Saturday 31 January 2009


My glasses broke today.
Very, very tiresome.

But at least I got my labels done,

caught another stunning sunrise,

and we're going to the last night of Penny's play, Mary Goes First.

Friday 30 January 2009

A beautiful day

It began with this dawn.

Took me on a walk through my local park on some errands

past the silent bowling green

and into our local bookshop
for a forage through the second hand books
where I turned up this beautiful King Penguin book
of British Butterflies.

Thursday 29 January 2009

Where's Patsy?

A love/ hate relationship with blue and orange 
was hard-wired very early in my life by this book.

'Where's Patsy?' by Marjorie Poppleton was published in 1946 by the O.U.P Toronto.
The book was dedicated to Margaret Fletcher, 
('who understands Patsy and her friends so well'), 
the Principal of the Nursery School Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto.

The reader walks around the empty house with the narrator,
looking at all Patsy's things,

with the repeated refrain that we can't see Patsy -

 I believed that if I looked hard enough,
 or quickly enough as I turned the page,
I would see Patsy sitting at her little blue table,
 on her little orange chair,
or playing with her little black kitten,
or eating her scrambled eggs and drinking her milk.

So it was really quite disappointing that,
when she finally came home from NURSERY SCHOOL,

 I couldn't see her face.

(so Margaret Fletcher didn't understand me very well at all)

Wednesday 28 January 2009

Monday 26 January 2009

Me and my jumper

I finally finished my jumper.
I'm pleased with it 
but the model was very unwilling to be captured for posterity
 and had to be caught Cartier Bresson style when she wasn't looking.


I hope Vanessa is impressed.
It was her idea.

Friday 23 January 2009

Two self portraits

one of them by Rembrandt.

Temporary lights

A moment later the next band of black cloud had rolled over and obliterated them.

Thursday 22 January 2009


While delving back into my childhood I have been reminded of my Patch doll
I admired and envied her because she had straight hair
 at a time when mine had started to frizz and wave uncontrollably.
 Straight hair and a fringe was the required look and I went to terrible lengths to achieve this, including ironing it between sheets of brown paper.
 How happy I would have been if ceramic hair straighteners had been invented.

Apart from a chic black ribbed sweater, the only clothes she possesses are a yellow plastic mac and sou'wester.  

Tuesday 20 January 2009

Still in the 1940s

And following yesterday's post I dug out this catalogue featuring two more of my jigsaws.
The Flying Scotsman was really difficult, but the Horse was described as being, "cut into a few simple pieces with the background left entire so that there is an outline of the object to be made up." 
Rather astonishingly it suggests that,
 "when the jigsaw becomes too easy it can be cut into more pieces." 
Luckily I was never told this was an option or I would have certainly had a go at it with my trusty penknife.
I still mourn the loss of this knife with its mother-of-pearl handle.
 I dropped it out of the apple tree I was perching in and never saw it again.

I also deeply regret missing the opportunity to visit schools in Sweden in May 1939.
The brochure tells me that Paul Abbatt conducted a party of parents and teachers to find out at first hand about the educational system. 
The tour was to last 10-14 days and ' the fees will be kept as moderate as possible.'

Monday 19 January 2009

Fourth of the fourth

This is what I found in the fourth position in the fourth folder - 
an old Abbatt jigsaw from my childhood. 
Actually it was probably bought by my mother for her Nursery school
 which was run from our house in the late 60s and early 70s.

Paul and Marjorie Abbatt were pioneers of children's educational toys in the 1930s.
 They opened a shop in Wimpole Street designed by their friend,
 the modernist architect Erno Goldfinger.
Jane Audas has more information in her trenchant blog 

I wasn't overly keen on jigsaws.
They spelt boredom on a Sunday afternoon listening to the syrupy medleys on Sing Something Simple.

Sunday 18 January 2009


 Pictures from the opening event for the 800th anniversary of the founding of
 Cambridge University.  
The light artist Ross Ashton displayed images from Cambridge's history,
 some of them specially commissioned illustrations by Quentin Blake,
 on the Senate House and Old Schools facades.
This coincided with a worldwide bell-ringing event.

The mathematical bridge at Queens' College,
and a sign outside the King's College Chapel
 where we went to hear the choral scholars of
 Magdalene, Queens', Selwyn, Sidney Sussex and Trinity College Choirs sing 
Beethoven's Missa Solemnis last night.