Tara Tuesdays – Part 23

Village Life

I don’t know if anyone else loves the Archers as much as I do but my Sunday morning ironing sessions are so much better when I listen to the omnibus edition of the show at 10.00! “It’s not real” my husband always says to me and I know it’s not as it is recorded in a studio in Birmingham, however, when I listen to it I never think of the actors in a studio with sound effects etc, the beauty of it for me is that it IS real! I find listening to audio very relaxing although it is a bit heavy at the moment with some strong story lines, but I still really enjoy it regardless!

Since leaving work back in March, it has been SO lovely to be at home and also to be in my village as I was always commuting and was only rarely here at weekends as was too busy trying to catch up with everyone as well as all the usual chores, same old, same old! What I have realised is that there is just SO much going on that I wouldn’t know about if I hadn’t been here so much lately! Of course this will change when I start my new job next week (more on that soon!) but for now, I am enjoying the little time I have left!

I am lucky to have a gorgeous fruit, veg and florist shop right opposite me and have had a great time this summer catching up with Kerrie the florist who works there! I will go over for a few things and come back an hour later as we have been chatting! The shop is her Dad’s and he has been here for more than 30 years and they grow their own flowers and veg and often have inviting displays of flowers and plants and gifts outside which Kerrie also displays in the window too. Kerrie always makes my Christmas garland for me for my fireplace and also my wreath for my front door, but this year she has said that she will be running some courses so I will be able to make my own which will be great!

Kerrie has two beautiful horses and I had the pleasure of looking after them for her for a week this summer when she went away! They are lovely girls and were quite good for me and loved being groomed although Fortune did tread on me (by accident) ouch! Kerrie did this gorgeous display for me as a thank you which I was delighted with!

On the other side, dead opposite my house is the Kings Arms Pub where I went only last night for my wedding anniversary and had a gorgeous meal of scallops and lamb, food face! The pub currently have their 3rd set of piglets in:

A few weeks ago they had Rotherfest on the Millenium Green which I am fortunate enough to overlook from my lounge! This was a music festival which was great, the weather was good although it got a little bit cold later but we had the windows open and could hear all of the bands, I didn’t even mind the reggae music that the DJ played in between which isn’t normally to my taste! Amongst other things, Justin the landlord of the pub runs the “Down Town Fish Bar” during the week and I remember when we first moved to the village, how excited we got when the van used to be here on a Friday night! When the weather is good, the beer garden at the back of the pub is packed as it seems all the families in the village get their orders in and eat outside, the kids have a whale of a time playing afterwards, I do love my fish and chips but try not to have it every week if I can!

We have an antique shop and also the Village Store that have recently taken over the Post Office, a hairdressers, the most beautiful Church, a Doctor’s surgery, and much more! What I wasn’t really aware of is the Charity “Rotherfield St Martin” that is run from the village in it’s offices just a little way up the road from me. The founder Jo Evans was recently interviewed on my local news which was great publicity for the Charity and my house and car was even in the clip which was fab!!!! You can see it again here if you missed it. Up until recently I have done a little bit of voluntary work and attended some Committee meetings and have taken the minutes for RSM and decided that they could do with a new Tea Cosy as their old one was looking a bit past it’s best, this picture captures the moment perfectly, as soon as I gave the Cosy to Jo, she put it on her head, a bit like me in my sewing class with Em! Great minds think alike!!!!

Fianally, here are a couple of pictures of the village taken in 1905 and more recently in 2010, check out that snow! Also, the saddlery shop is now the Florist and Growers! As a townie originally from South London, I regulary tell myself how lucky I am to live here!


Tara Tuesdays – Part 22

Birthday Treats

Although it isn’t my birthday until next month, I recently saw my Mum and Dad and as I haven’t seen them for a while it was really fab to catch up on all their news and show them what we have been up to all summer in the house and garden. When they arrived my Dad was carrying a wooden object with four legs which I later found out was for me for my birthday! As we had SO much to talk about I was putting off having a sneaky look but gave in eventually when they insisted! This is what I found! How gorgeous is this!

This sounds awful but after seeing this lovely sewing box I couldn’t wait for them to go so that I could have a good old rummage through all of the lovely stash inside! I had to wait for several hours before I could have a proper look, so with a glass of vino in one hand I took every single thing out to have a proper inspection. I was delighted with the goodies that I found inside as you will see from my photos!

What is lovely about this box is that the contents are someone else’s life which I now have the pleasure of keeping and adding to! I can’t decide what my favourite thing was although I absolutely adore the knitting gauge, just look at it!

I did chuckle when I found IKEA elastic amongst everything as well mind! I cleaned the inside out properly as it was a bit dusty and then put everything back inside and then took it all out again the following day to take some proper photographs to share with you!

I have also used some of the Chadwicks wool and nylon thread “for mending and reinforcing” to fix one of hubby’s oldest jumpers that had holes under the armpits and the collar had come away on it too. I haven’t seen these before but will try and look them up as it is always worth having stuff like this around, so much stronger than normal cotton!

Some of the cotton reels look like they have seen better days, I think they have been eaten by something, not that it matters as it all adds to the history of it!

Anyway, I hope you agree that this was just a perfect and really thoughtful gift, my parents know me so well – god I hope so anyway!

Tara Tuesdays – Part 21

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of…

Another manic week has passed in the Blackwell household with lots going on! Thursday was a particularly good day however as it was hubby’s birthday! He opened his presents and cards first thing and was delighted with the Hornby Locomotive that I had got for him, even I like it and as a Hornby enthusiast newbie, and have to admit it is pretty cool and will look fab with his ever growing collection! We had a very naughty breakfast of fried eggs on fried bread (sometimes you just have to) and then decided on what we were going to do for the afternoon as we had plans to go out in the evening. I had read the “My favourite view” article in my October Country Homes and Interior magazine and Baroness Andrews had described Cuckmere Haven as her favourite place which I hadn’t realised is inside the Seven Sisters Country Park near to Birling Gap and Beachy Head where we had been very recently. So, as it was a lovely sunny day and we had a few hours to kill before we needed to glam up for our evening doo, we decided to go there.

From home it was about a 50 minute drive which isn’t that bad at all. We parked up and decided on the walk we were going to do, there are several and we chose the circular one which took us up to the Beach. It wasn’t too taxing on the old pins and it just felt great to be out enjoying the fresh air and gorgeous views and countryside. As most of the kids have all gone back to school now there was hardly anyone about which is always nice! I would highly recommend you visit here if you are in the area as it is well worth it as I hope you will agree from my pics. The next time we go I think we will go for the whole day and take a picnic, in fact that sounds like a pretty good plan to me!

After about an hour and a half we headed back to the car and both decided we were hungry. I had planted the seed and decided I wanted a cheese ploughman’s, you know the type I mean, a big slab of mature cheddar with loads of thick coarse cut pickle and crusty bread that makes your gums bleed, accompanied by a pint of bitter shandy! Don’t you just hate it though when you get yourself all excited to have something and then can’t because all the pubs you stop at finish serving food at 2.30pm and it is much past that time, grr! Anyway, as time was getting on we decided to head home as we needed to get ready for our evening out. We were both exhausted when we got back, so showered to wake ourselves up a bit!

We had tickets booked to see Adam Ant playing in Fairfield Halls in Croydon as we had seen him for the first time ever back in December playing in Tunbridge Wells and he was absolutely fantastic! The man is a legend! I remember learning ALL of the lyrics to the Prince Charming album on VINYL when I was 9 years old with my neighbour Paula and her sister Michelle in their bedroom! I never realised that a few years later (and some) I would actually get to see him play! We had brilliant SEATS (thank god we both thought) as our feet were killing us after our earlier walk(!) which were 3 rows from the front, so a great view! I had managed to sneak my camera in undetected so was excited about the prospect of getting some great close up shots of the man himself! When he came on stage, everyone surged forward so we had to stand up to see but it didn’t matter although my feet weren’t telling me that at the end of the evening! The set was fantastic, almost 2 hours with an encore, his band are awesome, the double drummers were brilliant as were the guitarists too, he plays guitar as well as sings and all in all it is up there as one of my BEST GIGS EVER! What is even more exciting is that we are going to see him again in November in Bexhill at the De La Warr Pavilion, get in! And here are some pics of the man himself, he has still got it and looks great for 57 years old! Yes, 57, can you believe it!

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Tara Tuesdays – Part 20

Guilty Pleasures

I don’t know if it is just when you get to a certain age (ahem) that you realise you have accidentally started to collect something when you really have enough stuff already and should be de-cluttering! Or, have you always secretly collected but didn’t realise that you have an obsession for certain things?! Surely I am not alone here as I know that I have a MAHUSIVE collection of both fabric and yarn but think that is just because I have only over the last 4 years or so found my passion for crafting knitted and sewn projects and feel I need to catch up and NEED all of it rather than just WANTING it!

However I have recently realised that I have a bit of an obsession for ceramic jugs and after counting them all up have a mere 22! A small collection I am sure, but it is a bit much when your husband frequently says to you “another jug, what do you want that for?!” or when you have to rearrange the WHOLE kitchen just to display them all as the small collection you originally started with no longer fit on your window sill! I must point out that I have a very odd sized window sill in my kitchen with 2 ledges which sort of step down and I find it hard to put much on them although I have given it a good go! It came to the point where I was looking at my display on the sill every day thinking “that looks rubbish, how else can I display my beautiful jugs?!”

So, without further ado, I have moved my Kilner jars and now have my favourite jugs on display on the shelves that the Kilners were on and have just 3 tiny ones on the window sill and they look fab as they are spread out and not crammed on!

I know exactly where I got all of my collection from and took some shots of them in the garden for you to see as my windows haven’t been cleaned (it’s on the list!). I am not sure if the sun was working for or against me, perhaps I need to go on a photography course for working with the sun, another thing to add to the ever growing list!

Anyway, here are the pics…

The first picture shows my blue collection. The taller one at the back and the diddy one front right are both from the Burleigh china collection. The taller one was bought in Tunbridge Wells and the diddy one in my local antique shop! The cream one with blue spots was brought from Hazelphron Herb Farm shop in Falmouth, Cornwall and the other two are Polish and came from Buxton, Derbyshire.

The next picture is of my black glazed jug bought from a trader at Bodiam Castle and the other one is from Ardingly Antiques fair!

I think my welsh collection are really nice. The handles are really unusual on these although you can’t see them that well in this shot. The blue one came from the shop at Raglan Castle and the other two were also bought from the trader at Bodiam Castle with the black glazed one. I love the way the sun is making the pottery really shine (I had just washed them too so that may have helped!)

The brown jugs both come from a gallery in Harlech, Wales. The smaller one was a second as the glaze didn’t quite cover the handle, not that you would notice unless you know what you are looking for! I banged this jug when we got home from the Grand Tour so hubby expertly super glued it for me and unless you look closely you can’t see the cracks!

The little green jug and saucer came from my Mum-in-law, it was her Mum’s and can be used for mint sauce apparently!

And finally onto my art nouveau/deco style jug, again purchased from my local antique shop!

I haven’t pictured all of them here as I wasn’t sure if people might find this blog entry boring! But I bet it has made you all think about all the things you collect/hoard/ and just can’t bear to throw away!