Her Very Own Seaside

Molly’s Den is the name of a company that runs vast Vintage Antiques emporia in Hampshire and Dorset. We chose to visit the one in New Milton this morning. It offers several hours entertainment and the opportunity to pick up interesting bargains. There is a tea room, a very large play area, including an old bus, for children to amuse themselves for hours. The refreshments and the children’s facility provide welcome respite from wandering up and down the aisles examining the fascinating wares on display in units varying in size from a cabinet to a twelve foot square room-sized cubicle.

Elizabeth pointed out a ‘monstrosity‘, the family term for which is explained in my post of A 'monstrosity'that title. In fact the Molly’s Den one is far more tasteful than the telephone table described in that story.

Birdshit on deskAn unexpected embellishment to a desk caused me to look up to the ceiling in search of an open skylight. There wasn’t one.

As always, exploring outlets for items which for some are history and for me reminiscent of my own lifetime, I was taken back to childhood by some exhibits.The Beano The several copies of the Dandy and Beano on offer dated mostly from the 1990s. We enjoyed them at home in the 1940s and ’50s, but we had to wait for Mum to read them first. In my photograph can be seen two painter’s footprints and Elizabeth and my sandalled toes. That seemed quite a happy coincidence.

I have already featured the practical use Mum made of dressmaking patterns. Dress designsToday I noticed a rack of possible covers which were guaranteed to be contemporary with the tissue paper we sat and contemplated in our early years.Elizabeth reflectedDerrick reflected

There was plenty of opportunity for Elizabeth and me to appear in a reflective mood. I even managed a selfie.Rug

I bought an apparently unused 6 foot by 4 foot pure wool rug with hand-knotted fringes for the incredible price of £18. Jackie capped it with nine Victorian etched glasses for half that price.

For some reason Jackie and Elizabeth were amused at my efforts at photographing the glasses. I was oblivious of this as I concentrated on the subjects and got my lady to hold up a towel in an effort to reduce glare from the window. That particular device was soon abandoned because it produced a coloration that suggested that the receptacles already contained wine.Jackie assisting Derrick photographingWine glasses

Reminiscing about our respective childhoods over lunch led to discussion of those rare trips to the seaside. Jackie’s grandfather, a motor factor, always had a car; but when Elizabeth was very small our Dad didn’t, and we relied on those of uncles. I have entirely forgotten one of our outings, but my younger sister has not. She was too young to remember the venue, but the story, from about 1959, has stood the test of time. Apparently Dad, Chris and I had sneaked a small suitcase onto the beach, unbeknown to our little sister. When we got home she was presented with the container. When she opened it, there before her very eyes was a heap of sand and shells enclosed in a secure space. She had her very own ‘seaside’ with which to play in her London garden.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Woodgreen near Fordingbridge where nineteen artists feature in Hampshire Open Studios. First stop for us was to Pete and Nicky Gilbert’s idyllically sited beautifully restored home where Pete showed his paintings along with work by Hugh Lohan, Frances Barker, and Yukari. All the paintings, pastel portraits, photographs, jewellery, and woodwork were impressive. Pete’s landscapes and his life’s journey were truly inspirational. Further information can be found on his website at http://www.pgilbert.me.ukPete Gilbert

Elizabeth bought a print of one of Pete’s pieces, more of which are seen behind him in my photograph. She then dashed back for a chopping board.

We proceeded to Coach House Studio to see the work of Andrea Finn, Dawn Gear, Sarah Orchard, Sarah Waters and Wendy de Salis. These included jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, and paintings.I had a long conversation with Sarah Waters who is developing the creation of fabrics using the combination of yeast and bacteria in a glucose solution. Sarah Waters processSarah Waters textilesSarah Waters fabricsThis produces a mat of cellulose fibres which form a vegetable ‘leather’. One table displayed Kombucha, the process; and another the product, more of which was suspended against the light. Sarah’s website is http://www.sarahwaterstextiles.com

We bought three of Wendy de Salis’s ceramic birds to hang in our trees. Smokebush treeThe sun, playing in the smokebush tree in Wendy’s garden, seemed to know it was part of the group of artists.

Hordle Chinese Take Away provided their usual splendid meal for our dinner. Elizabeth and I drank more of the Cuvee St Jaine. Drank open, and enjoyed, the dry white version.

A Monstrosity

Becky, Ian, Scooby and I walked down to the village shop and back this morning.  It was again very cold.  On our return Jackie was watching ‘Bargain Hunt’.  Seeing something on offer that she thought a monstrosity reminded Becky of an item in my parents’ hall.

At six years old my daughter was enthralled by this piece of furniture.  She would gaze at it wondering whether it was a chair or a table because it was being used as both.  In her own words she describes it as a table that had a cushion-seat in the side with pretty patterns and carvings.  It was almost throne-like and appeared to be made of marble and gold.  The decoration was in fact plastic and the cushion probably Dralon.

Becky asked me what it was.  Apparently I glanced furtively from side to side and quietly answered that it was ‘a monstrosity’.  The little girl trotted off to school and told her teacher that when she grew up she was going to have ‘a monstrosity’.

Dating from the time when people always kept the telephone in the hall, this monstrosity was a telephone table.  Becky now says that if she ever sees one she will just have to buy it.

After lunch I accompanied Becky and Ian on a mooch through a virtually closed Ringwood.  We had coffee in the excellent Cafe Bistro Aroma.  As we ambled through the rather deserted car park for our return, the roar of a car from behind us made Becky and me instinctively step aside.  This was just as well.  Tearing through pedestrian pathways came a greyish car belching black smoke from its exhaust.  Ian estimated it missed me by half a metre.  Like something out of ‘The French Connection’ or any other car chase movie, it sped though a gap between two parked cars, took a right angled change of direction to the left at the far end, rushed through, forcing a gap in, a stream of moving traffic, zigzagged right and vanished out of sight.  Our journey back to Minstead seemed quite pedestrian in comparison.

Tinchy Gimson was a volunteer married to the treasurer of the Phyllis Holman Richards Adoption Society (see 18th July last year).Derrick c1994  Photograph number 14 in the ‘through the ages’ series was taken by her in the garden of the establishment in West Hill, Putney sometime around 1994.  As far as I remember, the intention was to produce mug-shots of the staff for clients.  As a freelance consultant, I was included in this.  The garden contained an Anderson air-raid shelter built as a place of refuge from bombs during the Second World War.  Never having been removed, this became home to generations of foxes, the cubs of which gambolled in the sunshine on the lawn every spring.

Jackie produced a mouth-watering roast beef dinner this evening, followed by treacle sponge pudding.  She drank a glass of Latitude 35 degrees S; I had some Siren 2012 that Danni had brought last night; and Ian drank Peroni.