Tuesday, 29 June 2010

An Afternoon Tea

I can't convey through these pictures just how beautiful the hall looked, and felt. The colours and the light, the cakes and the flowers, and all the lovely, excited, busy people.

 We had wanted a 40's 'vintage' feel, and I think we really captured that.

Frankie and I had been concerned at one point that we wouldn't have many cakes, but they just kept flooding in!

We had also been concerned that we might not have a huge amount of help, but again we were overwhelmed by the support and involvement we received.
I particularly loved the sight of Cath, pictured on the far left of the photo above, busily serving tea's and cakes with her lovely round baby belly and general glow of pregnancy wellness.

We set up my screen with photographs and information from Bluebells, as well as setting up a play area, complete with tee pee, in the middle of the hall.

And the customers? the discerning tea drinkers? well, they were all the friends and families and parents from the Bluebell group. I don't think we hooked in anyone not associated with the group! What a clientele they were! The atmosphere was fantastic, with families meeting for the first time, and husbands meeting their children's friends, and faces being put to names. It really did have the atmosphere of a 40's village hall tea.

And the little Bluebells community, well they raised £122.19 for Compassion in World Farming!
An amazing achievement from an amazing group of families.

Monday, 28 June 2010

In Preparation

The best kind of preparations are the kind that involve a sortie to the riverbank.

To collect armfuls of wild flowers. Don't they look beautiful. Seems a shame to move them really!

Oh and baking, lots and lots and lots of baking. Several cakes and 86 scones! Yes, I did count them!

Spring Adventures - Same Beach, Different Day

We have been to the beach an awful lot this Spring. We have been to other beaches a little bit, but mostly we have been to Westward Ho! And not just because it is the only town in England to have an exclamation mark in its name!

We have been there when it has been beautifully sunny and the beach has been the picture of the British Seaside Holiday. We have been there during the PotWalloping festival. The festival happens when all the winter storms are passed, and people walk the length of the bay and throw the 'pebbles' (the boulders you can see in these pictures!) that have been washed down by the winter waves back up onto the pebble ridge that separates the beach from the burrows wildlife reserve. The festival also involves live music and stalls and a general party atmosphere.

And to be honest, I've yet to see much pebble throwing going on!  

We have been there when the tide has been way way out and the beach has been an endless swathe of smooth sand.

And we have been there on days like this one, when the tide is right in and rolling up against the pebbles, and there's a swell and surf and stormy skies. And the water foams and bubbles and the children surf and we all feel wild and barefooted.

And afterwards there should always be doughnuts on a day like this. Ice creams can wait for the British Seaside days, stormy wild days are doughnut days.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Spring Adventures - A Gypsy Wagon

My friend Lizzie has just bought herself the most beautiful gypsy wagon, and put it in her orchard. Isn't this just magical!

The wagon itself needs a bit of re-upholstering inside, but is totally roadworthy and has been bought to use.
The heavy horse that will have the honour of pulling it will arrive next spring, once the wagon is ready to roll.

Lizzie said that once all the kinks had been ironed out and they had taken it out a few times, we could take it off for a week or two next summer!

If ONLY I wasn't violently allergic to horses!

Spring Adventures - Bluebells Picnic in the Park

We have been out a lot this Spring, mostly because the weather has been the best I can remember, and continues to be so.

We have been for picnics in the park with friends,

Recognise the dress? This is Lily very reluctantly modeling the dress I made for her birthday! It's not that she doesn't like the dress, or that she doesn't like modeling!, it's more that there are trees to be climbed and hills to be rolled down, and standing still just isn't the thing to do!

Friday, 11 June 2010

A Bit Distracted

Well, I seem to have been a bit distracted this week. Nothing huge or momentous, I have just been focusing intently on a couple of projects.

Frankie and I, with the help of the Bluebell parents, are holding an 'Afternoon Tea with Compassion' in aid of Compassion in World Farming. The preparation involved is predictably huge, although it is also enjoyable, so I have been very busy making posters, writing press releases and canvassing for help. I even did the pictures on the poster my self! I know they look like I got Jack to do them but I was still quite pleased that they were identifiable!

Simon has been having a trying week at work which has meant spending a little more time than usual making sure I've got him covered.  It has also meant a bit of a no crafting zone being imposed in the evening, well, a 'no sewing machine so I can actually hear what I'm trying to watch' zone anyway!
I have had an other sling project on the go as well (pictures to follow), this time as a birthday present for my good Friend Sneji, so the evening watershed has been inconvenient to say the least.
As a result (her birthday is today!) I have been sewing in fits and spurts during the day. As anyone who has ever tried to complete a sewing project with a sewing machine next to the family table, in the family play space (for now), with the whole family awake will understand, it takes commitment and patience previously only exhibited by those who have taken holy orders.

I am also preparing myself for re-starting my evening classes next week, so my available extra thinking time has been fairly taken up by that.

In a week or two things will settle down again and I won't be so occupied.

I love how many times a year I say that! Been saying it for at least the last 6 and it hasn't happened yet! You've got to love the chaos!

Friday, 4 June 2010


Thirty years ago, on the 30th of May,

I was born.

And thirty years later,

We went to the beach.

With my little brother and his girlfriend, and a few others.

And I had a present from my talented mother,
left for me at my grandparents house.

Oh, and this from my silly brother and friends!

I have never been able to decide what I wanted to do for my 30th. It seemed like a choice I couldn't make. In the end it happened with little thought or choosing, and it was just as it should have been.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

France - My 'Official French Birthday'

As we were actually flying back the day before my birthday, it was decided that I should have a birthday day in France. The day started in the best way possible, we went to a market. it wasn't a huge or brilliant market, but that was just right or we might have spent too long there, and there were other things to do.

Like go to Limeuil and play in the Vezere

And then go to 'Le Chai' for the best pizza ever followed by one of their delicious sorbets.

I had a salmon and aubergine pizza and, after wrestling with the choices for an almost impolite length of time, finally settled on one 'boule' of dark chocolate, and one 'boule' of cassis sorbet.

We then took the huge bag of stale bread that the lovely lady in the restaurant had given us, and went back down to the river bank to torment the ducks and holler at the canoeists some more.

We went home late, soaked, full and happy. It was a beautiful and brilliant birthday day. We finished it off with a few 'white ladies', a bit of barbecue and a chocolate cake with strawberries.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

France - Exploring

Does it count as exploring if you know the place well? If it's your favourite town in the area? Well we explored Monpazier, both during the market and when the streets were clear. Monpazier is a bastide town, built inside a large square outer wall of houses, with the streets on a grid. They were built to be easily defended, but they are also often very beautiful.

Monpazier has a central market where the upper floors of the buildings overhang the lower, and are held up by huge old stone arches. The resulting arcade underneath is home to wooden toy shops and antique shops and dressmakers selling things I would only wear to a fancy dress party!

The central square houses the market on Thursday mornings, and though I do love a market, I almost prefer this little town without. It is also home to Gaya, a beautiful home wares shop tucked into a side street. Full of old furniture, vintage style canisters and clocks, and ornaments and decorations almost always to my taste.


I bought two of the same little stoneware chicken ornaments as presents, and was given one myself the following day by my Ma. I would happily furnish and accessorise my house entirely from this shop.

The lovely man inside also took a shine to Fred, and gave him this little metal elephant coat hook as a gift. It is now waiting patiently on my chest of drawers for the boys room to be separated when it can take up its rightful position on the back of Fred's door.

And castles, always have to find a castle or two. This is Castlenaud. Again, we have been here before, but it's still exploring.

And after a hot trawl around a castle you obviously have to paint yourself with chocolate ice cream.

Then there is the kind of exploring that I think I inherited from my Mother. The kind that drives my husband mad. Its the kind of exploring that happens when you catch a glimpse of something as you drive past, and insist on stopping for a better look. Its the kind that has you running around unknown villages looking a bit like a stalker!

But look at this!

Apparently it's owned by Americans who don't have the funds to repair it, so instead they visit occasionally to watch it crumble. I could cry for it's lost splendour.