Thursday, 8 October 2015

National Poetry Day: My favourite poem

Diary of a Church Mouse

by John Betjeman

harvest festival Here among long-discarded cassocks,
Damp stools, and half-split open hassocks,
Here where the vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
Lean and alone I spend my days
Behind this Church of England baize.
I share my dark forgotten room
With two oil-lamps and half a broom.
The cleaner never bothers me,
So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
My jam is polish for the floor.
Christmas and Easter may be feasts
For congregations and for priests,
And so may Whitsun. All the same,
They do not fill my meagre frame.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival,
When I can satisfy my want
With ears of corn around the font.
I climb the eagle's brazen head
To burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit stair
And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
It is enjoyable to taste
These items ere they go to waste,
But how annoying when one finds
That other mice with pagan minds
Come into church my food to share
Who have no proper business there.
Two field mice who have no desire
To be baptized, invade the choir.
A large and most unfriendly rat
Comes in to see what we are at.
He says he thinks there is no God
And yet he comes ... it's rather odd.
This year he stole a sheaf of wheat
(It screened our special preacher's seat),
And prosperous mice from fields away
Come in to hear our organ play,
And under cover of its notes
Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats.
A Low Church mouse, who thinks that I
Am too papistical, and High,
Yet somehow doesn't think it wrong
To munch through Harvest Evensong,
While I, who starve the whole year through,
Must share my food with rodents who
Except at this time of the year
Not once inside the church appear.
Within the human world I know
Such goings-on could not be so,
For human beings only do
What their religion tells them to.
They read the Bible every day
And always, night and morning, pray,
And just like me, the good church mouse,
Worship each week in God's own house,
But all the same it's strange to me
How very full the church can be
With people I don't see at all
Except at Harvest Festival.

My favourite poem and very fitting what with exploring harvest festival churches this week. 

harvest display church

Gardens and ghosts at Chirk Castle

Chirk Castle garden entrance On the autumn days, the castle garden takes on a new feeling, morning mists swirl and break away in the sunshine to show borders still full of colour from burnt orange echinacea to purple Michaelmas daisies. Deep planted borders attracting butterflies who have beat their wings over the summer into a shabby state and bees and flies, hungry as ever. 

But who else walks the gravel path, amongst the clipped yews and roses that climb, thorns scrambling for castle windows - tap, tap, tap....

Shapes that glide down castle staircases, do they venture out to admire this year's lavender or enjoy the views across North Wales. Do spectres like a bit of free time from haunting?

700 years of spook accumulation and I feel certain that one or two must walk around the grounds in those mists....I might have even seen one....
orange echinacea fly and butterfly conical clipped yews sweet peas flowering in autumn Chirk castle garden view autumn border purple autumn flowers statue vista cotoneaster berries virginia creeper bright red Landscape Chirk Castle bumble bee castle garden shabby edged butterfly roses around the castle window
Mammsaurus HDYGG

Home Security In Time For Christmas

With Christmas just around the corner, now is the optimum time to make sure your home is tightly secured to prevent any sticky-fingered person looking for a free Christmas gift. According to Brunsdon, November to January is the time where burglaries are at their peak; and the last thing you want is to come home and discover that someone has been in your home, rooting through your things.

Security and Insurance
insurance claim form

When it comes to insurance companies, they type of system you have in place in terms of door and window locks will have an effect on the price of your premium. The better the system, the lower your premium is likely to be.

If your locks are old or looking a bit past their prime, you should have these replaced as soon as possible. There are a surprising variety of locks to choose from, but the main thing to remember is that the more advanced the lock, the better protected you will be. It is a good idea to check your insurance policy, as some of these stipulate certain standards that must be met if you want to claim in the unfortunate incidence of a break in.

It is also a great idea to check that you are correctly insured. What may seem like a chore now could really pay off in the unfortunate circumstance that you have not-so-welcome visitors.

A Lock Run-Down

Wessex Glass Co. Ltd have given us a run down on some quality locks that you might want to consider investing in:

A Five-level Mortice Deadlock fitted to British Standard 3621 quality could mean that you are eligible for a discount on your insurance premium.

Key operated window locks are favoured by many insurance companies, as this adds additional security to your property. It is important, however, that you never leave the key in the lock and keep it safe at all times.

Popular locking systems for French and patio doors are Multi-point Locking systems. These are the second-best option, closely following the Five-level Deadlock in terms of security.

Finally, Night Locks are an excellent choice during the summer months. These allow you to keep you windows open during summer, without compromising the security of your home. While Summer may seem far away, you may as well get everything sorted in one go and save yourself some time.

Home security is not the jolliest of topics this side of Christmas, but knowing that you are fully protected and covered can help you have a more restful night sleep and enjoy the happiest season of the year to the fullest.

*collaborative post*

National Wallpaper Week: Nostalgia

This week is National Wallpaper week and for me, wallpaper definitely reminds me of my childhood home and evokes great feelings of nostalgia. My parents always had wallpapered rooms, they still do, and choosing them was a big deal. Oh the rolls of paper I remember us looking at on a weekend and how I remember feeling all the textures - foamy, raised swirls and shimmery damask, flowers and patterns. It was a huge event then, the whole process of my parents picking their favourite and me trying my best to help leafing through those great big paper books stood on my tiptoes.

Downstairs in our home was always a shiny look, ridged and grey in both the front room and dining room, very classy looking, simplistic and my mum was really pleased with it. Dare anyone spill a drink up it!!

In my bedroom I had the chance over the years to pick my own wallpaper, from pale green stripes to clouds, a vague memory of the latter but very much like Graham & Brown's Cloud Nine. My friend had a wonderful pink bedroom as a child and I can remember really wanting the same - I still would, in fact the Princess Flock paper would be so quirky lining a cupboard in my house as I am still very much a child at heart.

My Nana has stayed at my parent's home every weekend since before I was born so she has her own special bedroom there. To my memory it has always been floral, absolutely perfect and feminine for my dear Nan. Combined with some glamorous accessories and traditional furniture, the 'spare' bedroom was always one of my favourite rooms and delicate flowers always make me think of this room.

Creating feelings of nostalgia is something I want more and more as I get older so introducing some wallpaper into my home that reminds me of my childhood would be so lovely. At the moment I have painted walls but when I moved in there was a layer of floral paper peeking from behind a wonky door frame - a remnant of the decor of the elderly lady that lived here once. It was such a pretty paper and a have a bit of nostalgia for that too, perhaps I could paper the front of a small cupboard in something like the gorgeous Nature Trail Duck Egg. 

Above are my pick of the wallpapers that make me think of my childhood and times gone by. 

Clockwise from top to bottom:
Cloud Nine
Ticking Stripe soft grey
Reed Pink
Star Dust Midnight
Silken Stria Silver Mist
Princess Flock Pink
Nature Trail Duck Egg

Do you have a nostalgia for a certain print or type of wallpaper?

*Collaborative post*

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Fungal Foray

wolf-fart fungus Autumn is the time to explore the local fairy glen looking for fungi - brackets, toadstools and the just plain weird. Sunlight warmed my back and off I followed Fungal Punk Dave to learn about this exciting world in our woodlands.

Of course a fungal guide is a necessity, if you don't know what you are doing, for many are toxic and you really don't want to mix them up. Eating shrooms is not my interest, just marvelling at their diversity and learning the names. 

From Sulphur Knight to Witches Butter, here like a little fairytale trip are a whole host of pixie dancing umbrellas and brownie bottom resting seats......
autumn country park upturned mushroom sulphur knight fungi Cheshire mere hundreds of mushrooms autumn dog ink cap underside of fungi witches butter autumn cows velvet shank mushrooms on a log Great Budworth view earth potato sunlight through autumn trees