Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Green dress

It's been cold here ever since Thomsey left.
Still managed to wear my new green dress though.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ricardo's fun work

Ricardo has been working at the new whiskey distillery that has opened up just down the road from us, called the English Whisky Co. The first & only registered whisky distilling company in England.
It's a great looking building and Richard says the copper 'still' looks amazing.
Hopefully with 'Ricardo hammer-for-hire's' excellent workmanship it will be an even greater building...this photo is from their website, click on the link above to go to it & have a look. Unfortunately we didn't get to meet Prince Charles when he came to have a look.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Birthday London

On my birthday, Thomsey & I went to London. We had all sorts of grand plans but only managed to get to the Victoria & Albert mueum.

It's my favourite & I never tire of looking through their incredible collection. All free as well..what more could you wish for?

They have the most amazing fashion collection. It's quite an interesting game to try & guess what era the clothes are from. Some of them I got completely wrong. A Vivienne Westwood dress that looked like it was from the 1800's, a Courrege dress that looked like it could have been made yesterday.

Here is a picture of a dress from the V & A website by a wonderful New York designer, Maggie Norris. Sue & I loved her stuff best of all, complete couture using antique textiles......mmmmmmm yes please.

The very best thing of the whole day though was the afternoon tea of GIANT meringues & raspberry jam & clotted cream. in the William Morris room.

We also discovered some Raphael cartoons belonging to The Queen...& 'St George kills the dragon', a panel Probably Marcal de SasSpain (Valencia)About 1420Tempera and gilt on pine panel.

The dragon was one of the best I've ever seen. It looked really modern too, like something done by Jim Henson's creature shop.

Here are some learned words about it that I didn't write....

"This altarpiece was painted by a German artist for a chapel in Valencia (Spain) belonging to a confraternity, or brotherhood, dedicated to St George. According to legend St George had served in the Roman army. Sixteen panels show various bloodthirsty scenes from his life and death, but the image of the Slaying of the Dragon is the biggest and most prominent. The version of the legend which is depicted here is set in Silene in Libya, where a dragon threatening the city had to be pacified by the frequent sacrifice of a man and a sheep. When the King's daughter (here pictured in the background with the sheep) drew the fatal lot, and was led to be eaten by the dragon, St George intervened and pierced the monster with his lance." taken from this website. We weren't meant to take photos but didn't realise unil we had....whoops.

We did manage to get to Harrods too.

My God the fish department completely blew us away.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Old haunts

One of the lovely things about having Thomsey here has been getting to take her to all our favourite places....on Sunday we took her for a picnic to Thorpness mere.

Richards Mum used to take him here when he was little, on the back of her bike. He says it hasn't changed at all since then.
We hired a boat & scooted off across the 2 feet deep Mere. Richard had to paddle on one side & Suze & I on the other as his powerful carpenters arms needed 2 of us against him. (Phwoar)
At one stage, Captain Ricardo told us to head for a very skinny bit of water indeed, that was overhung by a big branch. Just as we got past the big branch and into the shallows, we struck bottom!!!!!! It could have been a very nasty moment but we started to laugh & couldn't stop. We shuffled back & forth in what must have been a 12 point turn, churning up the water that stank of old cut flowers. I really wished I'd been to the toilet before we hopped into the boat. At last we managed to make it back out onto clear water & pelted across the Mere to get the boat back just in time. Needless to say a great deal of scones & clotted cream had to be consumed to calm us all down.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Out to lunch

I'm starting to feel guilty about being a Lady who lunches...

Yesterday's outing was to Wyken vineyard with Suze & Heather & Robyn. It's a really beautiful garden in the next county to us...Suffolk. It's run by an American author and her husband. It's like an idyllic farm and must cost buckets of money to run. Just their seedlings bill must run into thousands.

At one stage this giant oak had 5 of us (well four of Us and a lovely game lady too) with our hands stretched around it. It was

huge. There was a wonderful kind of Maypole thing that you could swing on and Robyn being the game Soth African girl that she is had a marvelous time swinging round & round. Not bad for a fiftysomething eh?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Toff spotting

Todays trip was to North Norfolk. Holkham Hall in fact. A Paladian MANSION.....a bloody GIGANTIC stately PILE.
It's only an hour & a bit away from where we live but I've never been before. Richard's not that keen on the homes of the rich & rich. "Come the revolution" etc etc.

We were just in time for the daggy audio tour, but soon forgot our touristy look as we shuffled from room to amazing room, looking at Van Dyks & Poussins.
It's been great going to these places with my big Sis as she is completely entranced by the soft furnishings just like I am. Yesterday in the first grand room at Sandringham we were conspiring in a corner trying to find the joins in the silk wall coverings....a guide came up to us and asked " What ARE you two looking at?"
This goes for kitchens too....
They had cupboards full of ice cream moulds. There must have been 1000 or more deer under the trees. You can just see them here....

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

All weathers

Today's little sojourn was to Sandringham. (You may have noticed that we have returned to (cloudy) England, still lovely in all weathers)
The best part about going to Sanders is that everyone else is a lot older than you. In fact everyone looks like the Queen & Prince Phillip.
Ricardo & I went there at the same time last year but we missed the scary stuffed head room...
Even though Thomsey & I have grey hair we were still the youngest people we saw all day.
Makes one glad to have ones own teeth really. (Small mercies). We didn't have our sprigged muslin dresses on. Just poofy coats today.

It's so GREEN.
When w got home, Richard told us of this lovely poem. Don't you just love google.
Thomas Hardy: Weathers
This is the weather the cuckoo likes,
And so do I;
When showers betumble the chestnut spikes,
And nestlings fly;
And the little brown nightingale bills his best,
And they sit outside at 'The Traveller's Rest,'
And maids come forth sprig-muslin drest,
And citizens dream of the south and west,
And so do I.

This is the weather the shepherd shuns,
And so do I;
When beeches drip in browns and duns,
And thresh and ply;
And hill-hid tides throb, throe on throe,
And meadow rivulets overflow,
And drops on gate bars hang in a row,
And rooks in families homeward go,
And so do I.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

St Cirq Lapopie and the Peche Merle caves

In fairy tales I read when I was small, the houses all looked like these ones in the beautiful village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie. The village is perched on a cliff 100 m (330 ft) above the river Lot and is one of the major beauty spots of the Lot valley. It said something on the village sign about being "Un des plus beaux village de France".

There were lots of roses out and things to smell...
Lots of cutey French dogs too...

Richard's friend Keith has an amazing connection with other worlds....he suggested we make a trip to Peche Merle.

This incredible cave was discovered in 1922 by 2 boys aged 15 & 16 years old. There had been an upper level already discovered at the turn of the century but the boys found a deeper level, one which had paintings from 25,000 years before. Bison, mammoths & hyena roamed these parts of the world & even though the cave has always stayed at a temperature of 12 and a half degrees C when the ancient people left their drawings & footprints it would have been minus 30 outside.
Can you imagine these boys with a candle & a knife, scrabbling from cavern to cavern, uncovering stuff that had been sealed off from the world since the last ice age?
This picture is from the caves website and is of the clearest painting. Two spotted horse with hand prints around them.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Lot

Today we took a little off shoot trip to visit Richard's friend's Keith & Miranda, in the Lot valley near the Dordogne. WOW & wow again.
They were so welcoming even though Richard hasn't seen Keith for 30 years. Keith & Richard used to work on horse drawn vehicles & painting fairground rides together in Suffolk years ago. They have a gallery, Gallery Pomie. At the moment it has an exhibition called 'Icons'. Clever combinations of weird & wonderful stuff including a whale calling conch from the Arafura islands an Andy Warhol screenprint of Mao signed to Miranda & her sister and some Ronnie Wood prints
Keith is an amazing guy with a wealth of stories about strange & wonderful things. He used to organise rock concerts & their special effects for big rock acts including Pink Floyd. He told us tales of hiring a spitfire to fly in low over the crowd as they blasted fake stacks of amplifiers made of foam with machine gun fire, that then shattered all over the audience.
The weather has been sensational...we thought these were roses but they were actally Peonies.