Private View

A couple of days ago Margery suggested we should bring some greetings cards to the exhibition. We therefore selected a suitably themed batch from the factory we began in August 2013, and took them over this afternoon in preparation for the evening’s Private View.

Driving through Beaulieu on the way to Bitterne, we followed a large Travis Perkins lorry, which was forced, at regular intervals to come to a standstill in front of us,

Donkeys on road

in order to manoeuvre round donkeys on the road.

We did, however, arrive in good time to help Paul and Jutta Manser, a talented painter and wood engraver, to complete the hanging.

Every wall, including that on the stairway of this little house devoted to an art gallery, is utilised to the full.

Prints and albums

The ‘before and after’ albums were displayed on a cabinet surface beneath one of the walls.


alongside the albums was a rack of greetings cards.

Shady path printTable top print

Prints 2Prints 3Rain on Nasturtium leaves print

Other prints were to be seen in every room.

Prints 1

These, and others, were being prepared for placing in racks for when the exhibition opens to the public tomorrow.

As can be seen, Paul has done a splendid job mounting the exhibits.

Paintings 1Paintings 2

It has been an honour to share space with some of the excellent paintings,


and works in other materials in this event.


There were many generous donations of plants and seeds, with which to raise funds for Southampton Public Libraries.

Later this evening, Elizabeth booked a table at The Fishers Pond public house in Colden Common. We arrived on time. The reception we received from this member of The Vintage Inn chain was so appalling as to be insulting. It is far too late now for me to be bothered to detail this, although Elizabeth will be writing to them. Needless to say, we left, and drove on to The Fox and Hounds in Fair Oak, which could not have been in greater contrast.

Meals at The Fox and Hounds

There I enjoyed a mixed grill; Jackie, a burger; and Elizabeth, bangers and mash. My sister and I drank shiraz, and Jackie chose coke.

The Selfie Stick

This afternoon, in separate cars, Jackie and I, Becky, Ian and Scooby, drove to Lymington. The others met Jackie and me at the quay after they had wandered about the town.

There seems to be a pattern of one wet and warm day followed by a fine, and slightly less one.

Lymington Quay 1Lymington Quay 2Lymington Quay 3Lymington Quay 4Boats moored

This was the latter, offering interesting skies above the harbour.

Jackie on pontoon

At one point, Jackie took a walk along the pontoon.

Feeding the birds

Some visitors enjoyed feeding the birds. In the background of this picture is The Boat House Cafe in which we enjoyed coffee and cakes. As I don’t manage to eat between meals, I just had the coffee.

Group on quay 1Group on quay 2

A group from London attempted to arrange a selfie. I had never seen a selfie stick before, and wondered what an earth the young man trying to fix his camera on the of a long pole was trying to do. His struggle created much hilarity, and I was asked what time it got dark here. I was prevailed upon to take a photo on one young woman’s mobile phone. The usual condition prevailed. They had to pose for me. Eventually the selfie was taken. Becky, when shown this picture, explained the stick to me. Apparently there is a shutter button on the end of the pole.

Becky's cards005

Naturally I sought their permission to post the pictures on my blog. I was, as often, asked where they could find the blog. This gave me the opportunity to hand out one of the cards Becky had made me for Christmas, for that very purpose.

This evening we dined on a repeat of the roast lamb dinner of a couple of days ago; with the addition of the apple crumble, which, itself, was lifted to another level by the addition of mincemeat in the contents, and porridge oats to the topping. I finished the rest of a bottle of the El Sotillo, and I am past caring about what the others drank.

Only Eighteen To My Mother

Morning gloryYesterday morning someone tampered with my camera.  When I came to download pictures, I found a number of shots of Morning Glory on the device.  I suppose I’d better print one.

The culprit this morning repotted a splendid white begonia which isn’t so far behind the multitude of others.

Begonias et al

BegoniaI began the day by adding more than a ridiculous 25% to the cost of the removal from Sutherland Place.  The suspension of two parking bays was required, at a cost of £84 in addition to the £16 already paid for the trade permit.

Guards lining The Mall

Elizabeth then rang just before we were about to leave for The Firs, to tell me that the Guards lining The Mall card had sold well and to suggest I made a larger print suitable for one of her mounts.  I did so.  The tale of the making of this picture is told in the post of 8th May (click here for post).  It was late night shopping at The Firs today.  Given that Thursday is the day the shops in the West End of London remain open until 8 p.m. I imagine it is only appropriate that West End, Southampton’s studio should do the same.

In the two days I have not visited there have been more sales including nineteen of my cards, only eighteen of which went to my mother.  More were sold today.

Studio entranceEach day Danni has gradually evolved the definitive display of the various works.  This has meant the artists having a good look round to find where their own pieces are on any particular day.  Mine, for example, are now largely en bloc on their original wall, having spent the last few days individually wandering around the room. This afternoon Jackie decided to extend the pink balloon theme at the entrance.  She raided the conservatory for any suitably coloured plants and lined them up on either side of the path to the door.

Two of Elizabeth’s university friends, Barbara and Marcella, having come for the weekend, joined us all this evening for the excellent spaghetti Bolognese cooked by Danni and stirred by Andy, after Jackie had chopped the ingredients.  There was French bread between the slices of garlic drenched in butter that were heated in the oven.  Various cakes and custard were to follow.  Red and white wines were imbibed.  Jackie and I ate and she hastily drove us home.

Our Youngest Viewer

PiperPiper - Version 2Before being collected by Andy and Danni to return to The Firs, Jackie and I finished four more cards that we didn’t have the blanks for yesterday.  These demonstrate very clearly the capabilities of the little Canon S100 camera.  I have extracted a very small section of a photograph taken in July to produce a particularly pleasing music themed card.  The cream paper on which it is mounted (not shown here) picks up the colour of the stone walls behind the bagpiper and blends beautifully with the pillars and the Scots outfit.  The clarity of the smaller picture is such that it could be printed on A3+ sized paper.

Shortly before our car arrived, I received a very welcome call from Sam in Ostia.  We had a long chat which lasted well into the journey to The Firs.  I was so distracted by talking to my son that I forgot my camera, and Andy had to turn round and go back for it.


Bluebottle on peachBegoniasAt lunchtime I had a wander round the garden and admired the gladioli planted a year ago; the bluebottles enjoying the compost now filling the bins I built at that time; and begonias in the pots Jackie filled a short time ago.

MaisieThere were few visitors today, but Maisie, our youngest viewer, was delighted to sign the visitors’ book.  A frequent visitor to The Firs, it is fascinating to see the development of Laura’s little girl.  Maybe on this occasion she was intending to make her contribution to the work on display.

Once the doors were closed to the public, Danni and Andy went off for fish and chips from the magnificent Thornhill supplier and brought them back for us all.  On 14th September last year I described our first encounter with The Frying Fish, whose small portions are considerably larger than most outlets’ large. (click here to see post). They are crisp and tasty as well.  Newark’s fish and chips were excellent, and there is strong competition from the more upmarket Seashell in Lisson Grove off Marylebone Road.  Thornhill’s finest beats them all.  It is fascinating how this insalubrious suburb of Southampton has, next door to each other, a superb Indian reastaurant and an incomparable take away fish and chip shop.

Before we left for home Adam, Thea, and a friend of theirs called Rebecca dropped in briefly on their way home to North London from a short break in Cornwall.  We offered to share our family sized portion of chips with them, and although we were already five, I’m pretty sure that had they not already eaten, there would still have been enough for us all.