Monday, 16 January 2017

Vintage Books from my Bookshelf - The Creepie-Man's Poke-Sack

the Creepie-Man’s Poke-Sack
The Creepie-Man’s Poke-Sack
When browsing through book dealers catalogues my attention is often drawn to books with odd sounding names. This is one such book.

It's a simple enough story about a gnome called Be-Wee and a strange little person by the name of The Creepie-Man. The two haven’t seen eye to eye since Be-Wee built his home under the Punker tree which is where the Creepie-Man has his shed. 

Be-Wee the Gnome and the Poke-sack
Be-Wee the Gnome and the Poke-sack

Once in a while the door to the shed is left open and Be-Wee watches as the Creepie-Man prepares his meals. At other times, the Creepie-Man simply sits on his creepie-stool with his poke-sack held tight between his knees. Be-Wee would dearly love to know what's in the poke-sack but the Creepie-Man won’t tell him.

 the Creepie-Man sits on his Creepie-stool
 The Creepie-Man sits on his Creepie-stool

Luckily, the Punker-tree can talk, and it is more than happy to tell Be-Wee about the ‘odd bits of weather’ the Creepie-Man hides in his sack.

Be-Wee longs for a nice bit of fair-weather-without-too-much-sun and wonders if he might find some inside the sack.

Just then the smallest twig on the Punker-tree starts singing, and this is what it sings;

"The Creepie-Man is ever so far, and he has left his door a-jar; 
Come and close it if you can: Heigh-ho, the Creepie-Man!"

Be-Wee and the poke-sack
Be-Wee and the poke-sack

This is my chance thinks Be-Wee as he tiptoes to the door of the shed.  Hurrying inside he seizes the poke-sack and running out tips all the odd pieces of weather onto the ground.

Picking up a piece of bright and pleasant looking weather Be-Wee makes a little hole in the ground and buries it. Alas! The smile has hardly crept across his face when there is a noise like breaking glass and hail stones start raining down, and with the hail comes a cold wind.  Next it begins to thunder, and then to snow! There has never been such a terrible storm.

The Creepie-Man is extremely angry with Be-Wee
The Creepie-Man is extremely angry with Be-Wee

In the middle of all the noise and confusion the Creepie-Man returns and realising what Be-Wee has done tells him “there was not one piece of fair-weather-without-too-much-sun in my poke-sack, for if there was I would have used it long ago!”

With that, there is a rumble-rumble-rumble from the Punker-Tree followed by a strange rustling movement as the branches turn into wings, and the tree now a bird flies away.

The Punker-Bird drew his claws out of the ground and flew away
The Punker-Bird drew his claws out of the ground and flew away

Eventually, the Creepie-Man forgives Be-Wee but only on condition that he fetches the topmost leaf from the Tousle-Bush. The Creepie-Man is going to use it to flavour his porridge, but he doesn’t tell Be-Wee that! 

The Creepie- Man sat on his creepie-stool and waited...
The Creepie- Man sat on his creepie-stool and waited...

Be-Wee sets off and the Creepie-Man finding a tiny piece of weather in a corner of the poke-sack buries it along with a pinch of pepper, thereby bringing an end to the terrible storm and the story.

The Creepie-Man's Poke-Sack
Tales of Happy Common ... No. 4
By Agnes Grozier Herbertson
Illustrated by Lilian A Govey
London: Dean & Son, Ltd.

Having read it, I still have no idea how or why the Creepie-Man got his name.  This is book four in the Tales of Happy Common, so I can only assume the answer is in one of the earlier stories.

I’m also confused by the term poke-sack. According to the Oxford dictionary, poke has a variety of definitions with prod being an obvious one. Did you know tea-pokies are tea bags, and stoorsooker pokes are vacuum cleaner bags?  No neither did I but apparently they are in Scotland.  I’ve also seen poke used to describe a purse or wallet so presumable a poke-sack is just a small bag or sack?

If you have read any of the Happy Common Stories, or you know how the Creepie-Man got his name, please leave a comment, and maybe you can also enlighten me about Punker-Trees and Tousle-Bushes.   I found a reference to a Punk tree (Melaleuca quinquenervia) which is a subtropical evergreen, native to Australia, Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia.  But I can't find any reference at all to a Tousle-Bush.  

This little gnome looks as perplexed as I feel right now. 

What are your thoughts on the story? I would love to hear from you. 

If you enjoy my blog, please follow with Bloglovin, thank you. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Sharing Five of my Favourite Blogs from 2016

I love reading blogs and could spend hours telling you about my favourite ones. Realising your time is precious I've limited myself to five of (in my opinion) the best blogs from 2016.  I’ve included links to each and selected a few choice posts for you to enjoy.

Up first is a wonderful blog written by children’s author Marcia Strykowski.

In October, Marcia shared a series of posts about a trip to Monhegan Island. This is part one

Monhegan Island

In April, it was a post about Paper Dolls.

Paper dolls

Choosing my favourite posts from Marcia’s blog was really difficult because I loved them all. But don’t take my word for it just pop on over and take a look here.

Sharon Henning’s blog Gently Mad is always interesting. I like her honest, unbiased book reviews such as: Coming Up for Air a novel by GeorgeOrwell

George Orwell

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”  ― George Orwell

Down by the Sea run by Sarah (with help from a tabby cat called Twinkle, and a West Highland Terrier called Tavi) is a feast for the heart and the eye.  Don’t believe me?  Well go take a look.

Letters of note by blogger Shaun Usher is full of fascinating letters, postcards, telegrams, faxes, and memos.  It would be impossible for me to pick a favourite from the hundreds available, but I found this letter particularly moving. All for a good cause: Written by Private John Shaw of the Royal Fusiliers during World War 1. 

Another blog I love to visit is View from Harmony Hills run by Debbie. If you enjoy beautiful photographs and gentle words, this is the place to be.  

I’ve only scratched the surface of all the good things on offer at these blogs. Please pay them a visit; I know you won’t be disappointed. 

If you have a favourite blog, please let me know, and I will share it in a future post.

* I contacted each blog owner to ask permission to use their photographs.  All except one responded with a resounding yes – if the one who has not replied (you know who you are) objects to my using the photo, please let me know, and I will remove it immediately.  

Monday, 2 January 2017

Diamonds in the Hedgerow

I have a special treat for you today sharing as I am this post from my husband’s blog. Terry took the photographs when we were out walking one morning last week.  It was murky and cold when we left home, but as the sun rose it transformed an ordinary walk into something quite magical. The photographs were taken in and around Henstridge, Somerset, which is where we live. 

I wander in a valley full of mist today,
In cloud so low I feel its breath.

The scattered villages ghostly ride
Upon a sea of fine white silk,
Float silently among the fields.
Through muslin-curtained sky
I glimpse the sun's pale disc; 

He finds no welcome here
And hurries on to warm some other hillside.
Nothing in your web will you catch today, spider! 

It hangs in the hedgerow
A vision of bright diamonds.

Patient cattle in the yard

Breathe soundless clouds.
No flight of bird disturbs the grey-lit sky
Nor song delight the ear.

The muffled stream withholds its playful voice,
Glides softly on its way.
I turn aside
And through the enfolding air I trace again my homeward road.

Valley of mist by Les Derbyshire

Thursday, 29 December 2016

2016 and Beyond

So how was your Christmas?   Ours was quieter than last year but very enjoyable. We spent Christmas day with our two grandsons and Terry’s parents. We laughed a lot, played games, ate too much and had a great time

The following two photos are a little blurry, which might be a good thing considering we are all wearing silly hats!

Terry with his mum and dad

Me with our grandsons Tris (on the left as you look at the photo) and Kip 

During the rest of the holidays we walked, read and caught up on films missed earlier in the year. The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin was the perfect holiday read. Wouldn’t you work in a bookshop in Paris if you had the chance? I certainly would. Days spent surrounded by books while snow falls on the Champs-Élysées – what’s not to like?  

A little more serious reading is in order for the New Year starting with two books received as gifts this Christmas. East West Street weaves together historical, legal and familial narratives to reveal the origins of international law, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg trial. I’m excited to read this recent winner of the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. I think I’m in for a treat.  

I’m also excited to read the complete edition of the Wipers Times, the famed trench newspaper of the First World War. It contains a unique record of life on the wartime frontline, together with an extraordinary mix of black humour, fake entertainment programmes and pastiche articles.

My favourite film of the year, watched just a few days before Christmas is:  Sully. 
On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. 

Before saying goodbye to 2016, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular posts on my blog last year. I also want to take a moment to thank you.  It is your visits, comments and shares that keep this blog alive. I am so very grateful to you all. Thank you!  

Now for the top five: 

Coming in at Number One is the wonderful Finnigan The Circus Cat: A Guest Post by Mary T. Wagner.

Mary shared her post with us in August and in October Finnigan was awarded a first-place finish at the Royal Palm Literary Awards in Florida. Congratulations Mary I can’t think of a more worthy winner.

Mary T Wagner at the Royal Palm Literary Awards

In Second Place is a book which occupies a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf. When found it was in a very dilapidated state but an excellent book restorer sprinkled a little magic book dust, and saved it from the clutches of the evil book pulping machine! This is just one of the beautiful images from Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales - see others here

In Third Place is our visit to the Titanic Museum in Belfast. The museum kindly shared the post on their social media streams, which certainly increased the number of visitors to my blog. 

In Fourth Place: British Eccentricity on Show at: The Chelsea Flower Show.

Diarmuid Gavin creator of the above flower show garden has indicated he will be taking a break from Chelsea in 2017.  Such a shame as I really love his designs as do a lot of people. 

In July, we visited Krakow and Auschwitz, and that post comes fifth and last on the list.  

It’s almost time to wish you a very Happy New Year. I hope 2017 brings you all your heart desires. 

I'm putting a post together about my favourite blogs from around the web and will share it with you soon. In the meantime, I would love to hear about the ones you enjoy so thinking caps on please.  

Saturday, 17 December 2016

More Vintage Christmas Greetings Sent With Love

With Christmas just around the corner I thought I would share a few more vintage Christmas cards with you. I have a particular liking for anything by Rene Cloke (left) or brightly-coloured examples like those that follow.

 Most of the cards I buy cost less than a pound (USD 1.25), but if you want to splash out you should look for hand-painted ones by famous artists, such as Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane.  

This hearty greeting comes to wish you everything that's good, and though I cannot shake your hand today, yet may we meet in kindest thought and wishes for each other. 

A Merry Christmas may you see both joy and fortune call,
a Happy Year, and may it be the happiest one of all.

I send my love and wish that you a jolly time may see,
with girls and boys and games and toys and all in harmony.

I hope these toys will bring you pleasure in many a different way,
and be a glad beginning to a Happy Christmas Day.

Wishing you a bright and cherry Christmas!

'Tis Christmas once again, and greetings I am sending,
May you and yours this Christmastide, a joyous time be spending.

It's Christmas! I'm so excited - and to send you a card I'm delighted, so I'll put on my coat and I'll put on my hat, and I'll run to the pillar box jolly and fat, and post the card, which tells you true what a Happy Christmas I'm wishing for you. 

I will be taking a short break now, but I would like to thank everyone who takes the time to visit and comment on my blog. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year. 

Christmas wishes and love from Barbara, Terry and all the family xxx 

* Previous vintage Christmas card posts here, here, here, here and here.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

A Not to Be Missed Guest Post by the One & Only Willie Wine

Happy Christmas!

Firstly l have to say Thankyou..Grazie..Tack..Gracias..Obrigado..Merci..Danke..To Barbara, for asking me to do a guest post on her lovely Blog!  When Barbara asked me a while ago, l thought ‘goodness’.I've done one other, three years ago in fact!  l’m very much a verbal person, not a writing one, nor a reading one, problem is patience...or lack of it! :(. So, l tend to write as l speak! My grammar's none to good either...! Still...we'll see how l get on!  I'm unable to sit down with a 'good' book! Unless! It's got loads of  pictures..! And, very little writing! :). Like the Ladybird books or the Mr Men books...! :).  Time upon a once.....

And..In growing up, my Father used to say to me.."Trouble with you boy've never grown up". I used to get upset in hearing this,but as l grew older, l took it more as  complement...

So! What to write about...I have a trilogy in my life....’Love Food, Love Cats, Love Pink’. And of course ‘MY’ music....Goes with out saying. Two my music, my emotions! Back in the 60's when everyone was going 'silly' over the Beatles,l took to Motown...And, never looked back!  Soul Music is my Bible! So l was gonna begin by telling you how l started out in life, l was  found, in a box, left on a doorstep...But, as the door opened 'outwards'... l was actually found....'In the road'.....!!! :). HeHe! No! No! But in the end...I thought l might just ramble on about Christmas.....After all, it started way back in October. And, will soon be upon us......

”Silent Night..Holy Night....All is calm..all is bright”.

“No! Not now Willie.....Later”...!!! :).

My memory takes me back to the age of five...We lived in a two  up, two down house..with an outside toilet..HeHe! And yes, it was at the bottom of the garden! God! All that 'news paper' work! :). And at that time there were quite a few Italians living here, in our town, and, we were friends with one Italian family in particular.  In fact, the lady/Mum of that family is still with us today, aged 98, and, l still pop round to see her and have coffee. Lovely lady! All we seem to talk about is The Mafia...... Italian politics.... and all the same thing really!  Capiche!!! :).   

So, then it was traditional that we all went to midnight Mass, on Christmas Eve, as good Catholics. Then after Mass we would go home, and Dad would dress up as Father Christmas, and, give out the prezzies....I used to think back then, how silly Father Christmas was..With ALL the windows and doors...Why does he come down the chimney??? I used to get a Christmas stocking to...Every year...Colouring book,a toy, and an orange! As l got older, l used to think, ‘when am l gonna get a stocking, with a leg in it’. :). But, that’s another story! :). 

So, then l moved on, school..(hated it)..then sixteen l stepped  into the BIG wide world....for the next 10 yrs l was in the entertainment business so Christmas was then spent somewhere on stage...’Do’in ma thang’....'Gett'in on down'  So, the festive season, was quite lengthy.  I worked for the Americans back then, and they sure knew how to party! And pay well...Oh! Yes! :). 

"The road to success is always under construction". 

In 1973...I got married...Pause! Paws! Pause! HeHe!  =(^..^)=  "And, the lord said unto Moses...Come Forth, Come Forth...and he came  Fifth, and lost his beer money". :0).  And! Even back then, at school, we had Sex Education...Oh! Yes! Well! When l say Sex Education...We were just told to remember two things....."Some do..some don't" and "Hello Sailor"....???   

In 1976 my daughter was born...Christmas was great. I just went back to my childhood, and, played with her presents. Well! All except the dolls!  “Com’on Willie..You never stopped playing with Girls World”. “Well, just that one then”. :).  And, just like any family, it’s great watching kids grow up, and enjoying themselves, especially at Christmas.  Our home was always full of kids..l love kids..l used to be one! :).  From 1980, it was just the two of us, we spent Christmas with various families and friends, and, of course new year! Especially New Years Eve...ALL that fancy dress, we used to do very well in prizes...Me! dressed as a fairy...Wings and a Wand and all...I was the bestest fairy...EVER! :).  HeHe! I love dressing up...They can't touch you for it...!!!  

"Every street's a catwalk"...

" you remember when those bikers chased you across the Market Place..when you were dressed as a fairy". "Yes! Yes! Let's forget about that".  But those New Years, used to come and go..very quickly!  Eat! Drink! And be Mary..!!!

Family was and is very important....Though, l do remember an argument about my English Grandma...half the family wanted her buried, and half the family wanted her cremated...Goodness! In the end.....We let her live!  She was a 'BIG' crossword when she did die, we buried her... 6 Down, 2 Across...!!! HeHe! Bless!  So, remember....Always go to other peoples funerals..otherwise, they won't go to yours...!!! :0).  

So my daughter is settled now, no children, but they have two Staffy's, and two cats. I really look forward to going up there, to the Midlands..! l go on the coach...Wells Fargo...! New places to pose in, and new people to be rude to! Great Fun! :). Love my visits to Cheshire Oaks, and Ikea in Nottingham, l really look forward to....I~LOVE~TO~SHOP. And, the only person l enjoy shopping with is my daughter!  (If she can keep up).....Otherwise, l always shop alone! Strange! How shops 'always' remember me on my second visit!  Oh! and, l get to sleep with Zeeva...She is lovely...In the wee hours  of the morn’in I usually wake up and there she is under the duvet, licking my ankles...(no sense of direction)...! :).  Oh! Sorry! Forgot to say...Zeeva is one of my daughters Staffy’s. Did'nt want you to think l was some 'silly' Sicilian...! :). And, pussy~cat Az...Loves to settle on my chest, inches from my face...And dribble! HeHe!   I~Love~Pussy~Cats!   =(^..^)=

"Dogs have owners..Cats have staff". 

As you can tell, it’s ALL rather nice really, with cats and dogs, all over the bed....and a pussy on yer chest....!!!   Rather like the old days!  “Willie”....."Sorry". :0). 

Finally.......Did l hear someone say..’Thank God for that’.... I hope you ALL have a great time this Christmas with family and friends... And, enjoy the high~lite of Christmas...The Christmas Cracker Jokes...You know the ones....

“Who hides in a bakery at Christmas”?
“A mince spy”.

"What is Santa’s favourite Pizza”?
“Deep~pan crisp and even”.

“What do Elves learn at school”?
“The Elf~abet”.

"What's the most popular Christmas wine"?
"I don't like Brussels sprouts".

"What do vampires sing on New Years Eve"?
"Auld Fang Syne". 

(To think l used to get paid for writing such rubbish).  :). 

So...Finally....And, as l'm very much a 'sayings' person....
"May you all have love to share...wealth to spare...and, friends that care".

“It’s nice to be important...But it’s important to be nice”.
"Add  life to your days, not days to your life".         

Did you know....
"It takes 43 muscles to frown...and only 17 to smile". So don't just sit  there......SMILE! :).                     
"We don't stop laughing because we grow old....We grow old because we stop laughing". 

Tanti Cari e affettuosi di Buon Natale,

e Felice Ann Nuovo.......

Willie...x    =(^..^)=

Oh!  There is 'one' book I've read this year....three times in fact....
Not to be missed! Loved it! :). 

(Give it a Google).  =(^..^)=

Pee~Po Christmas.....!  :). 

Many of you ‘know’ Willie from the comments he leaves on this and many other blogs.  If you’ve not had the pleasure of meeting him or would like to know more, please click here 

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