Scene And Imagined

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Yesterday afternoon we drove to Elizabeth’s at West End to collect her and go together to The First Gallery at Bitterne to visit the exhibition of woodcuts by Jutta Manser and paintings by Kevin Dean, in conjunction with Margery Clarke’s open studio.

A random selection of the work on display in ‘Scene and Imagined’ includes

Royal Pier Gatehouse by Kevin Dean

‘Royal Pier Gatehouse’ by Kevin Dean;

Once In A Blue Moon by Jutta Manser

‘Once in a Blue Moon’ by Jutta Manser;

When Shall We Three by Jutta Manser

Jutta’s ‘When Shall We Three’,

April July by Jutta Manser

‘April July’ – one of several woodcuts reminiscent of Agnes Miller Parker

And The Evening And The Morning Were The First Day by Jutta Manser

and ‘And The Evening and The Morning were The First Day’;

Oriental Poppies by Kevin Dean

Kevin’s ‘Oriental Poppies’;Pen drawing by Margery Clarke

‘Bruno Playing’, a pen drawing by Margery;

Moonstruck by Jutta Manser

‘Moonstruck’

Sisyphus by Jutta Manser

‘Sisyphus’, humorously hung at an angle,

Evening Glow by Jutta Manser

‘Evening Glow’,

Summer Blues by Jutta Manser

and ‘Summer Blues’ all by Jutta;

Russian Circus by Kevin Dean

‘Russian Circus’ from Kevin;

Cutting Edge 20,000 BC by Jutta Manser

and Jutta’s ‘Cutting Edge 20,000 BC.

Tools of the Trade by Jutta Manser

We were treated to a fascinating display of Jutta’s Tools of The Trade, including beautiful avian drawings in a sketchbook, woodblocks, pins, pencils, and cutting implements;

whilst upstairs we were invited into Margery’s studio.

Jackie with Sunflowers by Jutta Manser

Jackie bagged Jutta’s ‘Sunflowers’ for her birthday in June. I bought it knowing full well I will have, albeit intentionally, forgotten it by then.

Memory was to become a minor theme of the day. A group of us at the end of the event sat with Margery, having a wide-ranging discussion, which, prompted by recent discoveries concerning mice, possibly helpful to understanding dementia, led to the subject of memory. The capacities of each us were very varied. I made the rash statement that everyone remembers their first day at school. Jackie and I were the only two who did. I found that surprising.

We took Elizabeth back to her car. She collected Mum, and the four of us met and dined in The Farmer’s Home pub in Durley. As always, this led to much reminiscing. Our mother asked if we remembered the flats in Wyke Road. We did, and Jackie even remembered the name of the block that occupied most of the side of the road opposite the railway tracks leading to Raynes Park Station. It was, and still is, Langham Court, which is fronted by a low brick wall topped by stone coping. Tailor-made for little boys to walk along. Well, what else could it be for?

I said I had a story about Langham Court. Elizabeth and Jackie had not heard it, and Mum could not remember it. I did. It is not every day your mother takes on a big hairy caretaker.

Chris and I were about 6 and 8. Wyke Road is situated at the end of Stanton Road, where we lived. In those days it was perfectly acceptable for children to play in side streets devoid of motor cars. Naturally we trotted along the coping stones. The aforesaid big hairy man tore across the lawn in a rage, turfed us off the wall, and terrified the life out of us. We ran home and told our Mum.

Now, the caretaker was frightening enough. But can you imagine a tigress defending her cubs? That gets near. Trying desperately to keep up with Mum we were dragged back up to the flats. I don’t remember the exact words of the ensuing conversation, but I do remember the sound of the slap. I don’t think the gentleman ever accosted us again.

Of course, as was described in the conversation at the Gallery, different people have different memories of the same event, so it is possible that I invented or embroidered this. Nevertheless I only had two glasses of the Rio Alto Merlot 2016 I shared with Elizabeth at our meal. Mum drank orange juice and Jackie chose diet coke. Mum ate poached salmon with new potatoes and carrots, while the rest of enjoyed Sunday roasts with all the trimmings; Jackie’s was pork, while Elizabeth and I chose lamb. Mum’s dessert was Eton Mess and the rest of us had lemon meringue pie.

This morning, Jackie and I continued with the garden tidying. I dug and chopped out a stubborn young self-seeded bay tree.

This evening we dined on roast chicken thighs served on a bed of onions, peppers and garlic with a sprinkling of sage; creamy mashed potato, spring greens and runner.beans. I drank Château Caillavet Bordeaux 2010, and Jackie didn’t because she had consumed her quota of Hoegaarden on the patio before dinner.

Xmas Show

 

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This morning I made some prints for Christmas presents, before visiting Margery and Paul at:

Xmas show brochure

This ever popular exhibition did not disappoint in its array of art works in different media, reasonably enough priced to make for good, unpressurised Christmas shopping.

Clown cushion

Margery’s own charming clown cushion makes a good start.

SnailsLucille Scott’s snails would decorate any garden.

Necklaces

There is much good jewelry on a par with these necklaces.

Deborah Richards’s ceramic sculptures are a highlight.

Hare wire picture

I liked Ruth Facey’s wire pictures.

Lounge Lady

Rita Rouw’s Lounge Lady, reflecting the note of humour in the exhibition, has an air of Beryl Cook.

Cock and cats

The cock and cats at the top of the stairs seems a happy juxtapostion.

Monkey linocut

On the way up are a row of Josephine Sumner’s colourful linocuts,

Fish string

opposite which are strings of fish.

Picture and tea set

The contents of this shelf in the kitchen may or may not be for sale. Whether or not, they are examples of the objects around this home that display the best part of a century’s fascination with all forms of creativity.

There is still another week in which to visit the show.

We spent that afternoon with Elizabeth and Mum in turn at their respective homes in West End.

Christmas lightsway home we noticed that a number of the small towns, like Lyndhurst, have switched on their Christmas lights.

There was enough of yesterday’s Indian takeaway for, with the addition of onion bahjis, second helpings this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the madiran.

What We Didn’t Do

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Today Jackie and I both suffered a bit of a relapse on the cold front, so we just spent a day indoors.

We had been intending to go to Wroughton where Paul, Danni, and Thea were running a 10K race in aid of Prospect Hospice in memory of Chris. Five hours driving was clearly out of the question for Jackie, so we thought we might manage two of the other events for the day instead. One was the final day of Margery’s exhibition, ‘Hanging Around’, from which would go on to visit Mum on her birthday. We did neither.

The first thing we didn’t do was gardening. Aaron and Sean of A.P. Maintenance did, however, complete their work on the grizelinia hedge and filled a trailer with cuttings which they took to the dump. A further pile of logs has been retained for another of their customers. These young men are ace recyclers, performing community services such as this.

Aaron and Goliath moth

Aaron’s kind and gentle nature is also apparent in this photograph of a Goliath moth he thought we would like to see. The creature is perched on an index finger of his strong, scarred hand.

we-didnt-think-you-could-make-it

This afternoon, the race over, Danni sent me an image on a Facebook chat bearing the caption ‘We didn’t think you’d make it?’ It was good to be missed, but nice that my doppelgänger stood in for me.

Frances, Elizabeth, Danni, Adam, Fiona, Paul, Thea, Andy, James and Jasper

Paul then e-mailed me this photograph of the assembled company. From left to right on the rear sofa we have niece Fiona, sister Elizabeth, great nephew Jasper, and nephew Adam; in front we have great nephew James, sister-in-law Frances, nephew-in-law Paul, niece Danni, nephew-in-law Andy, and niece-in-law Thea. Well done the runners in what I gather was an uphill course.

Derrick 26.1.87

I cannot resist posting this photograph made by Mike Nicholson on 26th January 1987. I may look hot and bothered, but the the Fareham 10 mile road race I ran in aid of Adam’s day nursery, when he was not much older than the son he holds on his lap today, was competed in sub-zero temperatures, which is probably why, according to my watch, I managed it in 64 minutes.

Margery’s exhibition is moving on to Southampton City Art Gallery next spring, so, unless it stays on the walls of the Clarke home for a while, we will be able to see it then.

Finally, I settled for phoning Mum, who sounded so much brighter than she had just over a week ago when we last visited her.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi; spicy cauliflower bahji; and colourful onion and red pepper rice. I drank Doom Bar.

The First

On 29th October I responded to a letter from BT inviting a telephone call because they thought they could offer a cheaper broadband package. I was offered BT Infinity at a lower cost than the current one. This would be faster. We would require a new home hub. There would be some interruption for three days whilst the equipment sorted itself out. There was. We lived with it. That period was over yesterday. At 6.30 a.m. this morning we had no internet access at all. At 7.45 I rang the phone number I had been given. After fifteen minutes checking the line I was informed that the fault was in the cabinet. I asked what that was. It is the box out in the street somewhere. The earliest an engineer could come out to fix it was Monday, that is in three days time.

It was then I went into what Jackie calls ‘honest to the point of ouch’ mode. Eventually we were given an appointment for tomorrow morning. Reluctantly I accepted that. Jackie then reminded me that we had to be in Croydon at midday. I rang the sales department seeking an improvement on this. I had apparently been given tomorrow as an exception. I was told BT Openreach vanthat the engineers were Openreach, not BT. All Openreach vans bear the BT logo, as can be seen by clicking on it to enlarge this photograph taken at Minstead in January. How is the poor septuagenarian punter to comprehend that these are two different companies?

I took myself off for my Hordle Cliff walk in order to calm myself down. As I walked down the lane an Openreach van sped past me.

Internet access returned at midday. A miracle, or what?

Margery and Paul and exhibitsThis afternoon Jackie, Flo, and I travelled by car to visit Margery and Paul Clarke, and see their current exhibition at their home, The First Gallery at 1 Burnham Chase, Bitterne. This is the fortieth anniversary of their first such event. There is much of interest on the walls, tables, and chairs of what is probably the original Art-Gallery-in-a-Home. Paintings, ceramics, sculpture, jewellery, automatons. Most items are suitably priced for Christmas presents. Our friends offer a warm, genuine, personal welcome complete with cups of tea and Margery’s splendid mini mince pies.

Here are just a few of the items for sale, although there is absolutely no pressure to buy.Alvin Betteridge potsAutomatonCellistEvening GlowFoalsHalf Way HorseHatNot a LowryPainting and photosRocking horsesRunning FoxSuzie Marsh tableVarious small items

A visit to TheFirstGallery.com/xmas40 will provide more images and updates.

Back home, we dined on flavoursome mixed grill casserole, creamy mashed potato, crisp carrots, brussels sprouts, and runner beans. My choice of sweet was tiramisu. I drank sparkling water, and the others stayed dry.

Waiting In The Wings

This morning Margery and Paul came to visit, see the house and garden, and bring me a picture I had purchased from them on 28th June.Jackie, Paul and Margery

Our friends were duly impressed with the house and garden. Margery, who has read all about our labours on this blog, thought everything was even more beautiful than she had expected. She took a great interest in all the plants in particular, and, with her keen mind, remembered what I had written about, as did Paul. Cotton lavenderIt was Margery’s son who spotted the cotton lavender plant I had not noticed before in the kitchen garden.

Paul is an excellent picture framer. Waiting in the wingsThe work I had bought at The First Gallery‘s last exhibition was a mounted piece and we had left it with him for framing. I left the materials and method to the professional, correctly believing him to be the best judge. We now have a Hilda Margery Clarke original tastefully framed monoprint & inks painting entitled Waiting in the Wings, with which we are very pleased. The photographer’s hands are reflected at bottom left. I trust Margery will forgive the intrusion.

In keeping with the art theme of the day, this afternoon we made a start on Hampshire Open Studios visits. Elizabeth had hosted one such exhibition, featuring works by herself, Margery, and me last year. Paul features in the foreground of the second picture on that post.

The first choice of venue, St. Judes in Sway, had closed a couple of days earlier. Although it was difficult to find, we had much more luck at Andrew Halliday’s workshop, also in Sway. We had a very enjoyable discussion with this attractive and personable young man who does his painting when he has time after working at antique restoration and picture framing. We also liked his work. A number of his more recent pictures feature scenes in the City of London. I was particularly intrigued to see and to discuss how the area had changed since I had worked first at Lloyd’s, then at Yorkshire Insurance company in the early nineteen sixties. Andrew HallidaySome buildings, like those in Cornhill the artist is seen here describing, remain intact, whilst others have made way for modern structures such as the ‘Cheesegrater’ looming in the background. The centrally featured ‘Jampot’, has changed its use but is a much earlier building, as is St Michael’s church in the background. It is artistic licence that an open space appears in this area where a square foot costs a fortune.

Andrew can be reached through his Facebook page, the title of which, Archipainting, reflects his interest in architecture.

We went on to Splinters in The Dance Studio at Milford on Sea. A group of artists who meet regularly to paint and exchange ideas also produced some very creditable work.

Chicken piri-piriThis evening Jackie fed us on chicken marinaded in piri-piri sauce; mixed crisp vegetables; and swede and potato mash, followed by profiteroles and blackberries. She drank Hogaarden and Elizabeth and I sampled a rather good Cuvee St Jaine red table wine.

Showstopper

DerrickIn my post dedicated to him, I say that Alex Schneideman made me a present of one of his portraits of me.  This is number 21 in the ‘through the ages series’, taken on 17th March 2009.  It seems appropriate to feature it at this time, because behind me in the flat in Sutherland place, are some of the books that now fill boxes in the garage.  Becky has recently quoted Daisy Ashford’s ‘The Young Visiters’ on her Facebook page.  Among the comments this has prompted is Jackie’s regret that she no longer has her copy. Child on Thelwell pony I have assured her that she need have no fear because my copy will be in the box marked Novels A – ?.  Since some of the Bs and Cs can be seen on the shelves to my left, the young writer’s famous tale is probably sharing their temporary resting place.  It is to be hoped that Jackie does not want to read the book before the boxes are unloaded at their final destination.

This morning I walked to the churchyard via The Splash and footpath, and back through the village.  Clopping up the road between the ford and Furzey Gardens was a Thelwell pony, led by a woman in wellies, and carrying a proud little girl.  They were grateful to be photographed.

Mellersh memorial frontMellersh memorial (back)On 16th November, when I was too unwell to attend, there was a ceremony of dedication to the Memorial to Lost Children sculpted by Jeanie Mellersh, whose had been one of the first welcoming faces I met soon after our arrival in Minstead.  It seemed appropriate, on a Sunday of my first real walk since getting over my virus, to pay my respects to the memory of Jeanie and Nick’s grandchildren Yaany & Mimi Mellersh, local children who lost their lives tragically in Turkey two years ago.  I did so.  The white stone memorial stands apart from the graves.  One can only extend sympathy to those left behind.

This afternoon we drove to Hobby Craft in Hedge End to buy the materials for a Christmas present picture frame.  Afterwards we went on to Margery and Paul’s home in Bitterne for the grand finale of The First Gallery’s three week winter exhibition.  Incidentally they sold 6/10 of mine and Jackie’s cards.

The exhibition closed at 4.00 p.m. and the sing song by private invitation began at 4.30.  As smooth as clockwork the conjoint sitting rooms were transformed from a picture gallery to a splendid parlour room for group singing.  Masterminded by Paul with some assistance from the early arrivals, items were whisked upstairs or into the hall to make way for a variety of chairs.  Everything except the pianist was in place by the appointed time.  Margery at the pianoMary, our musician, had been delayed.  This was no problem for the dynamic duo as Margery gamely took over the keyboard and got us under way.

Song sheet collation

Part of the preparation had been the printing off and stapling of song sheets.  This involved various singers supervising the PC, then, by distributing the various sheets on various knees and collecting them up in the correct order, collating them before applying a stapler.

There were two sets of songs; one of carols, and the other of what Paul termed ‘pagan songs’ like Clementine or ‘Enery The Eighth.  Examples of each were alternated in our programme, and great fun was had by all.

As Margery was getting into the swing of things at the piano Paul came staggering backwards into the room.  Looking rather like the anchorman in a tug of war he managed to dig his heels into the carpet, and, with head bobbing and hair flying, heave on a taught red rope that disappeared the other side of the door.  As did Paul, rather like a puppet on a string.  Summoning all his strength he got himself and what turned out to be a dog lead back into the room.  Momentarily.  On the other end of the leash was a black labrador seemingly larger than the pony I had seen this morning.  It had its forepaws on the shoulders of a woman whose gradual entry into the room meant Paul could relax somewhat, Gemonly to be jerked across to the piano where Mary, the pianist, helped him secure her dog Gem to the piano stool.  Naturally this created a pause in the proceedings.

Mary at the piano

John, Yutta, and GemMary then took over the ivories.Sing song  All continued comparatively smoothly until Gem took a shine to John.  I felt for him as he tried to manage the farmyard sounds of ‘Old MacDonald’ whilst fending off a besotted dog with strokes of self defence. Nevertheless, the more or less harmonious production continued until it was time for a break.

At the interval we were served with tea and Margery’s exquisite mini mince pies, still warm and delicious.

When the singing was ended, the majority of us stayed and had a very enjoyable half hour or so of stimulating and entertaining conversation.

Elizabeth, Jackie and I then repaired to Eastern Nights at Thornhill for the usual top quality Bangladeshi meal with Cobra, Bangla, and fizzy water to accompany it.