Light my fire….

firelighter 5

I think that perhaps one of the things that makes camping so enjoyable is cooking food over an open fire, I love preparing something tasty and filling for appetites sharpened by a day in the open air. But damp wood, strong winds or cheap charcoal can make the process nigh on impossible and many of us faced with these problems would reach for the firelighters, but over the time I’ve been campfire cooking I’ve come to dislike these smelly, smokey little blocks.

A little research on Google and Pinterest has provided a number of cleaner (and often cheaper) options and the idea of reusing and recycling always appeals. From using pinecones, cotton wool, dryer lint, cardboard and teabags there are loads of ways of giving your fire or Barbecue a kick start without the smell. Brimstones had been doing a little Woodturning in the workshop and I’d unearthed a thick cardboard tube from the depths of the shed so I decided that I’d have a go at making my own.

Here are the results I’m really pleased, they burn well and for a long time too! Continue reading


Take five…


Here at Treacle Towers our thoughts are beginning to turn to holidays and a chance to take some time exploring the countryside. We’ve been searching around looking at all the lovely things around that are there to make camping great whatever the weather.

Our first need was to find a tent that was not only practical but beautiful too, so we searched online, visited a myriad of camping shops and out of a sea of blue and green nylon a clear winner emerged.

The wonderful SoulPad.

A symphony of comfort and design, a classic bell tent in canvas and cotton it stands hand and shoulders (literally) above the nylon nasties that litter the horizon. The SoulPad bods seem not only to have a strong ethical ethos but a naughty but nice sense of the absurd, as the definition on of the term on their website suggest.


And in the click of a mouse and the blink of an eye we were proud owner of a SoulPad 4000-hybrid, and before we knew it the SoulPad was up and we were inside watching the shadows of the leaves dancing on the canvas. And even when the English summer took a damper turn and the rain beat down on the canvas we stayed snug and dry inside.

So if you want to own a tent that will be both practical and a wonder to behold hoof it over to SoulPad’s shop and see what all the fuss is about.


Happy Birthday Habitat; the story of a little brown teapot.

Artist James Joyce created the 50th birthday logoIn case you’ve missed it in the news Habitat celebrated its 50th birthday this May and commissioned artist James Joyce to create this 50th birthday logo. For those of us born in the 1960s Habitat was the store that changed the way we wanted to live. Their designs represented the new and exciting, clean yet exotic and oh so very different from the homes we had grown up in. From the chicken brick to the ‘Continental’ quilt, the paper moon lampshade to the garlic press we all yearned to live surrounded by these simple and well designed objects. Continue reading

Lovely Lincoln does Vintage

The sun was shining so brightly we couldn’t help but want to go out for an adventure, so we packed up a little lunch donned some sturdy footwear and ventured out to the delights of Lincoln.

lincoln shop

The Cathedral has always had a place in my heart as it was the subject of a woollen sampler that hung on my Grandma’s wall (it now adorns the wall in Treacle Towers). We walked up the aptly named steep hill, and perhaps like this pooch should have taken it a bit easy.. Continue reading


“A lot of young people are somehow put off struggle and difficulty. Boredom thresholds now because of the nature of entertainment, people are adrenalin addicted and I think that one of the big unspoken addictions in our society is adrenalin. We are addicted to drama, everything has to be exciting, black and white there’s no middle ground, we’re all being gradually pushed into this area where our attention span is that of a gnat. Difficulty, learning a skill that might take 10 years over 10,000 hours is something that frightens to death, when in fact when you attain that it is probably the happiest most joyful thing you can do”.

-Grayson Perry Thinking Allowed,  BBC Radio 4. April 2008

The Rosetta Vase, 2011. © Grayson Perry.

Posted by Brimstones. We appreciate your feedback, please feel free to comment.

Similar Differences

It seems at the moment that I spend most of my time on the A50 as I shuttle between Treacle Towers and Staffordshire University where I teach on the BA Photojournalism course. Much of this time driving time is split between quiet contemplation of the driving skills of other road users and a wonderful spell of self indulgent wallowing in my musical past.

This week I have been accompanied on my travels by the fabulous Kate Bush and particularly the song Army Dreamers from the album Never For Ever.

Now, I am not normally known for a great love of covers, but I have to say that the cover of this song by the Trwbador a duo from South Wales is just as sparkling and haunting as the original. You may have heard the track Sun In The Winter from their second EP on BBC6 recently. Here are links to both Kate and Trwbador’s versions of the song and I hope the sun shines all through your weekend.

Much love Treacle x

The Way Things Go

A film that seems to be able to entice us to watch again and again is the strangely wonderful ‘Der Lauf der Dinge’, (The Way Things Go) by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Being about “cause and effect” it documents a long chain assembled of everyday objects. The machine itself is about 100 feet long built in a warehouse, and incorporates materials such as tyres, bin bags, ladders, soap, oil drums, and petrol. Fire and pyrotechnics are used as chemical triggers.

Continue reading

Singing All The Way Home.

We are very glad to have been able to indulge ourselves with the BBC Four repeat of the very wonderful Singing Detective by Dennis Potter last night. As you may have guessed we are great Potter fans and this is a particular favourite.

I grew up in the Forest of Dean and was in the the sixth form at Whitecross School whilst the scenes in the Forest were being filmed, it was all wonderfully exciting and amazingly cosmopolitan to a group of teenagers desperate to escape what we saw as the restrictions of our hum-drum existence. A friend was employed as a runner on set and came back every day full of tales about what had happened as we sat at his feet devouring his every word. For me it cemented a desire to study in London, little did I know 25 years later I would be planning to return to the Forest!

For any other Potter fans the Dean Heritage Centre is asking for six volunteers to help with the newly acquired Dennis Potter Archive, to help catalogue, repackage and digitise the archive. A good opportunity to work with material that is important not only locally in the Forest but nationally as an important repository of the work of an important television dramatist.

For all of you unfamiliar with the work I urge you to catch up on BBC iplayer ready for the second episode on the 9th of February, popcorn optional.

Lyndon Davies who plays the young Marlow



Minute by minute we make the world.

Philip Marlow.

Posted by Treacle.

The Building Blocks of Nature

We possess an curiosity towards Pollen and Seeds as an architectural blueprint, what with their diversity of form and complex articulated structures they provide inspiration for creativity and we have taken time to study them using a scanning electron microscope. The following images form part of a body of research carried out using equipment at the Faculty of Science and Health at Staffordshire University. This record of pollen grains and seed samples formed the initial inspiration for ideas and making. Their diversity of form and scale is as diverse as the plants from which they derive and a clear reminder that the building blocks of nature continue to provide a spur for the imagination. Continue reading