Friday, 22 November 2013

Autumn leaves... and a mystery...

Starting with the mystery, ma belle-soeur has received a book in the post, bought on line, (and apparently paid for by her!) and she has no idea where, or who, it has come from...! It's called Lucia Victrix by E F Benson, a character who featured in a tv programme called Mapp and Lucia (tho' I never saw it). So, we're terribly intrigued as to who might have sent it to her!

Before the wild winds of winter set in to whisk them away, the leaves are still clinging on in all their autumnal glory. I think I might be a bit bored with my hair, as I keep looking at the colours and thinking, 'Oooh, that might be good!' With my hair, I definitely won't go for purple - like a certain someone I know! (Helen!)

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Storm damage...

It was a beautiful crisp, clear day on Sunday - cold enough for hat and gloves for the first time this Autumn - so we had a walk across the water meadows and saw the beginnings of the clear up of fallen and damaged trees.

Given what's just happened in the Philippines,  it seems a bit pathetic to talk about the, relatively, very minor damage around here after the storm the other week. Nevertheless, it's always sad to see majestic old trees uprooted and toppled.

Trees (presumably damaged, or leaning precariously) have been cut and laid across the river, to keep the path clear.

We stopped for lunch, and then headed home through town - the colours singing against the bright blue sky.

We've seen these little mosaics loads of times, all along someone's garden wall, but never photographed them. They always make me smile when I see them - made up of little bits of this and that - the curved edges of dishes, bottle tops, pebbles and so on!

Dennis the Menace...

Popped in to see Barrie's exhibition of his drawings for the Beano - and some new ones he's done of the town, filled with Beano style characters. I'd say the whole exhibition was just dandy, but he might biff me for that! He's a lovely, quiet bloke, but behind that mild exterior...

Monday, 11 November 2013

Victoria, and Albert...

The Victoria and Albert museum in London is possibly my favourite museum. It has such a diverse and extensive collection of all sorts of things, from ceramics to carpets, diamonds to dresses. There is a field nearby and, if I could, I'd love to transport the whole place here, just for my enjoyment. Too greedy?

On Friday I headed into London to meet up with my niece - just back from the Himalayas, where she has been volunteering as a doctor (so pleased for her - she had a wonderful time!) and to see the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition at the V&A. We ended up spending the whole afternoon there, beginning with lunch with a friend, and then afternoon tea, and then more tea later in the Friends' room - well, we had a lot of catching up to do.

The Chinese exhibition was a little disappointing - the figures so stylized that they became a bit repetitive. Once in a while, however, there would be something amusing, or exceptionally beautiful. There was a long scroll depicting Nine Dragons, which looked like a storyboard for a Pixar film - the dragons sending mischievous (to my eyes) sideways glances as they flew around (the link for the exhibition has a lovely animation of dragons, if you click on the main banner at the top). Another silk scroll of Prosperous Suzhou, which showed a whole town in minute and exquisite detail, and that took the artists three years to complete, really needed hours of scrutiny through a magnifying glass to admire the rigging on the boats, the buildings, the hundreds of people, or the millimetre high birds and animals. Just beautiful...

Later, after more tea, we headed off to see the Club to Catwalk exhibition, of clothes from the 1980s. Of course, as a new art school graduate back then, and living in London, this is exactly how I looked... Uh. Not.

Of course we had a few folk around that made the effort, but with not much money, and not having a lycra body, I'm afraid it was jeans, tee shirts, and baggy checked shirts all the way for me...

There are a few items of clothing that I wish I'd held on to, tho', like the bright blue jumpsuit, and the pink, over-sized, Boy George-style cotton coat. Not to wear them, but as relics of a bygone age - and I know a few young things who might have enjoyed trying them on!

The art school fashion shows (straddling the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s) were always fun - I particularly remember a dress made entirely of looped rubber bands, for instance. The best dress ever, tho', was one based on this style of dress from the mid-18thC, but with extraordinarily wide panniers.

The model slowly sidled on (for what seemed an age) until the dress filled the entire width of the stage. No hope of turning, or advancing down the catwalk - all she could do was take a bow (to uproarious applause) and then sidle off again. Brilliant. Hysterical!

A lovely day, with a lovely niece. Great fun. Thank you! xx

Remember, remember, the 5th of November...

Nobody seems to mention Guy Fawkes by name anymore - I haven't seen any children in the street huddled round a heap of badly stuffed clothes, calling out 'Penny for the guy?', for years, and I'm not aware of any bonfires round here, let alone one with a 'Guy' plonked on top. For the young 'uns it is simply 'Fireworks night', although the fireworks are never confined to just one night. When we lived in London there were weeks of fireworks late into the night, for Guy Fawkes night, and for Diwali, the Hindu festival of light.

Here, the town's fireworks display was held on Sunday, so we stood at the window and watched from the comfort (and warmth) of home - all the noise and light, but maybe lacking a bit in atmosphere! We went to our friends next door on November 5, for sparklers and fireworks - perhaps not quite as spectacular, but more like the 'real thing'. When I was young a Catherine Wheel would be pinned to the coal-cellar door, and rockets and roman candles lit, one by one, in the back garden - and the fireworks were kept, for safety, in a tin box. These days one fuse sets off a whole firework display in your back garden - over in moments, but perhaps with less of an element of danger. Nice, tho'!