british museum

i finally made it to see the Maggie Hambling works on paper at the British Museum;  i literally was around the corner and had half an hour to spare before my next appointment – it was a perfect half hour spent in one of london’s greatest spaces.  i totally forgot how grand and impressive the museum is and on my way stumbled through the chinese ceramics which i am definitely going to revisit.   Hambling’s loose markings with ink and charcoal are so expressive and precise – they capture perfectly the personality of the sitter.  it made me come home and want to just draw rather than use watercolour.   its free entry and i urge you to visit before the exhibition ends at the end of the month.

these were works by Hambling at the dovecote at snape, another interesting venue for artists’ works.

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i have dared to draw 5 min quick poses with pen, it makes you much more adventurous, give it a go.


national trust properties

a few years ago i remember that the national trust  had to close the modernist house, High Cross House in devon, due to lack of visitors –  its sad that some unique buildings are not able to sustain their upkeep and therefore wont be open to the public.   i am not a national trust member, but it does seem to be a worthwhile cause and there are so many properties to visit around the country.   it would make a great gift for that person who has everything.

homewood which is featured in some dramas and films is a national trust property and  this will is on my list of things to do in the spring.   the last trip that i did like this was to the  Henry Moore gallery in Perry Green.  it was so peaceful and pleasurable walking around the grounds seeing all the sculptures and Moore’s workshops.

other interesting buildings to see are the  erno goldfinger house in hampstead and the literary carlyle’s house and sutton house – so maybe its time to plan a daytrip and help support the maintenance of these wonderful buildings.  openhouse is also an annual event that allows you to see the inside of buildings that are not normally open to the public – its maybe worth signing up now, so that you can see which ones interest you.

if you are looking to move and just want a modern house, then this is the perfect website – the modern house estate agents – it also allows you to peep at other houses and get lots of style ideas!

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kite runner

its been a very cultural time – catching up on films and missed tv dramas.  this week we saw ‘la la land’ ;  there has been so much in the media and so many of my friends had seen it that i felt that we had better go and see it.  robert hated it – so much that it made me feel uncomfortable – you know that feeling when your partner is squirming around – i actually told him to leave, but he persisted and only stayed cos he enjoyed the jazz aspect!  i have to admit, although i thought it lovely and a romantic story harking back to the days of ‘singing in the rain’, i did think it was over rated and would have been much more pleasantly surprised if i hadn’t heard all this hype. i love emma stone though. contrastingly, the kite runner at wyndhams was a powerful telling of the bestselling book ‘the kite runner’;  i had read the book, but fortunately it was so long ago that i couldn’t remember the story – i just remember how good the book was;  the play didnt disappoint, the story still moving and emotional and the acting very strong.  its definitely one theatre ticket worth getting – even robert enjoyed it and he hadn’t read the story, but was aware of the political history of afghanistan.

over xmas i caught up on ‘the crown’ – and am afraid i am now addicted – still a few episodes to go, but its a learning insight into our own country’s history both political and social.   of course if you are not into the monarchy then it may all seem superficial, but it allows you into another world that reveals that even royalty have feelings and despite all that wealth and high living, all they crave is to be ordinary at times.   and finally, i watched the drama about the bronte sisters – to walk invisible -what amazing feisty women – its what what we need more of;  i loved that they persisted in their love of writing despite the struggle of being in a time when females were just seen as wives, baby makers and housewives.   fortunately you have time to watch again .

i love this picture of the boys in havana playing with paper bags as though they were kites.  its one of the pictures in my book ‘stolen glimpses’ – i still have some copies left….



for robert

so its our 22nd wedding anniversary today – quite an achievement- marriage is definitely not easy, its about give and take, patience, acceptance, sharing, thoughtfulness and constantly working things out and a bit of gritting the teeth at times.   but its definitely flown by, and its only the childrens’ ages that remind you of the amount of years that have gone.   i have learned so much from robert – about life, history, music……not only my husband, but friend, lover and soulmate.  here’s to the next 22 years…..

thankful that robert introduced me to the music of nick lowe – so many favourite tracks, but this one makes my heart flutter.

Let’s stay in and make love

I don’t really care
About tonight’s affair
We don’t have to go
The same crowd will be there

Like they’ve been before
At the last three in a row
Now your waiting in the hall
And I’m on the stair
Looking at you from above
And I say darlin just for a change
Lets stay in and make love

Please don’t get me wrong
I love to party long
With my special girl
But there some thing in life
More important
Than a busy social world
You say softly darlin
Your quiet tonight and your right
Cause what I’m thinking of
Is take off your dress Lets stay in and make love

Lets take a break
Precious moments to steal
Lets forget the chattering crowd
And get down to what’s really real.
Da da da da da da da
I’ll put on something that will groove us

You may dim the light
And come to me darlin’
Lets stay in and make love
Slip off those things and love me now

There’s a feeling of love in here
And its you, sweet embraceable you
Just for a change
Lets stay in and make love

Nick Lowe


the radical eye

dont miss this lovely exhibition of black and white photographs from the personal collection of Elton John;  its an opportunity to see the original prints from photographers like Man Ray, Edward Weston and Tina Modotti.   there is the beautiful image of migrant mother by Dorothea Lange.   the frames are slightly dominating, but just look past them and see the images.  made me come home and vow to use my film cameras again.

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hand made ceramics

i love anything hand made – especially ceramics.  i picked these little saucers up in our village vejer de la fronterra –  in what was the old post office shop – el antiguo correo and is now a lovely shop selling crafts from all around the world.  with all this cold weather, i can’t wait to get to spain.


here are a couple of pieces that i made when i joined a ceramic class a year ago, i have always meant to rejoin, but somehow time seems to slip by……

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what to see in mumbai

its a big city to navigate round, so i definitely recommend making a list of what you want to see, booking a driver and maybe spend a couple half days doing these trips – otherwise, you will find it exhausting and the traffic may do you in!

first on the list is the fish market – try to go early and watch the fishermen coming back from sea, and the beautiful girls in their colourful saris sorting out the fish, peeling the prawns – its an amazing display of working community life and colour;  be warned – its very messy, very smelly so wear the right shoes – i wore flip flops and my feet were covered in fish blood and bits!  sadly they didnt allow photos.   then drive past the shanty villages along the coast where the fishermen live – drying out their fish in rows.


visit the fruit and spice market, victoria train station with its high victorian architecture,  visit Jain temple – white marble temple of one of the oldest practised religions.  our favourite bit was  Ban Ganga, which gives you  a true sense of how the old and the new, tradition and modernity, religion and freedom all mix in Mumbai, its atop Malabar Hill.  if you get your driver to take you towards Teen Batti,  and then walk around the tank (a mini lake ) which if you are lucky will see the locals give their offerings, entering the water with trays of food and flowers and bathing in the healing waters.   just wonder round, take in the tiny temples, the sacred cows, the gulleys, the dhobis (the caste renowned for washing clothes);  walk through their hanging clothes down to the walloping washing wallahs themselves.  its an unbelievably ravishing experience.  not far away are the Hanging Gardens,  take a look down from their onto Marine Drive at night when its all lit up, they call it the Queen’s necklace.  as you are going down from Malabar Hill, on the left are the Parsi towers of silence, you can’t go in, but its fascinating the way they dispose of their dead – they leave them out to be eaten by the birds.


of course, cricket is a national institution and when you pass any open space you will see locals all playing – i managed to see england play india there, which was an experience, but what i didnt bank on was sitting in the direct sun at 10.30am – it was hot, so if you and see a match, buy a seat in the covered part!



take a trip to chow patty beach during sunset – its a beautiful way to end the day, watching the locals swim, play or just walk along the beach – all religions, all ages, mixing to show a display of wonderful costumes.    sunset at the gateway of india is also a lovely time, watching the boats come in, its a constantly changing skyline dependent on the weather or time of day.  on a weekend you can’t miss the splendour and noise of a wedding or two, a train of musicians, guests and singers march round the streets…..   so all in all, it really is chaos, but beautiful chaos – so enjoy!!!