Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Cracker of A Christmas

 Hang out the Christmas Bunting, and knock me over with a Trumpless Knitted Sprout, Trousers and I didn't row ONCE this Yuletide!   And I can honestly say it has been the best Christmas I've ever had.  Deep Joy.X

My friend Elsie surprised the Festive Pants off me by visiting with the most beautiful bouquet.  Not only that.... the naughty girl also brought prezzies for ourselves and our nearest'n'dearest friends, Ian & Medina, who joined us to party through the day - and party, we properly did Boys'n'Girls...

With Trousers decorating The Christmas Tree, preparing and cooking The Christmas Lunch, AND doing all the washing up, Wellie decorated the house, handmade the Crackers (containing a Lottery Ticket, a tube of childish Smarties, and an even more childish joke) but otherwise had not a jot of stress or a care in the world.  Apart from....
 ...the small inconvenience of managing to lose her entire bunch of keys on Christmas Eve lunchtime between The Co-Op, Wilkinsons, Pie Corner, and Chepstow Creates.
No.  It wasn't funny actually, because I didn't discover it until I was ready to come home at 4 o'clock, upturning my handbag on the pavement over and over, only to discover that they still hadn't magically appeared.  I returned to my truck, 'Moneypenny' (4x4 x Bond) and it was indeed locked with no visible evidence of them round about.  I retraced my steps, both mentally and physically, but to no avail.
Trousers kindly came to scoop me up in his van, and we searched The Funny Farmhouse for an extra Moneypenny Key - eventually giving up in favour of a stiff Pinot Grigio instead.

 Vowing to completely park the unfortunate Moneypenny incident from our minds, we bravely soldiered on with enjoying ourselves, and opened many a fine gift around the tree, including Elsie's, which was completely epic.

Ian was a clever dick, and worked out how to take a 'click and dash' photo of us all from my camera - making us all feel a bit like The Simpsons on the sofa for a moment....and Trousers kept slipping into every avenue of conversation all afternoon that I'd lost my keys!

 At last!  A half-decent photo of the two of us without our eyes closed or Wellie looking like Miss Piggy.....  And Wellie is sporting her very first, and treasured Cashmere Cardi, for which I Love You Trousers.X
 I wasn't joking about the knitted brussel sprout by the way?  M made it for me.  And because she keeps making mistakes with her knitting, having to unpick most of what she's done, I made her a bespoke knitting bag which has the words 'Knit One' on one side....and 'Drop One' on the other?  Honest to God, it gives us SECONDS of hilarity Children!
I hope you're all having as much fun this Yuletide?

Keep Safe, Stay Warm, and I'll see you next time.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Funny Farm, Funky & Friendly

 I've been a particularly busy girl these last few weeks, and have SO enjoyed being tucked up in my noo workshop, (read Spare Room) beautifully 'creating' my Funky Nora Limited Editions, and having BBC Radio Two on all day long: Music to my ears.... And I must email Steve Wright to thank those nearest and dearest to me for their Love and Support, because on a daily basis, they're truly amazing.X

But I promised I'd show you some of my birthday cards, and so here they are:
My VERY favourite card (bottom left) is from Jack, who is five, and he helped me plant onions and banana shallots in my kitchen garden this year, whilst his Auntie Medina dutifully 'watched, listened and learned'...., as every brilliant Auntie should do, when such Gardening Gurus are at work -  isn't that right Sweetheart?!
So I just wanted to say Thank You Jack, Auntie Wellie sends you a BIG Hug: X and I am so excited that you've agreed to help me again next year.
(Please bring all your friends and your waterproof clothing, as it may take us weeks and weeks to do the whole garden?!)X

Ian and Medina's Cards are always so beautifully 'thought out' to make me laugh my sox off, and (top left) depicts a suited'n'booted Gentleman prostrate on the grass during a romantic picnic for two.  An unopened bottle of wine on the picnic rug, the caption reads:
"Jennifer didn't know what was worse, the fact that he was dead or that he'd left the corkscrew at home."
(Sounds familiar...!)

My very own BC Cat's card (top middle) reads:
"At her request, the Birthday girl was about to be hooked-up to a drip full of Pinot Grigio."
(I'm about to reduce her Pocket Money on the strength of that?!)

And Ian & Medina's new kitten IS as gorgeous as the kitty on the front of her card to me  (Maggie's is top right) and says: "Happy Birthday from someone quiet and shy...Only joking, it's from me!"

And the funny card from Trousers (bottom middle), is where She has fainted, and the caption reads:
All He'd said was, "Shall I wash up?"
Which, given that our dishwasher has been broken for over a year now, may have led me to believe he'd bought me a new one for my birthday (as un-P.C. as that would be to many of you) but no, he'd not actually bought me a present at all Children.

So with fireworks fizzing at my fingertips, and a failing eyesight, I asked if I might buy myself a new dictionary with much larger print.  I'm a terrific speller, always have been, but I still like to check sometimes when I'm unsure (read OCD) and managed to find one with 70% off, at £4.99 in WHSmiths in Cheppie.
I'm still waiting for the £5 back from him... and am completely losing interest in the idea of Christmas now Boys'n'Girls?  Because if  he tells me that Santa Claus has gone on holiday, BC and I will be spending Christmas with my Mother - so he better put his Big Red Suit on or there'll be trouble!  (Mother - I'm Joking, okay?!x)

And I had a lovely email back from the web-designer at Grown Your Own Magazine Forum, having thanked him for my birthday wishes at the stroke of midnight, but seem not to be able to return to thank anyone else who wished me a happy one, and therefore please don't think that I'm being rude by not replying in person as there's a certain 'blockage' there.

Now the next picture tells a number of stories...:
Firstly, the very Hedgerow wild flowers here are very close to my heart, because I picked them just this afternoon.  With Medina and I having been completely EPIC with organising and running our local Village Show this summer (I must MUST tell you about how it went, or our 2013 one will be upon us already so soon!).  Her and I grew different stuff from seed earlier this year, and she gave me some of these as seedlings for my Kitchen Garden.  The Ammi started flowering shortly after The Show, and the Oxeye Daisies have just started now, in November..... completely Bonkers, and so I've brought them into the Funny Farm to enjoy their beauty.

The Funky Childrens' Pinny is one of my new Funky Nora Limited Editions, and should, strictly, be on my new Funky Nora Blog, but it's here (for now) only because the photo is about a Christmas Fayre I've booked a Stall to take part in, in The Beaufort Hotel in the centre of Cheppie High Street next Saturday, where I'll be selling my Jams, Jellies, Chutneys, Relishes (and Childrens' Pinnies!)

 And quite naturally, I'm packaging the preserves up for maximum appeal, in various 'collections':
each having three preserves, in a range of Chutneys, Relishes, Herb Jellies, Christmas Jellies, Boozy Jams, Posh Jams and Posh Marmalades, kind of thing.
All organically and lovingly grown by my own fair hands.X

And this is the first prototype of my Funky Nora Limited Edition Christmas Dress 'for a very first Christmas' - shown here (for cuteness of scale) but isn't quite finished, or 'Wellified' yet enough to 'put out there'.

So! That kind of brings you up to date for now, and this week, I are mostly making more Preserves, to finalise my Preserve Collections, baking Scones, mini Vicky Sponges, and anything else that takes my fancy, to sell on my stall as well.

Let's be careful out there Children, and see you next time.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Birthday Greetings from The Funny Farm

I myself have just turned the ripe old age of 52 Children, whereas this little bundle of fluff, was just days old when I took the photo.  And whatever age I be, I will aways remain  'A Kitten at heart'... or do I mean 'A Cat among The Pigeons', 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof', or just Catastrophically Nuts ?
Trousers is convinced I haven't shown these two photos before now, because they were still on my camera.  Yes, I've had kittens, and it's a bird on the Laundry Dolly sweetheart, it happens when you go to work?  So now, they're off my camera, he's happy, and Wellie can get on with her life in peace once more.

Changing the subject rather - and knowing how much profit Mr. & Mrs. Tesco make each year, I would steer you clear, Boys'n'Girls of being tempted to buy their pack of Mini Sparklers for the princely sum of £2, because in my humble experience, they don't....
I bought them to decorate a very special Birthday Cake that I'd made, and they wouldn't remotely with a household match, stubbornly refusing to with a tealight too? 

And having spent quite so much time, energy and braincells on re-creating this Great British Bake Off Showstopping Chocolate Raspberry Opera Cake, the complicated method, and ingredients of which beautifully sung on for two WHOLE pages (I'm not a natural baker Kids.....), I refused to take a Bunson Burner to the Mini Sparklers, in case I set fire to the cake, the upturned posh wooden Carving Board I'm emotionally attached to, or indeed, the box of matches, potentially so close to Trousers' manhood.

Just how many times do I have to tell you NOT to make your own story up Children?!X

Anyway, my good self shares a birthday (all the best people are Scorpios) not only with my best friends' husband, but also, with the oldest resident in our village, who was 94 on Friday....And so it was, that Ian and I had a joint celebration....himself liking a Chocolate Cake or three.

With having mentioned to Ian that Adele had sung that song, and the new James Bond 'Skyfall' movie was being released especially FOR us on our birthday, he appropriately turned up 'suited and booted' last night, as handsome as the star himself. And my best friend, M, looked pretty gorgeous herself, if she doesn't mind me saying so?

She and I recently took ourselves off to a new local craft shop, and learned how to 'Felt', and she had made me a felted gift tag with a WellieBoot on it, (disappointed about the lack of Sarah Raven laces though Babe?!) and had made a gorgeous woolly Snood(?) for me in my favourite Scorpio colours, and fab felt flower-band.  And three beautiful birthday cards (photos to follow on next blog).

We spent our celebration at home, with a couple of new and lovely 'Village Friendlies' in front of a roaring fire.  Luckily, we DO  have a fireplace, so don't overtly worry yourselves that we're homeless now?....
Not remotely because they brought card/prezzies will we be wanting to spend more quality and enjoyable times with them..... but the homemade bottle of Sloe Gin did happen to nail our friendship at least until Christmas?!   We hugely enjoyed their company, for the first proper 'getting to know you' since The Village Show back in August, so thank you SO much you two, for making our evening even more special than planned.  And the extra cake IS on the way for all of your hungry boys.

Oh my LORD!  I've not told you about The Village Show yet?
What a right royal success THAT was, in the end..........

For now,  Keep Safe, Keep Warm, and see you next time.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Helloey My Gorgeous Worldwide Friends!

Wellie has prolly missed all of you WAY much more than you have missed her in the last few months, but I can assure you that I am fit'n'well now, and raring to go 'like a bull in a china shop'!

You know, with Trousers having, this evening, sorted out just how to provide a link for you all to access my new business blog 'Funky Nora on The Funny Farm' (which at the moment, you can't Google separately for some reason?), and attached a counter to that blog, and this, I am now dead 'cited to find that within 2012, I've had nearly 19,000 views from all over the world... so as far as I'm concerned, each and every one of you can pat yourselves on the back for being 'Completely Epic', and I'd personally like to thank you all for being completely misguided?!   But I genuinely love and applaude you, my friends.X.

Now then.  In order to gently 'tease you' into my new Funky Nora Business Blog, I want to point out to you, that I have an eye for fabrics, a penchant for sewing and a passion for creating.  But because I love what I create, whether it be a purr from my cat, something as lovely as a Denis Cotter vegetarian chilli, or my Funky Nora Limited Editions that I'm in the process of creating, I care about each and every single one of them. 
You will be able to see my Funky Nora Limited Editions, and Blog only via the link (top left of this Funny Farm Blog, allegedly) for now, until Trousers isn't working 16 hours a day and has the time to even kiss me, let alone anything else............
I've told you before Children, do NOT make your own story up?!

Incidentally, don't you just HATE it when you buy something gorgeous, and then you see someone else with the same?  That's why I'm 'creating' Funky Nora, because whether it's a gift for your very favourite, an angelic dress for your newborn's Christening, a really 'tantrum tiara' dress for her tea party, a pretty pair of summer PJ's, a new Pinny just because, the funkiest of handbags, or a little something for your other half to buy to make you feel as special as you are?....

Funky Nora is where you'll need to be, and as I make them, you will get 'first choice' before I sell them elsewhere.

I won't tease you any further for now.... but remember the words 'Limited Editions' by Funky Nora.
And I'm wearing my first Funky Nora Pinny, if you please........X

It's my birthday this Friday, and I'm treating my party guests to my favourite chef's chilli, with lime soured cream, and garlic bread on Saturday night.  Homemade Pinot Grigio and Merlot, yummy puddings, and a chocolate birthday cake.

Bless you for being here again, and my love for now,

Friday, 6 July 2012


...and no-one sees those little webbed feet under that sparkly water, 'flippering' away frantically to keep that calm eiderdown of unflustered feathers so cool, calm, and collected, water off a duck's back above the parapet?

I just love it, and adore it.  And having 'reinvented' the floor-plan now for the 2012 Itton Village Show over the last few weeks, 'tucked up with teddy' on A Sicky with my cat at The Funny Farm, I have learned SO much about how this beautiful village show ticks, and the people within it.
And that's been such an enjoyable time for me.
Without a doubt, that level of research can only benefit the future of The Village Show, to determine what's good, what's popular, and which wheels need to be reinvented, or conveniently 'fall off'.

And whilst Trousers and I had valuable Oil in our tank, feeding the Rayburn with cooking fuel, and hot washing-up water (!) for kind of free, it made sense to put all that to good use, and bake as many fairy cakes, summer fruit tarts and (unfortunately!) a few sponge 'Frisbies'(?!) for The Show, and fill our freezer with them.  (I've not had 150 Fairies in my Freezer before, and never quite that much flour, sugar and butter all over my kitchen walls?!)

Anyway... Medina and I had a meeting AT The Village Hall this afternoon, and thankfully, every inch of my new Show Layout worked an absolute treat, from paper to reality.
And the two of us positioned the Showbenches, mapped out our new Raffle Table, and visually positioned all of our Trophies and funky new Certificates, took new measurements, and had totally new breakthrough Epic moments (which almost entirely belonged to Medina!)

It was SO lovely to be able to do that in an empty Village Hall, just now beginning to imagine 'the real thing' in 8 weeks' time, and to start properly getting excited about staging it 'for real'.

There's a lot to be done yet at home behind the scenes, and many many Raffle Prizes to be sourced from the locale, if we can persuade anyone to help us out in that direction.

I'll pass on your good wishes for a speedy recovery to my cat too?  She has one hell of a sore throat today....

Saturday, 30 June 2012

My Apologies....

I have been such a poorly girl lately? and Trousers will tell you that I just 'don't do' being ill, in whatever shape or form, Boys'n'Girls, so it's kind of nice to feel marginally better for now, and be here catching up with you all.

I am truly amazed to see how many of you are reading my blog from every corner of the world now (in whatever language you speak.....:you must be completely Bonkers?) but I'm still incredibly pleased that you are, and I adore that you are.... So Thank You.X

My friend Medina, and I, are forging forwards with huge excitement now, with only 8 weeks, and counting, putting together the totally new 2012 Itton Village Show for Sunday Bank Holiday end of August.

It was a 'ruddy good job' Children, that Wellie measured The Village Hall so accurately a few months back, making a Foot by Foot Floor Plan, because at the last 'shout', (read: AGM) I learned that it wasn't permissable to have tables now where they were last year, because of Elf'n'Safety'n'Fire'n'Stuff, and consequently, have had to totally 'rethink' the entire layout of the whole Show, since The Show first happened 20 or so years ago.
Exactly Right and Proper for safety of Jo Public, and I haven't a problem there, but not particularly 'helpful' for a girl in The Village trying to keep the Marmite & Lemon Curd Scones separate in her first true year of organising it, from the.........

Actually, I DO so love A Challenge?
And because I felt so unwell again last night, I sat at our kitchen table, and completely 're-invented' the layout of the entire Itton Village Show floor-plan/show benches, foot by foot, with a mug of Hot Chocolate or fifteen.

Then I focussed my attentions on collating exactly 'who entered what' in the show last year...
And as I sit here in front of you right now, I am the perfect candidate for THE BLACK CHAIR in the 2012 Mastermind Challenge, and my chosen subject is:...the 2011 Itton Village Show.

Keep Well, Keep Safe, and see you next time.X

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Are YOU having a good Jubilee Weekend Children?

 Welcome to Itton Village Hall's very own Jubilee Celebrations: ,,,,,,and the 'Dibley' Dancers ..... are OFF!  The sole purpose of this 'game' was dancing with a red, white or blue balloon between you and your partner.  You then had to 'change partners', without losing contact with the balloon, (and not chucking your keys into the centre of the dancefloor, because that's an entirely different game Children?) I absolutely promise you that Andrew and Bruce had a balloon between them, but I am SO going to have to get that photo onto the front of our next Parish Magazine for a 'Guess The Caption' Competition?!

Wellie, Medina, Trousers and Tractor Man were sat in the wings, watching all of The Wrinkly Games, shoulders shaking uncontrollably, and tears just streaming down our faces. 
We momentarily thought we were 'in with the crowd' when faced with a Jubilee Quiz Sheet, but no.... we were once again thwarted, as the quiz master himself had failed to do adequate research, which meant getting more than a handful of the answers remotely correct was an impossibility.

We had SUCH a giggle, but prolly, in truth, for all the wrong reasons - and for that Children, I humbly apologise.  Not.X

 Like I know what I'm doing in my Pretty Productive Kitchen Garden?  This is Wellie's first Smug Trug of the year.  I know, it's dead pathetic isn't it?!  but by golly it tasted good.

And then there's an early harvest of Japanese overwintering onions and garlics, because they're as ready as they're going to be/starting to bolt/need to clear them for replanting the ground now.
 Just a few words here isn't remotely enough to tell you the story of the Nuthatch family in my garden right now, as there are six babies, squeaking all over the place, getting themselves into all sorts of trouble flying into BC's greenhouse, getting 'patted' by her, because she doesn't know what else to do with them, and being told firmly by me that she must LEAVE it darling, which she does?
Extraordinary.  They are SO tame, I can pass them in the garden within a few feet, and they just ignore me.  Ordinarily, I'd find that quite upsetting, but it's an absolute honour to me in wildlife-terms.  I spent absolute Quality Time this morning photographing one fledgling Nutty, who'd surprisingly decided to have Forty Winks on the rusty-old-arbour by the birdbath.  Kept tucking its' head under its' wing, motionless for ages, and then reawakening for a while.
Luckily, my photos were in focus, and a posibility for entering into The Itton Village Show end-August maybe.
 The new hardwood Birdtable Trousers made me has been a huge hit with my Funny Farm Feathered Friends, but an even more huge hit with Wellie, because she adores her garden birds.
So THANK YOU Trousers.
Wellie's been planting 'like a mad thing' this weekend, as it's only a fortnight today that she opens up her garden to Jo Public once again?  I must be NUTS Children!

Friday, 25 May 2012

I Apologise.... I'm Having Way Too Much Fun?

M and I had a rather lovely Itton Village Show meeting this afternoon in The Funny Farm Garden, (with only 13 weeks to go now, time does fly when you're having fun Children?)  It was SO appreciated in 'The Minutes of The Meeting' that Wellie and Medina had coloured in every single copy of the hundreds of front and back covers of The Show Schedule 'by hand', with grown-up crayons, and that we'd emailed/phoned each other virtually every day to see who had 'coloured in' the most Flobalobs that day?..... I might even treat my Mother to a copy so that she can appreciate how very much both my maternal and paternal grandfathers taught me so fantastically well?
I know M and I shouldn't have this much fun at our age?..... BUT WE JUST ARE.... Okay?
And Wellie was a little bit upset about something yesterday, so M brought me A Pig Biscuit On A Stick, because I'm HogMother to her Three Piglets........ and expertly she advised me that I could 'bite its ears off' and pretend that it was Trousers? I started by biting its' ears off,.... and kind of got 'carried away' Children?
I can't remember what time I emailed her, but later that evening, I broke the news to her that The Pig On A Stick was well and truly dead Angel?

With my not very good computer skills, I've purposely not spoken about the previous photos, in order not to lose this beautiful photo within the blog that I love?  And to bring you heartfelt speaks about the photo, because no words on this page will ever describe how Mum and Baby suffered for the absolute MINUTES that they were parted from each other, and I'm not magnificent, because it was just 'opening a gate' for me to encourage baby back to Mum......And whilst that took what seemed like a lifetime to happen for them, it was something that I was able to do for the two of them, because I happened to just be there.

I LOVE where I live with an absolute passion, and I've never felt that before now.
Isn't that lovely?X

Wherever you are, be inspired and make the best of what you enjoy.
My Love.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Don't You Just LOVE Life?

Trousers is the person that we all have to thank for even viewing these kittens, because without his Private Dick/PI skills, we wouldn't be aware that they were even there in the first place?
He is TOP Banana when it comes to Observation, and never misses a trick.

Having told our very special friends, and invited them round to see them, the Mum Cat had decided to move them from underneath the oil tank, and we were all completely 'gutted' then to be looking at an empty space last evening.  So Wellie went out there on A Mission today to locate where Mum had moved them to...and Phew! it was only 'feet away', vocally given away by the squeaking of Stripey Kitten, who'd lost the map to The Milking Machine, bless her cotton paws.X

Now THIS is what I also call 'A Result'?:
My lovely friend Medina came over this afternoon to view the kittens, and we were walking around The Funny Farm with a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio each, sharing stories of how our crops were growing in our greenhouses, picking wild garlic, spring onions, lamenting that not a sodding Asparagus has bothered to do much yet? and 'itching' to get planting all of our Serbian/Borlotti, French and Runner Beans, and just how all of that is beautifully coming together for our veg plots and Village Show at the end of August.

I'd shared with her previously my tears about the fact that this Ewe had struggled so badly to give birth to her dead baby, and how I'd stayed with her for over an hour until I found help.
And then I told her about how the fleece of the still-born had been tied to an 'abandoned' lamb of another, and that we were all hoping she'd take to it instead?
Look closely now.....  Neat Trick in the Lambing World: This lamb has the fleece of the still-born-lamb tied to it, and thankfully, finally, this Ewe has accepted this one as her own instead.  I've been SO on their case, watching them since the tragic birth episode, and every time I see these two together now, I just have to smile deep inside for the both of them.X

Already so soon, I'm booking myself onto a How To Deliver A Dodgy Lamb Course next year?
And it's NOTHING to do with 'Cooking Badly'.....  How I just completely, once again, cried laughing all over my non-waterproof Mascara there M?!
You think I'm joking, but there's a Vet in the Raglan area who does courses in how to deliver lambs in whatevver guise they present themselves from the birthing Ewe.  And I am ON it my friends....Never a dull moment for Your Auntie Wellie, and I can't think of a better way to spend £25, because handbags are just a waste of time?.X

Next time, I might treat you to a sneaky preview of what I'm growing to eat in our Kitchen Garden?
And remind me to feed back to you some of the lovely comments about our new Show Schedule for 2012.
For now, love you and leave you.
In the meantime, give 5 minutes of your time to someone that you care about, and give them a big hug.X

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Heave A Sigh of Sadness & Breathe in A Breath of Hope?

You know when you wake up some days and you feel brilliant? and others when your whole world has just collapsed around you?  Or maybe you've never been there....
Well that happened to the person who jumped from our local Chepstow Bridge the other week, to their death.

There, but for the grace of God go all of us, and I'm not here to spread gloom or doom to bring your world crashing down, but everyone is A Very Valuable 'Someone' to me, and if you feel able to be of ANY help to anyone that you know who could do with 5 minutes of your valuable time, physically, emotionally or mentally - would you go have a chat or a cuddle with that person this week?

It's impossible to describe to you the emotion of The Bouquets of Flowers along the bridge growing in strength each and every day now, but you can tell that they were truly, truly loved by everyone that knew them.
And I hope that the people they've left behind will find comfort in knowing that at least.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Go On... Get Growing!

Trousers told me that I'd not written properly on the blog since about 10th April... SO! Dead 'tardy' with the blog updates, for which I humbly apologise, but I've been busy growing our veg, Dahlias, Gladdies,  and a multitude of annual flowers from seed as well, because I thought I might just open our garden up again this year.
The above photo isn't a 'tenth' of what's growing in the other greenhouses as well, and I'm 'rather proud of myself' to admit to you, that I've somewhat inspired my friend Medina, to 'Get Going/Growing/Sowing'.....?!

Instead of raising funds for The Village Hall specifically, as I did last June, I thought it'd be nice to open the garden to raise funds for our Village Show, so that Medina and I don't feel quite so guilty about 'speculating to accumulate'.  A phrase that my father was fond of, and one that I'm incredibly fond of myself.

Of course, your own food doesn't happen to 'grow itself'.  AND I've got my friend Emma's Veg to grow in her Kitchen Garden this year too, which I didn't 'this time last year'..... and the two of us are having an enormous amount of fun....I'm therefore trying to grow what her kitchen requires, as well as my own, AND possibly for The Show end August, if I can get my act together.

 I've been true to my word this year, and labelled every single sodding tomato plant.  Every year up until now, I only label one of them in the tray, and then get them all muggled up when I water and pot them on.  So "well done wellie.X"
And I'm about to pot all of these Pot Marigolds around the sink up to sell at Saturday's Coffee Morning in the Village Hall for some extra cash to go towards the cost of compost and seeds now? Because both are WAY more expensive than they used to be when no-one bothered to Get Growing?.  Just DON'T get me 'started' on the price of seeds now, okay?!

 I dig up the Autumn Raspberry canes when they're 'annoying me' because I can easily sell them locally....  And in case you have no idea what the crop is to the right of the buckets.... it's Sorrel, which you just can't buy for culinary use these days.
I'm hoping to get a Restaurant Chef or two interested locally.
And my favourite Irish Chef, Denis Cotter, has a gorgeous Fritter recipe that makes good use of it in my own kitchen.X

Trousers completely excelled himself today: Knowing that my friend M was coming round this afternoon, he made a cake, AND he made some bread in the bread machine.
Unfortunately, the Lectricity 'tripped', and sent the bread machine into chaos, the resulting loaf ending up like a house brick that resembled a crumpet.  So I gave it to the birdies....
I'm half-expecting a carpet of dead birds underneath the mangle in the morning on account of the fact that the loaf was too heavy for them to take flight once they'd had a nibble?

DEAD 'CITING NEWS:  Mrs. Batman's Babies have hatched in The Draughty Dutch Greenhouse, on one of the shelves of the green metal cabinets that my Dad gave me.
I have tried and tried and tried to take photos, but the nest is right at the back of the shelf, and my photographic expertise isn't 'up to it', I'm sad to say....
but take my word for it, there are tiny-wee golden beaks and fluffy little bodies in there that just warm the cockles of my heart.

Catch You Later....X

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


I was going to show you, and talk about my plethora of seedlings in the kitchen and conservatory, but I somehow managed to lose the photo that Trousers expertly posted up for me.  Doh?!
Because I'm so proud of the quality of seedlings that I achieve now before I put them out into the garden?
It isn't a secret though, because whilst myself and Medina aren't 'remotely competitive' and neither of us 'want to win any trophies?'  The both of us are complete and utter "Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire-Brigade?!" and it is now SO 'citing as to what she and I are going to enter into The Itton Village Show on Sunday 26th August.
So, all I'm saying, is that you should 'Watch This Space?'

I'm actually true to my word, because the only thing that's important to me, organising and running this new Village Show, is that it is gorgeously entertaining for people 'TO LOOK AT' when they turn up on the day.
But that's why the two of us have created a schedule that allows maximum creativity, so that not every entry is uniformally perfect, because we don't want that.
Real life isn't perfect, and we want our Village Show to reflect real life in our Village, amalgamating The Bonkers with The Brilliance.

Talking of Bonkers, I've been making friends with a number of Robins over the last six month..
And with a cat, it's incredibly difficult also.
I think the Robins trust me sufficiently now to nest where I'm active on a daily basis, and they've chosen to nest in The Draughty Dutch Greenhouse, in one of the shelves of cabinets that my father used to have in his garage.
Getting her 'used to me', I talk to her every time I go into the greenhouse for something two or three times a day.  I won't be able to protect her or her babies from my cat, or any other wild cat on the funny farm, but the little that I CAN do for her, I surely will ....

Monday, 2 April 2012


I have SUCH a lot of catching up to do with you all, but for now - Miss Piggy has just FINALLY got the 2012 Itton Village Show Schedule out amongst The Village Peeps?

See Wellie and her friend Medina heave a huge sigh of relief Children! (these are her piglets, and I am their Fairy Hogmother)

I'll be back with a Blog before the week is out, to show you what I've been doing lately.

In the meantime, get growing?  You can't possibly harvest it if you don't sow it and grow it.

Thursday, 29 March 2012


And we know what THAT means Children - don't we?
Yes, that's right....Absent Without Leave!

Have YOU got a busy life Children?  Wellie has!
In all seriousness, you prolly didn't even miss me, but we've had a shed load of lambs popping out on The Funny Farm here, and I've just been so tied up with admiring them, photographing them, and latterly, reuniting them with their Mummies when they get lost each and every sodding day!, and unless I do, the bleeting goes ON and ON and ON and ON!....And I can't concentrate on sowing veggie seeds then?!

And with the weather being so mild, it's been a fabulous 'crop' of Lambs this Season, without too much of a casualty in the Fox direction.....
And today, the lambs were having their tails clipped (cut off'n'sprayed) and being transferred to greener pastures.
Largely, because there's another Tamara and Rupert Event on horseback this weekend?  Pip Pip!  Daddy Gave Me This Land!
I'm 'making light of it', but Trousers and I just adore the Horsey Events here, because the Organisers work SO hard throughout the year to make it happen, and without their hard work, there would be nothing at all for anyone to enjoy.

I'll try and bring you photos of what I've been sowing for my Kitchen Garden in the next week or two.
I've got LOADS of Annual Flowers that I've sown in my own Paper Pots, and I've got Sweetcorn and Winter Squashes in Root Trainers,Aubergines, Tomatoes, Globe Artichokes, Leeks, Onions and stuff....
BUT, don't get too excited... It's early days yet, and you all have loads and loads of time to sow your own seeds, as I do, eh?!

You're kind for listening, and hopefully, you'll listen again soon.X

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sshh! It's A Secret?

 To be perfectly honest with you, until I invited a brilliant young lad from the village round a few weeks ago to do a valued line-drawing of my Fert'n'Liza Flobalob Flowerpot Peeps for the 2012 Itton Village Show Schedule, I'd quite forgotten myself how gorgeous these guys are.
It came as some surprise to me that the televisual Bill and Ben have reacquainted themselves with Jo Public for a whole new generation or three, but I'm actually quite 'blown away' that he thought these 'real life' ones were so brilliant....  To me, that's one of the nicest compliments I've had in ages.

I think it's true sometimes, that you neglect to realise your own self-worth, and the things that you're truly good at, until someone stops and points it out to you.  Even the littleist things that you're good at can mean a mountain to you if someone else appreciates them, and actually tells you so?

Down on The Funny Farm, there's a queue for free School Milk here!  At school, when free School Milk was  a reality, I made friends with every single one of my classmates that hated milk, because I just adored it.
Then, of course, we get back into the world of advertising, when that cocky little blond kid declared that 'The Milky Bars are on ME!', and this particular Ewe is in no mood to celebrate.  And where the feck is Father?
With the sheer number of Wild Kats'n'Kittens in the yard now, it's rather a gorgeous 'scampering' of tiny paws whenever I approach to take photos, but as they settle to watch me from a distance in amongst the bales, it's rather comforting to know that BC will be bringing one less Rat, Shrew or Mouse into my Kitchen.
Our local Parish Magazine has recently taken on the 'Guess The Caption' Competition, and I am seriously loving the new-look funky magazine, but also that there's an amazing amount of 'talent' out there, and an even more amazing amount of humour developing with it?  And that's just what this life needs more of.
"I've told you.....The Milky Bars are somewhere else?!"

Okay, so we come to The Secret!  Our friends were collecting their two new piglets this weekend:

I'd got it all planned out, to the 'enth degree'.....  I'd proverbially named the two little boy piglets 'Rolf' and 'Harris' and I was dropping the Rolf Harris Greatest Hits CD off to my friends' house, whilst she was in London, and her Husband was going to give the CD to his Sister, who was coming to stay for the weekend with her husband, and she was going to secrete it into The Mazda, which had a working CD player, and my friend was going to collect Two Little Boy Piglets in the back of The Mazda, and my friend's husband's sister was going to play the Two Little Boys Song on the journey home.  To make her laugh?
Forget that, because my friend caught the really bad snufflies, came home early, and totally ruined my Cunning Baldrick Plan?  So SHE accidentally took custody on the front door mat of the Rolf Harris CD, her husband hadn't got a CLUE what I was talking about to him when he phoned me from his office on the evening when he was supposed to be at home cleaning because he'd gone to work, and THEN, to add insult to injury, my friend emailed me this evening to break the news that I'm NOT Fairy Hogmother to Two Little Boys, but also a cutesy little girly piglet as well?

At which point, I emailed her back to ask if she'd pre-planned Miss Piggie, or had it smacked her a kiss on the chops and told her that if she didn't take her home RIGHT NOW, the frog would have to die?

Only two more sleeps till I get to meet my Fairy Hogchildren.
Bless you for Listening.
Keep Safe and Stay Warm.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A Clear Night and A Noisy Day!

My cat has developed a rather annoying habit of deciding to go out of the front door for A Royal Wee just as something brilliant comes onto my TV screen, when I've finally managed to wrestle the Remote Control from Trousers and he's gone to bed.  Unfortunately, she don't know how to open the front door, so I have to.  AND, she knocks on the door when she's ready to come back in......Once that's all over, I can settle back down with a glass of homemade Red Wine, deciding whether or not the telly programme is worthy, in which case, BC comes and joins me, or I retire to bed with a notebook , or my Quiche of Death Novel, depicting a typical local village produce show, where the newcomer cheated by buying a quiche from a deli, which turned into murder, and..... well, I've mentioned it before, and I'm a slow reader?!
The only reason I mention this, is that if my cat hadn't insisted on going out of the Front Door, I wouldn't have noticed what a beautifully clear night it was.  It was SO clear, that I was transfixed by what I could see, and for once, the batteries in my Finepix hadn't expired the last of their juice, and I was able to 'have a stab' at capturing what I saw.

To be perfectly honest, it was 'a stab in the dark', because what was visible in the clear sky didn't appear with any clarity in the viewfinder, and until Trousers put these pictures up on the blog for me (we've been a tad busy lately?) I had no idea if I'd successfully captured what I saw.
No tripod, just a glass of Homemade Red Wine on board, so prolly a bit 'shaken not stirred'?!

With the lamb population increasing at an alarming daily rate now, I've got to keep my eyes peeled, and my ears open to bleets of distress.  Largely, because Mother and Offspring tend to get parted by stock fencing as the Babes get more adventurous and inquisitive.  Luckily, Mums'n'Babies are spray-painted with numbers, so it's easy to pair them back up again.  The warmth and whoolliness of a lamb's tummy as you cup it in your hands and lift it back to the safety and security of the Mummy Milk Machine, is such a magical moment for me.

Freckles had to be rescued today, somehow getting into the First Time Mothers' Nursery quarters, where there were very little babies, and their mothers were naturally being over-protective, giving her an unnecessarily hard time.  So Wellie and BC waded straight in there to return her to Mum No.1 and Sibling 'Panda', so all ended rather happily.

Not an hour later,  No.43 had managed to get itself into The Nursery, fell asleep, woke up to find itself on the 'non-milk' side of the fence from Mum, and both were yelling at me to come with some urgency, which we duly did.  No. 43 has now been named 'No Latte'.....

It's an extraordinary thing to have your cat follow you wherever you go on the farm, and to take as much interest in everything that you're doing?  And actually, it's hillarious at the minute, on the strength of that, because some of the little jet black lambs are mistaking BC for one of their own whilst she's in the fields with me.....
Ebony, (Ivory's sibling) particularly loves my cat today.
At about 5pm every evening, as the lambs grow more confident in themselves, and each others' company, they start 'Boinging' - springing around like Spring Lambs so beautifully do.  And I'm here to tell you, no words could ever capture the pleasure that gives me to stand and watch, as they gang up like kids together, race around and have fun.

Which reminds me..... Ian and Medina's Piglets get 'scooped up' on Saturday to go and live with them (for a while?), and she absolutely blew me away that they've decided to call them Wellie's suggestion of ROLF and HARRIS, on the strength of them being 'Two Little Boys'.  What a proud HogMother I'm going to be....!

For now, Keep Safe, Stay Warm,

Saturday, 25 February 2012


This Spotty of mine in the garden is so incredibly sensitive to movement within the house, that it's virtually impossible to capture on camera.  This was taken after WEEKS of getting Spotty used to the feeder being in front of the Kitchen Window, rather than in the apple tree 'way over there'.   So the two of us have compromised rather beautifully.
My aim, however, is to encourage the two of my Spotties to bring their babies to feed here in a few months time, so that I can set the tripod up permanently in front of the kitchen sink, and never ever have to wash up dishes again on the strength of  interfering with wildlife?!

Now I'm pretty sure that you've all been formally introduced to my friends Ian and Medina since New Year.  To be perfectly honest with you, if you're at a loss as to just who these lovely peeps are, you should:
* Step Away From The Blog
* Put The Weapon Down, and Relax

I adore them, and they're about to have Piglets again. ...
On the strength of that, I am about to become a Hog Mother for the first time in my life, and I've promised them that I won't KNIT anything.
(See Wellie get the sewing machine out instead?!)
Keep Safe, Keep Warm.
For now, Your Wellie.X


Sunday, 19 February 2012


Minus 7 degrees predicted in the surrounding countryside to The Funny Farm tonight, and Plus 10 degrees  tomorrow lunchtime.  Is it any wonder that my newly germinated Greenhouse Seedlings are begging me for Therapy?!
Thankfully, we took delivery of another 500 litres of Oil during the week Children, so we've postponed the "Sh!t it's Cold Party", and you may as well chuck your invitations in the bin, because The Party is well and truly cancelled my friends!  Did I not tell you we ran out of Oil well over a fortnight ago?!  Shame on me!

I'm only sneaking in a Weenie Blog-Update for you (without photos), because Trousers is DEAD..... (I've told you before....don't make your own Story up?!) BUSY....., he's BUSY!  and has absolutely no time for me, let alone any of you lot, and hence, for now, no photos.
He DID manage to shove a Valentine Card across the table at me on Tuesday evening.
However, with no Kiss, no Flowers, no Chocolates, and certainly no Dinner Engagement.... Emma and I have decided to Elope.
No, I'm JOKING!...(Emma I'm SO Sorry to let you down like this Sweetie?X!)

Anyway, if you know me at all, you'll know me well, and I absolutely adore televisual advertisements.
My first job was as a Secretary in an Advertising Agency, (actually, so was my second, third and fourth?) but that's not important right now.....
My sense of humour began much much earlier, at my Father's side.  The two of us used to 'spar' off of each other with Jokes, and recounting funny adverts we'd seen on the telly, just as my paternal 'Poppa' used to with  the two of us.

When I eventually met my maternal Grandparents (I think I was in my Teens?), introduced to me as my 'Auntie Jean' and 'Uncle Mark',... I was so blown away to find that 'Uncle Mark' and I also shared a truly amazing Sense of Humour too.  Auntie Jean's 'accelerator foot' had a touch of humour in the driving seat of the old Saab, as I fondly recall...!
Whatever age you are, believe me, it's truly a relief to find common ground in adversity - allows you to 'start liking each other straight away', which is important if you want a positive connection for the future, which we absolutely did, God Bless the both of them.X

The 'START THE HEART' Advert earlier in the year with the gorgeous Vinnie Jones, completely 'tickled me', as a hardened Advertising Bunny, particularly now that I'm actually 'qualified' to pump your heart to the tune of 'Staying Alive, but not having to proclaim you Dead before I start...and I proudly have A Stertificate now - a proud moment in my life to 'potentially' save yours' if I happen to be nearby when you're feeling 'a bit peeky'.

And two other adverts have made me laugh out loud recently, are SNICKERS, in the bloke's Locker Room with JOAN COLLINS, and the DIRECT LINE (Red Telephone) advert with the beautifully camp STYLIST and the INSURANCE BLOKE ON THE PHONE.

I LOVE it when I laugh.


Sunday, 12 February 2012

New Life, A Sad Loss, and A Bit Of Fun

The very first 2012 Funny Farm Lambs have been born, and 'Freckles' here, completely at home basking in the warmth of the February Sun, has a smile on her chops that no sunbeam could ever claim to be warmer than...  Whereas 'Panda' seems to be startled to be on Planet Earth at all, bless her!

But sadly, with every wondrous birth in the world, it's tragically equated with an untimely death.  I wanted to mention this to you tonight, because, as a personal admirer of Whitney Houston I got close to this Superstar in a quite bizarre, but magical way.

Working as A Secretary in a London Advertising agency back in the 90's, I was in my twenties, and I think I'd once made a chocolate cake for my boss, the very lovely Susan, whose clients we worked on were Nikon Cameras and Chivers Hartley Jams.  Having made a marzipan Camera, and marzipan Strawberries to decorate the top of her birthday cake was a definite novelty to me, never having attempted anything like that before! But everyone had loved it, and I had such a personal 'blast' making it, that I knew it wouldn't be the last novelty cake I'd make.
A few years later, completely out of the blue, I received a telephone call at another Ad Agency where I was working, and the voice on the other end of the line asked if I would consider making a novelty cake for the 'after concert party' of a very high achieving pop singer.  Where on earth these people heard about me from is a mystery, but not remotely having an ego, not even contemplating that it'd be way too challenging, or that I might fail miserably and fall flat on my face, I said I'd do it.

Once I'd agreed, I was told that it was to be a cake for Whitney Houston, celebrating her newly awarded Triple Platinum Disc achievement, and that they would be presenting it to her at the special party they were holding for her after the concert.  They'd deliver the framed Triple Platinum Discs to the Ad Agency for me to take home, and make a replica Novelty Cake of it.

I suppose it didn't really 'sink in' that I was holding the original framed discs until I got them back home to Wendover in Buckinghamshire, and my then husband nearly fainted.  Anyway, to get on with the story, I made six 10 inch fruit cakes, because I had an abundance of time on my hands, and fruitcakes wouldn't spoil.  Then of course it was the marzipan layer - as flat as you can Wellie, because you're going to have to Royal Ice on top of this Luv, you're cr@p at Royal Icing, and it needs to be dead smooth to replicate the Cassette Cover, Platinums and Gold Frame.
Anyway, I'm not going to bore you with the endless weeks of work I did to achieve the finished cake, but let's just say that the board I mounted the cake on was a teeny bit bigger than the weeny cottage doorways, and it was a nerve-racking moment tilting it to get it to The Courier waiting at my Cottage Front Door to whizz it up to London in time for The Party!
And Yes, I did give the framed Triple Platinum Discs back!!
I feel very special and very privileged now to have been a small part of her celebrations that night.
Sadly, having meticulously taken 'step by step' photos of the cake's progress, not one single photo if anyone out there out of the kindness of their own hearts does have a photo of my Whitney Cake, I'd simply love a copy back for my own records and posterity......X.

Talking of Cake....when I sent my draft script email to the editor of our local parish magazine the other day, requesting a small paragraph be included into the March issue, the small paragraph read exactly this:

Shelley and Medina are looking for a friendly posse of people to help us create this year's Produce Show Tea Party.  Candidates must have Own Pinny, Sense of Humour, and Appetite for Fun.
Phone Shelley on:........... for details of our First Pinny Meeting.

Like that?!

Now, given that this first card was given to Trousers for his Birthday from Wellie:
And this card was given to Trousers for his Birthday from Medina and Ian (The Queen and King of Marmalade)....Once I wrestle the Chainsaw out of Ian's hands for 'choosing' that card, I might marmalise him Children?!
M and I have the 'Qualifications' to get this Tea Party up and running.  Own Pinnies, Sense of Humour, Appetite for Fun......and our next Show Meeting is in about 10 hours, so I better go bed now!

I apologise for not tucking you up in bed this Sunday Night with A First Aid Course Story Boys'n'Girls, but if you're good, I'll do it next time.
Stay Safe and Keep Warm.
Wellie. X