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Friday, 3 October 2014

Paint Workshops,Antiques, Arundel, Brighton & The Drinking Group with a Writing Problem

Arundel Eccentrics Antiques.

Paint Workshops

We had a great workshop yesterday in the studio
down the end of the garden.
Sits right on the River Arun riverbank.

The three gals who came along were great fun.

They were three friends who wanted to have a day out together
 and learn a few techniques to paint and decorate furniture.

We introduce our work shoppers
 to all sorts of

We use Annie Sloan, 
but we also use loads of other products.

Cutting out the decoupage.
They look sensible here.
Wasn't always so LOL

This was done simply and was absolutely beautiful.
Shannon now has to just give it a few coats of varnish at home.

We stopped for a vegetarian lunch.
Glass of wine even, as long as they promised
 not to fall asleep in the afternoon.

no chance of that...they were firing on all cylinders.Ha Ha

The antique pine box went from this...............

to this....painted and distressed outside
all cleaned up and waxed inside

and the bedside went from this.....

to this...
they both decided to varnish rather than wax and age down...
but that's something they can do later if they decide to.

see what I mean? Totally bonkers....

Thanks for coming guys.
Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Next set of dates ....

Week of 27th October
 until Saturday 1st November.

9.30 until around 6pm..or when we finish.

Choose any day.
Price is normally £95 per person.
That includes all materials.
Vegetarian Lunch.
Glass of wine.
And a million laughs.....well OK, 
that's an exaggeration....
  not quite a million.

So if you fancy a day out with your best friend.
I'll do a workshop with 2-3 people
for £70 each.

You'll learn to paint and distress.
Crackle glaze.
Varnish and/or wax to finish.

The basics of decoupage...
.........and maybe a little intro into gilding
if we don't chat too much.

Here's a few pictures of some of our other workshops.


Sandy lives in the US and was visiting her family here in Arundel.
Joined us for a days workshop.
She said she had a great time.

The people I've had on the workshops
 have all been delightful.
They've enjoyed the day and
 gone home full of enthusiasm
for their new found skills.

As for me...I've imparted some
 of the ideas and techniques
 learnt over the past 20 years and......
 been lucky enough to make
 a whole lot of new friends.

If you'd like to come along.
Just email me.

Our antiques warehouse.

If this is the first time you have found is a bit about what we do.

these are just old buckets etc that we upcycle
Hidden away down a little alleyway a minutes' walk
 from the bustle of Arundel's High Street, 
lay the last remaining buildings of the 19th century
  Swallow brewery warehouse.

It is home to our antiques collection.

The warehouse is large and houses an 
interesting collection of decorative antiques.
The prices are extremely competitive.
We welcome trade clients at any time and 
open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10-4.

As well as our general decorative pieces, we source 
English Victorian Bamboo, circa 1860, made often in London.

By now, these pieces that were cheap and simply produced,
 but have somehow lasted 150 years,
have ended up in granny's 
shed and  car boot sales, 
some on their last legs.

We lovingly restore and clean them. 
Paint and decorate the new surfaces with
 decoupage using 19th century images.
Now looking very sophisticated, the bamboo
 items sit well in either traditional or contemporary rooms.

We do the same with 19th century chests.

Vintage boxes and everyday old galvanised
 metal objects are given the same treatment.

The pieces blend well together and
 our trade customers like to mix and match.

Much of our work goes to the USA via antique
 trade and have also been seen in Liberty London.

We are a husband and wife team.

My husband deals with the decorative antiques.

I concentrate on the up cycling side 
and have been doing this for almost 20 years.
I've taken Arundel Eccentrics
 to many places over those years,
 antique centres, farm buildings, pop up shops.

Anywhere I can work and take my customers to.
My US trade customers used to love the farm.
Taking them along bumpy country lanes
 they would delight in the fact we
 were an unknown source of interesting pieces.

We love
 the quirky interesting
 backdrop of warehouses.

I now restore and work on pieces in the studio at the
 end of the garden, 
that sits by the river here in Arundel.
That, and our small Victorian cottage. 
Pieces come into the house where they are finished. 
Sometimes we look at TV through A myriad of bamboo tables.
Once, we had an order for 30 bamboo tables, 
the week before Christmas. 

We worked night and day.
They were piled high in our lounge and we
 were cutting out decoupage until the wee small hours.


We live in Arundel, Sussex England.
A small and beautiful town,
that nestles in the south downs.

It looks suspiciously like a film set.
In fact its been used as a backdrop for many a film.

You can just see our house in the distance LOL
Not really, this is Arundel Castle.
Although the original parts are centuries old, the main part of the castle was built in the Victorian era.

Come along with me and have a walk................

I try to walk most days...been trying to lose weight.
Thanks goodness for Slimming World that's started in Arundel.
Sat morning in the Scout Hut opposite the surgery.
10 am.
Come along if you have a few pounds to shed.
I've lost just over a stone so far.
Happy to feel like me again instead of looking in the mirror to see puffy cheeks!.
My sister let slip the other day she had thought I was on steriods!

Arundel Park is my favourite place to walk.
This is the Hiorne Tower.
Everyone calls it a folly.
Actually, its not.
It was, apparently the proto type for the castle.

Mr. Hiorne, the architect, however,
died before he could build the main castle. 

Eat yer heart out Mr. Hitchcock...look at those birds

Thats my old house down there on the right with the palms outside.
In some previous life.

I don't mean that in the supernatural way.
I mean this life.... another time. LOL

pretty little public garden in river road

we have some interesting shops in the town...

Gorgeous hey?

The Drinking Group with a Writing Problem.

Did I tell you I joined a creative writing group?
About 18 months ago.
They are a fantastic band of people run by Peter,
 who we affectionately call " The Guvnor."

When it started I remember asking The Guv.

" Done anything like this before?"
I could squirm when I think of it...ha ha

"Well, I used to be a journalist with The SundayTimes."

Oh yes,  he can certainly write.

We stop mid meeting for a glass of wine.
Gets quite interesting after that.

I think its best to get your own crit out
of the way before that half way mark. LOL.

We have been called, once or twice, unfairly so I feel, 
"The Drinking Group with a Writing Problem."

Anyway, for anyone interested in Brighton,
which is where I was raised,
here's a little story I wrote about something happened to me as a teenager.

Happy Valley
By Brenda Nassarian

The waiting room was small.. Claustrophobic.  
Magnolia coloured walls closed in on me. 
No posters. 
No magazines. 
No windows. 
Just a Bakelite wall clock, four wooden chairs,
a small table on which stood an ashtray
and air that reeked of stale smoke. 
Nothing to distract me.
“Oh God, I'm nervous.”

The door opened and a police sergeant came in holding a steaming mug.
He put the mug on the table as I stood up. 
Smiling, I put my arms around him.
“Hello Dad. Didn’t know you were working today.”
“An extra shift. They’re busy with all this going on. You nervous love?”
 “Bloody terrified, Dad.”
“You’ll be fine. Someone will call you when we are ready.”
He left, gently closing the door.
 I sipped the tea and leaned back resting my head against the wall.
 Closing my eyes I tried to remember.

Saturday May 6th 1967.
Happy Valley Park, Woodingdean

We lay on our stomachs, Maz, Pat and I, sunning the backs of our legs. 
The grass bank sloped gently down towards the cricket. 
We weren’t there to watch the match though. 
Three pairs of eyes squinting against the afternoon sun avidly
 watched the group of Mods under the trees. 
They were tinkering and polishing their beloved lambrettas in the shade. 
At 17 they seemed older and more sophisticated than us.  
They feigned complete disinterest in us 13 year old girls. 
Occasionally one or the other glanced our way. 
One even nonchalantly winked at us.

Most weekends there would only be a handful of people in the park. 
Today though, it was packed. 
The opposing cricket team had arrived in a coach with supporters.
 Dog walkers skirted the perimeter. 
Young children and their parents were by the swings. 
There were queues at the ice cream kiosk and teenage boys smoked behind the toilets.
 My brother included. 
It wasn’t too long before that day he had thought stuffing tobacco inside a roll of ordinary paper was the same as using Rizlas. 
Mum and Dad quizzed him for ages about his singed eyebrows, lashes and fringe.

Beyond the cricketers was a bank that rose steeply for about half a mile. 
The path on the brow linked the village of Ovingdean to the main shops in Woodingdean. 
Throughout the day, we idly watched people stroll up and down the path. 
They were dark silhouettes against the deep blue sky.

As the sun dipped behind the hill, the cricket match was winding down.
“Shall we go?” Maz asked.
We all nodded.
“I’ll go get something to munch on the way home.”
Maz went around the corner to the small kiosk selling ice creams and sweets. 
She came back empty handed almost immediately.
“There’s police everywhere.” She shouted.
“They’ve closed the gates.”

At the gates there were police cars and officers preventing people
 from leaving until they had spoken to them.

“What time did you get here?”
“Who were you with?”
“What’s your name and address?”

 All the way home we speculated as to what had happened. 
We walked up the steep Woodingdean hills passing pre-fabs
 that were erected just after the war, and a mix of bungalows
 and houses that had been built in the late 1950’s and early ‘60’s. The Brighton suburb was separated from the town by the race course.
It was a wonderful place for a child growing up.
 Surrounded by the downs it had retained the feeling of a village. 
We felt safe and played in the streets, kicking balls, charging around on scooters and roller skates, or going over the downs or park with our friends from a young age.

“ You’re late. Everything ok?” Dad looked concerned.
“ Yeah, sorry Dad. Something happened at the park. There were police everywhere.”
We didn’t have phones and it was the next day before we found out.
“ The Lions Murder” screamed the headlines in the  Brighton Evening Argus.
12 year old Keith Lions had walked the path from Ovingdean to the shops at Wooding dean to buy a geometry set for his homework. 
He was stabbed 11 times before he reached the village store.

In the days that followed police went from house to house
 asking questions and interviewing people. 
Any youths that were in the park on the day were interviewed and finger printed.

I felt nervous when they interviewed me.
“How long were you at Happy Valley Park?”
“All afternoon. From about 2 o’clock.”
“Did you see anyone on the hill?”
“ Yes we watched people walking up and down.”
“Would you recognise them again?”
“I don’t know. I’m short sighted.”

The small community felt like it had been ripped apart. 
Neighbours were viewed with suspicion. 
Parents kept their children close. 
Teenagers went home before dark and didn’t stray too far from home.
The three of us were horrified at what had happened
 but we did occasionally bask in the notoriety of being there on the day.

“Shameful,” I thought afterwards.

Time passed and the police seemed no nearer finding the killer.
 The tragic event left the Argus front pages surprisingly quickly. 
The local’s sense of horror faded and people got on with their lives.
All except the Lions family of course.

I was 22 married and living in Worthing when they phoned me. 
After all those years they had suspects in custody.
“We need you to attend an identity parade.”
“It was a long time ago. I’m short sighted. Will I be of any use?”
“Come anyway.”

I opened my eyes and reached for my mug. The tea was cold.
A police officer opened the door and smiled.
“Ready for you now, if you see anyone you recognise just tap him on the shoulder.”
In the room six men were standing in a line, staring blankly ahead. 
Walking up and down I felt sick. Suppose it was someone I knew? 
I thanked God I didn't recognise any of them.
“No, I’m sorry.” 
"Are you sure? Take another look." 

I had the feeling they were certain they had their man. 
Trouble was it was such a long time ago. 

I walked up and down again and as I left the room, shook my head.

In a brief attack, Keith Lions was stabbed 11 times in the stomach with a serrated kitchen carving knife after a mob of older teenagers from a rival school jumped him, according to local people, then left him to bleed to death on the path. The murder rocked the country. More than 80,000 homes were visited by Sussex police and 6,000 sets of fingerprints were taken from schoolboys in the immediate area.
Both his parents died without ever knowing who had murdered their son.

The case has never been solved.


 Have a great day


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