Tuesday, 31 July 2012

It's lovely to be appreciated!

I feel very happy today as 'Minerva Blacke the Shoppe Keeping Cat' in her wonderful blog Mrs Black's This and That has very kindly given me an award.

I must admit to being rather excited as I've never won an award before and on looking up the other lovely blogs who were also chosen, I feel as if I have fallen into very fine company!
As part of the fun, upon acceptance, it is a tradition that the recipients carry out the following instructions. We are to share 10 things which you may not have previously known about us, and to recommend 10 blogs which are worthy of the Kreative Award.
I have really enjoyed thinking of the 10 unusual things but such a battle coping with creating links and other  advanced Internet skills. I do hope I've not made too many mistakes...

1) I make my own perfumes and colognes and would love to be skillful enough to have been a 'nose'.

2) My Grandfather, a political journalist, wrote one of the iconic 'Penguin Books'

3)  As a young girl I reared a tiny blackbird fledgling until he was old enough to be released back into the wild. His name was Brandy and I was utterly devoted to him!

4) I have a guilty weakness for extremely naff Victorian novels. I can't resist them and collect and read them regularly. They are always gratifyingly full of consumptive saintly women, dying children and men who have 'turned to drink'....Wonderful!

5)  I'm a life model.

6) My description of  our childhood game with sow thistle is included in Richard Mabey's Flora Britannica- pp.362 to be exact... I'm extremely proud of this...and can get a little boastful about it.

7) When young, my Mother was a chorus girl and skated with the famous show ' Holiday on Ice'.

8) This is a little convoluted but...A friend who was lady-in-waiting used to keep H.M. the Queen amused by her weekly stories of all the family dramas and details of my marriage preparations. It always makes me smile to think that the Queen of England knew all about my wedding!

9) I keep hens who have a strange habit of ignoring their hen house and sleeping up in the apple tree- whatever the weather!

10) A good friend and I once walked across a Edinburgh's busiest bridge in the pouring rain one Saturday night during the Fringe Festival, wearing only our underwear- merely to prove that you could get away with doing anything during that week- just by calling it 'Art'.

Well, I think that's enough guilty secrets for one day-

Now for 10  writers and photographers who's words and pictures inspire me:

 Anna was one of the first people to read my blog and hers has continued to delight me with her warm descriptions of her childhood in Italy and her delicious recipes.

I love Sophie's blog, it describes her life, her vintage treasures and the English countryside in such an appealing way.

Diane posts nearly every day and her loving thoughts and beautiful photographs are always uplifting.

I always look forward to reading Jo's blog, with her tales of vintage finds and her much-loved dogs.

Carol's blog is full of her life in France and the beautiful things she finds in French Brocantes

This blog is a treat for the eye with Belinda's great flare for photographing the flowers she loves.


Part of the fun is reading tales from like minded people in different countries and Anne's is one of my favourites.

I love Helen's beautiful paintings and am always inspired by her interesting and intelligent writing.

I always enjoy the skill with which Julie illustrates her blog and describes her favourite things

I'm often inspired to pick up my camera and go out and capture the unusual sights in the countryside after seeing John's photographs!

I think that's 10!
 It has been hard to choose when there are so many interesting and unique blogs.
I know that some people do not like to receive awards, so I won't be at all offended if you wish to 'bow out' of this one!
Now back to everyday life- a huge pile of washing (Sam is just back from a festival), a broody hen, some books to photograph ....and supper to prepare.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Festivals, fancy dress and lavender bags- and did I mention the mud?

I have just done an unusual deed. It's a job that usually seems a complete waste of time but today it was vital... I have just washed my car!
This is because last weekend we went to the Larmer Tree Festival. The festival is set in beautiful Victorian gardens, with lawns, fields and woods to enjoy.

However, as I'm sure you can guess, this year's torrential rain had turned everywhere into chocolate custard style mud.
I don't often feel my age but I have to admit that I no longer wish to spend days tramping around knowing that if I actually sit down anywhere, the small portion of my body that I have managed to keep clean and dry will succumb to a relentlessly spreading tide of dirt.

We made the most of the situation. Sam and his friend were undaunted by the weather and disappeared for the weekend, only to be seen occasionally still looking extremely cool despite being even muddier than we were.
Saturday night is fancy dress night and this year the theme was 'All at Sea'. I think that maybe the people who come to this festival are rather an eccentric bunch as so many of the costumes were truly inventive and humorous!

There were Jellyfish

Handsome Sailors

Edwardian Bathers

a 'Lost Boy'

and my favourite
Noah and his Arc and their friend, the Walrus

 Of course we couldn't resist the chance to dress up and got rather carried away creating our costumes...
 Emily and her friend Rosa were beautiful as the Sea and a Mermaidy Fish

I will be the first to admit that David and I were not nearly as attractive...

(we were castaways)
When I saw David in his amazing wig, I couldn't stop laughing and he was equally amused by my strange patchy 'sun-tan' and bird's nest hair!

I think we made a perfect couple...

On the Sunday (restored to our  more natural colour and hair-styles) we ran a workshop called "Bath Bombs and Portaloo Pomanders".

This rather obscure title really meant that everybody had a happy and scented time filling little muslin bags full of dried herbs, spices and flowers, which they then decorated with ribbons and hand-written labels.

These were either worn around the neck to ward off evil odours-

or saved to add to that first wonderful hot bath back home-

David and I added the essential oils for extra perfume

Everybody seemed to enjoy making these delicate treats

All in all, I can say that despite it being a bit of a battle, we still enjoyed ourselves and there was even a little sunshine and

a rainbow!