Category Archives: Interest

The Rocking Dog Remember Me Project

Remember Me,Rocking Dog

Remember Me

Real Live Rocking Dog and I have been walking together for a glorious ten years now. Many of our walks have taken us close to the war memorial on Whiteshill Common, Hambrook. I have often stopped and looked at the names on the edifice, many of the surnames have seemed very familiar to me. Having been brought up in a village close by I have more than likely rubbed shoulders in years gone by with the sons, nephews, grandsons and maiden aunts etc.. of those commemorated on the memorial.

For a while now I have been wanting to research those 53 WW1 names on the memorial to link in with next years Armistice centenary. Then my plans became more bold, I decided I wanted to visit the graves/memorials of these fallen soldiers. The challenge has begun.

As we are heading through France and Belgium next month I have started to research the resting places of all those inscribed names. I am ashamed to say I was incredibly naive to think that the majority of these servicemen would be in a couple of cemeteries. Thus far I will need to visit 18 French cemeteries and 2 in Belgium. There are some Commonwealth graves in local churchyards and one that I will visit in the Rhondda, Wales. Others are off limits due to their location or security risk (Iraq (formerly Mesopotamia), Azerbajan, Israel, Gallipoli and Greece). The biggest of the cemeteries I need to visit is the Thiepval Memorial with over 72,000 casualties. Meanwhile other cemeteries to visit have only 100 or so casualties. I am wondering which I am going to be most moved by, the enormity of Thiepval or the intimacy of the smaller cemeteries. Thiepval is the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the missing in the world. Most of those commemorated there died during the Somme Offensive of 1916.

I have been using Ancestry.co.uk, the Commonwealth Graves Commission site and local archives (including Frenchay Museum) to conduct my research. The research has led me to war memorial plaques at Marlborough College and the Australian War Memorial. It has also uncovered stories of the near blind villager who knitted a large quantity of woollen mittens and socks for those in the trenches at Gallipoli. There are stories of a villager housing many Belgian refugees and other locals who were instrumental in organising & sending out Christmas parcels to the soldiers of the villages. These parcels were an amazing morale boost for the men at the front. Others nursed at a temporary hospital tending the wounded, whilst others managed poultry to lay eggs for the patients.

As 2018 beckons I want to start compiling A4 sheets (which will be laminated) of the lives and deaths of these soldiers. With the current householders’ permissions I hope to attach one of these “Remember Me” sheets to a door or gate where the soldier was bought up, schooled, worshipped or worked. I will hopefully be able to track down photo’s and personalise each history. These soldiers will simply not be allowed to be just a name on a war memorial. Thank you to kind friends who are knitting poppies to attach to the histories. Pretty please sometime later I would love to buddy up with anyone who has a super duper laminator!

I am hoping that the culmination of all this will be a vintage tea next November. The icing on the cake would be if ancestors of those commemorated came to pay tribute to their relative, and of course to eat Rocking Dog cake.

I include photo’s of my Great Aunt Susan who was called up to be a nurse with the Expeditionary Force in the first few days of the war. Another photo shows my two great uncles, one of whom (David Cresser) served in Gallipoli with the Anzacs. He also had the honour of raising the Union Flag in German occupied Samoa. Finally another photo shows my Grandfather John Warrington Scott (top right, bit of a lad!) He served with Royal Engineers and was very badly gassed in the trenches. Thankfully all these relatives returned home to Scotland and New Zealand.

Have you got relatives who served in WW1? As the 2018 centenary beckons let us Remember Them.

Have a good week and stay cosy, autumn seems to have arrived! Love Rocking Dog x

 War Memorial Rocking Dog

War Memorial,

Frenchay Church,Rocking Dog

Frenchay Church

Commonwealth Grave,Rocking Dog

Commonwealth Grave

Royal Engineer Grandfather,Rocking Dog

Royal Engineer Grandfather

My Great Uncles WW1,Rocking Dog

My Great Uncles WW1

Gt Aunt Susan WW1, France,Rocking Dog

Gt Aunt Susan WW1, France

Rocking Dog & Andyman Head To York

Gloomily Lovely Hotel Wallpaper,Rocking Dog

Gloomily Lovely Hotel Wallpaper

It was a weekend full of the history of Viking invasions, William the Conqueror, birthplace of Guy Fawkes, snow, sun and lovely things to eat. A small group of us met up for the weekend in York, and all I can say is that the hotel was very appropriately named!

I loved the somewhat gloomy wallpaper in our bedroom. It was reminiscent of the drawings of Edward Ardizzone. Long ago this building was used as the lodgings for Judges who assembled twice a year in York. One of those visiting legal residents was Judge William Chapple who went onto have the notorious Highwayman, Dick Turpin hung in 1739.

Our first evening was spent eating at a wonderful Indian restaurant,
Coconut Lagoon. Specialising in dishes originating from Kerala we so loved the food, the Cardamom beer and friendly staff.

Saturday morning the group joined a three hour walking tour around York. Completely free, (though donations were encouraged and welcomed at the end of the tour) we learnt SO much. Alix our young, knowledgeable and eccentric guide revelled in telling us some of Yorks’ more grisly history. The Romans, Vikings, Civil War, the vandalism of Henry VIII and Jewish persecution all featured. I can really recommend a tour like this to  understand a city. The weather was perfect for walking atop the city walls, crisp with bright winter sunshine and blue skies.

The remainder of the weekend was less structured with meandering to be done in Yorks’ quaint cobbled streets. The Shambles, a maze of twisty lanes are the inspiration for Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. Mentioned in the Doomsday Book the Shambles in medieval times was a street full of butchers shops. Many of the timbered buildings still sport meat hooks in their timbers. Incidently the word Shambles originates from the Anglo-Saxon word Shammel, roughly meaning shelves. The meat sellers are no longer in residence, instead, tea shops, and independent retailers dominate this picturesque and much loved area of York. I adored the bobbled organic baby knits being sold by Natures Purest.

Duttons For Buttons, The Imaginarium and Make Your Mark were other shops that caught my eye.

Of course no trip to the North is complete without a trip to Betty’s. Sunday breakfast I enjoyed Betty’s Bircher Muesli with blackberries and apple. At 10am there were visitors already enjoying a cream tea, and as we left long queues had formed to gain a coveted table.

All too soon the weekend had disappeared and we were on the train heading south.

York is a really lovely city, with gorgeous architecture and very friendly people. I hope we will return soon.

Wishing that the week is going to be a good one for you. Love a rather foot sore Rocking Dog! x

Whistle Stop Hotel,Rocking Dog

Whistle Stop Hotel

The Imaginarium,Rocking Dog

The Imaginarium

Make Your Mark,Rocking Dog

Make Your Mark

Glorious Minster,Rocking Dog

Glorious Minster

Betty's For Tea....,Rocking Dog

Betty’s For Tea….

..& Bircher!,Rocking Dog

..& Bircher!

Grim Tales,Rocking Dog

Grim Tales

Henry's Vandalism,Rocking Dog

Henry’s Vandalism

Plotters Birthplace,Rocking Dog

Plotters Birthplace

Duttons For Buttons,Rocking Dog

Duttons For Buttons

Babywear &...,Rocking Dog

Babywear &…

..Barrels In The Shambles!,Rocking Dog

..Barrels In The Shambles!

My Christmas List, Love Rocking Dog.

Are You In The Attic Zac?!,Rocking Dog

Are You In The Attic Zac?!

I should be getting on and frou’ing the kennel in readiness for Winter Wonderland this weekend. I hope I’ll get to see you then. However, I just wanted to sit down and take the opportunity to take a few deep breaths!

Have you repeatedly been asked what you’d like for Christmas? As I get older I really find it difficult to come up with anything. The things I do want are impossibly out of reach or need time. Anyhow I thought i’d just jot down my 2016 Christmas List. Are there the same things on your list ?

Here Goes-

1. Peace throughout the world. I have asked for that one for years and years (we are talking about when Ireland was in the midst of terrible bombings). Is it unreasonable to want a safer place globally for our children and grandchildren to grow up in?

2. My friend to get better. I miss her so much, but she’s come such a long courageous way. In with this big wish I want continued strength for her LOVELY family. Big love to all the staff too. You are all truly brilliant.

3. For Donald Trump to be a surprisingly good President… and that we all have to eat our words.

4. Patience and kindness with my Mother In Law. I will truly scream if I have to endure one more conversation about Bristol’s white elephant Metrobus. Just get the damned thing finished, get an operator to run it and we can all move on…. or maybe not… there’s always the weather and traffic to be gloomy about. Do you sense now why I need to sit down and breathe!

5. Love, hope, support and happiness for Young Carer’s everywhere. you are a truly amazing group of people and I love volunteering for the South Gloucestershire Young Carer’s group. Lovely friendly committed staff try to do their very best for these families. These youngsters have to grow up so very quickly and the levels of responsibility on such young shoulders’ is huge. A massive sprinkling of fairy dust coming your way!

6. Unlike Donald (Trump) I do believe in Global Warming- I hope that everyone makes small personal strives to live their life a little greener and be more respectful of the beautiful world we live in. Buy things you want to live with for the next 10 years (or even better life!) Sorry if this sounds preachy.

7. To make the time to sit, eat and socialise with friends. Time hurtles by so quickly and friends are so massively important. I’ll be ringing you to put a date in the 2017 diary.

8. Keep my family safe. I am sure I am not alone when as parents we say goodbye on the drive way to our children. They are instructed to text or ring when they get back (however relatively short the distance they are driving). Parenting really is for life and there is no switch off button to stop the anxiety and concern as they navigate life’s rich tapestry!

9. To have absolutely no more requests to make Roman Blinds… love you all that I do. It’s just a mathematical thing.

10. To eradicate fly-tipping and rubbish everywhere. Yes the kids will tell you it’s a real pet hate of mine and so unnecessary. This year there have been e.mails to Councillors, Pub management companies and MP’s. Exhausting. Finally, this seems petty but would the litterer who drops a cigarette packet in the lane on an almost daily basis please stop doing so- this simple thoughtless act makes my blood boil!

Yes I am a grumpy old woman. So there it is my wishlist and I hope i’ll be crossing off at least one or two of them in time.

Right back to the serious business of frou’ing the kennel!

Lots of love Rocking Dog x

PS another Real Live Rocking Dog would be lovely (but dogs are for life and not just for Christmas), and oh I do need a potato peeler!

Great Little Exhibition-Parcels Of Comfort

Knitting List,Rocking Dog

Knitting List

Last week I went to a great little exhibition, “Parcels of Comfort”. Until January 8th people can visit this poignant space at Bristol Cathedral. Parcels of Comfort examines the story of the importance of parcels sent to the front during WW1. The British Army considered the delivery of letters and parcels to servicemen as vital as delivering rations and ammunition.

Parcels and letters provided an amazing boost to the morale of the troops, especially those suffering the mud, lice, cold and deprivation of life in the trenches.

This exhibition uses small room sets to create the environment where loved ones would knit and sew useful items to send out to the boys. Warm woollen socks, gloves and under-garments would undoubtedly have made the recipient more comfortable. Five local textile artists, together with GCSE textile students from a Bristol school have used hand-stitching and mixed media to cleverly recreate the atmosphere of home during WW1. The knitted items for the exhibition were created from original wartime patterns.

I loved the embroidered tea and soap packet, together with the embroidered addressed linen parcels.

I am fortunate to have my great Aunt Susan’s postcards sent to my Grandmother from France where she was serving as a nurse. Two of her cards mention the fact that the parcel of sweets hadn’t arrived. Then, another postcard thanking the family for the parcel.

Later in time, my father Doug, served in the Royal Navy during WW2. A bundle of letters written by my father to his aunt and uncle have survived. Egypt, Australia, Shanghai, my dad was obviously hopeful there’d be mail waiting for him at his next port. From all this correspondence it was evident just how much he loved hearing news from home. One letter carries a list, messages and signatures of all the guests who attended his sisters wedding in Scotland.

If you live local to Bristol I can really recommend this little exhibition. Perhaps you can tie it in with a delicious visit to the renowned Ice Cream parlour “Swoon” which is close by on Park Street.

Whilst on a war theme, I am heading to Clifton Cathedral on Friday to see the 1916 silent film The Battle of the Somme. It is accompanied by Laura Rossi’s orchestral score, performed by the newly formed Bristol Symphony Orchestra. I need to remember to take a box of “Man-size” with me.

 

Great Aunt Susan is the nurse holding the lantern. Grandfather, John Warrington Scott is the cheeky looking soldier back right.

Embroidered Wall,Rocking Dog

Embroidered Wall

Parcel Of Comfort,Rocking Dog

Parcel Of Comfort

Wool & Embroidery Silk,Rocking Dog

Wool & Embroidery Silk

Aunt Susan Person Of Comfort,Rocking Dog

Aunt Susan Person Of Comfort

WW1 Grandfather,Rocking Dog

WW1 Grandfather

WW2 Navy Dad,Rocking Dog

WW2 Navy Dad

The 11th Hour Of The 11th Day Of The 11th Month

Poignant Somme Symbolism, Rocking Dog

Poignant Somme Symbolism

Armistice Day has been commemorated for the last 98 years on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. It marks the day when the Armistice was signed at Compiegne, France between the allies of WW1 and Germany. It brought about the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front.

Beginning in 1939 the two minute silence was moved to the closest Sunday to 11th November. This decision was taken so as not to disrupt wartime munition production if 11th November fell on a weekday. After WW2 this Sunday was named Remembrance Day or Remembrance Sunday.

The Poppy worn in the lead up to, and on Remembrance Sunday itself came about as a result of the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” by Lt. Colonel John McCrae. A Canadian doctor, he was inspired to write the poem in 1915 after losing a friend at Ypres. The bleak battle torn ground was barren, but he witnessed resilient scarlet poppies struggling through the churned and barbed fields. Later an American academic Moina Michael, started making silk poppies which were brought over to England by a French woman Anna Guerin. In 1921 the British Legion was founded, and the organisation that year ordered 9 million poppies. The sale of these poppies raised a staggering £106,000, helping veterans with housing and employment.

Yesterday I went to College Green in Bristol to see the installation of “Shrouds of the Somme”. I witnessed servicemen meticulously laying out 19,240 12inch shrouded figures. The number represents the allied servicemen who died on the very first day of the Battle of the Somme. Somerset artist Rob Heard made the figures and personally wrapped and bound each figure with a hand stitched shroud. Studying a list from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission he systematically worked through the 19,240 fatalities, crossing off each name as a figurine had been given its shroud. Though I didn’t witness the exhibit in its entirety, it was truly poignant. The “Shrouds of the Somme” remains in Bristol until the 18th November.

Driving away from College Green I happened to notice that poor old Queen Victoria sited outside The Bristol Royal Marriot Hotel had been given a rubber gas mask by some joker. From experience she’s the butt of many a prank, for a student city we are!!

Today I will be remembering my grandfather John Warrington Scott (Royal Engineers) who was badly gassed in the trenches during WW1. As a consequence of the gas he died from stomach cancer aged 46 on Armistice Day 1941. Also remembering my lovely mum who died 31 years ago today. On a happier note Happy Birthday to lovely niece Iona who slipped out into the world on the bathroom floor 17 years ago today!

Shrouds Of The Somme, Rocking Dog

Shrouds Of The Somme

3 Of The 19,240, Rocking Dog

3 Of The 19,240

Gas Masked Royal, Rocking Dog

Gas Masked Royal

Grandfather John W. Scott, Rocking Dog

Grandfather John W. Scott

My Mum, Rocking Dog

My Mum

Niece Iona, Rocking Dog

Niece Iona

Singing The Night Away Near Hinkley Point

Beautiful Britain, Rocking Dog

Beautiful Britain

The weekend was spent singing the night away near Hinkley Point in Somerset. Friends of ours invited Andyman and I to join them on a camping jolly. So Friday night we took to the road on the run to the sun!

We camped on a wonderful site not a million miles away from Hinkley Point. Run by a lovely young family Moorhouse Farm & Campsite is situated at the foot of the picturesque Quantock Hills. A working arable farm, we were met by a menagerie of hens, ducks and other colourful feathered fowl. There were also a lovely collection of old ploughs, threshing machines and tractors. The charm continued with wooden mushrooms, a characterful BBQ den, fire pits, handsome trees and hedges. Barns on the farm provide the space to make
“Mad Apple Cider”.

Our friends arrived with their new “baby” – a T@b. Larger and more practical than our Pod, it is still head-turningly cute! I really envied the fact that our friends could put on their jeans standing up. We need to shimmy into ours lying on our backs!

In the evening we walked to a local pub for a meal. We were all somewhat bemused when the landlord asked us to order any desserts super quickly as the chef wanted to go home. It was 9pm …. only in England!!

On Saturday we headed off to Kilve beach with the dogs. The day was perfect, warm, with stunningly blue skies and magical scenery. We were walking in the footsteps of Wordsworth and Coleridge. I loved the brick retort with its shrubby “smoke” which was built in the 1920’s. It was discovered that oil could be extracted from shale. This has more than a whiff of fracking about it! In time the scheme was abandoned before the whole area was laid to waste. I wonder how the locals feel about the decision to go ahead with the new Hinkley C power station.

The walk took us from stunning coastline, through freshly ploughed fields and onto paths lined with brambles, sloes and cobnuts. There were also pretty settlements. Cream windowed cottages with rustic porches, allotment style gardens, duck ponds and picket gate fences. Idilic.

In East Quantoxhead we chanced upon morning teas and a village produce sale at the village hall. It felt as if we had stepped back in time. Tea and coffees were served in vintage cups and saucers, not because it was trendy, but that’s because the way it’s always been done. Coffee drunk and bacon floury bap eaten, we picked up some chicken skewers and headed back on the steep climb to the campsite. The September sun was delicious and meant that a spot of deckchair sunbathing proved irresistible!

Kebabs cooked on a disposable barbecue and served with rice and salad we enjoyed some rather generous glasses of Italian wine, local beers and Prosecco. Us girls embarked on an impromptu red wine fuelled sing song. We chose to select groups/singers alphabetically and to sing an iconic song.So there were The Osmond’s Crazy Horses, Whitney Houston Run To You, etc… The boys were very exasperated… but there really is NOTHING like a good sing.

I suspect this  just may be the last camping foray of the year. I so love spending time with friends, the landscape and the elements.

 

 

Farm Transport, Rocking Dog

Farm Transport

Agricultural Metal, Rocking Dog

Agricultural Metal

Hen House, Rocking Dog

Hen House

Our Baby, Rocking Dog

Our Baby

Their Baby, Rocking Dog

Their Baby

Massive Mushrooms, Rocking Dog

Massive Mushrooms

BBQ Den, Rocking Dog

BBQ Den

Alternative Energy, Rocking Dog

Alternative Energy

That View Again, Rocking Dog

That View Again

A Lovely Weekend In September

September Beech Wood, Rocking Dog

September Beech Wood

The weekend was full of lovely impromptu things. A wettish Saturday was spent travelling to Dorset with a friend. Somewhat fortuitously Di’s Sat-nav took us on a little bit of an unconventional journey. It meant that we couldn’t resist having a peek into Antiques Bazaar near Crewkerne. We both loved a circus trapeze bar and various pieces of quirky furniture. There were lots of toby jugs, but I managed to resist! I did however buy a large and pretty curtain which will more than likely form the backing for my future hollyhock quilt.

We travelled onto lovely Bridport, drank coffee, ate lunch, chatted, laughed and enjoyed dipping into lots of independent shops. Unfortunately with the weather being a trifle rainy and windswept there were not many of the usual street stalls. However, it was a really great day and certainly blew away the cobwebs!

Sunday dawned bright and sunny. Andyman, Real Live Rocking Dog and I decided on a spur of the moment Bath walk. We walked on Lansdown Hill, the site of a bloody civil war battle in 1643. The views were truly breathtaking. In the distance we could pick out the old and new Severn Bridge Crossings together with Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. It was tempting to stay sitting cherishing the views long after the picnic was finished.. but there was another four miles to muster.

The hawthorns and elders as we climbed, were covered with a profusion of berries. My mum would be saying “it’s a sign it’s going to be a hard, cold winter. It’s nature’s way of providing well for wildlife” We will have to wait and see!

At one point in the walk we had a lovely view down to the ribbon of water at Saltford. There were so many pretty sails, a gorgeous scene to ponder. We also chanced upon the sweet little church of St Martin at North Stoke. 12th century with older additions, I could easily imagine Jane Austen empire line, bonneted weddings. Unfortunately the church was locked. It apparently has a plaque inside honouring the 23 men and unknown number of farm horses who went from the village in WW1. The plaque was unveiled in 2008 by Britain’s last Tommy, Harry Patch, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the end of WW1. Just a year later at the age 111 Harry died, his funeral service being held at Wells Cathedral.

The last part of our walk took us through a beautiful wooded area. The last glowing embers of the Sunday sunshine penetrated the beech canopy. It was glorious and so atmospheric.

So the new week now begins….

A very Happy Birthday to our lovely boy Alex who is 29 today. He is working at the Paralympics in Rio, and we hope is having the time of his life. Very wonderfully we had a glimpse of him on C4 just after Jonnie Peacock’s 100m gold medal win.

Toby Jug Treasure, Rocking Dog

Toby Jug Treasure

Back At Albion, Rocking Dog

Back At Albion

Sunday Skies, Rocking Dog

Sunday Skies

Green Hill, Rocking Dog

Green Hill

Doggy Picnic Time, Rocking Dog

Doggy Picnic Time

Pretty Sails, Rocking Dog

Pretty Sails

Peaceful Place, Rocking Dog

Peaceful Place

Carved Cherubim, Rocking Dog

Carved Cherubim

Happy Birthday Alex!, Rocking Dog

Happy Birthday Alex!

Alfresco Lunch In My City

Water's Edge, Rocking Dog

Water’s Edge

I met with a friend for an alfresco lunch in my city yesterday. Bristol was bathed in the most beautiful sunshine and the city looked glorious.

We passed through Corn Street and enjoyed looking at some of the amazing buildings in the vicinity. Corn Street is famous for its Nails. These four bronze “tables” are sited outside the Corn Exchange and were used by merchants to close a sale. Money placed on the surface of the Nail signified that a deal had been struck. This is where the saying “Paying on the Nail” comes from. The Nails are from different dates, the earliest being Elizabethan.

We decided to head to St Nicholas Market to see what took our fancy. “Ahh Toots” had its usual array of wonderful cakes dressed with gold dusted fruits, rose petals and pretzels. We managed to resist the temptation and bought a falafel and salad box at “Eat a Pitta”. Freshly cooked falafels were accompanied by a variety of salads, hummus, pickles and choice of dressing all for £5.50. Bargainous! We marvelled at the wondrous blue sky through the glass ceiling as we walked through to some green space.

Our alfresco lunch was eaten picnic style in dappled shade in Queen Square. The Square is used for many public events, but yesterday it had a sprinkling of lunchers, sunbathers and readers. The history of the square dates from 1699 when it was planned, and 1727 when it was completed. It was named after Queen Anne and was an incredibly fashionable place to live. In 1831 much of it was destroyed during the Bristol Riots. It was rebuilt, and now the majority of the buildings are offices.

We left Queen Square for a coffee at the Riverstation. We enjoyed gorgeous waterside views- such a perfect summers day. On our way out we loved Edward Allen’s stonking enamelled tin basin full of succulents and slender twigs. Yummy!

Our final port of call was a photo call at the ruined church of St Peter’s in Castle Park. The area was heavily bombed during the Bristol Blitz 24th-25th November 1940. The church has been preserved as a memorial to the civilian war dead of Bristol. During the Blitz 200 Bristolians’ lost their lives whist another 689 were injured. A beautiful sensory herb garden has been planted on one side of the ruin. Five silver birches meanwhile grow to represent the beaches of the D Day Landings.

In conclusion, a lovely sun blessed afternoon with yummy food and lots of chat!

Feeding Time, Rocking Dog

Feeding Time

Delicious Dogs Dinner!, Rocking Dog

Delicious Dogs Dinner!

Ahh Toots, Rocking Dog

Ahh Toots

The Glass Ceiling, Rocking Dog

The Glass Ceiling

Corn St. Nail

Corn St. Nail

Stone Angel, Rocking Dog

Stone Angel

Carved Beauty, Rocking Dog

Carved Beauty

River View, Rocking Dog

River View

Casualty Of The Blitz, Rocking Dog

Casualty Of The Blitz

Ed's Succulents, Rocking Dog

Ed’s Succulents

Sky & Spire, Rocking Dog

Sky & Spire

Plaid Bundles, Rocking Dog

Plaid Bundles

A Weekend In Fabulous Colour

Vases Of Cottage Flower Colour, Rocking Dog

Vases Of Cottage Flower Colour

The weekend bought with it blue skies and other fabulous colours. On Friday I bought lovely cottage garden plants from a street stall at a local town. These leafy purchases are currently residing in that rather infamous cast iron roll top bath. Six months on it is still waiting for a gang of burly youths to move it, ready for my vegetable garden planting.

On Saturday after a day of mainly domestic dross, we headed into deepest darkest Wiltshire to eat with the newlyweds. Whilst on honeymoon in Bali they took the opportunity to have a Balinese cooking lesson. Recreated for us the food was yummy, we especially loved the green beans with spiced coconut. Thank you A & K.

Sunday morning, Andyman and I headed for Frome, a 45 minute drive from the kennel. The first Sunday of the month Frome plays host to an amazing market. Flea, food, craft, plants and a plethora of other goodies, this small Somerset town throbs with people, noise, dogs and bunting. Many of Frome’s shops open their doors, whilst a number of enterprising householders also sell their wares on their oh so familiar doorsteps.

We bought a couple of old pitchforks to continue the embellishment of our fence, and a trio of rather sweet old hand painted decanters. After a coffee I sniffed out a fabulous material shop James Gaunt in Church Street. Many of his fabrics including silks were £5 per metre. Some citrus yellow striped silk proved irresistible! Material Mountain- just…..well…keeps on mounting!

Bramble & Wild offered a beautiful array of garden flower posies and Elizabeth Lee Interiors showcased her shop with a wonderful ad hoc display of vintage galvanised metal buckets and watering cans.

Frome really is the perfect place for a spot of shopping for gifts. I certainly know where i’ll be doing my Christmas shopping this year. Absolutely utterly not Michael!

Out on the streets The British Blanket Company had a wonderful stall with the softest and most colourful snugglies. However, being fiendishly warm it was rather difficult to think of cold chilblained nights when a blanket will be an absolute necessity. Plant stalls, artisan food, street food …it was all rather lovely.

A pop up beach was proving very popular with  children who were making the most of building sandcastles, whilst parents enjoyed sinking into  striped deckchairs.

I definitely recommend a visit to this 1st Sunday Frome extravaganza. Make use of the Park & Ride and definitely aim to arrive early. Yesterday it all got rather uncomfortably busy, so it was “Home James and don’t spare the horses!”

The weekend finished with eating food at the “Souk Kitchen”in Southville. It was lovely to catch up with friends who’d made the brave move to live in France. As ever we ate beautiful and colourful food. Plates of octopus, calves liver, salmon, Halloumi etc.. all with Middle Eastern twiddling were stunning. The panna cotta was also so very lovely and glorious to look at. Food and banter at the Souk was the perfect end to a very colour infused weekend.

Wishing you a very happy and productive start to the week, one hopefully with lots of colour!

Safe travels Huw and Selina.xx

Bathfull of Colour, Rocking Dog

Bathfull of Colour

Blue Skies In Frome, Rocking Dog

Blue Skies In Frome

Deckchair Stripes, Rocking Dog

Deckchair Stripes

Rainbow Blankets, Rocking Dog

Rainbow Blankets

Mary, Mary...., Rocking Dog

Mary, Mary….

Green Door, Rocking Dog

Green Door

Monochrome, Rocking Dog

Monochrome

Citrus Silk, Rocking Dog

Citrus Silk

Souk Colour, Rocking Dog

Souk Colour

Escaping To Bath…..Bliss!

Bath Reflections, Rocking Dog

Bath Reflections

It was a day of escaping to Bath yesterday. I was keen to visit The Victoria Art Gallery to see “A Room of Their Own- Lost Bloomsbury Interiors 1914-30”

The exhibition recreates as far as possible several lost interior schemes by Roger Fry, Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. It reunites objects and paintings from both public and private collections, items which haven’t been seen together for fifty years.

I have loved all things Bloomsbury for three decades. It started in earnest when Laura Ashley launched their Bloomsbury collection of fabrics etc.. in 1987. The company had acquired the rights to a rare selection of Charleston House patterns. Grapes and Queen Mary are designs which stand out for me. In 2013 a range of the fabrics/wallpapers were relaunched in celebration of Laura Ashley’s 60th year. Since 1987 none of the houses we have lived in have been without Bloomsbury fabric somewhere in the mix.

In time I went to see Charleston, near Lewes and it is truly lovely. It is a real home with every surface painted and embellished by one or other of the inhabitants, or indeed guests just passing through.

The garden is equally beautiful and a book has just been published to celebrate its creative country charm.

The exhibition in Bath was bijoux but lovely. It has made me want to get my paintbrush out, and to pull out a stash of unused 1987 fabric. Watch this space! In a new house we once lived in, my brother in law kindly recreated the hermaphrodites which grace the studio at Charleston onto a bare wall. I’d love him to do a repeat performance!

After culture, I had a little bit of a mooch. I loved the reflections of the Georgian and not so Georgian buildings in the windows of Anthropologie. I stopped at The Whole Bagel for a.. bagel! Delicious, I couldn’t help but choose the filling I always select, Pear, brie, walnut and Parma ham.

I wandered down Walcot Street and it was alarming to witness the amount of empty shops. Rates are notoriously high in Bath. I bought ink and nib supplies at Meticulous Ink, such a lovely shop. Further on I headed to Owl in the Ivy, with its beautiful collection of old items to buy. However my heart was taken with the owners’ gorgeous Wire Haired Dachschund. Puppies are planned….,tempting, but I don’t think Real Live Rocking Dog would like a new puppy on his territory, he’s getting much too old and grumpy!

A reviving Americano and piece of Tunisian orange cake was enjoyed at an outside table at The Fine Cheese Company. It was great to watch the world go by, and to glance along to a building I love. The Corn Market building is so tall and narrow, it reaches to the sky with its elongated persona. However, that is not the whole story it extends behind a long, long way.

I loved taking time out in Bath, it was wonderful to get an aesthetic “fix”. I feel very inspired, but think the guilt of a mountainous ironing pile will make me abandon plans for Bloomsbury style painting for at least a little while.

Have a lovely weekend how ever you intend spending it. Love Rocking Dog x

Reaching To The Sky, Rocking Dog

Reaching To The Sky

Patriotic Door, Rocking Dog

Patriotic Door

How Much Is That Doggy?, Rocking Dog

How Much Is That Doggy?

Scrummy Bagel, Rocking Dog

Scrummy Bagel

Whole Bagel, Rocking Dog

Whole Bagel

Meticulous Ink Supplies, Rocking Dog

Meticulous Ink Supplies

Coffee & Cake, Rocking Dog

Coffee & Cake

Bloomsbury Style, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Style

Bloomsbury Grapes, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Grapes