Just being ME

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to dearest Lottie from Walter ...

Isn't it amazing what you can find tucked away inside of an old book bought from a jumble sale? A few year's back I discovered this letter which was written to Lottie from Walter in 1877!

It reads:

Afwicks Farm
Little Missenden
Oct 14th/77

Dearest Lottie

We arrived at Great Missenden at 4 o’clock. We got into High Wickham about 12 o’clock. Waited till about three, could not see anything of Uncle or Cousin, so started off to walk and found when we got there that they had gone to Aylesbury Fair.

Saturday we had a long walk through the wood and different parts of the farm.

In the evening we drove down to Great Missenden with Uncle to the school of which you have heard from Father, you may be sure we had plenty of broad language.

Will you send down the paper with the account of the execution of the
Penge Murderers, and receive lots of kisses for so doing when I come back.

Uncle says that we are to stay a month, but of course Love I shant think of that. I expect that he will make us stay the week at his place.

But I shall let you know when we are coming home. Edwin wants to walk home, but I expect we shall have had enough walking around here.

You will write to me Love and let me know how you are getting on.

Darling you must excuse bad writing I got such a wretch of a pen.

Darling accept my best love and believe me,

to remain
yours till death

I would like to visit Little Missenden, as I would be interested to know if Afwicks Farm still exists to this day. I have searched on the internet without any luck. I do know that shortly after this letter was written, in the census year of 1881, the recorded population of Little Missenden was 1113.


the apprentice ...

Couldn't give a monkeys, or love it as much as I do?

Series Four of The Apprentice UK, the sixteen week job interview, starts tonight at 9.00 on BBC1, followed by the You're Fired programme at 10.00 on BBC2. Sixteen new contenders will be battling it out to see who can be the one to outshine all others in the set tasks, culminating in who is eventually hired in the boardroom and not fired. I can't wait to meet the contestants, and as ever, wonder where on earth they get 'em from!

Tonight's task will see an attempt by the apprentices to sell fresh fish, and whoever makes the most profit, will have a meal cooked for them by Michelin star chef Jean-Christophe Novelli.

Update: Well how did it go? Well let's just say the apprentices were way in out of their depth, if you'll pardon the pun!


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happy easter ...

It means so much at Easter time
To keep in touch with friends
To wish them happiness and cheer
And joy that never ends

This brings heartfelt greetings
Especially for you
Together with best wishes
For a happy Springtime too!

The lovely postcard above was part of my bunny bundle from Kim at Ragged Roses. I love old postcards, especially if they have been used. This one is postmarked Shoreham-by-Sea, which is the next town along the coast to me, which makes it all the more interesting, dated 8th April 1955. This is what it says on the back. I think you will think, some things never change at Eastertime, like the weather!

'An Easter Bunny for you.
Raining hard here tonight, hope it doesn't upset our gardening programme tomorrow, no paper and no football.
Can always sleep of course.
Yours Win'


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bunny folds ...

I discovered how to make this cute little bunny fold, out of a paper napkin, from a friend's blog page. You can make them in seconds by following the templates on the Martha Stewart website.


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dandy duke ...

This is a photograph of my great, great Aunt Bess, wearing I must say some very nice jewellery, click on photo for a closer look.

Here she is pictured with her dog alongside her.

His name was 'Dandy Duke'. You could click on him for a closer look as well!


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a bunny bundle ...

My lovely parcel from Kim at Ragged Roses arrived this morning in the post, on opening I discover each piece beautifully wrapped up in bright yellow tissue, tied with blue ric rac, and finished off with pretty tags. Kim had posted some of her bunnies she had made on her blog, and I noticed one which I thought would go very well with the colour scheme in the lounge, as well as company for my other rabbits which have made an appearance for Easter, on the mantelpiece.

See 'Flora' amongst the Easter goodies which came with her in the parcel.

Thanks Kim x


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filmstar good looks ...

I am slowly sorting through a collection of family photos and I came across this one. Do you recognise this man with filmstar good looks? Probably not, it is my Grandad on my dad's side. This photo was a postcard would you believe, although not sent. I wonder if he kept it to woo my Granny with?


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my only two big teds ...

You have seen Hamish on my blog before, but he wanted to get in on the act, whilst on the subject of bears. He is a Merrythought bear, and a growler!

Now on the other hand, this is the first appearance for Hamley. He is a big squishy, cuddly bear and very lovable!


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meet violet ...

Violet is a little Martha's Makes miniature artist bear, handmade by Emily Harris. She was given to me as a leaving present from a friend at work, Pauline. She knew of my love for miniature bears, so as you can imagine I was over the moon with this tiny vision of lilac. I said I would give this girl bear a name, well I have now chosen one, Violet, obvious really!

In the background is a beautiful illustrated countryside journal which another friend from work Fiona, gave me. It is split into sections to record wildlife, birds, flora & fauna, countryside walks, places of interest, home grown, pickles, preserves and recipes and countryside remembered. Another one of my loves, the garden, a fact Fiona knows only too well!

I also love pottery from the West Country and in the photo on the left is a pretty Collard Honiton lidded pot and on the right is a Devon violets scent bottle, which is one of a rather large collection!


more enid blyton ...

Carol from Katherine's Dream reminded me of Mr Twiddle! I do remember reading of his adventures?

Carol needs reminding of Mr Pinkwhistle. Here he is above in all his finery!

And remember Mr Meddle! He looks a bit scary to me?

Many of you have happy memories of reading Enid Blyton. I have discovered The Enid Blyton Society website, so click on the link for a trip back in time to your childhood.


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the calm before the storm ...

Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue
I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too

Today was a beautiful day down here in West Sussex by the Sea, one of the warmest, if not 'the' warmest day of the year so far, beautifully sunny, occasionly being interrupted by very black skies along with sporadic sharp, thundery showers. Whilst working in the garden I happened to spot a rainbow, so I sprinted indoors to find my camera, but of course by the time I got back outside, the rainbow had almost faded away, but you can just about make it out in the photograph.

Spot one of our local birds 'the seagull' on the chimney pot!

I have just put some rubbish in the dustbin outside, and it is so calm, hard to believe that we are possibly facing the worst storm and gale force winds of the year so far?

Don't forget to 'batten down the hatches', it could get nasty.


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books from my childhood ...

Who else had a copy of The Wind On The Moon by Eric Linklater? You may well have done as it was first published way back in 1944. My mum had loved this story as a child, so an obvious choice to buy for me in 1972, when I was eight. This copy cost 30p!

A branch of the apple-tree struck the window of the room where Major Palfrey was packing his trunk for a long absence, with the help of his daughters Dinah and Dorinda. There is a wind on the moon, he said. It was pale and wild and round it clung a collar of shining mist. I don't like the look of it at all. If it is an ill wind, and you behave badly, it will blow straight into your heart, and then you will behave badly for a long time to come. So I hope you are going to be good tonight, because I shall be away for at least a year and I don't want you to be a nuisance to your mother.

Famous last words. I shall leave you to decide what happens next, or to maybe even get a copy of the book. I am definitely going to read my copy again. As you can see by the condition, it was very well read as a child, I have even written my name inside the cover, just incase anyone dared to steal it!

Again bought for me in 1972 for 20p and first published in 1948, Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson.

A Moomintroll is small and shy and fat, and has a Moominpappa and a Moominmamma. Moomins live in the forest of Finland. They like sunshine, and sleep right through the winter. The snow falls and falls where they live, until their houses look like great snowballs. But when spring comes, up they jump and - well, that was the moment when this story began, and Moomintroll found the Hobgoblin Hat.

This copy of Little Women by Louisa M Alcott was awarded to me at primary school in 1974. Inside is written 'prize awarded for very good work - class 3'. You see, I was a good girl even back then!

Unfortunately these are the only books that have survived over the years, but I remember reading a lot as a child, and owning lots of prized books. I loved Enid Blyton, the series of books based around the Magic Faraway Tree, Mr Pinkwhistle and Amelia Jane, remember these? And when I was a little older, the Mallory Towers and St Clares series.

Visit Jayne over at Country Cottage Chic, she too has been talking about her favourite childhood books.


plant a daffodil in the field of memories ...

Instead of buying a daffodil this year to support the Marie Curie Cancer Care appeal, I have planted a virtual daffodil for my mum in the field of memories. Click on
Marie Curie which will take you to the planting area! Just click on the variety you would like and follow the instructions. To plant a daffodil is free, but you can make a donation if you wish.

I have chosen Hillstar for my mum.


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a few of my favourite things ...

I have been interested in collectibles for many years now, and over those years I have coveted and hoarded rather a lot, in my loft. Whilst I am in the throws of finding my perfect job, I am putting the time to good use, and having a good rummage through the boxes. I am toying with the idea of using the items I find, to start up a vintage and collectibles website, on a small scale. I would love to know your thoughts on this idea, I value all of your opinions very highly. In the meantime I thought I might give you some idea of the sort of items I shall be coming up with.

A beautiful pink pin dish made by Carltonware which measures 4.5 x 4 inches, in used condition. Some signs of wear on the back edge of the rim and a very small nick of paint is missing on the top of the flower, but still a very pretty vintage item which would look lovely as part of an Easter display.

Please click on the photo to enlarge for closer inspection of the overall condition.

£8.00 / $15.84 (for overseas customers I can only accept Paypal)

free postage & packing

Please e-mail me or leave a comment, if you are interested in this item. Thank you.

Louise x

my very own coat of arms ...

I am thrilled to have discovered that my family name, which has Irish roots, has got its own coat of arms. I discovered this fact by chance, through a new comment on my 'postcards from oz' blog. I had a visit from a lady called Pat, whose blog is Mille Fiori Favoriti, she is very interested in Ireland as a country, and on reading through a couple of her posts, I clicked on her link to a heraldry website. If you have Irish ancestry, and you are inquisitive like me, take a look for yourself.


now awards from friends ...

Thanks so much Gina for passing this award on to me, receiving it has most definitely made my day. I really enjoy visiting Gina's blog Gingerbread, it is always such a happy mix of family, papercrafts and recipes, and it comes all the way from Tasmania too!


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flowers from friends ...

Thanks Fiona, my oldest friend from work, who all those years ago took me under her wing on my very first day back in 1983; for the beautiful 'pot mum' in such a pretty shade of pink, it looks lovely set against the primrose yellow scheme of our bedroom. Fiona also gave me a lovely garden journal and pen, there is no doubt I shall be keeping busy.

Thanks too to Denise, a colleague of mine from work, who I haven't known for very long, but was very kind to leave me this lovely plant on my desk on my last day. She is/was my Avon lady, I shall miss these treats!

And the beautiful basket above was from all the 'girls and one boy' in my department. Thanks to everyone who made my last day at the office a memorable one! All around my desk were very colourful balloons and coloured strings, and the whole area was covered in good luck confetti, they sure do know how to make a mess, I bet the cleaners cursed! There was a collection waiting for me and a good luck helium balloon too. I had asked to leave quietly, but somehow I think I went out with a bang!

Thanks everyone!


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happy mothers day ...

I hope the sun comes out later on, we are making a trip up to the crematorium this morning. Not being one for flowers in plastic cellophane, yesterday I made up this lovely green pot of viola 'blue' for mum. I am pleased there was one plant left, which is now in the purple pot and sits on my kitchen windowsill, it really does look pretty, and when I am doing the dishes, I shall think of mum, who herself spent years slaving over her kitchen sink!

Happy Mothers Day to all the mums out there, today is for you, and I hope one and all are being well and truly pampered.

Mothers Day Update ... well the sun did come out and it was beautiful up on the West Sussex downs, the crematorium is set in the most beautiful setting, which gives me comfort that mum is in a nice place. The pot of viola looked really nice placed amongst the miniature daffodils which have emerged around her plot.


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we love 'em, good old fish 'n chips ...

An icon of England, and of our close neighbours who go to make up the United Kingdom, our nations favourite takeaway fish and chips is the winner of the Jan/Feb poll receiving 35% of the overall vote. Quite hard to believe in this age of deep-fat frying often being regarded as a less than healthy option! Also there is the issue of dwindling stocks of cod and haddock off our shores too.

Thanks to everyone who voted, including those from overseas who may have made this choice. All along it has been a very close three-horse race and at the winning post Indian came in second receiving 33%, Chinese third with 26%, and fourth American kfc and mcdonalds with 4%.

'The nation's favoured takeaway dish since the late Victorian era, fish and chips has only lately been challenged for supremacy by Indian food. Notwithstanding that, it is what sustained working communities in towns and inner cities, providing filling and nutritious sustenance to those who had to endure long working days. Even in wartime, although supplies might be scarce, fish and chips were never subject to ration.'