Wild Hunt

It’s the Monday after the first Sunday after the fourth of September.

So it must be

image

The Abbots Bromley Horn Dance.

Possibly the best folk custom in the world.

Ever.

The day starts with the blessing of the horns in the Parish C

image

hur

ch.

And then the day begins.

This year was a special year as it is the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Four dancers went off to war in 1914, but only two returned.

Today,  four dancers wore uniform in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the war,  in particular those lost from

image

The D

ance

As always,  it was a joy to follow the dancers around the village and su

image

rrounding

image

area.

image

But today was particularly poignant.

image

Pearls

I thought they were extinct

Or at least an endangered species

But at the Faversham Hop Festival today we spotted them.

At first just a pair

image

But later,  a whole posse of them

image

Performing “Roll out the barrel”,  “My Old Mans a Dustman”  and so many more.

It was great.

There were hops a plenty

image

In garlands

image

And on hats.

And Faversham is lovely

image

It has a Physic Garden

image

A rather beautifully decorated brewery

image

And a gunpowder mill.

Every town should have one.

Ahem.

The festival was noisy,  bustling and good fun.

Beer was flowing freely

But as I cant stand the stuff we sampled other local produce instead.

image

image

All in the name of supporting small local artisans you understand 🙂

Yum.

Sun and slime

The first sunny day in what seems like forever.

The 2015 man-free holiday.

An annual tradition,  a few days of catch-up chat,  laughter,  and the opportunity to see some of the more eccentric aspects of British life.

Today we headed to Brightlingsea for the Opening of the Oyster Fishery.  

The Mayor and the great and the good headed off in boats

image

image

Proclamations were made and a long lunch was had to celebrate the start of oyster season.

Well,  there is now an ‘r’ in the month.

Shockingly,  there is nowhere in Brightlingsea to sample oysters so we headed down the coast to Whitstable,  a fab,  retro,  slightly bohemian seaside resort on the Kent coast.

Couldn’t move for oyster shops there!

image

I’ve tried oysters before,  and yes,  they are still disgusting second time around.

Imagine swallowing a giant,  slightly salty and fishy tasting bogey and you’ll get the idea.

Not that I’ve ever tasted a giant,  slightly salty and fishy tasting bogey.   But if I had,  that’s what it would be like.

Hope no one’s eating as they read this!  🙂

Hops and cream teas tomorrow.

image

Andy and the Owls

So, staycationing.

So, Monday saw us heading into Birmingham for the day.

I say “we”, I actually mean youngest child, one of her friends and myself.

Oldest child heard the words “art gallery” and refused to leave his bedroom.

He still remembers our pre-Christmas trip to the Tate Modern

IMG_0420

Youngest child on the other hand was tremendously excited by the whole thing.image

image

Boing.

And yes,  she was hyped up like this for the whole trip.

I slept well that night.

We headed to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery for their “Love is Enough” exhibition.

Focussing on Andy Warhol and William Morris.

I would have included a photo but Copyright issues mean photography wasn’t allowed.

It’s an interesting exhibition but the exhibits are a bit sparse and I’m not convinced that there are enough parallels between the artists for it to be completely successful

But, it was interesting to see the works ‘in the flesh’

And Warhol is always a hit with the kids

I’m not really a huge fan myself, but I found with this exhibition that I really liked his line drawings

Especially Young Man With Heart

Birmingham is also currently being invaded by giant owl sculptures.

Random or what?

There is an Owl Trail, should you wish to track them all down

But we were happy just admiring the ones we stumbled across

Particularly Ozzy Osbourne’s slightly sinister gothic one.

Add in chocolate pizza (yes really) at Ask, and bubble tea for the journey home

and it was actually a rather nice day out.

Sun, sea and sand? Pah, who needs ’em?

Be Here Now

I have developed an irrational and completely over-reactive dislike of the phrase “Staycation”

It’s right up there with “thinking outside of the box”, “one-stop shop”, “joined-up thinking” and “chillax”.

Guaranteed to make me want to gnash my teeth, gnaw the carpet and possibly prise my eyeballs out with blunt spoons.

Well, perhaps not quite that, but you get the idea.

But, staycationing is what we are doing this year, since our eagerly anticipated holiday to Egypt was cancelled by Thomsons, bless their cotton socks.

And our even more eagerly anticipated replacement holiday to India isn’t happening until next spring.

So, a summer spent exploring the delights of the Midlands.

And actually? I’m looking forward to it.

We might finally get to all those places that we keep meaning to go to, which are on our doorstep but get overlooked in the rush to get some place else

Somewhere more exotic.

Like Derbyshire 😉

So Sunday found us heading over to Rutland, smallest historic county in England, to visit Rutland Water.

  
It’s been on my list of places to visit for years.

Bits of it are beautiful, and quiet and peaceful.

Bits of it are noisy, and jam packed with people and cars.

And the shared cycle/pedestrian pathway works as well as the new shared pedestrian/motor vehicle area in Coventry

Organised chaos it is then.

A good place if you like watersports, or don’t want to walk far from your car for a picnic.

Not so great if you like to get away from civilisation, and like your nature a bit on the wild side. 

 

Mmmmm

It’s June.

It’s sunny (on and off)

So there must be

Freshly picked,  sunwarmed strawberries

Freshly picked, sunwarmed strawberries

Which transform nicely into

Gently heated,  lemon infused,  strawberry scented kitchens

Gently heated, lemon infused, strawberry scented kitchens

Which stack up perfectly into

Homemade strawberry jam

Homemade strawberry jam

Which of course just perfectly lends itself to

Oven warm homemades scones with jam and clotted cream

Oven warm homemades scones with jam and clotted cream

Mmm mmm mmm.  🙂

Vroom

Happy Mothering Sunday!

Yesterday oldest child finally had his first driving lesson.

At 13.

They grow up so quickly these days don’t they?  🙂

But this was a birthday present.

Yep, the chance to hurtle through woods, plunge into bogs and scare passing paintballers.

In a 4×4 automatic LandRover.

Possibly the best present a 13year old boy could receive.  Ever.

Or so he said afterwards.

Before hand?



Slightly nervous.  🙂

The cars are all less than 18months old





Because that’s their life expectancy with 11-17 years old screaming around the track in first gear.

I didn’t ask about the life expectancy of the driving instructors.

I also didn’t realise that Andrew, Rosie and myself would be shoehorned into the back of the 4×4 to experience the drive with Jacob.

Otherwise I might have looked for a knitting experience for him instead.



See how nervous he looks there?  That’s nothing compared to how nervous the three of us in the back were looking.



But it was great fun.

Really.

And Jacob was remarkably self-possessed and good at handling the car.

Not distracted at all by the screams from the back.



He’s still not driving my mini though.

Reprieve

IMG_0530

It feels like spring is just about here.

Without winter really having shown its face at all.

A few frosty mornings.

A sprinkling of snow.

But already bulbs are staring to push through, and curling leaf buds appearing on some of the hardier (foolhardy) trees.

A dry day on Friday and we took our chance to explore close to home.

The beautiful Warwickshire countryside

Along country lanes

IMG_0524

IMG_0526

Picking up a companion for part of the way

IMG_0529

Stopping at Chesterton church

IMG_0532

IMG_0533

IMG_0531

IMG_0537

And pondering a “fixer-upper”

IMG_0538

A good day.

Begin Again

Happy New Year!

The last few weeks have been a whirl of activities with family and friends.

Something had to give.

Which is why it’s been so quiet on the blog for the last month.

But I feel a renewed need to witter, a resolve to do more writing.

So here we are again 🙂

A few days before Christmas we took the kids to London.

It was my birthday treat so they had to do stuff that I wanted to do

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0420.jpg
You can see how impressed oldest child was with my choices.

We started by dragging them around encouraging them to appreciate modern art at the Tate Modern.

The space is amazing.

The art was…..thought provoking? Conversation making? Interesting?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0423.jpg

I did like this guy. Very 1950s B movie.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0425.jpg

Weirdly I really liked this piece too.

Once a goth always a goth 🙂

Breakfast in the Tate Modern cafe overlooking the Thames was pretty good too

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0421-0.jpg

And no impaled birds in sight.

We froze on the millennium footbridge, but it is a great spot to get a view over the cityscape

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0426.jpg

I love how that photo is bookended by the Shard and the Globe 🙂

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0427.jpg
Crepe time.

Just before I metamorphosed into Cousin It

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0429.jpg

We were going to go into St Pauls but at £40 for a family ticket just to get in the building we decided that particular piece of cultural education would have to wait for another time.

Don’t get me started on money lenders and traders in the Temple.

Or how the Tate Modern, just over the bridge, was offering world class art for free.

Season of good will and all that 🙂

Then a matinee performance of Cats.

I know.

But Nicole Scherzinger as Grizabella?

Fabulous.

I went in a cynic. Stayed that way for the first 20 minutes. And then came out the other side absolutely amazed at the strength, range and beauty of her voice.

You go girl!

Birthday tea at the Vietcafe.

And a walk up Oxford Street

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0434.jpg and along to Trafalgar Square to see the tree.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/a21/51030994/files/2015/01/img_0436.jpg

There is something about London at this time of year that is just magical.