Thursday, 29 July 2010

China town

                                      After the launch of the Carlini wine  on Saturday I had PILES of china to put away. I kept putting it off, on Sunday I was washing glasses and too tired, on Tuesday I went to Saffron Walden, on Wednesday it was the U3A leaders lunch and today I just HAD to knuckle down.  George said I have far too much china and should throw half of it away!   He is sort of right, of course, but what happens when you have 30 people to feed?    As you can see, this cupboard is already full and I  still had all that to pack away.....
But I did it!   Well, almost, just a few things on the floor which I really cannot squeeze in.  What to do?  Where did it all come from?  Many years ago we bought a mediaeval farmhouse with ALL the contents which included lots of china, much of it quite old. There were two big dressers in the farm which were loaded with plates. I had a dinner and tea service as a wedding present - 18 of everything (and I seldom break things) and then I had all my mother's Golden Wedding china (a real pain because I cannot put it in the dishwasher)!  And of course, here and there along the way I have bought the odd plate or bowl in foreign parts. But I have to  confess it IS a bit excessive.  I  must have about 36 ramekin dishes,  about 72 dinner plates, 60 small coffee cups  etc, etc - I am not boasting, I am asking for sympathy!  They are all part of my life and it would feel like throwing old friends away dispose of them. Heaven knows what I shall do if we have to downsize again!   Hanging on the door, by the way, are bags with Halloween witches, Easter bunnies and so on.  I want George to put narrow shelves on the door but he says that is just encouraging me......
Now if that isn't a masterpiece of packing it all in, I don't know what is. And what about the crochet edging then, Gina?   Echoes of your crochet bunting!  I have done enough for two shelves and  there are five altogether, but it is a good travelling-in-the-car task.   After all that hard work I found half an hour to take Gina up on her drawing challenge.   I hunted for the Indian Ink which had gone solid in the bottom of the bottle, it is so long since it was used!  I put some water in but unsurprisingly it was not very potent.   I found a pigeon feather in the garden and picked a hydrangea head and had a go,  then I found an old felt tip pen which the grandchildren used to use and tried again, that was much easier to use.

Then I put on a bit of colour and it looked better......... 

Thak you, Gina, I enjoyed that - it was a good exercise and much more fun than packing plates away!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Five star weekend !

I've just had a really good weekend!  Starting on Friday evening when we went to dinner with some friends in the village and got into very deep philosophical discussions about God and creation and the universe.  We decided we should form the Alternative Discussion Society - but that has rather unfortunate initials.  Calling ourselves the Melbourn Alternative Discussion Society made us The MADS and that was even worse so we abandoned the idea!  But it was a fun evening.
And on Saturday we launched the CARLINI LABEL!   Our very own wine.  Organised in a kick and a rush because the weather was going to be fine, George and Brenda invited a group of friends and so did we.     I had both the grandsons staying so they were
roped in, putting up the bunting and getting out tables and chairs and so on.  George-Next-Door put together a spoof presentation to show how the grapes were collected and trodden - here is Will at the practice run through  holding an umbrella up over the computer to keep the sun off the screen - very technical stuff.   Everyone arrived at 6.30 and my George made a little speech before giving everyone a glass of the liquid nectar.  Well, the wine.  It tasted a lot better as a component of a jug of Sangria but as it had a very high alcohol level we were all quickly in the party mood.  Brenda and I had rustled up a buffet and the evening was so warm that we sat in the garden until midnight.  Our lovely friends were very kind about our baby, but we did notice practically everyone brought with them a bottle of  'proper' wine to fall back on.

So this morning we didn't go to church because there was a MAMMOTH  clearing up job to do.  We had all the glasses to wash by hand because they wouldn't go in the dishwasher, and the garden to clear up and   I have a washing machine full of stuff and loads of china to put away.   But we all had a good time so it was worth the effort.
THEN this afternoon I left the boys watching the Grand Prix and drove over to see Silver Pebble's Open Studio - and what did I find ?  Not only Silver Pebble but Dottie Cookie!  Two for the price of one - but it got better.  Shortly after I arrived who should appear but Purple Podded Peas!   What joy - to meet three of my favourite bloggers in one fell swoop.   Emma's jewellery was just delightful and several pieces were purchased whilst I was there including two of the Gina/Emma Hellebore brooches.  We sat in the pretty garden chatting over a cup of tea and then the two adorable little pebbles arrived, I just wanted to eat them up.  We got one of Emma's customers to take a photograph - here we are -
  It was SO nice to meet you all and thank you so much for making me so welcome!  You three and the two little girls made my five star  weekend.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A day at the seaside !

Junior grandson is staying with us for a few days so today we went to the seaside.  He is a bit old for a bucket and spade but did enjoy fish and chips from the famous shop in Aldeburgh - all the better for being eaten from the paper.  Delicious.
Then he was exhausted and had to have a rest !
But later he redeemed himself by finding THREE  hagstones (in case you don't know, these are stones with a hole going right through the middle) and we actually saw this post in a garden near the beach with a whole string of hagstones.  They are supposed to keep witches at bay!

Then we saw the lovely scallop shell by Maggi Hambling, it is incredibly beautiful and moving - the inscription is from Benjamin Britten's 'Peter Grimes'   I hear the voices that will not be drowned...
I was amused by these knees which were just visible from where I stood at the top of the beach.  I suppose they did have bodies.

Then we motored to Thorpeness and then on to Southwold for tea - and the sun shone all the time and it was warm and windy.  I really  feel that I have had all the cobwebs blown away with a breath of sea air.    We came home and Grandad and Jeremy had sausage and mash  (yes, still hungry after the fish and chips) in the garden and now we are going for a late evening walk to see the noctilucent clouds which should be visible all this week.  I saw them Monday and Tuesday but they were not very spectacular - it is clearer tonight so I am hoping for better results.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Am I downhearted ?

Well, yes, I was.   But have I been idle?  No!   8lbs of blackcurrant jam from my own bushes and I have been working on this fellow..........

And this is what he is looking like.  I see immediately that his beak is wrong (the comb and wattle are only pinned on fortunately) and he obviously needs a lot more work.   But he has kept me busy today and I think
I am going to be quite pleased with him !    My 'studio' (aka the conservatory for COS) is covered in scraps  of fabric and I have the U3A embroidery women coming tomorrow afternoon and George has a church meeting in the evening so tomorrow MUST be a tidying up and putting the duster round morning.  Yuk.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Open Studios

All they had to do was  walk up the drive..........
Follow the bunting......
into the garden.........and there is my studio (well, my conservatory) all ready with ice cold drinks and mint imperials
and me with a smiling face eager to show everyone what I do......
then follow a bit more bunting across the garden and round behind the summerhouse through  a gate into George Meliniotis's studio......
where he was waiting with a smiling face to show all his lovely paintings.......

so where were all the people ?

I know it was very, very hot.  And we did have one or two lovely visitors (faithful old friends and a few  brave strangers) but on the whole it was like watching paint dry for two whole days!  Most disappointing.  We are open again next weekend and if it is cooler we MAY have more people but perhaps we are just too far out from  the centre of Cambridge.   One picture proved very popular and I NEARLY sold it three times, one woman wanted to know if my sunhats were for sale and another wanted to know if I had made the glass tea light  holders and how much were they!  Dear friend Sandra came up from London to lend a hand but in fact there was nothing to do although on  the positive side we did have lots of time to talk, and she did do a lovely watercolour of one of my plants, and we did have a rather convivial evening with George and Brenda and some other friends sitting in the lovely balmy evening.  And I was able to sit  with my feet up and read all the newspapers so perhaps it wasn't a complete washout......... 

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Down by the riverside

We've been to Henley - AGAIN!   57th consecutive year, I think - do we get a medal?  Geoge is a member of Henley Stewards and of Remenham Club and it is a foregone conclusion at the beginning of the year that come hell or high water, we shall be at the Regatta.  This year it was HOT.  I took my new camera and took 126 photos but somewhere along the line  I have managed to do something that will not allow me to put them on the Blog - I am still on a learning curve with this one.  Every year we have a photograph taken in front of these roses - I have a picture of me very pregnant with DD1 and the rose bush comes up to my knees - it was newly planted.  Look at it now!

We had a delicious lunch in the marquee - DD2 and DD1 looking very serious, I am really cross I cannot download the good ones, these are from the discard pile!  We drank lots of Pimms and caught up with all the gossip from friends we have not seen since last July.

At one time it was all too much for William !
At the end of the day we retreated to the Hillside behind Remenham Club and had a barbecue until the darkness fell and then at ten o'clock the fireworks started, the river filled up with boats and there was a wonderful atmosphere.  Then began the long trail home......

I was very good and stitched all the way down in the car, anxious not to waste any time because of course next week it is Open Studios.  Today I managed to slip away for an hour to visit Gina Ferrari's O.S.  This was a mistake, because it made me realise just how much I have to do between now and next Saturday.  And by the time the family had left at 6 and we had supper and then Brenda and George came from next door for a drink and to tell us all about getting caught up in the Gay Pride march in London yesterday, well, now it is time for bed!
Gina's work is beautiful,  artistic, appealing, colourful and so well executed.  And her studio is SO TIDY!  If you have the COS brochure and are in the area, do try to get to see her, her sketchbooks alone are worth the visit..  I am hoping  to get to see Emma Mitchell during the 4th weekend - one of the disadvantages of having your own open studio is that you cannot get around to see other people, but I am only doing weekends 2 and 3 so will have the last weekend free.

What a lovely weekend (must try to download the picture of Jeremy in Sarah's hat !)