Monday, 13 August 2018

At the RWA

This month the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) has put on an exhibition to celebrate Robert Hurdles' impressive one hundred years of life. On Saturday, before the private view, there was an in conversation session with the artist, in the form of a series of questions and answers.
Robert has an enviable memory and has led a long and interesting life, encompassing such times as being at first a conscientious objector at the start of WW2 before changing his position and becoming part of the bomb disposal unit. Having experienced such a turbulent period of history it's interesting to consider the serenity and beauty of his large, mature paintings. He described the development of his painting, his technique and influences. His description of the necessity of sheeting up his workroom and the clothes he wore to protect himself from the effects of his method of splatter painting caused some amusement!
He has only recently stopped painting. In answering a question about this he replied, "I paint with my eyes." I'm sure that all the audience had the same thought as me - I hope that I'll be as lively as Robert if I make it to one hundred years old!
Robert and Himself taught together at the art school and they always have plenty to reminisce about.

Friday, 10 August 2018

From one to one hundred.

Just the other week we were celebrating the first birthday of our grandson, but yesterday our invitation was to a mad hatter's tea party to celebrate a one hundredth birthday.
There were many cards, including one from the queen.
Photos of the birthday boy at different stages in his long life.
The sun shone
and we could wander around the garden.
Goldney House is situated on Clifton Hill in Bristol. In the late seventeenth century Thomas Goldney the second,  the son of a successful Quaker grocer, leased a house and garden in Clifton, which was then a small village separate from the city. He developed the house and gardens and created a grotto which he decorated with shells, quartz and a rock crystal known as 'Bristol diamonds'. There was no chance to look inside the grotto, it was securely locked.
The handsome red sandstone tower was built in 1764 to house the steam engine supplying water to the grotto.

The property passed through various members of the family and in 1864 was bought by Lewis Fry, a member of the famous Quaker chocolate manufacturing family who remodelled the house and the pleasure grounds.

The chocolate birthday cake tasted just as good as it looked!
The tea party was served in the orangery with heart-warming speeches from family and friends, 

and music.
What a perfect way to celebrate one hundred years!

Monday, 6 August 2018


All the family were home at the weekend to celebrate our grandson's first birthday. His auntie brought a piƱata that was almost as big as the birthday boy.
We hung it on the walnut tree.

The so-called adults had a great time attacking it with sticks!

His mummy made the birthday cake

and auntie helped to blow out the candle.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Visible Monday in the summer.

We are experiencing a 'proper' summer here in Blighty, by which I mean hot and dry. Very hot and very dry! Comfortable dresses are the order of the day and this sleeveless red dress from Hobbs just fits the bill. I wore it to the recent local music festival so that my husband couldn't lose sight of me in the crowd but so many other women were wearing cheerful red dresses, with white sunhat like mine, that he couldn't find me!
There were all manner of dress styles at the festival  but the dress that I liked the most was this sand-coloured linen. I thought the wearer looked so elegant and well co-ordinated in her straw hat and lovely green slides.
"It's from Zara," she told me.
3/4 sleeves, a good length of skirt, a reasonable price. It's even got pockets. I had to buy it!
(Although, note to self, in future wear a bra that stops me looking like a sack of potatoes.)
Worn here with a chunky pink necklace, Manolo Blahnik sandals that are wonderfully comfortable, (although the leather soles can be treacherous on the wrong surface), and my much-loved and used Prada handbag. Linking up with Patti for her Visible Monday.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Book club.

Our book club met at the weekend to discuss

It's a serious book with a very glum ending and we didn't do it justice. The discussion was somewhat highjacked by the social scientist lecturers amongst us and many interesting aspects of the novel were not properly considered. But no one was really in the mood for a serious, glum book because the weather was glorious and the young England football team had just won their game.  We all felt more like celebrating. Himself wore his waistcoat in an homage to Gareth Southgate. (It amuses and pleases me that sales of waistcoats have soared. I think that men look great in them, very civilised!)

We sat outside as the sun went down.

There was a wonderful afterglow.
Candles were lit
and citronella candles added
 when the midges started to bite our ankles!
Sharing our evening sky with Friday Skywatch.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Friday Skywatch - in the air.

Last weekend many children were busy with their own entertainment while the adults ate and drank and listened to the band at the local music festival.  Young girls swung and somersaulted in the early evening air, fleet of foot,  their hair flying. They reminded me of my childhood, quite a bit of it spent upside-down, walking on my hands, doing cartwheels, swinging endlessly from the big tree at the top of the orchard. (My brother had a den in it's branches but it was out-of bounds for me, his nuisance little sister.) How I would have loved to have been tied into this contraption of giant rubber bands and been able to leap and swing high into the air!

The boys needed no equipment other than their water bottles which they frequently replenished. Then it was back into the deer park to continue a water battle. It was hot enough for them not to care whether or not they got soaked!
Linking up with Friday Skywatch
to see skies from all around the world.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Factor 50 on our 4th of July!

The 4th of July marks the birthday of our friend, Janet, and this year was her big 'O'. She's a redhead and the present spell of very un-British weather doesn't go well with her porcelain skin. She went out and bought some factor 50 sunscreen in preparation for a celebratory picnic on the beach and a good dog walk. They have just become the owners of two re-homed Irish terriers, Maeve and Murphy, another pair of redheads. One of her birthday presents was portraits of the dogs made in felt.

We all piled into the camper van and set off for a place where we could drive onto the beach and walk the dogs to our heart's content. The grass verges along our route were bleached, we have been experiencing high temperatures and no rain for weeks. But what was that? Spots on the windscreen! No one in Blighty usually travels far without a mac or a brolly, but in just a few unaccustomed weeks of heat we'd forgotten a lifetime of habit. "It always rains on my birthday" announced Janet. Now she tells us!
We parked on a deserted beach as the rain fell. Summer in England, how many times from childhood 'til now have we enjoyed times like this. We were in tucks of laughter.
Time to crack open the champagne.
Maeve wants to know if the rain is going to stop so that she can come out from under the table.
The picnic tastes great.
"I'm not seventy yet," says the birthday girl.
Then, just to be absolutely ridiculous, an ice-cream van comes driving along the beach. The driver has newly arrived from South Africa and he must think that we're mad. Ice creams to go with our strawberries and birthday cake. We give him a slice.

The rain will stop soon.

And it did!

We went to an Italian restaurant for our evening meal.
(But it hadn't rained a drop at home.)