Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Malmesbury Abbey

I have been promising pictures of Malmesbury for a wee while now but I had no idea where my camera was so I pestered Chris last night to download his photographs...and here they are....well, some of them anyway......I thought I would start with Malmesbury Abbey since it kinda dominates the landscape.




There is a rather lovely story about this Abbey concerning Eilmer the flying Monk (I just love the idea of a flying Monk!!). He was born in 980AD and is best remembered for making a flight from the tower of Malmesbury Abbey in 1010 when he was a young monk there. Apparently he fastened wings to his arms and his feet and then launched himself from the top of the tower. According to the story he managed to cover a distance of around 200 metres (which is pretty darn good really!!) before the Abbot told him to stop being so silly whereupon he panicked and came crashing down breaking both legs. The limping Eilmer became a distinguished scholar and was a familiar sight around Malmesbury.


Another wee bit of history for you....The Abbey used to have a large tower and spire which collapsed in a storm around 1500 and a west tower which fell around 1550....as a result of these two collapses there is less than half of the original building standing today. (But it still looks fab.....as you can see!!)

The Abbey Gardens (which we've not visited yet because they are closed to the public at the moment) are home to the famous Naked Gardeners (I kid you not!!). You can visit any day (when it's open obviously!!) but you need to be aware that they have special 'Clothes Optional' Day's (Ha, you'd certainly see more than you bargained for if you went on one of them!!). Apparently there is no pressure to dress or undress (Thank god for that!!) but they give those who wish to do so the opportunity to look round the gardens without their clothes on. Purchasing a ticket on these days enters you into an agreement to respect everyone else's freedom of choice without comment!! I want to see the Gardens but I think I might pass on the whole naked thing....although it would be rather funny to take guests there without telling them just to see the look on their faces!!! (Does that make me a bad person??). Aaarrrggg.....I now have nasty images in my head.....people bending over to smell flowers....

Aherm, moving swiftly on.....There are a set of stairs that lead from the gardens up to the actual Abbey which have commemorative placques detailing the history of the place....I find that kind of thing fasinating (as those of you that read Only In Thailand will know). They start at 500 BC it says 'An Iron Age community occuptied the Hillfort here' and go right up to the Millenium.



The really nice thing about the Abbey is that it's still used today and not just for worship. Last week they opened their door and turned it into a skate park for the local kids...put down a false floor and everything :-)

Monday, 23 February 2009

Bargains and Blog Awards

I am so excited....I am currently waiting, with bated breath, for the door to go!! I'll explain.....

We've not bought any big pieces of furniture yet but we've been looking around and getting prices....bloody hell (sorry Gran) but dining tables are expensive!!! The starting price for a proper wooden table, not one of your wood veneer jobbies, is about £600 and that's just for the table!!! I had given up hope.....until....On Saturday we went into Swindon to get a few bits and pieces for the house....you know....curtains, cushions....that kind of thing (Chris was thrilled!!) and we decided to pop into a charity shop to see what they had. There is a brilliant Sue Ryder shop in The Brunel centre that sometimes has some really great second hand furniture (we've already bought a fab writing bureaux from there) so we decided that we would pop in for a nosey. OMG I am so glad we did!!! They had the most amazing Victorian solid oak dining table with matching chairs and cabinet.....the table is in need of some tlc (I'm planning to sand it down and then try my hand at French Polishing) and the chairs desperately need re-covered but for under £300 for the lot we thought it was a bargain AND the money goes to support a local hospice...even better!!! They are delivering it today....hence the reason that I'm waiting with bated breath for the door to go....tonight we will actually eat our dinner sitting at our dining room table...I can't wait!!! (I'll post some pictures of it once it arrives)

So, I thought I would pop online and catch up with what everyone else has been up to over the weekend and was thrilled to discover two awards waiting for me. One for making it through a preamble from the very funny and talented 'The Accidental Fan' (it wasn't difficult to make it through so I don't really feel I've earned it but I'm thrilled none the less) and the other was this 'Best Blog Thinker' award from the lovely, clever and talented French Fancy. In the words of the person who created it

"This award acknowledges the values that every Blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values with each message they write. Awards like this have been created with the intention of promoting community among Bloggers. It’s a way to show appreciation and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.”

I now have to select five blogs to pass this on to but I just can't choose.......so, I'm going to be a rebel and pass it on to everyone on my blog list....I think your all fab!!!

Friday, 20 February 2009

What's for dinner Dad?

Is it just me that struggles with what on earth I'm going to cook for dinner? I was flicking through my recipe books this morning trying to find something that might tempt my taste buds when my Dad got in touch for a blether (Good Scottish word for a chat just in case you didn't know). We were chatting away about how he's getting on with his latest book when he remembered that he had a link to send to me. Now, I am really lucky that both my parents have a passion for cooking which, although it took a while, has rubbed off on me so it was with utter delight that I received the link he sent. I now know what I'm going to make for dinner tonight.....and if your struggling for inspiration then here is my Dad showing you how to make his Five-Spice Spare Ribs followed by Korean Barbecued Chicken. Let me know if you make it :-)

Thursday, 19 February 2009

A room with a view


Isn't this beautiful - dawn over the church spire. This is the view from our living room window :-)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

What a weekend!!

Awww, we had a lovely valentines weekend. We've still not got all our money sorted out so instead of spending a fortune Chris and I decided to spend some time together. He took Friday off work and we took a trip to the beautiful Cotswold market town of Cirencester. It's a stunning place with lots of wee quirky shops and small twisty streets and we were lucky...there was a Farmers Market and an Antique Fair on that day so we spent a lovely afternoon meandering around the town. We bought some stunning lamb at a local butchers and picked up some locally made goats cheese and fresh vegetables at the market for dinner. On the way home we decided to do a small detour and we visited our neighbouring town of Tetbury which is another lovely wee place jam packed full of antique shops...honestly, I have never seen so many antique shops in one place in my life!! (Dot, you would be in heaven!!). When we got home Chris cooked me a gorgeous dinner....we had spicy moroccan lamb followed by cheese and port and it was absolutely divine!! But, my surprises were not over yet....

Saturday morning Chris woke me early....I'm not the best first thing in the morning and was a bit grumbly till he told me that for Valentines Day he was taking me to see the splats!! (It's a five hour round trip so is not the easiest journey to make). He couldn't have got me anything better.... I don't think I really need to tell you how excited I was!!! Awwww, it was so nice to see them....Gai just didn't know what to do with himself he was so excited to see me (Chris had gone to get some cat treats).....he was purring like a maniac and actually attempted to climb up my front so that he could snuggle into my neck!! Lugs looked at me suspiciously for about two seconds till he realised who it was and then he came out purring and wanting to play (Chris has now got puncture wounds in his leg from lugs climbing up it to chase his fingers). It was brilliant to see them AND we got to meet one of the centre's volunteers, Anita, who has offered to visit Gai and Lugs twice a week whilst they are there. (We jumped at the chance....they have both been hand reared so I know they will be missing the human company).

Then on Sunday we decided to go for a run in the car (Please don't make any comments about Sunday drivers!!). I don't know who named the villages in this area but Chris and I ended up giggling about it.....we drove through Dunkirk, Pensilvania, The Shoe (I thought that was a fab place to live till I realised that there wasn't a pub in the village) and my personal favourite Petty France!! (Do you think they meant Petit France and got a bit confused??). Then on Sunday evening we joined the Malmesbury Film Club and went along to the screening of La Demoiselle d'honneur or The Bridesmaid as it's also known!! The club meet every month in St Mary's Hall (which is about a five minute walk from where we live) and is actually run by one of our neighbours so it was nice to meet her properly. They take turns between foreign language films and english language films - the next one is Son of Rambow which is about two boys who get together to try and make a film but both belong to a religious sect in which music and TV are forbidden so it all gets a bit complicated...it sounds interesting!!!

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

We're back!!!

Phew, that was pretty awful....felt a bit like I had my right arm cut off...but I am very happy to announce that we now have internet access in our new pad!!! Thank god for that!!!

So, what have we been up to.....well, we've moved in!! The house looked lovely for about a day and then.....da da daaaaaaa (come on....use your imagination for the creepy noise) our stuff arrived!!! 'What's so bad about that?' I hear you ask...well, we had over 100 boxes of stuff arrive and not one cupboard or shelf to put anything into or on top of (except in the kitchen of course). The house currently looks like a small bomb has gone off (It had looked like a very large bomb had gone off so it's an improvement) but we have decided to be sensible and not rush into buying furniture till all our money is sorted. Hehehe, we are currently sleeping on a matress on the floor in the bedroom and sitting on garden furniture in the living room.....it's all fun and games :-).

and then it snowed

OMG!!!! The entire village (I've really got to stop calling it that because it's a town but in comparison to Bangkok.....) was under about five inches of white crispy snow which looked lovely from our dining room when we were sitting in front of our roaring log fire (Chris has been wondering around saying 'Man make fire' whilst waving a poker about) but was not quite so lovely when out and about. Seriously, I don't think the temperature went above 1 degree last week....I was a wimp before we went to Bangkok....can you imagine how bad I am now!!! Think Nanook of the North...and that's when we're indoors!!!

Chris is liking the new job, we both adore Malmesbury and our house is fab (and will look fab eventually!!). I think we've made a good move!!

(We have taken loads of photo's but I have no idea where my camera is at the moment....once I've found it I'll post some pics for you)