Tag Archives: Autumn

Remember Me Project- Day 2 WW1 War Graves, France

Cabaret Rouge Cemetery,Rocking Dog

Cabaret Rouge Cemetery

The Remember Me Project, researching names on the war memorial at Whiteshill Common, Hambrook took me to France. The second day of cemetery visits dawned sunny, with blue skies and rich autumnal colours. Our first cemetery of the day was a visit to Le Touret. The cemetery commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers killed in this sector of the Western front from October 1914 until the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. I was able to place a poppy cross close to stone 17B for Pte Francis (Frank) Candy who died on 6th April 1915 whilst serving with the Gloucestershire Regiment. The cemetery was impressive in the early morning sunshine, and beyond the boundary walls there were field upon field of cabbages, cows and people working the land.

We then headed to The Guards Cemetery at Windy Corner, Cuinchy. The name Windy Corner was coined by WW1 troops to describe the cross roads at Cuinchy. Close to the landmark a house existed which served as a dressing station and battalion HQ. In time the cemetery sprang up beside this house. Of all the graves I visited I found Guardsman 19 year old Frank Henry Harcombes disconcertingly moving. He had been buried closely together with two fellow Grenadier Guardsmen who had died on the same day (17th March 1915). Seeing the three graves with no gaps between was poignant. There was sweet birdsong within the cemetery and the thoughtful planting for all year round colour (lupins, sedum, aubretia, rock roses, iris’s, roses, lambs ears and soldiers & sailors). Beyond the cemetery there was the hum of a tractor ploughing.

Much larger was the cemetery we visited next. Cabernet Rouge cemetery contains the graves of 7,650 British Empire servicemen. It’s name came about as a result of a small cafe which was eventually destroyed by heavy shelling in May 1915. The cafe was distinctive in that it was built of brick and had a red tiled roof. Other buildings in the village were mainly thatched. It is a seriously impressive cemetery and is almost spear shaped. Its designer Brigadier Sir Frank Higginson ( a former Canadian Army officer) was secretary to the Imperial War Graves Commission for 37 years and was granted his wish to have his ashes (1958) scattered in the cemetery together with those of his wife Violet (1962). In May 2000 the remains of an unknown Canadian soldier were taken from Cabaret Rouge and laid to rest at the foot of the National War Memorial in the Canadian city of Ottawa. I was at Cabaret Rouge to visit the grave of Sgt Charles Herbert Langley of 110th Brigade Royal Field Artillery. He was killed in action on 4th May 1918 aged 22yrs. He received the Military Medal in 1917. The cemetery is set in beautiful countryside and hay was being baled. There were chestnut and spruce trees outside the boundary walls and small conical Yews within.

We next found ourselves at La Targette British cemetery to visit the grave of 2nd Lieutenant Walter William Gibbs of 1st Survey Coy. Royal Engineers. He died on 22nd April 1918 aged 30 years. His life prior to the war sounds to have been an interesting one. He was a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and for two years he was a member of the Bolivian Boundary Commission. He went on to Mozambique and was engaged on survey work for three years. In 1917 he obtained permission from Portuguese East Africa to return to England to enlist. He married shortly prior to leaving for France. The cemetery is a small intimate one with 638 WW1 graves and 3 WW2 graves. We witnessed wonderful autumnal tree colour in woods beyond the cemetery.The little British cemetery was rather dwarfed by the neighbouring French National Cemetery. Here 11,443 WW1 graves are sited together with over 500 WW2 graves.

Arras was our next stop to visit Faubourg D’Amiens cemetery designed by Edwin Lutyens. Here we would pay homage to three brave men. Lieutenant Eyon GA Bowen was killed on 8th September 1916 aged 23years. He served with 22nd Squadron Royal Flying Corps and his name is inscribed on the Arras Flying Services Memorial. Incidentally his name appears on memorials at Whiteshill Common, Winterbourne All Saints Churchyard, on the Braidlea Shield (housed in St Mary Magdalene Church, Stoke Bishop), Sherborne School and Nevern War Memorial. His father, Eyon George Rice Bowen also died in the course of WW1 (26th March 1916 aged 52 years) and is buried in the churchyard at All Saints, Winterbourne. Bowen seniors name is to be found on the Whiteshill and Winterbourne church memorial together with his sons.

Close to the Flying Services Memorial I found Rifleman Albert Hughes’s name on the Arras Memorial. He served with the London Rifle Brigade and died aged 28yrs on 28th March 1918. His name could be find high on Stone 11 Bay Number 9. The white pillared bay felt very serene and peaceful.The Memorial commemorates 35,000 British, South African and New Zealand servicemen who have no known grave. Most were killed during the Battle of Arras (9th April-16th May 1917)

Lastly it was time to find the grave of Private Frederick Graham Amos who was killed in action whilst serving with 5th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment on 6th May 1917. His grave carried the inscription “Not gone from memory or love but gone to our father’s home above” Each letter for a personal inscription would have to have been paid for by a relative. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website carries records for inscriptions, burial details and a wealth of other information. This cemetery was really beautiful, unlike most other cemeteries its boundary walls were high, built of mellowed brick. Beyond the walls were large houses, and within, poplars and silver birch’s creating soft “borders” in front of the walls. It felt very tranquil and there was beautiful planting. The brick contrasted with the magnificence of the white marble Arras Memorial.

Our morning was drawing to a close, but not before a visit to Beurains Cemetery to visit the grave of Private Frederick Walker who prior to the war had worked as a labourer on a farm. He served with 6th Battalion, Somerset Regiment Light Infantry and died on 9th April 1917 aged 26yrs. This intimate little cemetery contains the graves of 317 British, 14 Canadian and 4 German servicemen. It was tucked in tightly by various farm buildings. It was another cemetery designed by Lutyens.

Our final port of call before heading for Switzerland was to visit the cemetery at Landrecies. Landrecies was the scene of a rearguard action in the retreat from Mons in August 1914. It was recaptured from the Germans in November 1918. This little cemetery contains the graves of 165 British soldiers who died in the last three months of 1918. When I came to the grave of William Luton I found it very poignant that he had been killed in action a mere 7 days before the Armistice. William had died on 4th November 1918 whilst serving with 1st/5th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment, aged 22 years. The inscription on his grave read “He plucked the fairest flower and planted it in heaven”. The cemetery itself has a strong connection with the English town of Malvern due to the large number of soldiers from the area buried there. I loved this little cemetery, it was bordered on three sides by working allotments and there were dahlias, cabbages, zucchini and other crops to harvest. Within the low walled cemetery it was planted with four young cherry trees.

So, fifteen cemeteries visited, and twenty poppy crosses carefully placed during some really wonderful autumnal October sunshine. March 2018 will see Andyman and I attempt to visit the remaining fourteen cemeteries in France, paying homage to another seventeen servicemen whose names reside on the Whiteshill Common Memorial.

Au Revoir.

Sunrise Le Touret,Rocking Dog

Sunrise Le Touret

Pte Candy,Rocking Dog

Pte Candy

La Targette,Rocking Dog

La Targette

Another Cross,Rocking Dog

Another Cross

Flying Services Mem',Rocking Dog

Flying Services Mem’

Faubourg D'amiens,Rocking Dog

Faubourg D’amiens

Tucked Tightly,Rocking Dog

Tucked Tightly

German Graves,Rocking Dog

German Graves

Laid Together,Rocking Dog

Laid Together

Rocking Dog Holiday Snaps

Salami In Spello,Rocking Dog

Salami In Spello

A while ago I promised a white post. It seems really on trend to produce beautiful faded pearlescent blogs. Rocking Dog loves colour but I challenged myself to do a post using less eye poppingly colourful snaps! With temperatures in Umbria hot enough to want to whip off the pool cover, there was certainly no shortage of colour. Skies were lapiz blue, ploughed farmland rich terracotta and trees were clinging onto their beautiful yellow and rust cloaks.

In my collection there are many photo’s of gaudily lovely geraniums, harvests of rosy apples, pomegranates, sun dappled buildings and of course THE olives! Yet this post shows off timeworn hand painted ceiling friezes, ancient stone masonry, Umbrian autumn mists and delectable Umbrian produce.  Also included in my white post is the pristine white marble
Flying Services Memorial at Arras, France.

In this post I think I should have included our poor garden. With the intense heat of the summer the “grass” resembled Texan buffalo herding scrubland. Soon it will be seeded with a coarse and very hardy Argentinian grass. We are hopeful it will look green and verdant when spring arrives.

During our stay we used the chainsaw, electric hedge trimmer, branch lopper, wheelbarrow and rake. Alas the hammock remained unused and the telescope never got to view twinkling constellations. One day!

Number 5 now has a beautiful wood-burning stove (thank you to Firebox, St Werburgh’s for supplying our Mendip Woodland, it looks great). The stove installation necessitated  the building of a new chimney. I couldn’t help thinking that the style of chimney probably hadn’t changed since Roman times. Testing the stove for the first time, felt like watching for the smoke from the Vatican when choosing a new pope!

In between heavy duty gardening and olive picking there were opportunities to explore “new” hilltop towns, to take part in the bread & oil festival and to come together for the village halloween party. There was also the small matter of partaking in a number of wine tasting evenings in preparation for an Umbrian wedding (the daughter of good friends). It was such a good excuse to sample Umbrian grapes in a glass.

Friends and family came to pick and to ultimately taste the new olive oil. It was lovely to share the sun and spend time enjoying autumn in Umbria. Real Live Rocking Dog very quickly realised that he could gather extra food rations if he hovered under baby Douglas’s high chair!

We had a truly lovely time and the village couldn’t have made us feel more welcome. It really is time to learn the language. Ciao!


Arras Memorial,Rocking Dog

Arras Memorial

Fortress, Cortona,Rocking Dog

Fortress, Cortona

Morning Walk,Rocking Dog

Morning Walk

Lovely Lighting,Rocking Dog

Lovely Lighting

Timeworn Numero,Rocking Dog

Timeworn Numero

Ceiling Whimsy,Rocking Dog

Ceiling Whimsy

Cheese,Rocking Dog


Gelato,Rocking Dog


...& Aragosta!,Rocking Dog

…& Aragosta!

A Perfectly Vintage Weekend

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Domestic Science!, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Loves A Bit Of Domestic Science!

After a very difficult week it was lovely to have the most perfect weekend. On Saturday morning there was the sudden and delicious realisation that a Vintage & Handmade jumble sale was happening at Rangeworthy Village Hall. I have a feeling that there are plenty of women like me who attend these events. We certainly don’t need any more textiles, bobbles, ribbons or braids… but we simply cannot resist! My haul this time included some tapestries which had never quite made it to a frame or cushion pad. I have a feeling they will be heading for cushions of the “make it up as you go along” variety. On another stall I picked up a pretty embroidered cloth for £1 which is destined for another Rocking Dog quilt. More contemporary was a stash of small remnants including fabrics by Celia Birtwell. Small whimsical cushions, patchwork squares, appliqué they will await their fate on Material Mountain. My favourite buy of the day was some jolly 70’s Sanderson nursery print. I quite fancy making a pair of dungarees for baby Doug’ (hope not too “Sound of Music”!) and there’ll be plenty for some fab’ Christmas stockings.

After a lovely vintage trawl, and alas no time for delicious WI cake I headed back to the kennel. I then went with lovely vintage friend (we have known each other for over 20 years) to Tetbury. Domestic Science was our first port of call for a sandwich and then a gander over four floors of vintage, domestic, wearable, smellable loveliness. My friend MADE me buy a lovely electric blue linen dress…she’s very persuasive! The honey coloured town was buzzing with people and a throng of noisy vintage convertibles. There are wonderful things to buy in the town but you need deep pockets, especially in one of the many antique shops. A cup of tea, and then it was time to head home. On the way back we passed Westonbirt Arboretum the colour of the Acers were truly spectacular. Autumn has arrived despite the welcome warm daytime temperatures.

Sunday we ate lunch with more gorgeous vintage friends (25 years). I was so pleased with my Yorkshire pud’s. Why is it that when I weigh everything out they are a disaster and if I simply chuck everything in without much thought they are belters!

Vintage fabrics were laundered, dried in the sun and folded. Tomorrow I will sew. It is a lovely prospect and my way of being kind to myself.

Have a wonderful week and I hope the autumnal (or not) colours are glorious in your part of the world.

Love vintage loving Rocking Dog x

Vintage Tapestry,Rocking Dog

Vintage Tapestry

Vintage Nursery Print,Rocking Dog

Vintage Nursery Print

£1 Vintage Stitches,Rocking Dog

£1 Vintage Stitches

I Love Celia!,Rocking Dog

I Love Celia!

Make Space!,Rocking Dog

Make Space!

Awaiting A Sewing Day,Rocking Dog

Awaiting A Sewing Day

It’s Time For The September Huddle

Rocking Dog Vintage Haberdashery,Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Vintage Haberdashery

The nights are drawing in, there is a nip in the air and it is definitely beginning to feel more autumnal. Time then to come together for the September Rocking Dog creative huddle. A warm welcome awaits any battle scarred huddlers or indeed any brave newbies. No, really you need not be afraid, we are all relatively normal and there is always cake to gobble! It all happens on Wednesday 7-9pm and as ever donations into the teapot for Fine Cell Work, encouraging and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider.

I am so hoping that Keep Calm & Carry On Karen comes. I’m so desperate to hear the latest on her house renovation (or should that be demolition). Hopefully Atilla the Hun (garian), yes really, will have got the roof on. We all want to know how Karen keeps SO calm! Peppermint tea, a bucket load of Rescue Remedy, a secret flotation tank, SAS survival training perhaps? Maybe this huddle she’ll let us into her secret! I would have definitely benefitted from a dose of Karens calmness over the last few days. I have been so angry ….but that’s another story and not helped by a trip to Asda at Cribbs’. Having a supermarket that size is the devils work ….breathe,breathe,breathe! I solemnly promise never ever to set foot in there ever again. I made that promise years ago about Toys R Us, that too gave me the Asda anger effect!

I promise to not be angry on Wednesday, I will be my usual glittering charming hosting self (with a bit of grumpiness thrown in for good measure). Do please come we really are normal, promise! We even manage to do a little bit of sewing or crocheting in between laughing and eating cake.

Cosy Kennel!,Rocking Dog

Cosy Kennel!

Vintage Frou,Rocking Dog

Vintage Frou

Fantastical Bird Snips,Rocking Dog

Fantastical Bird Snips

After The Rain, It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Day

It's A New Dawn, It's A New Day,Rocking Dog

It’s A New Dawn, It’s A New Day

It rained heavily here on Monday. It was really wet rain, large long wet drops that saturated everything. With Real Live Rocking Dog and a guest dog, Darling Dougie (a Labrador/Scottie Dog cross) to walk, the weather had to be simply …well..weathered!

How lovely therefore to awake yesterday to a beautiful morning. The warmth and the moisture meant that there were fairy rings of various species of fungi in the field. There was even a circlet of red mushrooms, the stuff of illustrated children’s books. Alas, the mushrooms had been blemished and disfigured by hungry creatures unknown. The field is now devoid of colour save some clover and a sprinkling of moon daisies. Hedgerows of blackberries, haws, elderberries and sloes continue to flourish and ripen. Fat wood pigeons feed and somewhat noisily and ungracefully take to the skies after their fill of natures harvest.

Down by the Frome it was quiet. There were the first characteristic smells of the impending autumn. Leaves, beech masts, conkers and wet mud all formed part of the intricate riverside carpet. This carpet was positively autumnal, but the woodland canopy punctured by blue sky was still decidedly summery.

After dog walking an adored friend and I went to Kilver Court. It was lovely to talk, drink coffee, browse and simply enjoy each others company. As we walked to the car there was the most amazing patch of wild flowers. It was such a lovely splash of colour and so much more magical than uniformly planted beds filled with low maintenance shrubs.

Natures Carpet,Rocking Dog

Natures Carpet

Mushroom Harvest,Rocking Dog

Mushroom Harvest

Woodland Canopy,Rocking Dog

Woodland Canopy

Infant Pine Cones,Rocking Dog

Infant Pine Cones

Rosy Red Apples,Rocking Dog

Rosy Red Apples

Late Summer Colour,Rocking Dog

Late Summer Colour

Come On A Walk With Real Live Rocking Dog

Come, Walk With Me, Rocking Dog

Come, Walk With Me

Real Live Rocking Dog loves a good early morning ramble. Yesterday it was still, positively silent, and there was a characteristic autumnal nip in the air. Mist clung to everything. Cobwebs sported pearl like dewy droplets and ferns dripped their moisture like exotic Amazonian rain forest flora.

The fox had been busy overnight. There were four tell tale feathery piles along the trail. Later I spotted the wily white tipped tailed gentleman during my afternoon walk. He sat staring at me nonchently for a while before heading off into the undergrowth. Real Live Rocking Dog was oblivious to his presence.

There is foraging to be done, rose-hips for syrup perhaps, blackberries for pies and crab apples for jelly. Mushrooms have literally burgeoned overnight and get you questioning “are they fit for eating or not?”

With the cold chill, rust coloured leaves are leaving the security of their branches. They will form a cushioned pathway and in time form humus. Absorbed into the earth the hedgerows will brim with renewed growth and vigour heralding the spring.

After his walk Real Live Rocking Dog loves nothing more than to sit on an upstairs window seat watching the world go by. Even better the experience for him if the radiator is on and someone comes to wrap a blanket around him. A spoilt precious pet indeed!

Skeletal Flora, Rocking Dog

Skeletal Flora

Make Syrup?, Rocking Dog

Make Syrup?

Dewy Web, Rocking Dog

Dewy Web

To Eat Or Not?, Rocking Dog

To Eat Or Not?

Fox Filling!, Rocking Dog

Fox Filling!

Billy Goats Gruff, Rocking Dog

Billy Goats Gruff

Autumn Mist, Rocking Dog

Autumn Mist

Sour Harvest, Rocking Dog

Sour Harvest

Bountiful Berries, Rocking Dog

Bountiful Berries

A Lost Rocking Dog Fortnight In Pictures.

The Rabbit, Rocking Dog & The Wardrobe, Rocking Dog

The Rabbit, Rocking Dog & The Wardrobe

Where have you been Rocking Dog? Chasing my tail, yes chasing my tail! Broken sleep has meant writing my blog has been difficult to contemplate. That doesn’t mean to say I haven’t been busy, I have managed to find some creative fuel! So this post is dedicated to the lost Rocking Dog fortnight.

Last week I took my 86 year old neighbour clothes shopping in Bath. I hope I have as much style and verve for life as Molly if I’m still around at 80 plus! In between octogenarian Gok styling, I managed to nip into “Anthropologie”. I left Molly downstairs with a VERY patient and friendly member of staff whilst I legged it upstairs for knobs. Sale knobs were quickly chosen, Bloomsbury inspired ones for my Bloomsbury inspired painted doors and whimsical porcelain rabbits for a wardrobe (more on that later!) We ended our trip in Waterstone’s. Molly was so happy…with her bags of clothes and books. Good job!

Another morning was spent with another friend in Tetbury. We made a beeline for “Domestic Science” where we drank coffee and ate cake before perusing four or five floors of vintage loveliness. If I ever win money Andyman can head to the car showroom (isn’t that what every man would do? excuse the stereotype) and I would head to Tetbury for antiques. I spied a particularly lovely set of Swedish chairs, but didn’t even bother to glance at the price tag!

Other vintage moments included chancing upon “Rag and Bone” in Bristol. This just could very well be my new favourite shop. I bought a lovely set of bobbly brass curtain rings for £10, whether they’ll be used for curtains or incorporated into Christmas decorations remains to be seen. After “Rag and Bone” Liv and I headed to River station for eats. The previous evening we had eaten the first mince pie of the season, a little Harrod’s number. Sorry and excuse my boastfulness I still think Rocking Dog’s mince pies win hands down! No Michael, no, it really isn’t time yet.

Talking of pies I made chicken pies in traditional enamel dishes for a night with friends. A retro 70’s dessert followed, Chestnut Turinois. The wood burner was stoked and we celebrated the start of autumn and enjoyed the joys of friendship and the circle of life.

The daily walks with Real Live Rocking Dog have been wonderful with blue skies and a plethora of wildlife. Deer, the heron, kingfishers, moorhens and ducks intermingle with the joy of observing leaves turning to rust and copper hues. Just as Real Live Rocking Dog begins to enjoy his warm woolly coat he is destined for the dog groomers later this morning. He’ll need a sleeker cooler coat ready for his road trip to Italy later this week.

Poor Andyman is getting rather perturbed by the amount of stuff destined for Umbria. I seem to think his car is like a Tardis. Of course unlike Dr Who’s iconic Tardis, our car is not deceptively spacious! Included in the haul are oak shelves and paint, together with the rabbit handles to make a wardrobe into a larder cupboard. Is this genius or madness, only time will tell!

This week I am expecting 300 jars to arrive. At some point these will need to be filled with delicious things. Is it too ambitious to pickle and preserve this week, somehow I think so. Perhaps I can bring back prized Capri lemons to marmalade, preserve and pickle. I am enjoying the brilliant book “The Land Where The Lemons Grow” by Helena Attlee. I always thought a lemon was simply a lemon…..but it is simply not.

In December I am momentarily coming out of Heaven’s Cake retirement and am rustling up a vintage wedding for a lovely couple. Stupendous cakes, vintage china, steaming mugs of cranberry zinger and of course the obligatory pots of tea. It will be perfectly lovely, especially if there is a dusting of snow.

One of the loveliest tasks over the last week or two has been to work on a quilt with my brave friend. She gallantly cross stitched and embroidered panels to insert into a play mat. It now resides across the pond with her new scrummy little grandson. So much strength, so much love, so much care to behold. x

So there it is a potted history of the last two weeks- well the nicer bits. A John Lewis member of staff and I fleetingly talked about tasks such as laundry, cleaning, shopping etc.. being so damned time consuming and yet so annoyingly unconstructive. It always feels feeble describing how you have spent a few hours just doing domestic dross! However I am not complaining, hallelujah for automatic washing machines, dish washers and cordless vacuum cleaners, yes absolutely blooming hallelujah!

Have a great week and hope there is not too much domestic dross to deal with in your household.

Bloomsbury Knobs, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Knobs

Bloomsbury Door, Rocking Dog

Bloomsbury Door

New Haunt, Rocking Dog

New Haunt

Bobbly Brass, Rocking Dog

Bobbly Brass

Lovely Lunch, Rocking Dog

Lovely Lunch

Mince Pie Tasting!,Rocking Dog

Mince Pie Tasting!

Prefer Mine!, Rocking Dog

Prefer Mine!

Chicken Pie, Rocking Dog

Chicken Pie

Autumnal Daily Walk, Rocking Dog

Autumnal Daily Walk

Creative Hub, Rocking Dog

Creative Hub

Domestic Science, Rocking Dog

Domestic Science

Jars To Fill, Rocking Dog

Jars To Fill

Wedding Food, Rocking Dog

Wedding Food

Stoking The Fire, Rocking Dog

Stoking The Fire

Sewing Something Special, Rocking Dog

Sewing Something Special

Waiting For A Light Bulb Moment!

A Light Bulb Moment, Rocking Dog

A Light Bulb Moment

Oh dear! I have been off the radar for a while! Busy but quiet, do busy and quiet actually correlate? Unfortunately I haven’t been able to give brain space to blog space. I am waiting for a light bulb moment, and think there just could be an ambient flicker!

Wishing you a wonderful weekend and enjoy the beautiful autumn sunshine. Love Rocking Dog.

PS. I made a set of six cushion covers literally in my sleep. I think that possibly rivals the two tier wedding cake which I baked and iced with absolutely no recollection! Insomnia it’s a strange old beast!

Summer Makes Way For Autumn

Looks Like Cocoa Sprinkled Meringue, Rocking Dog

Looks Like Cocoa Sprinkled Meringue

Summer seems to be making way for autumn. With the mix of rain and warmth there is a plethora of fungi in the hood. I would dearly love to do some foraging with old Bear Grylls, wouldn’t we all! Knowing what mushrooms are safe to eat, and ones that shouldn’t under any circumstances  be tossed in a pan would be supremely useful. I did make a tart last week which incorporated fresh shop bought mushrooms, porcini and smoked bacon. A tart doesn’t need to be sloppily eggy!

Mushrooms abound in the field, on fallen trees and on leaf covered tracks. Yesterday morning I took Real Live Rocking Dog on our favourite daily trek and got quite a fright. I spied what I thought was a small skull perched on a dry stone wall. On closer inspection and after a poke of confirmation with my “Wicked” brolly, it turned out to be a very ugly fungi. Phew!

A little later along the walk I narrowly missed a squirrel jumping into my hair. I really must book a hair appointment! Nearing home a pair of deer on hearing my footsteps sprung across the path and in the brook a heron patiently waited for a passing fish. Most walks really aren’t this eventful.

At home we are fortunate to have a Horse Chestnut tree in the garden. I love the tree, the sticky buds, the candle like blossoms and now the conker harvest. Unfortunately the squirrels love the conker harvest too and there are sparse pickings for the lovely little boy next door. Sorry Noah.

This is the time of year I like to create a nature table. It reminds me of the one we used to have year round at school. Beech masts, Old Man’s Beard, rose hips, conkers, sweet chestnuts, haws, acorns and oak apples would invariably put in an appearance as autumn beckoned.

In Zara one or two garments sport embroidered harvests. I loved the appliqué but sadly not the style of the clothes. Boo hoo!

I smelt our neighbours’ wood smoke last night and I couldn’t resist lighting the wood burning stove, the first of the season. Real Live Rocking Dog was adoring the cosiness. He purred contentedly like a cat!

Happy Autumn!

Ugly Fungi!, Rocking Dog

Ugly Fungi!

Fantastical Fungi, Rocking Dog

Fantastical Fungi

Fungi In A Tart, Rocking Dog

Fungi In A Tart

Sweet Chestnut Bounty, Rocking Dog

Sweet Chestnut Bounty

Favourite Daily Trek, Rocking Dog

Favourite Daily Trek

Seed Heads, Rocking Dog

Seed Heads

Autumn's Harvest, Rocking Dog

Autumn’s Harvest

Zara's Harvest, Rocking Dog

Zara’s Harvest

Log Pile At The Kennel, Rocking Dog

Log Pile At The Kennel

Another Peek In Rocking Dog’s Wardrobe

Hello Summer!, Rocking Dog

Hello Summer!

With post wedding exhaustion in full throttle, last week I settled on carrying out simple tasks that did not require a huge amount of brain boggling thought or physical capability. One job involved bringing summer into my wardrobe. I thought you’d perhaps like another peek in Rocking Dog’s wardrobe. February 2015 was the last time I opened the doors, and unfortunately not a tremendous amount has changed!

I still have a predominantly black winter “uniform”, with a switch to white for the summer. Somewhat scruffy dog walking garb however tends to dominate my everyday clothing decisions. Needless to say brightly coloured sale price “Hunter” wellies are the all year round very practical footwear choice!

Sadly, there have been no major buying splurges to report. Last weeks sort involved moving black wool, velvet and other wintry fabrics into hibernation. How I enjoy having a spare wardrobe or two now that Andyman and I are empty nesters! With all the cuddly warm wooliness huddled into its new home I could transfer the somewhat lighter brighter garments into my wardrobe. With our recent trip to Cuba the linens had enjoyed a very brief tropical encounter, but it was now time to make the brave decision that the English summer had indeed arrived!

The cream wool Toast tunic which i’d just bought in February ’15 I am sorry to say remains unworn. The winter has simply been too mild and i’m too warm blooded! Hopefully winter 2016 will bring snow and frosts. Indeed my plethora of market bought Italian wool coats haven’t been given much of an outing either! Inpenetrable suit carriers will swathe the wools and silk velvets from the destructive chomping jaws of a fleet of moths. I will add Rocking Dog crooked hearts for further protection and hopefully my clothes will escape unscathed when Autumn and the need for warm garments returns.

Summer wardrobe installed, I surveyed my colourful closet. Linen has an awful reputation for being high maintenance and to crease easily. However, I love the feel of cotton and freshly pressed linen against my skin. Textiles which include synthetic threads can make me hot and bad tempered, flushed and murderous! I can’t ever imagine a time when I won’t want to wear linen. If and when the time comes that i’m simply too gnarled and infirm to use an iron i’ll just have to employ a butler! Many of my linen pieces have been coming out for the past six or seven years or so. East, M & S, Zara, Laura Ashley and John Lewis are worth a look, especially when they have their summer sales.

Regarding buying clothes, I still don’t like paying full price for anything. I still use my hard and fast rule that if I see a bargain I will ask myself “If money allowed, would I pay full price for the item?”. If the answer is a decisive yes i’d hurtle to the cash desk, and if no, i’d leave the bargain hanging there. I’m still not an internet shopper, I like the experience of just seeing what’s out there, to feel fabrics and look at trends. A fashionista I am absolutely not, but I adore people watching and looking to see what shoppers are trying on and buying.

Now, a quick rundown of some of the images I have included in this post. We’ve dealt with the winter wools, the velvets and the unworn jumper.

The wedding coat.. my latest item in the wardrobe, and the infamous garment I made very tentatively from Christian Lacroix curtain fabric (Ebay remnant). This was the first dress making i’d done since the 1980’s and not a shoulder pad in sight! I really enjoyed the process and could there be another coat in the offing?! The Vintage Coat has a degree of man made fabric in it’s composition, and so it does tend to make me hot and ratty on occasions! However, I like the shape and colour and it’s become a really useful wardrobe staple. I bought this coat in a favourite charity shop a few years ago for a tenner. The last coat of the trio is one my sister made for me about 35 years ago. Made from heavy linen union I have always loved it. Being floral I confidently wore it to Chelsea Flower Show last year. Thanks sis”!

Ah yes.. the itchy jacket. I love this jacket, but it is itchy. I need to have neck and wrists “lined” to wear this one. I’m sure we all have an item or two in the wardrobe that we have to brace ourselves for, be it a nose tickling angora cardi’ or skirt that mysteriously rises up for some reason!

The latest Liberty buy. Whilst on my recent foray to Liberty I spotted these lovely wide legged lounge pants. Calf length and with pockets, they are far too nice to just lounge around in, I think they’ll be part of my cooling hot weather wardrobe! Uniqlo have collaborated with Liberty for this range and at £12.90 these pants are bargainous! I never discount leisure/sleep wear as something I can wear out.

Full Price Garb’. Very occasionally I do pay full price for something and this outfit was indeed one of those times. Made from Lithuanian silk this top and pantaloon trouser get up was bought in Edinburgh for a wedding & other social event five years ago. Made by Grizas I have loved wearing this. One of the best features is that it requires absolutely no ironing!

Parisian Flea. I bought this skirt a few years ago in the Montmartre district of Paris, in a secondhand clothes shop. I paid about 10 euro for it and I still love it. The draped tulip shape reminds me of the designs of Paul Poiret and harks back to enjoyable nights watching The House of Elliot! A simple black light weight jumper and quirky shoes, I can still see me wearing it in ten years time.

Poppy Love. I haven’t worn this skirt a great deal, a full length organza skirt isn’t something you can wear everyday. I bought it in Jigsaw for a commemorative event around the same time as Remembrance Sunday. I adore it, despite it being quite brown. Brown is a colour I do not enjoy wearing. Maybe it relates to the fact that I had to wear brown when I had a Saturday job at Debenham’s, and further back my mum quite often put me in brown because I had brown eyes. My sister meanwhile was dressed in the more cheery blue garments because she had blue eyes!

Back In The Box. My lovely wedding shoes. Unconventional I know, but as youngest daughter said “Mum you aren’t really Kate Middleton nude shoe material are you!”

So there it is a little whizz through the Rocking Dog wardrobe. What treasures lurk in your wardrobe and do you have any good shopping tips? Please tell all!

Hope the week is a happy one for you all. Love Rocking Dog x

Goodbye Winter!, Rocking Dog

Goodbye Winter!

Still Unworn, Rocking Dog

Still Unworn

Velvets No More!, Rocking Dog

Velvets No More!

Wedding Coat, Rocking Dog

Wedding Coat

Vintage Coat, Rocking Dog

Vintage Coat

1980's Floral Coat, Rocking Dog

1980’s Floral Coat

Itchy Jacket, Rocking Dog

Itchy Jacket

Latest Liberty Buy, Rocking Dog

Latest Liberty Buy

Full Price Garb', Rocking Dog

Full Price Garb’

Parisian Flea, Rocking Dog

Parisian Flea

Poppy Love, Rocking Dog

Poppy Love

Back In The Box, Rocking Dog

Back In The Box