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Hel-lo, Monday!


Been out. Now I’m back. Not really fit for posting.

Whoo-ee my geriatric buds can whoop it up.

August 17, 2015 — 8:16 pm
Comments: 5

Overalls, Sussex style




Last post from the country fair. We found this guy wandering around in his grandpappy’s nightshirt.

Just kidding! This is the uniform farmers wore here from about the 18th C, well into the 20th. And it’s not dissimilar to what Medieval peasant wore, so…since forever, really.

This was the inspiration for the smock tops girls wore in the Seventies. If you don’t remember that, perhaps you weren’t a girl in the Seventies.

There is, not surprisingly, a whole study of these things…regional designs, embroidery, fabric, colors. Here is a nice post about it from Lincolnshire.

This fellow told us this smock was his great-grandfather’s. Not really visible here, he’s also wearing a boffo pair of leather gaiters that were his grandfather’s. The rest of the costume is spot on, also.

Not much like the good ol’ boys I remember (though that expression started here, don’tcha know).

Good weekend, y’all!





August 14, 2015 — 8:54 pm
Comments: 13

Fish ‘n’ samphire


Image stolen from this blog.

Ambling down the high street today, I noticed samphire for sale at the fruiterer. Samphire is only around for about a month (and it has no shelf life at all), so gather ye samphire while ye may.

It’s not actually seaweed, though it looks it. It grows wild in the marshes near the sea and it is salty as a bastard. I’m sure it has all kinds of interesting minerals and shit, but mostly it’s nice with things that need lots of salt, like fresh fish and new potatoes. It’s become something of a trendy veg, but I like it anyway.


This ugly bastard is a European plaice. It’s the local flounder and nearby Rye Bay is famous for being stuffed full of them. It’s deelicious.

Fun fact: flat fish are born with eyes on either side of their heads like normal fish. Then, as they mature, the fish flops on one side and the back eye takes a mystical journey through the fish’s head and pops out on top. No wonder he’s making that face.

There’s a fish shop not far away, by the water. Once a day, a Rye registered fishing boat pulls up and offloads its catch, including loads of plaice. Often the poor bastards are still dreaming of the sea floor. I had him filleted though, so this guy isn’t dreaming of anything any more, guaranteed.

It’s plaice and samphire for this little mustelid tonight. I don’t usually blog my supper, but I thought this was local enough to be interesting.

August 13, 2015 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 12

Somebody else’s cock


This handsome dude is from the animal sanctuary open day we went to Sunday. The place is largely devoted to cats (the dogs are in a separate compound), but there are dozens of chikkens milling around in the open, standing on things, pecking stuff.

He’s a Pekin bantam, like our girls, but I’m not much interested in having one. We had a bantam rooster when I was a kid (or a “banty rooster”, as my mother called him and any other arrogant little man). They have a high-pitched crow that can strip wallpaper.

Somebody asked about my flock. They are currently molting, thanks very much, so they are unsightly and pissy and not laying. Mine never totally molt, but the girl who’s laid the best that Summer always loses the most feathers. That would be Violence this year.

As she is off-white (technically a lavender, but really just a dirty white), the inside of the chicken run looks like somebody’s had a massive pillow fight.

Don’t forget, the Perseid meteor showers peak tonight. This is the best one. We were out watching until the bats came out to play.

August 12, 2015 — 9:34 pm
Comments: 5

I bought a sad ukulele


I bought this at the country fair. It is a sad, sad ukulele. The brand and model is a Jetel 5 and it has 1937 written inside in pencil (also Dalington, Sussex and a name I can’t quite make out).

I managed to get it completely apart without breaking any of the metal bits (metal fatigue is a serious problem in these old things) so I stand a chance of getting it all put back together again.

Don’t ask me why. My shriveled stump of a maternal instinct is triggered by grubby stray animals and really messed up gear (the guys at my shooting range offered to help me buy smarter after I came in with a succession of crappy handguns. Crappy handguns that I loved, thank you anyway fellas).

I already have an excellent uke. I’m thinking of making this one into a piccolo banjo, if I can figure out a clever way to hang a fifth string off’n the fifth fret.

August 11, 2015 — 8:58 pm
Comments: 15

Turns out I’m a lousy picker of weasels


This really is The Season ’round these parts. We managed to hit a village fete, a country show and an animal sanctuary open day this weekend. In the process, we had to drive by a church flower festival without stopping. The human body can only take so much.

I bet two quid on the weasel race at the country show and my ferret came in dead last both times. They race them down long sections of pipe, once down and once back again. My beastie got off to a promising start, but then sulked and refused to come out the end of the pipe.

So, to be fair to me and my weasel-picking skills, I did pick the weaselliest weasel both times.

August 10, 2015 — 9:04 pm
Comments: 1



Did I tell you this story? My dad was drafted right at the end of WWII. He made it out of training just as the war in Europe was over, so they put him on a boat to the South Pacific. They were (you probably know) putting together a hellacious huge force to begin a bloody inch-by-inch land invasion of Japan. A rookie lieutenant had pretty low odds of surviving that.

Then we dropped the bomb. Two, in fact. And that was that.

The anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima was yesterday. When it rolls around every year, I always say a little prayer of thanksgiving for all the lives saved by that bold and terrible act. Including, by a slightly tortured route, my life.

Have a good weekend, y’all.

August 7, 2015 — 9:07 pm
Comments: 33

No time to explain. Cupcakes.


So this is a picture of cupcakes I stole off the internet.

Our village fête is this weekend, and we always contribute cupcakes. It’s a joint effort. Uncle B is a better baker than I am, but cupcakes are my native cuisine. It’s always *much* more drama than expected and we usually find ourselves frosting the little bastards in the wee small hours.

They don’t end up looking like this.

The first year, it was three in the morning when we made up the buttercreme and I’d had a snootful of spiritous liquors and I slipped with the food coloring, making three dozen cupcakes of such toxic pinkness I have never yet lived it down.

In my defense, we sold out of them.

So, anyway…gotta run. Timer just went.

August 6, 2015 — 8:42 pm
Comments: 5

This guy


It was an unexpectedly nice day today. I would like to digress a moment and tell you that weather reporting is utter shit here. They can’t help it — it’s a little island stuck out in the wild Atlantic — but they make predictions with such confidence and they are always, always, ALWAYS wrong. I miss being in New England, where you get to watch your weather come at you for five days.

Anyhoo! It was supposed to be cloudy, but nay it was sunny, so we decided, more or less randomly, to go to Bodiam Castle. Little did we know they were hosting a sort of Medieval Fair (Fayre, Faire, Faër, or Phære).

Most of the activities were for kids, and then there was this guy. He was hammering coins more or less in the manner of old. He put a disk of metal between two dies and bang, there you go. A man who did this for a living would be expected to make 2,000 in a day, he said.

He explained in some detail how he screwed with the mint marks on the back so no-one would think they were real old coins. As you might imagine, forging collectible coins is a thing, and collectors are mighty grumpy about it. But as all of this guy’s blanks were pewter, I doubt that would ever be an issue.

He also made jewelry and other bits. I bought a rather wicked-looking pewter torque bracelet, hammered and twisted (like moi). It didn’t fit, so he used brute force to pull it open and close it around my wrist. So…I guess I wear this permanently now.

Gotta show you this one large and in color, so you can see how cool his stuff is. My bracelet is just visible in the red case at the far left of the picture. Pictures courtesy Uncle B.

August 5, 2015 — 9:09 pm
Comments: 8

The English are so weird


I have posted about flower festivals before, where the members of a parish church fill the church with flower arrangements. Different people do different arrangements all around a single theme.

This sounds lovely, if you’ve never seen it. In practice, specific arrangements often include brain hurty items like plastic dinosaurs, old shoes or decapitated Barbie dolls.

I have no idea how this got started or what the point is, other than to spruce the place up and draw visitors. There’s usually a program (thank god for the program, or half the arrangements wouldn’t make any sense at all) and someone playing the organ and they sell you a cup of tea and a piece of cake. It is both civilized and grotesque.

We went to one this weekend that took it a step further and eliminated the flowers. The whole inside of the church was covered in…hats. Just hats. With labels.

Ladies’ hats, military helmets, Boy Scout berets, chainmail coifs, this here sombrero (there were two, actually).

I described this to a group of my neighbors and they were like, “oh, well yeah. That’s a little weird.” Then I told them that this same church last year featured wedding dresses of the parishioner and they were all, like, “oh, hey, our church did that!”

My life is a Monty Python sketch.

August 4, 2015 — 9:36 pm
Comments: 6