Sunday, 26 June 2011

My Perfect Cousin

We've had a really good family get together today.  My Uncle Michael (well, actually he's my Dad's cousin, so strictly he's my second cousin, but let's not complicate things) is over from Australia with his family, and I decided it would be a great excuse for a family reunion.  There were 33 of us altogether for Sunday lunch.  And no, before you ask, of course I wasn't doing the cooking - I like my family and I wouldn't put them through that.  It was brilliant to see everyone, some of whom I haven't seen for years, and in spite of that, once we got chatting it was like we'd never been apart.
Michael emigrated to Australia with his parents in 1948, and just before they left there was a family party then too (no, I wasn't at that one)  Anyway, the six cousins posed for this photograph at the party
My Dad is standing on the left, then his cousin Bernard, then cousin Terry.  Seated on the left is my Dad's brother Brian, (I think he'd like me to point out that he is the baby of the family)  then Terry's brother Fred/Dennis - depending on who you're talking to- and finally Michael.
And today, they travelled to Hertfordshire from Australia, Dorset, Norfolk, Essex, and Sussex to re-create the photograph.
I am so proud and so pleased that they were all able to make it - although I can't imagine that it took QUITE as long in 1948 to organise them for the picture.  
Someone suggested we take a picture of the next generation of cousins (or maybe 'second cousins once removed'
And then the next - not sure if they are third cousins, or second cousins twice removed?
A beautiful day - and certainly better weather than they laid on for us when we visited them in Australia.

My Perfect Cousin - The Undertones

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Waterloo Sunset

Now, given the title of this post, and the fact that on Sunday evening I got to see Ray Davies perform the last night of the Meltdown Festival at the Royal Festival Hall, you'd think there would be a picture of a Waterloo Sunset.  I DID take one.  In fact I took several as I wandered along the Southbank. I also took several (permitted) photos in the gig - there's usually a ban on photography, but as this was a special occasion, Ray said that there would be a photo opportunity during "People Take Pictures of Each Other",
So there should be pictures, because I took loads, before, during and after the gig.  Except that I hadn't got around to downloading them, and then I went for a long walk yesterday.  
My camera was in my rucksack, as was my showerproof jacket, just IN CASE the sun stopped shining and we had a shower.  Unfortunately, it was far more than a shower and went on for a couple of hours, and my showerproof jacket and rucksack were no match for the downpour.  Everything was soaked, inside my rucksack and ALL of my clothes.  As soon as I got home  I got the camera out and at the moment it's not looking good.  I've researched it on the internet, and I'd already done the right things - taken out the battery, and the memory card, opened everything that opened and left it in the airing cupboard, but I'm afraid to say it still isn't looking hopeful.
I'm going to take it to the camera shop today to see what they recommend, and I'm going to try putting it in a cardboard box with some of those silica sachets, which was another internet suggestion.  Not sure I fancy putting it in a warm oven overnight, which was one of the other suggestions, although if everything else fails ....  
So, no pictures I'm afraid.  I nicked this one from the Guardian's website.
It definitely makes it into my list of 'Top Ten Gigs I've Attended'. To think I nearly didn't bother to get a ticket - the whole 'Orchestra and Choir' combo didn't really appeal to me, but when I looked there was one little seat on its own in the very centre of the second row of the rear stalls, and all the other seats were booked, so I decided to go for it.  I'm SO glad I did. The LPO and the CEFC, far from detracting from the performance, as I'd feared, made the whole event so much bigger and better.  And I love the fact that when the cellists weren't actually playing, they were clapping their hands enthusiastically over their heads and rocking with everyone else.   
The first half was the whole of The Village Green Preservation Society album, and then the second half was a mixture of Kinks' hits and tracks from Ray's solo albums.  A really good night, and when I got chatting to the couple next to me - it turned out they had nearly bought the seat I was in, but in the end decided not to invite their mate, for which I am very grateful, or I wouldn't have got to be there.
I must say, it seems odd to go to a gig and sit down.  All the gigs I usually go to are standing-only venues, which will always be my preference, but it DID make a pleasant change to sit there with a really good view, without people continually getting in your way or spilling beer down you as they squeeze past with four pints of lager and two of Guinness.  Obviously, no-one is capable of watching a band without pouring alcohol down their necks, in much the same way as they can't watch a film at the cinema without shovelling popcorn in their gob.  Believe me, I can do both, and I've never collapsed through dehydration or malnutrition - maybe I've just been lucky.
Talking of which, wish me luck with the camera.

Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Bobby's Girl(s)

In my last post, I mentioned that I was on a four day Bobby Britnell Summer School at Art Van Go, called 'Locating and Abstracting'  It was a really brilliant four days, and we  used loads of different drawing and mixed media techniques, and artist research to work towards producing an individual textile work or a series of smaller pieces.
For a more 'in depth' explanation of the workshop - have a look at my post on the Art Van Go blog but I thought I'd show you some photos of the work that we produced between  over the four days. (There were ten other 'girls' as well as me)

The first one is mine - all the little sketches were produced from just one pebble (sorry about the poor lighting - couldn't take them outside as it was raining most of the time)

This next one is mine too - well, it would be - it's got hearts on it.  The blue to the left of the picture is fabric I painted with gesso and acrylic paint, which I'll use to make my finished piece.

 - and of course we all went away with sketchbooks stuffed full of ideas and technique to work on.
It was a fantastic way to spend four days - and as well as all the samples we produced, we also got the opportunity to see some of Bobby's work, which was really inspirational and something to aspire towards.  I'll show you my finished piece, as and when.

I'm off to see Ray Davies at the Royal Festival Hall tonight.  Not sure how I'll get home, as the tube drivers are going on strike this evening at 9pm - but it'll take more than Bob Crow to stop me going to see Ray.

Bobby's Girl - Susan Maughan 

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Is It Just Me???

Today, I've been on the first day of a four day Summer School at Art Van Go with Bobby Britnell.  I've been looking forward to it for ages, and I've had a really good day and looking forward to the rest of the course.  I did intend to post some pictures of the work we produced today (there was a lot of it!) but unfortunately my photographs didn't turn out very well, and I've a feeling you wouldn't be impressed.  I'll try and get some decent ones over the next few days, but in the meantime, I felt it was time I posted about something.  So here it is.  It might not be of much interest to you, but it obviously WAS to me.
After changes in their line up, much acrimony between band members, an absence of five years, spells in the Priory for rehabilitation, and finally reconciliation ............
The Darkness are back!!

A lot less lycra,
more ridiculous moustaches
a lot more tattoos
but still the same loud guitars, falsetto singing and rock posturing,
and, of course,  the obligatory parade around the audience on a big guy's shoulders for "Love On The Rocks".
It was a brilliant night - I grinned all through the gig - and even my mate Jane, who I'd press-ganged into coming with me, said she enjoyed it.  
I wonder if I'll EVER grow up.

 Is It Just Me? - The Darkness

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Pink Cadillac

Sorry it's been a while -  I spent ages posting this yesterday - bl***y Blogger said it had published but it hadn't.  So, as I've got to start again from scratch, this will be an abridged version.  Since we last spoke, I visited the Prism exhibition at the Mall Galleries, which I think was the best Prism I've seen - lots of things I really loved.  I didn't take any pictures, but if you couldn't make the exhibition and would like to see what you missed, Angela has some pictures on here. I couldn't run to buying any of the exhibits, but I DID get tempted in the shop and bought this fab heart made by Wendy Green.
You can never have too many hearts.
After the exhibition, I had a bit of a wander, through Trafalgar Square - I haven't really kept up with the changing exhbits there, so I'm not sure if this is temporary or not
And then up Regent Street for a bit of shopping.  I didn't buy anything in this shop,  but I love the window display. 

I wonder what they will do with all those beautiful old sewing machines afterwards?
It was a lovely day, just a pity about getting my car towed away.

I've also had a few days with my folks in Norfolk.  And, as luck would have it Gina happened to be running a 'Tyvek flowers' workshop at my sister's patchwork group, The Flying Geese, so, passing myself off as her trusty assistant, I was able to go,  and  I made a flower, and a seed pod.
Everyone had a really enjoyable day, and there are photos of the other flowers produced here on Gina's blog.

No trip to Norfolk would be complete without a trip to Holt, for a bit of retro retail therapy in the charity and vintage shops.  I got some pretty treasures

The blue pot seems to have been hand thrown, as it has the name of the maker scratched into the surface. 
I wonder who Win is - I'd love to know.
I'd heard a lot about Holkham Beach, but I've never been there, so after I'd finishing shopping and browsing at Holt, I went for a walk there.  It was late afternoon, and most people had made their way home, but the sun was still shining, and, being Norfolk,  needless to say, the wind was still blowing.
Back to stitching, and since our textile group Spectrum, had a day working with the Embellisher, I've had a bit of a play and made a few bits and pieces.  It's a real bonus, not having to thread a needle or cope with shredding thread. These were made entirely on the embellisher, with the additional of a few french knots and beads.
Right, fingers crossed this attempt at posting works
Oh, and I lied about my car being towed away.  If that pink beauty was mine, I'd never ever leave it on it's own.  And I know it's not a Cadillac, but it's MY blog and I'll call it what I like.

Pink Cadillac - Bruce Springsteen