Saturday, 11 June 2011

MESCH at the Museum

The MESCH exhibition opened today at Royston Museum - here are four of us with the Mayor of Royston, Cllr. Robert Inwood.    There is Liz |, Carol (the curator of the museum who has done a brilliant job of hanging our work), me, the Mayor, Margaret and Marian. Sadly, Vanda could not make it.  It is a retrospective exhibition - because we were asked at very short notice to fill a gap in the museum's programme when someone else pulled out.  The Mayor is very keen on art and he stayed for an hour or more - he told me he is having his legs waxed this evening for charity - ouch!

So there is work which was shown at the Gallery in Meldreth last month and some old pieces - we were delighted to be asked to step in and they, in turn, are excited about having textile work on display. Open Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 am. to 4.45 p.m. and Sundays 2pm - 4.45p.m.  There are some very interesting exhibits and, of course, the Royston Tapestry which shows the history of Royston from prehistoric times to the present day and has been done on the lines of the Bayeux Tapestry.
Here is a shot across the room - it is a nice old building, a converted chapel and a very friendly museum too.  I made Carol's day by taking along two pieces of dinosaur dung which I had found in my garden - copralite - and she has added it to the other interesting archaeological finds in the cabinet!   Not a very usual gift.

We have been working hard in the garden and it looks lovely, the rain last night has freshened everything up.  BUT we don't want rain tomorrow - it is our Melbourn Open Gardens Day.   Although our garden is not open this year, we always ask all the garden hosts back to our house at the end of the day to have a drink and have a post mortem on how things have gone.  The lovely Sandra is coming up from Ealing - she is a very keen and knowledgeable gardener and works as a volunteer at Kew.  I've told her to get up here early so that she can do some tweaking in the garden before everyone comes!  We have got 12 gardens open and if it is dry, a lady who has a large collection of antique prams and doll's prams will be displaying them on her lawn.  Details on the Daily Telegraph Website,  1p.m. to 5 p.m. and teas in the hall behind the church.

I'm off to make a sponge cake and some scones!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

R.A. Summer Exhibition

Yesterday George and I went to the private preview of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.  That is George walking away from me - nice little bald patch.  Well, quite big actually.  We went at the invitation of Anthony Green (there - that is my name-dropping done!)   
He and his wife Mary Cozens Walker were there and greeted us warmly (second bit of name dropping) What a charming couple,  they live  near us.  After exchanging news about our daughters (we both have two)   we armed ourselves with a large and healthy Pimms and went round the exhibition.
This is the large gallery where the artists meet their public, Anthony has one picture in here - Summer
Landscape, Autumn Lovers - a lovely title referring to himself & Mary.  He is well known for his oddly shaped paintings and for always including himself and Mary in his pictures.

At the top right is Anthony's very distinctive profile - see what I mean about the unconventional shapes !
This, need I say it, is Tracey Emin.  It is yours for £18,000.   

And this, well I do hope you cannot read it, is only £12,000. I wouldn't photograph the other one. I do wish I could get my head round this.    I happened to express my feelings to an elderly man standing next to me and he replied that he had bought one of her paintings last year!   Ooooops.  
Now this, called 'shopping', is divine and I would happily give it houseroom.  By James  Butler RA that is what I call £12,000 worth of arty
This is another mystery - it is HUGE, just a white canvas with a slash of grey.  OK if you are into minimalism.

I just loved this - I do hope they found something they liked.

This was hilarious, so clever, the dog moved and made snuffling sounds as it rootled in the bin. 'Dog in a Bin'  one of 3 by Simon Brundret £5,800. George liked the legs in the background.   I felt a bit guilty taking photographs but I had not seen a 'no photography' sign and took my cue form the loads of other  people  taking pictures, lots of them with mobile phones so I was not the only one. I didn't see a single piece of textile art, I wonder if I should have a go!!!

The evening before we had been to Rachel Haynes Private View at the Tavern Gallery in Meldreth, just as enjoyable and every picture was a winner, which is more than can be said for the R.A.Sum.Ex which was a real mixture, as usual, of the good, bad and indifferent.  It is a mystery, my next door neighbour has tried for three years running to get a picture in - lovely seascapes and boaty pictures which sell really well.  But just don't make the walls of the RA.

We had a delicious lunch and then  had a walk up Bond Street looking in all the jewellers, well, it is my birthday this month! Ha Ha.  And then down Regent Street remembering old times when we both worked on the first floor of the  Liberty Building.  But it was hot and I had made the mistake of wearing heels so we were only too ready to get on the underground to set off for home.  A nice young man offered me his seat - the grey hairs are not so bad after all!
Lovely to get back to dear old Melbourn, have a large glass of wine and kick off those shoes.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Chelsea Chop

I did a bit of brutal chopping down today.  I had had a pretty frustrating day -   at VERY short notice we heard that there was to be a meeting of officers, councillors, interested parties (us) and the architect to discuss a controversial planning application on the plot next door to us.  We drove, oh, I don't know 15 or 20 miles to Cambourne only to find that the meeting was cancelled!!  Not happy, especially as I had cancelled all the embroiderers coming to my house for a class this afternoon.   Anyway we went to Morrisons and did some useful shopping and as it was nearly two o'clock decided to have lunch there.  I was really hungry and ordered fish and chips which I hardly EVER eat.  It was horrible.  So I came home and went into the garden and got rid of my angst with  some severe pruning.   A Chelsea chop, in fact.  This hanging basket from Scotsdales

was a present from my neighbour BEFORE CHRISTMAS.  All through the winter the little pansies have smiled up at me and even recovered from sitting under 7" of snow.   But now they have to go. 

I have watered the basket well and added some growmore and we shall just see what happens! Will they come again?  They have been replaced with vibrant pinks and reds, luscious.   The clematis are fabulous at the moment, in fact the garden looks terrific

This is 'Campbell College' (George's old school rose) - isn't it beautiful?
And I make no excuses for showing my honeysuckle tree again - only this year the thatched roof has been done and we have the delightful griffon on the roof.   What would I do without my garden to calm me down and soothe my troubled brow! 
 George is at a Rotary meeting so I am going to have a mashed banana, strawberries and Greek yoghurt and then perhaps a chocolate or three.

Monday, 16 May 2011

We need rain !

Desperately.    It has not rained in our village since the beginning of April, all our five water butts are dry and I despair of getting the seeds to grow - watering with the hose just isn't the same.  Today it has been cold and we had a little dampness this morning, but it didn't develop into proper rain.

Last week I went up to town to see the Cult of Beauty exhibition at the V & A - what a feast.    I was somewhat disconcerted to get on to the underground train at Finsbury Park and immediately be offered a seat (which, of course, I graciously accepted).  I hadn't realised I looked so old!  And that was in the morning when I was still fresh as a daisy.    I met the lovely Sandra and we caught up with all the news over coffee before going into the exhibition.  I do enjoy doing this with Sandra because, like me, she reads and examines everything - we really get our money's worth.  I think the V & A  is fantastic, I wish it was closer.  

 On Friday Stephen Cleobury gave a concert in our church with the Cavendish String Quartet and Paul Marion, a very distinguished double bass player.  Both Stephen and Paul live in Melbourn and Stephen practices on our organ so they all most generously gave their services  and we made a nice lot of money for the Supporters of All Saints.  George managed to organise it all despite his three fractured ribs - a legacy from THE wedding party -
Actually, I know it is old hat now because it is all of two weeks ago, but isn't this a great photograph ;
I took it with my camera from the television - not bad, huh?

On Sunday we were at the Sawston Fun Run organised by George's Rotary Club - George's job is to  get behind the microphone so he was still able to do that with his arm in a sling.  I helped with the registration - we've been doing it for years now and with well over a thousand participants it is a busy day but good fun and a terrific atmosphere and we will have made a great deal of money for local charities.  DD2 was there as one of the Sponsors promoting her Jazzercise classes -  just saw her briefly and noticed that she had managed to get some burly young cadets to help her put her gazebo up!  It was SO cold that when we got home about 4 o'clock that  we lit the fire.

Well, I'm off to bed now - I have just started The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal.  I've a Book Group meeting tomorrow when we shall be discussing Case Histories by Kate Atkinson which I thoroughly enjoyed.  And then on Wednesday I shall be stewarding our MESCH exhibition at The Tavern Gallery in Meldreth.  Anyone coming to see us ?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Back again

It is so long since I did a blog that I am almost shy about coming back!   But I have been really busy and life has somehow taken over.  Our  second MESCH exhibition has opened at The Tavern in Meldreth

 I did three pictures with a Flamenco theme.

They are all made from silk and stitched with the machine.  The hands were, of course, the trickiest bits to do - I quite neatly sidestepped the problem of faces !
Here is the cockerel which I started last year and seemed to get stuck on.  However, I managed to get it  finished it for the Tavern and there are some other pieces as well, including an Indian woodgatherer.  Liz Evans is showing some of her lovely work inspired by wrought iron, Margaret Star has gloriously colourful hangings and pictures in dyed cotton, meticulously stitched whilst Marian Murphy has produced 'Mind Maps' mixing colours in the unique way she has.  Vanda Campbell has a restrained minimalist body of work based on the recent exhibition at The Foundling Hospital entitled 'Care Labels'

The Gallery is close by the railway Station at Meldreth and is open from 10 until 4  every day except Mondays and Tuesdays and the MESCH  exhibition is on until 22nd May.  We are now thinking towards the next exhibition in June at Royston Museum!

We had a trip to Holland, not this time staying with Toine & Inki as we had friends with us, so we stayed in a hotel in Valkenburg.  We had glorious weather and a great time - lots of lovely meals and rather too much genever. We stopped off in Bruges on the way back to Calais - it was heaving with Japanese tourists who pushed in front of us, snapped away with their cameras and moved on.  It is such a beautiful little town but I think I prefer to remember it the last time we were there, on a cold and snowy day when it was deserted  Then Easter came with lots of church flowers to do, and the family, followed by the private view at the Tavern - it was just one thing after another.

We watched, spellbound, THE wedding and in the evening had a party for about 40 people.  Thank goodness it was a lovely evening and we were able to spill out into the garden.  There was a cheminiere burning on the terrace and late in the evening George went off to get more wood.  He loaded up a plastic recycling box from the woodpile round the back of the garage and then as he was walking back he tripped and fell, cutting his head and cracking three ribs. Well, we didn't know about the ribs until the middle of the night when he couldn't breathe and we had to send for an ambulance.  It seemed to me an over-dramatic way of getting out of all the clearing  and washing up the next day!   He is wearing a sling, has dramatic bruises and is still in a lot of pain, having to sleep sitting upright in a chair.  I have to put his socks on !!!

So guess who is doing all the gardening and dragging the bins down the drive and going over to the shop first thing in the morning for the newspaper - yes, moi.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Down to work

I have been working !
These are the tail feathers of my cockerel - I must admit I started him ages ago but then ran out of steam.  He is now finished and ready to be framed, as is

The Wood Gatherer.  I am only showing small details because I want to save thm for the forthcoming MESCH exhibition at The Tavern Gallery in Meldreth.  This starts at the end of April and I still have more to do.
Work this one out!   I turned it before I selected it and on the way from there to here it has turned itself round.  Why?  Anyway, it makes it more interesting - it is a sideways-on Flamenco dancer, one  of three, and I have really enjoyed doing them.  It is a very messy process, with loads of scraps of fabric flying about, but very therapeutic and with all the dreadful news coming in from Japan it has been a relief to submerge myself in colour and stitch.
The last time I wrote I mentioned my great, great, great grandfather Lucking Capper Tavener and was  excited beyond measure to receive a comment from a very nice lady  who said she also had him in her family tree!   What an extraordinary coincidence.  I don't know whether she  is a reader of my blog or whether her system is more sophisticated than mine and maybe she has a flag that pops up whenever Lucking Capper Tavener is mentioned in cyberspace!  Do please make contact again - I did send an email.  Maybe I should also mention Titus Angus (born 1760) on my father's side - who knows, I might get my complete family tree sorted.

We had a meeting of our Book Group this afternoon, here at my house as it was my book choice.  It was The Help by Kathryn Stockett - a fabulous book.  I was pleased that we all enjoyed reading it - I first heard it being read on Radio Four as a Book of the Week.  It is all about the black maids in Jackson, Mississippi in the early sixties and is absolutely fascinating.  I have been to Jackson and could imagine the atmosphere.  Next book is Madame Bovary, I last read that when I was about 18, a complete change of time and pace.  I cannot wait to get started.....

Monday, 21 February 2011

There be dragons.....

We've been to London twice in one week!  The first time was to go to the preview of an exhibition by a very old friend of mine - Romi Behrens.  The gallery is in Bury Street just behind the Ritz and it was lovely to see Romi and her family - we normally only see them down in Cornwall.

Here is Romi in the middle with her son Peter - it was so crowded that it was very difficult to get a decent photograph - I took this from the gallery.
Wonderfully colourful and joyous pictures.  I am pleased to say that we do have some of her paintings - she did a marvellous portrait of George some years ago and she painted me recently but she won't part with the picture! Just as well really as it is lifesize and goodness knows where we would put it!   Anyway, I do hope that she does well with her exhibition - there were certainly crowds of people there and we were very happy to be there.
As we walked back to Piccadilly station we passed the windows in Fortnum and Mason - a butterfly

 theme - absolutely delightful.  I haven't been in London at night  for ages and I found it so exhilarating. 
 But, as usual, it was lovely to get back home!   And then again yesterday we were just having our  mid-morning coffee and I suddenly remembered that 'Threads of Feeling' at the Foundling Hospital was going to finish in a week's time.  So we dashed off down to London again - as it was Sunday we could take the car in easily.   It is an amazing exhibition, very moving.  Scraps of fabric dating from 1740 when the Foundling Hospital opened and these small tokens were left with babies to identify them should the mother ever be able to return and claim her child.  There are over 5,000 swatches of fabric - making it the largest collection in the world of 18th century textiles.  The notes left with them are very poignant too.  There are so many untold  tragedies on those pages.

We were very fortunate in that there was an afternoon concert by the Chiltern Trio and so we sat and enjoyed some very charming Brahms and Mozart.  There is an interesting art collection and memorabilia from Hogarth and Handel who were both governors of the hospital - in fact, Handel left the manuscript of The Messiah to them.  And a splendid installation by VV Rouleaux who were one of the sponsors.

I had an ulterior motive in wanting to go there - I have a sneaking feeling that my great, great, great, great grandfather may have been a foundling.  His name ( and that of all the other greats ) was Lucking Capper Tavener.  Not exactly a usual name.   I've traced them all back but at the end of the 1700's the trail stops.  I have it in my mind that it was a 'made up' name such as was given to some of the orphans when they had run out of  ideas.   However, I soon discovered that the archives are not held there and I have to go to the London Metropolital Archives - so that may well be the next trip to the big city.
 In  January I wrote about the little teacosy cottage visible at the far end of our garden which was being re-thatched.  I ventured out into the garden one day last week and lo and behold -

There is a dragon on the roof!  At least, I think it is a dragon although it might be a stork.  I like to think it is a dragon and will keep the witches away.  It looks lovely and, as you can see, there was hardly a cloud in the sky that day.