Thursday 27 November 2014

Out of sight

but never far from my mind,
the contents of the drawers,

(that lampshade's got to go)

(Sorting papers: Rule of Thumb: Discard Everything M.K)

Edited to say that these above are now Drawers of Joy.
You may take that quite literally.

(sweet and innocent but stuffed)

(this has a matching set on the opposite side),


(mostly Northern husband's, further shelf not visible - untouched),

(mostly mine - hugely reduced),


(this above is possibly the scariest in terms of content),

(shelves above not visible),

(particularly deceptive this one as we sit on it daily
but inside there lurks a huge selection of board games
that nobody ever wants to play).
Where was I?

Piles and stacks,

(Marie has joined the stacks),

and suitcases,

of Doom.

And that's without showing you the Garage of Doom
 the Greenhouse of Doom
or the Desk of Doom at which I sit to pen
my Useful or Beautiful blog.
So there we have it.
Keeping it real.

Monday 24 November 2014

Advent calendars

If you are in need of an Advent Calendar I would urge you to
visit, either in person or online, The Medici Gallery.
It was Frances who so kindly escorted me to this shop
on her recent visit to London.
This is typical of the generosity of spirit that shines from her blog
City Views, Country Dreams and it was a pleasure 
to be able to spend some time with her at the nearby V&A last week.

The selection was truly sumptuous.
The shop is crammed with cards and calendars
and you would be sure to find something to your taste.
What made the whole experience so much more fascinating
was that I got into conversation with a smiling lady called Christian,
who was also choosing Advent Calendars for her eleven grandchildren.
It emerged that she was not just any shopper,
but a descendant of Eustace Gurney, who with Philip Lee Warner
founded The Medici Society in 1908.
As we browsed she told me more about her 
family's involvement with the business.

When still a young woman, her grandfather sent her to Berlin
where, if I have this right, she unearthed two Rembrandts
which the company then had reproduced for sale to the general public.

They also had to rights to reproduce Dame Laura Knight's work
and I have a very early print of Spring, labelled the Medici Society
by appointment to the late King George V.
I wrote about it the mystery attending it here.

As a small child she loved to visit the house of Muriel Dawson in Invernesshire.
There were animals to play with and Muriel would sketch her for her paintings.
She thought that this one, which we found in the rack,
might well have been her.

One of their most popular artists was Margaret Tarrant.
So much so, that she was made a shareholder in 1938.
To my delight I found a poster of one of her paintings
which I had on my wall as a child.

I used to count these fairies instead of counting sheep
if I couldn't get to sleep.
And now it is reframed and ready for my grand daughter.
Luckily at the moment she doesn't seem to have any trouble
getting to sleep.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Free gifts

The tide rolls in and it flows out.
November days fly by.
We are discussing a present-free Christmas,
or at least a new approach,
 before we are gripped by the annual compulsion
to rush about replacing the stuff that we have so assiduously tried
to reduce in the last few months.

Has anyone else gone cold turkey?

Monday 3 November 2014

The charm of the picturesque

A reviewer* of the Edwin Smith exhibition had this to say,

They are 
'images that offer succour to the soul.'

His pictures,
'evoke feelings of nostalgia, longing and charm of the picturesque,
whose hold only seems to tighten amid ever increasing
social, economic and environmental change'.

*Owen Hopkins Apollo.