Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Living Green, San Francisco

One of my favourite places to find unusual antique, vintage and new pieces, and not just outdoor goodies either, is Living Green in San Francisco, right behind the Design Center on 15th Street. Just take a look at a few of the stunning items I came across last week:


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stoke-on-Trent, England

We're a nice bunch really!!!

As many of you know, I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent - slap bang in the middle of England. Also called "The Potteries", which since the 17th century has been known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing, with such world renowned names as Royal Doulton, Dudson, Spode, Wedgwood and Minton. The once abundant supplies of coal and the construction of the Trent and Mersey canal enabled the import of china clay from Cornwall together with other materials and facilitated the production of creamware and bone china.

Spode teacup

Trent & Mersey canal

Great to see that Middleport Pottery Banks are being restored finally!

Stoke-on-Trent has six main towns: Tunstall, Burslem, Hanley, Stoke, Longton and Fenton, all have the feel of smoky industrial-ness although local councils are now cleaning up the disused pot-banks and coal mines and replacing them with with retail parks!! Interestingly, through the works of Arnold Bennett (also from Stoke) 'Six Towns' was sometimes known as the 'Five Towns'. In his novels Bennett wrote about local events in the 19th century and consistently changed all proper names - e.g., Hanley became Hanbridge, Burslem became Bursley. It is thought that Bennett chose to write about five towns, rather than six because he refused to acknowledge Fenton as a proper town. The six towns weren't federated until 1910 but Fenton was still relatively new by that time, it was also the smallest in terms of population and area. As well as this Bennett changed the name of the towns' newspaper from the Sentinel to the Signal, an identity that was subsequently adopted by the city's commercial radio station.

Approach to Stoke railway station, 1975
(I remember this so well as you always went
by train to Durham to see my Grand-parents)

Longport kiln

Burslem factory gates

If you are ever passing through Stoke - try one of our local delicacies: the much loved Potteries Oatcakes (traditionally filled with bacon and cheese and grilled). Oatcakes can be bought any day of the week now but when I was little we had to wait until Saturday morning to buy them from local corner stores. The recipe has never been revealed either!


When I go back to visit it always makes me smile when I see friends and they call me "duck" or "shug". Duck is used as a greeting to either men or women and is believed to be derived from the Saxon word ‘ducas’ used to indicate respect. Shug or sugar is usually used when closing a sentence as in "Ta Shug" (thank you sugar).

A Victorian folly on the outskirts of town (Mow Cop)

Farmer's land