Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Upstairs Downstairs

The opener to new ITV series Downton Abbey bodes well. It is fascinating to see above and below stairs and how the servants knew so much about the goings on of the family.

My only complaint would be that the toffs didn't seem posh enough! Apart from Maggie Smith's character, they didn't seem haughty enough and the way the women in particular walked seemed off. They should have glided a bit more, been a bit more measured or something. Perhaps their corsets weren't tight enough! Some of the speech seemed a bit modern too.

It begins in 1912 so no doubt the story will move on to the Great War and all the men servants will sign up, never to return. I'll have a box of tissues at the ready.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Three Cs

A trip to London for some culture, some craft and some coffee (oh and some chugger avoidance).

Just in the nick of time, to the
Royal Academy for Sargent and the Sea then on to Spitalfields for Origins. Last year I spent too much there but this year, restraint meant I spent nothing! As before, it was the work of the many Japanese contributors that I preferred, particularly Kaori Tatebayashi, Mizuyo Yamashita and Eiko Sugano.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

KCWC - I'm late!

I fully intended to take part again in Elsie Marley's Kids Clothing Week Challenge but life got in the way this week. I had prepared for the first outfit so I am going to get cracking now, just six days late!

I had some burgundy corduroy in my stash and wanted to turn it into a pinafore dress. The pattern I'm using is Burda 9675, which was not chosen for its styling! I'm making view B but will be leaving off the ric-rac and just adding four sparkly pink buttons. The inside of the bodice and the pockets are to be lined so I've chosen "petal pink" Caress Taffetta and I'm also going to use a pink zip for some colour at the back. Both reels of cotton are also from the stash.

Better make a start!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Wisteria at Englefield by Stanley Spencer (1954)

To cover the interests of all members of the family during a day out in the countryside of Berkshire, we visited a pub for real ale, the Stanley Spencer Gallery in Cookham for some art and the playground at Cliveden for some running around.

When we first walked through the gate into the playground, I was a bit taken aback as I'd been expecting the usual brightly coloured slides and swings. Instead, everything was made of wood and carved to create plenty of footholds for climbing.

There was also a cluster of wicker wigwams to hide in and a stack of long beanpoles to make your own. I had a great time........!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

BP Portrait Awards

The judges of this year's BP Portrait Awards at the National Portrait Gallery got it wrong. This picture, Ciara by Alan Coulson, should have won!

If ever there were to be a competition to judge the best painting amongst the NPG's main collection my vote would go to this one of Lady Colin Campbell by Giovanni Boldini. Each time I visit the gallery, I always seek out it.

All the BP Portrait Award contenders can be viewed here.
Which would you have voted for?

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Man Booker

These two books are both on the Man Booker Prize long list, both are hardbacks sold without dust jackets and both have beautiful covers with shiny designs which sparkle as they catch the light. For me, that's where the similarities ended!

One, the
Long Song by Andrea Levy, the story of a slave called July, is a great read which trips along, despite the harrowing subject matter. I was totally immersed in the life on the Jamaican sugar plantation and wanted to follow July's story right to the end.

The other,
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell, I abandoned after 150 pages, deciding life was too short to spend it reading this! All very clever, historically interesting, highly imaginative but, as I lacked the ability to picture the story in my imagination, it became a tedious slog. It will probably win!