Friday, 28 October 2011

Swings And Roundabouts

The Brighton Pavilion , lovingly knitted in very fine beige wool and on display in a cafe window


Holidays are much better if you don't have any concrete plans . Revisiting favourite places ( Cigala in Conduit Street and eating the definitive prawn , for instance ) or discovering something new ( just how addictive making Pick'n'Mix mini Lego figures could be ) made this half-term visit to England great fun . The weather was glorious , so the mushroom hunt was cancelled .... too dry and sunny for a good "crop" apparently , but sitting in the sun overlooking the 2012 Olympic stadium and eating a perfect selection of smoked salmon was a delight , instead . And the bright blue skies prompted me to go to Brighton for the day on Tuesday . Now that an aged relative is dead and uneasy afternoon teas by the white grand piano ( she was a pianist of the more flamboyant kind ) are no longer necessary , I can zip about the town enjoying the enormous colour and quirkiness that fills every street . I was weak with hunger by the time I got to the little streets in the middle of town and dashed into the whole food cafe .... where I had the ugliest lunch I've ever seen *

and very tasty it was , too ! One day I must go to the Aquaria fish bar , though , simply because of the wall paintings in the patio .... aren't they gorgeous !

In fact , every street had lovely murals and grafitti .... I want this cat on my sitting room wall

Spending time with my two eldest daughters and their families , being stuffed with delicious food and being bounced on by Grandson has quite set me up for the return to work and the whirlpools , quicksands and bear traps involved in working in a system financed by a rapidly shrinking public purse . I've been to two gloomy meetings this week , we've had our annual inspection and an extremely generous preschooler has given me her horrendous cold . But I'm just wrapping my new scarf three times round my neck , stuffing my fingers in my ears and singing "La La , La-La-La ! " very loudly .....

*A baked potato filled with chick pea dhal

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Olympic Park Tour


Sonata is on a train back to Holland after her visit to London, we managed to pack in quite a few visits, but the best trip was a tour around the London Olympic Park. These tours are free, though there is a three month waiting list, and we had to get up bright and early to get there. Security is tight, and it was like checking on to a plane (off with the belt!), but was it worth it!

The site is in construction but it is now possible to imagine how attractive it is going to be when they finish landscaping it. Some bits are still being built:

Whilst others are already erected, like this one:

The most stunning building has to be the velodrome:

Here is a close up:
When it is all over, it will be a park worth visiting, already the place is teaming with wildlife, we saw lots of birds like a kestrel, and cormorants, coots, ducks, swans... there are a few waterways and something like 30 bridges.

And, today, when I checked the bank account I saw that some money has been debited by the Olympic people so we must have got some tickets for the paralympics (neither of us can remember what on earth we asked for though!).

After such a visit there is only one place to go, over to Fish Island to taste some Forman's Salmon.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011



Autumn seems to be edging in ... it's difficult to tell through the gloom . The pre-schoolers are beginning to stagger in , enthusiastically clutching huge bags of chestnuts , acorns , cobnuts , wet leaves and woodlice for the Autumn table . Eric Carle's spider book is read to shreds and toadstool houses for gnomes are being made and sung about .

Next week it's half-term ( yes , I know , it does rather look as though I'm hardly ever at work ! ) and I'm going to England for the week . A full programme of great things to do has been organised, including a mushroom hunt in Pitchbury Wood ( near Colchester ) . Luckily my Festival-going stripey wellie boots are still in London , given the rooting about that will surely be involved . My Russian cookbook has loads of wild mushroom recipes , all of which sound deliciously fortifying so we'll have to hope that we find lots ! If I do see a red spotted toadstool with resident gnome , I'll make sure I take a photo for you , though actually I'm hoping more for a glimpse of Queen Boadicea's ghost ( she fought a battle nearby ) .

By Wednesday I'll turn myself into Granny Train and head north , ready to put my mini Lego building skills to the test and to hear all about the new delights of School Dinners . "I-take-a-purse-and-PAY-MYSELF-and-eat-sausages-and-mashed-potatoes-and-baked beans-and-chocolate-cake-for-pudding" . "Every day?" . "Yes " says Middle Daughter . He's growing exponentially .... upwards , luckily .

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Colouring In

As a child ... a happy child , I hasten to add ..... I fantasised about being somebody else entirely . Part of a circus , or living in a gypsy caravan or , better still , on a barge . Too much exposure to Laura Knight perhaps . Actually it wouldn't suit me at all . I'm far too untidy . But when we all went to the Cropredy Festival this summer , I discovered to my delight that the festival site was next to a canal lined with beautiful painted barges

Middle Daughter found me a colouring book for my birthday

full of castles and roses , the traditional decorations for English canal boats and I've been having great fun colouring them in , while swigging coffee from her other present .

It has provided a little , much needed , relief from The Great Quiltathon that finishing this ( decidely unminiature) quilt became

By the time I'd got round the 334th handsewn piece I'd had enough . The ( very) little boy I've made it for had better cherish it unto the third generation .