Sunday, 27 October 2013

Reusing old things

Time never stands still and things are constantly changing around us.

The local brewery was shut in 1985 and the buildings sold. The outlying buildings were converted into attractive homes while the main building was converted into a museum, pub and small speciality shops.  This complex was a popular destination with many people visiting this unique place. In 2011, however, the main building was again sold and everyone had to leave. The plan was to convert the building into a hotel, flats and shops, but then the recession hit. The building lay empty and deteriorating.

(previous converted buildings)
This year a new restaurant has opened, and the area formerly used by the shops is now been taken over by an antiques emporium.  I always feel sad when buildings are left abandoned, so it's good to see this one  back in use and selling items that can reused and taken to new homes too!

I loved this collection of old tins.

                and a collection of French signs.

Do you think that things from the past are better than new things? I know many of you share my love of old items too. What is your favourite item that you have given a second home too? (Both of our pets have come from second homes, but you couldn't classify them as items!)

 As I was writing this I was trying to choose my favourite item - many of the reused items in our home have been handed down through the family and hold sentimental value too. I always longed for a Kenwood food mixer and  I was delighted when I found one in a charity shop a few years ago. It has helped to produce some very yummy cakes over the years.

Most of the old things in our house fall into the second categeory of having sentimental value.  When both my parents died this chinese camphor wooden chest ended up with me. My parents brought  it when they were living in Hong Kong in the 1950's. The carving is very detailed and the smell of the wood as you open the chest always takes me instantly back to my childhood. Today it is full of family memories - photograph and holiday albums recording my parents lifes. You may have also noticed the wooden dalmatian  pointer it was carved by my father in law who was a carpenter- his work needs a seperate post sometime!

  Sarah x

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Walking with llamas

Many regular readers will recall that I celebrated a big birthday back in February. Instead of a gift I wanted to do something different and my husband gave me money for a Llama walk. It is only just now, many months later, that we have got around to arranging it!

 So on the second day of our short break around Sidmouth we went for a walk with these lovely llamas Eric and Golly - aren't they gorgeous? Maggie from Walking with Llamas owns these beautiful animals and taught us how to greet Llamas and handle them on the walk. It was a privilege to gain their acceptance and they allowed us to stroke their long soft necks. Has anyone ever used llama wool?  Although it is soft like an alpacas it is more difficult to spin as they also have some coarse hairs.

Llamas are very inquistive and have to check out everything around them including the hedgerows, sheep and fields.  We are accustomed to that with having a westie!  On the way back they discovered some hawthorn berries which they particularly enjoyed.

At the top of the hill Eric and Gollie were given a treat and we were greeted with this spectacular vista with distant views to Dartmoor and across the sea to the cliffs at Dawlish. The red Devon soil is so unique and looked stunning below us in the fields that had been recently ploughed.

We couldn't have choosen a better day for our walk!

As we walked back to the farm our route took us along an old smuggling path (sorry I was too busy talking to take a picture!) Those old smugglers would have been astonished to have come across such an unusual creature! Over the past five years we have come across more and more llamas and alpacas on walks in the Dorset countryside.Do you come across any where you live too? Their popularity has apparently spread from America.

It was a wonderful and relaxing experience to spend time with these gentle and beautiful animals, so thank you Maggie for making this possible and also to my husband for my fantastic birthday present  - it was unforgettable.

Have you ever walked anything unusual? Twinkle our cat will occasionally decide to come on walks with us and Daisy. It always looks strange walking a dog with a cat running alongside! If  you have enjoyed any unusual birthday treats too, I would love to hear about them.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments you leave,I do appreciate them. Welcome to new followers Kerrie of Sea cottage,Pallavi from Diary of an Indian expat in Singapore Pallavi, and Em from Dartmoor Ramblings
Sarah x

Saturday, 19 October 2013

A seaside excursion

We were woken on Wednesday morning with rain battering on the window. Our plans of two days and a night in Devon didn't seem such a good idea, but as we crossed the border into Devon we spotted blue sky and by the time we reached the coast it had turned into a beautiful day!

This is Sidmouth in Devon.  It is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and the red sandstone cliffs look so spectacular especially against a bright blue sky.

Sidmouth has been admired by many including Sir John Betjeman   (1906-1984) described it as feast of visual delight and it still lives up to that description today,don't you think?

I shall use John Betjeman's words rather than mine to describe some of the scenery :-

Mansions for admirals by the pebbly strand
And cottages for maiden aunts, inland,
That go with tea and strawberries and cream,
Sweet sheltered gardens by the twisting stream,
Cobb, thatch and fuchsia bells, a Devon dream!

 My brother and sister in law were astounded that we hadn't visited their favourite part of Sidmouth on our previous visits. The clockhouse tower cafe under the tower produces stunning food as well as views! We ventured down the wooden staircase known as Jacobs Ladder to reach the beach below...

                                            The waves were quite impressive too!

We were staying in a pub/hotel in the neighbouring pretty village of Branscombe. I loved this display of dahlias outside this row of traditional Devon cottages in the village.

 These quiet country lanes  however, looked very different for a few days in January 2007 when following  storm damage the cargo ship Napoli was beached. Up to 5,000 bounty hunters flocked to the beach as items were washed ashore- some coming as far away as Ireland and Belgium. The bounty included  BMW motor bikes, barrels of wine and hair products see here. The beach was soon cornered off to stop any further looting.

Photo from Daily Telegraph

Now once again it is an empty and peaceful scene.

Accustomed as we are too being by the sea, the sight and sound of the waves crashing on this shore on a mild Autumn day will remain with us for a long time to come.

Thank you for all the lovely comments you leave and also a  hello and big welcome to my new followers Amy at Love made my home and Lesley

Sarah x

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The shades of Autumn in our garden

The leaves are beginning to slowly change colour in our garden .......

The gravel garden is at it's best at this time of year with the rubeckia goldstrum , grasses and sedum still providing an adundance of colour.

  The verbena seeds eveywhere.

 and the leaves are starting to fall adding a carpet of colour.

The apples are ready for picking....

without any assistance from Twinkle - she had her eye on something else!

There are a few flowers to pick, although the hydrangeas have now lost their colour. What is the highlight of your garden at the moment?

I have sneaked the last picture in, it was taken in Abbotsbury Gardens a few weeks ago it just captures for me the essence of Autumn.

 I seem to spend more time in the kitchen in the Winter and Autumn and I have today made some roasted plum jam, it was easy to do and the flavour is so rich and  intense. I picked up the recipe via Dialaja from Croatia see here (you will need to follow her link to the recipe - it translated into English with no problems).  It would make a good item to add to a Christmas Hamper. It always fun trying recipes from all around the world and Dialaja has some lovely dishes and desserts, so do pop over and visit her.

Hope you are having a good weekend.
Sarah x

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Glimpses of the sea

Catching glimpses of the sea makes a walk extra special.

This is the Isle of Portland and in the distance is the famous Chesil beach is 45 foot (14 metres) at it's highest point.

 Many of the old Portland cottages are built on the steep slopes overlooking the sea.

 On a warm autumn day the blue and green colours of the sea were beautiful.

 The majority of people on this stretch of beach are fishermen. This is a wonderful description of the same scene in the 1930's written by Llewelyn Powys :-

On a fair summer's morning how wonderful to stand on the famous sea bank overlooking Dead Man's Bay with wide-benched fishing boats on either side, and the pebbles under foot spotted and blackened with fisherman's tar; the air smelling of green waves, or wind and sunshine; and the vast nets spread out everywhere to dry.

The Cove Inn picture taken from

And the old stone tavern called the Cove Inn which stands on the top of the beach - was there ever such a hostel? The landlord was told me that during the worst winter gales the sea invariably reaches to its stone porch and goes poring down on each side of the house to the sheltered village street below.What a view presents itself from its sarcophagus-like doorway in fine weather - the great sea beach with its wide-sweeping curve of twenty miles, the broad flecked acres of the West Bay; and everywhere old weather worn benches, old stone seats,where generations of aged fishermen, with bleary eyes still as keen of sight as the eyes of shags are content to sit for hours scanning a sea and horizon familiar to them for the past seventy or eighty years.

 Moving back to the present these modern buildings were built for those competing in the sailing events at the Olympic Games held here last year. They have now been put on the open market to be sold.

On the edge of the Olympic village the old control tower in the foreground is one of the few reminders left  that this area was home to a naval base for 150 years, it closed down in the 1990's.

Portland can be windy and in parts barren, people either seem to love it or hate it. We always enjoy visiting it and taking in it's unique character. I hope you have enjoyed this visit too. Do you have anywhere near where you live that is very different to it's neighbours?
Sarah x

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Cleaning the beach

Every spring and autumn stretches of beach are cleaned with the help of volunteers. Removing items  that have been washed up on the beach or left by visitors the weekend before last we went along to help out....

It always amazes me how much rubbish gets washed ashore. The sculpture to the left of Daisy was made from items that have been found on the beach. Someone must have been very sad to loose that teddy!

In the past we have always helped along the Chesil beach, this time we went to our local beach at Bowleaze. These ropes have become so entwined within the rocks that they were impossible to move.

We had to record everything we picked up, there appeared to be less items that had been thrown over board from passing ships.

Plastic is one of the worst problems- this plastic bag had filled with sand and water and was impossible to move all in one piece. All this plastic below has been retrieved from the beach and has been made into a display to try to educate people.

Children from a local school created these characters!

The beach did look so much cleaner by the time everyone had finished!

Wishing you all a very happy weekend. 
Sarah x


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