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Wednesday, 24 June 2015


On 16th June to celebrate our thirty sixth wedding anniversary we went to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, after lunch at Cote in St Martin's Lane. We like Cote, the lunchtime menu is good value with not enormous quantities, the food is straightforward, recognisable and seasonable, also there is fish on the menu which we enjoy, also the chocolate pots have good dark chocolate, not sweet milk flavours. 

There are still traditional secondhand book shops in the courts between Charing Cross Road and St Martin's Lane so of course we just had to have a browse, this was the result:-

Just in case it isn't clear it is Lucia van dear Post's book, William Morris and Morris & Co which was bought from Bookends for £5.00, the original was £20.00 in 2003. It is in excellent condition, hardly read, links with our visit to The Red House a week or two ago as it is featured. 

At the Royal Academy we were greeted by the much publicised, highly coloured staircase, showing signs of wear too, not sure whether I liked it but the colours reminded me of efforts to produce cheerful and bright coloured crochet throws and blankets, must be all the bright reds and yellows. 

We went round the ‘wrong’ way or backwards, don’t think it mattered, meant we weren’t with the same cohort as we moved around. Bit naughty, but sometimes the people were as fascinating as the exhibits. 

The three photos above are exhibits that had a knitting or crochet element, should have recorded the numbers. Will ask DH to look them up, he is a member and will be able to find them online.

If anyone else is going to the RA may we recommend the gluten free chocolate cake , ideal to face the journey home. Fortunately and as usual I was offered a seat straight away on the crowded Piccadilly and District lines so was able to crochet all the way home.       

Thinking about how often I am offered a seat on buses, trains and the underground, I was still bemused, and very slightly hurt when at my daughter's new home a couple of days ago, her next door neighbour asked me to pass a message on my granddaughter!  I know my daughter looks young for her age, I have done the arithmetic, if there had been teenage pregnancies if would be possible, however I was in my thirties when I had my family, as was my mother, her mother and my great grandmother was 27 when she had her first child. Anyway, I'm not even a grandmother yet, I know it is silly to find this unthinking remark ageist, instead I will delight in daughter's youthfulness. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

Saturday afternoon.

There was a choice of what to do on Saturday afternoon, we could stay home, if we went out do we jump in a car and go to a fair in Hampton or do we go one stop by train to Twickenham where there is a festival. Sounds very grand, but the festival is a series of events, including  school fetes or fairs. What is the difference between fairs and fetes?

In the end Twickenham won, no car meant no parking hassles, we would have freedom to return another way, also a chance to pop into our pharmacy to collect the corticosteroid cream to complete the prescription for medication to treat the  ezcema on my hands and to collect Ian's prescriptions too. 

Onwards towards the river and we encountered a dragon boat race, photograph taken by Ian on his phone. 

Eel Pie Island is in the background, famous in the 60s for the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds and other groups playing there, now the residence of Trevor Bayliss whom we saw with his cars on The Embankment, near where this photo was taken. 

Feeling like tourists in our own town we discovered Morris dancers outside the Barmy Arms pub. 
The sign at the back says Spring Grove of Kingston upon Thames, so a local group from across the river. 

More touristy stuff, we just had time to inspect the book stall at the church fair, I found a 1976 knitting book, The Art of Knitting by Anne Gordon.  Very interesting history of the craft at the beginning, then instructions given for adapting very old pieces of work to mid-seventies designs and materials. Some have worn better than others. The other book I found was Joanna Trollope's Daughters of Britannia so bought that too. 

One final thought, we walked further along towards Orleans House Gallery, thence to the Old Stables where there is a cafe, but there is no service after four o'clock. In such a tourist area, at Summer weekends especially why cannot cafes offer tea and cakes later in the afternoon?  This is the town that is welcoming the rugby world to its doorstep in September and October, tourism is a major industry. 
We went to The Crown, a pub/restaurant where we had a very good pot of Earl Grey tea but there were no cakes. 

At least we weren't far from home, it wasn't a long wait for  the London omnibus, not a grand vehicle, single decker,  very rattley with quite a fast driver. 

Monday, 8 June 2015


In my teens my father recommended I read Howard Spring's novels, it was a good suggestion I devoured them, even then aware of unlikely coincidences.  Today, maybe inspired by the six degrees of separation I am not so sure about unlikely. 

Thre√® recent events have brought this to mind. When in Malvern we went to the theatre, needless to say we all changed for the theatre and dinner.  It was only when M. and I had taken our coats off whilst the men went to sort out for and drink that we realised we were wearing identical cardigans from White Stuff in marina blue colour. Of course our husbands didn't notice, that gave us much amusement. 

The last weekend in May we were in East Anglia, on the Sunday we joined my cousin and her husband for lunch at their home in Suffolk. (To be strictly genealogically correct, Judy's late father was my cousin, he was the eldest of the paternal cousins, Judy is a little older than me, our fathers were more like brothers than uncle and nephew as they were close in age).  Judy's husband Dave was in the services so they moved around the country, Judy worked as a District Nurse, after discussion it turned out she had worked from the practice where my daughter has recently registered in Dorset, knew where daughter is living as this was part of her round. There was no link, daughter was 12 the one time she met Judy. 

Last Saturday daughter and I grabbed a black cab taxi to Waterloo rather than face Oxford Circus tube, the driver was delightful, chatting to us, telling us about his teenage daughters, how he and his wife were bringing the girls up, their values etc. We were asked where we live, apparently his school playing fields were nearby, I mentioned the name of his sports teacher, I was right, Patrick Cross who lived across the road from me in my teens, also his son, Martin Cross, the Olympic rower had taken his medals into taxi driver's school. Martin Cross had taught my son history.

Nothing to do with coincidence but this lovely taxi driver, who apologised for the heavy traffic as if it were his fault, also stressed the problem of non licensed minicar drivers using an app to attract passengers. Many of these undercut the professional Hackney cab drivers who still have to have The Knowledge, be insured and regulated. So if anyone who reads this and needs a cab in London please use the traditional taxis, after all there is much more passenger space, a comfortable ride plus an entertaining and interesting driver. 

No photos to show concerning these coincidences, but this is what daughter and I had been doing. 

A hen do, a first for me, it was  afternoon tea with a theme of Alice in Wonderland. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Carry on blogging

Plenty has been happening including a discussion why so many bloggers seem to have stopped, so I have decided to make a positive effort to continue this mix of a diary, non-controversial observations and knitting record. 

So to start with knitting, here is the completed puerperium cardigan for Cygnet. This has been an exciting project, I have learnt long tail cast on and experienced top down knitting, hence the garment has no seams. 

Now for something completely different.  It is a plea to all hoteliers, B&Bs, in fact any accommodation, please provide adequate lighting so one can read in the bedroom, either in the single armchair or in bed. Far more important than a TV.  My second gripe is about taps. Please would you ensure that all taps are wrist action, these shown below are impossible to turn off with wet hands or to use with even the mildest of arthritis where it is difficult to obtain a grip. 

Back to the positive. When we moved into Pixie Towers there were two electric meters, day and night, we continued with this assuming we were thrifty is doing so, indeed the washing machine and dishwasher were set to run at night when we were a household of four. At some point earlier this year I read that we may not have been so thrifty as the day rate was considerably higher to compensate for the night rate. We checked up, calculations were done, phone calls made and our meters changed from a distance. At one point Ian was out, I took the call from our electricity supplier, even though I had the codes was not allowed to discuss the account as my name wasn't on it. That problem has now been rectified, we are checking that all our household accounts are in joint names. 

Additionally, if there was an emergency we would be priority on my health grounds, didn't know about this special scheme so felt is was considerate of BG to mention it.