Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Jumping ship

I'm going SKIing. Not the sort of holiday where I make a poor right hand turn and end up in the cold stuff. I've had enough of cold and wet this year. And it IS cold; frost promised overnight. I'm abandoning the country in search of some sunshine. I'm going to be jumping ship, off for a bit of the high life, Spending the Kids' Inheritance, that's the sort of skiing for me!

I'm packing three bikinis and some sun tan lotion

and in the evenings I may very well dance! (Which is not the same thing as dance very well.)

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Ceramic Sunday, blue and white plates.

An assortment of odd plates sit on my kitchen rack, survivors from old place settings. They are very rarely used, their purpose now being merely decorative. Some of the things on my rack are, quite frankly, plug ugly.

I have several plates of this design. Some have crisply printed transfers while others are rather smudged. I like that about them, it makes me aware of the maker.

The blue on this plate is especially rich and I love the way that it has leached into the white ground.

What a monster this one is! It contains everything but the kitchen sink, mountains, waterfalls, fountains, strange architecture...

But I like this plate best of all because it is one of the few remaining from my maternal grandmother's everyday service. It has been well used, as you can see.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Midnight in Paris

We went to see the new Woody Allen film, 'Midnight in Paris' this week. It starts and ends in the rain. (It also starts and ends with a Sydney Bechet track that I used to play as a teenager. When the music began I whispered to Himself, "this is going to be good!") 
Neither of us had read any reviews and didn't know the story line, definitely an advantage.We both thought that the film was an absolute delight, with some laugh out loud moments.  Owen Wilson, as the central character, Gil, was a welcome substitute for Woody, and his relationship with his father-in-law-to-be was a hoot.
The film is visually beautiful and it has left me thinking that it has been far too long since my last trip to Paris.
On that occasion it was also raining and it seemed appropriate to buy this postcard at the Louvre.

'L'averse' by Louis-Leopold Boilly.  Louvre.

Rain doesn't stop Paris from being magical.

We stayed in a small hotel in the Marais district, wonderfully decorated. We felt as though we were in a Vuillard painting.

What did we do? Apart from shopping, do you mean?

We went to St-Germain-en-Laye to the museum 'Le Prieure', the former home of Maurice Denis., co-founder of the Nabis movement,

where I couldn't resist a postcard of this oil painting. 

'Mon chien' by Wladyslaw Slewinski.

We went to the Cluny museum to marvel at the tapestries.

And on a couple of evenings it was off to the opera house to see some marvellous ballet and to gawp at Chagall's ceiling during the intervals.

But we were always tucked up in bed before midnight!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Ceramic Sunday, milk churn

This commemorative pot, the shape based on a milk churn, serves no useful purpose whatsoever. It belonged to my mother, who was never a member of the Women's Institute but nevertheless acquired this object and kept it on a shelf, gathering dust. It is so ridiculously useless that I am rather fond of it and have it on my kitchen window ledge in the Dales.
Sadly the image of cows contentedly grazing in the fields does not accurately describe what was taking place on our visit last week. 
New farming practices now mean that some of the local farmers keep their livestock in sheds throughout the year. It is viewed with dismay and disapproval by our own farming friends, who regard the action as unnatural and unkind. Last week the talk throughout the dale was of the farmer of contained cattle losing one hundred and forty of his animals, possibly as a result of contaminated fodder. I am sure that such a devastating loss would not have occurred had his cows been outside eating the pasture.

There is a plate rack around the walls of my Dales kitchen, just the place to put my motley collection of  pottery.

This stamp pot is another country inspired ceramic, decorated with running hounds and a contented looking farmer with pipe in his mouth and trusty dog at his feet. You can see how small the pot is, tucked into the corner of the plate rack.

It is clearly stamped and numbered, informing us that the maker was Doulton of Lambeth, England.