Just being ME

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photos from The Woolworths Virtual Museum

that's the wonder of good old woollies ...

I don't know about you, but I want Woolworths to stay as it is, a shop which sells good quality products at reasonable prices, and offers great value for money. Don't get me wrong I love to mooch around the top end shops, but I rarely buy anything, my pleasure when it comes to spending is to grab a bargain or two?

Who else remembers the sweet counters in Woolworths? One memory of mine as a kid back in the late sixties, early seventies, was standing marvelling at the vast expanse of sweets (pic 'n mix) in the Worthing branch. On occasion, my grandparents would take me and my brother into town, and if my memory serves me right, after deliberating for ages we were allowed a bag each!

Steve, this is for you -

The immaculately polished white Hillman Hunter!

Parking outside the Berkeley (such a long trek into town) - revs of the engine and several maneouvres!

The flask of milky coffee in the glovebox, to drink before coming home!

Who else remembers the display of vinyl 45s and 12 inch singles on the shelves of Woolworths? Back in 1981 when I was studying a secretarial course at college, my friends and I would pop into the Broadwater branch most lunchtimes, and on most days I would come out with a single or two, many of which now have a home in the loft!

Click on The Woolworths Virtual Museum for lots more memories, remember Winfield their own brand?

Let's hear of any memories you may have of good old Woolies!


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magazine swap ...

Lisa at Periwinkle way back in August organised a magazine swap and I was paired with lovely Adrienne from Some Of A Kind in the US. Due to me having boring old job commitments and Adrienne being busy in her life, we didn't get to exchange until well into October.

Thanks Adrienne, I have really enjoyed looking through Southern Living, a mixture of home, garden and recipes, and Gardening How To, which includes an article on making a lovely bamboo planter using Sempervivum, and one on colourful Coleus, a plant which I am definitely going to introduce into my garden next summer.

Along with the magazines Adrienne included this lovely card with a recipe for Chocolate Tea Cake with an orange glaze. I can definitely see those cup measures being dusted off and coming out of the drawer!


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remembering mum on her birthday ...

Today along with my step-dad, on a chilly but sunny afternoon, we take a trip to the crematorium to visit mum's plot. Included in the present for her birthday, a posy, are pretty Asters also known as Michealmas Daisies, just like in the photo above. Her ashes lie in a beautiful area of countryside just north of the South Downs, with wildlife abound, where I am happy in the knowledge she is peacefully at rest.

When someone dies we miss them very much, always and forever remaining in our thoughts.


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bread and butter pudding ...

Turn waste into delicacies!

Originating from the early 17th century, bread and butter pudding is one of Britain's oldest and well-loved puddings. Having fallen out of favour back in the 1990s, this pudding is now definitely back on the menu.

Many celebrity chefs have made claim to having re-invented this pudding by adding all nature of fancy ingredients, why, in my book you really don't need to. To me the whole point of making this is to use leftover bread and cheap store cupboard ingredients, and the recipe I use is one from the Victory Cookbook by Marguerite Patten.

- The celebrations for VE and VJ days in 1945 might well have been the time when the farmer's wife would decide to make a real bread and butter pudding with butter and shell eggs - a rare extravagance - an excerpt from the book. Such humble ingredients, all of which we very much take for granted nowadays.

6 slices of white bread spread with butter
3 oz (75g) sultanas
3 eggs
2 oz (50g) sugar
1 pint (600ml) milk

Layer squares of bread and butter with the sultanas in a 2 pint (1.2 litre) pie dish. Beat the eggs with the sugar, add the milk and then pour over. I always allow to stand for about 30 minutes before baking in the oven (150oC, Gas Mark 2) until just firm.

Some restaurants serve this pudding with cream or extra custard, you really don't need to, it is moist enough to eat as it is, warm and straight from the dish!


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the downs link stage 5 ...

bramber - steyning - henfield

We are early to bed and early to rise, so it is no sacrifice for us to get up, out and about as day breaks, this way we get to see a lot of wildlife waking up too. Just as we set off on the stretch from Henfield a large fox ran out in front of our path, a real beauty. In the blink an eye it had disappeared into the undergrowth, so unfortunately I wasn't able to get a photo.

The Downs Link follows former railway lines, and just south of the station site in Henfield is a small housing estate aptly named 'Beechings', a reference to Dr Beeching who was the minister responsible for railway closures in 1966. The last passenger train left Steyning carrying a wreath on its buffers which read 'in loving memory of the faithful'.

The White Hart public house dates back to the 17th century, with low beams, candlelit spaces and an inglenook fireplace.

A picturesque red tile and brick building, T Miles and Son, blacksmiths.

Gold is for the mistress
silver for the maid
copper for the craftsman cunning at his trade.

Good! said the Baron, sitting in his hall
but iron, cold iron
is master of them all - Rudyard Kipling


where do you blog from?

Way back in August I asked you where you blog from? With 60 votes the results were, Australia (6), Canada (9), Europe (8), UK (22), USA (11) and other (4).

Well I blog from West Sussex and I am Sussex born and bred, having during my life lived in three different villages all within close proximity around the county.

I spent my childhood and teenage years in and around the village of Angmering. The hand-coloured postcard above shows the village green and Arundel Road circa 1905. Having altered somewhat over the years, back in the early to mid seventies, this is the very hill I walked up every day to primary school, first stopping off at the small sweet shop at the bottom for a daily supply of chews, candy cigarettes and a copy of Twinkle!

For a couple of years or so, I lived in the village of Clapham. Luckily we lived on a hill, many a time in the winter my mini wouldn't start and I had to jump it on the clutch! The postcard of a watercolour above, shows the church of St Mary the Virgin circa 1845, the porch on the west wall has since been removed.

Finally the village of Lancing, credited as being the largest village in England. The postcard above shows a group of children on North Road, identified from left to right as Eadie Green, May Merriott, and Olive Cooper holding Bessie Oram. Little Croft Penfold almhouses are on the extreme right. Hand-coloured postcard circa 1910.

This is my 200th post! To celebrate I am having a giveaway, the prize being the heart-shaped card/photo holder above.

To have a chance of winning I would like you to leave a comment telling me which county in the UK you live, or if overseas which area or state you live in? It's as easy as that!

I shall look forward to drawing a winner on Sunday 30th November, so good luck to everyone, wherever you happen to be around the world.

Marie at Marie Chantal is celebrating her 200th post too!


these three kittens ...

So lucky their meows were heard. These three dear kittens were recently found dumped in a wheelie bin in the Worthing area.

Who could do such a thing?

Cruelty or desperation?


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the downs link stage 6 ...

shoreham-by-sea - botolphs - bramber

Over the past couple of months on a Sunday, we have been out and about on our bikes. We have been cycling the different stages of the Downs Link which starts at the Coastal Link at Shoreham in West Sussex and finishes at St Martha's Hill, near Guildford in Surrey.

The old toll bridge which crosses across the River Adur at Shoreham has recently undergone a major refurbishment, after the ravegings of time and the weather, have finally over the years taken their toll. Built in 1781 to replace the ferry, this last remaining example of this type of bridge has thankfully been given a new lease of life, due to lots of hard work and fundraising by local people.

A very handsome heron, with rather a proud look on his face, guards the Coastal Link path.

To Upper Beeding, engraved on an old wood stump. Handy directions for the cyclist and any insect passing by!

Arriving in Bramber, a pretty village which often wins the accolade of best kept village in the South East.

The remains of Bramber Castle, which is now owned and managed by The National Trust.

Another scene from the village of Bramber, showing the Castle Inn Hotel and a very pretty flint front building, both adorned with very pretty hanging baskets.


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so, so fabulous ...

Since I started my home blog just over a year ago, I have been the lucky winner of not one, not two but three giveaways! Look at the latest, a copy of Ginny and Alice's recently published book Sew Fabulous Fabric, twenty charming ways to sew fabrics into your life. Ginny has been a dedicated follower of my blog since the start and her blog is over at The Flour Loft, which is a great mix of garden, home and family, and of course needlecraft.

At the time of winning I did feel rather a fraud, you see I cannot use a sewing machine and struggle to even thread a needle these days! I did wonder whether I should not have entered the competition in the first place and to have given the great seamstresses, of which many of you are, the chance to win the prize, even though Ginny and Alice were giving away more than one copy of the book.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried, yes the book has lots of projects and handy templates/patterns for the experienced needlewomen out there, but also basic techniques of the art of sewing and less complicated projects for beginners, of which category I most definitely fall into!

Ginny and Alice kindly included some very handy fabric swatches, tied up with a lovely mother of pearl button. I do have a collection of these, so this will be a lovely addition. One chapter which I particularly like is Scent with Love, scented decorations which I must say do look quite easy to make (famous last words), which would make good use of these pieces of material.

What about these cards? I could make a simpler version of these, which includes less stitching! The chapter Creative Cards shows you how.

Also included in the book are ideas for Christmas stockings, and lots of different makes for presents, which include pictures, peg bags, aprons, purses and bags. Projects for the home include curtains, cushions and bunting. Not forgetting the very pretty applique flowers and make do and mend patches for kids clothes too. I do like the draught excluder on page 37, and Silas the Dog who features on page 103, would be a lovely companion to me on the arm of the sofa!

Don't just think of Sew Fabulous Fabric being solely for experienced needlecrafters. If you like me like bright colours and great photography, and enjoy skimming through the pages just looking at the pictures, then this book is for you too.

The last word - an excerpt from my third year report at secondary for needlework. More work in her own time would have improved her standard! Maybe if I had this book at the time, I would not have gained the dizzy mark of C4!


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the beautiful algarve ...

Inbetween the training course and starting my new job, I have been on holiday to the Algarve in Portugal. Not only were steps retraced from our previous visit, we also managed to visit places anew. I love the orange of the bougainvillea above, a photo taken on the walk from our villa, through the countryside, down to the sea.

This is where we stayed on the first night, in an apartment close to Luz overlooking the sea. We are both earlybirds, so we managed to photograph the sun rising the next morning.

The lovely villa where we spent the duration of the holiday, situated in Caramujeiro. We were more than pleased with this place, staying with the same villa agent as on our last visit.

On a large plot of land the villa was surrounded by pine trees with the most gorgeous cones, which would have been perfect for using in Christmas decorations although I didn't get to bring any home. As it was, lemons from the tree above, and oranges came home with me, in the case!

The Algarve is a beautiful place, with rugged coastline and inviting blue waters.

Silves, a historic city with magnificent walls and castle. This is where you can get the most delicious piri-piri chicken and chips, served with a tomato and onion salad.

Colourful fishing boats in Armacao de Pera.

An amazing fish, which looks as if already wrapped in silver foil, ready to be baked!

Talking of fish, no visit to the Algarve would be complete without a meal of sardines. We had some really tasty chargrilled ones in Lagos, served with boiled potatoes and salad. You really must try some.


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a big hello to everyone ...

First on the agenda is to say a huge thank you to everyone for their lovely comments and kind concern on my previous two posts, I really do appreciate the time you have all given to keep in touch. Second on the agenda is to give you a reason for my absence, six weeks ago I started a new job and with this came a two week full-time course in East Croydon, which is a fair few miles from here, having to do a daily commute. There has been, and still is a lot to learn, so as you can imagine my brain has been in overdrive, having had little or no time to come up for air, let alone the time for my blog! More space for the fun stuff is now desperately needed, so third on my agenda is to revisit blogland on a more regular basis very soon.

As I am sure many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many will be wearing it pink for the charity. I lost my dear mum to secondary breast cancer back in 2002 and now realise how important it is to be aware of any possible changes which may be taking place in the breast area. You can visit here for lots of information on the subject.

At this time of year, the hydrangea in my very untidy garden, is as pink as pink can possibly be!


a happy anniversary ...

Yesterday October 1st, myself and J celebrated clocking up 25 years together. I am sure most of you by now have realised we have neglected to tie the knot, but be assured we are very much as Darby and Joan as any married couple out there!

We met back in 1983, whilst on separate nights out at what was then known as the Top Rank Suite in Brighton. During the evening my friend Fiona and I were getting some unwelcome attention, and feeling uneasy with the whole situation we decided to walk up to J and his friend, and asked them both to pretend they were our fellas! Well basically that was it, and at the end of the evening we arranged to meet up the next evening for a drink at my local pub The Spotted Cow in Angmering, and from then on we continued to see each other or phone every day.

Our lives pretty much carried on as normal until 1985 when J was involved in a near fatal motorbike accident, which left him on a life support for a week, followed by many months of rehabilitation. This was a turning point in both our lives, and in 1986 we signed on the dotted line for a mortgage and bought our first place together, a brand new flat close to the sea, which was to become our home for the following 12 years.

We both wonder where the time has gone, but look forward to the next 25 years together!

The rose above is a hybrid tea called Silver Anniversary.


taking a break ...

From the archives of Life magazine. Fashion models taking their lunch break at the Racquet Club Cafe.

I am having to take a break from the blog.

I hope to post every so often, and shall be reading your latest posts whenever I can, but I may have to lurk for a while!

Please look in every now and again to see if I am back.

I shall reveal all in a future post.

Louise x


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the 19th shoreham airshow 2008 ...

No shortage of rain was there this month, no shortage of cloud was there this week, no doubt the weather is going to be abyssmal for the airshow on Saturday? Well as you can see the weather turned out just perfect, thee of little faith!

Above are the fantastic RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team. To see the Hercules which carried the team up, coming in to land on the airstrip was an amazing sight.

During the show the airfield was attacked by German ME108 and ME109 aircraft, resulting in a Spitfire and Hurricane scramble. Set to pyrotechnics and with lookalikes on the ground, this display is a definite blast from the past!

No Captain Mannering, but there were some good stand-ins with Dads Army making an appearance!

This Hurricane flew alongside an Avro Lancaster bomber. A stunning display as ever.

The world’s only formation wing-walking team sponsored by skincare giants Guinot, using Boeing Stearman bi-planes.

Team Guinot performed spectacular new sequences. Having appeared from show number one, this year saw a unique sight of five aircraft with wing-walkers.

Haurel and Lardy are amusing. I must say, like a big kid, I was chuckling all the way through their act. I think Olly noticed, as he gave us a wave as he and Stanley drove off!


bathing beauty ...

Mustn't spoil the hairdo! Not sure nearest and dearest shares the same enthusiasm for Sussex by the Sea!

The town is often known as 'Sunny Worthing' following a popular advertising campaign in the 1890s promoting the town's agreeable climate between the sea and Downs!

on the move ...

Today marks the occasion of us having been in our second home together for ten years. Just one of two milestones we will reach in the year 2008.


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mill hill in shoreham ...

Today we went on a 20 mile round cycle ride (with some walking up the steep bits) along the South Downs Way from Lancing, across to Devils Dyke, down to Hangleton and back again. I had intended to take lots of photos but the weather changed for the worse about a third of the way into the trip, so the camera had to be packed away. Is it just me, or is everyone else starting to get just a little tired of the relentless rain and wind we have been having?

Before we set out, we looked up a five hour forecast on the internet which said to expect possible showers, and brightening up by 11.00 am. We set off on our ride just before 7.30 am and took coats as forewarned. For anyone who knows the area we reached Truleigh Hill before the heavens opened, and they continued to stay open until we reached home again. Our clothes were literally hanging off us, we were cold and sopping wet. In a hilarious way we did enjoy ourselves and kept smiling and chuckling throughout the whole ride, and we did have a flask of hot water with us to make lattes, which warmed us up no end.

We were hoping to have a nose at what was happening at the Beachdown Festival which was being held up at the Dyke? As it turned out all we could see through the mist and torrential rain was the campsite, drenched, cold looking campers and the car park. The scene reminded me very much of what it must be like at Glastonbury, knee deep in mud!

The photo of the lovely calf was taken from cattle grazing land just past Mill Hill in Shoreham. Strangely enough no cows were lying down. Is it true that when cows are lying down in a field, it means it is going to rain?

Mill Hill - watercolour painting by Robert Thome Waite RWS painted in 1867 and presented to the Marlipins Museum in honour of Henry Cheal in appreciation of his work.


peter and jane, or janet and john ...

Remember when our summers used to be like this, being able to spend endless hours down on the beach. Take another look at the picture, what do you think of Dad's trunks!

Peter and Jane, the brother and sister from the Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme, have helped millions of children round the world to learn to read. I remember in Class 1 of St Wilfrids RC Primary School in Angmering, starting off with book 1a (short sentences of large bold print) and whizzing through the series finishing at book 12c (paragraphs of small print), a novel in comparison.

In the 1950s, educationalists William Murray and J McNally established that 12 words make up a quarter of all those we read and write. A mere 300 form three-quarters of the total number of words found in juvenile reading. The Ladybird Key Words Reading Scheme, written by William Murray, is based on those commonly used words, with 36 graded books plus supplementary readers.

It is the bestselling Ladybird series of all time. Which books did you start reading with?

Some words from this post are taken from the Ladybird Boys and Girls Calendar 2008, and the photo is from the August page. A present I was happy to be given last Christmas.