Saturday 31 August 2013

August Happiness

Five things which have made me smile this month...
1. Great Dorset Steam Fair - all the rides, all the stalls, all the history and all the friends.

Fairground organ at Great Dorset Steam Fair

 2. Taking my brother on lots of exciting fairground rides at Carters Steam Fair in Bath.

Riding the Chair-o-planes at Carters Steam Fair

3. A little Scottie dog shortbread on the train!

Scottie dog shortbread on the train
4. Some great shows at Edinburgh Fringe Festival - Josh Widdicombe, Marcus Brigstocke and Andrew Maxwell had me in stitches.

Pleasance Courtyard totem pole
5. My beautiful bird necklace made by the talented Claire from Claireabellemakes.

Bird necklace
What little things have made you happy this month?

Friday 30 August 2013

Infant School Memories

One image which sums up infant school for me...
 Red Clarks school shoes
Source: Wikipedia

I used to love shoes like these!

I think this particular style was discontinued in the late 1970's but I remember wearing shoes in a similar style when I started school in the mid 1980's.

We always used to go to the K Shoes Factory Shop in Kendal during the summer (on our way up to Scotland for a holiday) and I used to trawl the shelves looking for the perfect pair of little red t-bar shoes to wear to school in September.
I still love T-bar shoes now and even wore a pair on my wedding day.

Anyone know where you can get shoes like these in adult sizes?


Thursday 29 August 2013

Autumnal Pleasure at Sydney Gardens

We had a couple of hours to spare before we watched Paloma Faith the other week and Andrew decided to take me to a place I've never actually visited before.

Sydney Gardens

Now I've lived within 10 miles of Bath for about 28 years but I've never walked round Sydney Gardens.
It's a beautiful small park on the north-eastern side of Bath, originally named the Bath Vauxhall Gardens and the only remaining eighteenth-century pleasure gardens in the country.

Sydney Gardens Minerva Tower

Sydney Gardens

Sydney Gardens

The gardens were landscaped and opened in 1795 but the coming of the steam rail age and canal network cut through the park when the Great Western Railway and Kennet and Avon Canal arrived in town. 

Sydney Gardens railway line

Sydney Gardens

Sydney Gardens

Walking round the park, it seemed like Autumn really was just around the corner.

Under the arches next to the canal, how cool is this? Ancient graffiti!

Ancient graffiti

Ancient graffiti

Ancient graffiti

 I wonder if any of them had any idea their handiwork would still be around over 200 years later?

Wednesday 28 August 2013

The Midweek Hop - A Vintage Wonderland

The other half's guest post - three songs on a theme...
(inspired by Desmond Carrington's 'The Music Goes Round')
'Balami S100' 1959 Jukebox

This weeks theme is...A Vintage Wonderland
Inspired by this week's Great Dorset Steam Fair
It starts today and runs until Sunday 1st September - hundreds of steam engines, an excellent funfair, side stalls and stages, all sorts of entertainment, vintage transport and thousands of shops and stalls to browse around. Come on down!
1. Out of Time by Chris Farlowe

Most of the exhibits at Great Dorset Steam Fair (and a fair few exhibitors!) are things that have run out of time in the modern world.
'Out of Time' entered the chart on 23rd June 1966 reaching Number 1.

2. Old Bazzar in Cairo by Clinton Ford and George Chisholm

Okay, so we usually don't quite have the warmth of Egypt but the sheer amount of stalls and variety of knick knacks for sale is just like an old bazaar!
'Old Bazaar in Cairo' is from Clinton Ford's 1968 comic album, 'Clinton the Clown' but was never released as a single.

3. I Am A Cider Drinker by The Wurzels

One thing that definately gets drunk a lot at the steam fair!
'I Am A Cider Drinker' entered the chart on 11th September 1976 reaching Number 3.

Happy listening!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

This (long) Weekend at the Duckpond

We have mostly been...

Watching - the first illuminated Carnival procession of the 2013 Carnival season here in South West England. Saturday Night's procession was at Sturminster Newton in the Dorset countryside and during September and October there's lots of other Carnival processions happening all over Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire.
A quick heads up for the big one on Saturday 2nd November as well - Bridgwater Carnival - reputed to be the biggest illumniated Carnival in the World!

Sturminster Newton Carnival

Judging - the entries at Sturminster Newton Carnival. I've been involved with the Carnival season for longer than I care to remember and once a year I don pen and clipboard and take a turn at judging which entry is the best. For obvious reasons I can't reveal who I judged as top of the class! :-)

Sturminster Newton Carnival Judge

Gromiting - before heading off to the Carnival I managed to fit in a few Gromits in Bristol.

Feathers Gromit

Packing - for our week away at Great Dorset Steam Fair

Travelling -  50ish miles south in a vehicle with a top speed of 30mph
(translated as taking Andrew's 1952 Scammell to Great Dorset Steam Fair)

Thrifting - around the stalls at Great Dorset Steam Fair. Even though it doesn't officially open to the public til Wednesday, if you're an exhibitor you get to wander round the stalls before the hoards arrive!

Hope you had a lovely bank holiday weekend, what did you get up to?

Monday 26 August 2013

A Steam Powered Picnic

At the Mid Somerset Show, the best thing ever is our picnic of steam engine-cooked baked potatoes and baked beans. I usually make a cake or two and with a couple of flasks of tea, you've got yourself an excellent picnic in the sun.
Here's how to do it...
1. Find a friendly steam engine owner and ask if you can cook some potatoes in his engine
(payment in the form of a potato-based lunch and several slices of cake is usually required)
2. Pierce your potatoes and wrap tightly in foil
3. Place in the front of the smokebox
Baked potatoes in a steam engine
Believe it or not, these potatoes were sat on top of a venison steak!
4. Come back in 30-45 minutes (if the engine is actually doing some work, eg. wood sawing, powering a fairground ride, etc, etc) or around 2 hours (if the engine is just idly running to entertain the crowds)
5. Pierce your tins of baked beans (but don't open completely) and place in the front of the smokebox for the last 20 minutes
6. When they've had their time, hoick out of the smokebox with a shovel
Taking baked potatoes out of a steam engine
6. Acknowledge the fact you'll get absolutely covered in black soot
7. Try not to burn yourself opening the foil
8. Add your toppings and enjoy!
Baked Potato Picnic

Baked Potato and Baked Beans
9. (p.s. Always finish off the picnic with cake!)
Cherry Cake and Neapolitan Cake

Neapolitan cake
I appreciate this is quite a niche picnic idea!
But if by any chance, you do ever find yourself with a few potatoes and a spare steam engine, 
you'll know what to do! :-)

Saturday 24 August 2013

A Properrr Job at the Mid Zumerzet Show

Last weekend was the Mid Somerset Show - it's a proper country fair that's been going for 161 years, the sort of show with lots of people in tweed jackets, people in riding outfits and farmers in white jackets showing off their livestock. Plus a gazillion cake and craft categories to enter and even a performance from The Wurzels to round off the day. (Coincidentially it's also held in the childhood hometown of Carrie from Wish Wish Wish).

Metalwork Sheep

We've been going for 6 years taking along Andrew's lorry to exhibit in the Vintage Vehicle field and loads of our friends with vintage vehicles come along too so it's like one big fun picnic all day long.
In fact, I can't remember any miserable wet shows, I think the sun must always shine on the day!

Traction Engine
Farmhouse Cider

Beacuse we were exhibitors, we managed to get in and around the show fairly early before the majority of the crowds arrived. My favourite tent is always the food and drink tent - plenty of free samples of cheese, sausages, bread, fudge, and this year, even some lemon drizzle cake (if you make your way round the tent a few times and were brazen enough, you could probably put together a fairly decent meal!)

Bread and Cakes

I also like the vegetable show with giant leeks and daintily arranged onions, they all look far more professional than anything I've ever grown in my back garden, and the sheer amount of categories for flowers, crafts, cakes, jams, chutneys, photographs, and plenty more is pretty amazing.
Sometimes I wonder if there's anyone in Shepton Mallet who hasn't gone home with a prize!
Giant leeks
Giant leeks!

Flower arrangements

Flower arrangement
A category called "tea for two"

Berry arrangement
Soft fruit display

Vegetable arrangement
A vegetable hamper

Vegetable arrangement
Another vegetable display

Vegetable monsters
My favourite category - "make a vegetable monster!"

Sweet necklaces
I think this category was "sweet jewellery" and the far category called "make a dinosaur"

Cheese display
Cheese as far as the eye can see!

Cake display
 And this only won second prize?

Maybe one year I'll get round to entering one of my own cakes...
Have you been to any county shows this year?

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