Indigo summer in France – sneak peek

Such fun! Lots of it, too. Still deciding what to do with it all – the lace weight I’ll probably make up as a shawl, the chunky as hats, then I expect I’ll list the sock yarn in SpinningStreak’s Etsy shop. Maybe it’s time for people to start knitting for Christmas…I’ll let you know!

Both Victorian, both still in service.

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The first one – my local in Brighton – is a rough workhorse of a box, scuffed and much painted over. The second is in Tunbridge Wells (sorry, ROYAL Tunbridge Wells) – very pretty design, beautifully maintained and, it has to be said, with just a whiff of tourist about it….

They are both listed – the unsophisticated one as curtilage, not in its own right. I know which one I prefer though!

The Colour of Memory – Pierre Bonnard (plus some stormy blues…)

I have mis-timed this post. It is rather irritating to hear of an inspiring exhibition (at Tate Modern) when it has already closed – so I decided a couple of weeks ago not to mention it. But it has stayed with me. Colour painted from memory – fleeting moments captured and reworked till they sing.

I am less moved by the much reproduced bath pictures – this one, for example, seems to me plain weird.

The colours are not always bright and bold. These two, possibly my favourites, are softer, subtle and beautifully balanced:

The almond tree was Bonnard’s last painting, finished in 1947. Apparently, when he was too weak to paint, he asked his nephew to change the patch of green in the bottom left corner to the gold we see now – still pondering colour right to the last.

Before we left the building we nipped up to the viewing gallery and were met with this:

Moody skies and swirling winds – quite exciting!

Plenty of ideas for the dye pots – I am busy winding base yarns as I hope to get several days in soon.

LYON: Centre d’histoire de la résistance et de la déportation

We timed an airport pick-up around this museum collection – and it was well worth it. Some stunning posters for anyone interested in ‘Work, Family, Fatherland’ in Vichy France – or indeed just in the history of propaganda as a weapon of war.

 

 

Some sobering, some inspiring:

Angeli was a local administrator condemned at the Liberation for having co-operated too enthusiastically with the Nazi regime. Gerlier was Archbishop of Lyon at this period. He seems to have been fearless in speaking out against Laval’s plans to deport Jews to the death camps – and, in particular, he urged Catholic priests to take the children into hiding.

There is evidence that a number of primary school teachers also took great risks to conceal their pupils. I would like to think I could have done the same – but with 5 children of my own to protect I’m not so sure….

I am certainly grateful not to have been tested in this way.

Spinner temporarily intimidated by Scary Stash

Some random pictures taken in half a minute this morning.

Usually The Stash is inspiring and I love to sit amongst it and plot what comes next. But every now and then it distresses me. This is only a very small corner of one room – mostly left over from spinning/dyeing/knitting/crocheting projects since Christmas. There is Much Much more.

It won’t be wasted. Some goes to charity shops, some to schools – and some lands up in destash bags like these in my Etsy shop:

If you’re tempted, just message me via Etsy and I’ll reduce the price by 33%. Out of my life…..!

May’d it into June

These terrible headings are getting to be a very bad habit…. enough, enough!

The last few weeks are receding fast. They did involve more music and more cathedrals – French ones this time, Rouen and Lyon:

Fabulous, despite all the construction work going on in Rouen.

But don’t let the current (building site) views from BRASSERIE PAUL put you off – even in France you could travel some distance to find a casual restaurant this good. It’s just outside the cathedral and I really recommend it.

Mixed feelings about the above rather sad photos though. When we arrived at the house we found trees down and branches snapped all over the place. The ancient oak on the left WAS an absolutely perfect shape…. and the mixed foliage on the right is typical of the weird arrangements that had been created. The house is on the northern edge of the Auvergne and there had been a freak weather event just after we left in October – 20 cm of snow overnight. The trees were still in leaf and could not take the weight…. So we spent most of our time sawing and chopping!

The lizard was fun though. I lifted a pillow and found it motionless. I took a photo because it is so hard to get close to a live one. Then I called for the Chief Corpse Remover (we do usually find something in the house) who picked it up – at which point it leapt into the air….only hibernating! Not sure who was the more shocked.

And how about that frog for camouflage?

March-ing into April

March has been a lot about babies – I’ve been knitting for family ones, plus adding stock to my Etsy shop. I got rather carried away by this little jacket – I think I have made eleven of them recently, and not much else. The pattern is adapted from a traditional old favourite that now seems to be known as the ‘five hour baby sweater’- lots of free versions out there, so do check it out! It is constructed in one piece from the neck down, SO HARDLY ANY SEAMS! Just thought I’d shout that bit out….

Otherwise it is music and buildings that stand out this month – especially music IN interesting buildings. This is St Paul’s church in Brighton  – a really pretty Victorian church I had never set foot in till we chanced upon a performance of early music there – result!

 

We also saw “Cosí” at the Opera House. Still a grand building with a splendid interior, and some of the changes are very welcome – but what have they done to the long bar? Shuffled it away to ram in more seating… Hmm.

Music sublime though!

Next was The Magic Flute at the Coliseum in St. Martin’s Lane. An exuberant Edwardian theatre – much bigger than I remembered it. Not a great photo, I’m afraid.

The ENO’s production was spectacular, especially the Queen of the Night – more than enough to distract you from the crazy story which I always ignore.

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Another London raid – walking along the Thames between Tate Modern and Covent Garden. Scowling skies and high winds – good job the Millenium bridge no longer wobbles.

Should I own up to seeing at least some of the paintings in the Tate as potential sock dyeing colours? It’s not an easy habit to break….

In the end I went for these two very different colour sets – off to poke the dye pots right now!