Xmas Show

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THE PAIR GIVE ACCESS TO A GALLERY THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

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.

Snails

Lucille 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 lights

way 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.

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.

Cards

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,

Snails

and works in other materials in this event.

Plants

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.

Blue

Two days ago I was diverted from planting out flowers from pots, by beginning to clear a path. Yesterday, cutting the grass diverted me from that.
When I began the clearance, the path was not visible. It just looked like an overgrown shrubbery with a couple of blue painted sinks dropped into it. Sinks in pathBy this morning the work had revealed an elderly gravel path with the remains of dry stone walls either side of it. Shrubs, brambles, and weeds had severely encroached upon it.
And what was to be done about the sinks? They were each filled with earth, and contained a number of interesting little plants.
Thyme transplantedWell, I had to move them, and knew I had no chance of doing so unless I emptied them. I did that, and transplanted various items, such as two different kinds of thyme placed in the patio area.
This path is really an access route to the shrubbery, and leads simply to a cemented stone wall dividing off the patio. It seemed to me that the sinks could be useful if placed against the wall. I asked Jackie for her views. She thought they would look good on top of the wall, thus giving them height. Well, she would, wouldn’t she? No way could I lift them the extra couple of feet up there on my own. And I didn’t think we could do it together.
I manoeuvred these heavy stoneware kitchen sinks to the far end of the path and stood and scratched my head. Then I was summoned for lunch, which seemed rather a good idea.
Snails dormintoryIn the process of moving their bed I disturbed a group of slumbering snails. Their dorm master had not been alert to the danger. They dropped off one by one.
On one of my trips to the compost heap my eye was caught by a large blue bloom peering through a shrubbery by the decking on the other side of the garden. Clematis large blueThis was a newly flowering clematis which I cannot name.
After lunch I managed to hoist one of the sinks onto the lower wall at the side of the path and was beginning to gird my loins for the higher heave when Superwoman arrived. Together we raised the blue painted containers into position.
It would not be surprising for my readers to question the aesthetics of bright blue paintwork that was bound to peel off and leave shreds mingling with the gravel. Anyone who has done so will empathise with our thoughts and feelings about a similar hue, among others equally strident, having been liberally splashed around inside the house, leaving spatters on shelves, fixtures, and carpets. In no way do I exaggerate.Path to sinks
Finally I repositioned the stones at the sides of the path, finished the weeding, trimmed back some shrubs, and raked the remaining gravel as smooth as I could. The large plant in the foreground of the picture is a mature geranium palmatum. The flowers of another can be seen further down on the right.
Tree peony rescuedFinally I planted the frail-looking rescued tree peony. This plant had not been given a pot. It lay on its side on sandy soil. It has spent two days heeled in a large container, and now stands, reasonably erect, in its allotted home. It is to be hoped that, if it does survive, it is appreciative of the efforts that have gone into accommodating it.
Another excellent meal was served at The Jarna, where we dined this evening. We sat under blue spotlights this time. Blue light on riceThey lent an interesting colour to my rice. We both drank Cobra.

Mumbai

As I sat down in the London train to which Jackie had delivered me this morning I was greeted by a beaming smile, reminiscent of Tenniel’s Cheshire Cat, from the gentleman diagonally opposite. I knew immediately what I was in for.  It only took a few seconds for me to learn that he was travelling to Winchester.  I calculated that I could probably tolerate the open, friendly, naive, vulnerable chap’s conversation for the requisite seven minutes.  He belonged to a local history society and was bound for an event at Winchester cathedral, the Dean of which he knew personally.  He was able to tell me what he had eaten on the last such occasion two years ago.  This congenial 73 year old fellow keeps himself active through his interests.  As he fished inside his raincoat for his ticket I noticed the tell-tale collection of badges affixed to his jacket lapel.

Soon after my recent acquaintance’s departure, a sleepy bee dropped onto my lapel.  I flicked it off.  Straight into a blonde woman’s hair.  Making an immediate bee-line for that I dashed the creature to the floor with the flat of my hand.  The lady was a little surprised.  The furry little insect landed beneath a family occupying the seats behind.  The father scooped it up with a piece of card, and, with two of his young progeny, one sucking her thumb, in his wake, went off in search of a window.  He wasn’t going to find one he could open.  Indeed, he didn’t.  As he returned he announced that the bee had just changed carriages.  I said he had adopted the technique of someone I know, who shall be nameless, with snails which are chucked over the garden fence.  This must be an acceptable activity because we saw Alan Titchmarsh do it on his latest garden creation television programme.

O2 QeenswayFrom Waterloo I took the tube to Queensway whence I walked to Sutherland Place for the next book-packing session.  When this was finished I retraced this journey to Southampton where Jackie was waiting to drive me home.

Queensway’s opening hours and its O2 shop stopped me panicking in 2007.  During Jessica’s last months my mobile phone was indispensable.  It suddenly packed up on me one evening.  I hot-footed it to this shop where it was replaced and I was back in long-distance communication.

WhiteleysI can never pass Whiteley’s department store without thinking of Shirley and Edward.  I often wonder whatever happened to them.  Edward was the small son, contemporary with Michael, of the Whiteley heiress who was the partner of Ivan who was my friend forty five years ago.  Jackie, Michael and I were invited to join them on holiday in Shanklin.  Michael, Shanklin 9.68 - Version 2 copyOn one of our days on the beach, complying with his request, Jackie buried her stepson up to his waist in the sand.

The differing child care practices of the two families proved rather stressful.

Deviating a little on my journey today, I was fortunate to be walking through Leinster Square when a brief storm struck. Stair rods on Boris's Bikes I was able to shelter on the steps of a grand colonnaded terrace and watch stair rods descend on a rack of Boris’s Bikes.  When the rain abated somewhat I saw a swarthy gentleman emerge from a basement flat bearing an armful of new umbrellas packed in cellophane, no doubt intending to take advantage of the weather on some stall somewhere.  By then the gutters were flowing with water and evasive action was required to avoid a supplementary shower thrown up by the wheels of buses along Westbourne Grove.

In my post ‘Curry, A Biography’ of 31st October last year I mentioned the reluctance of the proprietor of ‘Star of Bombay’ to alter the city’s name to Mumbai, which, to me, seemed appropriate. Star of Bombay I see his mind remains unaltered.

On our way back from Southampton we stopped at Goodies in Netley Marsh for fish and chips.  I drank tea and Jackie had diet coke.