Monday, June 29, 2009

London 1903

After I found the movie of Barcelona I thought there should be some of London. I remember my grandma talking about the omnibuses.

Made over 100 years ago, this footage shows a number of scenes shot around central London, taking in locations such as Hyde Park Corner, Parliament Square and Charing Cross Station. We see crowds of people disembarking from a pleasure steamer at Victoria Embankment, pedestrians dodging horse-drawn carriages in Pall Mall, and heavy traffic trotting down the Strand.

There are plenty of famous landmarks to spot here, including Big Ben, the National Gallery and the Bank of England, and it is fascinating to see the similarities between the customs of "then" and "now" - the dense traffic (mainly horse-drawn, with the occasional motor car) is highly reminiscent of today's London rush hour, whilst advertising on public transport is clearly no new phenomenon - in one scene, an advert for Nestlé's Milk seems to be plastered on every other vehicle.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Lyons Tea Shops

Lyons Tea Shops were always part of our visit to London as a child. We went up to London every month, from when I was three to about ten. I had to go to St Bartholomew's Hospital to have my eyes looked at. Sometimes my dad drove us up and other times we caught the train and underground. If we caught the train we would very often stop in at a Lyons Tea House, especially if we went to Oxford Street to do some shopping. Below is one of the Oxford Street Lyons Tea Houses; which I'm sure I must have been to.
People would have been dressed like the scene below when I was very little, baby boomer generation.

Every child of that era grew up on Lyons Swiss Roll and Lyons ice cream, two iconic images. Click the link and take a walk down memory lane.


Teacup and Teapot Candlesticks

These do it yourself teacup and teapot candle sticks I came across at the hospital yard sale. I like them, they're a little quirky but anything to do with tea stays in my book.

Barcelona 1908

I love this old movie of Barcelona 1908, especially having visited there last year. I'm sure the opening part is filmed along the Ramblas where we walked. It makes me think of my grandmothers time, she was born 1906.

I think you'll enjoy this.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two Sisters One Skye

This is the cottage we will be staying in. A very typical style for the Isle of Skye.

Between now and the time I leave I will be doing losts of reading about the Isle of skye and Scotland, and what ever strikes my fancy I'll share.

I'm going to keep a journal of my trip with my sister BB to the Isle of Skye.

Our time together as sisters, our meandering around all the tea shops, pottery studios and any craft places we come across. Plus our walks and thoughts while staying in a little cottage on the Isle of Skye.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Pesto Perpetuo

Pesto Perpetuo

I bought this pesto plant at a nursery. They must have had well over ten different varieties of basil, should have taken photos. So I'm going to have a go at making my own pesto. I like the Trader Joe's Pesto, but it's just a tad too salty. It's always fun to make one's own. Under Tuscan sun and all that.

So with my tomatoes, peppers, pesto and grapevines for wine, I'll be all set for an Italian meal. Now I've just to make the pasta, um hum!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Did It At Last !!!

It's been weighing on my mind, that I must, truly must book my flight to the UK. It's not like me to procrastinate on something like this and usually I'll be booked, four to six months ahead of time. But this year I've just said later, later.

Well the flight is booked. Of course now I know why I procrastinated, because it took me two hours to book it on line. Fill out every box, don't put spaces between numbers in dates or on your credit card. Try and figure out what the three digit code is on the back of your credit card, which has now worn off. Choose your rental car, what rental company. Start all over again because your credit card name does not match your passport name and on and on. Then print everything up.

Well all I can say is It's Done !!!

Now I can start to enjoy the time of looking forward to my trip and visit with family and friends. Plus our special trip to the Isle of Skye.


Monday, June 22, 2009

Paul McCartney and Wings

Classic performance of "Jet" 1973

Music I find is so closely associated with place and time. The places and time I associate with Wings is 1973, a trip with seven other friends in a van, camping, all the way to Italy. That was when you had to have an envelope for the currency of every different country you drove though, we weren't into credit cards then.

We played that tape over and over, all the way through, France, Switzerland, Italy and back through Germany. Camping by Lake Maggiore, visiting the hill towns in Tuscany, and spending a week in the area of Castiglione della Pascae, I think that's how you spell it.

Crossing all those borders. One of our friends, Pierre, was Italian, although brought up in England and he was travelling on an Italian passport, all the rest of us had British passports, as soon as customs saw his passport I guess they thought we might be smuggling something, everything had to be unpacked off the roof rack, two tents and all the camping gear for eight. Plus every suitcase.

It seems Pierre packed English chocolate for his sister in Milan, and it was very hot and the customs inspector came out with a chocolate covered hand, I'm sure he'd had worse.

Great memories.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

My local IKEA

I don't go to IKEA too often, although they're not that far from me. They had some nice outside lamps for candles this year, in both silver and black. I bought the silver, they said the black would be in soon, but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, with IKEA, because the black was to be in five weeks ago. It's probably on a slow boat from China, or sitting in a container in Long Beach, CA.

I like their cafeteria, the food is good, and the prices very reasonable. This is the cafeteria and below that is the Swedish almond cake and a mug of coffee, which I sat and enjoyed while reading a book.

I have been coveting this cup and saucer set for so long, I love the little saucers. To be honest it's not expensive. By the time I decide I can't live without it, it will be discontinued.

Well the sun peeped through for five minutes and was actually bedazzling.


Droplets On The Vine

The other day my attention was drawn to the beauty of rain droplets on every little point of my grape vines leaves. Each leaf was bedecked in jewels.


Friday, June 19, 2009

GM 1958

1958 was GM's 50th Anniversary and 2008 in wake of their demise was their 100th Anniversary.

1956 Bell Telephone For the Kitchen

1956 Bell System- Once Upon A Honeymoon
Musical made to promote color telephones in the modern home. Thanks to TV Days.

Packaging and Presentation on the Clearance Counter

Doesn't this image just conjure up bungalows, verandas and tea plantations. To be truthful when I drink tea I'm into caffeine, but yes the packaging sold me, and the fact it was on the clearance counter.

I love the image of father and son, just that sepia takes you back to a different era.

Then on the same counter were these spices in a tin, an old fashioned tin, so could I pass them by.

In for a penny, in for a pound while on the Indian theme, so thought I'd try these simmering sauces.

A little diversion from India. I don't usually buy cake mix, but this is a very good brand and all of these items were on clearance.

So I took a little trip to another country while at my grocery store.

But isn't packaging and presentation so important, because it transports you to a place, a time, a smell a nostalgia.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tea and Toast on the Titian

It seems that even the weather has gone into a depression here. Rain and cloudy every day. We are two inches above our regular rainfall for June and we're only half way through the month. It seems as if it has been overcast and cool since the beginning of May. It's taking me back to my English childhood.

So feeling in need of some sunniness, I used my Titian Ware, to bring the sun to my table.

Tea, toast and marmalade.

I love cups that have a design in the cup.

I just have one place setting of this. Yellow was my favourite colour as a child.

I'm finding it a little hard to type, as I took a chunk out of my left index finger, but that's another story.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Persephone Books 10th Anniversary

Persephone books is celebrating their 10th Anniversary with an open house and goodies on Thursday, wish I could attend.

On the Persephone website for this week you can buy three books for the price of two.

Take a look at The Persephone Post blogspot too. Some lovely vintage photos.


Gold Japanese Blossom Design China

When out with my friend C. I saw these pieces, and we both just loved the simplicity of the pattern, from Japan. C. said it might have been bought home by a serviceman.

When I went to purchase the pieces the girl said, oh! this is what is left of the service. Most pieces were .50 cents and the serving pieces several dollars. I had to be content with what I had, and not with what I'd missed.

So several weeks later I'm out with my friend M. and it suddenly occurred to me that just maybe she had bought some of the set. And sure enough, she had been there when it was a complete set before it was all bought up piece by piece. I thought M. might have bought some because she entertains on a large scale and is always buying white with gold plates for her ever growing collection.

Today she brought me over what she had bought, which was eight larger side plates/salad plates and eight larger bowls, maybe more for salad than soup because they are quite shallow.

M. said there was a whole coffee set with the coffee pot, cream and sugar and a whole tea set, but no tea pot, that went with it. Eight of everything and of some pieces there were twelve. It must have been huge. M. had not bought the dinner plates.

So in any case I got out my plain white dinner set with the gold edge out and it all goes together very nicely. So will mix it. I never had many serving pieces with my plain set, so this will go very nicely.

So I am very happy with what I have, so now I have to have a nice set sit down dinner and entertain.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jenkins Arboretum

These are a few photos my husband took last month, when we went with some friends to the Jenkins Arboretum. The azaleas were at their best.

I would have posted them before, but they just appeared on my Picasa, hubby must have just down loaded them from the hard-drive.

The arboretum is free to visit which is nice. I've always thought of taking my laptop or a book on a week day and sitting on the Adirondack seats near the pond. Honestly I think I did more things like that when Rob was a little boy, always taking him out to different places, than I do now.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Little Boy Lost, by Marghanita Laski, A Book Review

I finished this book well over a week ago, so If I don't write a review of this book soon I will loose the flavour of it.

The style of writing is excellent, and one wants to read on, her word pictures are beautiful.

Hilary Wainwright is a poet and intellectual. He was married to a French girl, Lisa. They have a baby boy, who he sees one time before leaving for England in 1940, WWII. She dies during the war and now after the war he comes back to look for his son.

The questions asked are. Will he be able to find his son? How will he know it is his son? And does he even want his son? These questions are the basis of the story, and turn the ending into a cliff hanger.

Haunting pictures of post war France are drawn, people are coming to grips with their involvement during Nazi occupation.
What was Hilary Wainwright doing during the war? And his ambiguous relationship with his mother.

Why did he take so long in coming back to France to look for his son?

Hilary's relationship with Pierre, the Frenchman who found this child and takes him on an unfolding journey to look for his son.
Some quotes from the book.

The residence of Madame Quilleboeuf.

"'What an extraordinary place,' said Hilary, standing in the entrance and staring at the grass growing between the cobblestones. 'This isn't Paris - it's some shabby village away from all the routes natioanales.' He added with a kind of delight, 'It's a splendidly romantic place to begin a search from."
"But at the sight of Pierre her great hooked nose and nutcracker chin came together in a wide smile and in a hoarse voice she said, 'So you have come back with your friend, monsieur. Enter!' "

Hilary's description of Monsieur Mercatel. "He looks like an Englishman, was Hilary's first thought, but he did not. He might have been a native of any country, this small thin grey-haired gentleman, kindly mouth, mild blue eyes, the cultured European of true goodness, but of no importance what so ever."

The following quote so sums up Hilary and his relationship with Pierre and what type of men they both are.

"And this led him to think about Pierre who had said that under the Occupation people had done what they must, and that what this was had been settled long before. He thought, Pierre is a better man than I. He has the liberal virtues that I profess and personally lack. I am an intolerant perfectionist; Pierre refrains from judging anyone but himself. And yet I am a liberal intellectual, and Pierre is devoting himself to the furtherance of illiberal perfection. But Pierre can be tolerant of me, but I can't be tolerant of him."

The mother superior talking to Hilary at the orphanage.

"She smiled, 'Ah, you feel it too,' she said, 'and I wonder whether you share the other rather strange feeling I had about this boy - that here was a child that would give one great happiness to help?' She peered intently at him, shading her eyes with a frail yellow hand on which the mauve veins stood out in swollen relief. But Hilary's face showed none of the sudden comprehension and hope he felt at her words, and she let her hand fall into her lap and added gently, 'And have you any idea whether he is your son, Mr. Wainwright?'"

"Monsieur Mercatel said. 'I have been wanting to tell you, monsieur, speaking as his schoolmaster, what I think of the boy. Whether he is your son or not, of course I cannot say. What I can say, is that he is certainly the son of someone like you.'"

"Hilary said vehemently, 'I couldn't bear to take the wrong child and then perhaps find my own later on.'

'But you will not.' said the nun, 'that is as nearly certain as anything can be. If this child is not yours, then you will never find your son.'"

"'Why? asked Hilary sharply, 'Why are you so anxious that I should take him?' She looked at him steadily for a moment and then said, 'There are many reasons. One is that I am deeply sorry for you. You seem to me to be lost and in need of comfort. I would not wish to withhold that comfort from you.'"

Hilary thinking while with the woman who he picked up.

"The chatter flared around him while he thought of the queer change Parisian women undergo between the delicate faun-like beauty of their youth and the predatory brassiness of their middle age and how seldom it was that one saw, as he could see in Nelly, the brief stage of transition between the two."

"Hilary said nothing. He stood there watching the child, feeling only hate for the creature who had put him in this predicament, through whose intervention he had made a fool of himself. The little coward, he was saying, the little coward."

"You see, Pleaded Hilary, I am incapable of giving. I dare not give and so I'm running away. I've finished with ordeals. I am fleeing to the anaesthesia of immediate comfort and absolute non-obligation."

I had two more quotes but I think that will give away the ending. The beauty of the well written word shines through.

Did I totally understand Hilary? No, as a mother I found him very hard to connect with. Academically I understood where he was coming from, but it did not endear him to me.

Did I enjoy reading the book and would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Blooming Garden

Well these were taken on a sunny day, because this has been the wettest spring I can remember. By this time of year we are usually into the dog days of humidity. So the coolness is a pleasant respite.
Yesterday morning we had thunder and lightening and it rumbled and rumbled for well over an hour. A thunder storm in the morning is most unusual, they are usually in the late afternoon and evening. Later in the day there were tornadoes in the area, nothing like in the mid-west, but they can still course damage and you have to be careful.

In any case this is my blooming garden, or should I say garden in bloom.

I always love when the yellow iris bloom in the pond. It reminds me of 'Wind in the Willows', down by the river bank.

And a wildcat drinking at the pond.
I think she has such pretty eye markings, and those pudgy little cheeks.
How does your garden grow?

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