26 September 2008


Never let it be said that I don't appreciate our postman - whichever one of several he might happen to be. If he brings me nice parcels and not too many brown envelopes then I'm happy.

He, apparently, is not! He doesn't like my joined-up gardening (mentioned in a post earlier in the year) with soft edges.

A month or so ago we had a note scrawled on an envelope asking us ... sorry, telling us ... to clear the path of plants. We rarely use our front door so hands up, we had let the path get a little overgrown and I saw a rogue holly seedling getting perilously close to the path ... think scratched bare leg, woops, not good for postie. Pauley cut everything back to ensure that postie didn't snag his summertime shorts on anything prickly or tickly and all was well ...

Until Wednesday ... Chilly day, could have rained but thankfully didn't, because postie left the letters on the back doorstep (which is on the side of the house and in the front rather than at the back of the house). Anyway, Pauley phoned the PO to complain ... did you know there's a PO complaints line? There is. On Thursday he used the letterbox in the front door (or it may of course have been our normal postie) but today he put the post in the back porch on the floor. Admittedly the door was open as we were in the garden discussing the positioning of the compost bin we were about to go out to buy.

Anyway ... Pauley caught sight of the postman as he came back along the road and 'collared' him to ask why he wasn't using the letterbox. "Ah!" said postie "I feel a moan coming on ...". Charming! It turns out he has to have a straight, clear walk to the door because of "elf'n'safety ..." and the fact that a valerian and a hebe are growing over the edge of the path would seem to be a problem.

But this is the best bit ... we have a cotoneaster horizontalis which had grown into a bush and was trimmed to within an inch of its life by the previous owner. It is on the corner of where the path to the front door meets the drive at right angles and has grown a bit. I like topiary and clean-cut edges in other people's gardens if that's what they, themselves, like. But I don't like it in mine. Postie obviously does. The soft edges of the squared off cotoneaster full of lovely autumnal berries are obviously not to his taste. Apparently ... wait for it ... he might get a bee land on him from it. Yes, I kid you not. There might be bees on it. Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, this afternoon, instead of digging the new border I am trying to create in the back garden, I spent the allotted time in the front garden with Pauley ... armed with hedge trimmer, secateurs and shears, plastic sacks and a yard brush. If postie doesn't like the results of our labours then Pauley will be phoning that complaints line.

When I think of dear Eddie, our postie in Dilton Marsh, who used to walk down the 50ft long path to our old cottage, under rose arches, through clematis tendrils and gaps no more than 2ft wide with a smile on his face regardless of the weather, I do wonder what the world is coming to.

Apologies to any posties out there. I do understand, but this jobsworth lark takes the biscuit!

I feel better now I've shared this with you!

23 September 2008

Last Week's Sun, Sea and Sundries ...

Well, I've had quite a jolly week, all things considered. Having bought a few things at Semley Auctions (on Dairy House's doorstep) a week last Saturday, Liz and I went over on a gloriously sunny Monday morning to collect it all and put it in DH. We then pootled off up the road a couple of miles to the Pythouse Walled Garden for lunch. Yummy lunch! Liz had a goats cheese (yuk) quiche with salad, and I had leeks wrapped in bacon in a mushroom sauce (with grated cheese on the top and baked in the oven) with salad.

We sat on the terrace and enjoyed these views of the garden ...

Thursday was another glorious day and I happened to have the day off from DH. Pauley and I went off to Exmouth to view an auction and then moved on to Budleigh Salterton where we had a leisurely walk along the prom! It was almost too hot for comfort, but we enjoyed an hour watching the world go by and generally doing nothing.

Budleigh Salterton doesn't do sand. It does wonderful pebbles and beach huts. For some reason I got home without having taken a photo of the huts. Don't know why, because I love them and would very much like one ... to keep ... for me ... so I can hide in it whenever I feel the need to run away from hectic-ness ...

Look, lucky Pauley is at the seaside and it's sunny! That makes a change, but you'll see he's still wearing a nice warm jumper!!
On Friday I went to the 3-day Shepton Antiques Fair as a buyer rather than as a seller. I thought I'd really miss the selling but although it felt a little strange initially, I was so pleased to be sitting at home on Sunday evening rather than loading up the car after 3 long days of standing around a lot!! I bought some super things, none of which I've photographed I'm afraid. I bought a child's sack barrow which stood about 18" high. Sadly I can't show you that because it's already sold at DH! I'll endeavour to take some photos of the other purchases later in the week. I'll probably keep some of them for the Vintage and Handmade Fair in November. It was another glorious day and I really feel as if I've made the most of our Indian Summer. And to think we all thought it wasn't going to happen!
Sunday saw us driving to Dairy House and as we drove towards this set of traffic lights (the black bit at the bottom of the photo) we could see hundreds, if not thousands, of birds circling high in the sky. The photo only shows a small proportion of them as the lights were just changing to green and I had started to move off as Pauley took the photo. We'd ascertained by then that they were seagulls. Now I know that seagulls always follow a plough, but I've only ever seen them when they've already landed in the field and are pecking away at whatever comes to the surface as the field is ploughed. Never have I seen them, as these were, waiting for the farmer to plough the first furrow. We caught sight of the tractor and plough in the furthest corner of the field, just about to start. So tell me ... how did they know he was about to plough this vast field? I just wish we'd been able to get a better photo. On our homeward journey 6 hours later they were still ploughing, and the seagulls were all on the ground, or hovering just behind the plough, waiting to swoop. Couldn't stop to get a photo sadly. Click to enlarge and you'll get a vague idea of what we saw.

Yesterday we went back to Exmouth to do a little auction bidding. We looked at the sea again (I could get used to this) and then came home with 2 bin bags and a very large carrier bag of linen - all sorts of table linen and doilies. I also bought an oak sewing box on a sort of trolley, with a drawer under the box (maybe a photo would have been easier to understand than the description) containing plenty of wooden Coats cotton reels and haberdashery bits and pieces. A couple of good buys I'm pleased to say. I haven't taken any piccies as I've had a day of paperwork today and no time to play.

Hope you're all got to enjoy the sun, too!

14 September 2008

And the Winners Are ...

If you can't read them without enlarging the photos they are ...


Congratulations to both of you. If you like to email me your addresses (see top of my sidebar) I'll send off your goodies in the next few days.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Sorry you couldn't all be winners, but if I can think of another reason to offer a giveaway before my 300th post I'll let you know!

Sue x

09 September 2008

Giveaway Post Updated ... Final Reminder

Look ... those of you already entered are in this beautifully appliquéed drawstring bag!

Pauley will be picking the 2 winners a little later. To give you a chance to enter the giveaway if you haven't left your name already, you have until 9 o'clock this evening!

Good luck!

Our 38-hour Week's Holiday ...

... There you are, you see! Better than I thought. We managed 38 hours away instead of the 36 I expected!
We drove through wind and rain but in the very far distance we convinced ourselves we could see a teeny-weeny patch of lighter cloud. And I won the bet - it wasn't actually raining when we got to Donna's and I'm happy to say that we even saw a little sunshine a couple of miles in from the North Devon coast.

And here we are in Abbotsham on our way to Donna's wonderful vintage textile sale.

I hope Donna won't mind me showing these photos. I should have asked her first, but everything looked so lovely that I couldn't resist. Fabulous fabrics for sale and gorgeous cakes to have with our tea or coffee!

I bought this little set of drawers (and sold Donna my Dewhurst sylko drawers!) and this is a very poor photo of part of my fabric stash. I bought a boxful and a bagful of 'scrap' pieces - will take better photos later. I also came away with a vintage wooden yard rule which I intend to hang up at Dairy House so people can measure pieces of fabric or lengths of lace. The pièce de resistance was a fabric samples book. Of smallish size, being slightly smaller than a sheet of A4 paper, but at least 2" thick. Loads and loads of beautiful fabrics and a surprise at the back - wallpaper samples, too. I'll take some photos when the light is better.

After a jolly couple of hours with Donna and friends we set off to Great Torrington to see an antique dealer who I've got to know through the Shepton 3-day Fairs. She stands in the next row to me (talking of which it will seem very strange in a couple of weeks' time not 'doing' the Fair). I came away with a shawl and these:

We had a brief wander round Great Torrington, bought a couple of rolls for our lunch and then set off towards Dartmoor for our overnight stay. We decided to take the 'pretty' route rather than the primary 'A' road but at some point we managed to inadvertently veer off the road we intended to travel along. At one point we commented on how little traffic there was. Shows how laid back and relaxed we were as we hadn't even noticed it was a 'B' road! I'm so glad we did lose our way though, because we came across an area full of oak trees. Not a wood, but oak trees all along the side of the road, oak trees dotted all along the field hedgerows almost as far as you could see, and numerous trees dotted around the fields themselves. What seemed like hundreds of them. I don't think I've ever seen as many oak trees in one place before. Sadly I didn't take any photos, but I fully intend going back there to enjoy it again. I wonder if this is the area where the oak for all those mighty ships came from.

Look how much we've seen and done already on our little trip ... and we've only been away from home for about 6 hours.

Rather than go straight to our isolated B&B we decided to drive over some of Dartmoor and make the most of the time. We went to Chagford first, an ancient Stannary town, so I could see where Sheila Hyson holds a Fair on a Friday morning, just in case we're in that direction again on a Friday. A very pretty place, but we couldn't find a parking space so carried on. From there we drove up and over some very hilly narrow lanes and ended up on our way to Two Bridges. We carried on to Princetown and a little beyond, but as it was by this time torrential rain we decided to make our way towards Hexworthy and our B&B.

So, welcome to a wild and woolly Dartmoor!

The River Dart rushing along and living up to its name! (See the tree being swept away in the first photo?)

And here's Hexworthy bridge. Our B&B is about a mile up the hill from here! Plenty of rain still, although it finally stopped around 8.30 pm.

And look ... the next morning we awoke to ... blue skies!

So, a new day, sunshine and the next leg of our holiday. We set off soon after 9 o'clock, retraced our route over Hexworthy Bridge and stopped off by the River Dart at Badger's Holt.

This piece of lichen dropped off a silver birch tree as I stood there. I brought it home but although it was very soft and silky when it fell, and a gorgeous pale sage green, now it has dried out it is rough and hard and much darker.

We did some more Dartmoor sight-seeing through a mixture of sun and cloud. We were at least able to stop the car and have a wander. I've always loved Exmoor, but I'm just wondering if Dartmoor has the edge ... difficult to say ...

Look ... more blue sky!

After enjoying the wonderful scenery and lovely fresh, clean air we were ready to turn right to Ashburton for another planned part of our holiday to visit Ros's shop called The Snug.

I've never been to Ros's shop before, in fact I don't know whether I've ever been to Ashburton. It's another town with some nice architecture, and lovely antique shops. We didn't go in them all, but I found this eiderdown and a large basket in one called Fishbelly. I was tempted by several small pieces of furniture, but thankfully our car isn't large enough!!

In The Shambles I found a book on samplers and stitches, a hatbox, some tiny old screw-top jars filled with beads, and a pretty floral tin.

And then, leaving the best till last, we ventured in to The Snug! And what a lovely time I had! I've bought from Ros at the Ilminster Talent 4 Textiles Fair and knew I'd find plenty to tempt me. Pauley decided to go back to the car (probably best!), and I spent ages picking up, putting down, choosing and generally behaving like a child in a sweetie shop. I was at the back of the shop when a customer came in and I recognised the voice. Serendipity was at work and who should it be but Amanda of Shabby Chic who I normally see at Shepton, and who lurks on vintage blogs from time to time (hi Amanda!). She does the Totnes Friday market, which I have yet to visit, and she is well known to all we West Country vintage fanatics. She'd popped in to see Ros whilst she was shopping and so we were able to catch up on news.

Not the best photos, but here are some of the goodies I purchased from Ros ...

Moving on ... to Topsham to the Quay Centre, another planned visit. Have you ever seen anything as lovely as this?
This child's toy shop counter stands about 6" or 7" high and is a good 2' long. The labels on the drawers are ceramic. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw it. And this box of farmyard stamps is another delight. I'm going to test them all out before I decide whether or not they can be sold!

After a wander up through Topsham and back to the car we were ready for a cup of coffee (breakfast had been so filling that lunch was certainly not an option). We then drove on to Beer through lashing rain. We stopped for a quick visit to the little antique shop where I bought a glover's wooden hand. Sorry, no photos of either the hand or Beer, so why not look at their website where you'll see blue skies, blue sea and a beautiful place. We've stayed in Beer in the past and it's a jolly place to be - but not particularly so on Saturday with vertical rain, brown sea and rivers of mud running down the road!!

Finally it was time to make our homeward journey - east to Seaton and then in a northerly direction to Chard and Ilminster from where it was a brief run along the A303 to home. In all we did about 270 miles, but what a jam-packed 270 miles and 38 hours it was. Pauley enjoyed most of it, bless him, but did appreciate the break, even if it was a busman's holiday! I was tired by the end of it (I do all the driving), but very refreshed, and the good thing about this short holiday is that I remember every moment, and shall be able to draw on these memories whenever I feel the need to 'take a moment'! That'll do me fine, until our next 38-hour week! It's all a case of 'mind over matter' ... 38 hours, 7 days, whatever ... a holiday is a holiday when all said and done!
I hope you've managed to stay the course - I think this is probably the longest post I've ever written. It's certainly taken me an age, especially uploading all those photos ... and still I haven't photographed the giveaways! DON'T FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT ON MY PREVIOUS POST to be entered into the giveaway draws. I'll be taking some photos later with a bit of luck, and updating the post.

See you soon!