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.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Winter Flower Festival in Melbourn

I have just come back from the first day of our Winter Flower Festival.  VERY successful - the write up in last week's Daily Telegraph brought people from far flung places - and they were not disappointed.  Our chief  Flower Arranger Rebecca Gatward has done a brilliant job, especially as she  is at present working at Michigan University so much of the organising has been done long distance by email!  This is my offering - Aladdin rubbing his lamp and the genie

not, I am afraid, a very good shot - this was yesterday when it was being put together.  Today the spotlights were on but I was too busy to take photos!  On Wednesday we went to Savin's to get the flowers - we spent hundreds of pounds - well, in February you would.  I only intended to do the genie and the lamp but on Thursday in church when I was setting up the framework for the niche everyone said oh, you must have an Aladdin.  I went home and rang Marian Murphy who was knee deep in the final dress rehearsal for Cinderella by Barkway Players (Marian is the brilliant wardrobe mistress and a fellow member of MESCH)   Had she got an Aladdin costume?  I went haring up to Barkway in the dark and collected the exotic brocade pyjama suit which Marian had bought in a charity shop. It was made by George at ASDA so goodness knows what Asda customers get up to in their leisure time.

So on Friday morning I started on the flowers - the bamboo was a wonderful find, the Thai restaurant in the village has just closed down (sadly) and the bamboo was just asking to be pruned.   Two days up a ladder was very taxing and trying to construct a standing figure in a couple of hours was beyond funny.  But we got there.   I have got lights in the ectoplasm going from the lamp (eBay £4.99 purchased for me by DD2)  and round the turban.
On Friday evening, dead on my feet, we went to the first night of the Barkway Pantomime.  What a delight!  What they lack in finesse they make up for in joyous enthusiasm and it was such fun.  Nice to see Viv and Kevin from Art van Go also enjoying the show.  Marian had done a marvellous job with the costumes.
And this morning bearing two cakes and a pan full of carrot & corriander soup I went over to the church at 9.30 to help with last minute jobs and then we opened at 11.   Marian came over to see the show despite having got to bed at 2 a.m. and having a matinee this afternoon.  Lovely of her to come.
Anyone for  Jane Brett's cup cakes and  Earl Grey?

This arrangement  by Rosemary Gatward is on our beautiful 14th century Rood Screen

This arrangement  by Julie Woods represents the three wise men

Kirsti Llewllyn Beard and Debbie Mutty did all the candelabras - it took the two of them two hours to wire all the little beads  and crystals onto the silver birch branches.   Sunday evening when the Festival is over  we shall have Evensong at 4.30 and all the candles will be lit.  Magical.

Mussels for supper tonight - George cooking.  Me with my feet up.  That niche is 13 feet off the ground and hard going for an old lady.  And I have been on my feet all day, either stewarding or in the kitchen.   In two year's time when we have the next festival - will I be able to get up  a ladder?   All I have to do now is make another pan of soup and do two hours stewarding in the morning and then out to lunch.  But as we are lunching with a bellringing couple we have been told we must  be finished lunch by 3.30 as they are ringing at 4.    How lovely, bells and candles and Evensong and the scent of the flowers....  You forget the hard work.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Japanese Fashion

I have just had a wonderful day in London with the lovely Sandra - we went to the Barbican to see 'Future Beauty - 30 years of Japanese Fashion'   It was Fab-yew-lusssss.

We had an opportunity to natter and catch up and of course  a delicious lunch as well.  There was a graduation ceremony going on for Kings College students and there was good old Ede & Ravenscroft of Cambridge (and London  and Oxford)  est. 1689 or thereabouts, hiring out all the robes!

Some of the Japanese clothes were seriously wierd and I cannot honestly say that I could see myself walking down Kings Parade in anything on show, but it was all interesting - especially the Issey Miyake origami clothes.   I wish I could have taken a photograph of those - the dresses all packed down into flat 2'  folded squares.   Some very clever digital photography showed how they morphed into garments.

Photography not strictly allowed and I had just sneaked this picture when my batteries ran out so that was poetic justice!  Anyway, a most interesting and exciting show and you have until the 6th February to see it.  There was one dress made from TWENTY layers of fabric!  Paper and plastic dresses and a wonderful theatre coat completely covered in polystyrene beads.  Many thanks, Gina, for pointing me in the direction of this exhibition !
Off now to the Church Womens Group AGM - my life is one long round of pleasure.  It is Burns Night - should I wear my Angus sash?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Nearly through January!

I have just finished knitting two scarves in Can-Can - a very curious yarn which I bought at the K & S show.  It said 'instructions inside the band' but they were as much use as a chocolate fireguard and if it had not been for a very useful clip on You Tube I would never have worked out how to use it.
But with only 7 stitches to a row it grew very quickly and I got two scarves out of  each ball.  I know that Margaret Starr has made some and will be selling them at Scotsdales Craft Fair next weekend.  George and I went to Scotsdales on Friday - he wanted to buy an axe for splitting logs as he had broken the old one.  We looked good at the checkout - me still sporting a black eye from the biopsy on my cheek and him hefting an axe.  I was surprised they sold it to him, we must have looked like a domestic violence event waiting to happen.

That evening we had a flower demonstration by Nick Grounds to raise money for our forthcoming flower festival.  He did some spectacular arrangements and was very amusing.  But oh, how irritated I got during the evening looking at those dreadful curtains.  (It wasn't held in OUR village hall, but in Meldreth I am pleased to say!)  We had lots of lovely nibbles and hot punch and hopefully raised lots to buy the flowers.  

It has been a miserable week but I ventured out into the garden one day and saw the thatchers at work in the cottage at the end of our garden.  What a job on a damp, cold day!  I am so pleased it is being done because it has been swathed in blue plastic for the last year and will look splendid when it is finished.  What craftsmen they are!  And the dear little cottage looks just like a teacosy.  When I went out into the garden I saw that spring is indeed on the way -
the aconites are through and so are the hellebores, very late this year.  To church this morning and George and I both reading - I warned the vicar that each time I read this year I want to use the King James version - it is such beautiful language.  But when I looked at  my piece from Isiah this morning it was virtually double dutch so I reluctantly read the modern version.  What a shame! Then we went out to lunch with friends and she had cooked (wait for it) roast lamb, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips, sprouts, peas, cauliflower in white sauce followed by B & B P (bread and butter pudding made with brioche not bread, yummy)  Well, after all that effort it would have been very rude not to eat  heartily, wouldn't it?  So now I feel stuffed and uncomfortable and guilty.
No Zen tonight !!  Boo hoo.

Sunday, 16 January 2011


Glory be,  blue sky and I was able to put some towels on the line - what bliss.  In such simple things is happiness found!  Of course, my mother would have frowned upon putting washing out on a Sunday - but then she also said 'the better the day, the better the deed'  !  She had a saying for everything and a superstition for everything.     I had hoped to get one of our many squirrels cavorting in the trees, but they are too quick for me.
I have been finishing off my homework.  Well, Jeremy's homework  to be precise  - which we worked on at Christmas.  He had to find an old person and talk to them about the Second World War!   We spent quite a long time with me reminiscing and him taking notes, but today I had an urgent call for a couple more photographs for his presentation.  I found a picture of my father William Angus

in his desert uniform with the skull and crossbones cap badge - he was in the 17th/21st Lancers.  I also dug out his dress medals (my brother has the real ones) ooops, sideways on I fear.  It gave me the
opportunity to look into the medals and it was really interesting.     The Defence Medal second from the bottom has a ribbon with a flame centre, enclosed in green borders with a black line.  Evidently King George VI (and I was particularly interested as I have just seen the marvellous film The King's Speech) chose the colours of all the ribbons himself.  This represented the flames which came to attack England's green and pleasant land and the black line depicts the blackout.  The Africa Star with the 1st Army bar has a buff background  for the desert sand with Navy, red (army) and airforce blue stripe.  The Italy star has the colours of the Italian flag.  The overseas service medal has equal stripes for navy, army and airforce.  I really enjoyed doing my research !
Then for good measure I sent Jeremy greatgreatuncle Frederick William Angus in his Gordon Highlanders uniform.  I can quite clearly remember his son coming to visit us in his highland uniform and being terribly impressed.   As a child I was perpetually dressed in kilts and tam o'shanters!
George's father was in the Irish Guards but he died when George was only 9 years old and all their belongings were lost so he doesn't have a single photographs of himself before the age of 14.  Isn't that sad?
So I am hoping that we get good marks !  I did wonder when we were watching the film on Friday how many other people in the cinema could actually remember listening to the final speech ?  I was only four but the memory is vivid because of my parents' reaction.
Hey ho.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Twelfth night

I like being in church at night.  I love the Midnight Mass service.  There is something very mediaeval about being in church with the candles inside and the darkness outside.
I have just come back from the Epiphany service  - the one service in the year where we use frankincense - and taken down the last of the decorations.    The angels go in an old Clarks shoe box from one of the daughters - it is  marked 29/11d !  The angel on top of the tree is called 'wide eyed and legless' because she is.  The dizzy blonde with the pink feather skirt is a relic of the 60's when I had a very trendy silver tree with all pink baubles and a pink angel.
Then there are all the decorations which have come from travels abroad - President Clinton's cat Socks (or was it President Bush?),  a shell from the Florida Keys, two from Russia, Niagara Falls, Prague and so on.  I took the Christmas tree down yesterday and started the long process of packing them all away in boxes and then into the enormous hide case which used to belong to George's father.

These are my delusions of grandeur decorations - all gold and glitter and OTT.   Alongside these is my collection of Harrods dated baubles - all in their Limited Edition boxes.  One day maybe I shall sell them on eBay !
This one we bought in New Orleans on the Natchez Mississippi steam boat.....

Here are a couple given to me by a bellringing lacemaking friend , a little church from Niagara and

a key from my 21st birthday!  Am I mad? and then a little angel  made ingeniously from beads threaded
onto safety pins by my Dutch on-in-law's mother !    Now all that is left are the three kings...

 and they only arrived tonight so they can stay a few days longer.  Actually, the vicar told me this evening that they could stay until Candlemass, but I cannot have them around for that  length of time!   They'll get dusty!

Each year I unpack all the decorations greeting them as old friends  and then a couple of weeks later pack them all away again in their tissue paper and back into their boxes.    Each year I say I am not buying any more and each year I do and somehow I find room for them on the tree.  I also  have another suitcase full of baubles from my mother's tree - how can I throw them away?

I am a sight!  I have a lovely black eye and it wasn't George hitting me although goodness knows I give him enough provocation with my piles of   fabrics, threads and unread newspaper articles!   I have been to hospital to have a small slice cut out of my cheek so they can do a biopsy.  I had to have TWO local anaesthetics as the first one didn't work so I am swollen and bruised with a couple of bloody stitches.   That was two days ago and it has got to the stage where it is itching like mad but I cannot have the stitches out until Monday.  Some people are very polite and pretend it isn't there and others assume I have fallen over!  Drunk again.