Monday, 25 June 2012

Hop across to Corfu

The Griggs are on holiday.
Come with me now to Corfu to find out how we're getting on. Just hop across to my occasional blog, The world from my porthole, for tales of grand pianos, octopus in red sauce and ill-fated football matches.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A walk in the black forest

Up on the hill, Mr Loggins and his wife, Darling, take a step back and admire their achievement. From the ruins of the Love Shack, where two years ago I blogged about Mr Loggins and his 'chimbley' and 'windle' (he is from Bridport, remember) and parthenon gable, something rather beautiful has sprung up  in its place.

It took its time, this wooden house on the hill, but they should be very pleased with themselves. It's beautiful. And a fantastic view from all directions.

And you, too, can enjoy it because they'll be opening up soon for B&B guests. (Although if you fancy tapping into the energy of the village ley lines, you should think about booking into Mr and Mrs Champagne-Charlie's, our next door neighbours).

Last night, up at the Brand New Love Shack, after we had supped on sausage casserole and mash followed by old fashioned English trifle and Mr Grigg's rhubarb crumble, Pelly Sheepwash, Mrs Bubble Champagne-Charlie and I made our way home down through the sleepy hollow where the trees wrap around you like an Arthur Rackham illustration.

Pelly Sheepwash gets distracted
They laughed at me, with my pathetic wind-up torch, but it shone a light through the darkness.

That's me, bathed in the blue light of my wind-up torch
We made it home safely and I was tucked up in bed with a good book by 10.45pm.

Two hours later and Mr Grigg, Champagne-Charlie and Nobby Odd-Jobb staggered back down the hill. 

'Follow me,' Mr Grigg said. 'I don't have a torch but I can see in the dark.'

The other two didn't believe him. Champagne-Charlie lit up a fag to guide them through the tree-tunnel and Nobby insisted on taking the right-hand side of the road instead of Mr Grigg's left.

Shortly after, a cry shot out.

'Ouch,' said Nobby, as he extracted himself from the hedge.

And Champagne-Charlie just kept right on walking. Mr Grigg, he was long gone.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

A link to my friend's blog

Today, I give you a link to my English-Australian-English friend's blog, Community Gardening for Idiots. Not that you are an idiot, you understand, or even interested in community gardening ( although I think it's a fabulous idea).

No, today I've done a guest blog for Ms Tagalong and I'd like you to see it.

Tune in to The World from My Window later this weekend for the latest on the Loggins Love Shack (haven't heard about that for a while, have you?) and what happened on the way home from supper.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Where sheep may safely graze

The lambs are nice and fat now. Nearly ready for eating. They stand on their hind legs, nibbling in the hedgerows while their mothers are forlorn and shorn. The old girls look embarrassed, like women who have suddenly realised they are not as attractive as they once were in short skirts and crop tops while the years advance and the children get bigger and more demanding.

It's the lambs we want on our plates, not mutton.

Up on the hill, the slopes are nicely manicured, ploughed with rows made by a giant's comb.

The ground is saturated and hosepipe bans are lifted. The sky is full of water from an overloaded paint brush and it's smudging at the edges.

Posters on telegraph poles advertising our parish plan are unreadable because we've had so much rain. And in the Grigg front hall are boxes and boxes of wine for an evening later this week when the future of our village shop is finally unveiled.

And then a woman stops me and says:' Are you the one who writes the blog? I've worked out who everyone is.'

Time for me to stop, perhaps, I think. I might be found out as a wolf in sheep's clothing.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Monday, 11 June 2012

If you book them, they will come

So, bathing in the success of our Diamond Jubilee weekend, I start daydreaming about the Lush Places Concert: The Enchanted Village Festival.

It is a daydream I have often, rather along the lines of Wayne's World 2: 'If you book them, they will come.'

We can source a 45ft trailer and a community field to put it in. All we need now is the bands.

The headline act would, of course, be our very own Imagined Village.

Then we could have my nieces' old school friends, The Staves. They'd surely play, wouldn't they? After all, they were at the same childminder's.

And then Stornoway. I've just found out that the parents of one of the founder members live in the village.

A winning combination, I think, don't you?

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Enchanted Village rocks!

It was the mother of all Diamond Jubilee parties. There was more going on in this Enchanted Village than anywhere else in the country.

Our street party rocked, and it all started with the arrival of a huge truck outside my house. The stage had arrived, courtesy of our former parish council chairman who just happens to run a construction company.

Afternoon tea in the sunshine, a parade of banners around the village, a patriotic playlist of God Save the Queen, Land of Hope and Glory, the Thunderbirds theme and Bernard Cribbins, plate smashing and vintage cars. A massive, grand hamper raffle, the presentation of the scarecrow competition prizes by the new vicar and the first reading of our very own poem, put together from lines supplied by villagers.

The pub ran out of beer and the barbecue ran out of burgers. There were hundreds and hundreds of people.

We even had a fly-past by a microlight.

Our very own Back Lane Band, with our former shopkeeper and Mr Prayer (who cuts the church grass) on guitars, cranked the party up a gear and had the crowds begging for more. The lead singer, in union jack dress, had everyone dancing in the street. We were rocking.

There were Irish jigs and revolutionary songs from Duff Paddy, rockets and a beacon on the allotments and a lively set from Gothic Chicken who renamed themselves Coronation Chicken for the weekend. The stage shook as they ended with their version of Fire.

And then Maddie G took to the decks with Born to be Wild and Hi Ho Silver Lining. As Oops Upside Your Head started up, people got down on the floor and began to row in a long, rhythmic line.

The crowd knew what to expect when the opening bars of YMCA came over the speakers. But they were wrong.

Marching up the steps to the stage was our very own Village People, featuring Mr Grigg as a naval officer, Mr Sheepwash as Bob the Builder, Mr Loggins with policeman's helmet, cape and truncheon, Putt Putter in referee regalia, Champagne-Charlie in full Indian headdress, Alan Ladd as a cowboy and MDF Man - eye-candy for the women in the audience - in hard hat, shorts and big boots.

They did an encore, mainly because I had the button on 'repeat' by mistake, and we danced the night away. All those secret evenings getting their routine spot-on had paid off. And wives suddenly realised why the menfolk had been spending rather too many nights at our house.

And then, with Elvis singing Can't Help Falling In Love ringing in our ears, it was time to re-open the road and get back to normal.

As we pulled the curtain back on the trailer, the wording on it suddenly seemed very appropriate.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Joining in the Jubilee fun

The bronze nymph in England's glory
Mr Champagne-Charlie comes back from the churchyard cream tea. He is crestfallen.

'They've run out of scones,' he says. 'So I'm having a gin instead.'

Several gins later and he's ready for the pram race. Darling Loggins, her friend and I are pushing 'Princess Margaret' (Bubbles Champagne-Charlie), complete with bandaged feet, in a wheelchair with a gin bottle 'drip' attached.

It's hard work, this running, especially in dark glasses and a nun's habit. On our first lap Bubbles loses her hat and we are nudged into the verge by The Walking Wounded, with a bandaged Champagne-Charlie the passenger in another wheelchair being pushed by Mr Grigg, Anakin Sheepwash and Number One Son.

They are closely followed by Celebrity Farmer in a pig mask and assorted members of his family wearing animal heads. Postman Pat rushes by and four blue Smurfs shoot past, the drizzle making their paint run.

Team Red Donkey (the Bancroft Boys) career down the road ahead of everyone. There are boos as the person riding Arkwright's bike, accompanied by Granville and Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, is seen to be pedalling up the steep bits.

Lap two and we overtake a go-faster wheelchair with slick tyres and a much younger pushing crew. One of the front wheels comes flying off The Walking Wounded's entry.

We are jubilant as we fly up Heartbreak Hill to the village hall, the sounds of 'Go Granny, go!' ringing in my ears as Number One Grand Daughter whoops and cheers us on.

We don't win but we don't come last either.

This morning, there is a big turnout at church as the new vicar, a jolly woman with three young children, commends the village on its community spirit. Not enough service sheets have been printed so some of us are singing from a book of hymns which have different words to everyone else's.

The pews are draped with quilts made by the Quilting Club and the windows are bedecked with flowers and Royal memorabilia, including my mother-in-law's painting of her champion Welsh corgi, Blake.

Nobby Odd-Job is smarting because a late-night pub reveller has stolen the ears from his Prince Charles scarecrow. And up the road, Prince Harry's scarecrow head was last seen rolling down the lane accompanied by a can of lager.

HRH before the ears went missing
Meanwhile, Mr Grigg, the Bancroft Boys and assorted men are manually digging a hole for the Jubilee beacon after the machine meant to be doing it broke down. I am getting a DJ crash course in Ding Dong Daddy's studio and Reet Petite is distorting through the speakers. Fine tuning required.

This afternoon we sit down to the Thames pageant, drinking pink fizz and eating Coronation Chicken made from Mr F Word's recipe in the parish magazine, followed by the Queen's favourite no-bake chocolate cake for pudding.

And then it will all start again tomorrow.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend - let's get ready to rumble

Scarecrow made, although it's in bits. Victoria sponge for the village competition done and dusted and bigger than Mr Grigg's.

Prams done for the pram race, Big Breakfast all set for tomorrow, village Jubilee poem written, laminated and ready to post in the empty shop window after I read it live from a 45ft trailer stage at our street party on Monday.

Coronation chicken done (recipe from parish magazine), jelly made for grandchildren tomorrow.

Grand playlist sorted. Session on the decks with Ding Dong Daddy and Number One Son on Sunday.

Family descending in Sheepwash, Bancroft, Odd-Job, Putter, Champagne-Charlie, Grigg household and everyone else's over the next few days.

There's even talk of a live webcam in the village square.

Phew, shattered already. And the Jubilee Weekend has not yet begun.

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...