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This blog has been retired. I won't respond to any inquiries but have retained it in case it is still of interest to anyone passing by.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Out of Service . . . .

A couple of days ago my laptop decided to go on the blink and it will no longer connect to the internet (I think it must be worn out like me!)  I'm not sure what the problem is.  I can see my service provider but the router no longer works.  I don't know if it can be fixed or how easy it will be to do that.  At the moment its just a step too far for me as I just don't have the reserves for the unexpected.  I'm borrowing my son's netbook but its only for 'emergencies' so no more blogging or other internet activities for me.

So its another unanticipated break.

My health will probably thank me.
But I will miss your company!!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Retro & Vintage Inspired Corner of my Home Linky

My Favourite Corner

Today I'm welcoming you into my home - its not the sort of post I would usually put together, but I decided it might be fun to join in a link-up (its my first!). This one is hosted by the lovely and ever stylish Kylie at Lucy Violet Vintage
Kylie hails from Perth in Western Australia and if you are not already a regular visitor of her blog please pop in an pay her a visit - you won't be disappointed.

Kylie is co-hosting the linky with Donna from Hung up on Retro
This is the first time I've had a chance to see Donna's blog and it was also a real treat. 

The idea of this link-up is to share some pics of our favourite vintage/retro inspired spaces in our homes.  At first I wasn't sure if I qualified - if my home is at all retro it is by accident rather than design.  Most of my possessions originally belonged to my mother or grandmother.  I surround myself with them because of the memories they hold and jumble up the good, bad and indifferent as their value to me has no correlation with any monetary worth.

The little tables (like the one with the vase of roses at the top) were made by my grandfather.  The tablecloth in the foreground of the photo above was embroidered many years ago by a relative - it has been lovingly and carefully patched over time - you can see the patches shining through in the sunlight.

I chose to photograph this vase as I knew Kylie would like it - and it was one of my mother's favourites.  I feel her presence with me whenever I walk past and look at it.  My father on the other hand hated it.  I can remember him saying that the colour always reminded him of the sign outside a police station.

I've included this second vase because I thought the colours and design fitted in quite well with the vintage / retro theme - although I think it is a bit older than the period we are celebrating here.  It comes from Gouda in Holland.

I've always loved this set - its quite a well known one called Gossamer by Royal Albert but my mom always called them her Harlequin cups.  They fascinated me when I was a child.  Today I'd never use them but keep them carefully put away in my china cabinet.

The last of my 'treasures' I thought I'd show you is this coffee set.  It was given to my grandmother as a present from my grandfather to celebrate my mother's birth in 1930.

This room is the original part of the house and started out as a forge 300 or so years ago.  (When it comes to retro and vintage I'm REALLY retro!)  I love it because it is full of character, solidly built and has this funny little staircase up the side that leads to what must have originally been a loft but is now a study.    

The only unusual thing about this room is that it is the first one I've inhabited that faces away from the hearth and fireplace.  (I couldn't take a pic of the hearth I liked - they were either too dark and blurry or the flash bounced off the mirror above it.)  Because we can't see the clock on the mantelpiece anymore we stuck the little cheap clock above the brass tray on the wall.

As all my blog friends already know we have only been in this house since March.  I'm still moving everything around to get the right balance.  The paintings in particular have all changed places since we first came here and I took the earlier pic of the room.

The pictures in the photo below are copies I painted many years ago of illustrations by two of my favourite artists.  The one on the left is taken from a Sleeping Beauty illustration by Maraja.  The painting on the right is based on one by Kay Nielsen although I changed it a bit by putting the girl next to the tree in the foreground.  The medieval looking picture in the second photo at the beginning of this post is a tapestry I made in 1980 from a small illustration in a Disney book of Sleeping Beauty.  When I went to buy the tapestry canvas and discovered how cheap blank canvas was at the time I got a bit carried away and bought a really BIG piece.      

Eagle eyed South Africans will have noticed the potjie pot (a three-legged cast iron pot).  Its used to make potjiekos - a type of stew cooked over an open fire.  There is an art to doing it well (my husband is the only expert in our house) and the results are delicious.

When we first moved into the house at the end of winter I posted some photos of the garden here (In the Realm of Faerie).  Now the garden is finally coming to life, the magnolia is in full bloom and the trees are soft and green.

In the earlier post I also included a pic of the river at the bottom of the garden.  Next to the river are the foundations of a long gone building and this big millstone.  My son calls it the Irish Round Table.

We are only supposed to post our link-ups on Saturday but because Kylie is in Australia and it will be Saturday there much earlier than here I've decided to publish mine tonight.  I think that matches the time requirement a little bit better.

Hope you enjoyed your short visit with me!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Bill Woggon - 1960's Family Values

I had two quite tough and tiring days to end the working week so didn't think I would be putting out a post this weekend and then two corresponding things happened to change my mind.  First my dear friend Barbara from the fabulous March House Books Blog gave me the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.  Thanks so much Barbara - if I can manage it I will put together the prerequisite acceptance post although I have to admit I am becoming more and more aware of my limitations!  Then yesterday I noticed that Terence (Agman) from Aviator had dedicated a post to my last offering of the Nadir Quinto Star Maidens. (I had a fabulous response to that post ans would  like to thank everyone for your wonderful comments.)  Terence's words: 'If you've ever wondered? where children go when they dream visit this post'  kind of blew me away - if I had to put into words what I was trying to achieve with these posts, describing them as 'the place where children go when they dream' would be the highest accolade I could aspire to.

This week I'm not featuring a fairytale or particularly colourful post, but for a while I've been wanting to do the second of three offerings on the Bill Woggon Story of the Ballet Coloring Book  (first posted in January). I know a few people besides myself have very fond memories of this book (I hope Georgia comes back to find me again - I'm sorry it has taken me longer than expected to include these extra pages.)  I would have been a contemporary of these two little girls at the time the book was published and as I was a big fan of ballet I identified with them entirely.

Today though what I want to post is not the ballet aspect of the book but the family at the core of the story.  Those of us from the era will recognise the lifestyle it contains immediately and like me, I'm sure, will find it equally delightful.

'Mommy' is the quintessential 1960's home-maker.  She is beautiful and feminine, always immaculately dressed (with high heels and jewellery) and perfectly coiffed.  Mommy prepares tasty meals for her family, the table is artfully set and her home filled with flowers.  In the next post I'm planning from this book you will see she is also able to whip up a sparkling array of ballet costumes for her two girls without breaking a sweat.

'Daddy' is clean cut and handsome.  He is the breadwinner of the family.  Every day Daddy disappears to that strange and mysterious world called 'the office'.  Daddy is the decision maker of the family and everything must be deferred to him (although to my eyes now he looks impossibly young!).

The womenfolk of the family are however not above some clever feminine manipulation to ensure that Daddy makes the correct decision.

The family is rounded off with Fiddle Diddle the dog.  When I bought the book I knew it was used and not in perfect condition but was so happy to have finally found a copy I have no complaints.  Some of the pictures are coloured in and a few pages are missing.  Amongst them are Fiddle Diddle's antics at the ballet class so unfortunately I will not be able to include any of those.

This last picture is the one that produced the biggest reaction from me.  When Daddy gets home he is brought his pipe and slippers to relax after a hard day at work.  Here he is happily smoking away indoors with a daughter on each knee.  As a child I would have found this completely normal and not given it a second thought!

The Story of the Ballet, illustrated by Bill Woggon. Costume design by Cassie Bill. Published by Saalfield 1963/64.

Recently I've been mentioning how much my new extended commute eats into my day, leaving me with little time to pack in everything else I have to try to do outside of working and travelling - and as a result I'm feeling quite tired.  It is a bit of a conundrum though because the commute itself is through beautiful scenery and I often think to myself that many people spend a lot of money to experience just once what I get to see it all its changing moods every day.

It takes about half an hour to get me to the station and on to the train and twenty minutes to walk to my office when I get to town but everything in-between is by train.  I suppose I could spend the time more constructively if I bought a tablet or more portable laptop or even a book to read.  But for the moment I am still enjoying the landscape as it glides past and to be honest I value the downtime.  I suffered a nearly fatal dose of encephalitis when I was a teenager leaving me prone to migraines and my eyes extremely light sensitive.  Working in IT and staring at a monitor all day was probably not the wisest career choice!  So this chance to sit and do nothing is often quite appreciated, especially in the mornings when the train is empty before we reach the commuter belt.  (Coming home I've had to work out a strategy of juggling two different types of trains to have the best option of getting a seat!)

As Shakespeare so eloquently said 'had we both world enough and time'!

Leaving Rathdrum station

I took a few photographs to show my husband and son some of the parts of the trip I enjoy the most and thought I would also share them with my blog friends.

We start off through fairy forests and lovely farmland.

Then after Wicklow Town we hug the coast almost the whole way into town.

Bray Head

Bray Head (Between Bray and Greystones)

I was quite lucky to get the next photo as I don't usually have my camera with me and on this particular day a sailing ship just happened to be there as we went past.  They were moving and we we moving and I wasn't sure if we would get close enough before they disappeared around the corner (and we went into the tunnel) but I just managed to snap this shot.

Killiney Bay

Iarnród Éireann have recently introduced a new fleet of commuter trains that are very smart and it feels more like you are in a plane than a train.  There are glamorous sounding announcements first in Irish and then English throughout the journey.  The older trains are not as smart but they are possibly more comfortable and seem bigger.  

The 'station' at Kilcoole is quite unique - it is just a single platform on the beach!  (There is a car park but no station building.)

Sunrise at Kilcoole


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