Tag Archives | vision

Trip to London

On Saturday I had a fun day!  DS1 and 2 had a reunion for one of their summer camps in Uxbridge, so we all drove down for the day.  DH did a tour of some airfields and DS3 and I got the tube into London.  It was lovely being back there – I lived there from 1984 to 1989 and although I was glad to move at the time because I was fed up with big cities and the rush and bustle, I do enjoy going back for short visits.  We got the tube to Holborn and went to My Old Dutch, which does the hugest pancakes on enormous blue and white Dutch plates.  

We then went to Blade Rubber Stamps (via a model shop and a hifi shop to keep DS3 happy), which sells gorgeous arty stamps.  I bought one of those cube shaped rubber stamps which has four stamps in one:

rubber stamp

I plan to make some Christmas cards with this one.  I’ve already been trying it out!

rubber stamped images

stamped blue tissue paper

This is on some of the tissue paper I painted a few weeks ago.

I also bought:

Those screw things at the top are for making books – I think they’re called Chicago screws and they attach pages together.  I got those at the next shop, Falkiners, which is a bookbinding supply shop.  It has the most gorgeous handmade paper.  I bought a sheet of Japanese lace paper as well as a couple of other pieces.

decorative papers

The bottom two are smaller scraps which they were selling cheaply.

I love going to London for the way you keep coming across little squares and parks in the middle of built up areas.  Here was one in the middle of Bloomsbury:

Bloomsbury Square Gardens

We paid a quick visit to the British Museum islamic art section (VERY quick – DS3 kept complaining he was bored…).  I loved the animal motifs and was struck by how like medieval European art they looked – especially like the mille fleurs tapestries.   Then we walked up Tottenham Court Road – which looks much smarter than when I lived in London – and saw this arty mural on the side of a house:

house with mural

Sorry it is a bit blurred but I was in the middle of the road at the time!! I think the picture makes it look a bit eery and surreal, especially with the tree in front of it.

We also saw the Post Office Tower (now the BT Tower I think) which my brothers clamoured to go up every time we visited London when I was growing up.

Post Office Tower

And I love the way the light reflects off these glass office buildings:

office buildings near Portland Street station

And to Great Portland Street tube where we collapsed thankfully on the train back to Uxbridge (where, incidentally, I found a yummy art shop selling Golden fluid acrylics….mmmmm).

Great Portland Street tube station

I never appreciated London half so much when I lived there.

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A bit of colour….

I love this gladioli.  It came up suddenly last year after we had lived in this house for 9 years. 

pink gladioli

We had a blustery day and it got blown over and the stem broke so I had to bring it in and put it in a vase.  Oh well…. silver linings and all that!

close up of pink gladioli

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Chaumont Garden Festival

When we went to France in the summer, because we were in the Loire Valley we visited a lot of chateaux.  Unsurprisingly, after a few days of this the kids (and I) began to get chateauitis.  So we started to find ways that DH could indulge his passion for looking round them while entertaining the kids in other ways.

At Chaumont there was a brilliant garden festival in the grounds.  The kids were a bit dubious as to the entertainment value, but they soon decided it was worth it.   The grounds were divided into several different sections, like small rooms and each had been made into an original garden by a sponsor.   The Garden Festival website has a link to each garden with an English version.

The entrance to the festival interested me especially.  It had sculptures made from rusty poles.

rust sculpture

rusty sculpture

If you have been reading this blog for a while, you will not be surprised to hear that I wanted to enhance it with some fabric!

They especially liked the one sponsored by the French railway company, SNCF, called Just Move It.  It had tubs and sections on bits of railway line which you could push and pull about to rearrange it to suit the way you wanted it.

garden planters on railway tracks

Another noteworthy garden had lots of planters up in the air suspended by wires:

planters up in the air on wires

And yet another made the garden look bigger using mirrors:

garden with mirrors

They also had an interesting garden where you could move various ‘screens’ to frame the flowers planted behind.  This made me think of the use of aperture cards to find interesting portions of a design which we learnt about at City & Guilds.

garden with 'frames' in front

I also liked this garden where they had painted tree trunks blue to make a very sculptural, and rather eery set of figures…

blue tree trunk figures

They marched off across this lake as well:

sculptural blue figures across lake

They had a graffiti garden, too!

fence with graffiti

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Manhole covers and garlic!

We stayed near Tours while we were on holiday and while DH looked at the old houses I spotted some manhole covers.

manhole cover

manhole cover

manhole cover

I like this wavy design.

But the best by far was this one which we saw in the old town in Le Mans.

manhole cover in Le Mans

Truly a king among manhole covers.

My kids thought I was mad.  Taking photographs of manhole covers and garlic! 

On the Thursday there was a garlic and basil fair/market.  I had never seen so much garlic and basil in one place!

market stall with strings of garlic

garlic, garlic and more garlic!

There was white garlic, purple garlic and pink garlic.  With some onions and shallots thrown in for good measure.

pots of basil

These are all pots of basil.

green and purple basil

Not just green, but purple as well.

I like French markets.

another garlic stall

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