Saturday, 19 April 2014

Toast and water....

Latest acquisition for the bastle kitchen...another large,white jug...only this one is more cream darkening to beige because of heat and use over time.


Pretty ordinairy you think....


Simple, plain shape, but when turned it has a cartouche in black under the strainer spout.




I was told that Toast and Water was made as an invalid drink during the 19th century... And yes, it was literally a piece of toast added to a jug of boiling water, allowed to cool, then poured through the strainer spout to catch the bits.
Goodness knows what it's nutritional value was to invalids, but obviously popular enough for the potteries to make jugs advertising the contents.

Missing its lid with a few chips too but what an interesting piece of history.


I wonder if this is where Emma Bridgewater got her inspiration for her Black Toast range which incidentally has a large water jug?

Julie x

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cat call...

Not to be outdone by the arrival of Miss Ottie to Northumberland... Monsieur Oscar from Paris has sent me some poses to show everyone how handsome he still is.


This is the cat that deliberately sits on the neighbour's window annoying the hell out of the dog inside ....and the same cat that sneaks into another neighbour's window with muddy paws and curls up on his white sofa....

Amazingly they still love him.



And who wouldn't?

Partaking of a light supper in the evening..


He is a great companion for my daughter, with a marvellous character and like all cats....has his own life rules.


Which as you can imagine are religiously obeyed by all around him.

Julie x

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Catch the pigeon....


When I go to Grandma's house, she feeds the birds... Cutey little ones who eat seeds from feeders and from a huge fat ball which incidentally I don't like... In fact, I bark at it because it looks like a head swinging on a rope!


Anyhoo...she sometimes throws the crusts from white bread on the lawn and it's not long before those stupid pigeons descend...whoopee... playtime.


I sit patiently in her conservatory and watch....and wait.


Then, the cheeky so and so comes up a bit too close... 



So close in fact,  I am sure I could catch it if this window wasn't in the way.


Of course, by the time I have gone round to the back door the little blighters have taken off ...
 But one day, mark my words  I will get one!

You think I'm a cute little puppy Mr Pigeon,


But check out my new, big girl's teeth that are coming through...caught on camera last night as I snoozed on the sofa.


Grrrrr.....
Love Miss Ottie x

Friday, 14 February 2014

Sure as eggs is eggs...



Old, worn, pottery eggs in a hand blown glass jar....


Random shapes, glazes and sizes...


Used to encourage hens to lay or for dealing with temperamental, broody hens who won't get off the nest I was told. 
The little ones I presume are for bantams.

Known as "boody" or "clucker" eggs here in the North of England.... Are there any other names from different parts of the country I wonder?

No chicks with these pottery eggs, but a little cutie in this half shell.


It hangs over a magnet in the plastic shell and wobbles in and out when held in the hand.


No value but it makes me smile with its funny little face!

Finally, a Victorian treen egg...


The Columbian Egg Needle Case.

It unscrews and the base of the egg pushes up,


To reveal a pop up dispenser with a hole, which when turned to the different number on the side, releases the right size needle.




Ingenious invention and a typical Victorian novelty. 
However, I am not sure if it saw much needlework service... It would drive me nuts filling the seperate compartments and having to push and twist each time I needed a needle.

 Much prefer my French toile, egg shaped pin cushion given to me ages ago by lovely Jo Ross of Hesta Nesta (  no longer blogging.. Boo hoo..but on Facebook now with far too many Pugs by her AGA and a great eye for vintage costume and accessories )


Gateshead Fair tomorrow and Miss Ottie is coming along for the ride... 
Should be fun!
Julie x

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Puppy love....

OK... I am in love.



With my gorgeous girl... Ottie.

Happy to travel to the shops in her cage,


Enjoying a bit of playtime on the newly sealed flagstone floor in the Bastle


14 weeks now and still wriggly, chewy but adorable.

 Sleeping through the night and asking to go out for nature calls. Short walks down country lanes and visits to the village to meet "people" are a daily activity she enjoys. 


However, I just can't get anything done....as I am always watching her.... 

Until of course she crashes out in her bed,




Or.... On the sofa!


It's a hard life being a pup.

And to top it all, I think I am going soft in the head,

50p in a charity shop the other day I bought her dopelganger,



Mmmm...definitely soft!

Julie x

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Special place....

I am sure you all know by now how diverse the rural county of Northumberland is thanks to the recent publicity on the TV from local lad... Robson Green.

For those living here it is indeed a special place.

Quiet roads leading in many directions...Hills and moorland, stunning coastline, impressive local stone castles, bastles, barns and farms all dot the landscape.

The Unesco world heritage site of  Hadrians wall draws thousands of visitors a year....


So how lovely it would be to spend a few days exploring, content in the knowledge you can return to a comfortable bed, good food and most hospitable hosts.

May I introduce Henshaw Barn


This converted 18th century hay barn has been lovingly restored by retired teacher Pauline and chef John and brought right into the 21st century with underfloor heating, quality oak doors, exposed beams and stonework.

Featured in Country Homes and Interiors in October 2012







All contributing to a wonderful place to stay for Bed and Breakfast.

"Bed" is in a choice of two rooms, each with lovely en suite facilities.

The gorgeously romantic, Victorian bed room...with new, comfy mattresses and luxury bedding.







Or the spacious arrow slit bedroom with a super king bed...that can convert into two singles if required.





With views to die for over the rolling countryside through the tiny windows.


And between the two bedrooms there is a a snuggy, guest sitting room..




Perfect for unwinding after a busy day.

"Breakfast" is taken in one end of the beamed family sitting room...prepared by John a professional chef,  who sources his food from local suppliers and makes all his own hedgerow preserves.....and very tasty they are too!

At the moment Pauline and John are welcoming guests over the winter months with their "Winter warmer" special offers available up March.

For a 3 night stay...£35 pppn
Or if you want to stay longer a 4 night stay is £30pppn.
Bed, breakfast and a great welcome from two people who know the area and can advise on the best places to visit in Northumberland.
So much better than an impersonal hotel.

For further information
Henshaw Barn Bed and Breakfast
Henshaw
Hexham
Northumberland
NE47 7EN

Tel : 01434344453 
Email : unwind@henshawbarn.co.uk

You won't be disappointed!

Julie x