Sunday, 29 October 2017

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover?

It was a wise old woman who gave this charm to me. It works the best on Halloween - or so said she! 

"Find a four-leaf clover, Wear it in your shoe, right foot left foot. Either one will do. 

It will lead you into luck before the day is through.

"So find a four-leaf clover, and put it to the test. It might work anytime - But Halloween is best! 

May Justus

From Hey-How for Halloween!

Have you ever found a four-leaf clover? I can’t say I have although my dad often did. He always kept one in his wallet and when I passed my driving test, he found one for me and after that he gave me another each time I renewed my licence. I’ve still got them and if that’s not lucky, I don’t know what is.

I started driving in 1966 when the cost of a licence was 10/- (ten shillings in old British money).  By 1968, it rose to 15/- and in 1974 to £1.00. Today it costs £34.00 quite a hike I think you will agree especially when you realise 10/- in 1966 is worth just £8.89 now.

I’m really glad I kept these bits and pieces in a box.

1966 driving licence issued in my maiden name. 

1968 driving licence, this was the year the old orange paper covered licences changed to swanky red ones. 

Certificate of motor insurance and Ministry of Transport test certificate for my 1957 Austin A35.

This is my first car bought for the princely sum of £20.00! My brother paid the money up front, and I paid him back a pound a week. My dad was always threatening to "take a hammer to it" but only in jest. He and my brother kept it on the road for me. Whenever water started seeping up through the floor (which it often did), they welded another piece of metal over the holes!

Something else you may have noticed is this note written by my son when he was a small boy. I cried happy tears when he gave it to me and again when I found it the other day. These are some of the most precious kisses I ever received.

The poem at the beginning of this post is called Luck for Halloween. It's part of an anthology of poetry selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and published by Harcourt Brace in 1974. The illustrations are by Janet McCaffery.  

You can probably guess who this is

but if not this is how you are more used to seeing them; 


The warmer weather has arrived in Australia, and our little granddaughters are making the most of it.

This quote from Rita Rudner made me smile so I thought I would share it;

Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, "Never take candy from strangers." And then they dressed me up and said, "Go beg for it." I didn't know what to do! I'd knock on people's doors and go, "Trick or treat." "No thank you."  Rita Rudner

Happy Halloween everyone.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

If you go down to the woods today...

You might find some of these...

According to the Internet, they are Bulgaria inquinans, sometimes referred to as Black Bulgar, Bachelor's Buttons or Rubber Buttons.

If I’m honest, they rather gave me the Heebie-jeebies but I couldn’t stop looking at or photographing them. They look like something out of Doctor Who!

This is although more appealing. It looks like a little mushroom or more likely a toadstool. If anyone reading this is an expert on these things, please feel free to enlighten me.

I could easily be wrong, but I think this is Turkey tail polypore thriving on a dead tree. Isn’t it strange how beauty can grow out of death and decay?  

All the above and more were growing on this pile of ‘dead’ trees at Stourhead.  

It was very dark and dank in this part of the wood which probably explains the abundant growth. 

Once out from under the thickest of the trees, we began to see lots of autumn colours and beautiful vistas.

Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it. ~ Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908.

Stourhead has been described as the most beautiful and magical of all the great landscape gardens, and we can’t argue with that. We live about fifteen minutes away by car and visit several times a year. Spring and autumn are beautiful but then winter and summer are not to be sniffed at. We’ve also visited at Christmas time when mulled wine is served in a stone cottage, lit by a roaring fire. If that’s not your thing, you might enjoy dinner in the Temple of Apollo or a picnic on the lake. All these venues are available to hire here.

Of course, you don’t have to hire a private venue to enjoy Stourhead it's owned and managed by the National Trust and is open throughout the year.  For details of opening times and prices plus more information, visit the National Trust Website.  

If you would like to see photographs of Stourhead in the summer, please visit Just a Perfect Day, previously shared in June 2014.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Sad News

Longtime readers of my blog might remember a series of letters from a lovely lady by the name of Julie Drew. This is how Julie introduced herself back in August 2015.

My name is Julie Drew and I live in tropical North Queensland, Australia. I often find myself linked onto your magical website, and thoroughly enjoy every moment I spend browsing through your treasures. But today I found your fabulous Aladdin's Cave even better than usual. I made the time to read your entries and feel that we must be kindred spirits, with so many loves which coincide.....

Julie loved many things, her family and friends, her dogs, garden and of course books. She shared some of her life and her books on my blog and more on Pinterest.

Today, I received an email from Julie’s son to tell me she had passed away. I’m sharing this news with a great deal of sadness, together with gratitude for having known her.  If you’ve not read Julie’s letters or would like to read them again you will find them  here A Letter from JulieTo Talk of Many ThingsDogs and Roses, The Adventures of Be-Wee the Gnome  and Gum Tree Brownies and other Wondrous things 

Browsing on Julie's Pinterest boards I came across this, which is very fitting because she was, and she did. 


Monday, 9 October 2017

The Night-Takers

The Night-takers come in the deep of the night, 
When darkness has gobbled up all of the light, 
Through gaps in the floorboards and skirting they creep, 
And make off with children who won’t go to sleep.

Those children who stay up at night eating sweets 
And reading by torchlight snug under sheets, 
When dark gathers round them they’d better beware 
Lest the Night-takers carry them off to their lair.

They’d better make sure that their fingers and toes 
Are safe under covers for everyone knows 
That the Night-takers’ jaws have a terrible bite, 
They’ll snap them right off if they’re not tucked in tight!

Those children who like to remain wide awake – 
I hope they’re not easily scared for their sake, 
That scratching they hear at their windows and doors 
Just might be the sound of the Night-takers’ claws!

When Romo Press asked if I would like to share a poem from Poems for Children, I was delighted! It was an easy decision but selecting just one poem was far harder. I started by looking at the table of contents in the hope that one would stand out but they all sounded intriguing, and so I began to read.  And as I read the choice became even harder! Some like Fight (Down behind the Science Block Safely out of sight) reminded me of my school days when fights were a common occurrence.  Whilst Late (I can’t find my socks Mum, Mum, where is my vest?) took me right back to my son’s schooldays.

In the end, I decided to choose something for Halloween. Once again, I was spoilt for choice. The coat on the door is wonderfully evocative, just think of those nights when some little person you know is sure there is a monster hiding in the corner or under the bed! A hundred scary skeletons is also perfect, but my eyes kept returning to The Night-Takers simply because reading by torchlight snug under sheets was something I loved to do, (and my son loved it too).

by Susan Kassabian
Cover illustration by 
Susan Kassabian and 
Dan Chambers
Susan Kassabian is the author of the prize-winning children's novel, The Mummy of Mulberry Avenue. She is currently working on a sequel and on a second book of poetry. She lives in North London.

Learn more about Susan on Facebook

Website: The mummy of mulberry

The Mummy of Mulberry Avenue at Amazon

Poems for Children Kindle edition: Amazon
Physical copies - available in November 

With thanks to Rome Press for permitting me to share The Night-Takers and to Pexels for the images.  (All images licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Nursery Nonsense or Kiddie Kut Books Revisited

I shared a couple of Kiddie Kut books back in December 2011, and didn’t expect to be revisiting them anytime soon, but that was before I found this Lucie Attwell Kiddy's Cutlery set. 

Lucie Attwell Kiddy's cutlery set featuring a cute child holding a spoon and food pusher.

The artwork on the box was the thing that attracted me while the spoon and food pusher are a bonus. Does anyone remember food pushers? I can’t say I do but there are lots online, so they must be fairly common. I may even have used one once, but if so the memories are lost in the mists of time!

The use of Kiddy’s in the title reminded me of the Kiddie Kut books on my shelves. No matter how many times I look at them, there is always something new to see, something I’ve missed previously or simply forgotten. I loved them when I was a small child, and I still do.

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Nursery Nonsense
The first page of Nursery Nonsense and two further pages glimpsed through the cut out shapes.

It wasn't easy to take the photographs, especially as I wanted to hold the pages slightly open so you could peep through the windows and doors. After a lot of experimentation, I got a few that sort of work.  I hope you enjoy them. 

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Nursery Nonsense
Nursery Nonsense: I like the star and snow showing through one window and the moon and house through the other. 

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel: Can you see the witch peeping out through the door?  She is on the next page, but the clever design makes it looks as though she is on this page. 

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson Hansel and Gretel
Hansel and Gretel

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Bells of London Town
The Bells of London Town:  I like the glimpse of river (presumable The Thames) and bridge through the open window.

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Bells of London Town
 The Bells of London Town

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Bells of London Town
The Bells of London Town

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Water Babies
The Water Babies

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Water Babies
The Water Babies

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The House that Jack Built
The House that Jack Built

Kiddie Kut Books Molly B. Thomson The House that Jack Built
The House that Jack Built

The Lucie Attwell Kiddy's Cutlery and a collection of Kiddie Kut Books Illustrated by Molly B. Thomson.
Kiddy's Cutlery with artwork by Mabel Lucie Attwell and my collection of Kiddie Kut Books Illustrated by Molly B. Thomson.

Previous Kiddie Kut post here
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