Friday 19 August 2016

Everything but the kitchen sink*

Serena emailed me a few weeks back, asking if we were going to go to the Lincolnshire Home Show this year.

As she said, 'This will make it our 4th year...which cements it as a tradition in my books!'
Matching strappy sandals, colourful toe nails, big sunnies and straw baskets from our trip to France. We're twinnies!
I wouldn't miss it for the world!
This pair of chairs was down from £200 to £120, but I'm sure he'd have accepted £100. I was sorely tempted, but just couldn't think of anywhere to put them. There's only one thing for it. I need a bigger house.
Belt and gypsy top from charity shop £1, and 70s Pucci print maxi skirt from car boot in 2011, 50p
We have the best time. I get over to Serena's for early o'clock, then we mooch up to an airfield in Lincolnshire, via Waitrose in Newark where we get some supplies (coffee, pastries and cash), chatting all the way. We go in her car, because it's bigger than mine, so we can fit more in.
We admire these bird houses every year. I was dead set on getting a couple of these antique metal churns to use as planters on the patio with a couple of small trees in them. They were £15 each, which I thought was a good price
Once there, we hit the field, faced with stall after stall of everything antique or vintage you can imagine, from gilded mirrors, to chandeliers, to stone statues for the garden to the humblest little winky wonky stools to use as side tables to paintings to little bits of jewellery. There's every price tag from a pound up to thousands of pounds, so there's something for everyone.
Decisions, decisions. We loved that enamel dresser

Weighing up whether to try on this 1940s cotton dress
We pretend we're interior designers for the day, and like to imagine things in situ. It's all 'Ooh, that would look nice in a farmhouse kitchen, or wouldn't that look great in a loft apartment?' We don't live in either of those; they are the imaginary homes belonging to our imaginary customers. We love it! (Well, I do anyway!)
Serena has two pussy cats already, but that one nearly came home with her too.
One of the things I love about wearing vintage clothing is that complete strangers use it as an introduction to talk to you. We had a lovely chat with these ladies in the loo!
The first couple of years we took a picnic lunch, but last year we discovered a stall selling stone-baked made-to-order pizzas. They were amazing. There's no going back to sandwiches after that.
Imagine our disappointment when the pizza van wasn't there. We had to settle for chips! Lazing around on the grass after lunch meant we missed out on some purchases. By 3 o'clock when we went back to the stall to do the business, the man with the metal planters had packed up and gone
On the way home, we pop into Doddington Hall, for a coffee, then we chat our way back to Nottingham.
Finally, I get home, walk in the door, and Q greets me with the words, 'More junk?'

It's a tradition!
This year's junk: a Scottish dancing brooch (£4) to replace one I lost years ago and a bird bath (£10) which looks like it could belong to Snow White. I also bought something else which I'll show you soon!

*The title refers to a purchase in year 1, when I actually came home with a kitchen sink unit. Every year since, Q's parting words when I set off are, 'Don't buy anything big and impractical.'
Makes me laugh every time.

BIG THANKS and photographic credit to Serena for taking all the pictures of me. 

Thursday 4 August 2016

We went camping. It rained. The End.

And so it came to pass that summer arrived in Olde England. The natives were happy, basking in the sunshine. It seemed an ideal time to get the tent out and go and explore the countryside.

My idea of camping involves rugs on the grass and tea lights flickering in jars as it goes dark, drinking wine and lying on your back looking up at the stars until you can't keep your eyes open any longer.
My current favourite dress courtesy of Kinky Melon. It's an early 1970s dress by Radley for whom Ossy Clark and Celia Birtwell designed.
You see that cake? That's not just any cake. That's a homemade banana tea bread which was the best one I've ever made. It was so moist it was like eating toffee. Gorgeous!
That little fold up table, the two fishermen's stools and the cooler box were all from car boots. I bought that cooler for £1 the day before we set off. What a bargain! I love the colour.
Thinking the place would be inundated with happy campers, we booked and paid for a pitch in advance, in the Derbyshire Peak District.
We arrived at the campsite and sorted out a nice quiet spot by a river. The sun was shining. All was well. While he made lunch, I tested out the camp bed. I volunteered, no fuss. That's how much of a team player I am. At our age you don't sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag if you want to be able to walk the next day. It was fine, things were looking good.
And then it started to rain. Nice big fat raindrops with a bit of driving wind, which made it impossible to cook outside. Ours is a three man tent with a small porch at the front. With a little improvisation and a couple of umbrellas, we managed to cook pasta with a tomato sauce, but I can't say it was fun.
After tea, we decided that we couldn't let rain stop play so we went off for a walk along the Manifold river. It was just us and great big black slugs nearly the length of my feet, which moved all slowly, like articulated lorries which pull out in front of you on the motorway.

Everyone else was tucked up in their vans and house-sized tents. If I'm honest I prefer it that way. I like a country walk where you don't meet any other humans. Anti-social tendencies alert.
Tin roof, wooden structure, stone steps. That'll do nicely thank you. I positively swooned over this blue door and rambling rose combo.
Day 2 arrived, with a cool, steady drizzle. We decided to wander down country lanes and across fields into the next village, Hartington. Despite the rain it was a perfect country walk. Tranquil and unchanged, with sheep and cows grazing, bridges under which trolls might quite feasibly live, huge wild rhubarb, like umbrellas for wood nymphs and everywhere, wild honeysuckle and geraniums.
Hartington village starts off low, but towards one edge it reaches skyward, and that's where you'll find the church with a graveyard which melts into the foggy hills, reminding me every step of the way of the Bronte sisters.
All that walking made us a bit peckish, so we wandered into the General Stores for a sandwich and a drink. We ended up with a surprisingly sophisticated toasted goat's cheese and pesto panini and cappucino. Nothing olde worlde about that.
I'm always looking out for the perfect little hut. This one was definitely a contender.
Day 3 and it was time to trundle off home. We decided to head out via some pretty little villages. I think this roadside pop up picnic thing must be in the genes. My grandparents were always at it.

Do you ever put crisps in your sandwiches? You should try it, it's all salty and crunchy.
So that was that. And now we're back to real life. And a proper bed. Heaven!