21 February 2007

Too Much Monkey Business ...

Our family is mad - it's official!

Somehow, about 25 years ago, P became known as 'Monkey' to Han and her 2 best friends. If he's not being addressed as Pauley, he's Monkey. Consequently, there have been numerous monkey gifts dropped at his feet over the years.

But today the postman delivered a humungous box for the birthday boy. It came from here. Isn't it great?

I'm not sure what is the most worrying - the gifts, or the fact that P currently has them lined up and has recently given 3 of them names! Monkey binoculars (I-spy monkey), a little squidgy blue one (Space Monkey), a supersoft long-armed one (Cuddly Monkey) and finally Stripey Monkey who's a ventriloquist. Press him tummy to hear Han's recorded Father's Day message. You can't see his lips move - he's so clever. And all this from a boy who's 63 today!

(Do I include this as 'A corner of my home'? Preferably not as it's a 'to do' area!)

Aren't I lucky to be surrounded by family who refuse to behave like grownups every day of the week. (They do sometimes, though, and that can be a bit tough!)

H has to of course, because she has a grownup job here. Before that she worked at Castle Combe and her first 'proper' job was here. How the other half lives!

No plumber today (no basin for 2 days, but at least the bath is functioning), so we're off to hit the high spots of Yeovil to find the birthday present I didn't buy on Monday!

18 February 2007

A New Game ...

I was blog browsing this morning and came across Twinkle Pink's clever photo and thought it would be fun to 'have a go' myself. So, with no further ado, as the saying goes, please enjoy this bundle of clouds and sunsets. I know you've seen some of them before, but they were the easiest to put together for this experiment.

I'd really appreciate some constructive criticism as to whether the slide show is too long, too short, too boring, easy on the eye or otherwise, etc as this is a whole new world for me. I've just noticed that you can speed it up if you wish, which might not be a bad thing!

Meanwhile, I spent most of yesterday emulsioning the hall, stairs and landing. Just a little bit to finish off and then I can start on the next room!! Decisions, decisions ... sitting room (cluttered), our bedroom (even more cluttered), spare bedroom (don't go there). And as for bed 3/the office/this place where I spend too much time ... it's a non-starter until the electrician has done his stuff. My desk/corner/life has to be removed to enable him to get wiring up through the floorboards from the meter downstairs, up into the roof, across the roofspace to the other side of the house and down into the bathroom for the shower and towel rail. Oh joy ... where will I be put? And will I ever find anything again?

I worry about me sometimes ... I've just offered to get the paintbrush out at Mum's before her new carpets are laid (that gives me about 3 weeks). So I can't stay chatting. That's now 2 houses to decorate before the wedding. I might just have to be the first mother-of-the-bride who turns up in designer paint-slatter. I'll soon be in panic mode as I think the next few weeks are going to be some of the busiest I've experienced in several years!In 10 days' time I'll be emptying all my stock from Somerton Antiques Centre and transporting it (not sure how yet - you've seen the size of my car) to Dairy House Antiques at Semley (30 miles away).

Bathroom's taking shape by the way. The plumber achieved and will be back to achieve even greater things tomorrow (with a bit of luck and a fair wind). And I must go shopping ... I'm running out of time. It's hubby's birthday on Wednesday (he'll be 63, but don't tell anyone!) and I only have tomorrow free. I knew his birthday was soon, but I didn't appreciate quite HOW soon as I have one of those lives where day-to-day living doesn't often require knowledge of actual dates. I must address this as the pre-wedding days are ticking away rapidly and if I'm not careful we shall be into post-wedding days and I'll still be chasing my tail.

I'll keep you posted!

PS I've just counted up all the blogs that I've listed in my favourites (rather than having them all on my sidebar. I have 110 - so if you think I'm ignoring you I'm probably not. You could well be part of my daily blog fix! Have a jolly day!

16 February 2007

Flushed with Pride ...

... we have a new loo!

And the bath is fitted and is apparently safe to use. The basin is another matter entirely as we now realise our plumber is a "why make things easy when you can make it really difficult" type of chap. A born pessimist which is a shame. I have a feeling that we could still be living in anticipation by this time next week, but looking on the bright side I am telling myself that all will be fine and the tiling, basin, shower and towel rail will all be done in time for the wedding!!!

And with my trusty 1" brush I might even have emulsioned every wall in the house. Mind you, as time goes by I might decide I need to do SERIOUS DECORATING and use a proper brush and crack on. I'm not too sure that Paul realises just what I intend getting done between now and 5 May, but as long as he keeps his head down and lies low he might survive the onslaught.

I mentioned a rude word yesterday ... CARPET ... which sent him off in a fit of apoplexy. And that was before we'd been out to buy the tiles today. But what's a husband of 29 years, 10 months and 2 weeks for, if not to whip out a piece of plastic at the tills in Topps Tiles, Wickes and Focus. I think he's been let off quite lightly really ... I might have decided we needed hand-cut tiles, 22ct gold taps and shag pile up to his armpits. As it is I've been very restrained and we have a basic white suite, a shower which I hope will give a good downpour rather than a drizzle, standard chrome taps and the plain tiles rather than the mosaics. The plumber took one look at the mosaics and came up with 101 reasons why we shouldn't have them without stopping for breath! As for the carpet I'll do some furtive measuring to see just what sort of acreage we're talking about to do the whole house in one fell swoop. It may sound extravagant, but put yourself in my position ... when a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do ...

Sorry there are no photos today, but maybe tomorrow. That's all for tonight, folks!

13 February 2007

What A Difference A Day Makes ...

We have a blocked off doorway, new plaster, wiring for a heated towel rail and I now have a vision of what the bathroom might look like. Paul has taken to offering up a tile to various walls (believe me, this is a good and positive sign). The builder is coming again tomorrow, the electrician will come if needed and the bathroom suite is being delivered. Hopefully the plumber will arrive on Thursday and replace some of the old with some of the new. I understand Thursday is bath day, which hopefully means Friday will be loo and basin day. Not sure about the shower, but TIME WILL TELL ... which is the norm as far as plumbers are concerned ...

My vision includes the tiles I've now decided ARE what I'd like, and I can see a peg rail where little vintage fabric bags containing bathroom bits hang happily. I've got to work on the rest of the vision ... haven't quite got it all yet!!

Meanwhile, no sooner had I posted last evening's blog than I picked up a tin of Crown Solo Honey Cream matt emulsion (used in our last cottage to very good effect) and tested it in each room to see whether it would look OK throughout the house. When I got to the kitchen with my little 1" brush in one hand and a G&T in the other I decided to keep going. I must admit I changed to a slightly larger brush, but not a full size emulsion brush as I was only playing, and NOT DOING SERIOUS DECORATING. I achieved so much and it looked fine this morning. So that is the colour for the kitchen, and I'll probably finish it later tonight.

So, today has been a good day! I've spent the day in the Antiques Centre and now that it's beginning to filter through to the other dealers that I'm leaving I've been quite touched by their good wishes and requests to stay. However, I'm looking forward to making more of my space at Semley and feel I'm doing the right thing.

12 February 2007

I Need to Share This ...

Day 1 of "The Bathroom Transformation"
This ...

is everywhere !

Black dust. All over the house, clinging to the walls, in fact clinging to every vertical as well as horizontal surface. The carpets lost their swirls, the anaglypta took on a shadow effect and I daren't show you the cobwebs which had been lurking unnoticed! And all because of ...
The dividing wall between the bathroom and the loo was built of concrete block and we are now breathing black air. Oh joy ... Don't you just love the orange walls we found when we removed the old tiles? All good fun ... if you don't weaken ... which I won't!!! (The builder has gone home for a shower, sensible man!) The yellow cloth is lying on top of the tiles I think I might like in the new bathroom, although I'm not yet convinced, and the sidelong glances I'm getting from Paul make me wonder whether I've lost the plot. But I don't think I have ... it will all tie in beautifully ... eventually!!
I now can't wait for it to be finished of course, and then let the decorating commence ... the whole house in one fell swoop. It could be a way of losing that weight I'd hoped to shed before the wedding!
OK, I've had my five minutes R&R. Time to put my Mrs Mop outfit on again. I feel better having offloaded this onto you! Thank you, fellow bloggers!

10 February 2007

This and That ...

A bit of an odd day today. Nothing specifically achieved, but progress nevertheless.

I collected another carpet sample for Mum and it's perfect, so on Monday we'll be asking them to measure up and getting the carpet ordered. Meanwhile, I brought the other samples home and I think we may have found the right one for our house - once the bathroom work has been done next week. At last everyone is synchronised and the plumber, the builder and the electrician are all ready for action. Lets hope they still are on Monday morning!

I took a few photos for you but the colours won't be true as they were taken in artificial light this evening. The eiderdown is new today, bought from another dealer. I've had my eye on it for a week or so and was so pleased today to find it hadn't sold!!

These chenille curtains are a wonderful rich raspberry/strawberry colour in daylight (difficult to imagine maybe, but it's definitely somewhere between the two). They have never been used and one still has the original label stapled at the bottom.

The tied quilt is probably a cutter as it is very faded on one side, has loose edges and a few thin areas. I just felt it needed a good home when I saw it. I'll inspect it thoroughly again and decide whether it could be repaired sufficiently well to be usable or whether it will end up as bags and cushions!

I also bought a beautiful vintage pair of floral linen union double-width x 7'6" long curtains. I was going to show you those as well, but I took them round to show Mum and would you believe it - the colours are absolutely perfect with the proposed new carpet, her table lamp and shade, the carpet and blinds in the conservatory and her suite. They really tie everything in together and we at last have a vision of what her sitting room will look like once it's finished. I may need to shorten them by a couple of inches, but otherwise they're fine.

Finally here's a vaguely and accidentally co-ordinated little corner of our home.

The curtains are hanging to get rid of some of the creases as they've been in the armoire for months. (They will eventually be for sale as I'm informed they're too dark for our house!) The hatbox is a recent acquisition and doesn't yet have a proper home, but it blends quite well with the curtains, the 1980s M&S silk flowers and cushion cover. Luckily I've managed to hide the very unco-ordinated mustard coloured 1960s swirly patterned carpet. The Edwardian salon chair is there because there's nowhere else for it.

I'll be soooo glad when the bathroom work is done so that we can start decorating, carpeting, rearranging furniture and making this house a proper home. It really isn't a pretty sight at the moment, and I'm beginning to feel the need for some sort of order and tranquillity!

08 February 2007

Snowless in Somerton and Semley ...

... but I stopped on the way to Dairy House Antiques this morning to take this photo. If you enlarge it you can see the snow drifting across the hills. It was a bit bleak, but the layby where I took the photo was the nearest the snow got to the A303 on my journey. And it transpires that Somerton was basking in sunshine all morning!

Not a particularly well-placed blue selection, but I took this one in a hurry thinking it looked better than it does; I thought the chequered theme worked quite well though and if I'd thought sooner I could have placed them on some blue fabric that was in the car (but that might have been check overload).

For my final "study in blue" here's a blue painted dresser for sale at Dairy House Antiques, with blue and white china displayed on its shelves. The dealer it belongs to wasn't sure about the blue on blue, but I thought it looked really good.

That's all for now. Hope you're not all snowed in ...

06 February 2007

Where Were You?

My apologies for the bad photo but you know when you HAVE to do something and you have to do it NOW. Well this is one of those moments. I've just noticed this teatowel in the utility room, waiting to be ironed and photographed properly. It's been there about a month ... and I just had to take the photo of it now, unironed, in bad light with no supporting cast. (I see my birthday was on a Sunday.)

Mum and I came across it when we were packing up her house and I thought you might like to reminisce (if you're old enough, that is!). I'm not sure where it came from but I think it was a present from Mum's French penfriend. To this day Mum still writes (in French) to her penfriend from her school days. They became penpals in 1935 and did the exchange thing even then. Mum has photos of Thérèse and her family visiting England, Mum and her sister staying in France, Dad managing to visit Thérèse and her parents during the War and so on.

In 1961 I sat the 11+ and went to 'the grammar'. I'm not sure how much good it did me, as I don't think I worked particularly hard. I had a wonderful surprise present when I passed - my own record player. The first record I bought with my saved up pocket money was "Wheels" (can't remember who recorded it) followed by "Bobby's Girl" (Susan Maughan), "Stranger on the Shore" (Acker Bilk). Then there were The Everley Brothers, The Allisons, Helen Shapiro, Dusty Springfield ... I've obviously got the dates out of order, but without the records in front of me I can't quite remember.

I expect the summer of 1961 was a long, bright, sunny one. They all were in those days, weren't they? We went for picnics in the fields when my uncle was haymaking, picked primroses and bluebells in the woods (you were allowed to then), and went to the Lleyn Penninsula in North Wales for our summer holiday. We stayed in a little village called Rhiw in a cottage rented out by Mr and Mrs Williams who had a little girl with lovely blonde ringlets, called Denise. We went to some sheep dog trials and went up Snowdon (on the train) and walked down again after standing on the foggy summit for a few minutes!

The first day of term at my new school was scary, until I met Susan Warner who giggled a lot. I think we sat next to one another for a while. We drank warm milk (why did they always leave it by the radiators or heating pipes?) through waxed straws which flattened long before you'd got to the end of the one-third pint. And we were introduced to Physics ... and Chemistry ... and Algebra ... and stuff I didn't understand. But I did OK in French ... because I had a calendar teatowel to help me!

So what were YOU doing in 1961?

04 February 2007

Children's teaset

I bought this lovely little teaset a few years ago and have had it on display for sale ever since in the various shops and centres I've been in during that time but it's had no takers. I have to say I've been quite pleased because it is so gorgeous that I shall miss it if it ever sells.

I used to sell quite a lot of children's china a few years ago but the market seems to have gone quiet now. This particular one has no marks but according to Doris Lechler's book (if you collect children's china you'll have heard of her) the pattern shape was used by several potteries including Minton and Longton. I'm fairly sure it isn't Minton so it may be attributed to the Longton pottery. It's certainly of English origin.

Do enlarge the photo so that you can see the pretty design - there are dogrose-like flowers on one side of each piece and daisy-like flowers on the other. Apart from two A/F (damaged) cups it is in perfect condition. There is no wear to the gilding and no scratches or marks to the extent that it looks unused. One cup has a hairline crack and I really don't know what to say about the other one. It's quite peculiar. The handle isn't right, the whole thing looks as if it's been cooked and the best place for it is probably the bin, but ...

I can't decide whether to keep the teaset or (say it quietly) put it on my website (when and if it ever gets launched)!

I've just spent half an hour looking for a photo of another teaset which sold but I don't seem to have one, which is a shame. It was a Ridgeways polychrome Cinderella and in tip-top condition. It had a different picture from the story on each item, complete with a mouse running up the spout of the teapot. I think you would have liked it.

02 February 2007


Here are the photos I promised!

Vintage French Wallpaper ...

French Quilt ...

1920s Silk Embroidered Tablecover/Shawl ...

Another one ...

1940s/50s Smocking

That's all for now, but of course tomorrow is another day ...

01 February 2007

One Week On ...

... and Mum's house is beginning to look like a home. We've all been busy in various ways and Mum says she's feeling very at home there, although she's still coming back here for an evening meal and to sleep. I think her plan is to have a sleepover practice run at the weekend!!

Meanwhile I've made a huge decision - to leave the Antiques Centre at Somerton and move my stock to a larger room at Dairy House Antiques at Semley. It may seem odd, bearing in mind we came to live in Somerton seven months ago, but for various reasons it is the right thing to do and will all be happening at the beginning of March. It will seem very strange initially, but I'm really looking forward to it and have lots of ideas on how to utilise the extra space. I shall still be doing the Shepton fairs and with my new website (for "imminent" mentioned in a recent post, now read "in due course"!) as well, I hope I'll be able to get the balance right.

I've bought some nice items in the last week or so but I'm afraid photos will have to wait until (a) I have more time, (b) I think of taking them during daylight hours, or (c) a combination of the above! My latest purchases are two 1920s embroidered silk tablecovers/shawls, two smocked dresses and a smocked romper suit, probably dating from the early 1950s. There's an ecru banqueting cloth about 16 feet long with 14 napkins and a linen drawnthread bedspread. Oh, and an early 20th century French quilt and some vintage French wallpaper.

I might need to refer to Niki's tutorial to cover a set of drawers with the paper!

You may notice I've added a new link to "Friends' Websites" today. If any of you are thinking of visiting Somerset (or an overnight stay in order to visit the Shepton Antiques Fairs), then do look at Liz's B&B site. Mike the Sign is, as many of you know, Clare's husband. You'll get to see some of the amazing work they do if you click on the link to his site.

Photos soon, I promise! And do you remember way back in September I said we were having the bathroom and loo knocked into one? The work starts a week on Monday ...