Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Nostalgia trip (oh and that earthquake!)

For my mum on Sunday

I admit it, the tremor or even earthquake last night gave me the proper heebie-jeebies! Not even the bird table fell over and I did drop off to sleep incredibly quickly but it was the oddest sensation I've ever had, mother nature was absolutely in charge and the realisation that, even for only a few seconds, I was on a rollercoaster I had no choice about getting off. It was so strange, just waiting for the earth to settle back down and steady itself. It was as if the whole house was inside the washing machine on full spin, a shuddering, rumbling sensation that was over so quickly but I'll never forget it.

You can understand why in ages past people thought things like this were portents, omens for the future and all that. Hope it bodes well for our big night tomorrow. Woody's passion in life - apart from me obviously ?! - is comedy. Last year he and his friend set up a comedy night in town and they went down pretty well. He started up again in January and we were amazed because it sold out, nearly 100 seats! The acts were really good and we've got some more lined up for the next one tomorrow and I've been helping out a bit to drum up publicity and make posters and things. Woody is the compere and learning the trade, he'd love to do stand-up professionally one day but he's happy just getting stage time at the moment. Keep your fingers crossed for us and hope for another good crowd and some very funny acts.
Its been a busy old week, B had his first ever school concert, all about Mother's Day. He was a clown, but with no face paint (something to do with scratchy brushes?) and it was incredibly cute. Today is my lovely sister Eechie's (Rachel) birthday and I'm wishing her a dust-free break from her mammoth house restoration project and I'm really looking forward to taking her out for tea next week.
Not much chance for treasure-hunting this week but I quickly popped into a charity shop during my trip to the market and found the sweet, artificial primula in the top picture for 50p. It's a lovely colour and adds a bit of spring cheer when I've forgotten to chuck out my daffodils and left them to go all limp and brown in the jug! I've also bought this gorgeous book which I glimpsed in a house in Country Living, its so beautiful and has led me on a bit of a nostalgia trip this week - more of that further on.

My other treat was to finally bring out my Greengate apron which I've was holding onto until it really began to feel as if winter was drawing to an end. It was a present from Eechie for my last birthday and - now this is daft - I love wearing so much, even more than a new top! Ridiculous I know but it's so cheery, springy and lets me pretend I am the domestic goddess I wish I was sometimes!

What I would really lovely is a 1940s style apron/housemaids' slip style thing. I've been watching a lovely programme over the past few weeks called the Wartime Kitchen Garden that re-creates dishes and gardening methods from the war.

It's very nostalgic and has been a real eye into how my grandparents would have managed with rationing and digging for victory in those difficult days. My grandad was a wonderful gardener, especially with vegetables, and kept hens too, all a legacy from the post-war rationing days after he came back from Burma. Bless my Grandma though, not exactly a natural cook - must be where I get it from!

I'm completely in love with the fashion too. You might already have realised that I'm a bit of a fair isle fanatic and I would really love a nipped-in sweater in a rosy, fair isle pattern (Girl's Own Store sells this one but not in my size boo hoo and I can't knit! - did you see the vintage home with all those gorgeous fabrics in CL this month? It belonged to the owner of this fabulous shop and was where I saw the lovely book above too).

The young evacuee in the programme (played by an actress who actually looks about 27!) has fabulous hair-dos and I desperately want her apron!

I think all the visits to the wonderful steam railway near our house. are rubbing off! The boys love it and as its only a couple of minutes walk from home its a smashing place to take visitors for a stroll, have a look at the engines and then a walk along the river bank. There are three stations on the line and a brilliant long tunnel, all restored and maintained by volunteers. You can even buy Footplate Experinces for the proper trip down memory lane, (we clubbed together to buy one for dad's 60th birthday and six months later he's still talking about how amazing it was!).

The station's are all restored to the reflect the golden age of steam with period fittings, piles of vintage luggage and even wicker baskets complete with carrier pigeons! There are regular 40s weekends and other events, often with music of the era that I really enjoy. One of my favourite things is to be putting out the washing in the garden, hear the whistle of the train and look down the hill to see the great clouds of soot and steam billow into the air then watch them trail behind the engine as it chuffs down the valley and out of sight. I know it was such a terrible time but there is something about the faded glamour and drama of those days I find fascinating.

So, mamonth post over. I've been tagged by the lovely Retro Rose at The Old Quilt to take part in the Archive Meme but I'm struggling a bit with finding the right posts but I'll do that soon.

Have a smashing Mother's Day with your mums, children and memories and enjoy the weekend.Xx

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Spring has sprung

Well almost - can you believe that the sun is still shining! Our walk to school was accompanied by a symphony of bird song this afternoon, bulbs are popping up everywhere and the birch tree in our garden is bearing minute catkins that will be heavy with pollen before we know it.
But goodness isn't it still so cold! Much scraping of ice, extra blankets and freezing toes still the form at No. 25 and even though the lurgy is lurking, at least its beginning to feel as if spring might really be peeping around the corner.
Spring flowers are cheering up my old wooden crate.

And the mantlepiece is looking rather chirpy too.

I was so busy enjoying the sunshine that only a few of my projects got finished. I'm too impatient to save the best 'til last so my precious floral china was the first thing I ticked off and I'm so enjoying the prettiness and cheery patterns.
My latest purchase is the set of Woods teacups and saucers on the top shelf. I completely adore the colour. The village hall where I grew up had a few disparate sets of Woods ware in lovley shades of pink, yellow, blue and green and at fetes and fairs they were brought out to refresh the crowds and even when I was small I thought they looked so beautiful. I'm so stupidly chuffed to have a few of my own - even if everyone else here thinks they're old ladies cups!

Do you know, I've never been to a car boot sale? No-one's more surprised than me so I decided to find out what I was missing out on and got up at the crack of a freeeeeeeeeeeezing dawn on Sunday and went to a huge sale in the city centre. Quite overwhelming but I did find two beautiful treasures, the sweet wind-up clock you can see on my banner, and this beautiful framed embroidery. It was only £1 and apart from the glass needing a good wipe its in lovely condition and the colours are so subtle. So, she who goes to the car boot not interested in stereos and dodgy dvds - wins!

Thursday, 14 February 2008

With love...

Hope you all were showered with flowers and gifts from your loved ones today and if not, be lovely to yourself and have a treat - there, that's an order, so you must!

(These are my cards by the way, not had chance to scan them in yet so please excuse the ebay picture withthe watermark!)

I was a lucky girl indeed, two lovely rose plants for our new garden. A red patio rose with lots of tiny clusters of flowers and shrub rose which will look beautfiul in the border of my dreams. Ok at the moment they're just small, green and a bit spiky but they have lots of promise and considering Woody loathes roses I was very touched and actually filled-up!

He often buys plants as a Valentine's gift. A symbol of our un-ending love for each other - or value for money? I'm pretty sure I now which is his intention but a girl can dream on Valentine's day can't she, sentimental old thing that I am!

We don't tend to do anything on Valentine's Day itself but on Saturday we're actually going out together (!) to a very cosy pub near us for a drink and a longed-for natter with each other which I'm really looking forward too.
Hasn't it been a glorious week so far? And it's half-term here so the sunshine has really made life lots of fun. The boys have been up to the Lancashire coast with daddy and Grandma to see the container ship that ran aground near where daddy grew-up. B is completely thrilled by it and they even had an afternoon playing on the sands - in February! Do you know, there is a wicked part of me that's quite ok with global warming (ok, not really!).

We've been out in the garden, visited the museum and made treasure boxes and had friends to play. Back at work today but its been a smashing week.

Little bit short of pics this week as my camera batteries have given up the ghost and I am rubbish and not bought rechargeable ones or replacements yet. Will do soon because this sunny week has brought Spring to No.25 and the winter bits and bobs will be put away at the weekend and floral china and pretty fabrics are coming out! Because Easter is so early I really want to get some use out of my spring curtains so I'll be back soon with some new corners of my home.

I'm aiming to finish my first embroidery project tomorrow and, if we get chance, I'm going fabric hunting for the vintage sofa which I'm afraid hasn't been touched yet. Life's been a bit busy and I've not had chance to contct the upholseter (did I explain mum and dad have very kindly offered to have it re-covered for us in lieu of last year's Christmas present - doors for the old house we never had.)

Well, the sap is rising and I've got an urge to welcome spring which always makes me crack on with things - a bit like coming out of hibernation. Hopefully, new things will be on show here very soon!

Have a lovely weekend and hope the sun keeps shining with you.x

(sorry about the hopeless formatting - I still don't quite get blogger. Why aren't my paragraphs spaced the same? grrrr!)

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Come stroll with me...

When the sun is shining (and even when it's raining sometimes) I don't think there's a finer place to be than the English countryside and being very lucky to live with it all around me, I thought I might take you on a little stroll around our new home.

This is the footpath to school, just an ordinary path but I love the way it meanders from the modern part of our big village down to the older, medieval heart. It's bordered by lots of holly trees and hawthorn hedge and home to two very fierce robins we look out for everyday.
The view at the top is one of my favourites, I love how it just appears, over the hedge to the right as we come out from a dark, overhanging tunnel of holly and yew trees.

A little further on is this sweet row of red brick cottages. One was for sale when we moved and even though it was lots smaller than our old house I secretly longed to have it! Madness but it looked so cosy with real fires and old floorboards and.... ok, stop it now, get a grip woman!
At the end of the path is the 12th church, St Edward's, with (and this might sound a bit morbid) the most lovely graveyard (can they been lovely?). The views are stunning and it wraps around the church, keeping the people who've worshipped there before close to it, long after they've gone.
These are some of the oldest houses in the village and the oldest of the three pubs (3!).

Everyday I have to pinch myself that we're here and enjoying living in this lovely place so much.
I took these pictures yesterday, what a glorious day, especially looking at that snowy picture I posted on Monday. I nearly left my coat at home, (hang on, steady girl!)
Actually it was pretty nippy so I needed plenty of tea when we got in. What do you think of my new rosy teapot? It was absolutely filthy and only cost £1 but its come up a treat. Not quite sure how vintage it is but I love it.

And then to top off a smashing start to the day this gorgeous parcel with a beautiful vintage Tuck gift card, arrived from the very kind Kathy. She'd read my bleating post about hunting for embroidered, floral pillowcases for years and very kindly sent me this beautiful and completely pristine pair she'd just picked up. What a gem! Thank you so much Kathy and if you let me know your address a little thank you will be winging its way back to you soon.

We're off up to Wakefield on Sunday to visit our closest friends who had a new baby boy Charlie a couple of weeks ago. Its ages since we've had chance to catch up and we're looking forward to lots of cuddles, laughter and fun. Enjoy your weekend toox

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Reasons to be cheerful - just a few for now

I do really enjoy reading other people's Reasons to be cheerful so I thought I'd occassionally pop a few of my own on here.

#1 How fantastic, I did have to make an early dash back home on Friday and woke up to this on Saturday. It wasn't actually quite as thick as the photos make it look and it was melting fast by lunchtime, but the boys were totally thrilled. Little A's got a bad cough and cold though so he couldn't go with Daddy and B on the sledging trip poor thing.

#2 Inside these beauties make me smile everytime I go into the dining room. They have such a heavenly scent don't they - and if you look hard you can just see my mum (in an enourmous hat at my sister's wedding), peeping through the foliage!

#3 A visit to the collectors' market turned up another treasure, one I've been looking ages for - a vintage bevelled mirror - for £5! Joy! (And again, someone else getting in on the shot!)

#4 My scrapbooks. Mostly filled with home and garden pictures from Country Living, they never fail to cheer me up and inspire.

#5 The biggest reason of all (even with the chocolate smudged faces!)

Have a smashing start to the week. I promise to catch up with everyone soon!