Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Autumn became Spring!

Mother Nature was slowly turning her face towards Autumn when we flew away from home, but after countless hours of flying, our arrival was in a country embracing the dawn of Spring. No jet lag was experienced on either journey - our two countries sit on the same longitude and enjoy a time difference of only one hour.
Here are some images and a colour clue if you wish to work out which country we visited. 

& souvenirs carried home
painted wooden bowl
I am switching 'comments moderation' on, and will hold back all the correct answers to give everyone a chance. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Walk

The guests have departed, August is over, and once again my birthday has come and gone.
Being an end of August child my memories are all bathed in fields rippling with gold - scenes of harvest time, fruits ripening, and a new school year beginning. Back then crop gathering would be in full swing, but now they ripen earlier and are already safely gathered in.
We like to take a family birthday walk together and see what nature and the countryside are up to, and every year we tend to be fortunate and have perfect walking weather. 

I pride myself on knowing most of our native wild flowers, but this one growing in profusion along the canal banks was a mystery. The flowers and seed heads appeared similar to Himalayan Balsam which led me on to the correct answer. It is a member of the same family i.e the Balsaminaceae family to which the Busy Lizzie also belongs - it's name is Impatiens carpensis - orange balsam.

The wild flowers, fruits, and berries were a delight, and youngest son spotted four Kingfishers, which made his day.
Along the canal towpath we discovered a restaurant which was perfect for lunch.

Then hastened to our next destination to see a small exhibition of iconic personal belongings which were kindly loaned by Zandra Rhodes.
 via wiki
'Egg Hat'
Zandra Rhodes was made a Dame in 2015 by the Princess Royal at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace, and this is the hat that she wore for the occasion. It was designed for her by Piers Atkinson which was made using Swarovski crystals.
'Blue Haired Lady at Night' - Zandra's own artwork,
signed and dated 1982 from her private collection
'Cherry Hat'
Zandra went to afternoon tea at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Princes Trust and wore this hat.
'Flower Hat'
from her personal collection by Piers Atkinson
'Andrew Logan Shoes'  
These were made for Zandra in the 1970s - her favourite shoes!
'Field of Lillies Gown'
Designed by Zandra in 1975.
In 1977 it was worn by Donna Summer, and used on the cover of her Album 'Once Upon a Time'.
Detail in the 'Field of Lilies Gown' 
   'Diana Dress'
One of the dresses designed by Zandra for Princess Diana, and replicated here on a stamp.
  I wonder, is this small cottage waiting here for me?

Friday, 25 August 2017

Where Five Valleys Meet is Running Out of Steam!

This blogger has been making 'man size' mugs of tea, and has a weary right arm from cleaning the floors with the Dyson cleaner over the last few days. I'm a very reluctant participant of 21st century gadgets, but sometimes it is a case of needs must. There's a new shower in the main bathroom, and the kitchen has been revamped. I now have worktops using nanotechnology so no bacteria, bugs, or other nasties are welcome here. I need to get to grips with my 'all singing all dancing' brushed steel oven along with the other new gear - a very necessary learning curve as a house full of guests arrive within days.
My first foray into testing the cooker was to make a tart with figs from our garden using a recipe idea from Lorrie here. 

I half baked a sheet of puff pastry blind for 15 mins in preparation for the topping. Whilst baking I cooked some red onions in rapeseed oil until softened and add balsamic vinegar and sugar which I continued cooking until caramalised. I topped the partially cooked pastry with the onions, sliced the figs in half, crumbled on a mature Stilton blue cheese, scattered some fresh thyme and sage leaves and sprinkled over a little oil, then cooked for a further 20/25mins in a hot oven.
 Using a good strong blue cheese, such as Stilton, means that no other seasoning is necessary

Quick, easy, and very tasty - thank you Lorrie - the oven works a treat too!

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Chichester Cathedral

Shortly after their conquest in AD43 the Romans built a Fort here and named it 'Noviomagus Reginorum'. It was in the 5th century that Anglo Saxons then renamed it Chichester. An important Roman road called Stane Street ran all the way from Chichester to London Bridge, and much of the route still exists today. Needless to say there are still several Roman remains within the area including Fishbourne Palace, the largest Roman domestic building in Britain. 

 Our visit to the Cathedral took us passed The Deanery

  and down St. Richard's Walk - a pathway leading directly into the Cathedral.
Today we have our sights set on seeing the Cathedral's treasures.

Chichester Cathedral's architecture combines both Norman and Gothic styles. Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural historian, called it "the most typical English Cathedral". Building began in 1076 and took 32 years to complete. The spire rising above its green copper roof can be seen for many miles across the West Sussex meadows. It is a landmark for sailors - the only English medieval cathedral visible from the sea
These figures represent Richard Fitzalan 3rd Earl of Arundel 1307-1376 and his second wife Eleanor, who by his will of 1375 were to be buried together 'without pomp'.
The knight's attitude is typical of the period but the lady's crossed legs where she appears to be turning towards her husband is rare.
 The joined hands, his hand unusually not gloved, was thought to have been the result of 'restoration' but recent research has shown this feature to be original. The monument is one of the earliest known that appears to be showing a knights affection for his wife. 
Philip Larkin was inspired to write his poem 'An Arundel Tomb' following his visit to the cathedral in 1956
Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone,
Their proper habits vaguely shown
As jointed armour, stiffened pleat,
And that faint hint of the absurd -
The little dogs under their feet.

Such plainness of the pre-baroque
Hardly involves the eye, until
It meets his left-hand gauntlet, still
Clasped empty in the other; and
One sees, with a sharp tender shock,
His hand withdrawn, holding her hand.

the rest of the poem can be read here 
This 14th century window is filled with wonderful stained glass designed by Charles Parish in the late 19th century using glass from Lorraine, France. 

Detail showing Christ in Glory
There are two rare, expressive, and important Romanesque sculptures in the Cathedral dating from the first quarter of the 12th century depicting the raising of Lazarus.
In the first panel Lazarus has been dead for four days, and his sisters, Mary and Martha, are shown at the town gate of Bethany greeting Jesus and praying that he can be saved. 
In the second panel Jesus raises Lazarus from the grave still wrapped in his shroud strap bindings. I could not understand Mary and Martha's expressions, but having now read the relevant bible passage I understand that their expressions are suggestive of the anticipated odour from the grave. At the bottom of the panel are two little grave diggers struggling to maintain the elevation of the tomb stone.
These sculptures are thought to have originally been part of a chancel screen in the Cathedral, and were discovered hidden away behind some choir stalls in 1827. The panels would originally have been painted and had jewels or semi precious stones in their eyes. 
 The High Altar tapestry was designed by John Piper in 1966, and woven in Aubusson, France.

At the site of the shrine of St. Richard
(Bishop of Chichester 1245-53 canonised in 1262) is an Anglo-German tapestry, designed in 1985 by Ursula Benker-Schirmer which shows religious symbols, some of which have a particular association with St. Richard. The central panel was woven in Germany and the two side panels were woven at West Dean College which is in the countryside just outside Chichester.
A painting by Graham Sutherland entitled Noli me tangere (do not hold me) depicting Christ appearing to Mary Magdalene on the first Easter morning
A vibrant red window designed by Marc Chagall in 1978 based on the psalm 'O praise God in his holiness...let everything that hath breath praise the Lord' 
In the Baptistry a painting of The Baptism of Christ by Hans Feibusch (1951)
and a Font made from polyphant green stone which came from Bodmin Moor, Cornwall. The Font was made and designed in 1983 by John Skelton, a nephew of Eric Gill.
You cannot come so near to the coast without paying the sea a visit, so we clambered up the sand dunes
and took a brisk walk along the beach