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Thursday, 14 July 2011


Actually, it probably should read 

My life seems to have 2 distinctly different sides to it, my rather grown up night job in a residential home for adolescents with challenging behaviour and my business, which involves restoring, painting and decorating antique furniture. The latter, coupled with my life in the small, rather lovely old town of Arundel in Sussex, England, makes for a much more laid back side than the former. The two together, however, make my life rich, interesting and ever so slightly chaotic.

Today I start a short holiday from the nights as I have fairs and customers to prepare pieces of furniture for.
Yesterday, after my last night duty, I dashed to Chichester market, where I try to go every week to the same  family stall of market traders who sell the most wonderful fruit and vegetables at prices that make you wonder why anyone would buy them at supermarkets. 
Being a veggie, I consume mountains of the stuff.
 There is an enormous amount of great banter that goes with the trip.
 I used to be the "lady from Arundel" , now they call me the "person from Arundel" and wait for the reaction, that amongst other chat leaves me chuckling, without fail as I head home.
They always send one of their staff to help, usually a young guy to help with all the bags,
lugging them to the car... 
and then they shout after me,
 in front of the entire bemused queue
" ...and dont forget to send him back! We are STILL waiting for the guy from last week to return!"

Then I'm off , now stocked up for a few days, so I can bash on with my painting.

After my nights, I felt exhausted and always think I can do more than is possible, I did some varnishing yesterday and then literally keeled over and slept most of the day away.
Nass, my husband woke me up around 7 and we spent the evening in our 
Summer house that sits by the river Arun at the foot of our 100 foot garden. 
A glass of wine and nibbles, music and a catch up on the last few days,
when I am on my shifts, we really are like ships that pass in the night.
A neighbour, Acker, wanders along the river bank to see if we are in residence. 
His wife has a book club with 8 women going on and he wants an escape route.
Yes, Acker we are in...and he spends the evening with us in the little haven that another neighbour christened,
" La Maison de Bonheur"

"La Maison de Bonheur"

So, back to the day.
As I slept like a log most of yesterday and the all night, 
I was up early today and started painting 
 and putting things in the garden to dry.

 up and down the garden which is a little wild, but we love it as it is, 
which is just as well as I don't have the time to do much with it at the moment.
 almost finished this 19th century table, painted and decorated with shell and fish decoupage.

last bit of work on the table and its done

 Victorian bamboo, the gilt laid down and now preparing it for decoupage.
a vintage metal bowl, decorated and awaiting varnish

 and a last coat of varnish for this little lot.
drying vintage pieces amongst the debris of last nights wine and cheese!

 10 am and its breakfast sitting by the river,
with my grapefruit and other fruit from yesterdays market excursion.
I remind myself daily, what a beautiful place we live in.

the little black dot on the right is a cormorant I sat watching
for a while

After coming indoors and sorting out a few emails, I spent the rest of the day painting and varnishing.
Tomorrow will be decoupage day.
Basically, that's  cutting and sticking and then ageing with layers and layers of varnish .

Just managed to clear everything away by 7pm when my mate Allie came round to talk about the 
Arundel Diary we work on together and to sort through potential images. We sat down
La Maison de Bonheur..where else?

Of course we went off on many tangents......

About 10 o'clock we had a lovely surprise, when our neighbour came running down the garden to say a couple where on our doorstep scribbling a note to put through the letter box.

and there stood Stella and Allan

Stella and I have been friends for more years than I care to remember, 
suffice it to say, flares where all the vogue when we first got chatting.

We supported each other through all the roller coaster rides of life, 
until she re-married after meeting Allan when she worked at the American College
 that used to be down on the road to Ford, ( now famous for other antics, of course)
  and moved to the US..very many years ago now.

Happily settled in Kentucky, they return most years to stay in the cottage they still have in Tarrant Street.
 On her return, Stella, still English to the core, 
talks me into going to all the very English, 
Summer fĂȘtes, jumble sales, 
and afternoon teas at Belindas in Tarrant Street.
Having said that, I am happy to have an excuse to go.

We spent a couple of hours on a brief catch up as they haven't been here for 2 years.
Wonderful though, isn't it, when you have those friends you can pick up the threads again in a heartbeat ?

cant even remember what time everyone went...somehow my lovely Nass slipped back into the house and managed to rustle up some munch...
We must have eaten about 11 o'clock at night.. yes, yes,not good I know.

But, hey, what a wonderful day.