Tuesday 27 April 2010

All Aboard!

During the Easter Holidays we went up to London to visit the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. We had visited before but only for a cuppa and a mooch around the gift shop. We had always intended to spend more time there and this time there was the added incentive of visiting the exhibition on Suburbia, which I had been meaning to visit for a long time.

I must say that I am not into cars and transport in general.

I grew up on the outskirts of London in a suburb and getting a bus or tube into and around London was something I took very much for granted.

I didn't even notice the art deco tube stations that I travelled to and from each time. This trip to the museum awoke so many memories for me...

Seeing the old tubes and sitting in the old compartments (not as old as this one)

reminded me of trips to London with my parents to see the lights at Christmas time at Regent Street, to visits to the theatre and to Hamleys to choose a doll or toy on a special occasion.

The greens and reds of the upholstery and the wooden trims serve as many a backdrop to my memories...

When I was older, I had a Saturday job in town. The tube journeys seemed to last forever, taking up a sizeable chunk of my weekend. By the time I went back into town on a Saturday night I would have already done four trains journeys back and forth... (but it was worth it as I clutched my earnings and headed off for some fun).

After leaving University I worked and lived in London and the daily rush hour did little to improve my view of public transport. Nowadays, living down on the coast and away from the rush of the city, I love travelling by train. I savour them, even tube journeys, as they are now not the norm for me.

Walking round the exhibition I fell in love, as I knew I would, with all the beautiful posters designed during the Underground's heyday. With the advent of the Metropolitan line London as we now know it started to form. It sprawled out from the centre following the lines of the tube... Suburbs were formed, people were encouraged to come into the city centre for work, for leisure, entertainment and shopping.

The power of advertising was taken seriously, artists were employed to design posters and leaflets and people were encouraged to hop on a train and explore...

It all looks so inviting doesn't it...

Days out in the Spring

Shopping Trips

Trips to London Parks

A world away from the hurly burly that we now associate with the big city.

By the buses I stopped and stared, I remember travelling on buses like the one in the middle. The bus conductor and his ticket machine handing out rolls of purple printed tickets that would smudge in your hand. I always held on to mine tight as I sat next to my mother going up and down Oxford Street, always worrying that an Inspector would get on and i would have dropped my ticket...

A few months ago whilst reading an old copy of The Provincial Lady in War Time, I found a bus ticket tucked between its pages. A child's ticket from during the war, was it used as a bookmark? Had the mother put it there for safe keeping? I hope the child hadn't sat there worrying that her ticket had been lost...

We spent the rest of our day at the National Portrait Gallery, vintage prom dress shopping and ending our day by letting Little Sister choose one thing she wanted to do before going home. She chose to visit a shop in Oxford Street and as we sat on the bus heading for our destination I looked at her face and recognised that expression...

Thursday 22 April 2010

Lazing on a sunny afternoon...

It seems llke I'm not the only one enjoying this sunny weather...

Ssssh, don't encourage her ...

Monday 19 April 2010

What our weekends have been waiting for...

A chance to sit and stare and think and smile

An impromptu picnic on the beach with all us Roses together
The warmth of the Spring sunshine shaking off any winter blues

A solitary boat sailing across the sea

Silent skies and dancing sunrays

The first toe dip of the year into the cool, cool water

A need to savour the last few days of the holidays

Romantic outdoor suppers "A deux"

Sunday morning breakfasts in the garden


Having enough time to notice the smiling celandines

Sunday papers on the garden bench

It has been a weekend worth waiting for...

Tuesday 13 April 2010

Getting into hot water...

I took Miss Blossom out into the garden for this morning for an airing. Poor old thing, stuck in the corner of the room all winter long, she needed some air and a new apron too. She remained taciturn but I could tell the fresh air did her good. I left her in the garden opposite the line of washing soaking up the morning sun.

I wonder just how many frocks she's worn in her lifetime? It's rather a shame that after all these years of modelling fancy frocks she ends up next to the ivy wearing a ration book apron! I think she looks rather fetching - fit for a purpose, utility wear at its best. I'm hoping she might help around the house with the multitude of spring cleaning jobs that seemed to have reared their head since the sun decided to shine on this little house...

A week before Easter our boiler broke. We had no hot water and four disgruntled Roses. Our neighbours offered us the use of their shower and so we trundled up and down the road, washbags in hand, and returned home feeling fresher with dripping hair and shiny faces. Our water "rationing" took its toll by the end of the week, it wasn't so much the lack of hot water for bathing, I could manage a quick wash and feel clean, it was the hair washing that got us girls down.

Our plumber told us it would be fun, just like "all those years ago when we washed our hair at the kitchen sink". Well we tried, we really did ...

Even when Little Sister, head bent down into the kitchen sink, peering into the plughole shouted "Yuk I can see pasta down here" we carried on. I had to admit defeat when it came to my turn and I had to shout for Mr Roses to come and lend a hand - I just couldn't manage the boiling of the kettle whilst my head was shoved in the sink, the pouring of the said boiling water into a jug of lukewarm water and then aiming successfully at my head.

So Mr Roses aided and abetted and in a few moments transported me back to when i was a little girl - to hair washing nights with my mum. To days when our very temperamental boiler had to be primed hours in advance to guarantee any kind of hot water emerging from the taps. To days when my mother would insist cutting my hair shorter and shorter in the belief that it would make my hair thicker (it didn't), to days when she would try lemon and vinegar as a rinse on my hair as a friend had told her it would make it shine... to days when the smell of vosene would fill the bathroom. But best of all to days when she would wrap my hair up in a warm soft towel, give it a good rub and me a huge hug...
A week later the plumber came back like a returning hero with the spare part that would magically transform our cold taps to hot. I wonder if there was a water surge in the city that night, never have any of us (except perhaps for that first night back after our first camping trip), spent so long in the shower.
The very next day the sun began to shine and the dust and hidden yuckiness that had accumulated in the corners of our home over this very long winter began to surface. So, slowly, rugs have been washed and aired, cupboards are being sorted and buckets of hot water are being used...

Elsewhere, in our Emporium we have been having a bit of a Spring Clean too. We have opened up our Cellar to store some bargain items and filled the shelves with lots of new goodies.

If you're on a cleaning mission, you'll find in our Scullery a vintage gem of a book packed full of vintage laundry "how to's".

Our Dovecote is crammed with Spring loveliness, tins, books, linens and toys and right on the top shelf is this little embroidered picture of a the most darling house, which may or may not have running hot water (I suspect not) but where the sun seems to be constantly shining!

Have a good week.

Wednesday 7 April 2010

A certain enchantment...

On Easter Monday, April showed signs of being truly enchanted.
Its sunshine and early blooms took us out for a walk around the garden.

I wish I could say that the view from the back of the garden looking up to the house was ours

That the view from my study was this

That beyond our pond, if we had one, this is what I could see

That hidden amongst the wilder patches beyond our walled garden were snakeshead fritillairies

That clumps of daffodils grew beneath the trees that framed our views of the Downs

That in amongst the foliage

Entwined in the trees

Were magnificent statues.

And in our painter's garden hellebores in various shades of dusty pink sat blooming in the Easter sun

That this beautiful circle of flowering euphorbia was mine

That all the joys and hints of spring and summer found in these photos belonged to me

That this house was my home

That this beautiful pink door belonged to me and that I could open it wide and welcome you all in to show you the myriad of treasures inside...
Of course I can't lay claim to any of the above, but you can go and visit Charleston Farmhouse yourself and let it weave some of its magic on you... it's my favourite daydream.