Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Morning Light/England

Is this a wardrobe to step into to discover a hidden world?

The ceramic houses were made by handicapped craftspeople. Candles are put in them at Christmas time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Visit to Essex

Liverpool Street Station is much altered from when I was a child. (What isn't.....?)
I looked for echoes of childhood memories and discovered them in all the lanky buddleia bushes growing out of walls once one left the station.
The once black station is now very clean and moderne.
A thought: 30p/55cents is too much to charge for the ladies' room. Hm.......

The actual trains had pink inside. The first time I've seen pink used that way.
Susanna's winged messenger enjoyed the ride.

I was met by a most hospitable fellow-bogger Barbara and her husband Alan. I often go to Barbara's blog when I'm in America because it's quintessentially English.
We had a delicious lunch of homemade soup and bread, and later scones and toffee shortbread. YUM.
I had not realised before that Barbara is an accomplished watercolorist and calligrapher. (You can just see two of her paintings of the Cotswolds behind her.)

Anyway, we chatted and chatted non-stop and the afternoon flew by.
The weather was typically English - rain followed by a general sort of damp - but I was able to enjoy the garden I recognized well from her blog.

The goldfish swam merrily in the pool and the whole excursion was a delight.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We went to decorate the little local church for harvest festival.
The sun shone in on the old wooden chairs.

They show up well against the much more ancient stone walls.
When I was eleven I had to make a speech talking about the importance of restoring ancient churches. It was not a ripping success. I think I would be much more eloquent now.

An affecting monument mounted on the church wall complete with letters carved backwards and a most impressive heraldic shield. This is what you need to do if you want your memory to live on for a very long time.

In Devizes, not far away, is a Norman church. If you look carefully on the column to the right you will see a carving of a 'green man' a rather pagan character eating a leaf.

The kneelers in the local church are all different and needledpointed by hand.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness/England

Looking across the garden to the fields.

Flowers gathered for decorating the church for harvest festival.

A staddle stone that looks a bit like a stone mushroom.

A bountiful apple tree.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Crossing London Bridge on a Rainy Day

I hit the 'antique' button because being in London is rather nostalgic to me..........

The river is wide and misty on a Wednesday morning. I am on the top of a bus looking about me.
I didn't bother with an umbrella..........

On the city side of the bridge the rain has set in with a will.

By the time we neared Liverpool Street Station everyone outside was soaking wet.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Railway Journey and the Old Curiosity Shop

Boring artsy photo on Guildford Station.........
I am catching a train to Salisbury.

But Wiltshire is very lovely and autumnal. The black blob on the lower left is Max, an antique labrador. Going for walks with dogs is a necessary part of the English day.

The hedgerows were resplendent with blackberries and red berries.

It was warm enough to eat lunch in the garden............

..........and admire the pink standard rose bush.

After lunch we went off to visit Tina who has an antique/bricabrac shop about three miles from Wylie.
To be perfectly honest, I have a horror of old junk.
I'm sure there are lots of treasures for the discerning eye. Apparently dealers come down from London to look through all the things Tina collects from estate sales and the clearing out of houses.
I liked her old corgi - which has very, very short legs - a great deal better than most of the things.
There were bone handled knives for less than a pound.

I was fascinated by the coronation mugs and royal memorabilia. Charles and Diana (!) Edward VIII, George V and Queen Mary.
When Queen Elizabeth's Coronation was celebrated I was given a coronation mug at the village hall in Ingrave. I dropped it out of my push-chair/stroller on the way home. It broke - needless to say.
One of my earliest memories.
Whenever I went to tea with little friends in the 50's, they all drank their milk out of their coronation mugs. Anyway...............

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A 90th Birthday Party

This is narrated from the point of view of one of the little children there who are all my aunt's

There was lots of food that we ate in a tent in the garden.
We had potatoes and shepherds pie. All ten of us great-grandchildren were there and all sorts of grownups who made speeches and clapped and said things like, "I haven't see you for thirty years and you look exactly the same........."

There were people from Canada and Spain and Scotland and America as well as people from England.
There were brownies and icecream and fruit salad for pudding.

The table decorations looked as if they came from a shop but one of our mothers made them. The green things are hops.
The metal confetti said "90" in different colors.

At teatime we carried a cake into the garden and our great grandmother blew out the candles.

Later on we just played.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Walk Through Chelsea/London

Cheyne ( unfortunate name) Walk.........Nothing such fun as looking into other people's houses and gardens. I am a horrible snoop or else curious, nosy, inquisitive. Much better than being utterly incurious about the world. Hm.........

"Oh look!" said Linda. "George Eliot........died here." We would have rather she lived but anyway.........The door a very tasteful eau de nil.

Rather a jarring juxtaposition of white and red..........

Here a wonderful real life vine emerges between two buildings into the sunshine.

A bold red door with black and white steps - urban and classic.

More black and white tiles.
What fun we have imagining the lives of the occupants.

Plastic dustbins, bicycle, cyclamen.

Blue door and bushes.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Chelsea Physic Garden

By the Embankment in Chelsea - and pre-dating it - is the Chelsea Physic Garden. You can read proper, informative stuff about it on the website.
You enter it by a little gate on Swans Walk. The big important wrought iron gates being reserved "for royalty - or exceptionally large deliveries of manure" - as we were informed by a guide.

Anyway, the garden is to be preserved in perpetuity and contains all sorts of medicinal plants and herbs collected over many years from the 17th century. There is a statue of Sir Hans Sloane - as in Sloane Square.

The shapes of the plants' leaves are amazing, though the garden has a sort of lyrical messiness since the plants are allowed to run to seed rather than being dead-headed in the usual English style.(This is so they can collect the seeds for research and so forth.)

There are lots of wheelbarrows and gardeners toiling away. Rather an enviable job, I would have thought.

It was a marvelously sunny day for early autumn.

Here are all sorts of clever and important 18th century characters near the aforementioned statue.

Lunch was served in an old house in the grounds where the tables were decorated with orange gourds and the whole thing looked like a church hall in the 1950's. The food was home made and delicious.

But we sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine and quiche an delicious salads.