Thursday, 30 November 2017

Along the Thames


Nice to see you.

Today we're going to walk beside the River Thames and see what's happening. Look at these snazzy orange seats, there were quite a few others too.  They are Modified Social Benches by Danish Artist Jeppe Hein.

Passing the Houses of Parliament, the Elizabeth Tower with Big Ben inside is all wrapped up with scaffolding while it undergoes repairs.

The Christmas Market huts were in place but most were closed as it was a bit too early in the day.

The Autumn trees looked beautiful along the bank.

The view from Lambeth Bridge, each bridge highlights different landmarks.

Not far from Waterloo are these wiggly office buildings.


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Garden Museum


Thanks for popping in.

Leaving the Imperial War Museum and heading for the river, look what's on the way!  The Lambeth Walk!  Have you heard the song from Me and My Girl?

 Anytime you're Lambeth way,
Any evening, Any day,
You'll find them all
Doing the Lambeth Walk! Oi

I didn't see anyone though.

Next up is an unusual building with a plaque showing a bell, this is the site of The Bell public house around since 1560, rebuilt over the years but closed down in 1958 and made into offices.  The Bell was to the east of the long lost Norfolk House and there used to be The George to the west, both part of the estate.  It was in this house that Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife spent a neglected childhood with her Step-Grandmother  Agnes, Dowager Duchess of Norfolk.

Pressing on towards the Thames, the Garden Museum is right there by Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Lambeth Bridge. I had to stop for a pot of fresh mint tea and an almond and chocolate cake.

The Museum has been renovated since my last visit.  It now has a nice new restaurant, gardens and learning areas with the tower open too.

The Museum is in the abandoned church of St Mary-at-Lambeth where John Tredescant, Britain's first great gardener and plant hunter is buried.

The Museum celebrates British gardens and gardening with a permanent display plus exhibitions and events.  Lambeth Palace is on the left in the photo below and the Museum is on the right. Isn't there always a lamp post in the way!


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Imperial War Museum


Thanks for visiting.

Right across the road from St Georges Cathedral, is a beautiful garden housing the Imperial War Museum.  We'll have to go in, even if we haven't got a lot of time to do it justice.

The website says that the Museum tells us the stories of people's experiences of modern war from WWI to conflicts today.  There is free admission and there is a café and gift shop.

Outside the entrance are two enormous  15in naval guns.  This building has housed the IWM since 1936 but prior to that it was the Bethlehem Hospital or Bedlam as it was commonly known.  Surrounded by St Georges Fields, the mental health asylum built in 1815, had moved from its previous site at Moorfields and had more buildings than we see today.  The conditions were appalling. Artist Richard Dadd and Augustus Pugin were among those who were resident there.

Nowadays, the inside, which was redeveloped in 2000, offers a feast for the eyes as soon as you step through the door. 

It was absolutely packed with School children, pencils and worksheets in hand, taking in all the exhibits.

Parts of Stanley Spencer's Shipbuilding on the Clyde

Climbing up the stairs to the top floor, there was so much to see on every floor, have a look at the exhibition page of the website link above.

A visit to the IWM deserves more time than I was able to spend this time but I hope it gives you an idea of what there is to see.


Monday, 27 November 2017

St Georges Cathedral London


Thanks for popping in.

I've been up to London again for a nice cup of tea and a chocolate tart with our youngest and couldn't resist another mooch about.  Waterloo was the station du jour and I headed off past the Old Vic Theatre to see what I might find using the ubiquitous street maps dotted along the way.

First up was the St Georges Roman Catholic Cathedral, which was built in 1848 when a large number of Irish immigrants came to the area.  It was designed by Augustus Pugin, who part designed the Houses of Parliament, and he was the first to be married there.  

Sadly the Cathedral was badly damaged by an incendiary bomb in 1941 during WW2 with its wooden roof and contents being destroyed.  Funded by the War Damage Commission and donations, Architect Romilly Craze  rebuilt the Cathedral and it was consecrated and reopened in 1958. 

Home to a large, diverse community, both Pope John Paul II and the Dalai Lama have visited.
There wasn't enough money for the upper part of the tower or a spire as had been hoped for.

At the moment, the ceiling is being repaired and there's a lot of scaffolding inside, no doubt there's a rush to get the work done by Christmas.

The beautiful Windows were made by Harry Clarke Studios in Dublin.

It was a pity the workmen were there as you couldn't see the full beauty of this hidden gem.


Friday, 24 November 2017



Thanks for popping in.

There was quite a bit of wool left over from my last blanket.  What should I make?

I've been trying out some new crochet stitches to make one colour decorated squares that I'll no doubt join together to form another blanket.

Have you come across Polly Plum's blog Every Trick on the Hook?  The video tutorials are very easy to follow and there are all sorts of patterns, some free and some available through her ebook.  I chose an old Crochet Along called Stardust Melodies, selected a ball of wool and got cracking.

I rather like the solid nature of the squares and they are easy to crochet with Polly on hand on the video to help out when necessary.  Some of the patterns would look good as a jumper too.

I might have a go at a few of my own designs, now I've got the hang of how the patterns work. They do need a good old stretch too.

I've also made a couple of Father Christmases - just a cone of half treble crochet spiralling round amigurumi style, with a bobble and a beard to finish off.


Thursday, 23 November 2017

De Stijl and Mondrian


Thanks for popping in.

The second of the November Art Talks was about Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl Art Movement.

The man behind De Stijl - art for an ideal society that was functional and in harmony - was Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931).  He was known for his stained glass window designs.  He met Pier Mondrian in 1915 and others like Bart van der Leck and Gerrit Rietveld and de Stijl was born.

Stained glass window by Theo van Doesburg
Mondrian (1872-1944) was born in Amersfoort in the Netherlands, his father was a teacher.  He graduated from the Academy of Fine Art in Amsterdam and moved to the Hague.  He went to France in 1914, went back to the Hague after the war and then back to Paris, to the UK for a year and then to the US in 1940.

View of Winterswijk

He started painting influenced initially by The Hague school, which in turn was influenced by the Barbizon school, painting in the open air although the Hague school incorporated cities, seaside and working men rather than just the land.  The Dutch painters focussed on what gave wealth to the city rather than painting the city itself. Mondrian loved painting village landscapes.  He was influenced by Van Gogh and tried to simplify his work and his paintings of the dunes in Zeeland are even more simplified, have geometrical shapes and uses colour to give depth.  His work was becoming more abstract.

When he went to Paris he was influenced by Picasso and the Cubists.

In 1916 he joined a theosophical society which strove for harmony and looked for the inner meaning of life, trees were important to the society and colours had specific meanings, mainly primary colours used and shapes were important.

The De Stijl group used only vertical and horizontal lines, flat primary colours with, black grey and white being absence of colour and were only there to emphasise the other colours, to create the essence of life, optimism especially important following WWI, harmony, monumentality.

Composition with red, yellow, black,grey and blue
Leck left the movement as he found it too restricting and Van Doseburg and Mondrian fell out when the former started to use diagonal lines which were not considered to represent life.

Not only were they interested in painting but also furniture and architecture which aimed to provide comfort and a spirit of well being.

Schroeder House 1924 Utrecht by Rietveld

Towards the end of his life,  Mondrian experimented with coloured sticky tape and then painted his pictures.

Broadway Boogie-Woogie 1942-4  This represents the rhythm of New York, the noise and music

Mondian's work is referred to as neoplasticism - finding the essence of life free from description and shape, abstraction of form and colour as straight lines and primary colour.

Just a few notes from the talk.


Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Underneath the Spreading Copper Beech Tree


Thanks for calling in.

The other day we had one of those glorious sunny Autumn days, chilly but gorgeous.

Let's have a look at the bottom of the garden.

Ooo let's have a closer look at that copper beech in the distance.

 There's another one on the corner.

It's definitely looking a much more colourful Autumn now.

Here's the band playing by the church as the poppy wreaths are hung on the lychgate, its Remembrance Sunday.

Brrr time for a cup of tea.