John Keats - 1795-1821

John Keats - 1795-1821
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing …

Friday 19 May 2023

All Saints Church - Catfield - Norfolk

 I have always had a love of old churches.

I was fortunate recently to visit All Saints Church in Catfield, Norfolk which is a typical Norfolk Parish Church, built of flint in the Middle Ages, with a square west end containing six bells,  a nave with two aisles, a chancel, a porch with parvise. It was largely built in the late 14th Century although the tower may be older. While the chancel and a Porch are 15th Century. painted

It has a rood screen between the nave and chancel with sixteen royal Saints painted on in the 15th Century, the arcades have faint medieval paintings discovered in the 1840's underneath the whitewash. The Victorian setting arrangement placed earlier box pews around a pulpit in the middle of the nave.

The setting for the church is so idyllic, the churchyard behind a small green with the parish War Memorial, which is inscribed with a verse of O'Valiant Hearts. A hymn written by John Stanhope Arkwright and which is largely forgotten now. It was specifically to be sung at Armistice Day services.

I decided to walk with my little terrier Patch past the church gate into the greenery surrounding with graves, then a little further through a little picket gate that lead us on through the woods. Countryside is beautiful with sprawling tree's, until just then we came upon two Nanny Goats who came over to see us but were well secured behind a secure barrier to the vast fields they were in, then a horse in the far distance. 

A perfect walk.!

Sunday 14 May 2023

Dylan Thomas 27th October 1914 - 8th November - 1953

 Today we celebrate an International Day of the Welsh Poet Dylan Thomas.

I am passionate about Poetry and Dylan Thomas is one of my favourite poets.


Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
   honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
     Trail with daisies and barley
   Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
   In the sun that is young once only,
     Time let me play and be
   Golden in the mercy of his means,
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
     And the sabbath rang slowly
   In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.
And nightly under the simple stars
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
   Flying with the ricks, and the horses
     Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it was all
   Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
     The sky gathered again
   And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
   Out of the whinnying green stable
     On to the fields of praise.

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
   In the sun born over and over,
     I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
   Before the children green and golden
     Follow him out of grace,

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
   In the moon that is always rising,
     Nor that riding to sleep
   I should hear him fly with the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
     Time held me green and dying
   Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

Note:  Fernhill is a Grade 11 Listed Building just outside Llanguin in Carmarthenshire, Wales, where Dylan Thomas spent several childhood holidays.

A collection of 'snippets' from his letters will hopefully inspire you to get your hands on the books from which they come.

The Love Letters of Dylan Thomas and Dylan Thomas: The Collected Letters, both published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. Enjoy.!

Don't expect too much of me it's conceit to suppose that you would, I'm an odd little person. Don't imagine the great jawed writer brooding over his latest masterpiece in the oak study, but a thin, curly little person, smoking too many cigarettes with a cracked lung, and writing his vague verses in the back of a provincial villa.

I don't want you for a day though I'd sell my toes to see you now my dear, only for a minute, to kiss you once, and  make a funny face at you): a day is the length of a gnat's life, I want you for the lifetime of a big, mad animal, like an elephant.

Saturday 16 January 2021

Costume Drama

 Anyone else watched on Netflix the new period drama Bridgerton? If it's costume drama count me in I am a fan for anything Georgian, Regency or Victorian as long as there are bonnets, a ravishing period costume, wigs full of ringlets and a Ball to go to.. what's not to like.! Ever since reading Jane Austen's novels including  Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility I have been hooked, but of course it is not to everyone's taste is it. I am a modern woman stuck in a dream time warp of Historical Fiction  and love it.!

Then there are those dreamy opulent quotes to set the heart racing even more.

Gabriel Oak in Far From The Madding Crowd  -  Thomas Hardy

'And at home by the fire,

Whenever you look up there I

Shall be, and whenever I look

Up, there will be you.'

'To be fond of dancing was a certain step

towards falling in love'. 

          -  Jane Austen

During 'Lockdown' I have so enjoyed watching the lovely Lucy Worsley, Joint Curator at Historical Palaces and is an Architectural and Social Historian Writer also, I envy her 'raids' with the dressing up box in period costumes for the documentary's she has presented.

Someone once told me many years ago that I was very straight laced, which is not true at all,  it describes someone as being strict in conduct or morality and prudish, but I wear my heart on my sleeve I am emotionally transparent, an open book. The only straight lace you will see with me is on my petticoat.!

Saturday 14 January 2017

A New Abode Winterton - On - Sea

Well it has been simply yonks since I have blogged you may well have thought where is that crazy eccentric woman, well I am still crazy and eccentric (I tell myself this it's what keeps my ship afloat) we moved in October this year, downsized if you like gone is all the cluttter (how can one accumulate so much stuff over the years)!

A pretty little village named Winterton, but still remaining in Norfolk so I have not gone far. Five minutes from my front door at some God forsaken unearthly hour in the morning with my parka on, boots, russian hat and gloves and scarve and a keen wind blowing and cold enough to freeze the cockles, I venture over the dunes to the beach with my faithful JRT Patch who can bark for England and likes to think he is top dog, only he's not because when you are not looking he likes to chew your best cushion.

So what have we in the village, well we have one pub which serves excellent food and the staff are kind and give a good service. One fish and chip shop, (always good if you don't fancy cooking one night) a post office which now has new residents who they tell me have come up from Middlesex and have a gorgeous dog named Poppy to which they have renamed the post office in her honour. One small corner grocery shop always handy if you forget something, served by the lovelyVictoria who always has a smile and loves a chat with me. A beautiful church too.

A wonderful beachside cafe which is so welcome after a brisk walk over the beach and you can stop and recharge your batteries over a  bowl of hot soup, capaccino, and slice of gorgeous choc cake.

It's a complete different story from when I lived in Westminster just off Baker Street in my teens I still get nostalgic when I go back, if I win the lottery I can have the best of two worlds, one in west London and one here in Norfolk.

Mentioned in the Domesday book, Winterton-on-Sea is the most northern seaside village in the borough of Great Yarmouth.
It's a small, historic village, picture-perfect with beautiful floral displays and pretty little thatched cottages. The village also has a stunning backdrop inland of majestic white wind turbines towards the villages of East and Wester Somerton, and mile after mile of pale sandy beach backed by sand dunes.
The village's parish church, Holy Trinity, is a truly magnificent building with one of the tallest church towers in Norfolk at over 130 feet. Elements of the church date from the 13th century, with the tower being built around 200 years later. The church was restored in the late 1800s and is well worth a visit. When fishermen set sail from Winterton, they used to use the tower as an important landmark to help guide them home. 
Winterton Dunes are a National Nature Reserve, a haven for birdwatching and wildlife with little tern and seal colonies in residence along with the rare Natterjack toad.
At Winterton-on-Sea and north along the coast to Horsey, the Broads overlap with the Norfolk Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty where in the winter seal pups are born on the beach. A viewing area is available a short walk from Horsey
Well I have survived the night last night of the high tidal waves and fierce winds and am still in the land of the living, must admit though I was quite scared last night as not lived so near to the sea before and it felt quite eerie. Snow did appear but not the serious enough white stuff, all has gone now. Any snow where you are? have a great weekend dear friends.

Thursday 5 February 2009


This is my set Homework of five favourite paintings, I have a deep passion for Art so narrowing it down to only five is difficult.

It is interesting that some of the Artwork I steer towards are French, maybe to do with some of that French blood in me, also some Irish too.!

To be able to paint is a wonderful gift, sadly a gift that was not bestowed to me, but I am thankful at least that I can still enjoy the artist's wonderful creativity, painted by their own hand for other's to feast on with a passion like I do. Like a Book, they are very precious to me.

Maternity - By James Jebusa Shannon. 1862-1923 A genre figure and portrait painter who was born in the U.S.A. of Irish parents. He married Florence Mary Cartwright, they had a Daughter named Kitty.

Shannon came to London in 1878 aged sixteen. He studied at the Royal College of Art from 1878 to 1891 under Edward Poynter, receiving the Gold Medal for figure painting.

He became a renowned society portraitist, rivalling John Singer Sargent. His sitters included the Marchioness of Granby, Ellen Terry and Sarah Bernhardt.

He was knighted in 1922. A memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Leicester Galleries in 1923, and his work was included in the Royal Academy's Late Member's Exhibition in 1928.

His work is represented in many Museums including the Metropolitan in New York.

On The Terrace - By Pierre Auguste Renoir 1841-1919 Impressionist Painter born in Limoges - France. Renoir began work as a painter in a porcelain factory in Paris, gaining experience with the light, fresh colours that were to distinguish his impressionist work and also learning the importance of good craftmanship.

Woman In The Garden - By Claude Monet 1840-1926 Monet was the original founder of the French Impressionist Painting. Born in Paris to his mother a singer and to his father a grocery store owner. Claude Monet was the younger of two sons, Monet's father hoped he would continue the family grocery store business, but Monet had other idea's. To his father's dismay Monet openly declared his love of Art, and his hopes of living life as an artist.

The Letter - By Albert E Lynch 1851-1912 Born is Lima, he studied Art at L' Ecole des Beaux - Arts de Paris. The tem 'Beaux Arts' is the appropriate English equivalent of 'Fine Arts' and broadly speaking refers to the American Renaissance period from about 1890 - 1920.

My Family - By Arthur J Elsley 1860 - 1952 Elsley was born in London, he was known mainly for his sentimental pictures of children and dogs usually in domestic settings and the popularity found them much in demand for advertisements. Arthur's earliest known work was a Portrait Sketch of a little dog, entitled Vic (1871). At the age of fourteen he entered the South Kensington School of Art.

Peter Ustinov once said - 'If Bottecelli was alive today, he'd be working for Vogue', somehow I do not think so.!!

Sunday 5 October 2008


It has been years since I have ridden a bycicle, the last time I remember cycling over the rickety bridge only to be met by a man in a white van coming in the opposite direction down a narrow country lane and taking up the full width of the road. I stuck my right leg out with handle bars all a tremour, and you've guessed it...... became a cropper. I happen to like cycling, great fun, I kid myself it might keep my over 60's body in shape, even though, still not bad for an oldie.

De-clutter my wardrobes, I did begin this a few weeks ago and gave some clothes to the charity shop, but then once inside charity shops I usually come home with another gorgeous creation that some other has no use for. Having a 'clear out' apparantly is cathartic, but I have always been a hoarder thinking, oh will keep that just in case it comes in handy, but usually never does.

Baking cakes - I have a sweet tooth, when my children were growing up I was always busy in the kitchen turning out the odd swiss-roll, little dainty fairy cakes filled with butter icing, victoria sandwich with a favourite jam filling, the list goes on. Then somehow I stopped baking cakes, why spend time when one can buy a yum cake over the counter, or even the good old WI or our tiny pantry shop in the village. So I am into baking these again, I blame it on those gorgeous pictures in Food Book I received recently, so Kittyb, move over darling, know you are a whiz with baking cakes, no joking aside my cakes could never look as gorgeous.

Catch up with my reading, sadly this has been neglected of late, like to be busy, but I do love a good book, log on the fire, glass of the old vino, a cosy throw, adore books so I am going to make more time for this. Books I am reading at the moment are - Nobbut A Lad - A Yorkshire Childhood by that gorgeous man Alan Titchmarsh. This was recently sent to me by Elizabethd in France along with two very pretty french postcards, thank you Elizabeth, I will pass it on to Bradan next. The second book that awaits my reading is - The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer, I love this author's wonderful period detail.

I popped into the Library last week to enquire after anything by Hogarth and while I was there a lady happened to return the G. Heyer book. I said to the Librarian, 'ooh, may I take that book out please', 'are you sure, she said, 'it is in very LARGE PRINT'. 'Yes I said, eyes are a tad wonky, but hey ho.!

I came across some gorgeous floral vintage fabric in a shop recently, I'm thinking cushions at the moment. I loathed dressmaking at school, buttons to be sewn on I can just about manage, I shuddered when name tags were dropped in my lap by my children for school uniforms. Thank heavens for my MIL who was a seamstress. The cushions might not resemble Laura Ashley or Designers Guild but I am going to give it a go.