a bright cold day in Suffolk

I love going to the seaside in the winter – the sea and the landscape changes so dramatically with the seasons;  the wind beats the waves into angry turbulence, the grasses waving frantically from side to side – you just have to wrap up and enjoy the fresh air – its quite exhilarating.  not often visited because of the power station Sizewell beach is actually quite lovely and although it can be blustery cold in November, the sun can shine, the sky be clear blue and  with its wild landscape, the nuclear power station at one end, the huts and boats at the other end makes it quite dramatic.  also close by is Leiston Abbey,  which is definitely worth a visit.

Suffolk has so many beaches to discover and out of season, its not full of holidaymakers, its just you and nature….  Limeblossom cottage makes a great base for visiting both beaches and inland villages. 

pop up sales

i still love this community of pop up sales – a different venue, new artisans and creatives coming together to bring an atmosphere of warmth and passion sharing their crafts and products. its a million miles away from internet shopping or bland shopping centres. Ros and Sarah have curated a lovely event. there are two coming up, one in Batcombe Somerset on the 11th and 12th November and the other in Brixton on the 20th and 21st November 2021. its a great time to catch up with what small producers are making, treating yourself and buying Xmas presents – dare i even mention that word……..

I will be showing my cards, ceramics, some watercolours and a few vintage bits and bobs….

halloween

how did halloween get to be such an important event in the uk – i dont remember this as a child.  i do remember toffee apples and burning the guy fawkes for bonfire night though.

the custom of trick-or-treating and the use of “jack-o’-lanterns” comes from Ireland. hundreds of years ago, Irish farmers went from house to house, begging for food, in the name of their ancient gods, to be used at the village Halloween celebration. they would promise good luck to those who gave them good, and made threats to those who refused to give. they simply told the people, “You treat me, or else I will trick you!”

nobody really knows how halloween originated, but since the 19C , 31st october has acquired a reputation as a night on which witches, ghosts and fairies are especially active.

in the year 835 AD the Roman Catholic Church made 1st November a church holiday to honour all the saints. although it was a joyous holiday it was also the eve of All Souls Day, so in Medieval times it became customary to pray for the dead on this date.

another name for All Saints Day is ‘All Hallows‘ (hallow is an archaic English word for ‘saint’). the festival began on All Hallows Eve, the last night of October.; halloween comes from all hallow even, the eve(night before) All Hallows Day.  Therefore halloween is the eve of all saints day.

its always been a big tradition in america, but over the recent years, it has now become a big event for kids in england.  i always remember maude  carved the pumpkin to light and bought the sweets to hand out to all the little children who come round all cutely dressed up.  now she is away at uni it feels sad not to celebrate. 

 

exhibitions to see

there are so many exhibitions and galleries to visit now that we are able to. i have recently been to see a few, catching up on seeing art live is so inspirational. actually being in a room with a painting that you have seen for many years in print evokes a different feeling – seeing the brush strokes, the depths and tones. go and visit the Rothko room at Tate Britain and feel the harmony of those red hues.

Paula Rego is deeply moving and complex, relating the injustice to the female, violence, oppression – each painting relays a message, revealing the deep thoughts and moral sensibilities of the artist – sometimes portrayed as an activist, Rego rightly reveals the unfairness to women and girls and her paintings definitely disturb, provoke and make you think.

Noguchi at the Barbican shows what a varied artist/designer/sculptor he is – turning his hand to stage sets, bronzes and wooden sculptures – his most recognisable item being the paper lantern, which sadly has been overcopied , but part of every students room. An interesting exhibition for the those interested in all aspects of design.

the Royal Academy has its summer exhibition on, later due to the covid situation but worth a visit to see art from all ages, abilities. Always a bit overwhelming seeing so many pictures hung all together, it keeps one hope that you don’t have to be famous to hang in such an amazing gallery.

I am staying very close to the Victoria Miro gallery – an amazing architectural space, its always worth paying this gallery a visit.

Also worth visiting is the David Parry house in Cambridge, a fascinating insight into the house of David Parry who helped design the wall papers of William Morris; in his own home, he actually painted the designs directly onto the walls, rather than using paper – and all these years later, they have been preserved by his granddaughter and open to the public. you visit in small groups, but well worth seeing this beautiful labour of love in a domestic home.

happy art viewing.

ceramics and artisan

i am always looking for  beautiful ceramics – have a look at the delicate beakers and jugs by James and tilla waters. I love the bold designs of Silvia K. i also like the simplicity of the creamer jug from another country.  love the colourful blue jugs by reiko kaneko  – jugs are something i can’t resist and i have jugs in all sizes and colours, some old, some new!

jug_0080 jugs_0075 jugs_0071

another of my favourite ceramicists is Jacqui Roche,  who makes lovely cream porcelain ware, including this lovely porcelain rose.  Jacqui also runs workshops for adults and children, learning to use the wheel and glazing pots – she’s inspirational.  Fliff Carr is also a brilliant ceramics and teacher – her fine delicate pieces make lovely gifts. 

there seem to be very few artisan shops left in london, i find that its essential to touch and feel the things that i want to buy and especially the scale – you lose all the beauty in a photograph online.  fortunately there are a few shops remaining that still show interesting hand made ceramics – my favourites are listed.

My new discovery is Kobo in a little alley in Norwich, beautifully presented, and more rustic and earthy coloured pots, you can’t leave without purchasing something. mint is an inspiring shop selling beautiful ceramics and artisan products.    egg is another source of inspiration,  no website, but worth the journey.  igigi in brighton is another favourite place of mine – and definitely makes going to brighton worth it. merci in paris is another shop worth all the travelling to – its got to be a must on your list of paris shopping – merci also gives its profits to charity.Eclectic is typically japanese , very white, minimal, very delicate in style but like a breath of fresh air, it stands out amongst the usual chain shops around town.  of course there is frank in whitstable,  abigail aherne in islington has an unusual choice of ceramics.  native and co have lovely selection of Japanese gifts and homewares and momosan near London Fields also is a lovely shop to visit for gifts. 

harvest moon

tonight is the last full moon of the summer  known as the ‘autumn or corn moon’ – so called because it signals the time when corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice – the chief Indian staples are ready for gathering.  it has been full for the last 2 days, so try and look out for it. 

This full Moon corresponds to the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival. The seventh month of the Chinese calendar is the Ghost Month and the fifteenth day of this month (a full Moon day) is called Ghost Day, on which ghosts and spirits, including those of deceased ancestors, come out to visit the living.  the ghosts are not scary in this instance, more a remembering of the past.  It’s also the autumnal time that families come together and  celebrate the abundance of life and what it offers, letting go of any pains and stresses and holding new intentions.  Coincidentally we are all here in Andalucia, the whole family, plus my son in law enjoying the warmth and family time – the last 18 months of strangeness has passed so quickly, but we missed lots of big birthdays during that time, 30, 21, 60 – so it feels that this 2 weeks has been a wonderful sharing time to reunite and catch up on everything.  Tonight we are going to celebrate the autumnal moon by watching it rise over the sea.  

here are a few pics from the town of the last couple of days with the moon in all its glory. 

 

chiringuitos

I am finally back in spain  and all my family with me, which is a huge pleasure after the last 18 months of being apart and not  being able to celebrate family birthdays and occasions.  With all my kids working or away at Uni, its been very difficult to get us all together.

September is such a lovely time to be in Andalucia, though we have had the odd downpour, but unlike London, the sun does break out and gives you a dash of warmth and glow.  the town quietens down and the beaches are filled with a scattering of people – the temperature is near perfect, around 25 C and the sea warm.  after 21 years of having our house here, we still always manage to discover new things, either through recommendations or just stumbling on things.  of course, some good things go, and some good things appear.  sadly, a lot of the amenity shopping in the old town seem to be replaced by dress shops or another restaurant.

Chiringuitos, are small bars or stands that can be seen the length of the Spanish coast, usually on the beachfront they open up during the busier holiday times and are much more affordable.  There are different types, some selling cold beverages and others that are much more elaborate and may serve meals. Some of the most typical treats on offer are paella and sardines, although the variety depends on the place .  There used to be a few stands on the beach at El Palmar, but sadly they haven’t been given their licences this past year,  apparently the restaurants complained about them taking their custom.  But there are lots of other chiringuitos on other beaches.  There is a great one on Mangueta beach, which simply barbecues fish and prawns and serves with salad, and a couple further down nearer to the lighthouse of Trafalgar, El Nia and Faro Beach.   another fun vibrant chiringuita is tangana on valdequeros beach – very close to the dunes just outside of tariff.   there is a lovely shop there too, caravan, housed in a caravan type shack, selling more quality summer clothes.   Canos de Meca has chiringuitas, as well as Zahara de los Atunes.

we now have pop up vans and trucks which is the english equivalent to the chiringuita.  in fact, Whitecross street, which is just by my new flat has a series of pop up stalls and vans, serving absolutely everything from Thai, Sushi, Lebanese,  Indian – don’t know whether this is a good thing or not having something like this on your doorstep.

cornwall

I have finally made it back to Padstow  – its been more than 3 years since I have been – staying with my lovely friends Jon and Kim, who moved down here several years ago.  Each time i come, there are new enterprises popping up;  including  hawksfield, a recent enterprise of vintage furniture, health food and deli products, flowers, homeware by Jo and co.   the cafe there is also a fun place to meet – its more informal, but also does breakfast.   Hawksfield is just outside of Wadebridge.

we had lunch at Potager in Constantine, a cafe /restaurant housed in a garden centre which had been left to be delapidated and over the years has been restored ,to provide a really lovely space for meeting, arts and crafts workshops and really tasty healthy food. 

I also walked over to the Old lifeboat station, Edward Woodward’s old house In Hawkers cove – again a beautiful spot and if you go early, say 9am, its practically deserted, even in the height of the August tourist season.  sadly, it’s been sold and apparently being developed into something swish, which is always sad.  

A new stopping place, just outside of Padstow is Margo’s – a restaurant that opens from breakfast, right through to dinner; the food is locally sourced and seasonal and you can also find local products for sale – chocolate, gin, wine and preserves.  there is also a garden centre and flowers shop selling locally grown flowers.

A great place to eat is  Appletons, a very tasty rustic Italian style food restaurant at trevibban mill.  the food is locally grown and raised, with some of the vegetables grown on site.   this is a local cornish vineyard that produces its own wine and cider,  you can  have wine tasting tours which sound fun – if only i drank wine!  i noticed that you could buy home spun wool too. its always lovely to see new places opening up – i realised that we have been coming to Padstow for over 20 years now as my friends have always had a place there.

We walked up again to the nearby granite obelisk which was built in 1887 to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, offering stunning views and quietness from the busy centre of Padstow.