Saturday, 30 April 2016

Watts Gallery Artists' Village

Home Of George Frederic Watts And His Wife Mary Watts

This week I had the pleasure of a visit to Watts Gallery Artists' Village in Compton, Surrey. It was my second visit, the first taking place last summer and this time there was an additional reason for the visit given that the house, Limnerslease, was now open to the public.

I was first entranced by G.F. Watts on a trip to The National Portrait Gallery many years ago, when I first caught a glimpse of the portrait of Dame Ellen Terry, (1847-1928) called 'Choosing': she was G.F. Watts first wife. He met and married her when she was an aspiring actress at the age of sixteen and he already forty eight - the marriage lasting little more than a year. It has been my favourite painting ever since and, therefore, I am a real fan of G.F. Watts.

Ellen Terry ('Choosing'), by George Frederic Watts, 1864 - NPG 5048 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Later in life, at the age of sixty nine he met the talented artist, designer and potter Mary Fraser Tytler and they married. She was then only thirty-six. Together they set up the artists village and chapel in Compton and these are now owned by The Watts Gallery Trust. Many of his paintings are in Tate Britain and others can be seen in The National Portrait Gallery. The paintings are wonderful and the chapel, (all Mary's work), is quite spectacular.

Above are a few photos that I took during the day to whet your appetite. Sadly cameras were not allowed so some of the more special sights can not be shown.

"The aims of art are not different from the aims of life in general, which should be to add as much as possible to the good of the world ..." G.F. Watts.

George Frederic Watts 1817 - 1904
Mary Seaton Watts 1849 - 1938

Mrs-G -F -Watts-(Mary-Seton-Fraser-Tytler)-1887-large.jpg
Watts George Frederic.jpeg

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Bluebell Woods in Surrey

Beautiful Bluebells

These were spotted this weekend on a bike ride through the Surrey countryside. They looked so beautiful that I wanted to share them with you.


By Emily Bronte

"The blue bell is the sweetest flower

That waves in summer air;

Its blossoms have the mightiest power

To soothe my spirit’s care."

Monday, 25 April 2016

Still Warping The Rigid Heddle Loom

Finish Warping The Loom

I have been a little lax about continuing with the warping of the loom for a scarf. I was awaiting a further delivery from Fibrehut of bobbins for my shuttle. They were out of stock and it is easier to weave with many colours with a good amount of bobbins so I waited for the delivery direct from NZ. So here they are at last ...

As I said in an earlier post it is possible to make them myself from a copy of a glossy magazine, some scissors and sellotape - sadly I was too lazy and decided to wait for the plastic variety.

My next step was to continue with the warping and threading of the heddle. (Not sure of the correct terminology). I find this step very fiddly.

I find this little tool from Ashford's rather flimsy.
I wonder if there is a more substantial one available?

The loom is now fully warped, the tension is fine, and all is tied to the backstick, and I am ready to weave. Here is my first bobbin being prepared along with my new lovely boat shuttle. It has taken me ages - it is supposed to be a very quick operation but I am very slow. I must try harder. I must try harder. Etc. Life just gets in the way!

I am still using the table in the conservatory for my loom and this is where we usually have breakfast as it has a wonderful view of the garden and the birds. Mr Whizz Kid is not happy and wants me to move it elsewhere before the next weekend. It takes up so much room that I am not sure exactly where it can go? Perhaps it needs a stand?

Today this is my music to weave to ....


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Buddhapadipa Temple London

Buddhapadipa Temple, SW London
Buddhism in leafy London

Welcome to Songkran
Buddhapadipa Temple London

I found the photos, (both my own and on their site), so very beautiful and the setting was so peaceful and stunning that it took my breath away. In particular the golden temple and all its adornments was a beautiful site in the middle of an ordinary London residential street.

I recently discovered this local Buddhist Temple in London and was astonishing because of the beauty of it. Sadly I missed an important festival by just one day and the temple itself was covered in new scaffolding so was not as beautiful as on a previous visit when I fleetingly glimpsed it. The festival was Songkran 2016, which heralds the Thai New Year. Songkran literally is Sanskrit for moving into a new phase. These phases could be the movement of the moon, the planets and the tides and even the seasons. Respect is shown by sprinkling bodies with scented rose water, (although my son tells me that in Thailand and Vietnam there were huge water fights and everyone got totally soaked).


I took a few photos but sadly they were totally ruined by the expansive scaffolding.  The temple galleries own photos are much better and give a great view of the festival and the surroundings.

Finding this in a residential London street was quite a surprise

 The Temple is situated in four acres and many monks actually live here on the premises and they provide meditation and respite for all who need it. The Daily Dhamma consists of ...

Living Carefully, Mindfully, Patiently, and Wisely.

I am not at all religious but found this a wonderful mantra to live by.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Vegetarian Meal For Four

Many Friends And Family Are Vegetarian

A welcome in the hall

Table set for dinner in the kitchen/breakfast room

I am often faced with having to make a totally vegetarian meal as most of my family do not eat meat or fish. Mr Whizz Kid and I eat both but generally I prepare a vegetarian meal and then occasionally add meat or fish for the greedy among us. Luckily we love vegetables so this is not a necessity.

A welcome in the sitting room

This meal for four was to be totally vegetarian and this is what I did. I decided on an Italian theme and this was my menu:

For the first course:-

Italian Platter x 1
Grated carrot with orange dressing
Grated mouli with seeds and cranberries
Raw broccoli florets with raspberry vinegar, Greek yogurt and raspberry pearls
Marinated olives with herbs
Baby bell peppers stuffed with cream cheese
All on a bed of lettuce and radish

Italian Platter x 2
Cous Cous with vegetables
Baby tomato and basil salad
Grilled baby courgettes
Grilled mixed vegetables in olive oil
All on a bed of lettuce and radish

Grilled mushrooms stuffed with ricotta and herbs with a breadcrumb topping
Homemade coleslaw
Feta cheese in oil and orange
Garlic bread with herbs

For the second course:-
Individual Aubergine Parmigianino with  pine nut and breadcrumb topping

For the dessert:-
Oranges in honey and rosewater

I should love to show you a photo of the tiramisu too, but sadly it was all eaten before I found my camera.

Cheese and Biscuits and Coffee

1 x White wine from Italy:- Lange Arneis
2 x Red wine from Italy:- Chianti
Beautiful flowers from guests
All the recipes were found on the Internet and none were time consuming.
All the food came from Waitrose. 
(I have just been asked to PLEASE put my camera away!)

Monday, 18 April 2016

True Detective Series One and Two

Excellent TV Series With Wonderful Music


We have been totally hooked on a NETFLIX True Detective Series 1 over the past few days. It is hard not to gorge on these series when you find a new one that you enjoy. Woody Harrelson as Martin Hart is just brilliant and Matthew McConaghuey as Rustin Cohle is the most sublime actor I have ever seen. My son tells me that he has been around for ages but this is my first viewing of him in action. Do take a look. I have discovered that the Series 1 is available for sale on Amazon - and even better news that there is a Series 2 available there too now. (Rotten Tomatoes score is 97%, which is truly amazing - anything over 75% being deemed hugely watchable). I can't wait for Series 3, which is rumoured to be coming sometime soon.

I  particularly loved the music, which was truly great and varied, each episode throwing up favourites. This one at the end of Series 1 I found just haunting ...