the serpentine pavilion

always a pleasure to visit hyde park and the wonderful annual pavilion.  this years structure is very clever, simply designed with lightweight crates that give different illusions of scale from different viewpoints.  sometimes, the space feels very tall and spacious and then at other times feels transparent and wide.  designed by Bjark Ingels it sits handsomely with the green background of hyde park.   this year there are also 4 other smaller summer houses, just a short walk away in the park, they are also worth seeing.



flowers from my garden

all the warm weather has made my flowers pop out, but sadly it has also shrivelled them up quickly too – not used to this immense heat.

i have grown my passion flower in a pot to keep it down in size.  passiflora  gained this name due to the great imagination and devotion of the Portuguese and Spanish Jesuits .while exploring the exotic tropical rainforests of South-America they were astonished not only by the beauty and diversity of the plant  but also with all the symbolism that they immediately attributed to the plant. for the Jesuits, the flower of the passion vine had all the symbols of the Passion of Christ, and so it was named after this passion, not any other romantic or sensual passion that people might probably think of – after all it is indeed an exotic and extremely sweet fruit.  five sepals and five petals refer to the ten faithful apostles (excluding Judas and Peter). three stigma represent the three nails that held Christ to the cross, while five anthers represent his five sacred wounds. the tendrils of the flower are said to resemble the whips used in the flagellation, while the filaments, which can number in excess of a hundred depending on the flower, depict the crown of thorns. this powerful symbolism has led to the inclusion of the Passion Flower among the ornamentation of various churches, such as in stained glass window designs, altar frontals and lectern falls.


whitstable oyster festival

missing my fisherman’s college in whitstable, its just over 3 years now since i sold it and have only managed to get there once since then.  i remember that this time of year is when the whitstable oyster festival is on.  with  all the wonderful food stores and vans whitstable is definitely the destination for  speciality  good local food.    its a great time for a day visit, and especially if the weather is good – you may be lucky and can go in the sea!   take a walk from the harbour down towards seasalter – its a lovely walk and gets much quieter.  the festival commences in the next week.

there are usually lots of pop up shops, gift and vintage;  what i always loved about whitstable are the independent shops and the village type atmosphere. frank is my favourite shop – with its lovely choice of craft and art gifts, its what every place needs.


georgia o’keefe

a lovely day to spend at tate modern – walking along the river banks from waterloo to see some art.  i remember 15 years ago when there were very few places to eat along the river, and now there is so much choice.   a good starting point is borough market – you can eat very cheaply or finely – its your choice;  we tried arabica bar and kitchen, lebanese dishes, just perfect for lunch.  i loved the georgia o’keefe exhibition – i must admit i always thought that they looked too commercial, maybe its the iconic posters that you have seen whilst growing up, but seeing them up close and seeing the actual paint, you really appreciate the colours;  her paintings are quite varied, but apart from the flowers, she was definitely influenced by her home surroundings.  an elegantly handsome lady, her work spans over 7 decades and is definitely worth a visit.  there are also a few anselm kiefer photographs – how he gets those deep blacks alongside the highlights is just breathtaking – a friend of o’keefe, he not only took a few portraits of her, but also of the same views that o’keefe painted.

of course you can’t not take the lift up to the top of the new extension – the views are just spectacular, plus you can get a coffee at the very top!  all the public hallways and circulation spaces are very lavish and spacious, and as its over 10 floors, it definitely makes it less crowded.



if you like flamenco music, then you must go and see Paco Pena at Sadlers Wells – his solo guitar is just beautiful.  Pena and his company of skilled musicians and dancers take inspiration from the life and music of poet, dramatist and musician Federico Garcia Lorca to examine the devastating effects of the spanish civil war.   i love the wailing voices of flamenco, deep, haunting and resounding, they are full of emotion;  the beat of the shoe, the clap of the hand, its an ensemble that is just simply moving.  its not about fancy sets or glamorous costumes, more about lines, curves, the flick of a hem……..  Patrias is an emotional tribute to Lorca and a passionate account of the tragedy that befell sprain in 1936-39.


how to remove some of those yellow marks on your white clothes…..

dont you hate it every summer, you go to get your lovely white dresses out for your holidays and there are all these yellow marks over them?  apparently, even if your clothes look clean and there are no apparent stains, you should still wash them before you put them back, especially clothes that you dont wear that often.   I have so many antique clothes, that they actually disintegrate with too much washing, so i  dont wash everything each time.  anyhow, i have discovered that if you soak them in ecover laundry bleach – i have only done this with white things, then the yellow stain miraculously disappears!    i am not guaranteeing it for everything, but the few times that i have tried it, its worked for me.

incidentally, my beautiful victorian blouse that i wear rips everytime, so i now sew vintage lace ribbons into the holes to patch up and it seems to not only cover the hole, but adds to the quirkiness of the blouse.   i used to just hang them in my bedroom as decoration, but have decided that its silly not to wear them.   i tend to buy my vintage ribbons from the cloth house, they have a lovely selection as well as interesting fabrics.

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