Saturday, 17 September 2011

A Triple Bill

Good to tell I went back to work last week, after my week off - the blogging stopped!

I've had a lazy day today. Chris was out all day on a 'bee thing', so in between doing a few loads of washing, I've basically sat and watched some of these:

Hmm, what shall I watch??
while doing a bit of this:

Treble, treble, treble, chain, treble, treble, treble...
and eating this:

Coffee and toast
and, um, snacking on these:

Mmm, dolly mixtures - my favourite!

I've unintentionally had a bit of a Judi-Dench-and-Maggie-Smith-athon, because I started out watching Notes On A Scandal, starring Judi and Cate Blanchett. I've had the dvd for a few years, but never watched it before. Cate B plays a teacher, Sheba, who has an affair with a student, and Judi is an older spinster-with-a-cat type teacher, Barbara, at the same school, who finds out about it. It wasn't a bad film, but I can't say it blew me away either. I found parts of it kind of far-fetched, and I didn't really like the characters or find them believable.

Next I watched another film which I've had for ages, but never watched before, Ladies In Lavender. This stars Judi again and Maggie Smith as sisters living together in a cottage on the Cornish coast in the 1930's. The morning after a storm they find a young man washed up on the beach, and they take him into their home and nurse him back to health. They discover he's Polish and can't speak English, although over time they teach him the language. They also find that he can play the violin really well. It's quite a sweet little film, although in a way not a lot happens in it. The story of how he came to be washed up on the beach is never really explained; I think we're meant to assume that he fell from a ship during the storm, and I think at first he may have suffered some memory loss. Judi Dench and Maggie Smith are great in it, and I was quite envious of their little coastal cottage. Although mine would be on the west coast of Scotland, not Cornwall. No offence, Cornwall.

I managed a third film, although I've had to stop it half way through while we had tea, and Chris has just been watching Dr Who, so I'll have to pick it up again in a little while. I chose Gosford Park, which I've seen a few times, but I really like, and which just so happens to star, yep, Maggie Smith! Amongst a brilliant cast which also includes the likes of Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Clive Owen, Richard E Grant, Kristen Scott Thomas, Emily Watson and Stephen Fry. It's a great little murder mystery, and I love the different perspectives of the upper class and the servants down below. I also think it's great that people like Helen Mirren and Richard E Grant, who so easily could've been cast as members of the upper class, were instead cast 'against type' I guess, as the working class.

The crochet that I'm doing is the latest cat blanket, where I tied all my oddments of yarn together and I'm just doing one big randomly patterned granny square. I reckon it's either going to look pretty good when it's finished, or absolutely hideous, depending on how the colours work out. I'm sure the cats won't mind, either way.

I don't know what the weather's been like where you are, but yesterday we had a MASSIVE thunderstorm! Chris picked me up from work and we went for a meal - at this point, it was just a bit drizzly. Towards the end of the meal, we realised the rain was a lot heavier, and we could hear thunder, and then we noticed it was lightning as well. We got in the car and started driving home, and I'm not kidding, the rain was almost of BIBLICAL proportions!! I've never seen anything like it! In fact, I don't know how Chris was managing to drive, because even with the wipers going full speed, I couldn't even see the road through the rain hitting the windscreen. And the amount of water on the road! These weren't puddles, it was like driving through small lakes in places! Eventually the rain eased a bit, and then the sun came out and there was a gorgeous double rainbow, which I managed to take a photo of:

A bit further on, I noticed the clouds looked kind of strange - I guess it was the storm moving further away. I always think of the word 'apocalyptic' when the sky's like this. So I got a few more pics, but this was while we were driving so they're a bit blurry, and they don't really do justice to how amazing it looked:

It was strange seeing the 'bottom' of the cloud, and then blue sky underneath

Another little rainbow, in the clouds
It was definitely an exhilarating drive home!!

Insect news, now. A couple of weeks ago at work, I picked my bag up from under my desk and there was a strange little creature on it. I showed a colleague, and then evicted it outside (like I said before, I don't kill anything if I can help it). I'd never seen anything like it before but I was curious to know what it was, so I tried looking it up on the internet. Eventually I found something which I thought might've been it, but by this time I was kind of forgetting what it looked like. Anyway, last week another one appeared on the desk of another colleague (a male, who wouldn't touch it!), so I caught it and put it in a plastic tub that I keep paperclips in (I tipped them all out first). This time, I remembered to take a photo of it, and here it is:

Excuse the dust!
As far as I can tell, this is a firebrat, a relative of the silverfish. Apparently they prefer hot humid places, so I'm not quite sure what they're doing in our office, although I think they feed on paper, book bindings etc, of which we have a lot. After I'd walked round showing everyone the new 'office pet' I evicted it outside, feeling quite guilty and hoping it would survive. It's quite pretty, really.

Anyway, I think that's all for now, I'm going to finish watching Gosford Park. Even though I've seen it a few times, my memory is so bad when it comes to film plots, I can't actually remember how it ends, so it'll be a surprise. Again!

P.S. I was shocked to discover this week that I'm actually two years OLDER than Postman Pat!! I mean, what's that all about??!!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Tonight's The Night!!

The glitz! The glamour! The sequins! The sparkles! Yes, it's Bingo Night down at my local pub!!

Only joking - it's Strickly Cum Dancin'!!

Tonight is the launch show, where I believe we'll get to find out which celebs (and Nancy Dell'Olio) are dancing with which pros.

Are you a fan, will you be watching? Or do you hate it with a passion?

A couple of years ago I was a big fan, mostly due to this man

who I had a bit of an unhealthy obsession with. In fact, I decided to write a blog about the show, which you can find here or over there in the sidebar - see the one called Millie-Moo and Chewbagga, named after my two cats?

I blogged about the whole of SCD 2009, although I kind of lost interest right at the end after Brian and Ali were voted off (Biased? Moi? Absolutely). The following year, I blogged about Brian's new show, Dancing On Wheels, which was all about the sport of wheelchair-dancing. And then I continued to blog about Over The Rainbow, Andrew Lloyd Webber's search for Dorothy.

September came around and so did the next series of Strictly, but by this point I was a bit fed up with it (partly because The Fortuna had quit) and blogging about it was taking up far too much time every weekend. I persevered to the end of the series, with an increasing sense of apathy, then called it quits.

I wasn't going to bother blogging this time around, I wasn't even sure I'd watch it. But then they revealed the celebs who are taking part, and THANKS FOR NOTHING, DAN LOBB!!! I think I'm going to have to watch it again. So, I might start the blog up again, but if I do, I don't think I'll be writing as much as I have previously, I just don't have time. But just in case you're not a Strictly fan, I'll try and keep the dancing talk away from this blog, and over there on Millie-Moo and Chewbagga.

Right, I'm off to slip into my ballroom gown and heels...

Friday, 9 September 2011

Let's Raaaawwwck!!!

Many months ago we decided to strip the paper from our hall and staircase, and have it all freshly plastered. Chris got a quote from someone, but it was a bit on the high side so he thought "stuff that, I'll do it meself!!" He can turn his hand to most things, especially if it means he can save a bit of money. So he plastered one wall. Then a few weeks later, another one. Then a few weeks later, he started preparing the third one. Then over the summer he kind of got a bit distracted by going beekeeping in every available spare moment, and our poor hall and staircase just sat there, half-plastered.

I didn't nag him about it, because I thought I could use it to my advantage. I'm not exactly the tidiest person in the world, I have little pockets of 'mess' all over the house, and although he doesn't nag me about them, he occasionally asks if I'm going to tidy them. So I thought, if he says anything to me like "are you going to tidy that lot up?", I could remind him that we all have things that we should be doing, but that we just don't feel like dealing with... you know, like plastering...

Anyway, we've both had all this week off work (hence the flurry of blog posts) and at the start of the week, he finally conceded defeat and phoned a plasterer, who gave a reasonable quote and said he could do the work on Thursday and Friday this week. So we are getting plastered, as I type!!

The title of this post refers to the fact that the plasterer's radio station of choice seems to be a local 'soft rock' one, playing such delights as 'Land Of Confusion' by Genesis; 'Who Are You?' by The Who; 'Won't Back Down' by Tom Petty and 'Blaze Of Glory' by Bon Jovi. So I'm rocking out in my chair while I'm blogging :-)

We weren't sure what to do with the moggies. They're indoor cats, we never let them out, and since the plasterer is in and out all day, we needed to shut them in a room. We were going to put them in the bedroom, but that would mean they'd be away from their food and litter tray all day, so instead I decided to bring them both into the living room and shut them in here with me. Mischief is fine with it; he's a bit restless cos he's just really nosy and wants to know what's going on at the other side of the door. Millie is a different kettle of fish. She's unbelievably timid with pretty much everyone except me, and at the sound of a stranger's voice, or even if someone knocks at the door, she burrows under the bedsheets and hides. She spends almost all her time upstairs, so being shut downstairs in the living room did not go down well with her. So to try and make her feel a bit better, I've made her a little hidey-hole on the armchair, by piling up some cushions and putting a throw over it that she can hide under. She's a lot more relaxed now. Although I don't think she was too impressed at having her photo taken.

Ooh, 'Boys Of Summer' by Don Henley, one of my favourites :-)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

More Books...

Just thought I'd mention a few more of my grandma's old books, mainly because I need to get them wrapped in cling film (top tip for keeping the dust off) and put up in the attic.

In no particular order, we have:

I've enjoyed reading the little stories behind such phrases as "look before you leap", "familiarity breeds contempt" and "necessity is the mother of invention".

This is another little book about all kinds of animals; I thought I'd take a photo of two of my favourites, the wildcat and the cat (click the pic to make it bigger):

This is a tiny dictionary, only 2 or 3 inches tall - as you can see it's actually from the 'midget series'!

I'm not religious, but I still think this illustrated Bible is lovely - unfortunately the page was already loose like that, so I was trying not to make it any worse:

This is Gulliver's Travels - there is a plate inside which says it was presented to my grandma at Sunday School in Xmas 1924. It's funny, I can remember when I was about 10 years old, my teacher at primary school 'gently' warned all of us not to write Xmas in her cards - as the holiday was to commemorate Jesus Christ, and Christianity, she wanted to make sure that we used the word Christmas. You'd think a Sunday School would too, wouldn't you?

This is a very scientific book about botany, but I just thought it had a pretty cover, and I liked how they'd matched the page edges to it:

Also, on flicking through this and some of the other books, I've found a few of these:

Pressed leaves. My grandma did have a tendency to hide things in the pages of books and magazines, but so far I've only found leaves and shiny bits of foil, a bit like old sweet wrappers. I once used some birthday money (a £20 note) as a bookmark, and then forgot all about it. Much later, I was giving that book and several others away to one of my mum's friends (I went through a 'romance' phase when I was younger, this was a box full of Silhouette Special Editions; thicker and a bit racier than your standard Mills and Boon!) and I just happened to spot the note sticking out and reclaimed it!

Anyway, I think that's all for now. I'm going to keep a couple of the books downstairs on the bookcase, if I can squeeze them in, but the rest are attic-bound.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

New Feature!!

I say 'new' feature, but I don't really have any others, do I?

Anyway, my New Feature is called... drum roll... "Funny Shop Name Of The Week" (you can sing that in a Harry Hill's TV Burp style, if you're familiar with that show. If not, sing it in any style you want).

'Funny Shop Name' is fairly self-explanatory, but the 'Of The Week' bit will, I suspect, become more 'as and when I spot another'.

Sadly, my new feature has already fallen at the first hurdle, because I saw a Funny Shop Name this morning but didn't manage to take a photo of it, as we were just driving past. Anti-climax, I know. So you're just going to have to take my word for it.

Here we go then, picture the scene: It's a Cake Decorating Supplies shop called..............

Board To Tiers


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Old Books

Am I on a roll, or what??

I mentioned the old books I'd brought back from my mum's, which had originally belonged to my grandma. There were a couple which caught my eye, and I'd thought I'd share them with you.

The first one is A New Family Herbal, or to give it it's full title: "A New Family Herbal; Or A History And Description Of All The British And Foreign Plants, Which Are Useful To Man, Either As Food, Medicine, Farming Purposes, Or In The Arts And Manufactures. Compiled From The Works Of Hill, Woodville, Don, Culpepper, And Other Botanists, By Richard Brook." A quick google suggests it may have been originally published around 1847, but this is the 4th edition, which may be from 1851.

The title page
By the way, you'll have to excuse fingers on these photos - the books didn't really want to stay open on their own, so I was holding them with one hand and taking the photo with the other.

As previously mentioned, it seems that my grandma was into her natural remedies, as there are lots of handwritten 'recipes' for various ailments. The front inside cover especially is devoted to asthma and how to deal with it, such as having very strong coffee for breakfast, and the last substantial meal should be taken no later than 5pm.

The book has several colour plates of plants and flowers, like this:

The picture in the top right is the Lime Tree, so I thought I'd share what the book has to say about it:

"A tree common enough in parks and gardens, and when in flower very beautiful and fragrant; the trunk is thick, and the branches grow with a tolerable regularity. The leaves are short, broad, of a figure approaching to round, but terminating in a point, and serrated about the edges. The flowers grow on long yellowish stalks, with a yellow, oblong, and narrow leaf upon them. They are themselves also of a yellowish white colour, and extremely delicate and sweet smell. The fruit is roundish and small.
The flowers of the lime are useful in Epilepsy, and nervous fevers, made into a decoction, or infusion they will be found serviceable in asthma, or irritating coughs; as the whole tree, but more particularly the inner bark is full of a soft mucilage, it is exceedingly serviceable in burns, scalds, and gouty swellings, or inflamatory rheumatic affections of the joints. The powdered leaves may be taken in doses of half a drachm, to relieve urinary heats. The juice as obtained by tapping the tree near the root, is considered of great use in the falling sickness. The following preparation will be found useful for all the purposes for which lime is applied.
Take of Lime flowers.......... four drachms
Liquorice Root....................four drachms
Boiling Water......................three pints

Infuse for a quarter of an hour. A pleasant and wholesome drink for asthmatic people; to be taken warm."

So there you go, if you have the falling sickness, you need to go and tap a lime tree! Speaking of which, I was going to post the video to one of my favourite Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds songs, Lime Tree Arbour, but for some reason when I embedded it it just kept causing my internet to freeze, so I won't bother, because I wouldn't want it to cause the same problems to anyone else. It's probably just a problem with my laptop, but better safe than sorry. Shame, cos it's a gorgeous song.

Anyway, back to the book. At the back are a couple of line drawings of human anatomy - they haven't shown up very well in the photo as they are so finely drawn, but I like how the skeleton appears to be just leaning nonchalantly against a sideboard!

In the front cover my grandma has also issued the following warning:

Steal not this book
For fear of shame
For in this book
You see the owner's name
For when you die
The Lord will say
"Where is that book
You stole that day?"
And if you say
You do not know,
The Lord will say
"Go Down Below".

You wouldn't mess with that, would you? It's similar to another that I must've seen somewhere and which I used to write in my own books when I was younger:

Steal not this book
My honest friend
Or fear the gallows
Will be your end
Up the ladder,
Down the rope, 
And there you'll hang, 
Until you choke!

Somehow the punishment seems a bit excessive for the crime!

The second book which caught my eye is "The Natural History Of All The Most Remarkable Quadrupeds, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles & Insects, Abridged From Buffon, Goldsmith, Cuvier, And Other Eminent Naturalists, By C. Mackenzie, Esq." which may have been first published around 1860:

Again, it has some lovely drawings in it, although these are not in colour, and there are descriptions of almost every creature you can think of, and some I've never even heard of:

If you want to hear what Charles Mackenzie has to say about any of the above, let me know in the comments and I'll either photograph it or write it up, but I thought I'd leave you with his very last entry, on The Common Ear-wig:

"Is too well known to require description. the wings of the Ear-wig are of a curious and beautiful construction; they are very large, in proportion to the size of the animal, transparent, and slightly varied with the colours of the rainbow; they are most wonderfully folded under their short sheaths. The Ear-wig flies only by night, and can hardly be made to open it's wings by day-light. The female deposits her eggs in a place where they will be secured from too great heat or moisture: the larvae are very small, and very little different from the parent; after growing, and many times changing it's skin, the likeness becomes complete. The female Ear-wig is said to guard her young with all the assiduity of the mother hen; covering them with her own body, &c. The Ear-wig feeds chiefly on decayed fruit and vegetable substances; but when in want, it will devour it's own species. It is now considered as certain, that the Ear-wig has no propensity to take up it's abode in the human ear."

So rest assured, your ears are safe!

In The Garden

Ooh look, another post, I've already beaten August's record!

I completely forgot yesterday about my monthly garden photos, so I'll post them now. I got a bit bored with this idea, about half way through the year, partly because I saw gardens on some of my favourite blogs, and kind of got garden envy! But I'll see it through to the end of the year. Ours is ok, I guess, at least we've got one, and it would be bigger if we didn't have the garage. Anyway, needless to say, now that we're in September and heading into Autumn (or are we already there?), the garden is starting to look a little bit tired. We've had quite a lot of wind and rain in the last few days, so it's taken a bit of a battering from that too.

The leaves on the plum tree are looking a bit droopy now

At least I managed to take the photos on Monday morning while it was still sunny, because I think it's hardly stopped raining since then!

At the weekend I put the clothes airer up to hang out my washing and noticed that something, some kind of insect, had laid eggs on one of the lines. I didn't take a photo of them, but they were tiny and laid in lots of really neat rows, two or three inches in length. I didn't move them (live and let live!), just put a couple of pegs either side so I knew to avoid that part of the line. Anyway, later that afternoon I was bringing my washing back in, and I looked at the eggs to find that they'd already started hatching! And it turns out, they were caterpillars!

You can see how small they are next to the peg
Some of them are suspended on silk threads, like a web, and I think they were probably getting blown away in the wind. I tried to get some close up shots using my macro extensions, but I didn't have anything to brace myself against and I was wobbling around all over, so they're a bit blurry:

The next day I checked, and all the caterpillars had gone, and it seems like there was just the empty eggs left (with a few that were either late to hatch, or not going to). It looks like teeny-tiny bubble wrap!

So I don't know where they all went, and since they were so small I can't identify them, but I'd love to know what they were going to grow up to be!

Speaking of moths and butterflies (well, kind of) we had a beautiful moth in the garden a couple of weeks ago. In fact, it flew into the kitchen, but we put it out and it landed on the window. I put my hand next to it and it climbed on, and I held it like that for ages, but unfortunately didn't have my camera with me. By the time I'd been back inside to get it, the moth had landed on the house wall, and I couldn't get a very good photo of it. If I've googled it correctly, it's a Red Underwing Moth:

My photo
A better photo, from
As you can see, I like my creepy-crawlies! I've always been interested in wildlife, and bugs, and insects etc ever since I was little. The only things I'm not too keen on are spiders (not very original, but there you go) and Crane-Fly or Daddy-Long-Legs or Jimmy Spinners or whatever you call them. I try to never kill them; if I can I'll evict them out of the house, although I have to confess that if Mischief and Millie spot a spider, I just leave them to it, and I'm afraid the spider usually becomes a snack for one of them. Does that make me an accessory to the crime?

Anyway, I think that's it for the garden photos this month.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Past And Present

Wow, so I managed a whopping total of one post in August - must try harder! Thank you for the comments on there, sorry I didn't reply to them. To be honest I had a bit of a break from blogging in general, not just from writing mine, but from reading them too, although I've since caught up with everyone! I can't stay away for long!

So you're probably thinking, if she hasn't been blogging, she must've had loads of time to finish the crochet bag or start a new blanket or something else, but... erm, no. The bag is still ongoing. I am not quick at crochet, and I like to do it whilst watching tv/a film, which slows me down even more because I'm not giving it my full attention. I could probably do it quicker with no other distractions. As mentioned in the-only-thing-I-wrote-in-August, I did watch Gormenghast (while crocheting), which was as brilliant as I remember. How can you not love characters with names like Steerpike, Barquentine, Flay, Dr Prunesquallor, Nanny Slagg and Swelter?? I have read the trilogy too, and it's probably in my Top 5 favourite reads. If you've ever been to Morecambe on the West Coast, there's a book shop on the front* which is so crammed with books, they appear to be holding up the ceiling. Several years ago, on a day out with my mum and dad, I found the three novels, all separate rather than one volume, in that book shop and couldn't believe my luck. They were in really good condition, and I liked the artwork on the covers, so I snapped them up. And thankfully the ceiling didn't fall down.

Anyway, I digress. Crochet-wise, there hasn't been much progress. However, the other week I was sorting out my stash, and found I had loads of little bits of yarn left, balls not much bigger than a ping-pong ball, that kind of thing, and I wondered what to do with them. I decided to randomly tie them all together and make one giant ball with which I would crochet - you guessed it! - another cat blanket!! In the end I also used some whole balls of yarn that I had, which I didn't really like and couldn't see me using for anything else, but they were only those (I think) 25g size, or maybe 50g. So the random ball of yarn actually became quite big. I've made a start on the blanket, it's just going to be another granny square, and let me tell you, it's not going to be pretty! There's loads of red and blue in there, but also some yucky brown and cream flecked stuff, and a dark brown with a kind of metallic blue and gold thread running through it. I know! But I'm sure the cats won't mind, and once they've slept on it for a while it will become a kind of uniform black and cream fur shade anyway. Plus it made a bit of room in my stash box, which can only be a good thing.

I just wanted to mention a couple of other things I've watched lately. Finally got around to seeing Bridesmaids, which was really funny, especially the bit in the wedding dress shop. Then the other day I found a dvd of The Notebook and realised I'd never watched it. So I watched it! Reading reviews on t'internet, there seems to be a general love-hate attitude towards this film, it's unbelievable characters, flimsy plot and predictability. I wouldn't know, I was too busy swooning over Ryan Gosling!!

Well, hello!

Hello again!

I'll even forgive you for the facial hair!

Sorry, just had to get that out of my system!! Seriously, it's not the greatest film ever made**, but it's a nice soppy, romantic story if you like that sort of thing, and even though you could see the ending coming a mile off, I still bawled my eyes out, cos I cry at everything!! But did I mention that Ryan Gosling is a bit cute?? By the way, I've never read the novel, and I don't know if I will now. I once read an interview with Jodi Picoult and she was asked what's the worst book she's ever read, and she said The Notebook, although didn't explain why. I wish she had, I'd love to know!

I went to my mum's on Sunday, and as always, came back with more than I went with! She's on a mission to clear her house of as much clutter as possible, while she still can. My grandma (mum's mum) was a hoarder, and basically my mum doesn't want to end up like that, so instead she gives everything away. Trouble is, she gives it to me, so it's looking like the hoarding gene might've skipped a generation! Actually, I'm not that bad, I've been giving away old cassettes and cd's and books that I'm not bothered about. The things I'd rather keep are family stuff, with sentimental value. For example, she's been sorting through a lot of my grandad's things, from when he was in the army, and I was horrified to learn that she'd burned a lot of it. She says it was just things like army papers with his name on; I think she was planning on taking everything to the charity shop so she disposed of the personal stuff, but I told her that that's exactly the kind of thing that she should be keeping! There's no point worrying about it now, it's gone, but I told her that anything else like that, I'd rather keep it and bring it here, even if all I do with it is stick it in my attic. So I came back with some old photos and some things from his army regiment, like buttons and badges etc. There was also a white handkerchief, in the middle of which he'd embroidered the emblem from his regiment. All around this are signatures, and my mum says they are the names of the men he was with when he was a prisoner of war. There are a lot of names. Every time I look at it it makes me cry. Just thinking about the friendships that were made in such difficult, awful circumstances, and the fact that he made the effort to do such a simple thing as get all those men to sign a piece of material. And wondering what happened to them all. I feel like I want to do something with it, so I'm thinking of starting another blog, basically just to record what I know, which isn't much really. But I'll take photos of what I've got, before I store them in the attic, and I can always add to it if I find out any new information. I don't know if I'll make it public or keep it private, I suppose it depends on how much personal info I put on there. I just thought it would be a good way of keeping a record of my family's past.

All those names...

I also brought some other things back, which I want to show you. One of my great-aunts was a bit of a demon crocheter, and there are some lace doilies which I think are crocheted. I don't know what kind of thread she used, but it's got a lovely, soft silky feel to it, but it's kind of heavy and floppy too, if you know what I mean. As you can see, they are a gorgeous purpley-lilac and white swirly pattern. What do you think? Is it a type of crochet? I tried to get some close-up shots of the stitches, but they didn't really work, if you click on the pics though you can make them a bit bigger, and you may be able to zoom in even more:

There is also a tablecloth and napkins which have a print on them that looks like the kind of thing you'd embroider over, but I'm not sure if it is, as it also looks good enough as it is in it's current state.

I think it probably is meant to be embroidered over, don't you?

The tablecloth, which covered the double bed!

And another amazing (to me) item which my mum let me have is my grandmother's wedding dress. It's really badly creased, and I don't know if I dare iron it - I might have a go, using a towel as protection (edited to add: I had a go, but mainly just the skirt part and the sleeves). My grandma was about 4' 11"; I have a photo of her in the dress, which touched the floor and had a short train (if my mum will let me, I'll post the photo). A few years ago I actually managed to squeeze into it (and it was a squeeze!), but as I'm around 5' 8"-ish, it came to just past my knees! I probably couldn't get a leg in it now! It's mostly plain satin, with some embroidery around the neckline. My mum says the sleeves, which are long and full, were made up of loads of fine pleats, but they're not now, and even if I do iron it, I obviously won't be attempting anything like that. There's also a veil which is made up of the finest netting, but it's been really badly tangled over the years, and I think it's almost disintegrating in places. But it's still soooo soft to the touch, it's like putting your hand into cotton wool or something, I can't describe how soft it is. So I'm going to do something with the dress and the veil - try and tidy them up the best I can, and then maybe buy a nice storage box and a load of tissue paper to sit them in.

The dress, looking more like lingerie! The longer part at the back was the train.
The bodice, which I'm afraid I didn't attempt to iron
Showing the full sleeves
The head-dress of the veil, looking a bit worse for wear...

I don't know if you can see how fine the netting is, it's almost like a spider's web

As well as the above, I also brought back a load of old books, most of which had also belonged to my grandma. She was an avid reader, and she especially seemed to love books about plants (she loved gardening) and nature and animals. I think she was also into 'natural remedies' as there were a few hand-written notes in one book, such as for "Rheumatism - Use the water potatoes have been boiled in, bathe your feet in the water" and for a bowlegged child "bathe the legs with rock salt, it strengthens the bones"! The books are fascinating, so I think I'm going to do a separate post about them.

So yesterday was interesting, and a bit emotional. When I got home I started trying to find out about the camp where my grandad had been a POW, and as you can imagine, once you start reading all the stories, it's pretty horrific. I think he was only a prisoner for a few months though, and then I think he may have escaped (I have a handwritten account by him, which unfortunately finishes mid-sentence so we'll never know exactly what happened), but he was certainly one of the lucky ones in that he came back home and lived a good long life, so at least his story had a happy ending.

I'm writing this post in a bit of a hurry because we're going to a car auction soon, as I want a new motor. We won't be buying anything, just having a look at the kind of vehicles going through, and what sort of money they're making. So I think I'm going to post this now, but come back to it later and add a few more photos. Bye for now!

(Edited to add: I came back and posted some photos!)

* Whenever I say that, it always reminds me of a bit in 'Notes From A Small Island' by Bill Bryson. It's his first visit to the UK, and late at night in some seaside town he's trying to find a B&B. He knocks on one door, and a grumpy old lady opens an upstairs window and asks what he wants. He tells her, and she tells him to try so-and-so's on the front, then shuts the window. He's left standing there, bemused, thinking "on the front of what?" Hee hee! He tells it much better than me, by the way, which is why he's a bestselling writer, and I'm not...

** If you haven't already noticed by now, I'm not great when it comes to reviewing books or films. I can really enjoy something, or really hate it, but when I have to say what I thought of it I usually manage no more than "it was really good" or "it wasn't very good". I really wish I could think of more interesting ways to describe my thoughts about something. I think it's probably down to some deep fear of getting it totally wrong and completely missing the point, or something like that. And didn't I just say 'really' a lot??

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