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Post Ex

We have had our open weekends. Our Co- exhibitors have been fantastic, we have had a steady stream of visitors and it has been a good time for socialising and also selling. The weather was good and the event tent outside has been a great place to chat and partake of Tea, coffee, cake, savories, beer and wine depending on the time of day.DSC04494

Show is now over and the daily tools of our lives are slowly being reintroduced into the house. We will miss the empty floors, just as now I miss the filing cabinet, the box of maps, the place to put the mobile phone while charging, the table in the corner etc. I wish the planning would come through so we could get on with putting in the underfloor heating that was supposed to be completed before the exhibition.

I must get the boat ready for the summer. It should have happened in April.

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Open Studio

Syann and I are holding an open studio. We have done some serious clearing out and redecorating in the home. Trips to the tip, books and filing cabinets in the shed. My drawing board has made it up to my attic in the workshop. Our friends who are guesting on our show have helped us a lot with decorating.Last weekend, Saturday was packed. Sunday less so but still good. This weekend is due to be hot. Come round, even if it is just a glass of juice on your way to the beach! this is more or less our ad. in Crafts magazine.Invite blurbinvite front

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portrait

Jo bass from Hannah Bosofsky took a pic of me in Art in Action. DSC_0083 (2)

I gather it may become available on 500px (an online picture store)

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Art in Action has come round again. Possibly for the last time, but it does give us a chance to dwell on what a fantastic event it is. Lots of Art, crafts and performance held in a fantastic gardens in the middle of England in the middle of Summer.
I have spent three years in the market and now was demonstrating in the Woodwork tent. 7.5 x 2.5 metres of space to show in compared to the 3 x 1 metres of the market. Syann came along to help sell and wrap while I carved a simple pattern across a wild grained piece of walnut.
We were camping as usual. Fortunately the weather was fine with no mud. We were fed lunch and supper and plied tea, coffee and juice. 7000 people a day is a lot. Most of them asked if that was walnut. We took the trailer, made packing simpler. Previous years have had the roof rack packed with display tables taped up to keep the rain out.
So what is different? The larger space gave me more of a Gallery feel. Being in the woodworking demonstrators tent added gravitas and so all the people that flattered me and walked on, bought!
Chair, music stand, several larger wall panels and even all my tops sold. It sure helps repacking to come home when half the stock is gone.
The bring down is next craft fair when I set up, talk to the people for 3 days and bring it all back home again. Now I must make some more stock!DSC04082

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Toberonochy 2016

Toberonochy 2016

The weather report was not good Snow in Scotland and us towing the boat up for the first sail of the year. I sent an email to Brice suggesting we move the event to Malta, but he did not bite.
We set off to Overnight in Cumbria. The cars thermometer read a not too promising 9.5, getting steadily colder as we headed north. Birmingham 6, Manchester 3.5. Minus 0.5 over the hill at Shap in the snow. It warmed to +0.5 with John and Lainie in Milburn and snowed overnight.

DSC03712 It warmed as we went on up to Scotland, but remained fresh and bright. The highlands beautiful as ever.
I prepared the boat for the water but left it on the trailer for the evening. The usual group supper, remaking contacts.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday we are into the water and off to a beach past Shuna on the mainland. I would give you its name, but it is off my OS map and is just a dent on the road atlas. John Lowe crews with us.

DSC03717 After our picnic, we sail up the east side of Shuna and tack back to Toberonochy. A lovely day sailing and a good time had by all. Temperature pretty reasonable inspite of early misgivings. Saturday night and we start with the barbecue and move indoors for the ceilidh and various turns. Most of them very good. 11.30 and we are staggering off to bed wondering how to make the 10am. start.

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Sunday and yesterdays west wind has moved to the South. We breeze up to Gull Island have lunch involving Barbecued Kippers and the proverbial dram.

DSC03778Tacking back and we are ahead of John and Lainie till I snag rudder on fishing bouy and they steam past as we wrestle with the denizens of the deep. Progress is more a case of how few cockups rather than speed. Generally we are very happy with the sailing. Last year we took a load of water north of Shuna and bailed out all the way back. With the strengthening wind, we haul up the boats that evening. Ready for departure on the Monday after we have cleaned up. Around midday we set off, a string of happy boaters with our Trailers for the ferry. We take the usual policy of trying a new road home. We follow the coast road down to the Crinan canal.

DSC03809We follow a track to a small chapel, dumping the boat where there is space by a gate. The track ends by a small stone jetty and a smaller 30 degree stone slipway. Eat our lunch. in the car watching a black cloud pouring rain on the sound of Jura and us. Go back to collect the boat, past the outward bound camps with their kayaks and mountain bikes. along the Crinan canal with all the yachts taking their shortcut past the Mull of Kintyre. We follow the road up the beautiful Loch Fyne  getting Mussels at the luxury Seafood shop for supper we are cooking at John and Lainie’s in the evening. Loch Lomond, Erskine Bridge, Glasgow southern bypass, M74 to Cumbria and Milburn. John’s schoolfriend Jono and win Rosie arrive for supper and we eat mussels. Good food, good company, good nights rest and we stop off to see David and Kate van Alphen last year rehoused to the beautiful small town of Ingleton.

DSC03815 Sophia is at school and Iris returned from Playschool while we were there.
Then it was back on the road, eating our lunch as we drove. Traffic jamb on the M6, but that is to be expected. Home at dusk.

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Rome

 

To offset the anticipation of Spring, Syann and I went to Rome. It could have been Naples, Sicily or southern Spain. We took the discount from Easyjet. We both had ongoing coughs and were worried about passing or affliction on to 120 punters who had to listen to us for 3 hours in the confined space of a plane. We set off at silly o clock in the rain, parked at the Pink elephant and took their bus to Gatwick. Stood in the queues, got in the plain and watched dawn rising over the channel, snow over the alps and little boats over the Med as we came in to land at Rome. We took a coach to the city and got out at the station and started on the learning curve of finding our way to the Mimosa Hotel. New cities are fun. People, scooters, classical ruins. We found the Pantheon, and our hotel just behind it.

 

DSC03561.jpg We went off to Antonio’s restaurant for lunch. The hotels recommendation, very good and a bit expensive, but having Artichokes in Rome is almost obligatory. Looked around the neighbourhood for the first afternoon, the Pantheon, Bellini’s Elephant, a few churches then Ice cream at Dusk amid the buskers in the Piaza de Navona. If I had written this last month I might have given you the names of the churches, but then probably not. Second day, lets get some heavy culture over with while we still have the energy. We walked up past the Spanish Steps, off limits, being cleaned. To the Villa Borghesi park where we rented a couple of lousy bicycles and rode to the Museo Borghesi and went round looking at the mainly Baroque art. Bellini seems to be the main star. We rode past the Zoo and to the Gallery of Modern Art. Ate our sandwich and shared a beer in the sun, before immersing ourselves in culture for a few hours. Tottered out and decided not to see the Museo de Arte Etruscia. I love Bronze age art, but we were bushed. We returned the bikes, got ripped off in the timing and walked back , this time past the Trevi Fountain where we ate an Ice Cream, but did not throw coins in in case we had to return.

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The next day we ventured onto the MetRO and caught a bus to Tivoli and the Villa de Este Gardens. Incredible water engineering and Gardens. Lunch on the street of Tivoli and down the hill to the Villa Adriana where Emporer Hadrian built his retirement Palace a thousand years earlier.

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Another lot of walking involved, but it was amazing and beautiful. back on the bus in time for supper at Antonio. We have earned it. Old mr. Antonio runs it with his Daughter and excellent son in law. Shades of the ‘Godfather’ as we and others got shunted around on tables to make spece for six men who just drank beers and conducted their business meeting, while a line of tables remained empty in anticipation for a party that did not arrive. The tables were dispersed just before we left. We had a man on our table who was from Milan and always ate there when in Rome. Syann booked me in to visit the Sistene Chapel. I received a text giving me the details. The next day we went to the Vatican. I waved my phone and went along the fast queue into the Vatican museum. The text was not enough and I had to access the website and get the real number. I could not get online and the helpful man at the ticket office tried too but no avail. So I bought a ticket for €16 on top of the €26 Syann had spent on me the day before and ploughed along with the considerable crowds looking at all the Catholic Churches Booty until we reached the Sistene Chapel with 2000 people in it all in groups listening to their instructors through their devices. I looked up for 5 minutes and then got out. I found Syann next to the river. We went to a modern restaurant that evening. Called the ‘Fishmarket’ in English, it was run by young people for young people. Children every where. Very trendy and good. Completely different from Antonio’s. The next day we rented a couple of bicycles for the day and rode up the Tiber. We went down to the riverside in a disgusting part full of Hyperdermics, and human detritus, but it cleared up as we left the centre of the city and moved past rowing clubs, floating restaurants, suburbia, onto a beautiful cyclepath, sportsfields and eventually farmland. I nearly got a Whipsnake tangled in my wheel. About a metre long, Google it.

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We ate our picnic on a willow tree next to the river possibly 10 miles out of town. Then rode back more slowly as the food, the warmth and our lack of fitness kicked in. The next day we caught the train up to Viterbo. Two hours away. Fantastic views of Lazio. We befriended a lady from Morcombe, who settled there five years previously. She took us to the tourist burough The found us an hotel and explained how to get to the Hot Springs. We had to wait for ages for the bus. Found that the Thermal swimming pool was closed on Tuesdays, so we signed up for the Spa. The Doctor, a pretty girl of about nineteen asked us medical questions and took our blood pressure, then we entered the luxurious marble corridors, put on our bathing costumes and had a real jacuzzi with coloured lights and music. Fun when your ears are under water, sitting on marble chaise longues and getting bubbled. We then walked through alternative hot and cold troughes. Good for our varicose veins? The whole episode reminded us of a Fellini Movie. Back on the bus, we saw people wiser than us swimming in hot springs in the fields. Small town so we looked at every restaurant and eventually chose ‘Quatro Staglioni’ Maitre was lovely and the food was imaginative and delicious.

 

DSC03645.jpg The next and our last day, we walked round the town looked at the Etruscan Exhibition in the museum. A bit wasted on us who do not read Italian, or understand the voice overs of the interactive bits. Caught the two trains back to the Airport. Close on time but there was a hold up and we missed our flight back. They sent me an email, but I could not receive it on the (dumb) smartphone. We and our Japanese friend who had also missed the flight eventually bought tickets for Norwegan Airlines for a small fortune and got back at One am. Did not have to pay extra at parking and got home at three am. or so.

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Wedding

Every once in a while something new happens.
My little girl was getting married. Sometime in the future, after Art in Action. Phew! I couldn’t handle both on the same weekend. I packed all the stock into the attic, carefully around the growing mound of delivered and borrowed goods on the two long planks of Sycamore on trestles for my next job.
I had to make a Chuppah. quick assembly in the woods if the weather be good. in the hall if not. Hazel verticals with a fork and the horizontals wired on to make L shapes and I would wire together on site. This is to represent an house. muslin overhead so that god could bless the union. ( I hope he is not too miffed about six year old Isaac and 3 year old Rosie) I compose a speech. Shortish and gently witty (I think)
Then the guests appear. Syanns sisters, one with daughter and the other with partner, from south Africa at airport. My sister from Station. Then Zan and Scott and the children in our room. It is hard to go to the loo in the middle of the night with little bodies all over the floor. They migrate from the corners to the middle.
Preparation starts in earnest. Chef Tim is in tent at the bottom of Garden. Preparing food in kitchens of two village halls. Bell tent in top garden. Small marquee in bottom garden. Scotts uncle Martin in tent next to house. He soon moves it down to next to small marquee. Flowers being prepared in hall. Thanks Maresie and helpers. Large marquee gets erected next to hall. this offends hall management because it is half a day early and not where the had the last one. Syann and Zan apply magic. The great day. After the non stop pouring rain of Friday, Jehovah relents and the sun appears. Martin and I take Chuppah up and start assembly. As soon as it gets to the tricky part (tieing flimsy 4 metre L shapes together ) Martin leaves to sort out his drum, so I find more technology and my ever reliable wife. We wire it together and fit guy ropes, muslin and bunting. Down to the house into Tuxedo and we are off to the registry office for civil ceremony. Zan and Scott with Hilary (Scotts Mum) his sister and their side of family. Us as late as possible (not difficult) with Isaac and Rosie.Z&S-247  Z&S-290
Back to the house. Zan prepares for wedding in the woods. I am doing finals on Chuppah. Guests appear as I finish off. Down to wait for Zan and bridesmaids. It is normal for the bride to be late they say. Not one hour late I say. Into the car, up the lane, past the cricket pitch to the gate. I take her arm and we walk into the woods and the Chuppah. The ceremony can begin. Scott is waiting. (hey everyone is waiting!) He walks round her three times. She walks round him three times. The celebrant is excellent. The wrote out the service themselves. Hilary sings three Hebrew blessings and repeats them in English for those of us not fluent in Hebrew. At the end of the service Zan and Scott walk off into the woods to consumate the wedding. Rosie is not happy with this (doesn’t want another sibling?) but the world is full of people to distract pretty three year olds and soon we are out on the green quaffing Champagne and posing for photos. I load up the empty glasses when everyone drifts down to the hall because I have a car there                                                                      .Z&S-384
They have thought of everything. Child minders, space hoppers, Lego tent. Juice, booze and people for the adults to talk to. I do not know where the afternoon went, but we are being arranged at the tables and the brilliant food (thanks Tim) is being served. I give my shortish and gently witty speech. Scott’s is longer. He forgives her for stamping on the glass first. Soon we are in the hall dancing to the excellent band. Scott’s friends from east London. by the time the second band takes over, the noise is too much and we slope quietly home where child minder Louise has put Isaac and Rosie down in our room and we take over duties and go to bed, getting up briefly to dampen the after party around 3am.
The next morning and I go up in the rain to dismantle Chuppah and clear up debris, muslin, bunting, stapled wedding signs. I got friendly greetings from dog walkers so all is well. The day was spent clearing up, finding hidden glasses, sharing the left overs with the many people here. Monday and the weather was better. I took down five tents and unpacked the two that campers had packed away sodden, so they could dry. Transported straw bales to our front lawn where the children could play on them till we could work out what to do with them. Tuesday returned small marquee and Scotts hoodie and dark glasses to lender and rented sound system to renter in Bournemouth. Clips missing so he must charge us for replacement legs. I found one missing clip. Buzz it down on motorbike, take away leg he wants to charge us for and make a clip. We return borrowed things to friends. Hilary collects kids and takes them to Devon. We put sisters on plane. Where is Scott’s hoodie and glasses. Chris from sound system left clips on leg. Collect hoodie and glasses again and return repaired leg with made clip and cable clips complete and request to refund Scott. Tom and Tina collect straw bales. Phew, Alone for one night before Lou and Becky return.
Now I can get back to work

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