That was the scene last night in London. We weren’t there as
we celebrated the arrival of 2013 at Jilly Adam’s house, together with friends
Brian, Jane, and Peter. Jill lives in Wattle Cottage – a truly bijou residence
right next to the river in Henley. This is us last night. (My young friend took
I mentioned last week that I’d ordered a set of stamps
featuring my paintings. This is the latest – it’s entitled ‘When the Queen came
And I was very surprised to see that tour local newspaper
‘The Henley Standard’ featured the painting across six columns on the front
page last Friday. Quite an accolade.
I’ll be producing limited editions about 24 inches wide as
soon as I find a good printer, as the quality must be first class. (BBC Radio
Berkshire rang me for a ten- minute interview about it on Sunday and as I was
away from Henley it was conducted by telephone.)
On Christmas morning I briefly called in to Tony and Gloria
Mays. They live by Hennerton Backwater, and like everywhere else around here,
are flooded. At least their garden is.
After a sip or two of champagne, and an even briefer visit
to see Diane Sutherland at Bird Place, I picked up Val to take her to her
daughter Louisa’s house in Marlow, where we would be spending Christmas day
with her, Guy, and their two children, Max and Kate. I love being with children
on Christmas day – especially as Kate still believes in Santa Claus.
This is a picture of the fireplace.
If you are wondering why a large toy animal is protruding
from the chimney, it’s because Kate’s cat, Muppet, likes to clamber up there and
cover itself in soot. But here is a nice clean Muppet.
Louisa cooked the most delicious turkey. We had a lovely day
and left just before midnight.
I’ve never been to Suffolk before so was in for a treat, as
my young friend’s parents, Richard and Janet, had invited me to stay with them
for a few days at their home in Needham Market.
I was even chauffeured all the way by ‘myf’. It rained all
the way. Will it never stop? On Friday, after lunch at the Alex in Felixstowe -
where we had a great view of the blustery sea from our table - Richard took us
for a tour of the area. This is a part of the container port. I think
Felixstowe is the largest in Britain.
It was Janet’s birthday on Saturday and we were treated to a
family party at the Highwayman. There were eight of us. But before going there
we braved the very cold wind and rain to look at a couple of mills. Here are
Hawks and Woodbridge mills.
At last – on Sunday, the day we left for home - the rain
stopped and the sun came out. Blue skies and a pale pink cottage. (Not quite
the same dark pink as so many of the Suffolk houses are coloured)
And as we were in ‘Constable Country’ we couldn’t resist
making our way to Flatford Mill – where John Constable painted ‘The Haywain’
The landscape in the background is no longer visible, and we
didn’t see a haywain while we were there, but this was the view on Sunday from
the same vantage point Constable must have painted his masterpiece from.
We walked around the various cottages there (Thank goodness
cars are not allowed in the valley). This is Bridge Cottage.
Then on to the most beautiful old mediaeval town I’ve ever
been to – Lavenham. It was originally the centre of the wool trade in Suffolk.
We had a light lunch there. Just look
at some of the lovely half-timbered houses we came across - including a crooked
It’s now the first day of January 2013 so let’s hope that the
New Year is peaceful, happy and prosperous. Best wishes to you all.