Sunday 13 March 2022

A Russian Gun in Ely


            This cannon was captured from the Russians in Sebastopol in 1860 and given to Ely City by Queen Victoria after the Crimean War in recognition of the successful formation of the Ely Rifle Volunteers.

It has been decorated with the flag of Ukraine. 

Ely Cathedral has been a place of prayer and pilgrimage since the 8th Century.




Sunday 6 March 2022

BBC Access to News


                                             How to receive BBC News from Ukraine                             

Monday 28 February 2022

Painting and Crafting with Wool


I have decided to work with a new medium for producing paintings ,sculptures and craft work.

Wool is a wonderful, natural medium, best known for lovely clothing but also used for painting sculpture and craftwork.

Here in England we have factories that are still producing beautiful wool both for spinning into fabric and unspun for artists and crafters.

I have been using dry felting techniques ,

This is some of my work, I am improving with practice. 


A Marmalade Cat

Winter Night


Easter Eggs


Felted Easter Eggs

Using traditional wool from Teesdale

Monday 5 July 2021

Memories are Made of These


              It seems amazing to my grandchildren that I grew up without TV, Wifi ,the internet and mobile phones. How did we face the summer break from school , what did we do in the 1940s and 50s?A simple holiday on the east coast of England was something we really looked forward to. My Dad would also add to my book collection with a story  like this  parent free adventure by Enid Blyton .                                                          


 No burgers or pizzas were  on the menu. A big treat was a bar of chocolate like Cadburys Dairy Milk. There were almost no sweets or candy at all until about 1947.My Dad was in the army , the soldiers had generous sweet rations and  Dad would save his share until he came home on leave to give it to us . A Mars bar would be sliced into slivers and made to last a couple of days .                         

Loose leaf tea like this was the drink of choice for most people. It would be made with boiling water in a well warmed teapot and served in cups with saucers after being left to brew for a few minutes to draw out the flavour . I hated the tea leaves at the bottom of the cup. All sorts of signs were read into the formation of the tea leaves. A large floating leaf meant a significant letter was coming. My grandmother would spend hours ruminating over the possibilities. Mugs were unheard of in our house except enamel ones sometimes taken or picnics.

Food was pretty tasteless, the English had a love for boiling everything to a pulp It was not until I went to France at the age of 12 that I realised what food could really be like. Marmite which I like, was good on toast, crumpets or in sandwiches. It is enjoying a revival as it is suitable for vegetarians. There is a new version out with peanut butter added, I am not enthused by this.


            Bisto was another great food improver added to gravy. Once the war was over we always had a large beef joint for Sunday lunch.  These days a joint of sirloin that size would cost about £30 .The smell of it cooking was delicious .Cooked until very well done the Bisto gravy added moisture. Left overs were served cold on Monday as my Mum would be busy with washing day.                                                              

Every thing was cooked on a stove that looked like this


In 1952 Dad bought a TV. Black and white of course and 11 inches wide. Our entire family  watched the the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd on it. My grandfather stood up every time the National Anthem was played which was frequently.

       A new invention in 1964 was the introduction of Pyrosil cookware. Said to have been invented to use in connection with rocket ships this oven to table ware was popular. I still have some.   I was shocked to see some on display in a museum.                                                             


Tuesday 22 June 2021

Remember These?

 Do you recognize  these from your childhood?

Then you probably grew up in the U.K before 1960

Sunday 13 June 2021

Summer Staycation Art

 Summer in England is going to be controlled by the pandemic.

 Boris has messed up again by failing to close the borders allowing a dangerous Indian  covid mutation to enter the UK and spread. 

 This year we have arranged to go on vacation in England. A couple of hours in the car to a nice hotel in Aldeburgh in Suffolk

 No manic airport, no testing , no worries about that group coughing in the swimming pool or putting their unwashed hands into the dinner buffet.

A room with a sea view, six delicious dinners and breakfasts, nice little shops and cafes and a trip to one of the other nearby villages.

The Way We Were

  Here are some of my favourite paintings of summertime in England with reminders of how holidays used to be.



Two Women in a Garden by Eric Ravilious

This reminds of the days before frozen peas when sitting in the garden shelling home grown peas was a job usually given to me. I hated finding maggoty ones.



Sea Shore by Mary Fedden

 Family holidays spent on the east coast included my Dad buying us shrimping nets like these along with buckets and spades. Catching little crabs in the rocks was a great excitement.


Dandelions by William Nicholson

Picnics in the Cotswolds were popular with my family ,cheaper than cafes which were few and far between. Sandwiches, boiled eggs, home made cake and flasks of tea would be eaten sitting on a rug in a field like this. Blowing dandelion clocks were part of the fun.


Cambridge, St John's Bridge by Gwen Raverat, an LNER poster design
                               This is very close to where I live now.
Many people travelled by train to holiday destinations in the U.K. encouraged by posters of attractive places



I do not know who this painting is by  but it reminds me of my grandmother preparing to cook fish.



                                     Roses by Diana Armfield.

This artist is 100 years old this year. Her paintings of flowers and the country side are exquisite examples of a loose style of of art work. Reminders of the jugs of flowers from the garden my mother would have around the house in the summer.

Swimming by Janet Cockerill
Warmer days would offer opportunities to swim either in the sea or at a local lido.



Green Fields by Joan Eardley

A Scottish painters work. Cliff top walks were a bracing afternoon activity by the sea.

Heat Wave, Janet Cockerill

Where ever you are going let us hope for a heat wave so we can all get our feet into the sea.