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!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Wonderful Worcestershire!

I just love the English countryside and have photography overload at present as I just can't stop snapping away around the village.

OH and I went for a little walk up the lane at the back of the cottage last Friday morning, it had snowed lightly overnight and everything looked so pretty covered in a light dusting of Winter's finest!

The local flock of sheep didn't appear to be too bothered about the snow, they were very laid back about us (using the public footpath) walking so close, although I did feel that a few were "giving me evils"!

 I do love Winter, I'm a January baby and I adore all the icy pastel colours, clear skies and                               stark skeleton trees you get in the middle of Winter.

                                             Yep, it looks pretty good to me!

  No photos of me for this post, I was too busy snapping away as if I would never see snow or frost again!  Here's one of OH though, appropriately attired for a tramp across the Winter fields.

As you can see, we are happy to be here.

Lots of work being undertaken on the cottage right now, we have so far had three large trees felled and a lovely mature Oak has had a bit of crown tidying by the local tree surgeon, and now looks splendid!  We now have lots of wood for when we get a woodburner here, all stacked up nice and neat.  Next job is getting the garden secure, it is very windy here and we need a good strong fence to replace a rather dilapidated and dangerous one. 

Apologies again for the awful formatting, it appears Blogger is still playing up for me, and I can't remove the ridiculous spacing between text and photos.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Wake up and smell the chocolate - A walk through the birdcage

This post was prepared for publication whilst we were moving, but with all the hoo haa of moving I forgot about it!  Thought I would publish it now so you can all have a read.  Apologies for the poor photo quality, most of them were taken on my cheap mobile phone.

I've done an awful lot of walking around the area we've just moved from in Birmingham in the past six months, probably more than in the past six years.  That's a shame as mostly it isn't bad, but like most urban areas, parts can be a little unsavoury.  Recently I've been walking past Cadbury's, the large chocolate factory nearby, and somewhere I used to hang around when I was younger.  There is a footpath which cuts through the grounds of the factory, it is known as the birdcage walk, come with me for a stroll around Bournville. 

I lived just the other side of the tracks (literally!), and so first port of call is the station.  This is where I would commute from, before I learned to drive.  I used to get the train at 6.50am, and get off just a few stops down the line at Five Ways, so the journey was fairly quick if the trains were running to time.  

Like a lot of things in Bournville, the station is painted Cadbury purple.  On platform one there was a huge gold Cadbury sign and the glass and a half of milk, the Dairy Milk logo. These disappeared years ago, but I used to stand next to them whilst waiting for my early morning train, and must be on some tourist photos from way back, particularly as I remember some Japanese tourists at the crack of dawn, snapping away! 

The photo below is an old one of mine but the view is just the same today

Walking towards the factory itself we go down a private road, Franklin Way.  This road used to be closed one day a year, and did not appear on general printed road maps as it was not adopted.  Everything was maintained by Cadburys, the roads, paving, and street lamps.  It appears to be partially maintained by the local authority so ownership may have changed!

At the bottom of Franklin Way an entrance to the factory is in front of you, on Bournville Lane.  It looks rather odd, a little Arts and Crafts style building with a whacking great factory behind it.

As we walk along Bournville Lane, the main vehicular entrance comes into view, and the extent of the factory becomes clear.  This was also the original entrance to the birdcage walk and the chocolate shop, where workers (or anyone they lent their card to, if you were lucky) could buy discounted products and bags of mis-shapen chocolates in plain sugar paper bags.

Just a little further along, and the original frontage has been substantially remodelled fairly recently, to the dismay of locals.

I don't like it, but I suppose it looks more like the main entrance to a global confectioner than it did. If you look carefully through those windows, you may be able to see the glass and a half sign and in the middle window the word 'Mondelez' this is the new Cadbury name and has been for a few years.  

This view shows the style of frontage that was replaced by the new main entrance.  The new entrance to the birdcage walk and Cadburyworld (from the station) is just to the left of the photo.

The birdcage walk is so called because the path is enclosed on both sides by high railings, giving the impression of being in a birdcage (some imagination needed though!).The entrance now takes you past what was the restaurant on one side and sports field on the other.  A fountain with statue overlooks the sports field.
 The restaurant used to be open on the Cadbury fair day, and where the main entrance is now there was a sumptuous cinema where you could sit and watch cartoons all day! 
 This pavilion is a lovely building, South Birmingham school sports days were held here many years ago and I ran for my school on several occasions, as did my father before me!

Walking through the birdcage proper now, you get the feeling of being enclosed

This is where the smell of warm chocolate starts to envelope you!  I'm not a great fan of chocolate but the smell of warm chocolate is very nice in small doses. 

The Bourne brook runs under the factory, and as a child I used to think it was liquid chocolate as it is always brown.  I imagine it used to be used to power machinery when the factory was built.

 The Bourne enters the factory at this point.  I've actually never seen this area so low before, it is usually a mini chocolate covered lake.  With ducks!

Another view of the maze of buildings within the factory, some with fancy white faced bricks too.

I do love the old architecture on the factory buildings, even though they were industrial they were still built with attention to detail.  These must be some of the prettiest factory doors in Brum!

I'm nearly at the end of the birdcage now, and as we pass the welcome sign for people driving in to Cadburyworld

I exit the birdcage walk and arrive at my destination, Bournville Village Green, home of the Tudor Selly Manor and the Rest House on the green.

Well, I hope you enjoyed the journey through a small piece of Birmingham's industrial history.  I certainly enjoyed the walk, and the smell of chocolate!