Thursday, 25 July 2013

Beach hut cards...

Thursday 25th July 2012

Just finished another order for greetings are some of them before they go into their cellophane packets..each one has its own little sprig of Anglesey seaweed.
Speaking of Anglesey, one of my favourite places is the headland near Rhosneigr called Barclodiad Y Gawres which is the name of the neolithic burial chamber there. We always go up there when we can to watch sunsets in the summer..nothing as special as watching the sun go down over the sea.Here are some pics (including my daughter Sophie)..

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Lovely trip to London Galleries

Lovely London gallery trip ...

Saturday July 20th 2013

It was time for my annual trip to London a few days ago.I know, millions live in or near London and it's no big deal to them but for me living on Anglesey it's a rare treat. I have been going there,staying for a couple of nights, every summer for about thirteen years with one or both of my daughters..mainly to see the B.P. Portrait Exhibition (at the National Portrait Gallery) and also the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition (see pic above). Annoyingly our trip coincided with the arrival of hot weather and I knew it would be uncomfortably boiling, especially at night in a stuffy hotel room and that we'd spend a fortune on cold drinks. Despite all this we had a fab time. 
The B.P.Portrait exhibition always enthralls and inspires me and some of the paintings are exquisite..often telling a story or expressing emotions, state of mind or relationship between sitter and artist and revealing much more than a photograph could. Of course there are always a couple of pictures that leave you thinking "I could do better than that!"..but isn't that maybe a good thing? Too much wonderful stuff can inhibit you as you think there's no point even trying,you'll never be that good!
My daughter and I both chose the same painting as our favourite..just found it on t'internet,yeah! It's "Drummond Money-Coutts -The Magician"by Agnes Toth. The painting of the skin and the blue fabric was gorgeous..

Sadly I couldn't take photos in the art galleries but I did manage to see (and photograph) lots of other stuff.
On our way to the exhibition my daughter and I had meandered into Chinatown.SUCH a colourful place..we even managed to get lost for a short while.

      These waving cats reminded me of one the episodes in this year's series of The Apprentice!

                     No idea what you would do with these fruits..they look like sea anemones!

Phoebe loved one of the dresses,like the pink one below but in turquoise satin..we asked if there was a changing room.."Oh yes" the lady reassured us..then proceeded to drag a sheet over a corner of her stall! My daughter is behind that sheet, trying to retain her dignity! :

After the gallery we had an overpriced meal in a nearby cafe-restaurant..a dish of penne (pasta) drizzled in garlicky oil which annoyingly I could have made myself for less than 1/10th of the price! BUT the evening was redeemed by going to see the new film of The Great Gatsby....oh, the joy of a Baz Luhrmann film! We loved the colour, the surreal sets, the dance routines, the clothes...not so impressed by the actors though;the girl who played Daisy wasn't charismatic or special enough for the part and Leonardo Di Caprio was just being himself as we know him from several films.However, the actor Tobey Maquire was made for the part of Nick.
I always worry about terrorist attacks or even protest rallies when going to London..always feel slightly on my guard, as in any big city, especially at night.However, this was the only form of protest we came across and if I hadn't been so rushed I think I might even have joined them for an hour!!

Next day we got over to Piccadilly to the Royal Academy for the famous Summer Exhibition. Lots to see and little to disparage..a high standard this year I thought.It's an exhibition which is open to the public to enter and only a percentage get through the selection process and make it into the display.
I wish I could show you some of the paintings or sculptures but at least I have this photo of the lovely entrance gate (one of a pair at the entrance to the courtyard)..

In the yard of St James's Church on Piccadilly there always seems to be an antiques/craft market. I spotted these lovely metal stamps and colourful dishes..

We dared ourselves to go into the posh "Queen's grocer" Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly..reminded us of Harrod's foodhall last visit. Some delicious nougats, turkish delight and crystalised fruit were especially tempting (we resisted on seeing the prices!)...

Walking towards the National gallery we came across this man playing wonderful music on glasses of water. Of course we had to tip him.Bless, he was an oasis of calm in a frantically busy day.I could have watched him for an hour but Covent Garden was calling us...

Covent Garden was buzzing, as usual..lots of street entertainers, musicians, crafts...and oooh - a Moomin shop!!

                                                                            Did we buy anything?? Well, Phoebe bought some Moomin postcards and I bought a big block of henna from Lush for my other daughter..and what a weight that was to carry round all day!! We spent so much on food and drinks and entrance fees,cinema and so on and we were keeping some back for visiting the zoo at Regent's Park the next day. My one indulgence in London though is to always treat myself to something from Blade Rubber..I always send my daughter off for an hour so I can have some guilty spending on craft stuff I don't really need but which make me happy happy! 

          Just near the British Museum, a whole row of "Boris bikes"..and not one taker...

Did I mention we went into the British Museum? Well, no visit to london would be the same without it...I love every bit of it, including the roof!!

This ship (c.1585) in the museum is an automaton which originally moved across the table, played music and set off small cannon to announce the beginning of banquets at court..

                                                       Rolling ball clock (c.1820)...

                                                        Isle of Lewis chessmen... 

                                                              Lovely old coins...

On our final day we were flagging a bit but I had promised the zoo so off we walked...and walked...and walked. By the time we'd done the zoo, walked back to the hotel for our cases, walked to Euston and got ourselves onto the train home (which incidentally had broken air-con as well as stinky toilets,thanks Mr Branson) we were footsore and exhausted. Would we do it all again tomorrow?? Course we would!!
                                                    Some pics from Regent's Park Zoo...

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Lovely old sewing machines

Wednesday 3rd July 2013

On any visit to the Trafford Centre near Manchester I always make a beeline for All Saints clothing, NOT for the fashionable clothes (which I doubt go up to my size) but for the wonderful display of sewing machines in the window and also dotted around the store. I love the way the shop celebrates Trafford Park's role as the birthplace of the industrial revolution and Manchester's role in the clothing industry in particular. 

Although my mother's Singer machine was not as old as these it did have a treadle and it was scary as a child learning to co-ordinate sewing and using your feet! Old Singers are SO beautiful.

This is also the same piece of earth where my great great grandfather was blacksmith for Lord De Trafford before the estate was developed into Trafford Park and later housed the Trafford Centre..he lived a few hundred yards away on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal in a cottage with his wife Hannah and their children.I wonder what they would make of it all now.