Tag Archives: The Proclaimers

Soundtrack Of A Holiday

Brando Lives On! Florence,Rocking Dog

Brando Lives On! Florence

Having just arrived back from Umbria I still haven’t been able to rid myself of the soundtrack of the holiday! Do you find that there is always a tune that is playing whenever you jiggle radio stations, or step into bars or cafes? Often these songs are slightly annoying or indeed very annoying. In years to come you hear the tune again and it immediately transports you back to the holiday destination where you couldn’t help humming or singing it at full pelt. Our soundtrack this autumn in Umbria was somewhat embarrassedly Bruno Mars’s “Versace on the Floor”! Billy Swan’s “I Can Help” takes me to my teenage French exchange trip and to a cafe with a juke box. Newquay, “I’m In Mood For Dancing” by the Nolans, and my first holiday with Andyman in Umbria (1981) Barclay James Harvest’s album “Eyes of the Universe”. There were holidays with The Proclaimers “Lord, I Want To Be a Christian”, All Saints with “Never Ever” and The Bangles “Eternal Flame”etc.. I expect it will be a few days before I lose Versace from my head. Very hopefully I won’t lose the memory of our girls dancing around the Umbrian kitchen with baby Doug’in arms!

We found our Umbrian garden incredibly parched and somewhat resembling Little House on the Prairie. We have been reassured that our “grass” will somehow green up again. The poor Italians have had a scorchingly hot year and it has had a devastating effect on the crops. Vines hung heavy with fruit which I photographed last year tell a very different story this autumn. It has been difficult for the locals to irrigate crops and many wells have completely dried up. In our garden we are lucky to have some olives to pick when the start of November comes. There was leaf clearing to do and a pomegranate and fig tree to plant. Thankfully heavy rains came on our last day and watered those tender new trees. Alas with all the botanical tidying there was no hammock swinging, no sitting in my oak leaved reading nook and no star gazing. One day!

Wonderfully there were little toes in the pool, an inflatable avocado, some luxuriating, and serious lengths done in the cool of the pool.

There were vintage linens to launder and dry in the sun, a chimney to chat about for the woodburning stove, and lovely food to eat both at home and away.

Liv’ and I ventured to Florence and we all loved the lake (Trasimeno) especially the bonfire set up for a wedding. There were delicious custard filled Aragosta’s (lobster claws) to eat, thank you Michele, and refreshing Aperol Spritz’s to drink at Bar Gallo in Panicale. There is the small matter now of working off all that delicious Vongole and Scampi Gnocchi eaten at da Massimo’s! Why is Umbrian food just SO delicious?!

It really is lovely to be back to the green of England in September, with fresh inspiration for new projects.

Have a great week Rocking Dog x

PS Happy 30th Birthday to our boy Alex’. Have a wonderful time celebrating in France. At least there is no embarrassing cake today Alex! In a year gone by (16 years ago) I was seriously inspired by a trip to Amsterdam, in particular a visit to De Taart Van M’n Tante (My Aunt’s Tart). Many of their cakes were bold and risque. What possessed me to think it was appropriate to send a boxed cake with Alex on a geography school trip which was topped by a rubber gimp doll?! Sorry Alex.

Apartment In The Sky,Rocking Dog

Apartment In The Sky

Tiny Toes,Rocking Dog

Tiny Toes

On Dry Land,Rocking Dog

On Dry Land

Vintage Laundry,Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

There Will Be Oil!,Rocking Dog

There Will Be Oil!

Chimney Chat,Rocking Dog

Chimney Chat

Down At The Lake,Rocking Dog

Down At The Lake

Cake Break,Rocking Dog

Cake Break

Planting For The Future,Rocking Dog

Planting For The Future

Yay! Haggis Sausage Rolls For Burn’s Night

Straight From The Oven,Rocking Dog

Straight From The Oven

Oops! slight oversight I forgot Burn’s Night! Married to a Scot (oops sorry Andyman not your team!) and being half Scottish myself that’s slightly unforgivable. I spotted a MacSween Haggis in a butchers window and that’s when the penny dropped.

So, the Rocking Dog Huddlers will be offered haggis sausage rolls this evening. I made these golden beauties using an Abel& Cole recipe,credit to my lovely girl Sorrel. However I cheated a little by using ready made Taste The Difference all butter puff pastry. There’s a delicious vegetarian haggis version too for anyone feeling slightly queasy about the offal and entrails involved in the art of haggis making.

Burn’s Night always gives me the opportunity to talk about my Toby Jug folk and to be just a little bit silly… so here goes! Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has waddled across the mantlepiece, unable to resist the kilted charms of Wee Tam. Poor Toby, his beer swigging ways are not going down well with Mrs Mack (she is a convent girl after all). Toby’s Gout, flatulance, swarthy complexion, beer belly and moobs, she really wants to move on and find out just what Wee Tam wears beneath his kilt. Is he really so wee?!! For The time being she’s just enjoying his ticklin’ and Sean Connery accent. Ooh she’s a wee flirt!

Anyway enough of this nonsense, have a very happy Burn’s Night one and all!

Stop Your Ticklin' Tam!,Rocking Dog

Stop Your Ticklin’ Tam!

A Showery But Lovely Weekend By The Sea

Anonymous Landscape Artist, Rocking Dog

Anonymous Landscape Artist

Friday, we decided to cut and run! We decided on a showery but lovely weekend by the sea. Why is it always so cossetingly attractive to keep returning to familiar well worn paths? Hence we found ourselves Bridport bound once again, eventually landing up at Highlands End, Eype with our darling Pod.

Real Live Rocking Dog became deliriously happy, well in a grumpy Fox Terrier sort of way when The Pod arrived on the driveway. He jumped in through its door and refused to budge! You almost sensed that he was thinking “Are we there yet?” before we’d even got on the road.

In due course we did arrive in beautiful lush and green Dorset and parked up with a sea view and drizzle. We ate in drizzle, drank a lovely bottle of red in drizzle, and chattered in drizzle…. but we really frankly did not drizzly care!

Saturday dawned bright, and got hotter by the hour. Breakfast for Real Live Rocking Dog when we are camping always means sausages and he couldn’t be happier!

One of the big attractions of being in Bridport is its lovely street market, so after RLR Dog had licked the last sausagey morsel from his lips, it was time for some alfresco retail. I bought a beautiful old sign “Quest Antiquities”, I simply loved the script. Further along we picked up some old wooden handled hoes to decorate the back fence. We passed the lovely Electric Palace theatre, which is so sweet. A few years ago Andyman and I enjoyed seeing The Proclaimers and Billy Bragg there (I’m ashamed to say we are Proclaimer groupies!) Outside the Arts Centre I spied The Flowerfield stall. Beautiful country flowers, lupins, scented sweet peas, poppies and other floral loveliness, all grown on a one acre patch in Ottery St Mary, Devon. I love the whole philosophy of the slow flower movement, sustainable flowers without all the flower miles. A beautiful website Claire, truly florally yummy! Onto West Street I bought mightily healthy cottage garden plants from Charlotte Pitman’s stall. Into the newly dug border they will go this week, and who knows I may be cutting flowers from my disorderly patch later this summer!

After a coffee, Andyman had endured enough retail therapy (or misery!) and decided to take Real Live Rocking Dog on a coastal walk to West Bay and over the cliffs to Eype. I meanwhile rediscovered Butterfly Boho who do a mix of good quality pre-owned clothes and a range of new linen pieces. Lovely. Back to the old, I headed to Old Albion, which is a treasure trove of eclectic pieces- fairground sideshows, old wash tubs, neon signs and other kitschness! I just think I may have found my dog friendly vintage flooring there….. now just where is my tape measure?!

The afternoon was spent with young blood. I popped into see Charlie, a schoolfriend of Sorrel’s who has created a truly vibrant home for her family in Bridport. She is able to create wonderful montages, tableau’s, shelves and walls with not a lot of money but with an imaginative and inventive brain. I loved her blackboard walls, but wondered whether I could get away with scribing “Reminder: flea & worming treatment” attractively in chalk! In with all this creativity and motherly love, Charlie is a trainee midwife, a good one i’m sure. Hugs, chat and tea drunk, it was time to bid adieu and to rejoin the exhausted man and his dog!

A less drizzly meal was eaten before heading onto the beach at Eype. I loved the anonymous pebble artwork. It reminded me of the numerous pebble piles that we spotted when we were at the top of Norway. The cliffs were beautiful with a gentle cloak of mauvey-pink Saxifrage, Red Campion, swathes of grasses and yellow flag Iris’s. Rabbits were enjoying the burgeoning vegetation and were far too quick for Real Live Rocking Dog’s attempts to “play”.

Snuggled up, it rained torrentially seemingly the whole night long. How I love the sound of rain splashing on a caravan roof. It reminds me of our childhood caravan sited at Brean. I remember the sleeping bags, the gas lights with net mantles and the rain noisily plopping whilst we were snugly tucked up.

So the first camping trip of the year now done, it is time to look to pastures new…. Dungeness, Lewes, Arundel, the Mumbles … but there again I can hear Dorset calling us back!

PS. Message for little Devon, hope you are feeling so much better x

Are We There Yet?, Rocking Dog

Are We There Yet?

Sail Away, Rocking Dog

Sail Away

Andyman's Best Friend, Rocking Dog

Andyman’s Best Friend

Bridport Market, Rocking Dog

Bridport Market

Plant Life, Rocking Dog

Plant Life

Butterfly Boho Linens, Rocking Dog

Butterfly Boho Linens

The Flowerfield, Rocking Dog

The Flowerfield

Electric Palace, Rocking Dog

Electric Palace

Old Albion, Rocking Dog

Old Albion

Charlie's Minimalist Life, Rocking Dog

Charlie’s Minimalist Life

Lovely Charlie Shelves, Rocking Dog

Lovely Charlie Shelves

Bristol Bound Boo Hoo!,  Rocking Dog

Bristol Bound Boo Hoo!

Fly Me To The Moon- Travel Bags

Made With Love By Rocking Dog, Rocking Dog

Made With Love By Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog is once again busy sewing. The latest project is a delicious pile of lined travel bags, made from dog tooth gingham and appliqué plane patches. Hellicopter’s will soon join the fleet! These little bags would be great for stowing toys and treats for a voyage. Of course it wouldn’t need to be a plane journey, but personally I rather fancy a flight to Cuba before it changes forever!

When the Ferguson brood were little we used to do some endlessly long car journey’s to Scotland. Part of the packing preparation was given to wrapping distraction parcels to break the journey. Of course there were the games too, the picnic and the music. How I remember us all belting out “Proclaimers” songs as we headed through the Cairngorms and beyond. It was definitely “I will drive 500 miles” rather than “I will walk 500 miles”!

What would you fill your Rocking Dog travel bag with? My dream bag would contain some Cowshed or L’Occitane travel products, a World of Interiors magazine, a bottle of Purdey’s, my Moleskine to write notes, lipstick and a BIG bar of Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut!

Plane Sewing, Rocking Dog

Plane Sewing

Choosing Buttons, Rocking Dog

Choosing Buttons

Chocks Away!, Rocking Dog

Chocks Away!