes every now and then it will keep reappearing!

Monday, 19 September 2011

A girl can't have too many..

A girl can't have too many cashmere cardis, at least, not if she lives in Blighty!  I've mentioned on today's share my garden post that it is feeling very back-endish. Any pious hope that we might have a belated summer has met with a cold front. Time to dress for warmth and solace and for that there is nothing to beat a cashmere cardi.
You will notice a little colour theme going on. (They look a bit creased, I've just yanked them out of a drawer.) My latest acquisition is this mauve crop from Boden with a self-colour velvet trim. I love it!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Ceramic Sunday, strainer.

Yesterday I was given the present of this lovely little strainer. It came from friends who are clearing the house of a distant, newly deceased relative. What a business it is turning out to be! The house is cram-jammed with the strange assortment of objects that a long life collects. They felt quite overwhelmed by the task at first, but slowly, after weekends spent carefully sorting, some sort of order has been achieved.  Nothing, say my friends, is quite complete, so the strainer, minus its cup, sits now on my kitchen windowsill in company with other blue and white pieces that came from my parents' and grandparents' homes.

It has prompted me to say that I don't want to leave such chaos for someone else to have to clear.  De-clutter - moi? I'm full of good intentions, but that's  as far as it goes!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Yesterday, at the other side of my world, a funeral service was held for my friend David. Our families had shared holidays together throughout our childhood. They provided so many happy memories to last throughout our adult lives.

Mostly we recalled the exploits of David and my elder brother, Stuart; adventures involving improvised go-carts, oil-drum rafts and apple-pie beds.

David and his wife, Ann, moved to New Zealand many years ago when their boys were young. It was the ideal country, providing the outdoor life that David loved. He led a very healthy, active life and I doubt that, like many men, he ever felt it necessary to undergo health checks. He was diagnosed as having prostrate cancer at too late a stage for successful treatment.
When I asked my brother if he had taken the simple test for this disease, he responded with a shudder and said, "No!"

Our doctor is a quiet, serious and thorough lady. The first time Himself had the test he pulled down his pants as requested for an examination. "Oh!" he said, "that hasn't happened to me since Eton!" He waited for the sound of laughter or an answering witty comment. None came. He pulled up his underpants and trousers and tried to look as though he had never spoken!

Our next door neighbour and several friends have all been identified through early testing as having prostate cancer. All of them have been successfully treated. EARLY testing is the answer, before symptoms become apparent.
PLEASE DO THIS, gentlemen.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Ceramic Sunday

I'm having to discount so many pieces of china in describing my life in one hundred objects that I thought I might feature some of the rejects on 'Ceramic Sundays'. Our house is bursting with a motley collection of the stuff. I'll confess straight away to knowing nothing about china, which is quite disgraceful, as my father was an avid and knowledgeable collector. We did not share the same taste, his ornate, mine plain.
I'm starting with one of his tea services. It has any number of cups and saucers, good for a busy socialite or a large Victorian family! When staying with my mother when she was in her nineties, I would put out this service and a selection of sandwiches (no crusts!)  drop scones and cakes when her friends came for afternoon tea. They loved it.
I think that this china is plug ugly, and I haven't used it since. But it reminds me of home so it's not easy to part with.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The City of Wells.

A sad, dull day today. After lunch we took ourselves off to Wells, the smallest cathedral city in England. It is a lovely place, somewhere for quiet contemplation, or, twice a week on market days, Wednesdays and Saturdays, for bustling activity and good shopping.

The present cathedral was built around 1175. It sits, dwarfing the small houses that form a rectangle around the spacious green. The facade is magnificent but the stonework is in constant need of repair.  

There are restored angels but many empty niches.

This clock, on the exterior of the cathedral, dates from around 1460. One day my father was waiting for the figures to move, on the hour, and strike the bells. A group of Australian holiday makers were waiting with him and one of them said that the clock was slow, a minute out of time. My father turned to him and said, "I wonder how accurate your watch is going to be  five hundred years from now!"

Come through the arch and we shall walk along one of my favourite streets.

In 1348  Vicar's Close was built to house the men who sang in the Vicars Choral, the cathedral choir. A small house was built for each of the forty-two vicars as well as a hall where they could all eat together.

The Chain Gate provided a covered passage from the hall into the body of the cathedral. Later a chapel was added at the far end of the close.
This is the only completely  medieval street in England.

In the fifteenth century front gardens were made for all the houses.

Lucky vicars!

Mute swans come to the drawbridge at the Bishop's Palace where a bell has been hung from a rope for them to ring for food. The palace has been home to the bishops of Wells for eight hundred years and the springs from which the city takes its name are in the palace gardens.

When I got back home the washing was almost dry!

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Illustration by Honor C. Appleton in a 1920's children's book.

Steve, at an urban cottage, is doing fantastic things to his house and having a lot of fun at the moment in choosing wallpaper. He asked us fellow bloggers if we like wallpaper. I like it very much, but our present home, which is a little cottage, has only two rooms that are papered. I searched for a long time for a strong 'arsenic' green paper in order to create a dramatic dining room. No success, all the green papers that I found were rather muted in tone. I had the same sort of problem in the sitting room, this time looking for Chinese yellow. In both cases we eventually resorted to paint.

In the two rooms that we have papered we have used William Morris designs. 
Bedroom paper.

I picked out the colours from the paper to decorate our old Hungarian wardrobe. (The doors aren't fully closed because it's bursting at the seams with clothes!) I painted a fragment by Robert Herrick on the doors which seem appropriate for a bedroom.

Here we are all by day
By night we are hurled,
by dreams 
each one into a several world.

The bathroom paper is a William Morris sprig in blue on cream, with the wall beneath the dado rail painted a matching blue.

Family photographs decorate the bathroom walls.

We've got some colourful papers on the walls at our bolt-hole in the Yorkshire Dales. This one in the kitchen/diner makes it feel as though the sun is always shining, which is quite something considering how the weather can be!