Monday, 30 November 2009

The grapes of wrath

Yesterday we had another formal testing of the wine - the Man from Delmonte he say it need yet more sugar! Also, sitting in our hallway is not warm enough so the demijohns are now in our boiler cupboard and by the radiator in George's bathroom. Most sensible people go and buy their wine in an off license or at the supermarket - why, oh why can't I? It looks murky and bubbles in a really sinistser manner but the male elements of this venture are convinced that it is going to be a success and are talking of a production run of about 24 bottles!
Meanwhile the sloe gin and damson vodka (my little bit of alchohol production) is going along nicely with just a daily shake of the bottles.
George and I went to Blackthorpe Barn at Rougham on Saturday - what a lovely selection of excellent craft work. There were so many things I would have liked to buy and I had lots of interesting talks with stallholders. One woman had made some stunning patchwork cushions with appliqued circles and squares, jewel-like and glowing - I wonder if it was one of our fellow bloggers in East Anglia? Unfortunately (or fortunately for her) she was very busy selling and I missed the opportunity to talk to her. It was good to see Jenny, the daughter of my friend Pam A-K , there with her recycled art - I have one of her naive angel pictures from way back when she first started selling. I did some Christmas shopping and we had a very nice afternoon tea, scones and jam - delicious - I have begun to feel that Christmas is on its way.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009


I cannot believe that six weeks have gone by since we set the mesch exhibition up at Art Van Go. On Monday we took the exhibition down - this is just a last glimpse of part of my work bfore we dismantled it. Then we all went and had a cup of coffee to celebrate because we had lots of positive feedback from the people who viewed our first exhibition.

Today I have had SUCH an exciting day - I went up to London to meet my dear friend Sandra at the V & A to see the Maharaja exhibition - fabulous. Absolutely fabulous and beautifully staged. What a feast for the eyes. Of course, we were not allowed to take photographs but it has been well reviewed in the press and I am sure you have seen images of the incredible jewellery, clothes and regalia etc..

We spent two hours examining EVERYTHING - how delicious to go round with someone who thinks in exactly the same way and likes the same things. Sandra does volunteer work at the Royal Academy and at Kew and she paints and draws - a very talented lady.

We were both enchanted by the watercolours, such minute detail and such marvellous repeat patterns - one lady was going round with a magnifying glass and, if you are thinking of going, I would urge you to take one!. The Rolls Royce belongs to friends of ours in the next village, although the label just says Private Collection. Of course, we had to have a look round the shop and there were lots of things we resisted buying, faux diamond rings and dangly earrings, loads of scrumptious books but I did just buy a Christmas present for a friend. Then we had to have a little something to eat and drink after such concentrated looking and then duly fortified we went up to look at the newly refurbished ceramics gallery. Who would imagine I had a knee operation in June?!

These were some 60 birds made in blue Wedgwood jasper, all that are left of an installation of 4,000. When it was first shown, visitors were invited to take a bluebird home with them so there must be over 3,000 lucky people out there with a nice little work of art.

Then we both loved the little donkey boy, the message being the contrast between the soft little boy and the heavy burden of life which he was to have to bear. I am ashamed to say that I cannot tell you the names of the two artists but by this time it was nearly six o'clock and we had to be literally thrown out of the gallery.
Over to the lovely St Pancras (we pretended we were on our way to Paris, because we used to go there a lot together) for a drink and some more chat before we both made our separate ways home, dear George waiting to meet me at the station.
We must do it again soon!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

We had a BIG NIGHT OUT on Wednesday when we went to the Charter Night of George's Rotary Club at Selwyn College. Don't we scrub up well ! It is always a pleasure to dine in the colleges in Cambridge and I think that over the years we have dined in most of them, although Selwyn is one of the newer ones. You can nearly always be sure of a good meal, lovely surroundings and certainly fine wines and this week
was no exception. We had an excellent dinner and a good excuse to get togged up - I'm afraid George does look a bit flushed, I think the port had been round a bit too often! He didn't drive home!
On Friday we had a brilliant day - a cousin whom I haven't seen since the last family funeral came to visit with his charming wife and son and I asked the widow of another cousin who lives just a few miles away to come for lunch as well and we had a real old wallow in family history. My mother was one of seven sisters, Audrey was married to one of the sons of the eldest girl Dorothy and she was able to put quite a few names to some of the old photographs. My grandmother was quite a charismatic lady - three marriages - I think we could write a book about what we do know about her, and another if we only knew about her life before she married grandfather. She was born in Calcutta, her father was in the army and she was sent to England to be educated under the guardianship of two ferocius looking maiden aunts. WHY didn't we ask all the right questions when she was alive! Anyway, we had a great time remembering things from our childhood and filling in gaps. Ancestry will be red hot this week as we delve a little further. It has been easy-peasy on my father's Angus line, straight back to 1530, no hassle. When Audrey arrived the first thing she said was, Gosh you DO look like your mother! Oh dear.
Yesterday George spent the morning rattling a Children in Need box for Rotary and when he got back we leapt into the car (leapt is a figure of speech only, you understand) and drove up to Birmingham to hear grandson William play his euphonium in the University of Birmingham
concert at the Conservatoire. Of course, you can't see William but he is the dark thatch of hair next to the blond boy sitting underneath the Big drum! Such is grandmotherly devotion! It was an excellent concert and we were so proud because this is his first term. Afterwards we went back to the flat which he shares on the campus with four other boys and this is the kitchen

Not too bad, I thought, on a Saturday night for five lads who have probably had mother doing everything for them for eighteen years. Will showed us the contents of all the cupboards - quite hilarious what the boys did or did NOT have in their cupboards. One lad just had a jar of coffee. One boy had everything labelled with his name. Will had a HUGE supply of food from his mother and, not being a bad cook, apparently often whips up a pasta or rice dish for the boys. He also showed me the big pile of soap Inga had given him and pointed out that in eight weeks he had barely used one bar. I said she had probably given him enough to last all the four years.

When we arrived in Birmingham we could hardly get out of the carpark for the wind and rain, all the umbrellas were being turned inside out - we made a dash into the Bullring which was HEAVING with people. And so noisy! Well, we had to look around the shops as there was no possibility of walking round outside and I just happened to try on a little black dress and a leopard print jacket which looked so nice I just had to buy it, and George bought some fine black cords so the afternoon was not wasted. We also got a big tin of luxury biscuits for William which he decided he would keep in his bedroom rather than in the kitchen! We didn't get back to Cambridge until well after midnight but had to be up early to go off to church this morning followed by the AGM of SOAS (Supporters of All Saints Church) of which George is chairman. Guess what, we made nearly £600 from the sale of our re-cycled cards and gift tags this year! There is about £25,000 in the bank which will be used at any moment now to replace the lead on the roof.

So tomorrow it is off with Marian, Liz, Margaret and Vanda to take down our exhibition at Art Van Go - it has been up for six weeks and we have had some good feedback so it was all worth while. The next thing will be our exhibition at Textiles in Focus at Cottenham, so I'd better get stitching before Christmas gets in the way.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

I shall wear purple

WOW - THEY ARE CERTAINLY GOING TO SEE ME COMING!!! The colours here are not too good, because the jumper is a real purple and the vest another shade of mauve. I have been wondering what to wear to this fortcoming party and spent the day in
Cambridge (oh, I wish I hadn't worn heels) looking for something purple, a colour which I never wear. I always find exactly what I want in East, in fact I am a walking advertisement for them, so I wasn't surprised to find my outfit there with the help of a charming young woman who knew all about 'wearing purple with a red hat that does not match' as it was her mother's favourite poem! I must admit the orange is a bit in your face BUT the whole idea is to wear a mish mash of colours, and the skirt looks wonderful with a black top - so roll on party.
I enjoyed my day out, I bought a very nice tweed jacket - I REALLY need a new jacket! I looked at the Spanx control pants but they were £67! I think I can suck my stomach in for less than that. A new ironing board cover, purple tights, some Christmas presents - I managed to come back laden.
On Saturday George drove all the way up to Ellesmere Hall to watch junior grandson play Rugby in a public schools league match - THEY WON! It was his birthday on Monday, thirteen - a teenager 5'8" tall. Meantime, I went to Chilford Hall and thought the quilts were better this year than they have been for a long time, much less gimicky. And on Sunday we went with friends to the Design and Craft show at Newmarket Racecourse where I could have spent a fortune, such lovely work on display there. We had lunch overlooking the course, I do like Newmarket. Monday was the Royston Ladies Luncheon Club and a talk on Sufragettes, and the latter part of the afternoon spent making up more packs of Christmas tags for the bazaar, Tuesday morning NADFAS at Churchill College with a lecture on Michaelangelo and Leonardo (very good). The battery on my car failed and we had to wait for the rescue man to come out so I only just made it to Book Group, where we discussed The Gang of Four by Liz Byrski which I enjoyed, but not enormously. We gave it 7 1/2!
Another two weeks to the purple party, I might let you see what the whole outfit looks like - if the camera can take the shock.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Cock 'o the walk

Where has this week gone? Well, I have been getting ready for the Church Bazaar which is Saturday week, the 14th. Throughout the year I make recycled birthday and Christmas cards with a friend and every year we make well over £400 - £600 for our lovely mediaeval church. So we shall have a card stall, but I have just been busy making gift tags and threading them up and packing them into bags of twelve. I am careful to mix them up, so that each pack has a suitable tag for Grandma, and neice & nephew and neighbour, etc. so it is a bit of a fiddle. But I do sell loads of packs at 50p each! Talk about slave labourToday DD2 has flown to America for 6 days - she has gone to the Jazzercise Conference
in Chicago, so I have asked her husband Pim over for a meal on Sunday evening hoping perhaps he can work some magic with my computer - there are a number of little niggles to be sorted - the behaviour of my camera for a start since I dropped it on a marble floor in France! He knows he will have to sing for his supper.I have also stitched this little fellow - I am quite pleased with the way he has turned out - I just hope no-one will think I did it with one of those computer programmed images. No way! I think that is cheating on a major scale. I was supposed to be doing a bird - well, it is a bird of course, but I think I should have been doing a more flying sort of bird - but this just popped into my head. Now I have to find a frame for him, I do have several but none are suitable.

I have an Almshouse Trustees meeting tonight, and a Church Hall Trustees meeting at 9 a.m. tomorrow morning, followed by the U3A Gardening Club meeting and then in the evening it is supper and cards with friends. I would have had a Triggs Charity Trustees meeting on Tuesday but it was cancelled, so I had lovely evening in! Then I want to try and get to the Chilford Quilt show on Saturday because there are several things I need, and on Sunday we are going to the Design & Craft show at Newmarket with friends. And that is another week gone.

The Lockshun is still bubbling gently after another dose of sugar and is quite clear. We went for a walk last week and picked beautiful blue/black sloes, so sloe gin will sit alongside the damson vodka which is now looking a heavenly colour. It is a bit early for a thimbleful, but the time will come.....