Friday 29 December 2023

The Unusual Suspects!

The Family were home for Christmas.
Gangster Gabby.
Fingers Fran.
Roman the Razor.
The Beastly Boy.
Pilfering Pete.
Rosie the Rogue. We've had a very old-fashioned Christmas, nothing electrical apart from our old slide projector and a slide show of jumbled images that went back over seventy years, some very precious images that I must copy from the tiny 35mm slides. We played ridiculous games, none of them recorded because I was too busy hooting with laughter. We introduced our grandson to the marshmallow on a flour pie game. The tablecloth was already beyond it anyway! Now the family have all dispersed and the house is quiet. Having a Scottish mother I have often given or been to a party at Hogmanay, but our friends of many years are at a distance now and it will just be the two of us, feet up on the sofa with a choice of new books to read and a drink and a kiss when the clock strikes midnight.

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Deck the halls etc..

We brought in beech twigs and the tip of a fir tree from the garden, along with holly and ivy to decorate the house. What a palaver with the tree, it behaved in a very drunken fashion and we ended up securing it to the banisters with a rope! Since it is not a traditional stiff-branched fir only the lightest ornaments will say in place. I buy one new ornament every year, this year it is a felt mouse, perched somewhere up at the top of the tree. We use the same decorations year after year, some of them rather battered but holding good memories.
The Boy was very busy helping to decorate the Christmas cake, rolling a few icing snowballs and eaing them to make sure they were alright!
We have played silly games, eaten and eaten and eaten. Actually, it is still only the day after Boxing Day and we are STILL eating.
We've even made a start on the Christmas cake.
I hope, dear Bloggers, that you have all had a wonderful time.

Monday 18 December 2023

Santa's grotty!

We went to a country park at the weekend to visit Father Christmas in his grotto, billed as being 'in the North Pole'. If that was the North Pole it was exceedingly muddy. We had a timed entry but were herded into the café along with many other families. We were crowded together, someone had a hacking cough, ah, yes, just the place to catch a doze of Covid! The children were offered a free drink, the adults bought their own. How cunning. Time passed. Our scheduled entry time passed. I started to feel rather Scrooge. Bah humbug to this shameless marketing opportunity. I complained to a tall, thin, scruffy, dismal-looking 'elf' and we were walked across a playground to the most miserable looking place imaginable, luckily at the head of the queue as all the other families tagged on behind. Then we saw a garden shed and were blasted with a bit of artificial snow. Our Boy was now in the North Pole. "Are you coming, Nana?" Yes, in for a penny in for rather more pounds than this outing is worth!
It's daunting to be six and to be a believer. "Have you been good? Have you eaten your vegetables?" It's a problem when you are faced with questions like these. Our Boy is well brought up, he's not going to lie, so what is the solution? He took an anxious look at his mother, avoided all eye contact with Father Christmas and didn't say a word!
The audience with Father Christmas didn't last long and we were pleased when it was over. What a rip off!

Saturday 16 December 2023

Work in progress

We had a call from the window restorer to say that our job was on the bench, would we like to come and see what they were doing?
Each piece of glass is numbered on a paper cartoon. Cleaned and stripped of the old lead, cement and debris the cleaned glass is then set back onto the cartoon and pieced together with new lead strips.
Once all the pieces are in place the lead is soldered.
This section of our window has been soldered and is now waiting to be put on a flat bed and blathered with dark cement. The cement will get into all the small crevices between the glass and metal. The fully refurbished glass panels will then be sandwiched between two plain glass panels. When reinstated we should have a much warmer house! (Sometime in the New Year.)
It is labour intensive. After this visit I can now appreciate the rather eyewatering cost! The firm keep the cartoons of all the work they have done. We had a look at some very impressive examples of their work. It was a really interesting afternoon.

Sunday 10 December 2023

A bit of weather.

8.30 in the morning a large limb from an oak tree came down and blocked our road for a while. It is fortunate that no-one was passing by just at that moment. We are experiencing wet and windy weather and a fair bit of debris has fallen onto the roads and pavements. I'm fearful of the massive oak that grows in our neighbours' garden and hangs over our roof!
The council were quickly on site to clear it all away.

Thursday 7 December 2023

More Russell-Cotes

I have several favorite paintings at the Russell-Cotes. Two of them, and the painted ceiling, are in the small morning room.
The blue painting called,'War Profiteers'was painted in 1917. It is by C.R. Nevinson who, as a pacifist, worked as an ambulance driver during the first World War before becoming an official war artist. It was gifted to the museum in 1940. In 1941, during the Second World War a blast from a German parachute mine brought down the whole of the morning room ceiling and a competition was held to design a replacement. This was won by the Scottish artist, Anna Zinkelsen. She painted the ceiling in panels in her Kensington studio and they were then brought to Bournemouth and fixed by means of a wooden framework. Anna trained at the Royal Academy Schools in London. She was employed as a war artist and the paintings that she and her sister, Doris, made during that period are fascinating. They include studies of war injuries for the Royal College of Surgeons. Photos and pictures of Anna show her to be a very elegant woman!
I couldn't get a good photo of the other painting that I like in the morning room. It is called, 'Spray', painted in 1940 by Harold Williamson who at that time was Painting Master at the Bournemouth College of Art. It shows a swimmer sitting on a rock as the sea swells beneath her. Hanging in another room is a large painting by Alfred Munnings who is famous for his equestrian studies and his boorish character. He is depicted in the book and film, 'Summer in February.'
I like the work of Atkinson-Grimshaw, and not just because my maiden name was Atkinson! They have a lovely example of his work at the museum, but as I've already mentioned some of it is very hard to photograph because the lighting is appropriate for a house but not for a gallery. I had a go from several angles.
There is rich decoration everywhere.
Ceilings have stars or stained glass skylights. Even the smallest room is highly decorated!
And here are the owners of this very grand house.