Wednesday, 29 July 2009

No one loves a lichen lover!

The gorgeous girl and I have just come back from a few days bonding in and around the Cotswolds. She wanted to get a feel for a couple of possible university towns and I wanted to get away from it all and enjoy her company, some eye candy and some nice weather. Well, as the song goes two out of three ain't bad!

The weather was much as we've come to expect with lots of grey skies interspersed with heavy showers. I love the way we Brits, undeterred, still hang out the bunting in the sure and certain knowledge that it will get very soggy!

We loved Oxford with its honey coloured colleges and quirky shop displays. Much time was spent dodging the showers and running from one to the other! But at least now I know what to do should I find the odd quarter or half of a Union flag!

Love the bicycle culture...

and loved these light fitting with shades covered either with union flags or with ribbons or paper in the right shades of red white and blue.

We meandered through lots of Cotswold towns: Chipping Norton, Stow on the Wold, Moreton in the Marsh, Shipston on Stour, Banbury and finally on the way home Warwick (the other uni town visited). This was quite a big deal for me as I'm not the best of drivers and have pushed myself out of my comfort zone to drive in unfamiliar areas this week. With my trusty navigator we managed really well and I can tick off 5counties I hadn't previously driven in!

It was only when I loaded up my pictures that I realised how many snaps I'd taken of things that had seen better days...

the chippy paint on a garage door...

the old faded fire bucket with its letters missing...

the crumbling stone work of those golden buildings...

the lovely aged patina of this corrugated roof...

the old graves covered in ivy and lichen...

and the old dry stone wall also covered in lichen...

I was enthusing over the lovely colours of the lichen and their aged beauty when my gorgeous girl informed me that "no-one loves a lichen lover!" - as lichen is nature's pollution indicator. It was hard to imagine how much pollution must have caused such huge amounts of lichen in such a delighful setting - the church in one village was covered in it.

So when I saw the message on the clock above, spotted in Shipston upon Stour, it served as a powerful reminder that time will march inexorably on taking its toll on our planet in ways both beautiful and destructive and that we have to invest time and effort now in helping save the environment for the sake of our children and their children. Now where did I put my wand?

Love Wend

Friday, 24 July 2009

3 went mad in Borth!

Just wanted to say thank you to all those who drop into my blog. I've been amazed at the generous spirit of the blogging community and thrilled to share in your thoughts, hobbies and beautiful photographs. I love to receive your comments and try to respond to them all.

I'm having a few days now with my daughter who has just returned from her "post GCSE" holiday, youth hostelling with a couple of friends in Borth, Wales (first time away without adult supervision so lots to prove - on both her side and mine!).

She came back last night carrying a bag of washing nearly as big as my shed, tired and emotional but, I think, really pleased that they had achieved this with no major trauma. (Hey - getting connections in Birmingham station unaided is a major triumph in my book!)

Despite the rain they had lots of fun specialising apparently in "welly walks" across the beach and scaling vertical sand dunes - I thought that was a contradiction in terms but it is a long time since I've been to the Welsh coast! (Penmaenmawr 1979!)

It's lovely to think that although they think they are "all grown up" at 16, messing about on the beach in their wellies provided such lovely memories and shows a delightful innocence and joy for life.

For me it was time to loosen those apron strings and trust her - and do I have a lot of apron strings to loosen!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Reasons to be cheerful - Eye candy

I have to share this delightful shop with you...

It's called Decorative Country Living and is in Caythorpe near Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Everything about it was just gorgeous - the sign on the door was a clue!

Just look at these boxes - many of the items are sourced in France

Lots of painted furniture...

Cushions with lovely blousy rose designs...

Vintage clothing...

Beautiful bunting...

Hand made items from local makers...

Delightful displays

And these lovely tins...

I bought this lovely red and white checked shelf edging with a black embroidered design for my red white and black kitchen shelves.

I've just spent a happy half hour rearranging all my bits (or stuff as my gorgeous girl would call it)on the shelf.

Hope you managed to have some fun between the showers/downpours this weekend!

Love Wend

Oh by the way the link to the website for this shop is

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Is this your pepper?

Our local council have spent a small fortune, correction - a large fortune on improving our Market Square. Millions if not squillions of pounds have been spent on bringing in very, very special paving slabs from China. And I hadn't noticed them at all - until I spotted this pepper lying, possibly dazed and confused and presumably having fallen from somebody's basket.

Only when I stopped (am I mad - does everyone do this sort of thing?) to admire the perfectly plumptious pepper did I notice the subtlety of the greys, whites and blacks in the paving slabs, which were actually quietly stunning and beautiful (if you can have beauty in a slab which I'm now convinced you can). Amazingly they weren't covered in chewing gum (discarded gum on pavements ranks high on my list of pet hates).

As I stood admiring said pepper and slabs I was approached by a friendly council sweeper upper (sure he has a far more politically correct name) who wondered whether it was my pepper that was making his square untidy. I assured him that it wasn't and asked whether he thought it made a lovely picture too. He agreed but said that he was having the pepper, he couldn't have it messing up his square and promptly picked it up and wedged it in his cart as decoration. He allowed me to take a final photo before he trundled it away in his incredibly clean litter wagon.

One of those funny little moments that make you smile... I suppose if I didn't blog that would have just passed me by. Funny what this blogging world opens us up to isn't it?

Have a great (albeit rainy) weekend!
Love Wend

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

My Anchor thread drawers

I'd been looking at these haberdashers' counter cotton thread display drawers for ages on e-bay but they always seemed to be really expensive and were empty.

I found this at an antiques fair and intially screwed my nose up at it as it was a bit stained and worn. The label on the side was still crisp and I pulled at the drawer to make sure it still slid in and out easily as I intended to use it.

When I opened the top drawer there were several threads on their wooden bobbins so I tried the other two hoping...

Imagine my delight when I found both drawers full of threads!!

All these lovely rainbow colours - rose reds, hyacinth blues, primrose yellows, pansy purples, carnation pinks and emerald greens but what's missing?

There were no whites, blacks, browns and navys! I think they must have been kept in the top drawer as the best sellers.

Anyway, considering a reel of cotton is now almost £2 and there are over 70 in the drawers I consider it was £30 well spent.(It was my birthday money!) I should never need to buy thead again!

Love Wend

Sunday, 12 July 2009

L is for Lewin at Lichfield

Saturday saw the opening of Angie Lewin's latest exhibition of screen prints and lithographs at Lichfield Cathedral.

I'd never been to Lichfield before so was intrigued as to what I might find there. I wasn't disppointed as the cathedral was magnificent with its three spires, the most amazing stained glass windows and some beautiful monuments. I particularly liked this unusual one with its tender representation of sisterly love.

Angie was exhibiting alongside Andy Lovell (above) and Alastair Tucker.

If you're a fan of Angie's work then it's worth a trip to Lichfield while it holds its Festival. I'm afraid the photos aren't great as I was competing with spot lights not to mention the reflections from the stained glass.

Close to the cathedral was the former home of Erasmus Darwin (grandfather to Charles of evolutionary theory fame) with wonderful herb and cottage gardens.

There was a Georgian market, with the stall holders entering into the spirit dressing up period dress in this lovely town packed full of quaint old buildings with crookedy roofs and leaning chimney stacks defying gravity.

A little town packed full of quirky eccentricities...
I always get a crick in my neck in a new place constantly looking up at the architecture. Lichfield didn't disappoint - just look at these delightful "his and hers" corbels supporting the windows!

Have a great week

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Raspberry ripple

Just loving all the raspberry ripple ice cream plant effects right now. Ok - the aquilegia was spotted at the garden centre...

The raggedy poppies at the allotment...

The lovely fluffy petals on these lovely raspberry poppies...

Not to mention these luscious roses with their fabulous raspberry veins which unfortuantely aren't mine and were just spotted on my travels! Might just have to research this one and plant one for myself!

Hope you're managing some sunshine between the flash floods and storms we're having!

Love Wend

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Loving linen and lace!

I decided to have a car boot stall today as the heat had lessened over the weekend. That meant I had to be on the other side of the stall and so was captive for much of the morning and didn't have chance to do much hunting today.

But I did strike lucky as two stalls away there were two carrier bags full of linens and doilies...

... and after a quick scrummage through I managed to get this little lot for £2.50! They're lovely (one has a small mark which I can't get out but that makes it all the better for upcycling into something else! There were cloths, antimacassars, doilies and lengths of hand crocheted lace not to mention several crinoline ladies. The doilies are wonderful and the work that has gone into them is amazing. They are miniature works of art in their own right sometimes and deserve more recognition! Some of the designs are very quietly understated and a casual glance doesn't do the items justice.

Once home I washed them all, pegged them out to dry and sat and watched the little beauties dancing in the breeze. I do love to see a line of white washing!

Have a good week!