Monday, 30 July 2012

Sunday 29th July 2012...lovely lovely summer days...

It's great at this time of year (and cheap!) to be able to pick flowers from the garden..the buddleia smells lovely when you walk in the room and the hydrangeas are so pretty.. 

Hiya to anyone looking in ..welcome to my rabbiting on! Please feel free to say hello or leave a comment at the bottom of the post..I'd love to know who is reading this.
So,as you can see from the photos above,I've been in the garden today. My greenhouse is where I go to sit with a mug of tea and possibly a book or magazine when I need to "escape" and be alone for a while.I grow tomatoes in there in the summer and over-winter some potted plants there.Today I picked my first tomatoes..little Sungold ones.Warmed by the sun they are just like healthy sweeties,only nicer! I was slow getting my plants sorted this year because of my college course so the tomatoes are just ripening now. I also pulled up some of my potatoes which I've been growing in potato bags (cheap ones from Poundland filled with potting compost mixed with home-made compost).I had a bit of a I pulled up the stalks from the potato plants a big frog leapt out..I don't think it was a toad as it looked too pretty.I am ashamed to say I screamed!
 On Wednesday I went to RSPB Conwy ,which is a nature reserve on the banks of the River Conwy,just a little inland from the sea estuary near Llandudno. My daughter and I popped over to see the farmers' market initially..there weren't many stalls but we did meet a young man from Llanberis selling raw cacoa beans (nibs?) and raw chocolate which he makes from cacoa butter, cacao powder, agave nectar and himalayan pink salt.We bought some of each.I have to say the chocolate was the most wonderful intense chocolately taste..just sniffing it gives you a high! Yummy.The raw cocao nibs I'm not so sure about..they taste like a sort of nutty plain cocoa,not sweet at all and I'm not sure what to do with them apart from nibble them.

Then we went along the boardwalks by the river.It would be great for wheelchair-users.The reeds reminded Phoebe of the film "Signs" any minute we expected to see aliens peering round the reeds! There is a good bird hide (above,left) at a perfect viewing advantage point.We only saw herons and mallards but if you know what to look for you might see shelducks, wigeon, lapwings, goldeneyes, little grebes, oystercatchers and Canada geese.They also had lovely wildflowers and a great "bug hotel"(above,right) for over-wintering insects.
It was all a little rushed however,for we were on a mission..Phoebe goes to Rome next week,lucky devil! We dashed in to Llandudno on a hunt for sandals for her to walk round a hot city.."comfy but stylish" sounds an easy task but you don't know my daughter! Chips with lots of vinegar provided the necessary reward after the horrors of shoe-shopping..not healthy but very comforting ;-)

Monday, 23 July 2012

Monday 23rd July 2012

I think I may be turning into an oldster at last. My idea of fun these days is a garden show! On Saturday I went with my daughter Sophie to Tatton Park Show in Cheshire.I nearly didn't go,being almost put off by the horrific entrance fee of £28 per person but I knew I'd be sorry if I missed it and had to wait another whole year.What did I see?First of all a huge tent full of stands with displays of every flower you could wish to see..some immaculately arranged, some almost like a mini wildflower meadow.It was impossible to have a favourite as nearly all the stands had a wow factor.Here are a few pics:

After the big marquee I had some lunch and a sit-down watching some fab musicians..there was an Afro-caribbean group which included an Irish saxaphone player and another man playing an instrument I'd never seen before-an interesting mix.Honestly,if I hadn't been so footsore I'd have been tempted to get up and dance-it was the sort of music that made it hard to keep still-though I think my daughter might have cringed!



Later we wandered around the show gardens.Some were fun gardens made by primary schools, some had a political theme and some were just a showcase for the garden designers.
There were also plant sellers and nurseries, food speciality stalls and a big County Living marquee selling clothing, jewellery, art, household luxury items etc.The food stalls were giving away loads of samples..I tried raspberry gin, fudge, olives, chutneys.. Last of the big spenders,I bought some rose and violet creams for my daughter and two pots of chutney! I also bought a packet of tomato seeds called "Red Currant" for next spring which I'm hoping will produce sprays of tiny sweet tomatoes..the plant on the stand looked unusual and I like to experiment with tomatoes. I don't think I had a favourite show garden but here are a few examples.After leaving Tatton and getting lost (my obligatory end to EVERY trip!) we got home at 8 o' clock, absolutely shattered..but I'm so glad I went :-)

Oops, nearly forgot to mention a rather wonderful 1920's-style jazz band who did a funny routine with hats as well as making some very good music.Great fun:

it's still Sunday btw...

I'm having trouble making this template do exactly what I want it to so instead of struggling with adding to the post below I'm re-starting here..
ANYWAY.. we left the Victoria & Albert museum and, after a quick look round Harrods Food Hall (foodie heaven btw), we walked through a part of Hyde Park then into Green Park (near Buckingham Palace) where we came upon a newly-unveiled memorial to British and allied pilots who lost their lives in the second world war. It was particularly poignant for me as a young man I had known when he was a baby and then as a young boy lost his life on July 3rd.His mother and I had taken our babies to a support group in each other's houses and he had also lived in my road and went to the local village school. He was a trainee fighter pilot in the RAF and was flying a tornado jet in Scotland when it collided with another jet. The day after I took this picture his funeral was held at Bangor Cathedral.Flight Lieutenant Hywel Poole was a lovely caring young man and his mother Denise,father Mike and brother Owen must be having the worst time of their lives right now. So sad. He was 28 years old.

Later we walked on along Piccadily to the Royal academy Summer Exhibition. I have been going to this exhibition for many years.Sadly you can't take photos but I did take this picture below of the sculpture in the courtyard outside.It is called "From Landscape To Portrait" and was made by Chris Wilkinson RA out of "Engineered timber,stainless steel and concrete". I'm not entirely convinced it was worth the money and expense but that's just sure there are others who just love it!

 The exhibition was a really diverse mixture of paintings and sculpture..some of it was beautiful and some of it was so dire you wonder who on earth let it in! As usual there was some over-priced awful stuff from Tracey Emin..I mean, she had written a word (spelt correctly for once)and made a hastily-scrawled mess underneath and it was for sale at something like £165,000!!!
I mean, really?? (there were no red "sold" stickers by that particular piece!) 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sunday 22nd July 2012

On the second day of my trip to London I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum..crossing London is no fun if you're a bit too nervous to use the underground! It meant a walk to Euston then a wait for a bus which then took over half an hour and then another walk..phew. We saw some wonderful old clothes,mainly women's dresses, some hundreds of years old but all immaculately preserved. Here is a selection of those we saw:

There is a nice garden in the centre of the museum..with VERY expensive food and drinks! They have some seats that kids were spinning round and round on, like spinning daughter had to have a go..I wasn't so foolish!

Above the doorway outside there was a canopy made from upturned traffic cones painted white..inside the foyer there was a sculpture made from twisted coloured plastic shapes..both were an interesting contrast to the classical architecture of the building..

Friday, 20 July 2012

Friday 20th July 2012

Well, I lived to tell the tale! My visit to London is over for another year sadly.. it all began a bit strangely. My daughter Phoebe and I caught an early train to London's Euston station and just about two minutes after alighting we saw two police officers (a man and a woman) both heavily armed,not only with small pistols in holsters and the other usual paraphenalia but scarily each holding massive police rifles. They were walking about looking really serious and it did make us feel very anxious..I guess we're not used to seeing real guns. In fact there was a bigger police presence than I have ever seen before in London, even mounted police. It's all because of the Olympic Games of course. 
As we walked down towards our hotel near Bloomsbury square we passed the memorial plaque at Tavistock Square marking the spot where thirteen people were killed by a bomb on a bus on July 7th 2007... a timely reminder of why the police are being so vigilant. 

So, next thing we did, after checking into our hotel, was walk down to Trafalger Square and visit the National Portrait Gallery for the B.P.Portrait Exhibition. I have been going to this exhibition for about thirteen years and always feel inspired.There were some absolutely wonderful portraits.I particularly loved the winner, called "Auntie", by Aleah Chapin.

 Aleah says:"The fact that she has known me since birth is extremely important.Her body is a map of her journey through life.In her,I see the personification of strength through an unguarded and accepting presence".

I also loved this portrait which won third prize.It is Alan Coulson's portrait of his friend Richie Culver.

I really liked two other paintings.One was a great self-portrait by Peter Goodfellow. It was called "All dressed up for Mam and Dad"; he was holding the coat open to reveal family photos of his parents to whom he says he owes everything. That was the painting I voted for in the public vote.

This picture below is the final one that I will remember with fondness..a little girl painted by her mother..."Rosie and Pumpkin" by Vanessa Lubach:

After the portrait exhibition we popped next door to the National Gallery to say hello to picture in the world! It's amazing to think it was painted looks like it was painted yesterday and is so full of life. This blurry snap from my phone gives you a sense of the scale of the picture...see my blog below for 10th July for a proper picture.

On the way back to the hotel we went into Forbidden Planet to look for some Batman "stuff" for Phoebe's boyfriend.I sat watching science fiction geeks in their nirvana..there must have been every bit of comic book hero merchandise ever made. I took a quick snap on my phone of this lifesize Spiderman figure..he looked quite real:

Next day was great..we visited the Victoria & Albert Museum,Harrods foodhall, the Royal Academy Summer exhibition and more...I'm tired now so will get back to this another day.. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sunday 15th July 2012

Cherries are my favourite fruit, along with blueberries.Usually they are SO expensive that there are whole summers when I haven't had any at all..the price of cherries in Waitrose made my jaw drop the other week.BUT, today I found some for £1 a punnet so I bought four..a treat for the hours of Tesco & Argos shopping (not all for me I hasten to add-that would be selfish.Spread the cherry love I say!) They always bring back childhood memories of hanging them by their stems as earrings on myself and my little sister. Looking for a bowl to put them in I found the matching sugar bowl to my teapot at the back of the cupboard..well, I think it's a sugar pot although it's a little big. 
                                  I completely forgot I had set is now complete! 

Whilst out I also called into The Range..rows and rows of (sometimes quite unnecessary) "shabby chic" home stuff; mirrors, candles plus every sort of candle-holder you can imagine, bedding, cushions, cushions and more cushions. However,it does have quite a big art and craft section which is why I go for a wander round.Today I found some wool for my daughter.Over the past few days I've been teaching her to knit..she refused to learn when she was little but she really likes it now.She's managed to knit garter stitch, stocking stitch, basket stitch, rib and honeycomb slip stitch on a sample piece. I think she's ready to knit something "proper" now and by chance today I found this lovely pure wool in heathery colours, amongst all the baby pink and lemon acrylic and novelty bobbly stuff.It would make a great scarf and it's sooo soft...

I won't be around for three the morning I'm going to London with one of my daughters to see some art mentioned before I think. I will tell all about it when I get back. I'm hoping the rest of the family left at home remember to feed the fish and tortoise..and water my tomato plants in the greenhouse..the rain should see to the rest of the garden.
   Ciao for now. Hope you all have a good week wherever you are.xx