Sunday 16 March 2014

Two Go Mad In Witney Again.

Yesterday I gave my usual Saturday lie-in a miss to meet Soo for day of shopping/gossiping/Wetherspooning in Witney.
The weather looked miserable when I let home so I scooted back and put a brolly in my bag but by the time I got to Oxford the sun was out and the rest of the day was glorious.
I have no idea what was going on in town mind, there were police everywhere and the police helicopter was hovering overhead, no idea if this had a knock on effect on the traffic but it took forever for my bus to arrive, bah.

We eventually arrived in Witney having also spent the time nose to tail in traffic, which though frustrating did give us the chance to have a lovely catch up!

It was also nice to get out in a lightweight jacket. I had had said jacket dry cleaned and asked Himself to pick it up. When I got home that night it was hanging on the back of  the chair so I said "Thanks for getting my jacket" Himself said "It is yours isn't it?" so I'm like "Well yes, don't you recognise it?" to which he replied " Well I figured it looked like the kind of thing you would wear, so I brought it home."
 Apparently the woman in the shop had asked him to check it before he did. Nice to know he takes such a keen interest in what I wear. *sigh*

Mind you last week I was home before him and in the kitchen when I heard him come in. As he didn't call out or come through I finished what I was doing and went through to speak to him. He was standing by the dining table looking the other way and as I came out of the kitchen he turned round and jumped violently.
I said "Sorry dear did I make you jump?" to which he replied "You weren't there, and then suddenly you were. It was just like a horror film!" Err thanks.

Anyway back to our day out, we had great fun altogether, browsing the likes of Dorothy Perkins and Marks exclaiming loudly over the horrors left on their sale rails and even more loudly about some other horrors that made up their Spring collections. To the point where we did worry we were perhaps being a bit too loud?.....nah!

From there we went to The Pill Factory, which I have mentioned before as the vintage/retro/antique shop where you think 'oh that's nice' pick it up and go 'HOW MUCH??' and hastily put it back down again. They do have some lovely stuff in there though so it was fun to browse.
This did did make me laugh.
I'd hardly call a rusty great hook 'charming' but each to their own.
I loved this teeny tiny waistcoat too, didn't dare look at the price for fear of exclaiming out loud and it was hanging very close to the till.
From there we browsed the fabric shop where I bought Himself some leather elbow patches for his brown corduroy jacket.

Next stop was Renaissance. A shop that started life as a dress agency but now has a charming mix of reproduction and true vintage pieces. I was completely won over by this little Hell Bunny apple print number so it winged it's way home with me. Very naughty because I'm meant to be saving my pennies but I couldn't resist.
We adjourned to Wetherspoons for some lunch and a large glass of wine before scouring the charity shops where pickings were sadly slim. Unfortunately we had run out of time on our parking so we had to hot foot it back to the car park and head for home.

Today was another glorious sunny day. I had thought about digging the veggie patch but when it came down to it I couldn't be arsed, so instead I spent the day just pottering about inside and outside. I recently bought myself a new lounging around the house jumper which I absolutely love, it's just so darn cheery.
It's amazing what one week of warm dry weather can do for the garden.


Finally I will sign off with a rather special addition to my vintage bag collection. Some random lunchtime browsing on Ebay struck gold when I found this mis-listed Art Deco bag. It doesn't happen very often that's for sure.

Elephant gold.

Sunday 9 March 2014

Here Comes the Sun.

It is impossible to describe just how much I LOVE Spring.
The sun is out and it feels wonderful. I spent most of the weekend outside firmly resisting doing anything much to the flowerbeds, it is just much too early.
The temptation when the sun shines and has some real warmth in it is to get stuck in, but by next week we could have thick frosts and cold winds and all those delicate plants you have exposed will be damaged, so the messy dead old growth is staying for now.

I did tidy the front garden which was an shameful mess and full of other peoples rubbish. I filled a whole carrier bag full with sweet wrappers, crisp packets and the like and it's only a tiny garden.
 As it happens the bag I conveniently found in the flowerbed so I thought I'd make use of it!  
Today I nipped down to the shops to get a new cold frame and doormat for by the back door. I then spent the rest of the afternoon pootling about outside, bliss. It was so lovely to get a whole line full of washing out too.

Other than that it's been a quiet week. We had a bit of drama when it seemed the boiler had conked out, thankfully anything gas based can only be fixed by a registered engineer. This meant the rental agency were able to send someone out the same day without having to go through the crazy fiasco of trying to get hold of the landlady in Italy, followed by her sending in her cousin, to decide when he finally bothers to show up that he can't fix the problem!
As it turned out it wasn't the boiler but the thermostat in the hall and the thermo-pump in the airing cupboard both breaking at the same time.
We went to see The Book Thief for orange wednesday. There were some seriously strange people seeing the film that night. One woman in particular caught my attention. She refused to let anyone else sit in the same row as her, spread herself out over 4 seats, and then spent half the film bringing containers of food out of her many bags and eating them quite noisily. She then gathered everything up and left! I swear she just came in to eat her dinner and not watch a film.

Anyway the film was brilliant and I highly recommend it.
It's about time the story of the average German got told too. Sometimes it feels like people think it was only the British who struggled and were bombed out of their homes, whilst the Germans sat back drinking champagne and giving evil laughs.
The average German struggled, starved and was bombed too, the vast majority didn't want the war at all, it's nice to see that story being told.

My Mum and Dad got married in the 60's and my Dad's family got sent anonymous hate mail when it was found out my Mother was German. Yet the true story was my Mum's family lived in a tiny village on the Dutch border, indeed half the family were Dutch.
The horrors and deprivation they suffered you cannot begin to imagine, yet as far as those haters were concerned, she was the enemy scum and should be strung up even 20 plus years after the war had ended. Nice.

Anyway on a happier note I did a little shopping last week!
A vintage style frock for 99p plus postage. I took a punt on it as the picture was really out of focus and I'm very glad I did, all it needs is a good wash and press.
A Hello Kitty shopping bag for a fiver. result.

Now anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows I love boiled eggs and all things to do with them. I spotted a fab brooch made from an old wooden jigsaw piece on Etsy and ended up buying a couple of others too.
The egg, elephant and sailor boy came from the same seller, beautifully wrapped and in a little handmade purse.
The swallow came from another seller, took forever to arrive, wasn't as well made and when it did finally arrive, came with a somewhat patronising note.
Now if the seller had bothered to check at all I have been a seller and a buyer on Etsy since 2010. I really don't think I need to be told, among other things, that by buying through Etsy I was actually  'supporting handmade in England companies' and therefore  'you are helping creatives and individuals' I felt like I was being patted on the head as I read it, and you can imagine the kind of voice I heard saying the words as I read it!

Sunday 2 March 2014

Goodreads Tag.

This is not one of those blog posts you get tagged in or tag other people in but just something you can do if you fancy it.
As I love reading and love books and am on Goodreads I thought yes I'll do this. So without further ado:
1. What was the last book you marked as 'read'?
That would be 'Rock and Roll High School'
2.What are you currently reading?
Tea - A History of the Drink that Changed the World.
3. What was the last book you marked as 'to be read'?
 None I don't tend to mark books as 'to be read' my teetering bedside book mountain is my 'to be read'.

4. What book do you plan to read next?
The two books that are side by side on the top of my two book deep bedside book mountain are 
so it will be one of those. I'm trying to read the mountain in chronological order so those that have been there the longest first, however every now and then I get something new I just cannot wait to read and break my own rule!

5. Do you use the star rating system?
I do but it's really hard not having half points!Do you mark up or mark down??

6. Are you doing a 2014 Reading Challenge?
No but I have set myself the task of reading more this year. I never seem to get round to it these days and I miss it badly.Not working in a library any more has had a direct result on how much I'm no longer reading that is for sure.

7. Do you have a wish list?
Not on Goodreads but yes on Amazon!

8. What book do you plan to buy next?
I have no plans, there isn't anything I am champing at the bit for right now. If I read a review of something I like the sound of I'll file it away or make a note to look out for it, but I really am trying not to buy anything new when I have so much already waiting to be read.

9. Do you have any favourite quotes? Would you share a few?
The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is by PG Wodehouse, to set the scene some lord so and so had gone big game hunting and was posing for a photo with a lion
'Unfortunately no one had told the lion it was dead, a small battle ensued which the lion won'.

I do have a million and one Sherlock Holmes quotes but I won't get going on those!

10. Who are your favourite authors?
Oh gosh I have a wide range. I love Jane Austen, Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, Daphne Du Maurier. I also love Marian Keyes, Kate Morton, Kathy Reichs, Lisa Jewel, Rosamund Pilcher, Maeve Binchey, Bill Bryson I could go on  and on.

11. Have you joined any groups.
Yes just a couple but I always find after the initial flurry of posting it dies away.

12. Are there any questions you would like to add?
What is your favourite ever book?
Mine is The Hound of the Baskervilles by Conan Doyle.

What books do you go back to again and again?
The books I go back to like old friends are The Lilac Bus by Maeve Binchey, Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons and The Empty House by Rosamund Pilcher.

Guilty secret? I always revert to reading Enid Blyton, either The Famous Five or Malory Towers books when I am ill. 



Saturday 1 March 2014

Random Things and Double Takes.

Well I'm feeling human again and good job as I had a couple of nights out planned for this week. Isn't it always the way? You don't go out for ages and then two nights out come along at once. Other than that it's been work, work and more work.

Last weekend Himself had to dash off to Margate so I made myself a lovely shepherds pie topped with cheesy mash which fed me all weekend with different veggie accompaniments. YUM.
I planned a quite weekend in pottering around the house and garden which is exactly what I got.
My parents did call in on the Saturday afternoon as finally the water has receded enough for them to get out of their village, I think they were going a little stir crazy for some different company! It was lovely to see them in person after so many weeks.

It was Soo's birthday this week so a good excuse to go out for a few drinkies and much food. We ended up going to Gino's a little Italian in Oxford where I started with cheesy garlic bread followed by gnocchi with gorgonzola sauce.
Oh.         My.           Word.
It was absolutely AMAZING. I couldn't eat it all and was so full I felt sick but I couldn't stop picking at it because it was just so delicious.
In the end I had to beg the waiter to please take my plate away so I could stop.

We decided to adjourn to Wetherspoons and this was where I had my first double take. I was at the bar and glanced around to clock a lad in the shortest of short shorts I have seen this side of Kylie's hotpants!
The were red, edged in white, and he had accessorised with bare legs, red espadrilles a thick tweed jacket, a hat and scarf.....
The girl behind the bar turned from the fridge, saw him and went
"Christ!" then as the lad turned to reveal the shorts were not only very short, but also wedged uncomfortably up his bum, shook her head and said sagely "Rather him than me."

All in all a great night out, though it has to be said I had the most mental bizarre dreams that night, most definitely due to too much cheese.

Oh and overheard as we left the restaurant from the two ladies seated behind us who were well dressed and in their late 60s.
First lady "Was that when you were living with him?"   
Second Lady crossly "Yes, but it wasn't like that!" I'd love to know what that was all about.....

Next night I was out again, with my friends Liz and Simon. This time just down the local for pub grub and whatever wine was on offer that week, I'm all class me!

Today I caught up with my brother and cadged a lift off him to Tesco. The Brownies were helping to pack bags at the tills and I heard a lady explaining to one rather alarmed tiny Brownie that that "must be the Ice Queen doing her shopping." I glanced down the aisle and did my second double take, a girl with white pancake make-up on her hair, face and lips so thick it was cracking off, was teetering along in a long white dress, huge silver platform shoes and a massive grey fur coat and a tiara.
Now I'm very much one for each to their own, but jesus she looked terrifying!
The lady serving me sighed and said in a very world weary voice " you see it all in Tesco."

My final double take was when I went to the bank in Oxford. The street preachers were out in force and the first one I passed was going on about how human's have souls but animals don't and this is what makes us different to 'the beasts'.
I was pondering on this as I queued in the bank, can't say I agree but there we go. As I passed him on the way back to work he was in full flow and bellowing at the top of his voice "Are you confident if you were dead you could look death in the face and say to him 'where is your sting'?"
I must admit this made me snort with laughter.
I mean let's face it, if you were already dead I'd say death's sting would be pretty obvious wouldn't you? Also I'd say as an already dead person, fundamentally it would be kind of irrelevant. 

To be fair I think I get what he was trying to say but had phrased badly. It did make me chuckle all afternoon though.

I shall sign off with some pictures from my garden. It was a gloriously sunny day today, one brief respite from the rain, more is forecast for tomorrow. *sigh*
Now here's a bit of gardening advice from me that goes completely against what both Alan Titchmarsh and Monty Don tell you to do!
They both say the only place for forced bulbs is the compost heap as it takes so much out of them to be forced to flower early and indoors that they will take years to recover. Now I hate to give up on any plant until it is absolutely stone dead. So I ignore their advise and plant the bulbs out in my garden after they have finished flowering. Working on the theory that even if it does take them a couple of years to recoup they will eventually flower again.
Well the daffs above and the hyacinths coming through below were early flowering indoor bulbs from last year.
As you can see they are both either already, or about to, start flowering so so much for coming up blind for years until they recover!
My gardening advise to you is if you have some bulbs like this find a spot and plant them out, don't bin them.