Monday, 26 July 2010

Jenny enjoys the flowers in Leamington

If you have lived in a very hot and dry Country and then come back to somewhere green(ish), well this summer it has been pretty dry, the big wow factor must be some of the municipal displays. Here is what Leamington is looking like this month

Even one week one the Jepherson gardens are looking even better than when we took this picture. The parks department who also plant up the round about by Kenilworth clock comes up with different schemes each year.

Festival of History

Last year we had such an interesting day at Kelmarsh Hall, that it was definitely on our calendar for this year. We arrived there soon after opening time and having bought our guide, sat down a while in a tent listening to medieval music whilst we planned our day.

There is so much going on at the Festival of History, all over the huge area ranging from tournaments with Knights, fashion shows with costumes from 55b.c. to the second world war, to music,

plays, artisans demonstrating their crafts, whole period market etc etc. Mr S particularly loves the festival as there are so many lovely dogs around. Some of the dogs are with the reinactors but many are also just there for the day with visitors. It is so nice to go to days out where dogs are allowed. We once went to the Newbury Country Show when we had a dog, but because dogs were not allowed in, and we would not have wanted to leave her in the car, we simply returned home. I've also just noticed that the musician has a basket almost identical to the one I have had for nearly 30 years!

As we walked around, it was a treat to peer into the tents and look at beautifully crafted artifacts. Sometimes the inhabitants were away but when they were ' at home ', they were more than happy to chat about anything which took ones eye. We had seen this Gentleman earlier in the day during the fashion show. In medieval times, his clock fashioned from cloth of gold would have cost the same as a small town's construction cost. This cloak was made from gold coloured silk hence no securicor in sight!

The rope makers picked on small strong lads to help demonstrate rope making.

All in all, a very interesting and entertaining day out. We ended the day waiting for the bulk of visitors to depart, having bought ourselves some drinks, we passed our last moments at the Festival of History listening and dancing to the very good Fab Beatles. Jenny and I got up and danced to some of the hits of our younger days! Are we living history? I suppose everyone is.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Baby Pictures

When I opened my blog, I was amazed that these pictures had appeared. Unless my son and daughter in law ask me to delete these, I shall leave these up.

This morning, we were all having a chat, and I said how I was enjoying all the baby pictures they were posting, and Matthew asked that I leave some comments.....this is something I had not tried. I went into their site, and saw a blogger icon, and just followed my nose there. I was a little perplexed when nothing came up on their site, so search for another place to put entries and found them. Now I know what happened to the ones which seemed to go into thin air, they have turned up on my blog!


Grandma can just tickle your toes really easily if you are sitting so nicely.


Is this really all I need to wear when I go swimming?


Izzie is so pleased with her jungle toy.


A flawless complexion and a cheeky looker too!


Can't believe how much Izzie looks like her Daddy here....he had the same big eyed look as a baby.

Monday, 19 July 2010

It depends on how many pairs of scissors one has...

That is the answer I gave to Mr S, when he asked whether I needed more than one scissor keeper. I have quite a few pairs of scissors, and then of course there may be friends who may like them, so I still have more to make!

It all started with the embroidery of a bee at our WI craft group to put on a scissor keeper. I never finished the project there, but as the group has now broken up for summer, I am now determined to complete unfinished projects. Once I had finished this one, I went on to make a couple more!

The bee we had been given to embroider, turned out to look a bit like a cartoon bumble bee or rather more like a wasp, so I went on to try to copy a picture of a bumble bee from my insect guide....then I wanted to have a keeper to go with my scissors which lived in my sock knitting bag, and then one to go on the tiniest of pairs of scissors which live in my needle case.

On the reverse of the blue keeper, I did a little bit of sashiko quilting. Its a lovely way of incorporating a small bit of work into a larger, but small project

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Few Days away - Final Part Brighton's Majestic English Elms

Look! There is no use of photoshop or any clever digital shenanigans here. I'll let you into a secret: to get this effect, drop the camera, cuss and catch it before it hits the ground somehow pressing the 'take the picture' button at the same time.

Leaving for a gentle walk after our evening meal, we went in search of the wonderful English Elms which line some roads and squares in the Centre of Brighton. We had heard some time ago about these trees and how the Council had taken fierce steps to protect them. It has really paid off. To think these majestic trees were once common around the Country.

During the day, our trip took us along the south coast via the Severn Sisters with a stop there. It was a really hot day, and there was only a slight breeze coming off the sea.

We made the most of our stop at Eastbourne: people watching from seats on a beach cafe. Children on a day trip were picnicking, and after collecting pale stones wrote the name of their town or school.

After this, we headed on to Hastings, and enjoyed exploring the back streets and had an excellent lunch in a Spanish Restaurant whilst sipping on a jug of cool sangria. It just seemed right on a hot and sunny day.

During the morning of our last day in Brighton, we explored the local museum, and then after a lunch in an 'American Diner', we headed off home, with a few hours stop in Chichester. We certainly explored a new area during these four days.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A few days away: Part II

This what we could see from our bedroom window at the Old Ship Hotel. Our hotel was really well placed and just across the road was the shore, which was lined with interesting places and bars built along the front but backing through arches under the road.

The day we arrived, the town was full to the brim with cyclists triumphant after their ride from London. With family and friends, and sporting their medals, cyclists lounged on every available bar chair and even the beach, which has no sand, and is made up of cobble stones, sipping well earned drinks.

Trying to get an 'artistic' view of the old burnt out and abandoned peer, with the shore full of cyclists catching the last of the rays, I managed this shot. There were so many sea birds in the air all at the same time, having their last fly before going to roost for the night on the old pier.

We had a walk along the Lanes and then just before retiring for the night, I felt I had to have a ride on the fine chargers and enjoy the old music of the organ. As I wasn't able to persuade Mr S to come and share my mount, he stood on the side and caught me on my steed.

Our first full day was 'at leisure' in Brighton, so we made our way to the Royal Pavilion. After being completely bowled over by the decorations and the furniture and effects in the entrance hall and the long gallery, I could not hold back......I quickly retraced my steps and went to buy the full guide. Every piece is numbered and has good details in the guide catalogue.

Both Mr S and I gasped as we entered the Banqueting Room at the sumptuous decoration, the most splendid being the ceiling and the central chandelier which hangs from the talons of a guilded dragon. With the audio guide and the written guide, and having so much to delight the eye, and fuel our admiration firstly for the craftsmen of the time, and also for the present day restorers, our progress was very 'studied'. The room attendants were very patient, pleasant and informative, and obviously loved their jobs. I think their interaction with the visitors added to the quality of the experience. From time to time, Mr S and I would remark on something that was intriguing, and the other maybe having missed it, we would go back to have another look together. So as not to be 'museumed out' we recharged our batteries in the delightful tea rooms, which also has tables on a first floor veranda overlooking the Pavilion Gardens. Out came the sun glasses and hats, and I insisted on slapping on sun screen on Mr S......and myself of course!

We decided to have a break and lunched out at an excellent Italian Restaurant in the Lanes area, and return to the Pavilion afterwards. We ended the day with a late cuppa on the terrace at the Pavilion, before winding our way back to the Hotel.

Being members of both the National Trust and English Heritage, this sort of place appeals to us, and I think the town which owns the Pavilion has excelled itself in the information and quality of exhibits. Many of the original pieces are on loan from HM The Queen. I would put this as one of the top 100 things to see in one's lifetime.

We did note that the town's Museum and Art Gallery which is housed just across the grounds in a similar Moorish Designed complex was closed on Mondays, and hoped we would have time perhaps on our last day to visit this.....see more about this in another installment.