Sunday, 19 April 2015

Walking with herbivores

We've had another busy week at pennypincher cottage.  Despite the recent hot weather, we managed to complete the chicken run a couple of weeks ago, with temporary summer roof (old glass clear tarpaulins lashed on!), and have now created a little sitting out area under the already in situ pergola.  I managed to move 9 large paving slabs across the garden, and actually felt like I had achieved something doing so.  Actually I did achieve something, a couple of strained back muscles!  We now have flower beds around the drive as well, which adds to the kerb appeal of the place. I've also riddled a lot of gravel off the garden in an area near the back door where we want to create a wood shed.

Here's the almost finished chicken run, and some assorted garden debris!

The tenants

OH has been working crazy hours recently, and helping out (for free) at the rugby club with their sound system, and I've been doing the garden, so we spent the day relaxing on Friday.  I couldn't resist a quick charity shop rootle on Saturday morning but only spent 50p.  This lovely summer top from Gap has a side zip fastening so fits really well, and is fully lined too. I found it in my favourite independent animal charity shop where they often have large baskets of clothes outside for 50p or a pound. 

Today we have been for our weekly walk around the village, the lambs are getting bigger and now, instead of running from us they follow us!  They were in another field away from the public footpath and I imagine this could be a reason for their bravery.

 We walked down a lane we've not been down before, and quite frankly I'm not sure about driving down due to its narrowness, and the national speed limit signs which I think is ridiculous!  Could you go down this lane at 60 mph?

I couldn't and wouldn't and don't think anyone should either.

We soon came across a set of steep steps in the bank, a way of getting off the lane and up to the public footpaths running through the fields, known locally as the Devil's steps, apparently.

Very steep!  Nice views from the top though!

Just a couple of fields from home now, nice gateways to pass through

and a glade of trees to walk round

Past the church, and we are home!

I do like those twin bootscrapers by the door

My walking outfit

Moto jeans £1, Tommy Hilfiger rugby shirt £1, both charity shopped, brand new Hi Tec walking shoes £10 (reduced from £35) from The Original Factory Shop in Stourport on Severn, and a warm Cotton Traders parka shaped fleece, bought new.  It costs hardly anything to look this cheap!

This week we have the architect coming, who will do some millimetre perfect measuring up for the builder and chat about our ideas for altering the layout of the cottage (honestly, who puts a downstairs loo next to the lounge, who?!)

I'm hoping to get some semblance of a woodshed constructed this week.  Give it 7 days and we'll see!

Linking up with Patti's Visible Monday!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Croome with(out) a view

I hope you've all been having the stunning weather that we have had here in Worcestershire over the past week!  It gradually got warmer and warmer until Thursday when I was burnt to a crisp whilst doing some painting outside in the garden.  As a consequence I had to wear long sleeves when we visited Croome Court and park on Friday.

Croome (managed by the National Trust) is in South Worcestershire, and our 45 minute journey there was memorable for the fact that we didn't pass through any towns or cities, it was just all pretty country roads, absolute heaven!  

The property itself was remodelled by Lancelot "Capability" Brown, his first commission, and the interiors were done by Robert Adam.  There are no furnished rooms in the property, as it has had many varied uses over the past 100 years, namely a boys school and during the Second World War it housed the Dutch royal family and RAF Defford.  It has also been used by Hare Krishnas.  

We were expecting the usual spectacular views of the Malverns from Croome, but unfortunately, due to the previous day's hot weather and apparently lots of sand blowing in from the Sahara, the Malverns were shrouded in mist.  They are usually pretty obvious from the view below

It was warm enough for sandals though

As I said, the insides are pretty bare, there are still a few grand bits on show, namely this fantastic marble Adam fireplace, the mantle is well over six feet off the ground

Rather splendid ceilings

Ridiculously high doorways with broken pediments (I'm using OH for scale here as he is 6'2" tall)

and ornate plasterwork and gilding, redone by the Hare Krishnas I believe

I have to admit this isn't my taste

Outside, we wandered around a small part of the substantial grounds, which appear to stretch as far as the eye can see and are pretty much man made by Capability Brown.  He created a lake, and a river, designed and built many follies and this lovely church which he positioned on top of a hill, the interior being designed by Robert Adam

Each twist and turn of a path in the grounds reveals follies, I do love this rotunda

More interesting gateways!

and the odd statue dotted here and there, this one is of Pan

and some modern additions!

The house itself is presently undergoing a huge amount of restoration work, and is almost completely covered in scaffolding and protective wrapping

A shame but ultimately necessary.

Back to reality, and this week I managed only one bargain buy in the charity shops, this rather nice knitted and fringed waistcoat from the Indigo range at M&S.

                                            At a pound I think it was a great buy!

Have you had any good finds this week?  Do tell if you have!!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Time and tide wait for no man

Time flies when you are having fun, so the saying goes.  It also seems to fly when you are trying to get lots done, even if it isn't fun!  And what's that saying attributed to John Lennon? Life is something that happens while you are busy making other plans. 

I can't believe it is almost four months since we moved into the cottage.  We have done so much to the garden in the wet, windy and wintry months, and are now planting like billy-o! Everything is a muddy mess at the mo so I won't post pictures.  The chicken run is now complete so the girls have their home sorted and have now come into lay for the year.  They are all pure breeds and are too posh to push over winter!  Here's yesterdays eggs, just in time for Easter;

We've been for a stroll to see the new lambs in the nearby fields, they are so funny and make the cutest little bleats!

We also have rabbits playing in the field next to the garden.  Unfortunately, it looks like a couple have become food for the buzzards who hang around the area, there are bits of bunny fluff rolling around on the breeze some days.

Talking of time flying, although I don't remember it, I was christened on Easter Sunday in 1966, mum says it doesn't seem that long ago.  We still have the Gothic Victorian parlour organ! 

 I still have this funny watch necklace that my godfather gave me, I uncovered it recently whilst sorting through all our unopened boxes, it still works too!  I might have to start using it.  Not sure whether it is sixties or 1970's though (it wasn't a christening gift!).

Not much charity shopping has been done this week, but I did have time to grab these lovely bargains yesterday.

Zandra Rhodes 100% silk scarf, new with tags and exclusive to M&S £1.99

Country Casuals linen jacket in a lovely denim blue just £1 

and a nice little silver necklace for £1 too.  Not a bad little haul for £3.99. 

 I'm now on the lookout for a tan leather bag. Curiously, I saw loads of cream leather bags all nice branded ones and all less than a tenner, last week, but I really don't think cream is very me. 

I'll be tucking into my jelly bunnies this afternoon, I'm not a huge fan of chocolate.

Jelly Bunnies, who knew!!

Happy Easter everyone!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

It's just emulsion that's taken me over

Apologies to the Bee Gees for misquoting their words, but I really have been taken over by matchpots this week! 

The windows on the cottage are all white uPVC, and the cottage is white render, so we either have to paint the cottage a different colour, or the windows and doors.  As the windows are almost useless they will be replaced and I have found a local company who do coloured UPVC in all Farrow and Ball colours, so I need to find a colour, no, the colour green.  We will also have traditional style windows while we are at it!  Like these;

Anyway, enough boring house stuff and on to lovely charity shop bargains.  I've passed over so many wonderful bits and pieces this week, things I would have just bought and squirrelled away previously, but now, with all the impending work on the cottage, cannot justify the spend or the space.  So not for me the Italian leather handbag for £9.99, or the Faith wedges for £1, the 50p denim handbag or the 99p gold colour hinged cuff.  Oh no, I'm being frugal .

However, one visit to the charity shops and I'm £8.50 lighter, but I have all these lovely usable things to show for it!

First to catch my eye were these ladies pyjama bottoms, new and size 22 to 24, they will make great sleep shorts for OH when I've cut a bit of the bottoms, only 50p each.

Next,  I've been looking on ebay for old rock t shirts, but happened to spot this in a PDSA shop, on the men's rail for just £2.50.  It is size small, but gold and glittery lettering, I think it's a ladies.  I'm coming over all nostalgic about this as I had a lovely Motorhead sweatshirt when I was 11, which I bought from a shop in the old Birmingham Bullring, when I was first allowed to go into town on my own.

I then had a bit of a mad spend up in an independent charity shop, and for a fiver got the following;

Those fab velvet trousers at the top are Autograph, and were a pound.  I think they are a little too big around the waist but I might just take the whole sides in and wear them as skinny fit velvet flares for the summer! 

The creased-to-hell jeans are Levi's, and I got them for £2, again they look unworn, it must be spring clearout time. Unbelievably, they are marked as size 8, but they look so generous I'm hoping to squeeze myself into them.

The sixties style pinafore at the bottom is a Monsoon piece and as you can see, jumbo cord.  Again it looks unworn, but is covered in light fluff.  It will look great with a bright orange top underneath and tights and boots, it was £2

We are no further forward with any house works this week, architect has been instructed and we await his visit and dimensional drawings. The garden is coming along and the shed has been weatherproofed and had shelving fitted and is being filled.  

Hopefully, even though it is now the Easter holidays for schools, we might venture out for a day next week.  If I manage to twist his arm, OH might take me to one of the local car boot sales tomorrow morning, now he is no longer working on a Sunday!  

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Fifty shades of Spring

It's been another hectic week over here at Pennypincher cottage.  I bagged some charity shop bargains, we've had a visit from an architect, a new shed has been installed in the garden, and the chicken run is almost finished.  We watched an eclipse on Friday morning and popped over to our favourite National Trust properties, Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House afterwards.

First, the bargains, managed to grab this full length Scottish made pure wool ladies kilt for just £1.99, the lovely Jocasi bright Spring green leather bag was a pound, as was the tie dye Gringo bag, and the pretty and solid glass pendant was just 99p. 

OH and I planned a well needed day out on Friday but we hung around at home long enough to watch the eclipse and take a couple of photos.  It wasn't total, but the chance to see anything at all with England's unpredictable weather was a bonus!

The sun was indeed smiling on us!

Off we went to Baddesley Clinton, with packed lunch.  A lovely young National Trust guide took our photo in front of the house.

 I'm wearing old grey check coat from Debenhams sale years ago, Fatface grey leather boots - ebay, grey leather gloves - Christmas gift (but were from Lidl), old Primark dark denim jeggings, silk tie dye scarf - charity shopped and my new green leather charity shopped bag.

We had a wander around Baddesley's lovely gardens and the pretty little church on the estate, St Michaels, where I found this headstone

I know it is inevitable but still slightly creepy!

Anyway, back to Baddesley, here's a few pics for you

Those ducks in front of the main house are actually asleep, they soon woke up when we got the duck food out!

In an attempt to get at the food we had, one duck circumvented the crowd and walked along the bridge,she was thwarted!

We had to get quite close to this scarecrow before we realised he wasn't alive

These sheep near the church were particularly noisy

We saw very few Spring flowers out, a lot less than I thought, seeing as we have plenty of daffodils out at home.
After a sandwich and cup of tea with cake and biscuits, we drove over to Packwood House, which is just two miles down the road.  One of the things Packwood is famous for is sundials, I have no idea how many there are, but there are lots!  The writing reads "Septem Sine Horus" which I think means that there are seven hours where the sundial cannot tell the time because there is no sun (on the longest day), although there are only eight hours marked on this particular sundial anyway.  You can see I took the photo at almost 2pm.

This is my favourite corner of Packwood

The two storey outbuilding, gate in the wall, bench, wrought iron staircase and hidden oven (see pic below) this corner has everything!

I do love a good gate, and Packwood has plenty of them, these are particularly fine

Another lovely gateway, I do like the anticipation you feel when approaching a gate, where does it go to?  The water trough, half hidden behind foliage, is solid lead, huge and monogrammed.  You know you are someone when your water troughs have your initials on them!

Benches, ahh I love a good bench!

OH struggles with clearance on some of the doorways

Packwood is most famous for it's clipped yew trees, representing the Sermon on the Mount.

I was pleased to get the famous house-peeping-through-the-yew shot! Not a tourist in sight either, despite the place being really busy

We had a great day out in the glorious Spring sunshine, but it's back to work for OH, and I need to crack on with work on the house and garden.

Linking up with Patti's Visible Monday!!!