Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Weird Fish

Yeap, sums up my holiday. 

Devastating Brexit, pound crashing to an all time low, Britain without an effective government, the rise of Fascism on our streets, Boris and Farage hiding away like children who know they've done something wrong.

We both got called in for hospital appointments and basically you have to attend because waiting times to get them are so long. Poor hubby has to go for further investigation, a day's stay in hospital for tests where he has to be aneathetised for them to be done, and those words again from the Doctor. "Don't worry."

As for me I had the pin prick tests to find out how my allergies were doing. My arm looked like a strange hedgehog without it's spikes afterwards. I didn't do as the young girl across from me did, photograph it on my phone and send it to all my friends. I'm actually doing a bit better although I found out I am still allergic to some fresh foods like lettuce and cucumber, but can eat strawberries if I'm careful about it (test first).  As dear hubby pointed out - just in time for Wimbledon!

We had to alter the prices on my book because of the currency drop, I was getting 57p instead of £1.75, so spent a day working on the books.

But we did go out. Determined to enjoy our holiday so here is where we went;
 Berrington Hall, Shropshire
Hanbury Hall, Warwickshire
 Water lily at Hanbury
 One of my own roses, very perfumed. We spent a day in our garden.
Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire. I used to work here and I loved it!

 Kenilworth Castle Elizabethan Gardens

  The Queens tower, and I went right to the top - it was a struggle but I was determined.
Not my best picture! Scared and pleased at the same time. I don't like heights. That tiny dot on the path is a person, that'll give you some idea of how high up this is!

1940s poster which applies just as much in today's world as it did during the war.

We're trying again to get to Lyme Regis which was where we were headed before we got
called to the hospitals but this weekend we will be at Holdenby Hall in Northamptonshire
fighting with the Sealed Knot, who have always been on different sides, and always work together to show you a good fight, where hopefully no-one gets hurt!

Love to you all - I mean that - divided we fall after all - hello, poet and didn't know it!


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Cosford Air show

My dear hubby loves planes, I love my dear hubby and the Red Arrows, match made in heaven!

How cool am I looking?  Pity about the bit of propeller!
More WW1 bi-planes
The Red Arrows - the best air display team in the World!
Five and a half hours of aircraft!  Didn't get into the Museum to look at their 1950s classroom and see their 1940s singers, perhaps next time. 
Hubby paid for his day under the clouds by getting his head sunburnt - he looked like
a red beacon! But as he says at least his hat didn't blow away.
Have been sorting out my materials to get started on the authentic clothes, but always something to keep me busy and stop me from getting started!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Summer rain

It's hot and thundery, and the rain is torrential. The garden is a sea of lush greenery, the bushes and trees are so full and fluffy it's hard to see any road signs here at the moment.
Somebody has been thinking it's fun to turn the few road signs you can see around. This  happens every year during the tourist season. 

People heading for the Cotswold Distillery or the Wychford Pottery end up down a muddy farm track to a dead end with barns!

We went out for a drive and missed a turning due to the fluffiness of the trees and ended up just outside our village, strangely it was the road where I occasionally see my character Hilary running with her terrier.

I wrote the Hilary Long mysteries about two years ago while I was ill, and first saw Hilary jogging along the "top road" as we call it, in real life about a year afterwards.  I've seen her once again since.

The Summer in Overdown is selling well again. As my books are seasonal they tend to sell in the right season. I was suprised to find I have a sort of fan club in Japan called The Long Club!  My Cotswold readers are always eager for the next episode, and I am in the middle of  the latest Hilary Long Mystery.

Agatha Christie said she saw Poirot twice in her life, and was happy to see him.   Perhaps when we create these people they actually come to life. How weird would that be?
The rain is clattering on the roof, the cats are asleep on the sofa, wet birds are pulling half drowned worms out of the lawn.  We had a bird fly in yesterday, what a palava (Victorian word!). It's parents, a blackbird and the female - light brown - were going beserk shrieking and chattering and mobbing our poor cats who were sitting outside and had nothing to do with the daft chick that flew through our french doors!

Andy got him out, he sat it on the tub with the chives in it, to get it's breath and then it flew into the hedge.  However, the parents didn't let us off that easily, they screamed and chattered at us until we had been completely well and truly told off!
Anyway the rain has stopped so it's time for me to make tracks.  Hope you all had a lovely weekend,



Thursday, 9 June 2016


I work in one of the most wonderful places that is managed by the National Trust. Yesterday we had around a thousand visitors and only 10 staff to look after them. Why?

I have my own theories.

More people are looking after their grandchildren than ever before. They have spent their lives bringing up their own children, now when they should be getting a well deserved break they are unpaid childminders. So they can't use their time doing what they'd love to do, such as working a couple of days a week in a National Trust House.

My next theory is that the general public are so rude to us. I thought they were coming out to enjoy themselves, but they come in wearing their RBF's (resting bitch faces). Complain about everything, pick things up, slap the furniture, and when asked politely not to do so,
always say. "I didn't do it."  Thereby calling me a blind liar - because I actually SAW them do it which is why I asked them to stop.

Deep breath here, while I say that a lot of our visitors are lovely, ask interesting questions and do appreciate the collection. It's so easy to forget the nice people as they now in the minority.

Yesterday someone thought it would be funny to smear chocolate on the marble walls of the staircase as they went down it. Making their mark on history my husband suggested, why I asked exasperated, WHY ? WHY would anyone do that?

A little girl was swinging on a light switch and when asked to stop by a kindly warden,her mother snapped, "Who woke up and made you God?" When the warden said "I'm here to look after the house."
The mother replied "We own the house, we own the National Trust so we can do what we like."


You may pay to get in, you may be a member, but you do NOT own a charity started by
a kindly Victorian lady, Octavia Hill in 1895. She wanted to preserve beauty and historical places for everyone to appreciate. She also worked with the poor giving them better living conditions and open spaces to enjoy to improve their lives.

Educate, have fun, for ever, for everyone. It's a loan if you like, and we have to look after it
for EVER.  The families who share their houses and collections with the National Trust are
often very involved with the properties.

It's a priviledge to walk where history was made, to look at paintings by the famous masters and in the case of where I work, at Waddesdon, new upcoming artists as well.

So smile at the Wardens who are on their feet for over five hours or more with ten minute tea breaks and twenty for lunch.  Don't be rude, there's no call for it, we however badly provoked, are never rude to you. Keep hold of your youngsters and explain things to them, point out interesting items, or if they are unhappy take them out to the grounds and let them play in the woods or the playgrounds.

For ever, for everyone, won't last very long if we abuse it, and as the supermarkets say
"when it's gone, it's gone."



Tuesday, 7 June 2016

In the Making - 17th Clothes

Just a quick catch up, I'm going to make a new gown this week for Holdenby Hall.

OK, you're right, making a a gown for a whole building IS a bit impractical! : ) !

I haven't made myself a gown for ages, I make for other people and hardly ever for me, but it's time to start making one for myself.

I have boxes and boxes of beautiful materials, yards and yards of silks, satins,  & embossed embroidered materials in greens, golds, blues, reds, burgundy. I have black nets and cream lace and all sorts of trimmings, points and ties and fancy buttons, and every colour of cotton and silk thread under the sun.

My fingers are itching to start so I won't be able to write for a bit, then I'll  post up the photos.

Why am I telling you this?

Well I always do what I say, if I hadn't told you I would have found a way to get out of it!

So see you later Alligator - in a while crocodile!

Friday, 3 June 2016


Wish I could go on holiday. At present, a week away is not on the cards.
This is the reason why. My poor cat who misses us so much and refuses to go to the toilet in the cattery while we are away. 
Happy enough now I might add on my broiderie anglaise duvet cover!
He's coming up for nine now, and has cost us an absolute fortune at the vets.
When I rescued him he was barely three weeks old and eating horse poo to keep alive.
It ruined his stomach, so now he has special food.

Put him down my friend said the other day, he's only a cat. Give yourselves a break.
There's always a third way, because this little chap didn't ask for what happened to him,
and he is a cheeky loving little boy who is loved greatly in return by us.  We will day trip and have the odd overnight stop. Strange you can take dogs on holidays but not cats.

Here are few photos of last years holiday in Dartmouth, Devon.

So this will have to do for the moment, that's what memories are for after all.


Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Pinch punch first of the month!

Haven't got time to finish the last few things I like about the UK with photos. 

So I'll just say: 
9. Poppies in Norfolk. .
10. Ice cold Scottish lochs.
11. NHS, when it works it's good!
12.Speciality beers Wychwood, Hooky, Spitfire.
13.Country Houses and their History.
14.Strange customs like Cheese rolling.
15.Our literary heritage, from the Brontes to Judge Dredd and our historic heros like Lord Nelson and Wellington.

Didn't have time to write much after yesterday's run of bad luck which was:-

Hubby's car had punctured tyre.
Cat to vets again - costly.
Hotpoint man came 3 hours late, and didn't fix the tumble dryer, but DID scratch my
washing machine taking the dryer out to try to fix it.
Agent didn't like my new book.
Not being invited to a friends wedding because only her "real friends" were invited.
Only known her for 20 years and listened to her woes and helped her out numerous times.

Yesterday was a horrible day and I'm glad it's over.

Let's hope the 1st June brings better things.
Pinch, punch, first of the month, and no returns!
Punch and a kick for being so quick!

Old English first day of the month tradition. Done gently, I might add!