Just being ME

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oh I do like to be beside the seaside ...

Remember this?

How I used to love these public information films back in the 1960s/1970s, and this couple Joe and Petunia proved extremely effective in raising awareness that HM Coastguard is a 999 emergency service.

Petunia is enjoying her Mr Whippy, I love them too. Did you know that Margaret Thatcher worked in the laboratory of the factory perfecting Mr Whippy icecream technology. Her job was to establish how much air you could pump into the mixture before it collapsed!


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wasn't it a lovely day ...

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far. As too much work and no play makes Jack a very dull boy, we decided to cycle down to our local stretch of beach, a five minute ride from our home. Most days over the last week, we have been going down at this time with an apple each and a drink of water, just to spend an hour or so breathing in the sea air and enjoying the late sunshine.

I sat on the rocks with guess what, camera in hand! J went swimming which he loves as he is happiest when in the water. I am sure he has webbed feet!

There is always lots of water sport activity going on as we have a local sailing club, which is also a base for kite surfers, an ever increasing popular sport in our area.

J was still in the water, I had eaten my apple, so nothing more to do than to take a photo of pebbles and seaweed! Of course every beach has lots of pebbles, but unfortunately our beach also has its fair share of seaweed too, which can be a nuisance, but very good for me as I always fill up a carrier bag to bring back home for the compost heap! I also collect stones and shells with holes in, as they make lovely features in the garden, threaded on to string, rope or canes.

A few years back the wooden groynes along our beach were replaced with rocks sourced in Larvik in Norway and transported to the site on large flat bottom barges. Also a shingle bank was developed to provide protection against flooding ie overtopping, the sea washing over the defence, or breaching, where the defence collapses allowing the sea to flood the land behind. The extra shingle was dredged 10 miles south of the Isle of Wight and transported to the site by dredger and delivered to the beach through long submerged pipeline.

This has provided our area with a stable beach and also a habitat for specialist plants.

Earlier in the day we had cycled along the coast west towards Worthing hoping to pick up some fish from one of the fishermen who sell their catch, fresh from the boat. We decided on sea bass which early evening we cooked, heads still on, on the barbecue and ate with fresh crusty French baguettes. No time for photos before the meal, we were ravinous after our fun-packed day.


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ever got the feeling you've been had ...

I went to the antiques and collectors fair at the South of England Showground at Ardingly today with my step-dad along with a few pennies in my purse. I ended up buying the plate above, and after investigating further in the Cornishware book by Paul Atterbury, it turns out to be a fake! I must admit I hadn't ever come across one of these plates before, and even though I only collect yellow Cornish, I bought this because I liked it, and knew it would look very nice with the colour scheme going on in my kitchen.

I am not too worried, as I say I bought it as I liked it, because of the Cornishware connection and because I like pixies. I paid £15 for it, which I think is a price you would likely pay for any 11 inch decorative plate. Maybe the stallholder didn't know, or perhaps he did, and was glad to move it on, to the first (mug) unsuspecting customer that came along, me!

Apparently the 1950s advertising plates which show a shield mark in green, are mega rare and there are only a handful in existence, the mark on mine is black. Look at the pixie's hat on my plate, it's white, the original hat would have been blue.

Talking of blue, I bought this lovely Bristol blue hyacinth vase, possibly Victorian, for £10! I do believe this to be an original, by the look of the base. If not, I have well and truly been had!


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the garden is where the heart is ...

When the weather is like it is today with blue sky, little fluffy clouds and a gentle breeze, then the only place I want to be is the garden. I once had no garden, now I have a large garden, I could now never ever be without a garden.

I have always loved the outdoors, this most probably being inherited from my Dad, who after leaving school studied animal husbandry, first working with cattle and then spending most of his farming life working with pigs, and of course spent many hours outside, more hours than he spent in! Along with my brother, and best friend Steph, I would spend many of my hours exploring the countryside and what lived in it. I remember catching grasshoppers in the field, walking down to the brook where bulrushes grew, picking blackberries along the way and scooping mosquito larva with a small net from the water troughs to give the fish in the pond a treat.

I love nature and luckily inherited a garden from someone who equally did, who developed the bones of our garden, and who introduced many wildlife friendly plants and flowers. Like farming is a full-time job, my garden is a full-time hobby, and many hours are spent in it. My garden is a gardener's garden and is evolving all the time, one I don't see ever being finished, would I want it to be?

Now I have the blogs, I have become much more interested in photography and to be quite honest these days spend rather too much time snapping, instead of what I really should be doing, gardening. This cheeky bee literally flew in just as I was taking a photo of this dahlia, nothing was going to stop him getting his top of the morning dose of nectar! Maybe this is where the phrase 'buzz off' originates from?

Whilst travelling around the blogs I have discovered many artists, whose illustrations and paintings are just incredible. I have not inherited or learnt this skill, but I can see my garden as an artist's pallette and I can use the plants and flowers as my colours. I think this orange and lemon nasturtium go together so well.

Not forgetting all you talented 'needle' women out there, who make the most lovely things, out of all sorts of materials. The photo above is for you, a scabious, otherwise known as a pincushion flower!

In my garden I have sunny spots, shady spots, spots I like and spots I don't like quite so much. If you don't find me on my home blog, this is a spot where you may find me, with a nice cup of tea, relaxing amongst the greenery listening to and observing the wildlife. A garden is also for relaxing in, and shouldn't just be all hard graft, but it invariable is!

If you love gardening, or even just like it, come over and visit me in This Is My Patch.


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treats from suzie sews ...

Many thanks go to Suzie Sews, whose amazing giveaway I won a few weeks back. It was Suzie's birthday and instead of receiving a present she was giving one away, how generous is that! Go read the blog ...

Above you can see a beautifully made plump pincushion, too nice to be hidden away inside a sewing box and now takes pride of place alongside other knick-knacks in my bedroom. I always like pegs, they come in so handy to use as clips to hold papers and the like together. Two sweet badges, one with two wise owls. I have always had a love for owls, and haven't see one in the wild since I was a child living on a farm, not the sort of bird you find in a built up area where I am living these days. I dream of returning to the sticks one day. Finally a blue gingham hair clip. All carefully packaged with such style, with embroidered tags.

Suzie Sews' products are such lovely quality, and made with lots of care and attention to detail.

Louise x


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anyone for tennis ...

The photo above shows my paternal Grandad back in the 1930s wearing his tennis whites. As a child I remember my brother and I being allowed to take both his and my Granny's wooden rackets out of their presses and use them to knock around a ball on the drive. After use they would always be put back in the press. I wonder what happened to them, maybe my Dad or Uncle still has them?

We are nearly at the end of Wimbledon fortnight. I must confess to not following tennis to a great extent these days, I have been completely put off watching the game by the increased use of grunting. I really can't listen to it!

Run by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon is regarded as the premier tennis tournament in the world. It is also the oldest, dating back to 1877. The first championship was a small event more comparable to a garden party than to a national tournament. Around 200 people attended, in contrast to the thousands that attend every year nowadays. Traditions at Wimbledon include a rule that players must wear all white, and that they must curtsey or bow if the Queen or Prince of Wales is present. Another unofficial tradition is the eating of strawberries and cream.

Quiet please, Wimbledon has been voted a British Icon.

Above is a photo of my paternal Granny in her tennis whites and sporting a very nice slave bangle and peak cap. I love both these photos. The late 1930s were the golden years for British Tennis, with Fred Perry and Dorothy Round taking the titles.


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your daily pinta ...

I remember the cheery milkman, that figure in cap and apron, who used to deliver our pintas whatever the weather, every day apart from a Sunday. I remember the clatter of the crates jumping up a foot in the air as the milkfloat drove over rough ground. I remember Mum stuffing an envelope of cash into an empty silver top bottle to be collected on a Saturday. I remember blue tits pecking off the tops if left outside for too long. Have you any memories of your milkman from your childhood?

If my memory serves me right we used to have six pints of milk delivered some days, what did we do, bath in it! Looking back though Mum used to make a lot of puddings, rice pudding, custards and blancmanges, and remember junket? Dad would have Weetabix mushed up in milk every morning for his breakfast, usually bagging the cream from the top of the milk, yuk!

On our recent trip to Middle Farm we discovered in the milking shed, a huge collection of the old advertising milk bottles from the 1970s, remember these. I was in my element going up and down the rows, saying remember this, remember that. It doesn't take much to make my day!

Remember the Humphrey straws you could buy containing milkshake powder which you mixed into milk? That would be the only way to get me to drink cold milk. Remember the milkman leaving free Humphrey stickers? Sticking them to anything and everything in sight!

Remember Farmer's Wife, a small range of essentials you could get off the milkman? Please click on the link for a reminder from Ernie the milkman! Remember the Dairy Diary mums used to put an order in for every year. They have been published for well over 25 years now and you can still buy them today!

What a service one man and his battery-operated milkfloat could deliver. Only one household in our close still has a milkman, do you?