Friday, May 26, 2006

Beauty in Everything


There, is, however, beauty in everything. As well as helping the plants and flowers to grow, the raindrops are adornment: this Alchemilla mollis is gorgeously embellished by gems of moisture after a shower. Posted by Picasa

More Flowers from my Garden


There is a glorious display of flowers in the garden:what a shame the rain is stopping me from really enjoying them to the full. Posted by Picasa

The First Roses of Summer


I was delighted to find these roses blooming away in my garden yesterday. Rather than leave them to spoil in the rain, I picked them and they are filling the dining room with their gorgeous scent. An especial joy they are, in this unsummery weather. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Terrible Twins?


These photos were taken on the occasion of my sister and brother-in-law's silver wedding anniversary celebration weekend, when I was constantly approached by Janice's friends, saying, "You must be..... Janice's sister - are you twins?" As I'm the older sister, this rather pleased me! The candid close up of me was taken by my son, over breakfast. Also featured in the photos is our Mum. Posted by Picasa

Flowers in My Garden


Some flowers from my own garden, a couple of weeks ago. The stocks and the carnations have the most wonderful perfume and are a joy. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Spring in Devon

Another outing taken recently was to the Torbay area in South Devon. These views are from above Anstey's Cove: unfortunately I didn't feel up to the walk down to and then back up from the beach that day, but I though the view was outstanding.

There were white bluebells in flower (do they have a better name?) which were blowing about in the breeze, but the sun was warm.

Another picture-postcard view of Anstey's Cove, off the coast road between Torquay and Babbacombe. We had spent a week in Babbacombe when I was a little girl, and Mum and I were thrilled to find the guest house where we had stayed, although it now seems to be a private house. For some obscure reason, I recognised the area near the town museum, too. Funny what our memories retain.

Then we followed the coast northwards on the homeward journey, heading for Teignmouth. Mum had never seen it and had held an ambition to do so ever since a girlhood friend of hers had proclaimed it beautiful. Well, Mum's wish was my command and indeed it was lovely.

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There is this very dramatic looking headland across the river Teign's mouth, which doubtless will have inspired many a Victorian water-colour: it has that sort of period look to it. There are many boats moored in the river but none were out sailing while we were there.

Mum, Anna and I enjoyed watching the sea,, while Benedict amused himself by throwing pebbles into the sea. I was fascinated by the cross-currents presumably created by the little sand bank, which caused waves to meet and cross at right-angles.

A lovely day out, with lots of fresh air and sunshine, plus no crowds: what more could we ask for?

Spring Flowers at Tyntesfield


During our visit to Tyntesfield, we visited the walled kitchen garden and cutting garden, where we found a beautiful display of spring flowers. the kitchen garden is needing considerable restoration because the veggie beds had, in an effort to make them easier to maintain, been turfed over. The National Trust is working to restore them to productivity. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tyntesfield Trees


These trees all caught my eye. I love bare trees against the sky: in these parts, there are often clumps of trees on the brow of the hills. These were taken just before Easter: a month or so later, the pictures would be different as the trees are all in full leaf now, luxuriantly and voluptuously greened by nature. Posted by Picasa

Tree texture


This picture shows a section of tree trunk which I saw during a recent visit to Tyntesfield. I thought it a glorious texture which could translate well into textile techniques - smocking, couching, wrapping are just some of the ideas I have for this. Unfortunately, the image is not very sharp - it was taken with full zoom and then I cropped the photograph Tyntesfield is a gothic revival extravaganza with a heavy dose of Arts and Crafts influence, and there is something curiously gothic about the shapes made by the bark. Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 15, 2006

Cloudy Clevedon

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My mother comes from sea-faring stock, and needs an occasional but regular fix of the sea to feel at rights with the world. Luckily, we live quite close to the coast, so that a call at the seaside tends to be a feature of her visits to us. Weston-super-Mare is one option, but more often we head for Clevedon where it tends to be less crowded and parking is easier. Thus during Mum's recent visit we took a trip there. We had been having stormy weather, so there was quite a lot of driftwood to be seen, as well as the well-worn stones (you have to go further along the coast to Weston or Brean for sand).

Young boys do not need expensive toys for all that they might plead for gameboys, play stations and the like. Give a boy a beach and driftwood, and he can be happily occupied for hours!

Of course, their mothers can also find amusement in the simple things of life - like my driftwood sculpture, which came home in my pocket but has yet to be reassembled so it can dance from a tree in the garden.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Abstracting Cardiff Bay

This is a photograph of a very small part of the newly opened Welsh Assembly Building at Cardiff Bay, which I visited yesterday in the excellent company of my friend Liz . We've been acquainted for some time on line, but this was the first time we'd met in person. We had a wonderful time exploring the area and also the Craft in the Bay gallery. Posted by Picasa

Here, I'm taking a photo of Liz taking a picture of a wonderful rusty pillar. You can see the result on her blog. There has been discussion regarding rust dyeing on our internet group. If the pillar is one day swathed in ready-to-dye silk or cotton, you'll know why.

Our first stop was Craft in the Bay, where we enjoyed a delicious salad lunch al fresco as a sandwich to enjoying the experience of looking at beautiful craftworks unimpeded by impatient children or anyone else! There were some stunning pieces of wall art which were collages of corroded metals on which were worked calligraphic texts by Elizabeth Forrest. I was very taken by a wonderful linen wall-hanging/tablecloth woven by Riitta Sinkkonen Davies, in shades of blues and lavenders broken by natural and peach narrow stripes. It would have been wonderful on my living-room wall: at £350 I would be reluctant to use it as a tablecloth. Lots of beautiful jewellery, some stunning metalwork lamps and mirrors by Nia Wyn Jones, glorious ceramics including sensual vessels which were oddly humanoid and glazed in subtle colours.

The new buildings in the Dock area use some interesting materials. The Millenium Opera House is covered in sheets of gold-tinted metal, reminiscent of the Guggenheim Gallery in Bilbao and Gateshead's Slug, or Concert Hall. I was fascinated by the contrasting walls, faced in contrasting stripes of different shades of slate in purples and greens, and would like to develop some work based on this structure: batik might prove rewarding for this. It was something to do with the colours and the texture of the surface that caught my eye: Blogger does not seem to like these colours and has knocked them back somewhat.

Down by the water is a war memorial which is formed in metal to resemble both the hull of a ship and a human head. There is a gap which frames this strange roof-top structure which could be an insect or a bird of prey. We wondered if it had a function other than to decorate? It is certainly a very strong form, silhouetted against the sky, and at times looked quite menacing.

The head/hull itself is also a strong image, black metal against the pale stone paving. A damaged, broken body or a beached, wrecked ship, it lies in its ambiguity outside the Welsh Assembly building.

We also managed to visit the Market House in Llantrisant, another very good gallery, with a textile exhibition by Michelle Griffiths: textile sculptures using shibori techniques without dyes (though a bit of rust dyeing crept in there, too...) Fabulous textures.

Here we are, back at Liz's lovely home, before I set off back to England. I'd had a wonderful time. Driving across the Second Severn Crossing Bridge, I felt as if I was driving into the end of the world: grey-black clouds ahead, lemon yellow sky to my right. Before I arrived home, it began to rain, and dinner was accompanied by an apocalyptic thunder storm. But what a wonderful day out! Thanks, Liz

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Remembering Raglan

Ben (9), Anna (15) and I enjoyed a visit to Raglan Castle during the school Easter Holidays. It was quite quiet while we were there, possibly because local schools had not yet broken up.

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Although this is clearly a ruined castle, there is plenty to see and clamber over or up, including a tower which looks down onto an enclosed courtyard below. The whole castle was once, I think, surrounded bu a moat, but the tower can be separated from the rest of the castle by a drawbridge. The view from the top was good.

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The last family to reside in the castle were Royalists who subsequently removed themselves to Badminton on the other side of the Bristol Channel. Now there are resident cats, who look very happy with their lot.

Monday, May 08, 2006

I hope that wasn't summer

The warmth of last week has made everything in the garden grow as rampantly as my son is, and the sunshine was wonderful. So was being able to line-dry the washing - why is there so much satisfaction to be derived in a line-full of drying washing and is it a woman thing? But where has it gone? I know we need rain, and don't resent that, but I do resent the return to chilly weather. Perhaps we should turn on the central heating again, as that made the temperature outside rise last time we did so...

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And pride comes before a pain. Aforementioned son was taken with the cancan on "Strictly Dance Fever" but couldn't get the bounce step between each step. So his dear mum has to demonstrate - not with a high kick - even I know that would not be sensible - but since Sunday on awakening have had two very irritable hips. Not nice, I hope they quieten down again soon.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Back from nowhere

I've been out of circulation for several weeks - how swiftly time passes. Nothing dramatic, just finding that my energy banks had insufficient funds to cover my life's requirements. The children have had their Easter break from school/university, and we had the great pleasure of a visit from my mother (the first for for some time, since my Dad was so ill and then since he died last September). So I have lots of photographs to upload when I can, and then to share with my dear readers.

We have visited and revisited some good places which I will share in due course, and I've been knitting a bit, completing my alpaca cowl and making good progress with the lacy scarf. I also worked some freeform crochet scrumbles for an international collaboration: my first, so I hope they will be acceptable and up to standard.

I also met some more alpacas, and came away with some bags of alpaca fleece to play with.

Meanwhile, I've posted (via Picasa as Blogger won't let me) a view from Dearleap, near Priddy in the Mendips, where we all went to blow the cobwebs away at Easter.
It was chilly but beautiful, looking out over the Somerset levels and, as in the photo, across the River Severn to the hills of South Wales.