Category Archives: Stories

Greengage Day

You may now be getting familiar with the ‘Ville Mice’ and their mischievous adventures, there seems to be no end of trouble that these little mice can get themselves into…

Meet Georgette Claudevert, wife of the local, (and very conservative – some may say boring) greengrocer Hervé Claudevert. Due to her married namesake, Georgette is convinced that she is in some far off distant way related to Claude, the very, very characterful 16th century French princess and after whom the greengage fruit, (or Claude Reign) is named.

So this year, when the little green fruits came into season and her husband’s shop was overflowing, Georgette decided to take her boring life into her own hands and realise her wild and promiscuous destiny.
greengage-autumn-mouse-georgette-01

 

Unbeknown to Hervé, Georgette had been casting her mousy eyes over the muscular local fireman, Bernard D’eau. His strong arms and mousy swagger were about as much as poor Georgette could bear and one particularly boring afternoon in September, she snapped. She had overheard a conversation in the Boulangerie about Bernard’s love of Claude Reign Tarte so without a second thought she gathered every last little, green fruit and began baking, planning to deliver her delicious fair to Bernard’s house and seduce him. But nobody, not even Georgette had counted on how sticky the baking process and hence the end result would be. In her eagerness to impress the rippling fireman she overloaded her tiny oven and caused a small fire. Next, the sticky caramel sauce bubbled over on the hob causing poor Georgette’s paws to become stuck fast to the floor. Of course on hearing the commotion and smelling the burning tartes the fire brigade was called immediately. Bernard and his fellow firemen found poor Georgette in her nightie, covered in green stains and a bit singed around the whiskers. I’ve heard tell that it took seventeen hours to chip Georgette free from the hard set caramel and that no amount of hot water would remove the sticky, green sauce from her fur.

 

Georgette and Hervé are still married. The incident was never mentioned again.b-greengage01 b-greengage02 b-greengage03 b-greengage04Georgette is available to buy from my shop www.folksy.com/shops/allthingsottoline and is £44.99 plus P&P

 

Back to it…

White Heart Deer

It has been an e-t-e-r-n-i-t-y since my last post with a lot of time spent pondering which way to take All Things Ottoline. I wish I could say I have come to a conclusion, but I haven’t! The only resolve I have managed to arrive at is that I’m just going to get on with it! I am going to make, paint and create the things I love and keep my fingers crossed that others enjoy too. Sharing my creations spurs me on so with that in mind here is my messy studio with the beginnings of something new on the drawing board…just experimenting at this stage, but it’s something.

 

Erica xx

studio

Agnés the Forager

White Heart Deer

The Foragers

Today started very early with me being in my studio before six am! I had an idea for a new collection of little foraging mice and just had to get up and get going with them.

Early Morning Studio

After a few hours the hazy autumn sun drew me out and we ended up in some woods that I’d never visited before for a well needed forage. I came home with bag fulls of bits and bobs for my foraging mice and finished my first mouse of the collection – Agnès.

agnes

Agnès is a foraging mouse and loves nothing better than to spend her days in the forest. One fine autumn afternoon whilst gathering nuts in the hazy sunshine she heard a rustle in the tree tops above her. No sooner had she turned her little mousy head upwards, a feisty red squirrel pounced upon her trying to relieve her of her nuts! Now Agnès wasn’t going to give up her bounty so easily and being a black belt in mouse karate the squirrel didn’t stand a chance. In a flurry of squeaks and ginger fluff the ambusher was gone and brave Agnès lived to forage another day. She is available now in the shop (www.folksy.com/shops/allthingsottoline) at £29.99 plus P&P. Please allow two weeks for delivery.

autumnforagefungisiennarunning

Iona’s Love Lost

White Heart Deer

Iona's_Lost_Script

Iona lives in a tiny, white washed cottage by the shores of the Irish Sea. It may not be much to look at, but on a cold and wintery morning there is a good smell of potato cakes and a warm peat fire burning.

An open window and tiny clothes

Iona lives alone in her cosy cottage, but this was not always the case. Many years ago she had a husband, a strong and handsome creature with large arms to hold her safe and warm against the raging storms that rolled in from the sea. But the happy couple had a secret, a secret so great that only the strong of heart should read on. You see, the storms were not the only thing to have rolled in from the sea. On the night that Iona met her husband to be, he had appeared before her, walking out of the ocean and shedding his seal skin. Iona’s love was indeed a selkie and the pair fell deeply in love. Iona hid his skin in a chest and kept the key around her neck, for if a selkie ever finds his sealy clothes he will return straight back to the waves. But alas, one morning whilst hanging out the linen, she left the key by her bed. On her return her selkie love had disappeared back into the dark ocean forever and Iona was left all alone.

Now you will find Iona walking along the shore, day after day, hoping that one day her love will return.

Iona the White Heart Deer

The Right Place at the Right Time

White Heart Deer

The Right Place at the Right Time

If you go down into the village and turn this way but not that way, then turn right at the old post you will find a door.

There are many ancient grand houses around these parts, most surrounded by tall, stonewalls. And in these walls there are always doors.

But this particular door is special, as it hasn’t been opened in over one hundred years.

sign_door

Well, I say it hasn’t been opened in one hundred years, that is, until the day before yesterday.

If you are like me you will no doubt enjoy a nice walk, and the lure of the warm autumnal sunshine was too much to resist that particular day. So, I abandoned my deadlines, downed my pens and paintbrushes and gave in to the urge. I walked past hedgerows groaning with fruit and berries, then along the side of the ancient graveyard until I came to that door.

There was something about the haziness of the day, something about the changing season in the air that made me linger by that door. That’s when I heard it…a sad but beautiful song floating out from behind the wall.

The handle of the door was rusted and the hinges where a tangle of ivy but it opened easily when I pushed a little. And there she was, the beautiful white hart Elspeth sitting making lace in her garden. 

Antique lace

She didn’t notice me at first, she just carried on humming her sweet, sad tune until a branch under my boot made her look. I sat down on the bench next to her, admiring her soft, white fur in the golden light. She told me of her love, a grand white hart named Bernard of Perigord. He was the biggest and strongest of all the white harts in the forest but had been shot down one fine October afternoon by a hunter. As French legend goes, any person who takes the life of a white hart is doomed to a life of unrequited love, and that hunter did indeed die a lonely and bitter soul. However, poor Elspeth was also sentenced to a life of loneliness without her beloved Bernard. She packed her bobbins and her lace making pins and ran far, far way from France until she found somewhere with a wall high enough to keep her safe from hunters herself!

So every year, on the anniversary of her dear Bernard’s falling, she sits and sings in her garden. I count myself very lucky to have been in the right place at the right time to discover such a secret.

Elspeth the White Heart on a vintage chair