It’s taking a while, but spring is making a reluctant start
at last. My young friend and I took a little trip to West Green House last
Saturday afternoon. Known as the Garden for all Seasons we found it a little
bare for this season, but lovely all the same.
There were a few crocuses peeping through the earth however
These gardens are also known as the Opera Gardens and
throughout the year musical events are held there. For example next weekend The
Guildhall School of Music will be performing Bernstein, Rogers and Gershwin
accompanied by an afternoon tea. And hopefully the tulips will bring a bit of
Technicolor into the surroundings. I imagine the concerts are held just behind
this circular opening into one of the gardens.
And as you gaze into the sky while savouring the music you
may be sitting in a bower as we did and have a view like this.
On the way back to the lovely little rustic shop at West
Green House we stopped to look at this stone carving, whom I imagine was a
faithful retainer, or more likely, the gardener.
When we got back to the car my young friend realised she’d
lost her black leather gloves somewhere in the gardens. We retraced our steps
for a while but couldn’t find them. So we asked the lady at the desk to
remember who we were if anyone handed them in. Sure enough a few days later a
kind person did just that and they were posted back to us.
Next day we joined a small group of people at Ewelme for a
guided walk around the famous watercress beds, which wind their way through
this loveliest of Oxfordshire villages. The Watercress Beds Centre is the hub
of the Ewelme local Nature Reserve which covers about 6.5 acres, and we were
lucky enough to have two of the most knowledgeable Chiltern Society members to
take us around. The most important feature of the site is the Ewelme Brook,
which flows into the Kings Pool in the centre of the village, where the main
springs rise. (We were told the story about the time King Henry VIII threw one
of his wives into the brook – but I’m not sureI believed it!)
The Ewelme Brook flows through the Nature Reserve for about
half a mile and continues on to the river Thames at Benson. Here are a couple
of views of the watercress beds looking in either direction.
As we walked round the reserve the guides pointed out
various features, including this little hedgehog hut they made. (Which we were
told attracted over 15 hedgehogs during the season.)
After a short break where we munched biscuits and drank
coffee at the Centre, we walked further downstream towards Benson and joined up
with the stream once again
Two important industries used to be based on the Ewelme
Brook – milling corn, then later commercial scale watercress growing. It was
also famous for trout fishing. Such an interesting afternoon. I recommend it to
anyone. There are guided walks there every first Sunday of the month.
On Tuesday we drove to London to enter two pictures in the
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. (As my young friend waited outside the Academy while I took the pictures down into the bowels of the building, ex Prime Minister Sir John Major nearly bumped into her car as he dashed across to Saville Row - no doubt to pick up his morning suit for Lady Thatcher's funeral.) I don’t expect the pictures to be accepted, but you never know. However if they are rejected, they will go on to the ‘Not
the Royal Academy’ exhibition at the Llewellyn Gallery at Westminster. One is a
large life-size pencil drawing of Rolf Harris, the other is a miniature of the
My working week has been extremely busy, and I’ve been
putting in about 9 hours a day on another river scene with the red-coated Royal
Swanmarker featured prominentally. But here is the drawing I finished the other
The other day I came across this Huntley and Palmers biscuit
tin. It was one I designed as an apprentice lithographic artist way back in the
fifties. I remember as I painted each biscuit, which were carefully arranged on
the plate on my desk in front of me, Vic Granger, one of the artists, would eat
the biscuit I’d just painted. By the time I got to paint the last one, it was
the only one left on the plate!
I’ve just seen my young friend off to Korea. She ‘s attending
a weeklong Conference there and will be chairing one of the sessions. In view
of the current political situation I’m just glad it’s not being held in North Korea.
Bon Voyage myf and have a good flight.