Thanks to the Isle of Wight Gardens Trust I spent a very enjoyable day at Lisle Combe a lovely house at the Undercliff just past Ventnor Botanical Gardens. The reason was for a talk by Kate Harwood a garden historian and lecturer. Lisle Combe is an early 19th century cottage orne (no, I’d never heard of one of those either!) and the home of the poet Albert Noyes (no, I’ve never heard of him).
The talk was titled….Gardens of the Picturesque and Recency Period.
I hadn’t known what to expect but in fact it was a terrific day. Amazingly it was sunny and warm. The group were lovely. Kate certainly knew her stuff and how to share it with us in an entertaining and informative way. The house was fascinating and the owners pulled out all the stops to make us welcome and wonderfully well fed.
The gardens are overgrown and in a sad state but it’s still possible to imagine how they once were and hopefully can be again. Like all these old houses and gardens upkeep is a huge job and restoring and maintaining the house should probably come first but it would be wonderful to see the gardens looking fabulous again.￼
I have even been inspired to do a little pencil drawing of the house, something that I’ve not done for a very long time…….
If we were going to move house and had a couple of million in the bank then Bath would be pretty high on our list of places to move to, unfortunately we don’t have that kind of money and there is no way that we are ever moving again………………..
The architecture is sublime and the shopping is somewhat better than on the Island.
Back in March I said that I’d found a copy of a book that I’d had as a child ‘Make your own Victorian House’. Dad had originally bought it for me….or for him and me. We spent a lot of time putting it together and it sat on a shelf in my bedroom until I went to university (who knows what happened to it after that!)
I’ve now got round to making the model and I’m quite pleased with it. It’s funny that all these years later I could recognize pieces and remembered cutting them out and sticking them together the first time round. It was fun to make again and brought back some lovely memories of sitting at the table with Dad snipping and sticking!
The friend who has the model which started me off on this journey into past times has given me a paper model of the Paris Opera House to make up……….it looks very complicated and may hang around for a while until I build up the strength to make it!
I’ve done it, my Book Bingo card is now filled and handed in ready for the finished cards to be put in a hat and a winner to be drawn! The draw will take place next Saturday and one lucky winner will walk away with twenty five English pounds to spend (hopefully) on books.
I never expected to finish (and with a week to go…..unheard of for me) It’s been a lot of fun and has revived my love of reading which of course was one of the reasons Book Bingo was set up in the first place.
Well………I’ve done it! I’ve read the last three books that I needed in order to complete my Book Bingo card. I didn’t expect to finish the whole card but I have and I’m delighted.
So which three books did I choose?
I needed to read a book “set in another country” and chose another Agatha Christie….A Caribbean Mystery. It’s a Miss Marple story and if you can forgive the, perhaps, racist comments about the native Caribbean folk, is good read.(It was first published in 1964 when people could get away with being dismissive of anyone who wasn’t white, middle class and Christian) Half way through the book I realized that I’d seen a television film of the story but I’d forgotten the ending so it didn’t spoil the book.
For”A book not originally written in English” I read Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson. This is a children’s book though I’m not entirely sure what kind of child it’s aimed at! I obviously don’t have the kind of imagination need for stories like this because although charming in parts it became so surreal that I began to wonder if someone had slipped some hallucinatory drugs into my tea!
My final read was The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne which is “A book which has already been made into a film”
I’ve seen the film which I thought was excellent but the book is magnificent. It’s a book that everyone should read (probably more than once) It should be on the syllabus of every school. If you haven’t read it then go to your nearest bookshop TODAY and get a copy, get a couple of copies and give the others to friends..
So my Book Bingo card is full and I’m in with a chance of having my name drawn out of the hat to win……..I’m not sure what the prize is and as Book Bingo was Phil’s idea in the first place I probably shouldn’t accept the prize even if I did win!! It’s been a lot of fun, I’ve read stuff that I wouldn’t normally read, some hasn’t been so good (the graphic novel comes instantly to mind) but the majority has been excellent, poetry, chick-lit, children’s books, from the teenage section, not originally written in English. More people than expected have taken up the challenge to play Book Bingo, far more than expected have actually finished. More people are using our lovely little community Library, more books are being read, people are talking about stories, authors, the different categories of books, making recommendations etc…….oh and we’ve collected some money in order to be able to buy new books. Will we do it all again again next year……well, I think we would be silly not to!
When Dad went to art college one of the books he was required to purchase was one of anatomy. The idea was that you couldn’t be expected to be able to draw the human body properly without an understanding of the skeleton and muscles………..how things have changed!
The recommended anatomy book was expensive so he started college with one he copied from one on the library!
I’ve always been fascinated by these drawings and have had a couple framed. I came across these old engravings in another anatomy book and couldn’t help reproducing them myself though obviously I had to add a bit of colour. Not to everyone’s taste and I’m fairly sure I’ll never be allowed to hang them on a wall in our house…….
Whilst sorting through my Dad’s studio I’ve come across some of his calligraphy. Dad worked for a very long time as a calligrapher and illuminator mainly for the House of Lords and for the office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He produced state documents for many of our countries big occasions from announcing the Queen Mothers passing to the wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer, of Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and only the other year the wedding of Prince William to Katherine Middleton.
Much of his work is buried in archives. A tube containing documents to be worked on would arrive at the house on a Monday morning and then on Friday it would be sent back to London completed…..well that was the idea anyway, it wasn’t always that easy ! Because of this he retained almost none of his work and in fact apart from a piece I asked him to do for my birthday one year I wasn’t expecting to come across anything much. I’d come across some odd bits of practice text but then opened a draw and found these treasures.
I think this is The Prince of Wales arms…..well sorry sir but It’s mine now!
I’ve gathered together some of his equipment, a couple of pens, his agate and ivory tools, some seals and a photo and have displayed them in a glass topped box.
I’ve got to work out how to display the rest of the documents now!
After a long wait in the queue at the post office with people complaining that the weather is too hot! I found myself visiting the local charity shop. This piece of fabric caught my eye and has found its way home with me. No, I’ve no idea what I’m going to do with it or where I’m going to put it but at only £2.45 how on earth could I leave it hanging on the rail?
Some years ago we were looking around the stalls in one of the Brighton antique markets and came across a pile of paintings. It turns out that they were original paintings and illustrations for Mills and Boon romance novels from the seventies and eighties. The artist (L Houghton) had died, his wife had put the pictures in the garage and had now decided to get rid of them altogether! There were loads of them and after a good route through them all we ended up buying five……….for six pounds each!
I’ve been told that if I could find out which books they illustrated they could be worth real money but I’m not going to bother looking as they have (and still do) give us endless enjoyment making up various stories and scenarios for the characters. The colours, locations and outfits really sum up the seventies for me……not that I remember the seventies of course!
I bought this painting from ebay, I’m not sure if it’s by the same artist, the name might be hidden under the mount but it’s fabulous anyway!