Thursday, 28 March 2013

Mini-creatures at Wisley!

We went to Wisley at the weekend, there was a "Spring Plant Fair", but the weather more Siberian winter than Surrey spring. We took refuge in the Jungle house with the orchids. It occurred to me that the inner parts looked like little alien beings, maybe 21st century flower fairies.

Old Granny, sitting warming her hands.

Smart hat, but the fangs are faintly sinister.

I'd like to think this chap's hands are full of Easter eggs.

An alien fish, one of many species.

Rather sluggy, no doubt hungry for alien flowers.


Spring must be about to spring upon us, all thee weeds are sprouting like Jack's beans in my fruit cage.
I spent today raking up last year's dead leaves to encourage the plants, I leave the ones in the flowerbeds to give some protection to delicate plants, frogs, toads, and other friends. The problem is that slugs and snails take refuge too. The next job is to reduce the over-mature shrubs, and rampant things like Spanish bluebells to make space for new stuff.

Sunday, 24 March 2013


1) People describing time as "a.m. in the morning"
2) We live near a roundabout of six roads: People indicating 2 or even 3 exits before they go, you have to be psychic not to be hit particularly on a bike.
3) Sticky labels on things like chocolate boxes and pencils that don't peel off, or dissolve in meths, spirit or nail varnish remover. In the same vein, the ones on oranges & bananas aren't bio-degradable, I find them in the compost years later. Clare is young & would turn this into a BT by thinking back to when it was fresh and delicious!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013


I've done lots of drawing recently, too cold&wet for gardening. On my drawing course in Guildford I fell in love with charcoal, it's so forgiving! Laura took me to a life class the other day, here's the one I like best. I think it's a bit better than my first try a couple of years ago.

These are from some of my photos, mostly our trip to India last year.


1) A nice young man on a bike stops and moves off the path so I don't have to run through the muddy puddle.
2) The creamy-white hyacinths Enjoli gave me for my 60th bursting into scented flower again
3) Braving a new phone, 3 years overdue, and working out how to use it.

Friday, 15 March 2013

British Museum

I went up to the Ice Age Art at the British Museum the other day, no photos allowed which was a shame, but it was brilliant. Here's a link to some images, the expected animals and mother earth figure, but done with totally unexpectedly fine skill and sensitivity. Some of the figures had real-person faces, and the animals could almost move. I figure was probably articulated, like the Victorian toys. Anyone who has an hour or so should go, timed tickets so get it in advance or leave yourself all day to wander and wait.
I went to a couple of the free gallery taster tours, 3/4 hour with an enthusiastic volunteer talking about the exhibits, very interesting.
The Japanese gallery is always good, and changes often enough to be worth many visits. I've always liked netsuke, this bat one is for L and her long-standing obsession!

Skulls are everywhere nowadays, this one with the lizard is particularly attractive.

How refreshing to sea a real-life nude with wrinkles and a bit if fat, rather than the ubiquitous anorexic models.

The Aztec two headed serpent fascinated me on a school trip in the 60s, I spent my meagre pocket money on a post card of it, which I still have. Interestingly L bought the same on a school trip 35 years later. I can't pinpoint the attraction, it's not pretty or obviously appealing to small girls. Maybe it's scary enough to be interesting, but not realistic enough to be too terrifying. The bright turquoise is striking in spite of the dim light.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mother's Day

How nice to have grown up children! they took me for a very good lunch at The Cafe Rouge that has opened here recently. It was lovely to catch up when we weren't all dashing off somewhere. The plan was to go to a garden centre afterwards, but it was much too cold!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

BTs: Cadair Idris and things

1) The rather justified arrogance of a stunning appearance.

2) Coming out over the clouds at the top of Cadair Idris, then going back into mystery.

3) Clean ice sculptures pushing out of mud.

4) The new worlds in a water droplet.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Yesterday my great nephew and his mother took me to the Science Museum, a wonderful place for any age, but the basement playing area needs a toddler to really appreciate it. There are wonderful "games" with light, sound and water, a little thinking reveals all the magic of science, but maybe not at two-and-a-half.
The most squeal-provoking was of course the "Toot-toot" gallery, with models of trains, various machines and engines, some cut open the reveal the workings. Interestingly the small models were far more exciting than the life size ones.


1) People walking 3 abreast along the tow-path so I have to cycle or run into the slippery mud.
2) Other drivers who pull out in front of you, then make a rude sign when you flash them.
3) Snowfalls of chewing gum on pavements.

Monday, 4 March 2013


1) Not having my lights stolen at the station when I left them on my bike by mistake.
2) The way Clare turns things like tantrums, nappies & sleepless nights into BTs.
3) The first really blue sunny day, when gardening becomes obligatory.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

47 Messy!

L&A gave me a pottery taster day as an early Birthday present, so I had a go today. We started by rolling sheets of clay and shaping them into a dish mould before decorating, not too hard.

After lunch we were let loose on The Wheel, that's what I'd really wanted to try. The hardest bit is centring the blob so it doesn't wobble and self destruct. I found it really difficult to feel which way it was going, but practice will sort it out! After that bit it was easier than I'd expected, the results were OK.

It was very rushed, I could have spent another day decorating them, but I'm hooked and will have another go, probably a longer course.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Books again.

I'm getting through a pleasing number of books, in bed on weekday mornings is untold luxury and decadence! My grand total is now 41, with a few bits of frivolity which I don't count. We're starting a book club locally, I'll report on it, but the first is Dylan Thomas' "Under Milk Wood" next week.
Kurlansky:Salt is an unlikely sounding title, but anything’s possible for someone who makes a bestseller out of cod! It’s a tale of greed, intrigue, betrayal, world domination and geology, telling a history of the mankind through the use of salt. The way history should be taught, why people behaved and moved about as they did, rather than the dates-and-battles approach that put me off. As in so many things, the Chinese were centuries ahead of the West in mining, salt taxes plagued ordinary people then and in many cultures since, imagine a death-sentence for collecting salt from the sea. Highly recommended!
Shreve:Resistance is the first of her books I’ve read, not the last though. A rather different take on WW2, through several people’s eyes, starting with a child. It shows the best and worst of human nature. Thought-provoking, I couldn’t quite decide whether the end was totally sad or nearly happy!
Brooks:13 Things That don’t Make Sense is a collection of the authors ideas on some scientific conundrums, big things like dark matter&energy, death, free will, homeopathy & cold fusion. He give a summary of the evidence surrounding the subject on both sides, mostly fairly balanced, but some seem a little muddly to me.
          Musson: The Million Death Quake  is one someone lent R to help with his OU stuff, however it is easily accessible to normal brains. It outlines the background to earthquakes, and some of the reasons why they can’t be predicted with any accuracy. Tsunami are different, often many hours warning while they ponder their way across oceans, so some optimism there. An interesting book, well worth reading.
           Banerjee&Duflo: Poor Economics is a sometimes heavy account of why poverty persists, not just corrupt governments although that’s a major factor in places. For example, without “credentials” you can’t get a loan to buy rather than rent a cart for your business, so never make profit, or you have to borrow money every day to buy a few kilos of vegetables to sell on the pavement. Healthcare and the possible distant benefits of education, weighed against making a little money now are more squashing factors. A thought-provoking account.