Thursday, 30 December 2010


Happy New Year. Years ago the head of the house would gather the family around a bowl of spiced ale called 'lamb's wool', from which he drank their healths. It was passed around with everyone saying 'wasshael' meaning to your health. Poorer people carried a bowl covered in ribbons around the streets begging for it to be filled so they could also Wassail.
Here we go a Wassailing,
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a wandering,
So fair to be seen.
Love and Joy come to you,
And to your wassel to,
And may God send you a Happy New Year, Happy New Year,
Our Wassel cup is made of Rosemary tree
So is your beer of the next barley.
There will be a Wassail celebration at Hailes Fruit Farm, Winchcombe in early January. I think that The Marking the year website will have the details soon.

wood graining

I love wood graining! Not only are there many beautiful woods but you use many different materials and techniques to mimic the individual grains. Just before Xmas John Pocket ran and he mentioned that Ratcliffes were no longer producing graining scumbles. I expect there will be some panic buying. The standard oak and mahogany scumbles are very useful, especially for the graining on old boats and in old pubs. The scumbles are tins of ready mixed colour that only need to be thinned before using. I haven't used any ready mixed colours for a long time preferring to mix my own. I also work using water based paints. If you are trying to copy very truthfully then I feel that you need to make your own colours, but for more folk based projects the Ratcliffe scumbles are I will be trying to get a few cans before they all go. An end to an era .Most people wouldn't think that wood can be imitated and it's not one of the more popular techniques. It takes a while to learn and can easily look like treacle, but I'm sure it has a future. Ecologically it has to be better to copy rare and expensive woods rather than having to cut down rainforest's and the like.
One use of graining that is getting popular is the painting of old black beams. Instead of having a messy clean and sand they can be painted. The benefit of graining also means that if the beam is very flat it can be given an interesting grain. I painted two rooms in a local manor house and even though I say it myself it really brightened the place and looked the business.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Barrel Organ Photos

Happy Christmas.

At last some pictures, The red organ was how it used to look. It was well sanded before it reached me. John who owns the organ painted the unders. I was going to paint them but the snow got in the way of delivery. Barrel Organs were very popular but not always with the public. One British Journalist of the day wrote that an itinerant organ grinder was paid " for his silence and not his sounds ". You can hear this organ play by tapping onto the following link. This Organ is the only known survivor made by The Pesaresi Company and will be included in a new book about Barrel Organs written by David Dakin, due to be published in the New Year.
I am now getting extremely close to having It will make it much easier for me to update information. Well, Happy New Year, All the Very Best, Katie

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Barrel Organs

Well it's been all go and now the beautiful deep snow has brought everything to a complete and quiet standstill. Luckily The Barrel Organ that I had painted was collected before the snow. It was parked in my living room and I was beginning to think that I would have to decorate it instead of getting a tree. Unfortunately the owner had its music barrel so we couldn't have any good 'olde' singing sessions..of course it would have been great to have wheeled it into town for Xmas late night shopping. The red painting was sanded off before I received the organ and my job was to give it a more original Victorian look.

I firstly woodgrained the whole of its body in dark mahogany,then gilded lines and corner decorations. I was asked to paint the panels with two dancing monkeys and a view of The Crimea War. It was surprisingly difficult to find pictures so I eventually combined two famous paintings to make one war scene. I'll be updating my website with more detailed pictures.

Would you believe it I'm still on blooming dial up..I am getting very close to joining the twenty first century though ! oops, My computer is taking impossibly long to upload my photos so I will publish this post and add the pictures later !

Saturday, 4 December 2010

School Xmas Play

Hello, All the gilded furniture has gone, hooray ! I have some space back. I've completed painting a beautiful Barrel Organ. I won't put any pictures of it up yet because it's owner hasn't seen it yet and I don't want to spoil the surprise.
The biggest rush job, well voluntary has been painting the scenery for the local junior school Xmas Play. I really love painting it and this year is my fourth year. To use a two inch brush and get the paint quickly onto the sheets, add the shading to give dimension and add finishing touches is very enjoyable. ...and to see the children's faces is great. I'll post the finished designs soon.
This coming weekend is Winchcombe Art and Antiques Weekend...The 11th and 12th of December. 11 to 4pm on the Sunday. Winchcombe has some unique shops, good hostelry's and tea shops as well as beautiful walks,, so why not pop over and make a day of it.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Drawings at Wedding Fair

Hello again, The weeks seem to be flying past , Last Sunday I had a stall at Sudeley Castle Wedding Fair. It's a long time since I last had a stall anywhere. The space I had was in exactly the position where I used to have a unit In Sudeleys Craft Centre in the Late 1980's ! How bizarre....and a great view from the window overlooking the ruined banqueting Hall. I'm not really one for Weddings myself but it was interesting and I'm glad I was there. Sudeley had asked me if I would be interested in producing bespoke, one off original paintings and pictures that could make original Wedding presents. Painting Sudeley was easy because it is very beautiful with lots of interesting features and hidden corners. So I have updated my website with two new pages. The Pen and Ink illustrations need sorting mainly because

my scanner isn't big enough to scan the whole picture and I haven't got around to photographing the originals...but I will...soon.

This Saturday is The Vintage Fair at Toddington Village Hall, on the main Road, not in the village itself. It is free entry and there will be lots of interesting stalls along with a Tea and cake shop. Hope it doesn't snow ! See you there !

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Bling !

Hello, apologies for having not written sooner. Life seems to be very busy at the moment. The photos are before and after picture of some furniture I have completed recently...very bright. To be honest most of my work seems to be repainting but giving a slightly worn well loved finish, so to gild a chair and keep it bright was a new direction for me.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon in the local junior school encouraging a class of year 6's to paint in a folk art style. I took in a couple of English Canal cans, a Russian tray, A Swiss bowl and a French tin tray, all covered in flowers decorated using simple brush strokes. Most of the class started handling brushes better and learnt that by using different types of brushes and by using varying pressures they could make different marks and build up patterns. After a brief talk and demonstration I then worked with each child showing them again and making sure that they all stood a chance..some school brushes leave a lot to be desired. It strikes me that Art in schools is not really utilised, it's such a shame because so many lessons can be taught with imagination and paint. I know not everyone likes art but the majority of children enjoy themselves when paint is out even if it's just painting themselves and each other !

Friday, 29 October 2010

Sudeley Castle Wedding Fair

Hello, On the 21st November from 10am till 4pm Sudeley Castle is opening a Wedding Fair. There will be Photographers, florists etc and me....' we like to think of Katie as our own resident artist' quoted by Lady Ashcombe in The Cotswold Life. I have painted and drawn a selection of original pen and ink drawings and some bright acrylic paintings of the lovely gardens at the castle. I'm not really used to sitting by a stall but I will be giving it a go. I was asked by the castle if I would be interested in producing original pictures that could be purchased for Wedding gifts..I can only show you a couple of the coloured paintings at the moment because I've not photographed the large pen and ink pictures.

If you are interested in going it is a free event but you need to book ahead for tickets. They are available from

Now that all the leaves are being blown off the trees it has been good to look back through photos of the gardens in the spring and summer....shame the pictures are not scented !

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Hailes Farm Apple Day

What a great day ! You should have been there..perhaps next year..make a note in your diary ! The weather was bright and a good crowd turned up. Happenstance performed some entertaining dances...their stick dances were quite phallic and very had to be there. I know a lot of Morris dancing is rather dull but the team have a real ball and its quite, I'm not actually going to start dancing. I did all that in my teens and I'm more into Flamenco now. Anyway, Bev gave guided walks and talked about the history of the Orchard. When it was planted it was one of the biggest mass fruit tree planting in the country. There were lots of apples to taste and people were bringing in apples for them to be identified. At the end of the day everyone popped into the Tea rooms for Tea and Cake and right on Queue the rain poured down. I painted the sign on the Tea Room almost twenty years ago, It's lasted brilliantly...but I do think the paint was much better then, probably terrible for ones health but the paint lasted. They are taking it down shortly for me to rescue it...I wonder if it will last another twenty years !

Friday, 22 October 2010

bespoke framing

Today a friend suggested that I paint and make my own frames for my pictures....yes lovely idea but to be honest when framing one of my pictures I use a good framer. From the pictures you can see that I did used to paint my own frames. One a flamboyant frame around a self portrait of myself and my old dog Megan..who is no more..and the other a gilded and painted mirror frameOf late I only seem to restore frames keeping an older appearance and restore lacquer mirror frames. This week a local framer called Lee Crew from Toddington framed a large black and white line drawing I had completed of Sudeley Castle. He made a really good job and was is a simple black frame but looks the business !
The idea of framing a picture has been around for centuries. Many wall paintings had decorative borders long before the use of a wooden frame. Originally frames were specially made for the individual painting but as the pictures changed hands the frames were also changed to suit the fashion of the period. Frames were also made to suit the decoration of the particular room, linking period decorative features. Until the mid seventeenth century English frames were mainly of Oak and were painted Black. Later 'leatherwork frames were popular, carved and gilded. Next were French frame designs covered with mouldings and highly polished water gilding . These frames were almost better works of art and craftsmanship than the paintings to be put into them. The Grand Tourists imported new styles of frames from Italy and Rome. Greek classical ornament followed in the late eighteenth century. Later in the eighteenth century many frames were produced decorated with mouldings. The ornament was applied directly to the frames and were much cheaper to produce than hand carved. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood preferred simpler water gilt frames and gilding directly onto oak rather than mass produced frames.
In the twentieth century many artists reused old frames or simply decorated their own. The modernists often rejected the frame altogether. At this time some museums also removed frames from both modern and Old masters thinking that they interfered with the integrity of the picture. Framing has a long history and specially made frames especially for a painting isn't really common but going back to the start of my blog, if I could I would love to specially make and decorate individual frames for each of my paintings.


Friday, 15 October 2010

Apple Day

Apples are red,

Nuts are brown,

Petticoats up

and trousers down.anon.

My sketch of little apple tree next to old piggery.
Tomorrow the 16th October, Hayles Fruit Farm are having an Apple Day, from 12 o'clock onwards. There will be walks, tastings and dancing by Happenstance, Winchcombes very own Morris team. have a look at and .

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Hello, This week I am feeding the hens and ducks at the railway museum. We used to have a flock of hens, three cockerels and a couple of geese, but we had to find homes for them when we moved...I'd love to still have some but I think the neighbours might complain. Two of the hens buff Sussex were ours so it was good to see them, not that they recognised me. The railway museum in Winchcombe is well worth a visit. It has now closed for the season but will be open again around the 22nd of April next year.
Back to chickens, reminding me of the saying " rare as hens teeth". A newly hatched chick actually has an egg tooth, used for chipping it's way out of the egg. It falls off after a short time and is virtually impossible to find, I've looked ! If you have ever wanted to check the age of eggs try submerging one in a glass of cold water. If it lies horizontally at the bottom it's fresh, If it tilts slightly up it's about a week old. Once it starts to float up the glass it's just about OK for baking, but when its floating at the top it will be that one for some of the politicians! The air pocket in the egg gets larger as the egg gets older because the egg shell is porous and the air increases inside the egg.
They kindly said I could have some of the eggs so I'm going to pickle some. Here's a recipe..
Hard boil the eggs and simmer some white wine vinegar with some white peppercorns and some root ginger. ( about one and a half pints to 18 eggs). Peel eggs and place into a jar, strain vinegar and pour over. Leave for a couple of weeks before starting them. I love them but not to every ones taste!
Meanwhile with all these chickens I've been crocheting egg cosies in the evenings....On November 27th Toddington Village Hall is having a Vintage Sale so I'm sorting the attic and shed out to do a stall....padding it out with greetings cards and egg cosies. The last sale was lovely with lots of beautiful stalls and a kitchen selling good cups of tea and homemade cakes...a good way to spend a Saturday.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Cotswold Life

This month in the Cotswold life is an article written by Lady Ashcombe about the Ghosts at Almsbury Farm. Well this is the month to write about ghosts,so here goes. For a while we lived there and did experience some ghostly carrying on. The main one was the sound of a screaming baby, we heard it three times and although it wasn't scary the poor child sounded extremely unhappy. It wasn't until later that I discovered that others had heard it and it had been written about. In the 1700's a baby called Cunosa Almsbury had been left for the pigs to feed on her but the dogs had protected her. Unfortunately the baby was later drowned in the river Isbourne. She is supposed to be buried in St Peter's graveyard. I believe that the anniversary of this is on the 18th October. On the morning of locking up and leaving the farm all the lights inside and outside flashed on and off in no particular order ! a friend later said that they must have been saying goodbye. I loved being there and would happily move back straight away. We have many local ghosts including a lady collecting firewood on the Gretton Road, monks walking down Cowl Lane and Orbs. To be honest I'm not sure about orbs but have a look at if you are. Soon there are to be ghost walks in the town which should prove to be very popular !
"Old Nick went out upon a prowl,
An' cumed to Winchcombe, thuck dark 'ole,
But a got stuck fast in Sudeley Lane'
So swore as e'd never cum thur agyain "
Reminds me of a massive loory with the driver using sat nav and totally ignoring road signs getting stuck fast as he tried to turn right going up Castle Street onto the main Road !

Laurence Fish

Yesterday I was invited to coffee by Jean a lovely local lady that I have known for years to see her late husbands paintings and prints. My mate Jane from also came along. What a great morning and so inspiring, I just wanted to go home and get my water colours out but I had to finish gilding first. Laurence Fish should be more well known, he was a prolific artist. In the early days he was asked to make drawings of the mechanisms of explosive devices in a manner that everyone could understand...what a responsibility ! His draughtsmanship was exceptional. He later painted graphic posters for many transport companies. Posters such as 'Life is gay at Whitley Bay' are fun and capture the hey day of the period. You might find if you try to search him that the spelling is sometimes Lawrence Fish...with a W. . I only chose this particular poster because that's where some of my relatives are from , he also did a great poster for Weymouth that had a part portrait of a blond with reflective sunglasses on..very Diana Dors. Laurence's later work can also be seen at Thank you Jean for a really lovely morning. Jane is getting ready for her next show opening next Monday. There are some good pictures ,some beautiful pottery birdhouses that really caught my eye and a birdbath with a hidden will know what I mean if you go to see it !

Monday, 27 September 2010

What a Grey Day !

This morning we are back to the dark difficult for matching colours and seeing detail. At this time of year I usually find myself taking pieces I'm working on outside just to check them, but today is raining so no chance of that. On days like today, especially being a Monday I find it difficult to resist the temptation to nip over to The Winds of Change Gallery for a cuppa and a catch up with Jane. Winchcombe...or perhaps I should call it Winchcombeshire is going to have a Music and Arts Festival next year, the last week of May. Lots of people are organising possible events and new ideas to attract the locals and visitors. Jane and myself are busy writing out ideas ! While I was scanning for pictures of the Winchcombe Horse Fair I came across a Telegraph listing for England's Richest towns, and Winchcombe was number 48 ! Quite funny, It is a lovely small friendly town set in beautiful surroundings...I don't think of the town in a 'rich list' sort of way but it is a good town and well worth visiting. There are a number of fairs starting soon, Winchcombe Mop, then Tewkesbury Mop, and the Horse fair in Stow on the Wold..I'll add some photos when I've sorted them.
Again Whilst searching I came acroos the story of a boy from Winchcombe called John Smallwood. He worked in the looms in Newbury and after his boss died he married his Widow. He turned the cottage industry into a huge export market and was know as ' Jack of Newbury. He became one of the richest men in England and was friends with Henry V111 ! Henry V111 courted Anne Boleyn at Sudeley Castle....I wonder if they were friends then ?

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Corgi Models

Recently I discovered that Corgi had made a large model of The Anderton and Rowland Roundabout, that I had painted. Well I initially worked on the horses with John Pocket (a very well known Painter) I then carried on by myself painting the steps, centre shutters, rounding boards droppers and Organ. I had gone into a Toy Shop in Bourton on the Water and amongst the models was the large box. I recognised my tiny little paintings on the Lid. It was quite expensive so I initally rang Corgi to see if they had any models available. I was hoping that because all of the decoration was mine I might be given a free model, but no. I had a rather bland letter back saying they had sold out and that was that. I'm not a money grabbing person but thought it was a shame that no-one had thought to let me know that a model was being made, not even Mick Goulding who owned the ride while I was painting mobile number has never changed...ho hum thats the way things go. A friend said that I still owned the copyright of the paintings and my permission should have been sought. I would have loved to have had a little mention on the box ....anyway I'm going on a bit..but I will say that I splashed out and bought it....In years to come I'm sure my Son will be pleased to own it, not everyone can say that their Mums work is on a Corgi Model !


I called over to Gloucester Cathedral today to see an impressive sculpture exhibition there. It is called the 'Crucible' and is on until the 30th October 2010. The Cathedral itself is well worth visiting. There has been a building of worship on this spot since 700ad but the Cathedral, which was originally The Abbey Church of a Benedictine Monastery was started in 1089. You can find more information at . There are 76 sculptures dotted in and around the cathedral. Yo can see sculptures by many artists including Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, William Tucker RA, Antony Gormley, Angus Fairhurst , Michael Cooper and Lyn Chadwick Ra. I'm going to try and go again ,spend longer and take my soon as I've finished blooming gilding !
The photo on the left is 'Cloaked Figure' by Lyn Chadwick RA, and the Photo on the right is'Ship of Fools' by Steve Hurst.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Back to Goodwood

Hello, I've had a few friends asking me why wasn't I wearing flowing dresses and headscarves...well I thought I'd be a bit different but still traditional. As you can see from the old photo, taken from

'The gypsies, Wagon time and after by Denis Harvey'...who I was lucky enough to meet. On special occasions some Gypsy ladies would wear a beaver hat with ostrich feathers. My hat started as a blue and white creation from the local Sue Ryder. I sprayed it with car paint, wrapped a scarf around it and popped in some black and burgundy ostrich feathers ! If we get asked next year I will be much more organised and have even more fun dressing up, but I would like a bit of time as a land army girl or wear a flash 1950's suit.... anything goes.The childhood act of dressing up is as much fun now as it was all those years ago. Parked next to our wagons was a lovely and very tidy Shepherds hut, owned by Paul who restores them . His company has a website worth visiting, Cottage books have their latest Autumn Catalogue out, which features one of my prints on the front. The catalogue is full of rare books, postcards and pictures under the collective title of 'Romani Gypsies and other travellers. There isn't a website but there address is Cottage Books, The Cottage, Rempstone Road, Gelsmoor, Coleorton, Leicestershire, LE678HR...Please mention that you got their address from me. Today I spent the day in Jane's Gallery, The Winds of Change, in Winchcombe. A really sociable gallery with changing exhibitions. I had taken in some dials to restore, but spent more time chatting to visitors.I was going to write more about Goodwood, perhaps I will have a chance to tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Goodwood Revival

Hello, A very quick posting and funny picture of me at Goodwood. Myself and Rob Langley a local rustic furniture maker popped down to Goodwood for a few days . We formed an old scene of gypsies and wagons, complete with fire , but no dogs or horses unfortunately. I'll write more but for now here are a couple of photos.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Gilding, gilding and more gilding !

Yes I am busy gilding furniture and lots of it. It's strange how work varies but you can also have a sudden burst of one technique, almost as though it has suddenly become fashionable. A couple of months ago I was dragging the walls of a bedroom in blue, only to find a friend Miles was doing the same up in Cheshire.
The purity of gold is expressed in carat. This is the number of parts of pure gold contained in a metal which is thought of as being composed of 24 parts.Fine gold is 24 parts of gold out of 24 so is known as 24ct. An alloy of 22 parts gold and 2 parts of other metals is known as 22ct. The other metals added to the gold change it's hardness and colour.. I am using 23 1/4ct for my furniture. The gold leaf is supplied in books of either loose or transfer. The transfer leaf is used for oil gilding and for outside work. Loose leaf is mainly used for water gilding....but that's another story...but now I must get back to my gold leaf !

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Water of Leith

....In the spring of this year six new sculptures by Anthony Gormley were placed in the Water of Leith. They start from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh. Of course we started the walk the wrong way round seeing the figure looking out to sea at Leith, but it was a really good walk. At Stockbridge someone has dressed one of the figures in a red flowered dress ! I imagine there will be a lot more of that sort of thing because they are all within reach. It'd been great seeing new and old art works in the city, quite inspiring....although most of my work when I get back home will be gilding....lots of gilding. I've been told that gilders are in short supply..of course being in the painting trade I can think of quite a few! I also popped into a local Clock restorers to find that I may well receive some dials from him. I thought I might live too far away but he used to send them to Norfolk !
Goes to show it's always worth carrying a business card.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

auld Reekie

Hello, I'm lucky enough to be spending some time up in Edinburgh..and yes the Festival is on so it's buzzing.Edinburgh was known as Auld Reekie before the clean air act...There are so many chimneys so the smog in the city must have been terrible. Last week I visited the National Gallery to see Impressionist Gardens. A great exhibition made better because I was on my own and so could spend as long as I liked looking. Seating in the exhibition had copies of their book about the Impressionist Gardens, although very nice it just reminded me of how often prints just don't manage to get the true colours. Especially noticeable when you have the real paintings in front of you. One painting was very pink in the book but pale and grey in reality, I loved the original but if I'd only seen the printed image I wouldn't have liked it. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Klimt were all there and very inspiring both to want to start painting and to pick a garden fork up! Goodness knows what my garden looks like after being away from it for two weeks ! Well plenty more for me to see while I'm up here...
The picture shown is The Artists' Garden, By Monet...The sky is beautiful

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

St.Kenelm's Day

St.Kenelm's Miracle Play was a great success. The weather was perfect and a lot of people walked up Sudeley Hill to watch including Lady Ashcombe and some of her Grandchildren. Everyone cheered, hissed and generally made panto noises . All the performers remembered their lines and musi played by The Medieval Musicians gave a lovely ambiance to the play. And so a new local tradition has arrived. I would imagine that many more people will be there next year.. School Holidays this week so I am madly finishing dials so that I can prepare myself ! At the moment there just isn't enough hours in the day, I'm raring to start on some new paintings so fingers crossed I'll get started on them soon. In the meantime The Pawnbrokers Balls are finished, a gilded Frame and Lacquer mirror have been restored and by tomorrow a beautiful arched clock dial with rocking boat and nodding swans neck will be completed...well that's my intention.
I will be producing Christmas cards of the snowy wagon scenes which will be available via my website very soon , and in the Autumn I will be hosting Walk, Talk and Sketch Days in and around Winchcombe.....more soon.
I have a shop selling postcards of gypsy country scenes on Etsy -

Sunday, 11 July 2010

St Kenelm's Day

Saturday the 17th of July is St Kenelm's Day. A group of locals in Winchcombe are performing a new miracle play based on theOld legend of St Kenelm. I became involved initially by being asked by 'Marking the Year ' to design a poster for them. The play starts at 3pm at St Kenelm's Well followed by a procession to Sudeley Castle for the second act. The final act is at St Peter's Church Winchcombe. For more information please contact The Winchcombe Tourist Information Office. This will be the first time the Miracle Play will have been performed at St Kenelm's Well and hopefully it will become one of Winchcombes traditions. Out of interest to myself I have written St Kenelm lots of times to see if it makes any difference on a search engine ! I'm still learning....but If you are near Winchcombe then do take a walk up to the Well and join in with the Well Blessing and Play. You can also find more information at

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Time flies

I can hardly believe it, my last blog was almost a month ago. I must try to write each week ! Stow Horse fair went well but I have now got to the age where I hear myself say..'It's not what it used to be '...but it really is quite a different fair to how it was twenty years ago. For me each year there are less of the real characters, the old faces I've known and seen for years, but it is still worth going to. I took Jane from the Winds of Change Gallery in Winchcombe...she was quite surprised ! not quite what she expected...but I won't go into details....if you can try to go .
If you are ever in Winchcombe, do visit The Winds of Change Gallery, it has some beautiful exhibitions and Jane is a very creative person and a huge supporter and encourager of artists .You can visit her website at
Apologies for doing something to the pictures on my website ! I was just updating my other site when somehow I appear to have blanked them all. I'm hoping that maybe it is just my computer but it's too late for me to try and sort it...tomorrow will do.
This week I am gilding some Pawnbroker Balls....yes the jokes have been fast and furious....and funny and yes they are a handful . The sign of the three golden balls originated in the mid eighteenth century. It derives from the Medici family in Florence, Italy. Legend had it that one of the Medici's in the employment of Emperor Charles the Great, fought a giant and slew him with three sacks of rocks. The three balls later became part of their family crest. Apparently the supporters of the rulers of Florence used to shout the Italian equivalent of "ball! balls! balls! " when running into Battle. The Medici Family were very successful bankers and lenders in the fifteenth century. They became so well known that other bankers and lenders adopted their sign so they became the symbol of the whole profession. Another interesting fact is the song Pop goes the Weasel is about the pawnbroking profession. Pop means to pawn and Weasel is the cockney rhyming slang for coat. Well all the best, I'll write again very soon.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Gypsy Day Out

Hello, This weekend,on Sunday 13th June there is to be a 2 colourful celebration of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller arts and culture ' at Hartlebury Castle, near Kidderminster DY117XZ. It starts at 11am and finishes at 5pm. It promises to be a good day out. Both John Barker and Peter Ingram will be there with their beautiful new book, 'Romany Relics' The Wagon Album.
If you are interested in buying this book but cannot get to the Castle, you will be able to order it from me via my email It costs £75 plus postage and is well worth it. Its full of wonderful photographs, many never seen before due to them being in private collections. At the moment there isn't any talk of a reprint so there are limited stocks available.
Well, lets hope for a gorgeous sunny day on Sunday and I hope to see you there, All the Best, Katie

Monday, 10 May 2010


Well Hello to your good selves.....As my sisters say I'm just joining the 20th century just as everyone else has joined the 21st ! I must start by saying a big thankyou to both my sisters for helping me sort my website and get a blog page.

My initial news is the wonderful book 'Romany Relics ' The Wagon Album co written by John Barker and Peter Ingram. It is over an inch thick and is full of beautiful old Black and White photographs of Wagon scenes alog with over Three hundred colour Photographs. The Book leads you through the history and the builders and painters of the main waggon types. It is only available via Romany Relics but I am hoping to have a stock available here in the Cotswolds.
This week is Stow on the Wold Horse Fair,well worth a visit.
well I will write again and hopefully I will soon master the art of Blogging.
All the Very Best, Katie


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