Sunday, 22 October 2017

If you go down to the woods today...

You might find some of these...

According to the Internet, they are Bulgaria inquinans, sometimes referred to as Black Bulgar, Bachelor's Buttons or Rubber Buttons.

If I’m honest, they rather gave me the Heebie-jeebies but I couldn’t stop looking at or photographing them. They look like something out of Doctor Who!

This is although more appealing. It looks like a little mushroom or more likely a toadstool. If anyone reading this is an expert on these things, please feel free to enlighten me.

I could easily be wrong, but I think this is Turkey tail polypore thriving on a dead tree. Isn’t it strange how beauty can grow out of death and decay?  

All the above and more were growing on this pile of ‘dead’ trees at Stourhead.  

It was very dark and dank in this part of the wood which probably explains the abundant growth. 

Once out from under the thickest of the trees, we began to see lots of autumn colours and beautiful vistas.

Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it. ~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908.

Stourhead has been described as the most beautiful and magical of all the great landscape gardens, and we can’t argue with that. We live about fifteen minutes away by car and visit several times a year. Spring and autumn are beautiful but then winter and summer are not to be sniffed at. We’ve also visited at Christmas time when mulled wine is served in a stone cottage, lit by a roaring fire. If that’s not your thing, you might enjoy dinner in the Temple of Apollo or a picnic on the lake. All these venues are available to hire here.

Of course, you don’t have to hire a private venue to enjoy Stourhead it's owned and managed by the National Trust and is open throughout the year.  For details of opening times and prices plus more information, visit the National Trust Website.  

If you would like to see photographs of Stourhead in the summer, please visit Just a Perfect Day, previously shared in June 2014.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Sad News

Longtime readers of my blog might remember a series of letters from a lovely lady by the name of Julie Drew. This is how Julie introduced herself back in August 2015.

My name is Julie Drew and I live in tropical North Queensland, Australia. I often find myself linked onto your magical website, and thoroughly enjoy every moment I spend browsing through your treasures. But today I found your fabulous Aladdin's Cave even better than usual. I made the time to read your entries and feel that we must be kindred spirits, with so many loves which coincide.....

Julie loved many things, her family and friends, her dogs, garden and of course books. She shared some of her life and her books on my blog and more on Pinterest.

Today, I received an email from Julie’s son to tell me she had passed away. I’m sharing this news with a great deal of sadness, together with gratitude for having known her.  If you’ve not read Julie’s letters or would like to read them again you will find them  here A Letter from JulieTo Talk of Many ThingsDogs and Roses, The Adventures of Be-Wee the Gnome  and Gum Tree Brownies and other Wondrous things 

Browsing on Julie's Pinterest boards I came across this, which is very fitting because she was, and she did. 


Monday, 9 October 2017

The Night-Takers

The Night-takers come in the deep of the night, 
When darkness has gobbled up all of the light, 
Through gaps in the floorboards and skirting they creep, 
And make off with children who won’t go to sleep.

Those children who stay up at night eating sweets 
And reading by torchlight snug under sheets, 
When dark gathers round them they’d better beware 
Lest the Night-takers carry them off to their lair.

They’d better make sure that their fingers and toes 
Are safe under covers for everyone knows 
That the Night-takers’ jaws have a terrible bite, 
They’ll snap them right off if they’re not tucked in tight!

Those children who like to remain wide awake – 
I hope they’re not easily scared for their sake, 
That scratching they hear at their windows and doors 
Just might be the sound of the Night-takers’ claws!

When Romo Press asked if I would like to share a poem from Poems for Children, I was delighted! It was an easy decision but selecting just one poem was far harder. I started by looking at the table of contents in the hope that one would stand out but they all sounded intriguing, and so I began to read.  And as I read the choice became even harder! Some like Fight (Down behind the Science Block Safely out of sight) reminded me of my school days when fights were a common occurrence.  Whilst Late (I can’t find my socks Mum, Mum, where is my vest?) took me right back to my son’s schooldays.

In the end, I decided to choose something for Halloween. Once again, I was spoilt for choice. The coat on the door is wonderfully evocative, just think of those nights when some little person you know is sure there is a monster hiding in the corner or under the bed! A hundred scary skeletons is also perfect, but my eyes kept returning to The Night-Takers simply because reading by torchlight snug under sheets was something I loved to do, (and my son loved it too).

by Susan Kassabian
Cover illustration by 
Susan Kassabian and 
Dan Chambers
Susan Kassabian is the author of the prize-winning children's novel, The Mummy of Mulberry Avenue. She is currently working on a sequel and on a second book of poetry. She lives in North London.

Learn more about Susan on Facebook

Website: The mummy of mulberry

The Mummy of Mulberry Avenue at Amazon

Poems for Children Kindle edition: Amazon
Physical copies - available in November 

With thanks to Rome Press for permitting me to share The Night-Takers and to Pexels for the images.  (All images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Nursery Nonsense or Kiddie Kut Books Revisited

I shared a couple of Kiddie Kut books back in December 2011, and didn’t expect to be revisiting them anytime soon, but that was before I found this Lucie Attwell Kiddy's Cutlery set. 

Lucie Attwell Kiddy's cutlery set featuring a cute child holding a spoon and food pusher.

The artwork on the box was the thing that attracted me while the spoon and food pusher are a bonus. Does anyone remember food pushers? I can’t say I do but there are lots online, so they must be fairly common. I may even have used one once, but if so the memories are lost in the mists of time!

The use of Kiddy’s in the title reminded me of the Kiddie Kut books on my shelves. No matter how many times I look at them, there is always something new to see, something I’ve missed previously or simply forgotten. I loved them when I was a small child, and I still do.

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Nursery Nonsense
The first page of Nursery Nonsense and two further pages glimpsed through the cut out shapes.

It wasn't easy to take the photographs, especially as I wanted to hold the pages slightly open so you could peep through the windows and doors. After a lot of experimentation, I got a few that sort of work.  I hope you enjoy them. 

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Nursery Nonsense
Nursery Nonsense: I like the star and snow showing through one window and the moon and house through the other. 

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel: Can you see the witch peeping out through the door?  She is on the next page, but the clever design makes it looks as though she is on this page. 

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Bells of London Town
The Bells of London Town:  I like the glimpse of river (presumable The Thames) and bridge through the open window.

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Bells of London Town
 The Bells of London Town

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Bells of London Town
The Bells of London Town

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Water Babies
The Water Babies

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Water Babies
The Water Babies

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The House that Jack Built
The House that Jack Built

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The House that Jack Built
The House that Jack Built

The Lucie Attwell Kiddy's Cutlery and a collection of Kiddie Kut Books Illustrated by Molly B. Thomson.
Kiddy's Cutlery with artwork by Mabel Lucie Attwell and my collection of Kiddie Kut Books Illustrated by Molly B. Thomson.

Previous Kiddie Kut post here

Monday, 25 September 2017

Bookshops not Bombs

Dear all, I will explain the title of this post shortly but to begin with, I must apologise for not posting last week and for my absence from your blogs.  I have a good reason – honest!  We spent a couple of days in London, but I still had plenty of time to prepare a post.  That, however, was before I visited the dentist. 

(c) Can Stock Photo / izakowski

To be fair to the dentist or rather implant specialist, he is nothing like the picture above!!  I went to see him because of pain in my upper jaw, and an X-ray revealed an infection around one of my dental implants. The specialist recommended laser surgery to treat the infection, but it was unsuccessful and the implant had to be removed. It was all rather painful and to be honest my bed looked far more inviting than a trip to London but the hotel was booked, and so we went. 

It’s almost two weeks since the implant was removed and a week since we got back from London. I would like to say I'm fully fit but actually my mouth is still very sore, and now I have a cold! My next appointment with the specialist is in four days time so if I disappear again you will know why. In the meantime, I'm going to share a few photographs taken in London. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope to visit your blogs very soon.

If you are still wondering about the title of this post, it’s because of this:  

a notice in Quinto & Francis Edwards Booksellers at 72 Charing Cross Road.
A sentiment I heartily agree with spotted at Quinto & Francis Edwards Booksellers.

Quinto & Francis Edwards Booksellers
Quinto & Francis Edwards Booksellers at 72 Charing Cross Road. 

Quinto & Francis Edwards Booksellers
Quinto Bookshop: Find a bargain in our basement.

Quinto & Francis Edwards Booksellers bargain basement
Quinto’s bargain basement: Everything from poetry to sci-fi and an old stove almost buried under books.

Cecil Court a bibliophile's dream located in a quiet pedestrian lane in London’s West End.
Cecil Court a bibliophile's dream located in a quiet pedestrian lane in London’s West End.

Marchpane children's and illustrated book shop
I spent a very happy hour at Marchpane books and came away with a lovely edition of Josephine Keeps House by Mrs. H. C. Cradock, more of which in a later post.

Close up of Marchpane's window
Close up of Marchpane's window 

Marchpane Bookshop
and some of the delicious books on offer.

Natalie who works at Marchpane was tired after a flight home from Australia, but she was still full of smiles and happy to have her photo taken. I probably should have asked why there were at least two large Daleks around the place, but I was far too busy checking out the books.

Now as a change from bookshops some of the other places seen or visited. 

Mr Fogg’s Tavern – 58 St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden
Mr Fogg’s Tavern – 58 St. Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden

Soho Square
I love how one can be wandering around busy streets in London and suddenly find oneself in an oasis of relative peace and quiet.  This is Soho Square located behind Oxford Street. The mock-Tudor building in the centre was built in 1895 refurbished in 2009 and is now used as a storage space for the gardeners.

The British Museum
The British Museum under a beautiful blue sky

The British Museum
The British Museum’s inner courtyard with its spectacular roof.

This may be a little macabre, but I found myself fascinated by Egyptian death and afterlife! Visit rooms 62-63 of The British Museum if you would like to see for yourself. 

Mummy and cartonnage case.
 Mummy and cartonnage case.

 Squatting turtle-headed deity
 Squatting turtle-headed deity – Late 18th Dynasty, about 1295BC. Perhaps from the tomb of Horemheb, in the Valley of the Kings.

 Glowing decorations inside a box coffin.

This painting is part of a wall showing Nebamum inspecting cattle.
This painting is part of a wall showing Nebamum watching as farmers bring animals to him. Nebamun is known today because of the 1820 discovery of a tomb on the west bank of the Nile at Thebes. 

I took masses of photographs in and around the museum, but in the interest of saving your sanity, I will just share two more. This from room 90: Prints 

 Posthumous portrait of a child
This portrait of a dead child is more poignant than macabre. Posthumous portraits of children where common from the 17th to 19th century when child mortality was high. 

Artist unknown (Karo School).
Illustrations of flower arrangements. Artist unknown (Karo School). Rooms 92-94 Japan.

China Town
Leaving the British Museum, there was just time for a quick walk around China Town before catching the train home.

These two were so obviously enjoying the music and each other’s company it made me smile, and I couldn’t resist taking a snap.

How would you spend two days in London?  
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