Sitting Room again

Other oddments that I have not yet mentioned

Winnie the Witch as she hangs in the near alcove.
My lovely new electric fire that Georgie, Will and Kate paid for in place of the grotty old gas fire which had been in place ever since I came here in 1987

Sorry folks ~ too knackered to write more tonight ~ with any luck I'll get back into my stride tomorrow. 

Right ~ here we are on Friday morning and such a beautiful day.  Before I finish in the sitting room and take you up stairs, there are a couple of things I'd like to tell you about.  

1)  My Lovely New Fire ~ when I moved here all those years ago I had a nice little gas fire installed which looked quite comfortable in the Georgian setting, but now, with gas prices soaring and the fact that it had to be serviced every year, it was proving quite expensive.  Fred Howarth, our wonderful gas engineer had told me when he serviced the fire this time last year that at 25 years old it really was on its last legs.  And more than that, as he was about to retire, he doubted whether because of its age any other Gas Man would take it on.   Oh Lordy ~ that would mean a considerable expense !   The fire was still safe to use, Fred told me, but in November when our Winter Fuel Allowance came through I decided I could put that towards a new fire.   Fred came round with catalogues to discuss the possibilities and advise me, and I decided to go for an electric fire instead of gas, as not only would this be cheaper on fuel but it would not need servicing.   And so Fred ordered it, sealed off the gas supply for me, took away the old fire, cleaned out the hearth and installed this super-duper fire you can see in the photo ~ £250 all told.  A week or so later it was my birthday.  Georgie came over from Driffield for the day and took me along to the Shepherd's Purse in Sanders Yard (yes, MY Sanders !!) for lunch.   They'd all sent me cards and prezzies, of course, but when everything had been unwrapped Georgie produced another envelope : "This is from all of us, Ma !"   And what do you think they'd done, bless 'em !   They'd clubbed together to give me £250 ~ the price of the new fire !   What darlings !   So all this grim winter I've enjoyed its cheerful flame-effect whether or not I've had the actual HEAT on !   I feel truly blessed and the fire fits so perfectly into its Georgian setting !!

2)   The Witch on her broomstick ~ because I dabble in so many of life's mysteries the family tend to look on me as a witch !   A WHITE witch I hasten to add.  I mean, there's the colour analysis, and tarot readings and pendulum activity ~ never mind all the extraordinary things that have come my way over the years ~ among them regression to earlier lives under hypnosis, an intimate encounter with a UFO, and the recent visitation by the auburn-haired ghost that I already told you about.

So a few years back Georgie (who is wonderfully creative) made me this jolly witch ~ riding on a broomstick, she hangs in the alcove behind the telly.   With patched knickers (a metaphor for my poverty at the time), a pendulum in her hand, smart red boots, knee-length bloomers, a grey shawl over her red frock and a pointed witch's hat ~ a brilliant portrait of mother, they tell me.   This weekend, Agi was going round the house taking photos of all sorts of things to go on my blog, including the witch ~ and here's the funny thing : on her black hat Georgie had embroidered a cobweb to add to the spookiness.   But now ~ NOW ~ Agi points out the witch is covered in cobwebs !!  On her hat and in her hair, on her shawl ~ everywhere !   I suppose I should feel ashamed at such evidence of poor housekeeping ~ but who cares ~ Winnie really does look like a witch now.   Draped in authentic cobwebs !   I could blame it on my age, or on my macular degeneration ~ and it would mean moving the TV to get at her ~ in some ways it's a relief not to notice dust and cobwebs, though maybe I'm becoming an aged slut !!

Most of the cobwebs are real !!!

Gowan's corn

Gowan's corn with Quimper pots alonside

3) Gowan's Corn ~ My friend Gowan is a farmer.   He and Robert are always so helpful and friendly, reading the metres for me, carrying stuff that's too heavy for me, and when there is snow or ice on the yard one of them brings the Guardian up for me each morning ~ "Don't you dare venture out in this !" ~ my lovely paper boys !

One August three or four years back I sent him an email : I have fished it out again.

August 18th 2011 ~ Gowan ~ in the days when I could still get out for country walks, I once picked an armful of ripe corn from the edge of a Hampshire field and, when it was  thoroughly dry, it stood in a pottery jug on the kitchen table for years reminding me of granaries, staddle stones and the Great Outdoors.  I am too old and decrepit now to go skulking round the countryside.  If only I knew someone, perhaps a kind farmer, who would bring me a bunch of golden corn to gladden my fading housebound eyes ~ but I need to appeal to him now before all is safely gathered in ~ just a thought, no harm in hinting ~ I would gladly swap a bunch of corn, oats or barley for a tarot reading !!

7.30 next morning when I went down the yard to collect the paper from Andersons Shop, there was Gowan beside his pick-up truck with a great armful of ripe corn !   "I gathered it from the hedgerow as I went to get the truck."    Thank you, you wonderful man !   And oh what beautiful corn !

The weather was dry and sunny just then and laying it out along the bench, I'd soon got it bone dry.  Half of it went into a big glass pitcher and still stands on the bureau, and there was enough left for another jugful in the kitchen !   Quite glorious !   When Ellen came, she said I needed a few poppies among the corn and she'd look out for some artificial ones.  In fact, she couldn't find any RED ones and brought me a bunch of YELLOW ones  instead.  Although not strictly corn poppies, and I did have initial doubts, the result is super, as you can see from the picture ~ and they are still good as new all this time later.  Wow !!  Thank you Farmer Gowan ! 

[I'd never come across the name Gowan before, but he tells me it's a long established name locally, and presumably derives from Gawain, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight etc.   Come to think of it, though officially George, our Father was always known as Gavin which must have the same root !

Praise the Lord ~ I seem to be coming back to life tonight.   I leave you with one of Di's photos of Gowan's corn on the bureau !   Tomorrow I hope to tell you about the pottery you see alongside it ~ half-a-dozen pieces of this much-loved Quimper pottery which I have managed to collect over the years.  Breton peasant designs, truly vernacular country-style French pottery ~ but that's for tomorrow !  And so Good Night !     Joy Peach


Another view of the pitcher of corn and poppies with Quimper pots alongside it.

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Susan Pickering | Reply 26.02.2014 00.59

It's midnight. Your blogs are so addictive. I've been reading them for two hours!

Barbara Plum | Reply 09.02.2014 18.24

Oh Joy!! I've only recently heard of your blog and have now spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon reading, just 140 blogs left! Can't wait to get reading more. X

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14.03 | 05:51

Hi Joy, came across your blog while researching the Sanders, thanks for the interesting read about them and your lovely house.

27.10 | 11:43

Michael ~ happily ~ and good luck ~ I'd like to know the outcome ~ joy peach

26.10 | 14:33

I am in the same position. Amazingly, your case R(IS)1/93 - CIS/270/1991 is being used against me. Clearly, it got more complicated. Can I quote your blog? Mike

28.05 | 15:41

Hello Joy. We have a new Merrywood Grammar group on Facebook if you would like to take a look -

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