Thursday, 29 May 2014

Floral finds, flowery foray .......and the Gas Man cometh...........and sorry

Sorry that I mixed  my 'publish' with 'save' button again!  My dad always said that I was 'bumble footed' - clearly I am 'bumble handed' too.  Sorry also for delay in replying to kind comments - I read them all and chuckle over your responses.  I always seem to be a 'post' behind but I am catching up.

Anyway hello again

Glad that I had added a modicum of mirth  in the last post!

As it is ' was Chelsea' Week last week I thought that I would show you some floral finds which  I have bought within the last two weeks or so. It is funny how things turn up in batches: some weeks it might be suitcases another it will be tablecloths - last week an elderly gentleman was selling his lifetime collection of Meccano!

Anyway I was taking stuff to the charity shop (bags ironically... rather than ironic bags) and spied this lovely floral knitting/craft bag for £2.50.  I was not going to buy it as I have a few others (ahem!) but it is a most splendid floral knitting/craft bag so.......  The colours and combinations of different fabrics are just my cup of tea.  Both sides have a wonderful mix of florals...thus....

I would love to see yards of this fabric

 At the car book someone was selling their collection of King Penguin books though I only bought this one, for a £1.  By pure chance the colours 'go' nicely with the bag.

Short intermission...

 On to a different 'type' of floral with this old embroidered tablecloth. This is possibly the most impeccably embroidered tablecloth in "The Custards' Collection".

 The shading on the threads is just lovely and this was the tablecloth of choice for May Day.

 NO JAM on May Day!

 As always I take my hat off to  embroiderers - what a wonderful thing to make.

 On to some floral fabric (curtains in reality).  Dom and I had to transport some 'stuff' to the local tip  and these curtains were being thrown out...oh dear I sound a proper scavenger.....

Of course I washed them!   Cheeky (again).

If you can please try and match your fabrics with your garden.  Here the actinidia kolomikta goes quite nicely with the washing.

 Also happened to match the tulips


Handily an old hanger also matched the fabric!  

Is there no end to the matchiness!

 A 'china floral' now.   Someone had donated their 'cafe au lait' bowl collection to another charity shop, each bowl was a pound each, I was restrained and chose just four.

More of this Victorian marble top another time - bought from a local architectural salvage yard it was the 'replacement' for the Guinea Pig Hutch and it will be my 'new' potting table eventually.  It may be a year or so before we get round to completing it but I will let you know.

As with fabric, china and books I have a far reaching tastes in gardens and flowers: from municipal planting to trimmed parterres, from wild flowers to rare cultivated forms.  All are welcome, so long as they look 'nice'. I particularly like gardens which hold the unexpected and if I had acreage I would have the Galloping Horse in my garden

Can anyone help identify this bowl below?  I have always used it as a bird bath and bought it from a jumble years ago when we lived in London.  It might be a B&Q special or something older perhaps?  Any ideas I would be grateful as there are no marks on the underside.  Anyway the blackbirds take their morning dip in here most days and they do not seem to mind the bowl origins.

 Dom informed me that this all looked like a funeral parlour.

Some real flowers in the making here - my seeds are on the right and Dom's on the left.....mmmm.  However Dom's plastic bag barrier failed to protect the decoration on my old fold up tray.  The watering of the seedlings meant that it became rusty within a few days (good job that I have more than one).

I used to grow plants from seed all the time (less so nowadays) and would spend ages reading through the Chiltern (image-free) seed catagloue.  I think that Chiltern's now have photographs of some of the plants but in the past I would buy on the basis of the great descriptions - living life on the edge - I never had the need to 'see before I buy'.

Some real flowers now

What a frothy wonderment flower cow parsley is.

 A bird interlude:
Sitting in the garden a family of blue tits whizzed past my ear - the thrumming of their wings was a lovely sound

Baby birds often look a little grumpy

The last of the narcissus  - these are tiny but I cannot remember the name.

 After carefully nurturing sunflower seeds I finally planted them out the other day - overnight they vanished thanks to the slugs.  GGrrr.  My campanula punctacta which I have had for years has now disappeared.  I think I must be cultivating super slugs.

 I noticed that  Anchusa has featured a bit at Chelsea this year and I am not surprised as the blue is eye popping I think.  Mine is planted against a piece of sea washed wood that poor Dom and I dragged up from the beach a few years ago (waterlogged wood is very, very heavy).

Having plenty of pots means that my 'display' gets changed around very frequently - so now we have irises instead of daffodils.

A neighbour benefits from our clematis and we benefit from his wisteria

 Our garden is teeny tiny but full of plants - there is always room for just one more plant (a bit like the house in that respect).
Here is a view from the garden back door.

Gardening has been a  flowery thread through my life - our mum lived for her garden and  many of us develop that love of our gardens at a very young age.  As a child it was my 'job' to write down, as quickly as possible, the Latin names of plants as they appeared on Gardener's World so that my mum could try and track them down (pre-internet of course).  This is the best way to learn your Latinate roots (pun intended).  I also  know that there are a few of us out there who are fans of the very clever binomial system (I would insert one of those winking things here if I could).

As we recently had some  sun I gave my old bench its annual paint.  This bench we also bought about 25 years ago - it was, as they say, as cheap as chips especially for an original Victorian/Edwardian one.  The planks of wood that you see here were washed up on the beach a while back and Dom cut them to make this larger seat when the others fell apart.


The bench pre-paint

Not quite Chelsea standards Dahlink!  These are photographs from two/three years ago which I never posted at the time, this must have been very early Spring I think.

In our tiny garden we have a  tiny shed in which I keep my 
gardening accoutrements !  All broken china is kept in there (for bottom of pots), an array of old lamps, galvanised buckets and a 'range' of old tureens for plants.

  I bought this trug thingy 20 plus years ago from Greenwich Market - I can pretend that I am Lady Bountiful tra la la'ing around non-existing acreage!

 Filled this old cup with water for tiny birds

This is an old lead bird bath - it is as heavy as.....
This was one of the first things that I bought from Mr Langford - it was about £10 which I thought was very expensive at the time but Mr Langford assured me that it was a good buy.

Dom requested that I photograph this pot as he was pleased with his mending (it gets like that after a few years!).  This is the third time that he has mended this pot (bought about 15 years ago I think) - this time he added an wire around it for extra stability  and thought that the pebble from the beach was a nice touch to prevent any finger snagging on the wire!

 For 50p I bought some nice old garden tools at the car boot last year - I will do a separate posting on car boot purchases eventually.

Being a small garden we make the most of the sky!  These self seeded echiums  suffered from the cold and wet last winter so they are not at their flowering best but the bees still love them.

Nearly done now.

At the car boot was yet another knitting/craft bag though this one was £1.50. 

I had clearly been ripped off with the other bag - ho ho.

Oh and there were some other books....oh dear

...and a bit of old Sanderson fabric for 50p 


Ending with these two card boxes - bought at two different car boot stalls last week.  

PS: I think that Chelsea Flower Show went off the boil a few years back but has improved - so long as they keep the focus on the plants and the camera doesn't keep swishing around all the time.  Some years I have felt as though I am  a boat bobbing in the ocean with all that camera swaying.    Only been to Chelsea Flower show once -  with my mum and on the final day - you can imagine the amount of stuff we came back with.....

PPS: A reminder that it is elderflower season in this neck of the world

 Same old stuff - just like last year - however I have since found a few more of those old Corona bottles (£1 each 'locally')

  I appreciate that this cordial may not look that appealing but it does taste nice.

For some reason these bottles remind me of my old nursing days......cannot fathom why.....

 I hope that I don't get into trouble with Corona for using these bottles for cordial.  I live close to the edge

PPPS: The Gas Man - For some time I have been saving up to have a new boiler fitted (not a euphemism).  The week of the boiler insertion (!)  finally arrived.  It would take a few days because we needed new pipes (not a euphemism) and part of the kitchen floor would have to be lifted.  It was all a bloomin' mess.  The two Gas Men worked very, very hard though were cursing the number of stairs they had to run up and down to bleed the radiators.  In between the bleedin' radiators I made tea, chatted and  learnt a great deal about these two young men.  One dutifully brought his wife and toddler round to say hello :'For crying out loud how much am I paying you an hour..... get on with your ruddy work?'  'Lovely to meet you' I said. Due to the bleedin' radiators ALL rooms had to be entered (oh the shame of it) but both Gas Men perhaps surprsingly admired the sewing room so we chatted about fabrics for a while (they truly were Men of Gas)!  At this point I feel honour bound to indicate that the words 'Gas', 'Man' and 'Men' are incidental to this story.  This anecdote is bound neither by gender or  by gas  but are presented in order to give context and texture to the scenario. At times the boiler became mere background noise to the wider debate which were about  to have.

 There was clearly a pecking order with the two Gas Men. I did indeed highlight this inequality: how one did the talking and the other the physical hard  graft.  The Gas Men laughed.  At one point I named them 'The Laughing Gas men'.  How we laughed ('How much am I paying you an hour?' )..... Over the fifth cup of tea that morning (!)  'The Talking Gas Man' enquired further about The Hobby Room (as he called it), what was it for and so on.  I informed him that it was carefully curated collection of fabricos and nice bits.  He looked a little perplexed at this point but proceeded to ask if I took commissions. I did boast of my purses made for  Cath Kidston (years on but..come on....IT IS ALL I HAVE PEOPLE) but what he really wanted to know was whether he could commission something that his wife wanted made out of their toddler's old baby clothes.  'Don't be daft' I exclaimed 'I can show your wife how to make that'.  'Don't YOU be daft' he rejoindered ' My wife can't sew'.  There was a bit of conversation about the merits of making things yourself but he was having none of it.  However the seeds were sewn and  the needle threaded for the next stage.

By day three of the boiler insertion ('How much!') the work was coming to a close and with one final push all would be done.  Here we were at the final cup of tea and final chat.

'Doing anything nice this weekend Laughing Gas Men?

'Nah - got no money'

'Hang on a minute : NO MONEY!'

'Nah - the minute I get it I spend it' (This was the 'Talking Gas Man' talking - I shouldn't need to highlight this as he is the 'Talking Gas Man'.  Did you read this post?)

What followed was an hour ('How much!') of discussion outlining where money was spent.  There was mutual jaw clanging.  The Talking Gas Man (TGM) spent a GREAT DEAL of money on his weekly shop AND ate out twice a week AND bought at least one takeaway a week. Not only that but he bought all his food from Marks & Spencer.  None of this would be worth commenting on but he said that he did not have any money.  The point being that he would have money if he did not spend so much.  He was equally amazed at my parsimony and how money should/could  be conserved wherever possible. He discussed his Rolex watch and BMW convertible and I discussed sandwich making and cycling along the seafront on a clapped out old bone shaker. I outlined how much money could be saved by being very careful when spending the pounds. We proceeded to calculate how much money he spent on: lunch per annum,  'ready meals', haircuts, manicures (his not mine), pedicures (his not mine), sun beds (his not mine)  and ................................................................... .....................................................................................................................................................


(HIS.  NOT MINE!!!!!!!!). 

At this juncture I found myself looking at TGM with the scrutiny of a hawk  

Of course he is free to do all of the above - I am merely underling the point that 'TGM' said that he did not have any money.

I could not dispense my money-saving tips fast enough - the TGM laughed and laughed.  The TGM said that I ought to team up with Martin Lewis on telly..... and then a look of realisation spread over his visog.  

He had indeed spent more than he had

I too had a moment when it dawned on me that we did not have to be sooooo thrifty all of the time.

Naturally I relayed all of this to Dom : he then went out to the supermarket and conducted a spending spree that was on the scale normally reserved for Christmas!!!

Egos may have been involved at this point.

Perhaps TGM could use a new purse in order to save those pennies

PPPPS: When asked to make the purses for CK I was also asked if I would consider being a 'vintage supplier' for them - though nice to be asked I thought at the time it would be 'too much' so declined.  Prompted by this post I have found  out that the person who asked me is now the 'Senior Vintage Buyer' at Cath Kidston. Just think that my 'stuff' could have been displayed in those shops and I could 'tra la la' ad infinitum.

I am reviewing these longer posts and think that, in order to cut down on the wanderings I will stick to one item in future.  Any thoughts re: posting enhancements?

Wherever you are in the world I wish you happy tra la la'ing.

I am very grateful that I get to tra la la when perhaps some cannot

PPPPPS: Overheard:
Customer: 'What are these called?'
Assistant: 'Oh those are Aguilera'
They were Aquilegia.............
I did not know if it would be worse to pipe up or not so I just moved on..........