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!!!


Monday, 16 March 2015

Is this the real life or is this just fantasy?

Just like Bohemian Rhapsody, I feel this post will be a bit, umm, long, apologies! 

I've adjusted to village life quite quickly, and am finding it odd that this time last year I was sitting in an office for eight hours a day, processing benefit claims for a living, and commuting from my Victorian terrace in a suburb of Birmingham.  Now I'm waking up in the countryside with field views from most rooms of the house and planning a transformation of this badly renovated early Victorian cottage.  How things change!  You can guess that I don't miss my job, and even though I'm without any income at all at present (save what I can glean from flogging my own bits and bobs on ebay as I'm not claiming benefits either), with a certain amount of pennypinching we are getting along just fine. Wealth is a state of mind, I feel.

So far on the house we have sorted the issue of no tv aerial, no working shower and no electric cooker point. This was all done within a few days of moving in as well as buying several matching kitchen units, the previous owners had removed fitted appliances and the kitchen was also badly configured.

This year we have already had three large trees removed which were swamping the garden.  Initially there were four large trees and we had planned to get rid of all of them. We decided that even though it is close to a road, with careful management by our friendly neighbourhood tree surgeon, we should keep the Oak tree.  An Ash which was too close to the house for comfort, and two conifers, all over 30 feet tall, were removed.  The stumps have now been ground out and a new garden fence has been put up. We have also had a hideous metal shed dismantled and the concrete base removed, and a new shed base laid in a more unobtrusive part of the garden.  I've painted the new fence and planted some slow growing climbers on the road side so they will eventually cover the fence.  We've also planted some small border plants on the road side to pretty it up a little. I received many compliments whilst painting, and even the landlord of the local pub had noticed and approved our little tidy up operation!

Anyway, back to bargains.  As you can imagine, time has been spent concentrating on making the cottage into a home, and this will be ongoing for the forseeable future. However, builders and architect visits are now arranged and we will soon be relying on professionals to move us forward with the home making side of things, so I'm back buying bits and bobs for myself.

I'm getting used to shopping in Bromsgrove now, our nearest town, and discovered a fantastic YMCA charity furniture shop.  We've been in several times and made a purchase each time but I was saddened to discover that it will close down soon to make way for a furniture shop!

My largest purchase was this fab blanket box (YMCA photo from their facebook page) for the princely sum of £25.  It now holds three large bin bags of bedding!

                                           Very country cottage, don't you think?

I have also had a bit of a dabble on ebay.  Now I've been selling on there for over ten years but have never bought much in the way of second hand clothing as I  prefer to feel the merchandise.  However, I impulse bought a lovely pair of Per Una pink suede sandals and noticed the seller was also selling a rather nice cardigan too, so I bid on both and got them for £6.70 the lot.  I did feel for the seller though as it cost more than this to send them to me.

The sandals are as new, and the cardi is just the right size despite the lack of measurements in the listing and me being too lazy to ask!

I do feel lost without my mannekin to display all my goodies though.  She is packed away in mum's old house awaiting the garage conversion into workroom, then she will have her own spot!

I've managed to squeeze in a few charity shop visits, and bargain purchases. in the past few days so look out for sneaky peeks on facebook when I get the photos taken! 

Sunday, 1 March 2015


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Friday, 20 February 2015

In the windmills of my mind

I've had a windmill on my mind for quite a while now.  Chesterton windmill in Warwickshire, to be precise.  A 17th century Inigo Jones designed cylindrical stone tower with 60 foot diameter sails.

I've been pestering OH to go and visit but it always seemed to be just a little too far away from where we were going, to detour to.  Today we had time for a fleeting visit and I am so pleased I was able to visit such a beautiful and functional building, still standing and still able to function if needed, after all the years.

There are some stunning photos on the internet of Chesterton windmill, unfortunately for me it was a drab day so I did the best I could!  There was a professional photographer there when we arrived, she was just finishing up and packing her gear away.  

They might just need to pop this back inside if they want anything ground

As you can see from my attire, it was cold, windy (of course!) and very muddy, good job we put wellies in the car with the flask and cakes! 

I think the overcast sky and sun trying to peep through made it all quite atmospheric 

I find it quite haunting actually

Like the circles that you find, in the windmills of your mind

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Let's talk about socks, baby!

I do love socks, love wearing them and love all the great colours and patterns they come in.  As it's quite cold here at the mo, I'm usually wearing two pairs, knee length ones and short socks over the top.  It might look a bit daft (hey, who's going to see?) but by golly it keeps my feet, and me, warm!

To my surprise, the long pair I pulled out of the drawer this morning are plain black, they are also over 35 years old!  I had them for secondary school back in the very late 70's, when I used to wear them with the tops folded over.  Proves you can't kill 70's nylon!  Here's a then and now shot of the eternal socks, then photo is from school and the year was 1980.


Yes, OK, you can't see the socks very well, but you get the gist.

 This made me think of a pair of socks I blogged about a while ago, a very long hairy (and a bit sparkly) pair of 80's socks we found in mum's loft.  Very odd and would probably do better as stockings actually.

I do like them and I'm not parting with them any time soon but I really don't think I'm going to get much wear out of them either

The next pair, however, may just find themselves on ebay.  I unearthed a lovely old bag full of vintage handkerchiefs the other day, and am preparing them for ebay.  At the bottom of the bag was this garish pair of 1977 jubilee socks, my jubilee socks to be precise!  I wore them frequently that year, at the age of 11.  I do have a photo of me wearing them back then but have been unable to find it, so I took this snap of me wearing them now, they still fit!

If I kept these they would annoy me as the elastic is now a bit slack around the tops.  They still look good though!

Lastly, just to share the type of socks I usually wear, I bought these Pippi Longstocking style socks from the £1 shop around 9 or 10 years ago and they are still going strong too.  I do have about half a dozen different colourways and generally wear them in matching pairs!

Hope you enjoyed the sock show!

Friday, 13 February 2015

A blue shirt for a Fade-To-Grey day

Stop the press, hold the front page!  My first charity shop bargain of 2015, yahay!

Hang on though, it's not mine, oh bugger, it is OH's.

Yep, off we went to Stourport on Severn, faded little Georgian riverside town, for a spot of cheap shopping.  The usual factory outlet shop had nothing that took OH's eye, so we wandered up to the main street of shops, and the many charity shops, and had a good root around.

I am just not in a spending zone at present, with so much to do on the house I'm determined to save every penny.  OH though, was determined to find something, and he did!  This fab new shirt for summer, in one of the many independent charity shops they have in Stourport. 

Without checking, I'm not sure of the brand, but at £2.50 it was a steal, and he is chuffed!

 I like the detail, these shirts are quite well made for modern ones 

I'd like to finish with a little linky to youtube for the classic Visage song Fade To Grey, as a teen in the 80's I enjoyed a bit of New Romanticism and was very sad to hear of Steve Strange's passing.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Chilly Charlecote Park

Now the OH and I are getting back into the swing of something resembling a routine, we are off out on Fridays for a jolly.  This time, we took our flask and biscuits, and drove over the county border into Shakespeare's county, Warwickshire.

We arrived at Charlecote Park, a rather beautiful and imposing 16th century country house surrounded by deer parkland and on the banks of the river Avon, managed by the National Trust, read more here or visit the National Trust page here.  It was eyewateringly cold, but the skies were blue!

The gatehouse is more than impressive

 So is the main house, which was closed, I didn't check the website carefully enough before we set off!

Never mind, we came for a walk and a meal so were not disappointed!

The kitchens and other ancillary areas were open though, so we nosed around there instead 

The old range was very impressive

As was the other fireplace in the kitchen

Lots of lovely old kitchenware, and some mighty fine wooden kitchen cabinets

We soon found the cafe, and shared a home made sausage roll and a hot goat's cheese and grilled veg sandwich.

Outside, wandering around, we found this little building made of old parts of the main house, with panelled walls and stained glass windows.

 I peered through the window to take this photo

The herds of deer were roaming around, William Shakespeare was caught poaching in these grounds as a boy!

We headed to the coach house and had a peek at the Victorian coaches

Even though we couldn't go in, there was enough to admire on the outside of the house

We approached the gatehouse again, from the other side, and left chilly Charlecote

 There's not really much to say about my very uninspiring, yet warm, outfit today, other than you may recognise my Fatface boots, purchased from ebay.  I'm also wearing, Primark jeggings £1 from a charity shop, and my trusty Primark very old parka!