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Monday, 14 April 2014

The Tale of the Little Red Hen

A heartwarming parable of triumph over adversity, a happy story with a sad ending ...

Once upon a time, long long ago, the little red hen awoke in her shed, along with several thousand other birds ... it was survival of the fittest and she wasn't really the fittest, but today was her lucky day.  It was mid-afternoon (it was really hard to tell as night and day weren't apparent in the shed, where lights shone brightly day in and day out) and the little red hen was plucked unceremoniously from the nesting box which she had escaped to, for a bit of peace and quiet ...

Thank you Daily Mail

The farmer took her and 2 other inmates (carried by their feet, upside down, in a most undignified manner) through the doors, where a small crowd of people were gathered, waiting anxiously.  The 3 little hens, dazed and traumatised were put into a large dog cage (oh, the shame!) and placed into the back of a car, while money exchanged hands.  Their new life was beginning ...



They were driven over bumpy roads, and from the confines of their new prison, could see rooftops, trees and blue, blue skies.  Eventually they came to a stop and they were carried in the cage into a garden where their new home was awaiting them.


The cage door was opened, and the little red hens stayed huddled in one corner for quite a long while ... then one ventured out, closely followed by the next and eventually Florence (the little red hen who this story is all about) tentatively emerged and surveyed her surroundings.  She had only ever walked on hard concrete, and the feeling of warm, soft earth beneath her feet was a strange sensation.  There was so much space, no jostling, no noise, except the sweet sound of birdsong coming from the trees.

Florence was a very sorry sight ... she was by far the worse of the 3 birds.  She was thin and scrawny, her comb flopped sadly, her behind was red and bald from being pecked by the other chickens in the shed.  The colour red attracts chickens, and it wasn't long before her new housemates, Maudie (Attilla the Hen) and her sidekick, Mabel made poor Florence's life a misery by pecking the red areas and making her bleed, creating a cycle of torment.  Florence was confined to a separate area of the henhouse, and gradually, with good food and fresh air, she flourished and filled out and rejoined her friends, but I'm sure you know the saying, two's company, three's a crowd ... this certainly applied in the case of this little gang.

Florence, at rear, Mabel and then Maudie, Top Hen

The rescuers were richly rewarded every day with beautiful brown eggs, the yolks the colour of sunflowers, and much tastier than those bought in supermarkets! The girls laid so many eggs, they had to be given away ... there was just no stopping them ... Except there was ... about a year after their rescue the egg supply dwindled, and more or less stopped altogether, because, Dear Reader. battery hens are regarded as machines for the first 12 to 18 months of their lives, and this constant production takes its toll.



A brand new henhouse was bought and placed in the sunny back garden, an area familiar to the girls and they moved into their new retirement home, but still liked to visit their old home on a daily basis, just to check it was still there.  One day, during their checking out process, they saw to their horror that 3 shiny sleek young hussies had decided to squat in their old home ... oh the horror was unspeakable! They ran to the kitchen door, banging on it with their beaks to alert the rescuers and tell them of this terrible event ... this went on for some time.



One sad morning, poor Maudie passed away, it was very sudden, she was Top Hen and leader of the little pack ... Mabel mourned her best friend, but Florence (who was secretly relieved) took her under her wing and they became bosom buddies, until Mabel joined Maudie, under Grandad's peony.

The rescuers had to make a decision now, integrate Florence with the 'squatters' or let her live her days out quietly and probably very lonely ...

Florence was having none of it, and flew onto the gate, in no-man's land, beyond which was her old home, and thought to herself  "if you can't beat them, join them" ... and so she did! Well my Dear reader, the change in Florence was remarkable, as the oldest and most venerable of this Hen Party, she became Top Hen and her leadership was legendary.  Always first out of the run in the morning, the others following her lead and instruction.  No-one dared touch food before Florence, they had to await her permission ...


And then there were three ... Florence had outlived her 2 counterparts, and one of the flighty young birds! By now she was about six years old, which is a good age for a rescue bird, considering the hard life she had had before.


Florence went to the big henhouse in the sky on Saturday after a short illness ... I am writing this story looking out of the window at my Dad's peony, which is just beginning to bud, the final resting place of a very fine hen ... she is sadly mourned by Audrey and Marilyn, who are finding it difficult to make a decision of their own and life has lost a little bit of colour as our hen flock of two is now monochrome. I am missing my little redhead who always ran to me in her mad fashion, at the slightest rustle of a bread bag.

Goodbye, sweet Florence ... Leader of Hens!



The moral of this story is that the underdog may one day reign supreme ...

Lots of Love, Claire xxx


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Picture Day

Hello my lovelies, hope you're all having a Wonderful Wednesday? Ever since my working hours reduced quite drastically, I don't seem to have enough hours in the day to get things done! I'm a childminder, and now I'm not as tied to the school run as much as I was, I still get up at the same time and try to get chores out of the way by 9am, then I have the day to do what I like ... if only! I'd just like to take you through my day ... in pictures.


When Steve has gone to work, and Millie to college, I make the beds, run round tidying up ... picking things up and putting them where they belong; collect washing and crockery that has been deposited around the house, and put into the corresponding machines. If I know what we're having for tea I'll prepare this or put something into the slow cooker.



 The time this frees up later in the day is invaluable ... I don't have to worry about getting a meal on the table on time because it's done. If I haven't already done so, I'll have breakfast.  By this time I am getting looked at ...


Walkies around my little island is a treat when the sun is shining but not so great when the wind is roaring and the rain relentlessly pouring from the grey skies ... people seem much more friendlier on a sunny day too!  If it's a nice day, once I get home I'll hang the washing out,


and feed the girls ...


I do love to be at home all day ... I know this isn't for everyone, and I am lucky that I can do this ... but I do work hard, honestly!


 This is how I'd like to spend my day ...


And this is the reality ...




Most of my day is spent cleaning the most filthy, smelly pieces of furniture and giving them a new life.  I know that I can't keep everything ... but sometimes it's very hard to let go! I've just finished this little cupboard ... it was very fiddly and took a long time as it has lots of nooks and crannies ... but I got there in the end ...


I think it will have to go though, I just don't have any spare walls left ...


This is another piece I've just finished ... my favourite part is waxing and distressing, it can surprise me sometimes how this simple process can really make a piece 'sing'.  I love setting up my furniture at fairs and displaying my bits and pieces on them.  I'd secretly love a job as a window dresser or house doctor!


Sometimes I have to put my paintbrush down and pick up a needle and thread instead, I have a commission to finish today for a very lovely lady who is collecting it tomorrow, so can't stay chatting too long ... If I am running out of projects I might just go for a runout to my favourite places, looking for treasures, but otherwise, I'm happy to stay at home pottering ... and if I'm very lucky, a friend will drop in for tea and cake


This is a little lamp I upcycled last week. I'm definitely not adept at sewing, but I've worked out a way of revamping lampshades that doesn't test my abilities too much!


I hear the door opening ... is that the time already?


Hopefully tea will be ready, and afterwards I'll pick up my sewing or do a bit of crochet while watching the telly (wasn't The Great British Sewing Bee fab?) and before I know it, The News is on and I'm back to where we started ... a good night's sleep and I'll be ready to do it all again tomorrow ...


N'night, sweet dreams!

Love Claire xxx







Tuesday, 1 April 2014

April come she will ...

A pinch and a punch, the First of the Month!


I don't really want to be pinching and punching anyone, so I'll just say "White Rabbits" ... Happy April everyone! (How on earth did that happen already?)

I'll be back soon!

Love Claire xxx

Monday, 24 March 2014

Life is good ...

Happy Monday my lovelies! Isn't it great when everything's going well? I don't want to jinx anything here, but I'm in a really happy place at the moment, it could be because the sun is shining, the sky is blue, lalala ... I wish I could capture this feeling, pour it into a bottle, put a stopper in and tie with a dotty ribbon.  To be opened when things aren't looking so rosy ...


Last week Jacob came home for the weekend unexpectedly, but a lovely surprise and took me for lunch on the Sunday, as an early Mother's Day present, as he won't be here then.  He also bought me a beautiful mossy green alpaca throw, as a late birthday present ... I didn't take any pictures this week, so am just going to fill in the gaps with pretty pictures, so you don't get bored!


The Vintage Fair last weekend was a great success ... always a bit of an unknown quantity, a new fair and a new venue ... I sold all 5 pieces of furniture that I took with me, so need to be very busy with my paintbrush from now on, as I have 4 rather 'big' fairs scribbled onto the calendar. Millie 'helped' me at the fair ... kept me company and looked pretty while I lugged furniture around and dealt with the customers.  She is very good at fetching cups of tea and cake though.


My eldest, Oliver, has been very busy lately.  He is a DJ in his spare time and he and his friend have their own recording label and are doing very well. He had a gig at London at the weekend and it went very well so I've heard!


Me and Steve trundled along to Manchester to see Harry on Saturday, and let the train take the strain. Harry met us on the train at Salford and after a delicious Italian meal, he took us shopping ... I got 4 tea towels, and a couple of things for Millie, Harry got 4 carrier bagsful! We then went back to his room in Salford, changed his bed, hoovered his room and brought a big holdall of washing home with us, which he can collect when he comes home in a couple of weeks ... since when did summer break start before Easter? A grand day out though ...



Today, as it's so sunny, I'm going to get my paintbrush out and start to tackle the mountain of furniture currently stacked in Harry's room (sssssh!).



This post is a bit random, and I apologise if you're struggling with it ... the pictures bear no connection whatsoever to the words I'm churning out ...



I sincerely hope that life is treating you and yours well too, and if you are going through a bad patch, that light will be seen at the end of the tunnel very soon. If I don't 'see' any of you before, have a wonderful Mother's Day, whether with your children as a mother, or with your own mothers ... and for those of you who can do no more on Mothering Sunday than place flowers by their lovely Mam's picture, I'll be thinking of you ...


Have a wonderful week,

Love Claire xxx

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

And I know it's gonna be, a lovely day ...

Hasn't the weather been just beautiful. my lovelies? I've got a smile on my face and a spring in my step, the window-cleaner's been and life is good!


I walked down the stairs this morning, and for the first time this year, it just felt like Spring (even though it's not official yet!) ... there was a glimpse of daffodils and the air felt warm ... I just had to record the moment.

March has been very busy so far ... at the very beginning, it was my birthday and I was a very lucky girl, my family and friends know me so well, and I got loads of things that I need and use, but also some lovely things that are just luxurious and lovely to have ...


like two of the new Emma Bridgewater rose and bee mugs  Aren't they just perfect? Pretty, robust and with roses on too ... what more could you want ... a bit of cake maybe?


Well, my Millie came up trumps and made me not just any birthday cake, but my childhood favourite cake! Pineapple Upside Down Cake, served with custard ... just the thing you need after a day of celebrating (hic!) with your sister and lifelong friends.


It was Ruby's birthday yesterday she's now 9 years old (63 apparently!) but still acts like a silly puppy ... here she is wearing her lovely new spotty birthday collar.

The chickens have started tentatively laying again, after having a Gap Year (yes, really!) but think they're going to have to pull their socks up a bit ...


A thimble would have been more appropriate, I think!


They've been enjoying the sunshine too, and digging up the beginnings of summer's blooms ... they may be banished from the back garden!


I've been busy upcycling furniture, and as it was such a lovely day, thought while I had it outside, it was the perfect opportunity to set up a photo shoot.  I've got some fairs coming up, so it's good to let people know what sort of things you'll be turning up with.


I found this adorable tray on my travels a couple of weeks ago ... do you all remember Betsy Clark? I had forgotten all about her, and then yesterday I found a chopping board.  Isn't it strange how you don't see anything for years, and then they all appear at once?


I think that's enough excitement for one day, so I'll love you and leave you ...

Love Claire xxx

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

I've got a little something for ya ... The Results!

I got up this morning, knowing I had something very important to do ... silly me! I put the wrong date on the giveaway, but did say in a week's time and on the Tuesday ... so I dug out my old hat and put the names in ... actually I did neither of those things, I sought out a Random Number Generator on Google, and wait for it ... roll of drums, clash of cymbals ...



Just thought I'd leave you in suspense a little longer, and remind you what the prize is! One of my hand-sewn pictures, personalised to your liking, with whatever, name, phrase or song lyric you choose.

Drum roll again please ...

And the winner is ...



Number 7 ... my very favourite number! (Sorry for the blurriness!)  let's count down the list and that is ...

Gill from Dosie Rosie!

Please email me your address my lovely, and let me know what you'd like, and I'll get on with it for you.

I'm decorating my kitchen at the moment, and attempting some sewing too, so hopefully I'll be back later in the week with the outcome of both ...

Until then, I'll love you and leave you ...

Love Claire xxx


Tuesday, 25 February 2014

I've got a little something for ya ...

Hello my lovelies! As a gesture of thanks to all of you, for being so loyal, kind and ... well, just amazing, I'd like to give away one of my little pictures ... hand stitched with love!


You can choose what it says, and it doesn't have to be for you if you are the winner, you could dedicate it to someone else, the choice is all yours!



All I ask is for you to leave a comment below, and I'll pick the winner out of a hat in a week's time on Tuesday March 5. That way, there will be plenty of time for me to make and post it to you, if you want the picture for your Mum for Mother's Day.


Until then I'll love you and leave you ...

Love Claire xxx