Showing posts from October, 2009

A Hat Too Far!!

A long time ago (in a land far far away... no really, just couldnt help myself) there was a lady on the uksoaping forum called Sally Pointer. Sally is an archaeologist and soap maker and author of a wonderful book called The Artifice of Beauty But... one of the most amazing things that Sally does is this: She makes felted pointy hats (and other types of historical hat too). I have wanted one of these for such a long time, but alas, it is beyond my pocket - and would probably look totally ridiculous on me (but what the heck!). Unfortunately her website is not working as well as it should but there are other hats of hers here . We shouldn't have to wait until this time of year and a party to wear a hat like this. I would happily wear one of these on the coldest days of winter - Except that this pointy hat is nowadays synonymous with Halloween. And witch's. During medieval times the pointy hat was pretty normal wear for pretty normal people. What does Halloween (or

BillyJon and the Page Three Girl!

I have managed to find some photographs of Jon at the top of Mt Kilimanjaro here and here and some more video of their training on this page here . I can't tell you how proud of him I am... and how bad I feel being so proud... well aren't we all taught that pride comes before a fall? What is it with the way we were brought up?!!! Why can't I jump up and down and shout "I have the best son in the world!!?" because that's how I feel, guess I'm just a repressed Brit and that's all there is to it! I am sure he is going to come home a different person altogether... and I hope that he is an inspiration for other people coping with disabilities... or as my father used to say "There's no such word as CAN'T" Link to tonight's tv news spoke to Jon on the phone tonight... when I asked him how he was he said "I'm in bits!" The trek down was really tough... his splints are not designed to slope downwards and twice


BillyJon did it!! Telephone call a few minutes ago to say he had just come off the top of Mount Kilimanjaro!!!!!! He was totally exhausted and very emotional, was going to have an hours sleep before setting off for the journey back down - equally arduous if not more so - his splints are not designed to slope his foot downwards. They are all such brave boys and girls!! We are delighted. It's champagne for breakfast today!!

SteamPunk comes to Oxford

I was first introduced to the inspiring world of steampunk by my daughter and these books, Larklight and Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve. Even though these are children's books they totally grabbed me. It has been a long time since I read anything with such original ideas. I simply couldn't put them down. I would definitely recommend them for anyone who is looking for a really good adventure story set in an incredibly appealing steam-driven world. Steampunk fiction is inspired by the kind of technology found in HG Wells 'Time Machine' or Jules Verne's 'Captain Nemo' (I can't remember how many leagues under the sea it is... always get that muddled, is it 20,000? or 2,000? anyway...). The books are set in an alternative world to ours, but one that we would recognise, and full of amazing steam driven machines, heavy engineering and Victorian values with a sense of humour that had me chuckling out loud throughout. After that I read every book Phili


BillyJon has just telephoned me... he's at 3,000 metres up having walked all day - and he is exhausted. He said everyone was tired but everyone had managed the climb so far and that although he wasn't in pain at the moment he expected to feel it later. When they started off this morning at 10am (local time) it was sunny and there were monkeys jumping through the trees. By lunch time it was pouring with rain and they had to stop and put on their gortex bad weather gear. He also said that Peta had been walking with him and helping him, good for her, she suffers from asthma so I am sure it isn't a walk in the park for her either. From now on they will be taking it slowly so hopefully they will not have any altitude problems. They expect to be on the top on Thursday. I will keep you posted!

Gladys Gets a New Hat!

Do you remember Gladys? She started life as a spring bride in my garden - guarding the vegetable beds and policing the chickens. Well life moves on and Gladys moved home to the allotment in July. I have been reading quite a lot about gardening and permaculture and decided to make a circular bed for my vegetables with Gladys in the middle. I am sure the old guys who garden beside me think I am totally mad. Anyway... I have managed to get a half circle dug over and have planted some Japanese onions and some garlic interspersed with some strawberry runners as well as the last few seeds of raddish for a final crop before winter. Do you remember how the allotment was in July when we first took it on? Yeah... all that couch grass and weeds! Well we made a start and have even had a little produce from it. I've had a pretty constant supply of radish - they will grow just about anywhere with little or no fuss at all. And I have some beetroot. There are two brussel sprout plan

Swine Flu and Rice Pudding

Poor PhillyBilly has the flu. Is it swine flu? Heck I don't know. I mean it's bad flu... so is that swine flu? Anyway, some kind of remedy was called for. I guess chicken soup is the tradition. And my chicken soup is good... but, well I am trying not to go shopping mid-week. It's a bid to save money, be more organised, and simply do one shop and make it last a week... and I don't have the makings for chicken soup. I know! I'll make a good old-fashioned rib-sticking rice pudding! I pulled out the Mrs Beeton's and turned to the correct page. Goodness! You boil the rice in water until it's cooked and then add it to the milk with some butter and marrow fat(?) and 4 eggs and then it goes into the oven and is baked for nearly 2 hours... mmmm. It sounds rib sticking to me but perhaps a little more elaborate than I have time for. ...and by the way... do you know that the pleasant looking lady above is The Mrs Beeton . Everyone assumed that she was an

New Photograph

I decided it was time to replace the old steam engine with another of my favourite Victorian images. The picture above is the dresser in the kitchen at Cogges Manor Farm Museum in Oxfordshire. OKAY... SO IT ISN'T... Actually since posting this I have changed the whole look of Technobillies. Apologies to those who liked it before... changes are ongoing I am afraid... but hopefully... it will be better and better... now... back to Cogges... It is a very special place... and one that I used to know very well. Several times throughout the summer months I would go there with my soap and toiletries and my victorian costume and set up a stall in the back kitchen.... .....this is the back kitchen... as you can see it is very basic... and only ever intended as an overspill kitchen. Cleaning implements were kept here but the fire could be used to cook if required. This is where the laundry would have been done and also there is a bread oven which is still used on occasion. In au

Sock it to me!

I don't know where the desire came from... but it has been growing for some time now... and I don't know what suddenly made me decide to do it... but the urge was strong. I suspect that perhaps I watched too many old war time films or read too many of my vintage women's magazines from the early 20th century... but I have had a really strong desire to knit some socks. Now you have to understand that I am not an especially good knitter. I have only once managed to knit myself a jumper (though I have started a few) and it ended up being used as a full length winter dressing gown by my neice when she was away at uni. It didn't start off that long... but that is the thing about my knitting... it always seems to grow... of its own accord that is. but I hoped that socks would be different... since they are obviously a quick project... and don't take up too much wool. I decided to buy a kit . And then because I couldn't wait for it to arrive I went shopping and b

Before Summer is a Distant Memory

I thought I would sum up what I have been up to during the summer months... something to think back on during the long dark days of winter ahead. We took over a huge allotment project. And while persuading the weeds to leave, Mother Nature gave me a present. We did some fund raising for charity. By the way its only two weeks until BillyJon climbs Kilimanjaro... will keep you posted on that one! Had a disastor with my hens which meant purchasing this very whizzy hen house. Had an amazing trip to France... here is Carcassone one of my most favourite medieval towns ... And from the Chateau at Foix... looking out towards the Pyrenees and Andorra... And when out walking in the hills, Mother Nature gave me another present. And I said goodbye to my little girl for a whole year... who is actually very grown up and is now at university in Japan. Here she is on the day she left... putting a last few things into her flight bag. My mother in law had a special birthday an