Monday, 28 September 2009

Harvest Festival

Another busy week - but the good news is that I have finished the commission and here it is -
I do hope my 'client' is pleased with it. I am sorry about the conservatory floor - I should have cropped the photo, but I am in a hurry as usual. I am really pleased that it is done and now I can move on.
On Friday I did another stewarding stint at the ERTF exhibition at The Shop in Jesus Lane. It was a lovely day and we had quite a lot of visitors who were all very appreciative - I think it has been a great success for a first venture. When it was my turn for a break I went in to Cambridge market and bought flowers for the Harvest Festival and then spent all of Saturday morning arranging them. There is always a lovely atmosphere in the church at Festival time with the flower rota ladies bustling about decorating the widowsills, the font, the organ - in fact, anywhere some flowers or a bale of hay can be put! It was my job to do the altar and I thought we would have some nice cheerful sunflowers
I liked the little row at the bottom, I thought they looked funny. They are listening to Pauline playing the organ.....

The grapes are from our pergola and there were grapes on the altar as well together with a loaf of bread. The church mice are going to have a real feast this weekend. Then I did the windowsills in the porch, one either side.

On Sunday morning George and I went to church for the Harvest Festival service and we 'ploughed the fields and scattered' with great gusto. The sidesmen forgot to turn up for duty so, as we are always early in church living, as we do, just across the road, we stepped in to fill the breach. It is a task I enjoy doing, standing at the door and handing out the books you get to greet and speak to everyone who comes in. I love to think that people have been attending All Saints for nine centuries, surely all that history must be locked in the stones?

After lunch (in the garden again, it was a glorious day) neighbour Brenda and I went to the Art Exhibition at St Peter and St Paul where her husband (the other George) was exhibiting along with Anthony Green and Mary Cozens-Walker - how much better can it get? It was a very good exhibition and, as I said to Gina, I am sure that they have made a nice lot of money for the church. We know only too well that these mediaeval buildings are horrendously expensive to keep going. Actually, I seem to have spent most of the weekend in church ! Then Brenda and George came in for supper which we ate in the conservatory because everywhere else was in a mess, what a good weekend.

So, today we had a MESCH meeting to discuss the forthcoming exhibition at Art Van Go in Knebworth - only two weeks away now. It is a retrospective exhibition and we were sorting out which pieces we would show, together with some new work. We were also making plans for Cottenham in February - isn't it exciting! Marian Murphy made us a delicious lunch, I took a salad and Liz a pudding so it was quite a jolly meeting. It was lovely to rediscover some of the delightful work the group has done in the past, we had forgotten how clever we were! And today senior grandson William started proper work at Birmingham, with Freshers Week behind him. He has joined the University Brass Band (he must have taken his euphonium up with him - DD1 will be pleased to get it out of the house!) and the canoe club. There are five lads in the flat and apparently Will has undertaken to do the cooking........

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Fishy business

We have had another super weekend! On Saturday we went to Burloes where the studios were Open and we met and talked to lots of artists and admired their work. Came home and were dragged in through the gate in the fence to our lovely neighbours for a drink. Well, one bottle of bubbly became two and then it was what have we got to eat? I dashed back and got some turkey escalopes which were marinading and a couple of courgettes, mushrooms and creme fraiche. Brenda had got sea bass and squid and I remembered I had blackberry & apple in the fridge so dashed back for that. So we had a splendid impromptu feast and a lot of laughter, these times are always the best.
Then today DD2 and lovely Dutch Son in Law came to pick us up and we drove to The Company Shed at Mersea. When we were in Cornwall in June DD2 bought some wool to make a scarf and every time I get in their car the scarf is mysteriously sitting there waiting for me - it does not grow at all in between my efforts, I just hope they take us out often enough for me to finish it before winter sets in. It was a gorgeous day for the drive down, DD2 had taken a cool bag with wine, and French bread & butter - we sat outside in the sunshine drinking until our table became free and then we had
Well that was for me - DD2 had the same and we also had scallops & bacon and king prawns.
The men had eels and smoked salmon and all sorts of other fishy things. Finger lickin' good. The place is very basic but the fish is DIVINE and the atmosphere great.

No table napkins, but a kitchen roll on the table which
as you can imagine came in very handy. These were more crabs waiting to go into the shop. Yummy. After stuffing ourselves until we thought we might grow fins, we took a little walk along by the sea and DD2 treated us to an icecream - then I really felt I was on holiday! The sun was

shining but the sky was wonderful - what sort of painting would this make!

I think there was some talk here of buying the old hulk and doing it up! George would be the Captain of course and SiL who was in the Dutch Navy would be Chief Petty Officer - DD2 would be The Organiser and entertainments officer and I could see me ending up in the galley doing the cooking so I put a stop to any ideas of becoming boat people. I notice how badly George needs a haircut - it is a good job the lovely Gary is coming on Wednesday to cut our hair!
So thank you for a lovely day trip to the seaside - it is great when your children take you on an outing - or is it just that she wants the scarf finished, I wonder?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Ladies who lunch

What a lovely day I have had! First of all we went to church - George and I were Sidling, I was reading the lesson and George was doing intercessions - but I warned the vicar that I was leaving before his sermon - nothing personal, but I had to go to Jesus (I know it is corny, but the old ones are the best...) I picked up Marian & we drove to Jesus College to attend the ERTF lunch, thank goodness we were allowed to park in the College so that made life easier. We went to The Shop where the exhibition is being held for coffee and cakes
and another chance to look at the work displayed. I was stewarding there on Friday, so I had had a good opportunity to study each piece. It really excellent and very well worth going to visit. Then at 12.30 we all trooped down to Jesus College where we had the added bonus of seeing the Anthony Gormley sculptures, one came across them in the most surprising places and positions! They are very beautiful and strangely moving. We had a champagne reception in the Cloister Court This is Gina and I am terribly sorry but I cannot remember the name of the next member and if it was not so late I would ring Gina and ask her, then Marian, dear Mary Cozens-Walker whose work I greatly admire, me and Lorraine. Ladies Who Lunch! And what a delicious lunch it was - Sorrel, Pea and Lettuce Soup, an enormous amount of chicken with loads of vegetables, Creme Brulee served with a little dish of summer berries, coffee and truffles. And the wine, of course!
And after this feast we had an excellent talk by Michael Brennand Woods in which he spoke about the inspiration for his work and the reasoning and meanings behind various pieces - it was really most interesting and I noticed that everyone stayed wide awake!. I think there were about 30 people present (some husbands, I wish George could have been there) and a really nice atmosphere. No-one seemed to think I was too old!!! Or if they did, they were not rude enough to say so....... (that is a little, private hurt)I do hope that this group will be friendly and supportive , it is so good to get together with other like-minded people and there was a lot of enthusiasm amongst the members.

I told you that we found Gormley pieces in unexpected places and there were several men precariously perched on roof tops! After lunch, Gina, Mary, Marian and I walked round the grounds looking at some of the other sculptures by Anthony Caro and Kiefer Anselm - what a treat. But by 4.30 it was getting quite cold and we called it a day. I may have to be sewn into my vest soon.

Igot back home about 6.30 and dear George poured me a large Campari whilst I told him all about my day. I didn't have to cook for him because he had eaten the left-overs from last night's dinner party - what a star.

Yesterday was good too, we were invited to a lunch party for about 30 people as part of the 50th celebrations of Melbourn Village College, after lunch there was a huge party of ex pupils, members of staff, families and friends - anyone who had had anything to do with the college over the years. I was delighted to meet Arthur and Mary Behenna again - he was the first Warden of the College. They now live in Lincolnshire and Mary remarked that she had read a poem in an Inner Wheel magazine and had recognised my name, which was rather nice. George and I were given a tour of the school by FOUR very enthusiastic young girls, one of whom thought that the Great Fire of London was in 1956! The band played and the sun shone and then there was a dedication of a commemorative stained glass window and then I had to rush home and start cooking!

After dinner we played cards until 1.30 - not bad going for an old 'un, eh?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

My garden

Oh, how I love my garden! What a glorious day it has been, really hot and a clear blue sky. I would not have wanted to be any where else in the world! How fortunate we are. The tall thin apple tree in the fore-

ground is a Ballerina and I originally grew it in a tub, but then I felt so sorry for it that I planted it in the garden and now it is laden with apples, nice rosy red ones. On the right are the blackberries over the arch -
you have to make the most of them because once the devil has ridden over them they all shrivel up and you cannot pick any more! I am fascinated by the nut trees. Today must have been nut dropping day, because I don't think I have ever picked up so many in such a short space of time. These are the ones I picked up after I had put the washing on the line -they were just lying on the grass. Goodness knows how many more are on the ground in the bushes and flower beds.
Then after lunch I did another trawl and look -
I found even more! I was laughing out loud, because as I walked around picking them up, I kept on hearing a soft 'plop' as another cluster hit the ground behind me. I like to take the husks off before I store them, it is so satisfying when they slide out of their covering because it means they are really ripe and there is a good nut inside. I put some under the gate in the fence for Brenda, she has only got a tiny patio garden and likes a visit from the nut fairy, or the blackberry fairy or whatever else I have a surplus of. So yes, it has been a good day although I didn't get any sewing done - it was far too nice to be indoors. Now I am feeling really guilty because I am busy, busy, busy for the next five days and I honestly cannot see me getting anything done before next week - and the Art Van Go exhibition is looming..... I shall be burning the midnight oil, methinks.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Autumn bounty

I was inspired by the sight of Silver Pebble's lovely silver hare to show you mine! Not a precious one (except to me, 'cos DD2 gave it to me for my birthday and she bought it at an Open Studio we visited in Cornwall this year). It is looking surprised because this strong wind which we have at the moment is knocking all the hazelnuts off the trees. I walk round the garden picking them up and by the time I get to the end of the nut trees and turn around, there is another load on the grass. There is a good crop this year. I like to chop a few up and put them in my porage - yummmy - it will soon be porage time again!
George was out lunching with the great and the good again today (he had lunch with Jesus on Tuesday, well, AT Jesus to be precise) and today he was at the grand opening of the David Rayner Cancer Care centre at Scotsdales Nursery. The Duchess of Gloucester did the formal opening and

apparently she spoke to just about everyone present. The land on which the centre is built was given by David Rayner of Scotsdales and it is indeed a lovely building and very well used already.
So I had a solitary lunch with the D.T crossword and this beautiful apple from our cordon trees. It is so pretty, when it is cut the flesh is pink and scented and very sweet. I would have to look up the original planting to tell you what it is called - I should just do that for my own sake. We planted the cordons when we moved here in 1987 and it is only in the last few years that they have been a success.

And here is another picture of our grapes, aren't they pretty?

George is pouring me my 6 o'clock Campari (just a thimbleful, of course) so I had better go and cook him a meal, now he tells me that lunch was just a finger buffet! Poor man. Lamb chops are called for I think, quick and easy.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

August Bank Holiday Monday

Our Bank Holiday Outing .....

Today George and I went with Brenda & George Melionotis (with whom I shared Open Studios) to Buckingham Palace - not, this time, at the Queen's invitation but to see the exhibition of Commonwealth Tours. And very interesting it was too, a tour of the Palace and an exhibition of some of the fabulous dresses worn by Her Majesty on the Royal Tours. What a tiny waist! Well, the Queen that is, not me and Brenda! Then we had lunch in the Bag O' Nails, a pub nearby, allegedly oft frequented by the Duke of Edinburgh and then we drove over to Greenwich. It was a glorious day and the sun was sparkling on the river which was busy-busy with tour boats, river buses and little dinghies. The two Georges spent a lot of time criticising the boatmanship!

We wandered round Greenwich Market admiring all the craft for sale, there were a lot of stalls selling food, especially foreign food which all smelled delicious - there was one little fellow who was doing well for titbits! There were loads of things we nearly bought. We sat and had a pot of tea on the pavement in a busy little street, watching the very cosmopolitan crown stroll by, it wasn't quite the passeggiata of Florence or Venice, but it was very entertaining nevertheless! We missed the Cutty Sark - so sad to see all the covers over the spot where the restoration is taking place after the fire, but one hopes to see it again in all its elegant glory before too long.

There were a number of people on the shingle at the side of the river - hardly a beach but certainly being enjoyed by children and adults and dogs, who were in and out of the water - it was a very hot afternoon. We sat again on the waterfront watching the world go by and speculating about people, who they were, what their lives were like and what their relationships were. We made up some quite scandalous lives for some of them! We were entertained by a young man who was highly inebriated but very articulate and frank about his drinking problem, all brought about because his wife had walked out on him (or perhaps she left BECAUSE of his drinking?). He kept on telling us he was harmless and wouldn't hurt us - he was a very sad case but I think he was just glad to have someone listen to him. He was on a curfew to be home by 8 so goodness knows what he had been up to! Drunk and disorderly, I daresay.

Eventually we decided to make a move and walk back to the car when, looking over the railings, we spotted this below on the beach
We chatted to this young lad who was about 15 or 16, the piece of work was part of his course
work - the pattern being made up of shells, broken glass and BONES! We said we hoped they were not human! but he assured us that he thought they were from animals but he had got a jawbone with teeth and some very recognisable bones, all jetsam which he had salvaged. He was eager for the tide to come in as the destruction of the artwork was all part of the ephemeral nature of the piece. He was very pleased to have our reaction (George M is a teacher and knows all the right things to say.) The boy's younger sister had done a smaller
design nearby and she was hopping about as well. It was so nice to see the river being used and enjoyed. We walked back to the car which was parked near the Trafalgar Pub - built in 1837 on the site of an earlier tavern, it was a haunt of Dickens and Thackeray and many others and is

apparently famous for it's whitebait. What a shame we were all still full up from lunch and tea! The pub stands right on the waterfront and looked so pretty and elegant with the bow windows and little canopies, and folk sitting eating and drinking outside, it was such a happy atmosphere. We got into the car and started to drive home when I realised I had not had an icecream, which would really have made my day and made me feel as though I had been on holiday! When we got home, it was still warm so we lit candles in the garden and sat and had a glass of bubbly to celebrate good friends and a lovely day.