It’s really been a very cold week with temperatures below zero most of the time. But winter weather and the month of February mean snowdrops. So on Sunday my young friend and I drove over to Welford Park where the snowdrops were at their best.

I’ve seen fields of bluebells before, but never fields of snowdrops. At Welford Park we walked through the woods and there they were spread out before us. My photographs don’t do them justice, but believe me they were a magnificent sight.

Don’t know what this giraffe was doing, but he was lingering around by the house.

We travelled on to Basingstoke where we had a trip down memory lane. (At least I did, as my young friend wasn’t around during the war!) There we went to Milestones Museum. What a great place to visit. A large spiral staircase takes you down to a complete re-creation of a market town - circa about 1940. But before we descended we were given an old penny (to spend on two ounces of sweets from the confectioners in the village.) On our travels we came across the car used in the film Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang,

These two pictures of the hardware shop reminded me of my early years during the war. We had no electricity, or even a bathroom, so every Friday night the big tin bath was brought in from the garden for us to bathe in – one by one – in order of age!.

And in another view here was the mangle. One of my jobs then was to wind the wheel to squeeze the water out of the freshly washed clothes.

There’s so much to see in this museum. And everything is authentic.

My young friend disappeared down a small alleyway and when I went to find her I assumed the two doors there were for the ladies and gents loos. So I was horrified when she opened one of the doors and there was a man sitting on an old-fashioned wooden toilet with his trousers down to his ankles. “Shut the door,” I said, “There’s someone in there!”. I know this photograph shows that the man is obviously a waxwork, but I really did think it was a real man at the time.

This old bicycle looks like a more comfortable version of the original penny-farthing. Not so high to climb up to the saddle.

We went to the railway station where I took a couple of photographs.

And here’s an omnibus with access to the upstairs via outside steps.

All in all a really fascinating afternoon. I thoroughly recommend a visit. It’s easy to find – as you approach Basingstoke just follow the signs to the Leisure Centre.

I belong to the Arts Appreciation Group at Phyllis Court Club and yesterday went to one of their events. It was lunchtime do and the subject given by the Curator of the Watts Museum was to be Charles Dickens and his Favourite Artists. I really like Victorian and Pre-Raphaelite painters, so was very much looking forward to the presentation. Unfortunately the speaker telephoned early in the morning to say she had flu and couldn’t make it. But luckily, with the magic of Apple’s iCloud, the President of the Arts Group had it beamed through to the Club where she gave a faultless presentation

I hadn’t really appreciated how many artists of that period used Charles Dickens’ scenes from his books as subjects for their paintings. This painting by William Powell Frith was one of the featured paintings. It’s of Paddington Station.

I spent a very productive morning the other day with the Curator of The River and Rowing Museum to discuss my autumn exhibition there. I’m pleased that she’s agreed for the walls of the exhibition room to be painted red. This colour will beautifully enhance the 60 or so paintings I’ll have on display as they all have gold frames. I plan to show about 50 miniatures as well in lectern type cases on the far wall.