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.

Folding Flyers

Moon and mahonia

Last night a full yellow, pink haloed, moon was framed by limbs of garden trees such as an evergreen mahonia

Moon and beech

or rolled in the grip of deciduous fingers of beech.

This morning we collected Paul’s mount board from Wessex Print in Pennington and delivered this, the flyers, and exhibition prints to The First Gallery, where, whilst enjoying coffee and Margery’s mini hot cross buns, Paul and I checked over my work, and

Jackie and Margery folding flyers

Jackie and Margery had fun folding flyers.

Pool

On the moors between Beaulieu and Lymington linger many pools in which trees stand.

Pony

On one, another grey pony slaked its thirst in its own bath water (I am indebted to Johnna of painkills2.wordpress.com for the bath water).

Ponies and pool

Suitably replenished, the dripping animal bounded onto the turf, circled the neighbouring pool above, and settled down to graze beyond its bay companion.

Table top

Unfortunately I had overlooked one of the A3 prints. This was the table top abstract which I therefore made on our return home. I suppose one out of fifty isn’t bad.

This evening Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi was served with pilau rice, chick pea dhal, and parathas. We both drank Kingfisher

Pictures For An Exhibition

Today we toted five more canvas bags of tree cuttings to Efford Recycling Centre.

Jackie tipping cuttings

The Head Gardener was prevailed upon to bear the strain of this one as we tipped the contents into the vast container, thus allowing The Photographer to carry out his primary role.

This time we returned with a stout wooden table suitable for the garden. I understand it was there yesterday, but it was asking too much for Jackie to pass it up two days running.

Samsung phoneAfter our last trip this afternoon, I attempted to make a phone call. My mobile seemed to be dead. Eventually I managed to get something onto the screen, but it was scribble. An urgent trip to Lymington’s Carphone Warehouse was in order. Two very helpful young men were staffing the shop. The immediate diagnosis was that the screen was cracked. This meant the phone could not relay information from the works. We decided upon a new instrument which would require a new contract. All went swimmingly until I was asked for my bank account number. I didn’t have it. Jackie, who had taken refuge in Costa’s for coffee and cake, had to down both in a hurry and get me home and back in the 25 minutes available before the shop closed. She made the twelve mile round trip in 20 minutes. I took out my new contract and received  replacement phone.

All my contacts are lost, and I must ring O2 tomorrow to have my number transferred to the new SIM card. As its seems likely that I cracked the phone in my pocket whilst humping the bags of cuttings, Jackie brightly asked me exactly how much her dump table had cost. I’m a little calmer now than I was then.

I received a rather good surprise from The First Gallery this morning. The April exhibition, for which I had submitted the albums on the making of the garden, thinking that they would be supplementary to the main performance, is now to be focussed on our garden with painters and sculptors providing additional material. Between trips to the dump and the later thrills, I trawled my collection to gather together more photographs for prints of varying sizes. Here are a few:

View from kitchen garden

View from the kitchen garden as it was on 26th July 2014;

virginia creeper, calibrachoa, and fuchsia 2 30.9.15

Virginia creeper, calibrachoa and fuchsia 30th September 2015;

Allium

allium;

Mum (Jackie and Elizabeth hidden) - Version 2

Mum negotiating Phantom Path 6th July 2014;

Butterfly Small White on verbena bonarensis 29.9.15

Small White butterfly on verbena bonarensis 29th September 2015;

Chair and bed head

and chair and bedhead on Weeping Birch Bed 12th March 2015.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, mashed potato, and crisp cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. Se drank sparkling water and I drank Via di Cavallo chianti 2014.

A Sale

I received confirmation this morning, that my piece ‘Not The Comic Book Hero’ will appear on  livelytwist tomorrow.

Although today was much brighter, it is now cold and the rampant winds ravage the garden. The tops of the cold frame at the side of the front of the house were ripped off and distributed elsewhere. I replaced them and battened them down with rocks.

Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis

The Head Gardener’s research has revealed that the flowering cherry in the front garden is not performing out of season. It is Prunus Subhirtella Autumnalis.

I printed up the recycling and disposal section of the garden album.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Elizabeth’s, whence the three of us, in my sister’s car, collected Mum and went on to The First Gallery where we spent a customary pleasant time talking with our friends Margery and Paul, and having a look round the exhibits.

As we drove across the forest, a sudden emergency stop was required when one of the ponies took it into its head to cross the road. Some warning signs now bear the legend ‘Expect Them To Step Out’. That is why.

Pony

Beaulieu was really rather swarming with the beasts, some of whom trotted happily down the middle of the main road through the village. This one was really stepping it out, for a New Forest Pony.

Pony by lake

Others clustered around the lake at low tide, possibly envying the waterfowl their ownership of it.

Photos on display

I have sold a few photographs in my time, but, up until now, only greetings cards have been bought at The First Gallery. I was therefore pleased to learn that the picture of Quay Street on the left of my little corner has been purchased.

Afterwards, Mum, Elizabeth, Jackie, and I dined at Farmers Home in Durley. The meals and service were as good and attentive as usual. My choice was beef Wellington followed by Eton Mess; Jackie’s was mushroom Stroganoff with sticky toffee pudding for dessert; Elizabeth’s beef Wellington with frozen berries to follow; Mum’s crab fish cakes with creme  brûlée afterwards. I drank Ringwood’s bitter; Jackie sparkling water; Elizabeth shiraz; and Mum, orange juice.

As we entered the Modus to return home the thermometer read 0 degrees, which was quite a shock after the mild weeks we have been experiencing.

Automata

View from dressing roomHeligan path

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.

Decking

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.

Cold frame

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:

Automaton 1

Horse Box with Bird,

Automaton 2

A Friendly Gesture,

Automaton 3

Love Boat,

Automaton 4

these three as labelled,

Automaton 5

A Cheap Automata Shop,

Automaton 6

A Wave Machine,

Automaton 7

this group of four,

Automaton 8

Three Fishes and Bird,

Automaton 9

this one the name of which escapes me,

Automaton 10

another being tried out,

Automaton 11

these tiny miniatures in their glass case,

Automaton12

and Helluva Guy,

Wooden puppet

whose creator also made the hanging wooden puppet.

Margery had made a few figures of her own, notably:

Clown

Clown,

Aggie witch

and Aggie, the very very wicked witch.

Other works included:

Cat and dog

Cat and Dog,

Cat in Moonlight

Cat by Moonlight,

Seal box and fish

and Seal Box with Fish.

Group in garden

It was a warm enough day for a number of guests to sit outside,

Margery speech

until all were called in to drink a toast, listen to Margery’s short welcome speech,

Margery Lighting candle

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.

Ruby

Misty morning

Slowly, mist dispersed from the garden as we drank our morning coffee.

Jackie drove us to The First gallery for midday where we joined the party celebrating the fortieth year of the artwork exhibitions at the home of Margery and Paul. This was a very happy occasion with friends gathered by this mother and son over a lifetime. We are pleased to be counted members of this honoured group.

In keeping with the theme there was a ruby coloured beetroot soup with a number of other ingredients. The ingenious Paul had devised a method of topping the soup with a creamy Ruby soupSoup with female symbol40. This was done with sterilised garden wire dipped into the mixture and laid on rather like the shamrock sprayed onto the head of a pint of Guinness by dextrous bar staff. I was fortunate enough to be presented with a perfect specimen, but they didn’t all come out like that. One young woman decided that hers, also including a lentil version looked like the female symbol which she invited me to photograph.

We had all been invited to bring an inflated red balloon. On arrival we were informed that there would be a prize for the last person to hold an unburst one. The secret was to keep yours out of the way of broach pins and forks, toasting or otherwise. Leo, the youngest member of the group clung to his two until the very end.Leo and his Mum

Margery had made a splendid selection of small snacks and a superb chocolate sponge The First cakecake which formed the centrepiece of the desserts table which was soon emptied.  She made the first half cut Cake cuttingacross and directed Paul to complete it. He was, after all, part of the partnership and moreover had decorated it. We toasted the pair with Champagne heavily laced with cranberry juice. One guest was keen to help our hostess protect her balloon. MargeryElizabeth, in the foreground of this picture, didn’t have a red balloon, so she painted the legend: ‘I AM RED HONEST’ on  hers.

Leo was very quiet throughout, but the conversation at one point did turn to methods of preventing small babies from disturbing parents’ slumber. When Jackie told us a story about one of the elderly ladies she had cared for thirty years ago, a tongue twister competition ensued. This client’s childhood would have gone back to the end of the nineteenth century when her mother had the perfect antidote to nighttime tears. She would make a ‘tea’ with a ‘penn’orth of poppy heads from the apothecary’. Quite a lot of spluttering accompanied somewhat inebriated efforts to repeat this.

It was quite close to sunset as the party broke up and we all went home. Driving due West into a magnificent sunset Jackie turned off the M27 taking the Fawley road, in an effort to get me into the forest before the sun disappeared. She didn’t quite manage that, but, as Sunsey BeaulieuSunset Dibden PurlieuSunset Beaulieu RiverSunset Hatchet Pondso often, the shots were more attractive with clouds lit from below. The pools on the heathland near Debden Purlieu, the Beaulieu River, and Hatchet Pond all added their reflective charm to the views. This was perhaps the perfect close to a ruby day.

By the time Jackie dropped me at Milford on Sea so that I could walk home via the cliff top and Shorefield, darkness had set in, but there was just enough light reflecting off The Sunset with cow parsleySunset over The SolentSolent for me to catch a bit more of sundown along the coast. As I walked up the dimly lit Downton Lane I removed my black waterproof coat and carried it so that the headlights of oncoming traffic could gleam on my buff sports jacket.

After the spread laid on at The First, a small bowl of Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi and egg fried rice accompanied by the last of the Cotes du Rhone Villages (red, of course) wine sufficed for our evening sustenance.