Sunday, September 13, 2015

My Unconventional Dad

If I were to tell you that my Dad:
  • took us camping on Clapham Common when we were kids, because his friend owned a circus that was pitched there for the week,
  • took us to Longleat, where another friend was the estate manager, and we bottle fed lion and tiger cubs in his house,
  • took me, aged 5, to the London Palladium where another friend was the stage manager, so we got in for free and I sat on the steps in the stalls and watched Cinderella with Ronnie Corbett as Buttons,
  • made a lion out of artex and hung it on the wall in the dining room (I think it's still there),
then you might not be surprised when I tell you that in his shed, amongst quite a lot of other stuff, he has a full size set of swing boats.

He used to take the swing boats to fetes but has decided that now, as he's nearly 83, that he wants to sell them.

Slight problem; he needed a photo of them in order to sell them and they couldn't find one.  'Never mind' said I, 'I'll help you put them up and we'll take another photo'.

This wasn't quite as easy as it sounded as
a:  Dad couldn't remember exactly how they went together and 
b:  on our first attempt we discovered that several of the nuts were missing.

Dad was dispatched to buy more nuts and this weekend we had a 2nd attempt at putting them up.

Not easy, but I love a bit of problem solving, and we got there.

I'm immensely proud of my unconventional Dad, and the slightly wacky childhood that him and my mum gave us.  Love you both.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Bits and Bobs

This is a bitty, rather random blog post - a bit like my brain at the moment!

First of all I had a really lovely 'staycation' this summer.  I had hoped to get to Ireland to see friends but unfortunately by the time I was able to book flights they'd gone up to silly prices.  So I stayed at home.

I spent one day at Castle Acre Priory.  I'd called in there a few months ago and walked around the edge but this time I was able to go in and took the audio tour which was fascinating.

On another day I walked with a friend from Dedham to Flatford Mill along the Suffolk/Essex border to visit the RSPB Wildlife Garden which is almost next to the National Trust tearooms at Flatford.

 It's a really lovely garden, free entry and had lots of information and activities for children.

After we'd left there we did the obligatory walk up to Willy Lott's House as made famous by John Constable's The Haywain.

I also spent a day in London with Celia, when we visited Dulwich Art Gallery and the Ravilious Exhibition.  It was wonderful.  Such detail and such light in his pictures.  It's finished now but there are still some images of his work on the gallery website here.

The next week I drove down to Bexleyheath to visit The Red House - a house commissioned by William Morris and designed by his friend Philip Webb.

We took the tour, which was really interesting and then wandered around a bit more after lunch.

Isn't this ceiling stunning!

If you're interested, like I am, in the Arts and Crafts movement it's a wonderful day out.  (Celia went a few months ago and has more photos and information about it on her blog which I can recommend reading)

And finally (for now) my new chair covers came this week, 2 weeks earlier than they'd originally said, so the 2nd hand very traditional chair now looks rather different and has already been given the feline seal of approval!