Thursday, 29 March 2012

Detour and thatched cottages

Today I had to take a detour on my way to work...and what a lovely detour it was.. left towards Alderton
past beautiful old oak trees and into the village....
Past the Gardners Arms...too early for a pint......
more thatched cottages....

with lovely decoration...
and birds...
.then out of Alderton and through Great Washbourne....
with it's lovely phone box....
one more cottage !.....
well one more....
then back to the main road by Beckford and back to work painting ladies !

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Daffy down dilly has come to town,
With her yellow petticoat and a green gown.

 It's lovely to see so many daffodils around along with a lot of bumblebees. On my trip back from the Forest of Dean I had to stop and take a photo of a rather distant field just striking up with bright yellow flashes..

..and the lovely banks of Newnham on Severn.

The Latin name for a daffodil is narcissus, named after a boy who loved his reflection so much that he wouldn't stop looking at himself in his reflection in the river. He either fell into the water and drowned or daftly died of starvation ! A daffodil sprung from the ground where he died. It is the symbol of unrequited love after the story.

It is also the symbol of deceit after the story telling that while Proserpine was busy picking daffodils she was grabbed by Pluto and taken to the underworld. All a bit sad when it is such a cheery flower , but its not all bad and is said to bring lots of good luck to homes with large bunches of them. The daffodil is the symbol of Hope for the Macmillan Charity, and is the national flower of Wales. It's also the county flower of Gloucestershire, The Golden Triangle near Newent is famous for its wild Daffodils. The Druids see it as a sign of purity and the Chinese decorate their homes in Chinese New Year.
I remember a friend telling me that when her family travelled in Gypsy wagons they used to stop and pick daffodils to sell door to door....'calling'. After picking they used to put them in a bath of warm water to get them to open and make them easier to sell. ( Daffying- to go picking Daffodils )
It was a Covent Garden nurseryman called Peter Barr (1826-1909) who inspired the Victorians with the love of Daffodils, thus leading to the famous poem by William Wordsworth. Here it is read by on utube.

I decided to get some wild daffodil bulbs from to plant in my garden. My garden is rather wild with primroses, cowslipsjust in bud, bluebells springing up, one nettle bed (makes lovely tea. Fill a teapot to the top with the fresh tops of new nettles, add boiling water and pour. Add honey to taste...I like it but I do remember a friend spitting it out saying it was the most disgusting thing he'd ever drunk...or similar words ) ) and the odd bramble !

Saturday, 10 March 2012

My name in print. I won't mention the odd photo !

A bit of an experiment, I'm in this weeks World's Fair newspaper and thought I'd try to add it to my blog, but I've a feeling that the words might be too tiny. My next experiment will be to publish it and then try to copy it off my blog and paste it back to my desktop and see if that works !
Always a learning curve. ( I've just found that if you left tap on the pictures then left tap again it enlarges the print...hopefully it will work for your goodselves.)

The article says some very nice things about me ' The final member of the team was the very talented artist Kate Morgan who had previously worked on decorations at one of gloucestershires popular tourist attractions, Sudeley Castle. Kate had the daunting task of matching up the missing work which when seen, is just simply amazing. ( I'm blushing now )
On the day of the pulling down of the bottom of the ride, Kate could be found a couple of miles away performing her artistic touch to her love of classical music.
 To be honest it's the least distracting music and Classic Fm do play some good tunes!  I do like radio four but I always find that I will be in the middle of one of their afternoon plays and someone will call by ! I could listen to catch up on the computer but it 'll not happen...I know me.  I was working in a furniture factory unit last year when he two chaps were arguing about Radio two or Radio Four, because I prefer Radio Four I told the chap that radio four has lots of rude bits in it . At the end of the day he said that he hadn't heard one rude bit. I answered saying that he obviously doesn't have a good imagination ! ...
I can't finish without mentioning David Littleboy,the man behind the great restoration..It's a credit to him ,and I'm positive that Edwin Hall would have been delighted to know that his work was being saved and was much appreciated. And last but not least Bill Treen,also a painter who has worked amazingly hard to clean off the paintwork to reveal the original Edwin Hall artwork.
Ps Personally I am so glad that I had the oppportunity to have been taught fairground marbling by Billy Hall, Edwins brother and the lovely times I had visiting Fred Fowle in London.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Stones to Tewkesbury

Today I had a walk in Tewkesbury....or as my Dad calls it 'Chuckleberry'. I'd remembered reading that the stone for Tewkesbury  Abbey was carried on The River Severn and was then put onto rafts to sail up the brook to the site of the Abbey. It's a bit like the saying 'coals to Newcastle' but the stones were brought from Caen in Normandy. Perhaps it was a sign to everyone at the time that 'Normans were armies etc etc..showing their dominance and strength. Robert Fitzhamon who founded the Abbey is also known as The Norman Conqueror of Glamorgan.

The Abbey was consecrated on October 23rd 1123.

 So this is a little photographic journey following the last part of the stones journey.

On the opposite side of The Lower Lode Pub, looking across the River Severn. ( There is a ferry across to this pub.) Maybe this is where the stone was taken off boats and put onto rafts.

Southwick brook looking towards the Abbey.

From Swilgate Bridge, originally called Welaker Bridge.

As you can see we are now very close to the Abbey.
One of England's best Norman towers.
I can't look at the Rivers without commenting on the floods.
I do like the blue wavy line along the word can tell it's a creative town !
From the Telegraph Newspaper
 Tewkesbury have had many floods,the most severe being recorded in 1484, 1587, 1611, 1678, 1721, 1770, 1814, 1960 and the most recent 2007. You'd think by now that the councillor's and planners would have noticed that you can't keep building on the flood plains....even if they don't know the history of the town the clue is in the name of the plains !

Friday, 2 March 2012

Wool in Winchcombe

Spring really feels like it's arrived, Sheep ae back in the field next to Sudeley and the lambs are already skipping about the fields around Postlip.To see the lambs this year must be an extra delight to the farmers because of an illness that is affecting pregnant ewes and so causing a lot of still births.In my probable ignorance, I do believe that a lot of these horrible animal diseases are due to the pressures of people always having to make huge profits on everything....but then that's me just wishing for a simple life. One day I'll have a couple of geese and some chickens again..and perhaps a sheep for milk, then a little Dexter cow..oh and a donkey would be nice..yes I'm a dreamer but dreams can always become reality....Right I've stepped back down from my soap box..
Our Jane at The Winds of Change Gallery in Winchcombe came up with the idea of celebrating Wool in Winchcome. 14th April to the 5th May 2012
 From a little idea in her Gallery 'Hub' sprang a community event as well as a gallery exhibition. The lovely thing about it is that you don't have to be an 'artist' to participate...all you need to be is any of the following- a knitter, be able to crochet, love wool, spinner, weaver, producer,shepherd or just love sheep ,lambs and woolly jumpers ! Jane has invited Gretel Parker a childrens illustrator to give a workshop in the art of felting. She makes beautiful felt characters. Do look on Janes website to find more details of the artists and knitters, spinners etc. One novel event is a group of local singers putting on a show of local songs with a sheepy twist...bring your knitting while you enjoy the show !
Shop keepers in the town are embracing the idea,-Sue Ryder will have lots of knitting on display, The Old Tea House is having a learn to knit session and The new cake shop 'Cake and Sugar craft Boutique'  is going to do a sheep related window. and Country Keepsakes has special sheep cards. A7lb bronze weight will be on display at Sudeley Castle. It was used by buyers as they collected wool on packhorse's in the middle ages .Only 135 are known to exist!

Pardon the quality but it's in a case.
The history of wool in Winchcombe goes back a long way. It was first mentioned in 796 when Charles the Great wrote to Offa, king of Mercia: ''Our subjects make request concerning the size of the cloaks; that you will have them made of the same pattern as used to come to us in old times '' With Winchcombe at one time being the capital of Mercia it  must have been a very early centre for the wool trade. St Peters Church is an old Wool Church.
Elizabeth 1 made lots of acts to protect the wool trade, one was that everyone had to wear a woolly hat (Horrid Histories) and another that every corpse should wear British wool! If you were not buried in wool then there was a fine of £5, half paid to the poor of the parish and half to the person who informed them..One pamphlet read ' both living and dead must be wrapped in woollen,indeed no other law is wanted but only one, that our perukes ( wigs ) should be made of wool.
The Cotswold folk wanted to keep to hand work,and piece work rather than using machines so the cloth industry moved to Yorkshire and the north of England. Shearers, clothworkers and weavers lived in Winchcombe,  brode weavers from the Forest of dean and felt makers in Tewkesbury are mentioned as stating their trade in 1608. Times don't change Winchcombe is still full of individual craftspeople and artists ! Imagine if we had said yes to the spinning Jenny, and The Forest of Dean had said yes to the steel industry...blimey, the area would look different !
When Elizabeth 1 visited Sudeley it was a shepherd that read out a welcome to her '''this lock of wool, Cotswold's best fruits and my poor gift. I offer to your Highness: in which nothing is to be esteemed but the whiteness, virginity's colour, nor to be expected but duty, shepherd's religion.''
I'm sure I will probably add more information to this blog but it's late so I'll press the button and get it published...I hope you can come over the hill to enjoy our town....don't forget to bring your knitting !
The crochet hanging basket I made for Jane at The Winds of Change Gallery
Writing about wool and sheep I have to mention my lovely friends Julian and Polly .Julian is the shepherd out of story books, black curly hair, bright blue eyes, a laughing face with a paint brush in one hand and a fiddle in the other. Polly is also very lovelyand she plays guitar ,sings and spins wool. We all used to play in a band called 'The Mothy Band' years ago. I've just returned from a weekend in Dorset visiting them both...and Polly has given me a beautiful pair of hand knitted gloves, made from wool that she had spun...lucky old me !
I gleaned some of the historical facts from ' Winchcombe Cavalcade' by Eleanor Adlard.
Note: Any underlined words are linked to their web pages.


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