Now then Dear Reader. When it comes to bands, I have a bit of a bucket list of those I’ve yet to see (sadly some of those on that list need exhuming as I’ve left it a bit late) and it gave me the greatest of pleasure to tick one of those off last weekend.
It was, as it is and has been for many years, the Isle of Wight Festival last weekend and in between bouts of babysitting for the small people, TG and I attended on the Saturday. Now I always know that we’re in for a bit of a session when TG begins the festival day by vowing that ‘this year’ he is ‘not going to drink’. Hmmm. If I believed that I’d believe anything, especially as we only got as far as the Folly en route before he declared that a Jamiesons would be just the sharpener he needed……
Oh my, we did have fun. We danced in the Hipshaker tent before, during and after many bands had been and gone.. ..
We enjoyed the very good boyband Lawson, the rather older Bonnie Raitt, Bastille and a nadge of Bloc Party. We had cocktails in the Drambuie Lounge. Danced some more. And then the hour arrived for my tick off.
When it comes to headliners at the IOWF I’ve seen a few good, bad and sometimes indifferent. But this year was one of the best and did not disappoint. From the moment Mr Flowers and his crew stepped onto the stage the whole festival stepped up several gears. They were a great festival band who ‘got it’. Hit after hit, a bit of the Beatles thrown in (when I’m 64 with its IOW reference) and also bizarrely some Sonia….They were really brilliant and the set passed in what seemed like a nano second.
We could have repaired home at this point but decided that more dancing was in order and so we finally made it to bed about 2.30ish knackered but having had 12 hours of the best entertainment around and all (in my case) for £25 (it’s who you know, don’t you know). Always a pleasure, never a chore and all to be repeated this time next year…..
We are off on our holliers this week to gay Paris. I’ve booked the river cruise, Versailles and Giverny but left plenty of time for wine and other things. I very much feel a break from work, life and certain people is in order and so I shall see you back here in the not too distant future with tales 0f fun and games and doubtless pictures of windows. Sante!
*This is us after quite a lot of dancing and maybe a drink or two…..we probably shouldn’t be let out in polite society…..
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged Bastille, Beatles, Bloc Party, Bonnie Raitt, Giverny, Isle of Wight Festival, Lawson, Mr Brightside, Seaclose Park, Sonia, The Killers, Versailles | Leave a Comment »
I am speaking to you Dear Reader in conspiratorial tones. If I don’t, then I fear that this golden orb which has appeared in our skies for the last week or two will skedaddle back to Timbuktu or wherever it was it has been hiding for the last God knows how many months. It has been truly glorious here on the sunny Isle and we have been making the most of the garden which is looking rather splendid (if I do say so myself) if a touch wild in places. There are more self seeded Foxgloves that you could shake, well a Foxglove at, in every possible shade of purple, white and pink and the walkway down the garden is looking lovely with those and the Aquilegias in full flower. Everything is so very late because of the pants Spring we had but it’s a riot of colour out there.
I have been remembering Summers long gone as well over the last few weeks. I don’t know about you Dear Reader, but in my Summers past it never really seemed to rain and the days seemed endlessly long and warm. I remember the farmers cutting the long grass for hay and the dusty smell and tractor noises that were the backdrop of hot late August days. My father used to drag us out for walks on a Sunday afternoon always with a plastic bag in our pockets for anything that we might find (I do still do that) and my bedroom always had a nature table of sorts groaning with our finds. I fancied myself as a sort of Gerald Durrell / Diary of an Edwardian lady type for a while but my fear of birds (or in fact anything fluttery) and my lack of ability to draw at all soon put paid to those notions.
I have also been remembering the Summers that we spent with my maternal Grandmother. We would drive over (my Mother, brothers and I – never my Father) and stay with my Nan in her little red brick house on the side of a busy road in Hither Green. Coming, as we did, from the middle of nowhere in Ireland, this was a huge novelty for us and I can see us in the shops buying cream soda and penny sweets and fish and chips and going swimming in the local baths. My nan was almost childlike in her way and she delighted in milk jellies, scrumping pears from the next door neighbours standing on the bin and laughing her head off and having all of us (my cousins too) to stay. We squished ourselves into whatever beds or sofas were available and listened to her old 45s on her ‘radiogram’ whilst reclining on her ‘studio couch’. I remember the hot Summer of ’76 when she made houses and hideaways from old sheets and blankets and we played with all my Mother and aunt’s old dolls and prams. Happy days indeed.
Fast forward 40 odd years and I am doing the same as my Nan did but in my own garden and with my own grandchildren. When we bought our house with its third of an acre of garden our children were really too old to use or appreicate it and so it’s wonderful to now have these small folks running around and enjoying it.
We have assembled a motley assortment of hand me down toys and books, bikes and scooters and there have been many happy days spent colouring, having stories or running round the gardening flapping our arms, screeching and pretending to be birds (or was that just me?). We have planted seeds, watched them come up and become beans, sunflowers and all mannner of other things. We have spent rainy days in the greenhouse (WHY is it a greenhouse Nanny? It ISN’T green!!) chatting and planting and doing. And so finally, the garden has come to life again.
I like to think that when these little folks grow up they’ll have fond memories of Nanny’s garden like I do of my Nans. That they’ll remember having fun and laughs, dancing and singing silly songs, playing hide and seek in amongst the washing and that they’ll appreciate butterflies and flowers and the nature of things. If that’s the best memory they have of me when they get older then that’s ok by me. I’m sure we’ll get to a stage in the not too distant future when it all becomes a bit boring and that’s also ok by me. But I know that somewhere in the back of their minds there will always be a little something that triggers thoughts of good times. For me it’s the smell of Lemon Balm and Magnolia trees both of which instantly transport me back to Nan’s garden in the seventies. A time of simple pleasures, laughter and childhood fun and games. And as we know Dear Reader, it’s the simple things that mean the most.
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged Aquilegia, beans, family, Foxgloves, gardening, gardens, grandchildren, grandparents, Isle of Wight, Magnolia, photography, planting, seedlings, sunflowers | Leave a Comment »
I was looking through some old photos and came across some that I took in St Malo. The light wasn’t brilliant – mostly because there was a persistent drizzle, a horizontal wind and it was as good as sub zero…
As you know Dear Reader I do love a window when on the continent and these were a little threesome that I snapped. TG and I are off to Paris on our holliers on a couple of weeks so expect more where these came from (I can hear the anticipation and bated breath from here!)
You just have to love the faded scuffed paint don’t you?
The shop was closed unfortunately otherwise I’d have had a browse
I also managed to resist the cake. Which, with the benefit of hindsight was completely stupid!
TG and I will land in Paris on the 20th. We have booked a rather nice apartment in the Marais and plan to see Monet’s garden at Giverny, Versailles, ALL the Degas at the Musee D’Orsay and perhaps drink a little wine…and eat some cheese….and do a little shop browsing…and take photos of windows. Are we nearly there yet?
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged bookshops, cake shop, Paris, St Malo, windows | Leave a Comment »
Well Dear Reader, wasn’t that a fabulous weekend (well it was here in Blighty anyway – sorry if it wasn’t in your neck of the world)? The sun shone for two whole days. There are more sunburned people out and about than you can shake a stick at and I very nearly got my Summer clothes out of storage…..
Without wishing to sound unbearably smug I also had Friday off in order to see the family and The Child who was in need of a Mummy hug or three and jolly nice it was to see them all. As a family (when we are all together) we can be accused of being a touch loud (actually quite a lot of shrieking seemed to emanate from our table) and so it was just as well that we were banished to the cavernous back of the restaurant and pretty much left to our own devices…..
On Saturday we had a longstanding date to help celebrate a 60th birthday with the other family at Goodwood. Now Dear Reader (and again no smuggery involved) if one is going to go racing and the weather is a bit pants then the Richmond Enclosure and Horsewalk restaurant were the places to be. We had a lovely lunch, a riotous sweepstake, there was money lost and money won and SOME people drank too much wine – and here I can be ENTIRELY smug as I was the designated driver…. It was a really great day and the birthday girl had a marvellous time and several winners to boot. I had just the one winner, the very lovely Slinky Minx who romped home miles in front of the rest of the field. Sadly having not had the courage of my convictions I had only put it on for a place and so the sum total of my winnings…£2.60…Not going to get rich like that clearly.
And so the rest of the weekend was spent
slaving in the garden. There was much weeding, digging, strimming (man + strimmer = weapon of mass destruction) and general tidying up. We did manage a rather overindulgent dinner with the Folliers whereby TG let’s say ‘persuaded’ folks to drink all the weirdness brought back from foreign lands (Scotland) and vast quantities of wine. There was some very loud (and quite rude) chat, an awful lot of laughing and some very sore heads on Monday! Despite all of that, the garden is looking relatively tidy for the most part. It’s never going to look like a park and neither should it in my opinion but when the small people arrived on Monday for a visit it was just the place for running around and having some fun. They were particularly taken with the Apple blossom which has been amazing this year (apparently it’s all to do with the cold Spring which means we’ll have brazillions of apples much to TG’s delight – not) as it was falling like confetti around us as we were sitting underneath it.
I was exhausted by the end of Monday between the socialising and the slaving. But it was a really lovely weekend during which I saw all but one member of both families – quite a feat. Of course, being Britain, the weather has reverted back to type and so we are basking in balmy nine degree temperatures with a lovely cold northerly and some driving rain just for good measure. It’s supposed to improve for the weekend, but really, who can say. I shall watch with interest!
P.S. These are my lovely vintage boxes which cost me all of a tenner planted up with Strawberries. I love them!
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged Apple blossom, bank holiday, gardening, Goodwood, horse racing, Horsewalk Restaurant, photography | Leave a Comment »
We were up in Linclonshire a few weeks ago. The weather was awful. The Other Child’s grandparents have the most lovely garden but it was so dull, rainy and grey that it was pointless taking many pictures of the flowers and plants.
Instead I took some ‘still life’ pictures (which I had completely forgotten about). These are they….
A different sort of garden look…..
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged gardens, Lincolnshire, photography, still life, Thimbleby | Leave a Comment »
Picture this Dear Reader. A cold and miserable Sunday morning 8:30. Rain forecast and already drizzle is in the air. I am in the deserted playground of a local school. Deserted that is save for three other learners, an instructor and a Yamaha 125. Yes, this was me yesterday freezing and wet and just a touch confused taking my CBT (for those of you in foreign lands who read this rubbish – that’s Compulsory Basic Traning to ride a motorcycle).
I would be lying to you Dear Reader if I pretended that I had any notion of what I was doing to begin with having NEVER ridden a motorbike IN MY LIFE and this complete lack of knowledge was borne out beautifully by my complete and utter lack of ability to get the bloody thing to move at all. Eventually (and I mean very eventually much to the boredom of my fellow learners – who incidentially were all in their early 20s and whizzing around the playground with gay abandon) I managed to get off the starting blocks . Now I won’t bore you with the frustrating morning that ensued. I shan’t tell you how many times I got it wrong and how many quite interesting swear words were uttered. And I certainly won’t tell you about at one point wanting to cry and go home.
What I will tell you however is that I had the most patient and amusing of instructors who told me that the only real problem was that I was trying too hard. ‘Take a chill pill’ said he ‘ and think of your footwork like an episode of Strictly Come Dancing’. And so I did and found myself several hours later out and about on the roads of the now wet and sodden Isle in my open faced helmet whizzing along at 45 (yes 45!!) miles an hour with the rain like needles in my eyes. There was a point along one of the most notorious stretches of road on the Island where I did think that this might be my last hurrah, but I managed to stay on and not end up under any oncoming juggernauts…always a bonus in these situations.
We got back to base and I couldn’t feel my hands (from hanging on for dear life) and was a touch saddle sore. I also had the most attractive helmet hair in the known motorcycling world. I expected the instructor to say that I’d have to come back and do some more training, but no – apparently I am quite competent on two wheels on the road – which from (literally) a standing start I thought was pretty good going.
Sadly because Martyn the Lambretta (I didn’t name him) is a 200cc scooter, I have to take a theory test and the a big bike test on a 400cc bike before I can ride him on the road – yikes!! Suffice to say that I shall be having more lessons before that takes place!
In any case, I thought to myself last night, I haven’t done anything for a while to challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone so this was a good day in that respect. It’s never a bad idea to learn something new and push yourself. I’m never going to be a biker or scooterer (or whatever the correct term is) and I shall be entirely fair weather pootling about with my picnic and camera along the country lanes. It’s the perfect vehicle for a spot of solitude and that I look forward to as well on sunny Sundays when the golf club is calling TG. In fact as he plays pretty much every Sunday, there will be much solitude. Can’t wait!
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged Beaper Shute, CBT, Isle of Wight, Lambretta, motorcycling, scooters | Leave a Comment »
Oh, ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll get to Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.
And so we found ourselves, Dear Reader, TG and I along with some friends attending the wedding of the lovely Ms Emily over the bank holiday weekend on the (not so sunny but still bonnie) banks of Loch Lomond – Luss to be exact.
I used to live up in Scotland as a very small child when my Dad directed numerous episodes of Dr Finlay’s Casebook back in the late 60s but apart from that and a short stint working on the Glasgow Herald (in London) my Scottish connections and visits there end. So it was with great excitement that we set off for a weekend of fun and frolics and frolic we indeed did.
Luss is a very pretty village in a conservation area having been restored in the 90s and is full of slate roofed cottages
We stayed in the Loch Lomond Arms and the staff couldn’t have been nicer and more friendly. In fact, that was true of everyone we met in shops and hotels over the weekend which is so refreshing.
We had such a lovely weekend. Lots and lots of laughs. Some very dodgy Scottish dancing at the reception. The trying on of various tartan articles. Far too much wine. An abundance of haggis with just about every meal. The realisation that heels, a wide planked pier with BIG gaps and a metal grille do not make good friends. A wonderful cruise on the Loch. And a really lovely wedding.
TG and I plan to go back to bonnie Scotland, hire a car and explore. It was a beautiful spot despite the weather and there is obviously so much more to see and do. I can’t wait!
P.S The Bride wore Jimmy Choos. I am beyond envious….
Posted in Life, the universe and everything... | Tagged Jimmy Choo, Loch Lomond, Loch Lomond Arms, Luss, photography, Scotland, wedding | Leave a Comment »