30 June 2009

Dairy House is expanding ...

... and you're the first to know.

On Monday work begins in the vacant unit adjacent to Dairy House. A chance enquiry to the landlord's agent a couple of weeks ago saw me hot-footing it to view 500 square feet of empty space which conveniently abuts the wall of one of our ground floor rooms. It transpires that it was part of the old Semley Dairy (see below) with the same black and white tiled floor, where the cheese was made.

Across the road is the railway line which runs from Exeter (I think) to London, and in the pre-Beeching days Semley Station was operational. In the late 1800s milk from Semley Dairy was put on the London train twice a day. In fact, a reference on this website states: "Creameries were located in country areas, usually beside a main line to allow fast transit to the town(s) being served. The first rail connected milk collection depot at Semley in Wiltshire opened in 1871 alongside the LSWR main line. This was the first wholesale milk depot built to supply London."

And we are mentioned again "The earliest wholesale depot created primarily for the London market was opened at Semley in 1871" From: 'Other industries', A History of the County of Wiltshire: Volume 4 (1959), pp. 220-253. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=102814 Date accessed: 30 June 2009.

So, we have history! And some of you may have spotted the 'deliberate' mistake. According to the quotes Semley is in Wiltshire. It is, to all intents and purposes, but because the postal town is Shaftesbury, which is in Dorset, Semley is these days listed as being in Dorset. Confusing? Yes, indeedy! With no disrespect to those of you living in Wiltshire, and when all said and done I lived there, too, for 8 years, I prefer to think of us as being in Dorset.

However, I digress ...

Next Monday, as I said, sees work commencing in the vacant unit and, before we know it, hey presto, there will be a hole knocked through and we shall have more space. There's lots to be done before we are fully operational in "The Cheese Room" and I have yet to fill the space with dealers. However, the opportunity was another one that had to be taken in the lifetime of the opportunity (long-time followers of my blog will know this maxim) and had I not taken the plunge the space would have been let to someone else and the moment would have passed, possibly never to return. As there is absolutely no other building into which we could expand there was really no question of whether or not I was being sensible.

I'll keep you posted, and will show before and after photos soon. Little did we know when I asked you to join me on the Dairy House journey that it would involve building works and expansion. Fingers and toes crossed, please!

21 June 2009

Blogfest at Shepton Mallet

Well, what a day for seeing Bloggers ... the Washerwoman was stalling out on the other side of the hall, Daisy Darling stopped by a couple of times (thank you Clare for the life-saver coffee), Lesley from This'nThat, Lucy (and Mr) Bloom, Niki (Nostalgia), Maxine from MarmaladeYarns came to say hello (super to meet you Maxine), Donna (The Fabric of my Life/Donna Flower) and I may have missed out a couple more (apologies if I have).

Thanks to you all for your purchases, and to any other readers of my blog who made purchases today.

I should have linked to your blogs but I have no brain left this evening. Those of you who saw me today will have noticed (to the extent that you actually pointed out in one or two cases) that I didn't really seem to have my mind on the job, and was vague, to say the least. To be honest I was chasing my tail somewhat, having anticipated a poor turnout within the Showering Pavilion because of the nice weather. I was expecting everyone to stay outside rather than come in to buy. I had one complete table of £1 items, and it drew customers like bees round a honeypot. I was quite overwhelmed by the frenzy once or twice and knew I was 'not my normal self'!!! Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, all being well. I think I shall do the same next time (30 August) as it's a brilliant way to clear 'tired' stock.

If I can stay awake long enough we're going to pop to our local for a meal, so I'd better go and make myself look respectable (do people still say that or is it just a blast from my past?).

I seem to remember suggesting that I would take photos today. I took out my camera once, and then had a flurry of customers so put it away again. So ... no photos at all. Sorry!

19 June 2009

Shepton Mallet - Giant Flea - 21 June

It's time once again for the Giant Flea at Shepton Mallet (Bath & West Showground). The weather is set fair for Sunday (hopefully those of us inside will get some visitors though!!) and the car is already groaning at the weight of what I'm piling in. I shall be in my usual spot, halfway down the first aisle in the hall, opposite the sweetie man!

The usual fabric bundles, lace and larger fabric lengths will be on offer, together with one table full of £1 items. I have too much stock and I need room to buy more!!!! Included in the £1 selection will be linens, fabric, balls of DMC Coton Perle, tapestry wool, lace, vintage scarves etc.

I shall also be taking some French linen/hemp smocks (great for gardening), baby gowns and a mixture of goodies extracted from Dairy House - including a couple of eiderdowns and possibly the odd quilt. And how could I forget ... buttons ... buttons ... and more buttons!

Open to the public from 9.30 until 4.00. Hope to see you there ...

12 June 2009

Bull at a Gate ...

What a fine fellow! (Click to enlarge - he has a gorgeous face close up!)

... and other farm tales (or is it tails?) ...

Mum and I had a lovely couple of days 'back home' with my aunt, uncle and cousin on the farm. Saw the rest of the aunts and a couple more cousins, caught up with family news and generally had fun. I was so intent on taking photos of cows, calves and a couple of bulls that I completely forgot about taking pics of the older generation as they all sat round the table on Monday evening. Mum, 2 of her sisters, one brother, 2 sisters-in-law and a brother-in-law all chatting away ... and I realised afterwards that the combination of their ages was in excess of 580 years!! How silly that I didn't think to take a piccie. Apologies to the aunt who sometimes reads my blog ... but don't worry, I've mentioned no names!!!!

Mind you, my 3 youngest cousins and I add up to 195 years which is totally ridiculous!!!! Silly what you can do with numbers, isn't it.

I came back totally refreshed, but after a couple of hectic days at DH followed by house calls on Wednesday and Thursday on the way home, I'm back to being shattered. It's an early start tomorrow as the Semley Auctions are on, and we always open up earlier on Sale days.

Hopefully things will slow down again next week so I have time to breathe before the Shepton Mallet Giant Flea a week on Sunday, 21 June.

Have a lovely weekend one and all, regardless of what the weather has in store.

05 June 2009

Send Her Victorious ...

Just look at what someone brought into Dairy House the other day. I wasn't there, but what a relief that the previous owner (who is still with us as a dealer) had the foresight to buy a number of items that the lady was offering. When I went round switching on lights yesterday morning I couldn't believe what was there with a price tag I couldn't ignore ...

Mum and I had fun photographing it this morning. The first pics were taken in our garden, but the one where it is suspended on a cane was done 'over the fence'.

So that I'm not inundated with enquiries, the dress is NOT for sale. It's most definitely a keeper! It was made for the lady who was selling it, and she wore it on Coronation Day - 2 June 1953. I estimate from the size that she was probably about 6 or 7 at the time. I don't suppose many of you remember the Coronation. I was 3 years old and definitely remember it. My great aunt and uncle and their daughter, Dad's cousin, came to watch it on our 7" black and white television. They brought me a present of a little canvas 'bucket' bag (all the rage at the time) and I remember being too shy to open it in front of them, so I went upstairs to my bedroom to see what I'd been given. Shy? Moi? Those were the days!!!

The flags, on the other hand, ARE for sale. Email if you want to buy. They're diminishing rapidly, so don't wait to see them at the next fair - they may have gone!

I also bought this gorgeous quilt yesterday. Another keeper - for the time being at least!!! And look at those fabulous buttons. They're huge - approximately 2¼" (5 cm) square.

I'm off on another 'fortnight's holiday' on Sunday - back on Tuesday. Pauley is staying at home to hold the fort. I'm taking Mum back 'home' to Northants to stay with family. So looking forward to (a) the break, (b) seeing aunts, uncles and cousins and (c) staying on the farm surrounded by fabulous South Northamptonshire countryside. Photos may, or may not, follow. I also intend to collect another purchase while I'm away. Photos of that WILL appear here in due course all being well.
Have a lovely weekend. Not too sure what the weather is going to be doing, but I won't mind if it's a tad cooler!

04 June 2009

Guess the Plant ...

No prizes, just wondered how many of you know the answer ...


And here are a few more photos taken in Mum' gorgeous garden. Considering it was bare ground when she moved in 2½ years ago, she has totally transformed it into a wonderful haven. Not bad for an octogenarian ...

The greenhouse is Mum's but the shed/studio is ours. The variegated private and pittosporum mark the boundary between our 2 gardens. The little stepping stone pathway is designed to make it easy for me to hop over the fence and make my way across the garden! Clever Mummy!

"Geoff Hamilton" didn't seem to mind moving from Northampton and seems to have settled in well!
It just shows what can be achieved if you set your mind to it, doesn't it. All you need is time, enthusiasm and a love of gardening!
There'll be another post a bit later. Something totally different - to include my 'purchase of the month' (well, one of them!!!!)

01 June 2009

All the Fun of the Fair ...

Lucy Bloom on the left and Christine (The Sea Garden) on the right, with Kathy Jobson's jewellery in the left foreground

Amanda (Shabby Chick) dashing from stall to stall (Christine's and mine) before the rush!

Niki and her Mum putting the finishing touches to her stall

Jane and the Happy Crow - such amazing work!

Christine again - she and Jane were opposite me and I didn't get a chance to waft around with the camera!

Let battle commence - it seemed like that at times! This was the first few minutes after 10 o'clock when the doors opened. I was the furthest away from the entrance, but once they all came in you couldn't see across the aisles, and I certainly didn't see Christine or Jane again for several hours!!

Not many photos, I'm afraid! These were all taken as we were setting up, and then the mad rush began, and nothing was further from my mind than taking piccies!

You'll have read others' blogposts by now and will know that the Vintage and Handmade Fair at Chipping Sodbury was a resounding success, surpassing all expectations, to the extent that we're all champing at the bit waiting to prepare for the next one, which I believe will be in November - unless Jayne and Michele have other plans!!

I've had some charming emails from people I met on Saturday - some bloggers, some not - and I can only say that the whole day was an absolute pleasure. A dear friend arrived about an hour after we opened - I'd told her about the Fair but didn't know whether she would be able to come - suddenly, there she was, standing at the end of my stall. She stayed all day, and was such a help relieving shoppers of their money! It was so nice to see her as we don't get to meet up very often as she lives 99.9 miles away according to the AA routefinder website!

It was also super to see all the bloggers from the first V&H Fair once again and to meet some new ones who I've only exchanged blog comments with up to now. Christine, of the Sea Garden, was placed opposite me, beside her friend Jane (Jane and the Happy Crow). It was a treat to catch up with her again - she was one of my regular customers when I used to do the 3-day Shepton Mallet Antiques Fair, and I haven't seen her since last May when I did my last Fair at Shepton (other than when she came as a shopper to the last V&H). A lovely lady with gorgeous items on her stand, which I only had time to view very briefly.

I can't believe I didn't get to do any serious shopping. I managed a quick whizz round, buying a couple of pieces from Amanda (Shabby Chick - feathers and a gorgeous embroidered teacosy that needs a padded lining) and Penny (French nightshirts, which make good gardening smocks!). I also became the proud owner of Bluebell - Niki's beautiful doll with the patchwork skirt shown in her post on Friday. I intended to go back to Viv's stall to look more carefully, and I flew past both Sal's and Lucy's stands in the rush.

I made some amazing sales and I'd like to thank everyone for their lovely comments and for handing over their hard-earned cash! Finally (yet another Oscar speech) thanks indeed to Jayne and Michele for all their hard work and planning. Everything ran so smoothly, and as I mentioned in a comment on someone's blog earlier, I've never seen so many happy, smiling faces for such a long time in one place. Perfect!

I went home via Bradford-on-Avon to join in Hannah's 35th birthday barbecue. I managed to last for a couple of hours, but then had to admit defeat and set off for home. Such a shame, as it was a beautiful evening, in lovely surroundings, with a wonderful mix of family and friends. Here she is with her matron of honour (I can't quite believe it's 2 years since you all shared the wedding with me - and certainly don't believe she's 35! It was surely only yesterday ...)