Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Be careful what you type into Google

It’s amazing what brings people to a blog. The more people who come here and gaze through my window the better, but only virtual gazing. I couldn’t cope with hundreds of people from all over the world in my bedroom.

The reason for this post is I am currently getting a lot of people arriving here after putting ‘union flag bunting’ into Google. I hope they stay a while and get a feel for what’s happening in England’s rural underbelly when it comes to the Queen’s special celebrations this weekend.
One poor person from Lydney, Gloucestershire, found me by typing in ‘jubilee flags too big on my window next door a real nightmare’. I feel for you, I really do. You should see The Enchanted Village. We have union flags, Bristol City pennants, go-faster chequered bunting for the pram race, the official Diamond Jubilee logo and international symbols flapping all along our western entrance.

Any minute now, the bronze nymph statue in the garden is about to be unveiled, wearing a red, white and blue bikini from Primark.

For some die-hard republicans, it’s all too much. But for others, it signals a great excuse to have a party.

So, while you’re here, please sign up to be a follower of The World from My Window. Mr Grigg has promised me an East to West ride across America if I reach 1,000 followers. Hey, and if you’re that 1,000th follower and you happen to live on that route, I might just call in to see you.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Dancing in the street

In the hot, early summer sun, the union flags and multi-coloured bunting welcome visitors to our enchanted village.

The nymph is still in heavy grey coat, waiting to emerge from her winter chrysalis in a riot of red, white and blue in time for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Up on the allotments, Mr Grigg, Mr Sheepwash and Mr Loggins, armed with Nobby Odd-Job's chainsaw, are cutting an old telegraph pole down to size ready for the jubilee beacon.

Mrs Bancroft is roaring off somewhere or another in her frog-eye Sprite and my pride-and-joy Beetle is outside the house gearing up for those lazy, hazy days of summer.
Bubbles, from next door, sneaks a sprig of my rosemary for a barbecue later this afternoon.

Next door, Mr Champage-Charlie is mowing the grass again, getting the level perfectly right for a nice game of croquet. The fragrant Mrs Putter and her husband, Putt, amble down the road for a chilled glass of rose.

The union flag flaps above the pub door as thirsty travellers sup ice-cold cider. Across the road, the shop is shaping up nicely, with a newly-painted interior and exterior. The latest rumour is that it is being bought by the Co-op and that Tesco is moving into the town just over the hill. Rumours. What life is made of.

All over Lush Places, people are putting together paper mache heads, chicken wire arms and legs ready for a Right Royal Household scarecrow competition.

Wheels are rolling down the street, escapees from the forthcoming pram race as folk put their modes of transport together.

And I whittle down my playlist choices for the disco I shall be running next week, when we'll be dancing in the street.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

The Enchanted Village hots up as the Olympic flame comes nearer

And the big farm machinery rumbles through The Enchanted Village, big fat trailer tyres squishing over the kerbs as they march on to make more silage.

The fields are white and fuzzy where pussy willow down has wafted across and trapped itself in a carpet of green grass.

Dandelion clocks have been sliced through by council contractors cutting the verges and the air is full of wispy seeds drifting to who knows where.For the first time in months, we have had very hot sunshine and it has taken us all by surprise.

It arrived not long after the Olympic Torch, which is making its way around the country. If you are at all interested, you can see it here, courtesy of the BBC. I am disappointed the torch is put into a vehicle on the quieter stretches of its long route. It feels to me like cheating, especially as Mr Grigg was not chosen as a torch bearer.

It's like doing a marathon and taking time out for lunch.

However, I digress. In the warmth about to hit us (as I write this, The Enchanted Village is still in its usual Brigadoon mist), it feels like the place is coming back to life.

The bluebells are out in force on the hill, the songbirds are belting out power ballads and children are on the village green later and later each day.

My glorious wallflowers fill me with the scent of nostalgia for my rural childhood as I prepare to plant nicotianas in their place to fill the evenings with their heady aroma.

Our Ding Dong Daddy is on a triumphant tour with The Imagined Village (oh, you should have been there on opening night in My Kind of Town. I could have got you a guest ticket). I just hope he is back in time to show me how to work his DJ gear.

The pub is doing very well, entries are trickling in for the pram race and our thoughts are turning to our Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend at the beginning of June. The Enchanted Village, with its 400 households, must be the busiest in the country with at least eighteen different things happening over the four-day bank holiday break. Plenty to blog about.

Best of all, there is good news about our shop.

Our former shopkeeper (one of the performers at our special Jubilee Concert, on a 45ft trailer provided by a local builder and former parish council chairman) is having the place done up.

And it looks like (with fingers crossed and a nod to the fairies that live on Bluebell Hill) the village could be taking it over.

Watch this space.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Enchanted Village goes to town

It’s not all sweetness and light here. Oh no, not at all. Here’s me, describing this utopia, this wonderful place where neighbour gets on with neighbour and where everything is wrapped in a rosy glow of peace and harmony, love and understanding.

The Enchanted Village: where sheep outnumber the local population
Except sometimes, it doesn’t work out that way. Something jars the energy in the ley lines that cross beneath the centre of The Enchanted Village and there’s a fall out, or someone's ill or someone's down in the dumps.

But tomorrow night, we will forget all our troubles, forget all our cares and go down town, to My Kind of Town, to see Ding Dong Daddy's band, The Imagined Village, performing live at The Electric Palace.

Every man and his dog from The Enchanted Village will be there. Delegates from Compost Corner where the pub regulars stare into their glasses and rule the world, members of the short-arsed bowling club will be out in force, the ladies from the book club will put down their novels and dance with the rest, the bellringers will sally forth and the Diamond Jubilee celebration organisers will think of it as a dry-run before the big weekend in June.

We'll be there all right, whooping and hollering from the circle, jigging up and down to fiddle and drum solos, marvelling at how we, The Enchanted Village, came to be the recording home of The Imagined Village.

So if you can't be there with us, here's a taster:

We're looking forward to a pantomime-style namecheck.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The Enchanted Village revealed

After six weeks of unrelenting rain and the usual mizzle here in this part of Dorset, the fog lifted today to reveal the most wonderful sight.

The Enchanted Village in all her glory.

Oh to be in Dorset - West Dorset - now that May is here.

And guess who's just had a one-to-one photography lesson, with the wonderful Kris Dutson? I'm now using the 'manual' setting on my camera with confidence.

Thank you so much, Mr Grigg. A special birthday present worth waiting for.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Flowers for the Queen

Up at the nursery, a new blog character, Mr Billenbenn, is a picture of concentration as he prepares the compost for the hanging baskets. He sprinkles a layer of fertiliser in, shapes the soil to fill the gaps and sits back to admire his handiwork.

A swallow swoops into the large, dark shed, settles on the beam overhead and the two of them have a conversation.

'You'm cheerful today,' Mr Billenbenn says. And then he looks at me. 'Cor, he's a lovely little thing, inner?'

Out in the greenhouse, hanging basket after hanging basket is suspended from the ceiling. A label is attached to each one, the grander the name the bigger the basket. It's like turkeys in the butcher's shop at Christmas. You can judge the calibre of the customer by the size.

This year, there is a run on red, white and blue surfinias as the whole nation goes Diamond Jubile crazy. I um and ah about this contrived colour scheme, preferring to have a 'white' theme to reflect the colour of diamonds but then fear the wrath of Mrs Bancroft who wants all the hanging baskets in The Enchanted Village Square to be prettily patriotic.

So I abandon all thoughts of being original and become a royalist sheep.

'But please don't put bizzy lizzies in my hanging basket,' I plead with Mr Billenbenn. 'They make my flesh creep.'

'No praaablem, ' he says. 'Bizzy lizzies be in short supply after last year.'

And I remember. The bizzy lizzy mystery disease, which all but wiped out the plant in 2011. A mildew disaster of national proportions.

And then the swallow flies out of the shed, wittering on about something or other and Mr Billenbenn goes back to his planting.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Sunday, 6 May 2012

One morning in May

It is the May Day bank holiday weekend here in The Enchanted Village. And, appropriately for Labour Day, there is lots of work going on.

The pub is bursting at the seams, with  people even from My Kind of Town venturing out for good pub grub and a cheery welcome from our new landlady. In the kitchen, The Pub Landlord is slaving away and will reward himself at the end of the evening with a nice sit down on a tiny stool behind the bar, with only the top of his head on view to the punters.

Next door, the Champagne-Charlies are out in force, hoeing and raking the garden prior to an official visit by the outlaws. Bubbles is trimming a bush with an electric bush trimmer she got from the Innovations catalogue.

Across the road, Mrs Bancroft is entertaining old friends, one of whom has a head like a stone on the morning after the night before. And in the Sheepwash abode, there is lots of eating, drinking and merriment and long strolls with the dogs in the fields above their house to walk off the excesses of a happy weekend.

The Fragrant Mrs Putter sits down for an M&S meal for one in front of a roaring fire, with a glass of bubbly in one hand and the remote control in the other. 

Down the road, MDF Man, fresh from a night out with Posh Totty, puts on a fine spread of cheese, bread, pickles and roast potatoes cooked in goose fat as he and Nobby Odd-Job snuggle down to watch the FA Cup final.

The sound of musicians practising for The Enchanted Village's Diamond Jubilee celebrations fills the air and Tuppence hits a high C.

The bronze nymph who welcomes visitors to the village still has her coat on but will soon be unveiled once the danger of frost is past. She is preparing for a Geri Halliwell-style makeover, with a Union Jack mini-dress or maybe a bikini waiting in the wings for the Jubilee.

In the Grigg household, I am downloading music for the Jubilee playlist, ready for my disco in three weeks' time, with the promise of professional DJ equipment from Ding Dong Daddy who is just about to go on tour with his band, The Imagined Village.

Meanwhile, Mr Grigg is off up to the playing field to mow the grass, only to find that Bellows has got there first. They talk about their football team, Bristol City, before Mr Grigg comes back to show off his new £20 wetsuit to Champagne Charlie. This bargain piece of clothing was from Lidl, so I am relieved it has the requisite number of holes for arms and legs.

Just another day in The Enchanted Village.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Batten down those hatches, it's recycling day

It's blowing a hooley out there.  The wind is lashing against the windows and the dogs are play fighting in front of the Aga before...