Monday, 21 August 2017

At the weekend

We had various bits of shopping to do; a glass window panel to collect that is to replace one that has become fogged and some red paint for the highchair that Himself is sprucing up ready for the new occupant. These are the sort of small faffing-about tasks that are satisfying once they have been completed. We've discovered that an early start on Saturday morning is good because the roads and car parks are quiet, the weekday workers are still at home enjoying a bit of a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast.
The highchair is Swedish and it's first occupier is now forty-six years old.  Her brother and her own children have also put it to good use over the years - some repairs were necessary! But it is a great design, it functions as a highchair
and also, by folding the hinges, as a play table.
With the glass and paint collected we were heading for home when posters reminded me that Carter's steam fair had been in town for several weeks and this was the last weekend before they packed up and moved on. They had set up camp in the park.
All was quiet, many of the rides were in covers,
the fairground workers asleep in their smart, liveried caravans.

Everything strangely silent,

the chair-o-plane seats barely moving  in the breeze.
Only the flags were flying.

The artwork fascinates me.

These designs must be passed on from generation to generation.
And what small child wouldn't want to ride in one of these cars!

It was quite ghostly to wander around on my own in the silence. It will have been very different at night with the lights and noise and the steam fair music!

Monday, 14 August 2017

London exhibitions.

The Hokusai show at the British Museum finished yesterday and my daughter managed to have a look around in the crush of many others. The exhibition had been fully booked almost from the start. I went to London with a friend the other week in the hopes of picking up returned tickets. We queued for a while to get through security. The museum was crammed with people. No success. We were told to come back first thing in the morning. But London has many delights (not least the opportunity for a little retail therapy!) and two other exhibitions were on our to do list. We caught the train to Dulwich to see the exhibition of Sargent watercolours at the Picture Gallery.
We had timed tickets, the exhibition was busy, but it wasn't too annoyingly so, although those people wearing headsets display little viewing etiquette, plonking themselves before a painting and blocking the view for a considerable length of time. 
It is lovely to see a show of work created solely for the artists own pleasure and not for the demands of a client and interesting to compare this work with his famous portraits.  There was a small photo of Sargent painting beneath an umbrella providing necessary shade. In the absence of other support the umbrella is tied firmly to his leg! I really like the way gallery organisers now include additional items such as photos and quotes to enhance the viewing experience. Many of the paintings were made while out with friends on painting days and holidays and they have a wonderfully relaxed and fluid quality. I would have loved to have been in their company!
The food at the Dulwich cafe is always good and we were lucky to get a table and enjoy a tasty lunch before having a wander round the permanent exhibition.
The following day we went to the National Portrait Gallery, one of my favourite places.
Every year I visit this gallery to see the annual BP portrait exhibition. It fascinates me. The level of skill is impressive. I'm wary of skill just on its own account so some of the large examples of photorealism left me cold. But in this big show there was plenty to enjoy and admire.
Then we did a bit of retail therapy and got back home late, but happy!

Saturday, 5 August 2017

A most special day

Fifty years ago when traveling in our secondhand Morris Minor car to a friend's wedding, where I was to be the matron of honour, we passed a junk shop. On the forecourt there was an old wooden rocking chair. I had to have it! It cost four pounds ten shillings. (The weekly rental of our flat at that time was three pounds.) The chair was too awkward a shape to fit inside the car, we had no roof rack and it took a while for us to rope it securely enough to the top of the car. When we arrived at my friend's house her mother was in a panic, she had been thinking that I wasn't going to turn up in spite of being assured by her daughter that I would eventually arrive.(For good reason I was known by my father as, 'Last Minute Liz.')
The chair proved to be a good buy, the perfect place to sit and rock my infants gently to sleep.
This week we put the chair into our car, fitting easily now, and gave it to our younger daughter. Once again it is rocking an infant to sleep.
Our first grandchild
born on my father's birthdate, which is Yorkshire Day.