… well, wine glasses anyway!

Some years ago, OH found three rather lovely goblet shaped wine glasses in a junk shop in Oundle, near where he worked at the time.  They were crystal, and clearly very nice quality, but he was unsure about the purchase, perhaps because there were only three and it was extravagant.

They quickly because our favourite, everyday wine glasses, following the philosophy that if you have nice things, you should use them and not hide them away.  I also managed to find more of them on eBay when one got broken, and discovered that they are ‘Winchester’ by Royal Brierley.

Last week, I found some more on eBay at a very good price and snapped them up … and they arrived a couple of days ago. They are, indeed, Royal Brierley ‘Winchester’ pattern, but I’d not read it very carefully, because these are the next size down!  I’m still delighted with them though, and on days when I don’t feel like a full glass, they are perfect!

Also this week came a knock at the door when none was expected. It was a man in full cycling gear, complete with impenetrable shades, and a startlingly futuristic carbon-fibre framed racing bike.  Before I’d even had a chance to recognise him as an old colleague and friend of OH’s, he pushed an envelope into my hand bearing my name, handwritten, along with the words ‘by hand’.

I opened it (naturally) and look what was inside!!  Johnny Depp!*


Gorgeous.  I mean, look at the man!  He really does a very sexy line in smirks, don’t you think?  And best of all, inside this magazine is a really nice long interview, with lots of interesting detail and insights.  It quite made my day, and I did, of course, thank my cycling benefactor for the gift.

Another thing that made me happy this week was that I took Jeffie to the vet expecting to hear that he’d developed a heart problem. You see, he’s eleven years old and in this recent heat we’ve been having, he’s been panting a lot and coughing.  However, it seems there’s nothing wrong with the old fraud, except possibly a mild infection, for which I’m very grateful!  Turns out that he’s in pretty good health for his age and maintaining a good weight, too.  He’s hovering around 29kg, which is the correct side of skeletal. He’ll never be fat, bless him, but at least now he doesn’t look like a cruelty case.


Lastly, these roses are from the garden.  The white one is a rambler which covers part of the back fence.  I think it’s called Iceberg and it smells rather nice … but the pink one is Albertine, and Albertine is the real star.  It’s also a rambler but a very old variety, and it smells exquisite.  Just that one bloom in the lounge is enough to perfume the air.  It’s a real treat to have such lovely roses from the garden.HTBH-Jly2d

I’ll just leave you with this YouTube video of a chap called David Armand.  I’d never heard of him before, or his chosen form of entertainment.  He specialises in something called Interpretive Dance Mime.  He is not above being a tad rude but is so endearing you can’t be offended – and he is hilarious.



* Well.  Not actually Johnny Depp, of course, merely a paper facsimile.  Do you think if I’d been handed Johnny Depp on my doorstep I’d be wasting time writing a blog post?


Well, lookie here! Johnny Depp and I have something in common!

I’m sure we have a lot of things in common, really; I mean, we are both members of the human race, and we both have children, for one thing. Both of us like insects. He has more than one house, I have more than one house*. Neither of us are amputees, Russian citizens, lovers of clowns, or have a habit of running around the town square shouting ‘Take me – I’m yours!’**. Stuff like that.

And now it seems I can add something to the list which is a tad more interesting! Both Johnny and I have worn spectacle frames made in the same factory. The difference being that he wore his for a movie, and I wear mine all day, every day.

Those of you who have seen The Ninth Gate might remember the round-framed glasses that the main character, Dean Corso, wore. He had an accident with them, and an iconic still from the movie shows him wearing them with one cracked lens.


There it is in a little mini cinema poster which hangs above my utility room door. Now I can look at it and say to myself ‘Hey – those are exactly the same glasses as I’m wearing right now!’

And that amuses me somewhat and makes me smile.

Not that I wish to be considered anything like Dean Corso. He’s a character the Depp Ladies always referred to as ‘Sleazy Dean’ because .. well, because he is.

However sleazy Dean might be, those frames are classy. Not only do they carry the prestigious ‘Savile Row’ monicker, but they are actually made by a small team of craftsmen on antique, specialist machines in the only frame-making company in England. Not only that, but I have the exact same colour shell on mine, which I call ‘tortoiseshell’ but is officially ‘chestnut’.

I tell you this today because OH just sent me a news video from the BBC site. It is all about the company that makes these Savile Row frames. Here is a link to the video – it’s not very long and it’s really fascinating!

I also tell you this because I’m picking up again on my How To Be Happy posts and today is Thursday.

Another thing that made me happy this week was seeing a pair of Red Hawks circling right over our house, really quite low. I’m sure they were looking for lunch, and so were all the birds on our patio, because they suddenly just disappeared as they took cover from the menacing shapes overhead. But sadly, I didn’t find my camera in time to get a shot, so you’ll just have to imagine the awesome sight that I saw.

What else? Oh yes – I won an Acumag massager on eBay.


These things are heavy duty, hand-held massagers and my vet recommended I try to get one for Sid. They are £180 new, but I got this one for £25 (plus shipping) and it’s only been used a few times. It arrived yesterday. Sid wasn’t sure about the different, pounding type action, at first, but after Jeffie had muscled his way in for a go, shouting ‘ME FIRST, ME FIRST!’ in dog body language, he decided he’d like a turn too, and actually really enjoyed it.


So, there you go. All those things – plus the wisteria being in full bloom and full scent – have made me happy in their own small way this week. As many of you know, I’ve been made happy in a BIG way recently too, having become the grandmother of twins, but that is a big ‘happy’ and not in the spirit of this little meme.


If you’d like to join in, copy and paste this little badge, if you’d like. Post a few words and a picture or two about something that made you happy, and link back here!


* In our case, one family home plus one small two-bedroomed terrace in Sheffield, bought for our younger son while he was studying there, and now rented out because we couldn’t sell it. Depp has several prestigious homes and one Caribbean island. Unless Vanessa got that in the settlement.

** More’s the pity. Well … more’s the pity in his case. In mine, probably a damn good thing and saves us all a lot of embarrassment.

Posted on January 1, 2013 in Johnny Depp, Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay8 Comments »


Here we are with the first post of 2013!

A lot of people would say that a year with the number ’13′ in it might prove to be unlucky, but ever since my 13th birthday, which proved to be a lucky day in several ways, I haven’t subscribed to the ‘unlucky thirteen’ thing, preferring to look upon said number as ‘lucky for some’, meaning ‘lucky for me’.

So I have hopes that this year will be a good one. I feel more hopeful about 2013 than I did about 2012, even though OH is due to go down to Papworth for tests to check out his heart function which apparently might not be too good, and has been officially diagnosed as ‘pre-diabetic’, while both of us are becoming more creaky with age-related maladies. There’s also Sid, who will be nine in February as is beginning to have problems with his single rear leg, and Jeffie who will be eleven – eleven!! – in May.

But hopefully Sid will recover, and Jeffie shows no sign of slowing down, and there are good things on the horizon. We have plans to return to Italy in the spring, we might possibly be looking into moving house to a nicer area, and we are expecting to become grandparents for the first time.

Gosh, the sun is even shining today, and the wind has dropped!

Resolutions? We-ell. Sure, I make one or two, but I’m aware that they will eventually go by the board and I’m not to worried about that. But I am determined to get off my backside a bit more this year and just get on and DO stuff, whether it’s crafting and jewellery making, fundraising for Brambleberry, sorting out the garbage I’ve amassed over the years, collating my family history or visiting relatives. Or, indeed, all of the above plus a bit more.

I’m minded to take part in what looks like a great art challenge: illustration Friday. I’ll get a weekly prompt, and I’ll have to illustrate it. Looking at past offerings, I’m going to be a bit of a cinderella on this one, but it should be fun!


I also plan to take part in the 30/30 challenge which is for dog walkers and aims to get us walking our pooches for at least 30 minutes each day, every day, during January. Should be easy for me, really, because we walk at least once, usually twice a day anyway, but I shall join in, and update you on Friday each week.

Now. A confession.

Johnny Depp has faded a little into the background.


I think it’s a classic case of ‘the idol with the feet of clay’. He’s still a remarkably attractive and sexy man, of course, who just keeps getting better with age (as we knew he would) and he’s a startlingly good actor – that goes without saying – but since the split with Vanessa I’ve been hearing some ugly rumours and you know what they say: it takes two to tango. There is seldom a split in a long term relationship where the fault is 100% on one side. So Johnny has my admiration for many things, including his ‘fuck it’ attitude to life and what people think of him*, and I acknowledge his many and varied sterling qualities and his undeniable sex-appeal, but I am a little disappointed to discover that he really isn’t perfect. I know. Shocking, isn’t it?

I think I shall just go and wash my mouth out with soap, before I sit down and watch The Rum Diary. It’s one of three Depp movies I got for Christmas this year – and I shall enjoy them. Every single one.

* Easy to say when you’re Johnny Depp, of course!

… but no Willy Wonka, unfortunately. It would have been fun to have discovered a purple-gloved and delightfully eccentric (not to say raving bonkers) Johnny Depp in there, but it was not to be. We had to make do with the lovely ladies who worked in the hand-made kitchen!

This is Wilbur’s chocolate factory, Lititz.

Never heard of Wilbur’s? No, neither had we, and we never saw any on sale anywhere outside Lititz, either – not even in the rather delightful family-run chocolate shop in Washington DC which had about a thousand brands of chocolate I’d never heard of. However, our travelling companion, Jeannine, had heard of Wilbur’s, which is how we heard of Wilbur’s, and why we took a trip to Lititz to check it out.

Wilbur’s is great. They have the above-mentioned hand-made kitchen, of course, but the actual factory is above the shop, so you wander round to the accompanying thumps, rattles and rolls of the heavy machinery over your head and the delicious smells of chocolate in the making. The shop itself is full of really good chocolate; perhaps not the best chocolate in the world, but certainly one of the nicest American chocolates I’ve tasted, and there’s a huge variety. I chose some almond bark and nonpareils, OH chose white chocolate buttons and a box of milk chocolate maple creams. Jeannine, poor soul, is dairy-intolerant, so bought nothing this time – oh yes, she does cheat on occasion, but can’t afford to do so too often.

And then there is the little chocolate museum. Actually, it’s scattered around between the shop and the kitchen, but it’s fascinating. They have a wonderful collection of chocolate teapots.

Yes, yes, I know that’s not what they’re really called, but I simply couldn’t resist! Tee hee.

And they have mills and rollers and grinders and moulds and extruders and all kinds of stuff you wouldn’t – in your wildest dreams – consider to be a part of a chocolate-maker’s equipment. Some of them look as if they might feel more at home in a torture chamber, but the only torture I can imagine being perpetrated in Wilbur’s is, quite frankly, to be dairy-intolerant!

This is a mill, for grinding the cocoa beans.

Looks as if it’s seen a lot of action, doesn’t it? I imagine it used to be used right here, in the days before mass-production was possible.

There were smaller mills and grinders, sitting on the floor below the shelves of chocolate for sale. This is a ‘refiner’ and likely used to grind the beans a little finer after the mill had been used.

And there was a whole room, sadly roped off, of other fascinating stuff. Old tin moulds, arcane bits of machinery, adverts, sieves, pans, jugs and nameless … um … sticks? … etc.

I’d have loved to see the factory upstairs, too, but of course, there are Health and Safety concerns about allowing the general public to trample through a food preparation area. However, the rest of Lititz was fun, too. It’s a pretty little town, with some nice, unique shops. I’ll leave you – for now – with this one:

It’s a gift shop, but quite a classy one. The ladies stock hand made or small-run goods of a very arty and fun type, and they specialise in contemporary American artisan-made crafts. I bought myself a pair of dichroic glass earrings, but I could have spent a small fortune. And the fun thing is that the shop is named after the owner’s greyhound, Haven, who has become their logo.

I have to say, the greyhound on the swinging sign outside was the reason we went in.

Next time, I’ll show you the Halloween decorations. Lititz was one of the most beautifully decorated of all the little towns we visited!