Monday, May 02, 2016

A Brief Flowering

For the first time I'm joining in with Barbara at Coastal Ripples for her Paint Monthly  link up.

On a recent short break in Wales we visited one of our favourite places Llanbedrog which is on the Llyn Peninsular near Pwllheli.  We never tire of visiting this place and walking along the beach past the brightly coloured beach huts and I know I've taken you there in many posts over the last few years.  


Another highlight of any visit to Llanbedrog is to visit the wonderful Oriel Plas Glyn y Weddw and we've seen some wonderful exhibitions there over the years. 



 It is a beautiful place which also has an open air theatre over looking the sea and gently inclining walks up to the cliff tops and coastal walks from the grounds of the art gallery.


This year we were lucky to see three of the gallery's Spring exhibitions and I enjoyed all three but one, 'A Brief Flowering,' stood out for me and there is a rather interesting story about the artist, John Cyrlas Williams, to go with it.


Of course I couldn't take photographs so I've put in some links to other sites where you can see some of Williams's paintings most of which were on display at the gallery.


 John Cyrlas Williams was described by his patron Winifred Coombe-Tennant as 'the real thing' and he was thought of as being amongst the most talented of the Welsh painters of his generation but until recently he and his work were almost forgotten.


 John Cyrlas Williams was born in the USA, the son of a Welsh miner who had joined a Welsh mining community there.  The family moved back to Wales just before WWI and set up home in Porthcawl.  He studied at the Newlyn School under Stanhope Forbes and then the Colarossi Atelier in Paris as well as working at Port Aven in Brittany and Martigues in the south of France.  He was at the height of his powers in the 1920s but only a few years later his painting career was over deeply affected by his depressive nature and alcoholism.  He spent the rest of his life as a civil service clerk and died aged 63 in 1965.

In 2009 a collection of about a hundred of his paintings were found in the attic of the old family home and if they hadn't been spotted by a curious auctioneer they would have ended up on a bonfire when the house was cleared.  A friend of the curator of the exhibition alerted him to the sale of the paintings which have been brought together for this wonderful exhibition.

The paintings in this exhibition which I found most fascinating were two works which depicted the art classes and studios at the Newlyn School.

Here are some links to more about the artist.






Friday, April 29, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

We've been in Wales for the last few days and the weather has thrown everything it can at us.  We've had sunshine, showers, hail, heavy rain, high winds and snow.  In fact something that typifies every season so here are my five 'seasonal' photos for this week.


1.  Winter weather - snow on the mountains.

2.  Autumnal weather - cold blustery winds on the coast
 

3.  Spring weather - bluebells on the grass verges and road sides.

4.  Summer - the sun shines on the beach huts making us think of warmer weather to come.

As there are only four season here is an extra photo
  
5.  Heron on a Spar Shop - now you don't see that every day!

Photos taken at  Aberdaron, Criccieth and Llanbedrog and on the Llyn Peninsular in Wales.

I'll catch up with everyone's Five on Friday posts as and when I can over the next few days as I have limited internet access at the moment.

Have a lovely weekend everyone. 

 

Monday, April 25, 2016

At Longnor

We recently went up to the village of Longnor, which is a typical Peakland village situated to the furthest northern corner of the Staffordshire Moorlands before its border with Derbyshire,  to meet some friends for lunch. 

First we had a coffee in the Longnor Craft Centre which is housed in the old Market Hall which is in the Market Place.

The Market Hall

Then we ventured up the little lane at the back of the market place.

The cottage above is called Lambton Cottage which may give you some idea as to where you have seen it before.  It was used as the inn in Lambton where Elizabeth Bennet and her Aunt and Uncle Gardiner stayed when they toured Derbyshire in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.


Further up the little lane, and below some details picked out along the lane.

Date stone over Lambton Cottage

Sign on a building that is now an artist's studio and gallery.

Heart's tongue fern and wall rue growing  on a wall in the lane.

At the back of the cottages on the lane is the church.

There are some very old and interesting grave stones in the churchyard. Especially the one below.


In memory of William Billinge born in a cornfield at Fawfieldhead in this Parish in the year 1679. At the age of 23 years he enlisted into his Majesty's Service under Sir George Rooke and was at the taking of the Fortress of Gibralta in 1704. He afterwards served under the Duke of Marlborough at the ever Memorable Battle of Ramillies, fought on the 23 May 1706 where he was wounded by a musket shot in the thigh. He afterwards returned to his native country and with manly courage defended his Sovereign's rights at the Rebellion in 1715 and 1745. He died with a space of 150 yards of where he was born and was interred here the 30 January 1791 aged 112 years.
Billited by death, I quartered here remain when the last trumpet sounds I'll rise and march again.
 
Above is the tombstone for three of the daughters of Thomas and Hannah Wood who all died when they were 21 years old.   Mary in 1833, Ann in 1834 and Hannah in 1836.  How very sad, one wonders why such a thing should happen.  It somehow reminded me of the Brontes.
We had lunch at a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese.  It was very busy and the people serving the food told us they were in the process of changing ownership.  I hope whoever takes over doesn't change the inside as it was fascinating and I wish I'd taken some photos but didn't like to as there were so many visitors in there and it seemed intrusive.  There were wonderful old photos on the walls and a collection of old clocks plus the table we sat at and those either side of us were glass topped with display cases underneath containing the most wonderful array of objects.  Things like cigarette cards, old bus timetables, fountain pens, spectacles, badges and medals and so many other interesting objects.

I loved this sign outside The Cobbles coffee shop in the village, we didn't go in this one and I didn't take photographs as it was being painted on the outside.  Spruced up for the coming season, I expect.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

Holy Trinity Church, Stratford upon Avon, photographed the last time we visited in May 2011

Tomorrow is the 400th Anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare and there are lots of events happening all over the country to celebrate the life of one of our greatest writers and playwrights.  I've been a lover of all things Shakespearean since my early teens when I used to stay up quite late to watch, on black and white television, the BBC's adaptation of  the Royal Shakespeare Company's Wars of the Roses plays and being totally absorbed and enthralled by them.   I think it would have been about 1965 and I know my Dad hated it all but couldn't stop me watching as it was in his eyes educational. Unlike The Avengers and Ready, Steady Go which he also hated with a passion. 

Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford upon Avon  photographed in May 2011

  My first ever visit to Stratford came a couple of years later when I went with a friend to see Coriolanus with Ian Richardson in the title role.  I've made numerous visits since and seen lots of Shakespeare's plays both at Stratford and in other theatres too.



I'm not a huge hoarder or collector but I do save all my theatre programmes and all the tickets too if I can.  Above are just my collection of programmes from the Shakespeare plays I have seen over the last fifty years, other programmes, probably twice as many again, stayed in the box.


I was amused to find the tickets above in the bottom of the box and I don't know now what plays I saw with them but they cost £3.30 in the stalls on one night and £1.70 on the balcony on the second night.  Obviously they were bought after 'D' day - decimal day which happened on 15th February 1971 - when we changed from pounds, shillings and pence to pounds and pence.  I was thinking that it didn't seem a lot of money but when I think I was earning only about £20 a week in the early seventies it is quite a chunk of that I suppose and with an overnight stay and coach fare to get there too.

Anyway, to get back to the theme of Five on Friday I have whittled down all the Shakespeare plays I have seen to just five of the most memorable ones, although I have cheated slightly as one programme covers three plays which we saw in one day - quite a marathon event.

Here are my most memorable five in no particular order


1.  Henry V with the late Alan Howard in the title role and it was an unforgettable performance that we still remember when we reminisce about plays we have seenPerformed in Stratford in 1977 the cast also included Alfred Lynch as Chorus, Charles Dance as Lord Scroope and Barbara Kellerman as Princess Katherine. I went with a friend and we stayed overnight at a hotel on Bridge Street which is now a Marks and Spencer store I can't remember what it was called.  I remember we also visited the city of Bath as part of this short break.


2.  The Comedy of Errors - seen in 1976 we loved it so much we went back to see it again, it was funny and joyous and full of music and I remember that the cast came out into the audience at the end whilst singing the final song.  I've been looking at the cast list in the programme which included Judy Dench and her husband Michael Williams, Francesca Annis, Richard Griffiths, Roger Rees and Robin Ellis.  Three of those actors no longer with us.
 

3. The Plantagenets - seen at Stratford in 1988 we watched all three plays in one day, morning, afternoon and evening with lunch and tea breaks in between.  It was hard work for the actors in all three plays and a tiring but thrilling thing to do for us as we worked our way through the reigns of Henry VI,  Edward IV and Richard III.  It was a brilliant, young cast, some very well known now, including Ralph Fiennes as Henry VI and Penny Downie as Margaret of Anjou.  David Morrisey played the Duke of Clarence and Anton Lesser the Duke of Gloucester, later Richard III.

4.  A Midsummer Night's Dream - seen in 1992 at the Stamford Shakespeare Theatre at Tolethorpe Hall near Stamford in Lincolnshire.  It was an open air production and we went to see it on Midsummer's Eve with some friends.  The weather was dry and warm, the picnic we took with us was delicious and the amateur cast were brilliant.  It was made magical by the special animated wings worn by Oberon, Titania and the other fairies which flickered like glow worms in the fading light.  A truly unforgettable night.


5. Hamlet - seen in 1971 at Nottingham Playhouse. Ian McKellan played the title roll and it was a wonderful production.  I was living and working in Nottingham at that time and went with a group of work colleagues and yes, that is a programme signed by the great man himself.  Other cast members included the late Susan Fleetwood, who was a wonderful actress and sister of Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame, who played Ophelia and Tim Piggott-Smith.

I hope you have enjoyed my little wander down memory lane.

All for now.  Have a lovely weekend. 

Edit Saturday 23rd at 8.38a.m.  -  I've just visited A Shropshire Patch blog where Mrs Tiggywinkle has written a wonderful post about her love of all things Shakespearean and also included details of plays she has seen over the years.  All of them different to the ones I have included here.  Do pop over and take a look link above on the name of her blog.


Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday Miscellany

Time for Monday miscellany again otherwise known, this week,  as scenes from a lakeside walk.  Probably more photos than words in this post......

Great Crested Grebe

Pussy Willow

Greylag Goose

Rowing boats and daffodils.  The weather must be improving as the rowing boats are out again as are the deckchairs.

 A pair of Mandarin ducks near the Lakeside Cafe.

 Mr Mandarin ventured out of the water. What a handsome fellow he is!

 Macaque monkey up a tree over the fence in the Monkey Forest!  We haven't been in there for a few years I think we may visit again this year.

Miss Elizabeth on her trip down the lake to collect the first passengers of the day.


View across the Italian Gardens.

Above and below views in the newly refurbished garden centre


All photos taken at the Trentham Estate, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.  See you again soon. 
 Have a lovely week.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Five on Friday

It's Friday so I'm joining in with  Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

This week the weather has been warmer and we have been able to get into the garden for longer periods of time and really start to tidy things up.  Some of the grass has been cut, in other areas it has been left because it is still squelching underfoot.  As I was weeding and digging under weeds I was uncovering puddles under the soil.  One of our plants has been transferred to a pot to dry out as it was waterlogged.

Above is a view across the width of the garden from one side to the other.  We have actually been working on the front garden as well as a tree had to come down as it was catching on the canopy over our front windows. 

You can see the remains of the tree trunk in front of the side gate.  The is a lot more light coming into the sitting room now.  It was a leylandii tree we inherited when we moved here and was just getting too big and blocking our way to the gate so it had to go.

The old bench, which used to sit the other side of the fence, has been moved to the top of the garden as it is too fragile to sit on and broken in places.  I'm going to use it to put pots of flowers on in the summer.

Lots of work has been done in the green house and many seeds planted and some tomato seedlings moved from the conservatory into the greenhouse.
 

 Above is another view of the garden, you can just see the pond in this one.
As you can also see there is still a lot of weeding to be done.

Below are five things I've spotted in the garden this week.


 1. Muscari

2.  Wallflowers 
3.  Buds on the Amelanchier tree


4. Valerian coming into flower

5.  Wild Garlic under the trees by the shed spreading into the grass 

Below are two collages each with five more things spotted in the garden this week


Striped snail, pieris, peony buds, euphorbia and lupin leaves.


Honesty, one bluebell self seeded in the middle of the heather, forget-me-not, vinca or periwinkle and the first flower on the geum lemondrops.

All for now.  Have a lovely weekend.