Monday, 29 June 2015

Bargain Buys

No days out for us this weekend, so no photos to share of places we've visited. 
Well when I say no days out, not for me, G and S anyway.
T went to London with a friend for the Gay Pride event and had a brilliant time.
S ended up spending the afternoon round at her friend L's, messing about and cooling off in their paddling pool.
G and I spent the afternoon in the garden. 
Initially tackling the many jobs which need doing and then doing nothing more strenuous than reading.
However before we knuckled down to the garden jobs we headed out to a sale being held to raise funds for the child bereavement charity Simon Says.
We came away with a real assortment of purchases, G bought a couple of Pink Floyd CD's, S found a couple of tops she liked and although I didn't buy anything for myself I picked up a few items towards my sister's birthday present including this plastic heart shaped basket for 10p.

G didn't fancy going to the car boot on Sunday morning so I arranged to go with my mum and sister. They talked me into buying this top for £1.00. Not really sure why I initially resisted buying it as it's just my kind of thing.

My favourite buy was this scarf, again for £1.00. 

Another purchase for my sister. She saw it and liked it and so I bought it. It was 50p. It's now been packed away until much later in the year.

Today is a day all bloggers should celebrate, it's camera day. Where would we be without them.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Fairy Day

Sprinkling some fairy dust your way for Fairy Day.

Monday, 22 June 2015

A Castle and some Chocolate

What a lovely weekend we've just had.
We took a little trip out on both Saturday and Sunday.
No prizes for guessing we took the train each day. 
Our destination on Saturday was Portchester for it's annual gala.
The event is held in the grounds of the castle which can clearly be seen from the train station.

Portchester is just a couple of stops up the railway line from our recent day out destination of Fratton so I thought it only right I should wear one of my purchases, a floaty summer skirt.

As mostly happens on our days out, our first mission was to buy some odds and ends to make a picnic lunch. I tend to take cups, plates and cutlery and some spread to butter sandwiches with and then we buy what we need when we are out. This way we aren't carrying lots of extra weight with us.
The little shopping precinct was busy with shoppers although it has to be said is one of the most unattractive we've been to. 

The road leading up to the castle was jam packed full of the prettiest houses and cottages

and a few of the owners had entered into the festivities of the day by decking out their homes with bunting and flags

As always there were the extra little things which caught my eye and captured my imagination....

a round window above a front door

the name of this cottage

the classic combination of red, white and blue. And if you have to have the yellow parking sign outside your home why not include a dash of yellow in your planting in an attempt to make it blend in a bit more.

the prettiest little patch of cottage garden with picket fencing, a brick wall and a wonderful lantern, all against the backdrop of a white washed wall.

Door knockers. Love the one on the left the most.

Once we were at the castle we found a spot to eat lunch and then went over to the arena where a local bagpipe band were playing.

Just like our last couple of outings with S she had again bought along a friend and the pair of them sat down to watch a Punch and Judy show. All I could think about was the recent book I had read at book club, Rivers of London, where the murderer was able to change his appearance so he looked like Mr Punch. It was a good read and enjoyed by all the group as far as I can remember.

The next event in the arena was a group of belly dancing ladies. They all looked so happy as they danced and they were so graceful, it was a delight to watch.

Portchester has couple of walks I am interested in doing but these will have to wait for our next visit. Further exploration of the castle will also need be done then too. T and I went there about 10 years ago with my aunt and two of her daughters and they had lots of fun that day.
Some days you can do more with the children and some days you have to settle for doing less and Saturday was definitely a doing less day.

Sunday was Father's Day. 
G said he didn't want any fuss made, no presents bought. 
I knew the children wanted to get him something though and when I saw this idea on Pinterest I hoped it would be a good compromise.
We used an old roll of wallpaper to write on, T and S taking turns to write alternate sentences.
G was thrilled with it.

I had been to the church in the morning and left some flowers for my dad,  I had a little chat with him and told him how much I missed him.

It wasn't until midday we set out on our trip for Sunday. We were off to Salisbury.
A short walk from the station is Queen Elizabeth gardens and here we were meeting G's mum and sister.

The parks are set in a very picturesque location and of course they give a fantastic view of the Cathedral

but it wasn't the view we were going for, it was the free entertainment. On 5 Sundays in the summer the council have organised music in the park concerts and the first was courtesy of Casa de Samba. The park was packed with people and the group made sure everyone was put into a party mood with their upbeat music.

This summer Salisbury is holding an art trail and to coincide with the Magna Carta celebrations barons are the theme.
There were a couple in the park but, for now,  I only took a photo of this Hello Kitty one.
I had already found out about this a few weeks ago and had noted it down as a day out possibility for the summer holidays.
G's sister is going to be in Salisbury at some point over the school break and suggested we come and do the trail whilst she is there then we can all do it together. 

A good excuse for yet another picnic in the park I reckon.

Friday, 19 June 2015


I've never really understood the appeal of Garfield the cat.
Back in the 1980s I worked in a gift shop and we sold hundreds of stuffed cuddly toy Garfields.
Garfield in all manner of different outfits and the ones you stick on your car window were very popular too.
I'm sure there must be many fans out there today who would like to know today is Garfield the cat day.
He's got one fan in our household, here she is sporting some pretty funky Garfield socks.

Garfield came to S's attention through the world of movies, she now has all 3 (how did they manage 3?!) of them on DVD.

Yesterday I decided to give walking to and from work a go. My shift on a Thursday is 8-2 and so fits in much more easily with the idea of walking. 
I reckoned it would take me an hour to get to work and I wasn't far off, it took 65 minutes. This included a quick stop when a friend drew up alongside me for a brief chat. She thought I had a problem with my car and stopped to offer me a lift.
Walking home was a bit more challenging. It was very warm yesterday afternoon and about a third of the way into my journey I had to stop and, as surreptitiously as possible, remove my tights to help cool me down, laddering them in the process.
Going home involves going uphill.
One of the hills is Garfield Road. 
Just as I was approaching this part I heard a voice behind me shouting out 'excuse me, excuse me.' I looked round to see a young lad walking towards me with something in black in his hand. 
Somehow my sweaty tights had fallen out of my bag, he had been in a shop across the road and noticed, then crossed the road to rescue them and return them to me. I thanked him and scurried off feeling more than a little embarrassed.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Mid week picnic

I love a picnic.
My love of a picnic is well known by my family.
I remember S woke up one morning during the school holidays a few years ago and asked excitedly 'mum where are we going to go and have our picnic today?'
It's what the summer is all about isn't it.
Mind you a picnic in the spring and autumn can be lovely too if you pick the right kind of day.
So when I saw today was International picnic day it provided me with the perfect reason for a mid week picnic outing.
We spent a lovely couple of hours up at the Common this evening making the most of the sun.
What a fabulous way to round off the day.

Friday, 12 June 2015

2 Days Off

I've just had two days off and spent quite a lot of my time on various trains.
Once a year I have to take S to Cambridge for a check up with the specialist eye unit based at Addenbrooke's. 
It's a long day involving 3 trains, 2 tubes and one bus.
We've done the trip 4 times now and so know our route pretty well.

We go prepared. 
When S was younger we would take sticker books and colouring books and this Shaun the Sheep book. As well as having a couple of stories it also contains 2 very basic games which we must have played hundreds of times on these and various other journeys over the years.
When S sorted out her book shelves this week this book was one she decided she no longer wanted. I must admit to feeling a little sad but hopefully when it goes off to the charity shop it will be bought by another family and enjoyed by them just as much.

G doesn't work Fridays and so he proposed we spend my second day off out and about somewhere together.
Bearing in mind we needed to be back in time for the end of the school day we needed somewhere within reasonable travelling distance.
The lure of a newly recommended vinyl record shop provided the idea for our destination in the end.
We took the train to Fratton.

I wouldn't recommend Fratton as a day out destination, there isn't very much on offer. Although we didn't really venture very far from the main high street, who knows there may have been some real architectural gems just waiting for us a street or two away. The vinyl shop was a bit of a let down too, lots of the stock was at a much higher price than G has seen in other places.
We did make a couple of purchases each in a Barnardos charity shop. G has two new shirts and I have a new tshirt and skirt. Like I need anymore clothes, but at £1.49 each I found them hard to resist.

A plus point for Fratton is that it's right next door to Southsea. In fact it's next to a part of Southsea we've never really explored before.
I was fascinated by all the buildings and array of housing we saw. Lots and lots of terraced houses but loads of huge detached Victorian villas, semi detached houses with attic rooms and cellars and all with such different features. If someone was organising a walking tour of the architecture in Southsea I'd be first in the queue to go.
One thing which was in abundance was original stained glass. 

Another thing Southsea has a lot of is pubs, it seemed there was one on every street corner. Naturally we went into one for our lunch, The Bold Forester, in case you were wondering. 
And churches, that's something else they have a lot of, it seemed there were nearly as many of those as there were pubs.

G ended up finding another vinyl shop and bought not 1, not 2 but 3 albums from off of his wish list. He was really chuffed with that little haul.

I found a car which looked like Mater

and at one point I may have said a bit too loudly and excitedly, 'oh my god there's a Tardis across the road.'

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The L-Shaped Room

Tonight is my book club night.
This month we have been reading The L-shaped Room.
I am the youngest in our group (not often I can say that!) and most of the ladies read this back in the 60s and 70s and they were looking forward to re-reading it.
I'm looking forward to seeing what they think of it this time around.
The story is about Jane. She is 27 years old and living at home with her civil servant father. That is until she becomes pregnant and has to move out and so finds herself living in The L-shaped Room.
For the most part I enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed at the arrival of the great aunt who seemed to be like a fairy godmother trying to make it all better.
And the language used, on occasion, when referring to some of the characters did make my skin crawl. Words used to describe a Jewish boss or a young black gay man made for very uncomfortable reading.
I noticed that the Lynn Reid Banks went on to write two more books following the life of Jane and her child.
I have ordered the next one in the series as I would like to find out which path of life the author took her on.

One part of the book really stood out for me and I have shared it here. I like the succinct descriptions of each season.

Jane notices Spring is coming and observes....

'The Spring can be more painful than any other time of the year. Summer is lazy and indifferent; Autumn is demanding and invigorating: Winter is numb and self contained. But Spring has none of the palliatives. Every emotional nerve is close to the surface; every sound and sight, every touch of the air, is a summons to feel, to open your doors, to let life possess you and do what it likes with you.

Have you read it? What do you think of this description?

Monday, 8 June 2015

Bandstand and Buses

Our afternoon out yesterday had a very vintage feel to it.
The first part was spent, with a picnic, at Southsea bandstand.
Most Sundays during the summer free musical entertainment is to be had at this venue and it's a fab way to while away a sunny afternoon. Each week features a different style of music and this weekend was the one which grabbed my interest as it was billed as 40s and swing.
Playing and singing were The Bevin Boys and The Three Belles both of which were very good indeed.

The event was really well attended and from the start the dance floor was packed. We were thoroughly entertained by the dancers, they were clearly enjoying themselves and that happiness is infectious.

Some people came along dressed up in vintage style clothing, you may be able to see some on the dance floor, the hair styles caught my eye too.

For the second part of our afternoon we had to wander past the D Day museum and these stunning huge and glossy red poppies

towards Southsea Common where the Southdown 100 rally was being held. We didn't actually know about this event, we saw it advertised on our journey down to Southsea, but it seemed to good to miss seeing as we were on the spot. We're not bus enthusiasts by any means but we couldn't resist a wander round the vintage examples.

I said to G that if we were getting married now (and not nearly close to celebrating 18 years of marriage, how did that happen?!) then I would love to hire a bus to transport us and the wedding guests.

There were a fair few examples of open top buses too

and we even got to sit on one which I have to say I probably was more excited about that S!

And finally I just had to take a snap of one person who came along with the perfect accessory for such an occasion.