Thursday 27 September 2012

Moon River

Andy Williams died yesterday. This was his theme tune. So long Mr Williams, RIP.

But I must admit I can't hear it without thinking of one of my favourite films, Breakfast at Tiffany's. When I first saw it, I was living in a flat in the same building as a boy called Paul, I had a ginger cat and I had long dark hair just like Holly Golightly. Here's a lovely taster.

Monday 24 September 2012

A circuitous route

I go most places in this fashion. The man of the house describes my thought process and actions as 'flight of the bumblebee'. I start a job, get distracted or remember something else, go and do that, the same thing happens again, then I remember the original job and so on and so forth. He hates going shopping with me, because he always loses me when something catches my eye and I am off, moving at speed, short legs notwithstanding.

In fact when I started this blog post I remembered I was in the middle of doing a bit of painting so went and skipped up a ladder before the brush hardened.

Anyway. To get back to the matter in hand.
I discovered Spitalfield's Life by accident when I was actually looking for something else. And here is what I was looking for. I recently came across my scrapbook of favourite residences, and really probably my all time favourite, which is this railway carriage. It is the weekend home of Will Brown,  the co-founder and designer behind the wonderful clothing brand Old Town. I like to look up this business now and then to see how they are progressing, and it was through them that I discovered Spitalfield's Life.

Isn't this idyllic? Simple life lived out in a field. There is only one area which I would have to change. They use sheets and blankets, whilst I am a duvet girl all the way.
I have an old friend who would tut over that confession, he being a purist and all. He once came to stay and asked me if I was leaving my Victorian pine doors unpainted. From the tone of the voice and the look with which he fixed me, I knew the answer was important. A deep breath and quick thinking. Thank goodness I got it right. (No, I am going to paint them.) Life is fraught with pitfalls.

I can't help wondering if this is the same carriage, with the walls taken down?

Sunday 23 September 2012

Wartime Farm

In light of my last post, it probably comes as no surprise to find out that my favourite programme of the moment is Wartime Farm.

This is a continuation of a series of programmes which sees a trio of historians living for a period in farms through the ages. I have loved all of them; the combination of real living everyday history and rural life ticks all my boxes. I like to know what people ate, what they wore, what they did for pleasure.

Mrs N Parker reporting for duty.

The opening scenes of the first programme saw them drive up in one of my favourite cars, an Austin Seven. Here's a picture of my friend Penny and I checking them out at a 1940s day.

Saturday 22 September 2012

Make do and mend

I am definitely a make do and mend kind of person. I get a real sense of satisfaction in using what we have, especially if I have to be slightly creative about it.

In our garden, the old floorboards and joists which came up in the dining room were used to make vegetable beds, the quarry tiles from the kitchen provide paths between them. The bricks from the back wall which came out were used to edge paths and build a wall in the garden and the stone has been recycled into a dry stone wall. Old paving slabs have been used as retainers and hardcore, and the pallets in which materials were delivered have found a new career as compost heaps.

But just in case I sound too smug or parsimonious, I have to tell you, I am a terror for not washing out paintbrushes and I buy stuff I don't need at the car boot sale. The low prices go straight to my head. Make me feel like I'm a squillionaire. Loadsamoney.


Friday 21 September 2012

Feeling a bit blue

I think it is fair to say that I have got my money's worth out of this 500ml tin of turquoise paint. The paler baby blue is just the same paint mixed with white.

Friday 14 September 2012

Hestercombe on a wet day

It's just been featured on Gardener's World tonight. How exciting.  

Thursday 13 September 2012

The seasons are changing

The summer flowers are going to run out soon, so I've been planting out some new pansies to keep us going over the winter.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Bamboo Charlie

What an admirable man. He took a small act of kindness and turned it into something inspiring and wonderful which he then shared with others.

He died on 26th August this year. RIP Charles Ray Walker.

Monday 10 September 2012

A seat for outside

I've been doing a few little housey projects recently. Lots of painting and a bit of sewing.

Next year I want a little seating area out on the patio, so when I noticed that someone was giving away a couple of cot mattresses on realcycle I thought...hmmm... I could do something with them.

So this weekend at the car booty I went mainly looking for fabric. Seek and ye shall find! Voici one tablecloth, and here's what I did with it. I got this lovely penstemmon too. Car boots are really good for plants.

St Anns allotments

Yesterday it was Heritage Open Day so we went off to see somewhere I had wanted to see for quite a while, St Anns allotments, bang in the heart of inner city Nottingham.

They are historically significant and have been awarded Grade 2* heritage listing, which means the developers can't roll in and build on them. Thank goodness, because they are wonderful. It was like being transported out into the country. Like Mary Poppins when she walks into one of Bert's pavement paintings.

Apparently in Victorian times the merchants and successful folk of Nottingham used them as their formal gardens and would invite their mates out for a cup o' cha and a bit of a promenade. Within the warren of byways, one of the 'roads' is named Gentleman's Avenue as a result. They also built the most wonderful little summerhouses! Oh I was swooning. There is a plot which used to belong to a man named Tom Oliver and his summerhouse is adorable. Want. Actually, forget that. Need.

We went home with brambles and the seed of an urban rural dream...

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Peace and quiet in the garden

For a brief period there it was quiet. It seemed that when my ears weren't under siege somehow my eyes worked better.
I've come to realise recently how much I need a bit of peace and quiet for my wellbeing. If I don't get any, I get really fractious.

Tuesday 4 September 2012

Francesca Kaye

I've had these beautiful bits of pottery by Francesca Kaye for some years now. I love the handmade quality of them, they're a bit winky wonky in shape and the colours are so delightful. Plus I really like the floral added on bits.

Then the other day at the car boot, I came across this little Italian jug with a flower on it which just reminded me of her work. Lovely. SOLD.

It sits really well with the little set of 'iced gem' vases I recently acquired. I guess that's a new collection started then.

Monday 3 September 2012


It's that time of the year when things are starting to go to seed. I have loved these black pansies which I got at a table top sale back in May so I definitely want them again next year. There's something deeply satisfying about collecting your own seeds.