As the morning sunlight gradually scaled the beech tree to the left, it exposed the changing nature of the weeping birch, the leaves of which are beginning to blend with the gravel of the Heligan Path.
Aaron and Robin completed work on the decking, which included Aaron’s own idea of the steps, made from offcuts of the planks. The intention is to train plants around the trellis.
It was a day for recycling. Jackie and I built a temporary cold frame for the winter, from offcuts of Elizabeth’s conservatory roofing, concrete slabs, and old bricks.
Automata are mechanical figures designed to move in certain ways when set off at the turn of a handle. As an art form these date from very early times, and are, at least in The First Gallery at Bitterne, near Southampton, enjoying a resurgence of interest. Our friends Margery and Paul Clarke, the proprietors, have long featured such works in their exhibitions, and have just finished one devoted entirely to these intriguing and entertaining constructions. At the close of this event they gave a party to celebrate this and their 40th year of exhibiting. Naturally we attended.
The gallery in their home was filled with fascinating pieces, all hand-made with marvellous moving parts. Examples are:
Horse Box with Bird,
A Friendly Gesture,
these three as labelled,
A Cheap Automata Shop,
A Wave Machine,
this group of four,
Three Fishes and Bird,
this one the name of which escapes me,
another being tried out,
these tiny miniatures in their glass case,
and Helluva Guy,
whose creator also made the hanging wooden puppet.
Margery had made a few figures of her own, notably:
and Aggie, the very very wicked witch.
Other works included:
Cat and Dog,
Cat by Moonlight,
and Seal Box with Fish.
It was a warm enough day for a number of guests to sit outside,
until all were called in to drink a toast, listen to Margery’s short welcome speech,
and see her cake candle lit.
She then cut the cake which was distributed to follow the excellent soup, numerous canapés and other treats, and various desserts.
After this we visited Mum shortly before her temporary carer arrived to help her cook her dinner. Mum is having a difficult time with her arthritis at the moment and, for the time being, has a carer visiting at mealtimes.
We then went on to Elizabeth’s and spent some time with her before returning home where the contents of the doggie bag given to us last night by the waitress at The Royal China were just the job for our evening meal. I had consumed a glass or two of wine earlier, so was in no need of accompaniment. Jackie drank a Hoegaarden.