OK, no excuses….

(And definitely no resolutions, either!)

But this is where the time went – late Autumn in the Auvergne, then a family wedding in the West (with another visit to Salisbury sneaked in). In the photos it all looks rather brown. The picture of the leaves on the black grass has recently evolved into a skein of tweedy speckled handspun – so I have been fitting in a bit of work….

December was much more urban.

Paris, the first week of the French strike….Eurostar cancelled, no metro, no buses – and no **** Opera, which had been booked since September!

The Orangerie was also closed – but they let tourists into the Monet waterlilies – AND they didn’t charge! The dramatic metal figures (outside, along the river) are free to view anyway – such upmarket street art and so French!

Then back to Christmas. Rather traditional this year – family, books, music, puzzles….ridiculous quantities of food…. The decorations have got to be the best bit – I spent a great deal of time staring into the depths of the tree and was fairly gutted to have to take it down!

Some silk dyeing has been going on too – but that is for next time.

More Crazy Buildings

Couldn’t resist a few more pictures of these splendid streets – jigsaw-worthy houses that seem to be scattered through every village in mid Suffolk. Most of these details came from buildings around Lavenham –  oh, those doors!

I am fighting my own battles with an historic building, though on nothing like the grand scale of those above. More like Historic Damp, Historic Decay, and Historic Plumbing… After listening to an expert on Regency restoration, I was inspired to reject most modern techniques and  return to using traditional materials….but this involves capturing a sympathetic builder who doesn’t fall about laughing….

So far I haven’t got past the email stage, but I’m on it!

Old buildings, loved – and not.

 

Twenty five years ago we were contemplating buying this one. But we couldn’t really justify it and it turned out the owner had no interest in selling anyway. Now it is far too late. Someone clearly did love it once (you can just see the hand stencilled trefoils below  the roof and round the windows – unusual decoration for a modest locaterie) Nothing has been done to preserve it, though a few years back the vegetation (jungle) was cleared from the front and I got excited thinking maybe it would be rescued…I make a point of walking past it several times a year but I fear the structure doesn’t have much longer.  And it is by no means alone round this area. There are several abandoned farm buildings, casualties of the rural exodus, which even now nobody seems to want. Such a pity.

This building, though, is in great shape – literally!  It is part of what was a medieval Guild Hall in Suffolk. It apparently became a Free Grammar School in 1577 and has now morphed into a holiday cottage where we stayed for a peaceful week in September. I spent several days trying to fathom out the original architecture – very confusing and I’m sure I failed but the exposed wood is very exciting – lots of detail, carefully preserved. One of my daughters is in Canada for a year, so I’ll make sure I send her pictures of the timber framed houses we saw all over Suffolk – it seems so weird to me to be in a country where you just can’t see any!

 

 

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!

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!