Sunday, 27 June 2010

Happy birthday to me

It was my birthday this week and I had a new camera!   There was nothing wrong with my trusty old Pentax but the sexy new  red Sony Cybershot was on offer and eldest grandson is hanging his nose over the Pentax so we shall all be happy.  I have  had a lovely week, I think I only had to cook one meal - how about that!  Had a glorious day with my Mesch companons in Marian's lovely romantic garden and she made Delia's Morroccan cous cous & roasted vegetables for lunch - delicious.  And we caught up with all the news which was great.
I had loads of cards - this one was from dear Sandra - one of her watercolour paintings of a 'Paphiopedilum' which she did at Kew where she is a volunteer. (I only know that because it is written on the back!)   It is exquisite.  We had a meal with Brenda & George next door, sitting in the garden until late and watching the huge yellow moon come up - very Van Gogh.  Then we went out with friends who were celebrating their wedding anniversary,   and we were out to lunch today with friends - this is a very sociable village! Of course,  none of this has done my waistline any good at all.  However, I still managed to do the splits on my birthday although I must confess it is getting more difficult to get up again  !

My garden is looking beautiful at the moment and the smells are divine.  We are having to water pots and vegetables but the rest of the flowers just have to cope with the weather.  I hope it is still looking good for Open Studios for which, of course, I am working hard at the moment.  Yes, I know I have left it all a bit late and working in this heat is not good.   It's my own fault.

I took some beautiful photos of roses and put them on to Picassa but I just couldn't down load them onto the Blog - these photos come straight from the camera.  I shall have to do a bit more research!  It is too hot and too late to struggle with it now.  We really appreciate the trees all around our garden as we can always find some shade.
Speaking of computer problems, does any one else get these irritating comments in some outlandish hieroglyphics?   I suspect it is Japanese and I thought they were supposed to be very polite people, but I think it is extremely rude to write something which you know perfectly well cannot be understood.  I don't want it to be translated as I have a feeling  it is nasty - otherwise they would write in English!!!  I don't always get the little dustbin symbol up - any answers?

Junior grandson has just come back from a school trip to Berlin - and he told me that he brought back a vuvuzela with a German flag on it!  I do hope he doesn't bring it down with him next weekend.

I am struggling with our Book Group choice this month - Susan Gregory 'The Hand of Justice'    I was really looking forward to reading it as it is set in 13th century Cambridge and it has a map in the front! I have always loved books with a map -  must be memories  of Milly Molly Mandy.    I am off to bath and bed now and will try to read another chapter, it must be the heat putting me off.      
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Monday, 14 June 2010

Busy weekend

I have to admit that I am glad that this weekend is over ! It was a busy week altogether as on Wednesday George had his Rotary Kids Out when they entertained some 120 disabled children for the day at Wimpole Hall.  I and a couple of other Inner Wheel ladies did the packed lunches in the morning and fortunately the day stayed dry until George came home - with an painted face of course.  It is jolly hard work but he loves doing it every year, the children enjoy it so, with kite flying, clowns,  miniature train, bouncy castle etc and a visit to the Home Farm.

On Thursday Anthony Green invited us to go to the Buyers Private View at the Summer Exhibition (not that we are in a position to buy anything, I hasten to say, either financially or space-wise) and we thoroughly enjoyed it after  not having been for 4 or 5 years.  It had become such a  splash and daub show - in MY opinion!  But this year it was better, very well hung  and there was some very interesting work.  I especially liked the gorilla made out of coat hangers - such a clever idea.  But my friend next door was turned down again for the third year and I honestly could not, looking round, see how his pictures were inferior or less desirable than much of the work on the walls.  There was a print in the small gallery by a certain lady and it was covered in red dots but it was, again in my opinion, downright ugly and rather nasty but she is a NAME!  And as for her big piece of work....well, dear old Brian Sewell made his views plain!   We met up with  dear friend Sandra who is a volunteer at the RA and went out for a meal together which was fun.

On  Saturday we had a  Safari Supper in aid of our lovely Community Hall behind the church, now two years old.    It was a lot of hard work making sure that no one met the same people at each course but a good friend helped me  and quite a lot of wine facilitated the planning and it was a great success. We all met up at the Hall for cheese and coffee at the end and everyone was still chatting away until nearly midnight!  It is the third year running that I have done this and each year it grows a little as people realise what fun it is.

 We saw  Sandra again  when she came up to see our Open Gardens on Sunday (she is a very keen gardener and also a volunteer at Kew, a lady of many talents) which George organised in aid of the church.  I was busy in the Hall taking the money for the teas but I did manage to slip away and see a couple of gardens with Sandra -

this one is Angela's and was delightfully neat - puts my garden to shame - and this one

is a little corner of Anita's
garden, a tiny garden but just packed with interest.  At the end of the day all 10 of the garden owners and their partners came back to our house for a glass of bubbly and some nibbles and we did a post mortem on the day.  Why didn't we have so many people going round?  Was it the weather or the world cup? Should we hold it at a different time of the year?

Sandra is good at telling me what I should do and I MUST TIDY MY SEWING ROOM and throw away a LOT OF STUFF.   Yes, Sandra, I do know that, but it is very hard.  I am going to make a start tomorrow.....

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Three coins in the fountain...

Now guess where we have been - here flying over the Alps.......

Does this give you a clue?   Note the little Smart car nestled in amongst all the Vespas and Lambrettas
And if that doesn't tell you, what about this...

which was an invitation to a general audience with
Yes, we were in bella Roma for five days and quite co-incidentally when we went into the Vatican we got the opportunity of seats for the next day  at a public audience - not bad for three C of E's and a Greek Orthodox.  It was an opportunity not to be missed and it was surprisingly moving, watching the reaction of the mainly Catholic crowd.   Behind the compound of chairs the rest of St Marks Square soon filled up with thousands of tourists and it was all very impressive.  The Pontiff arrived and got into his popemobile and drove all around us in the seats so we had a really close view, then he went up to sit under the canopy as you see here and I understand that he mentioned the names of a lot of the people who had come specially from afar for this audience.  Some bits of the ceremony were in English (and other languages) so the whole process was quite longwinded and I have to confess that when we noticed other people getting up to go when their 'bit' had been done, after 3/4 of an hour we too decided that the heat was too much for us and we needed to retire for a restorative drink.   It felt very rude to walk out, but no-one knew who we were!
Rome was beautiful, heavenly weather, marvellous food, good wine and history at every turn.  George used to go to Rome on business but I had never been before so I found it very exciting.  In a narrow little street, the Via de Cappellini, we saw this mirror on the wall and people were taking photographs of themselves - what a clever idea!   See George holding the camera up between us?
I think we look a bit like an Old Master (and Mistress)
I am always fascinated by shop windows when I am abroad and the shops in Rome are to die for.  Clothing and shoes, oh my.  I did buy two pairs of shoes - I'll take a photo of them later -fortunately George is a retail animal and enjoys the shops as much as I do.  I really liked one of the shelves in a wine shop, the labels pictured Mussolini, Stalin, the Pope, Hitler - I mean, who wants to drink Hitler wine?

We stayed at a lovely hotel, very centrally placed, and it had a wonderfully old fashioned lift as well as a very modern one.  We liked to clank up in the old one as it seemed a real adventure, but the modern lift was made by 'Schindler' - and it amused me greatly to be in Schindler's lift !!

In the Compo del Fiore there was a super flower, food and vegetable market - I have to tell you  that I took nearly five hundred photographs and that most of them were of quirky things like this man sitting demonstrating kitchen  gadgets which peeled and sliced and cored and coiled. What did he do with all those vegetables?  Did they go into one of the restaurants to make minestrone?   Only a quarter of my photographs are of classical views, but then we all know what the coliseum looks like, don't we?

But who could resist taking a photograph of this little fellow with
his golden wings, tastefully placed fig leaf  and rather strange harnessess!

And this is what we came home to ! Down to earth with a bang.  But lovely as it was to have (another) lovely break in the sunshine, it was oh so nice to get home again.  Then we had that glorious rain which has done wonders for the garden - and we have Open Gardens in our village on Sunday which George organises and at the end of the day all the garden owners come to our house for a drink - and so of course, our garden has to be a bit spick and span as well.  What with that and the Safari Supper on Saturday, it is going to be a  busy time and Rome already seems a long way away.  And yes, I did throw three coins in the fountain of Trevi !