16 May 2024

Flowers And More

My darling Aussie daughter sent these beautiful flowers for Mother's day, which in Australia was on the 12th.

Not only are they gorgeous to look at they smell divine, I smell their scent as soon as I walk into the room.

I've been doing some voluntary work in our pub. A few of us were assinged to stripping wallpaper, filling small holes and sanding walls. I like the former but not the latter, thankfully I didn't have to do much of that.

We've had some glorious weather, it's so nice to dry washing outside. The garden is looking lovely and the lawn is a lush shade of green thanks to lots of rain in April.

I've been binge watching Lego Masters Australia and New Zealand. I love it, they make amazing things.

I'm knitting lots of squares to make into blankets for the Royal British Legion elderly veterans.

I'm also working on my dolls house lounge, making a fireplace and floor to ceiling chimney, which is challenging because I'm making the chimney out of foamboard with wallpaper over it and I forgot that it warps when adhesive is applied, so I'm doing a second one now!!

Last week while out walking we met some ladies I know, one of them owns this little cutie, whose name I can't remember. She and Rufus get on well together.

The ladies walk quite slowly and when they are on their way home she runs ahead to shelter from the sun under this tree to wait for the ladies to catch up 😀 clever little girl.

∼ Be safe and well∼ 
Polly x

9 May 2024

The National Gallery

For our day out in London it was M's turn to decide where we went, initially she chose Harrods because she likes their coffee, and then the V&A but at the last minute she changed her mind and chose the National Gallery.
When the Gallery was founded in 1824, the first 38 paintings came from the private art collection of the banker John Julius Angerstein. Since then the w
orld-class collection of paintings has grown considerably over the last two centuries. Today, there are over 2,300 works, spanning the major traditions of Western European painting. It's a huge place and much as we tried to keep track of where we had been and where we wanted to go I'm sure there are rooms and collections that we missed. Having said that we did see a lot before getting very tired and needed food! So get comfy and let me show you around the gallery...

The Tailor by Giovanni Battista Moroni
The identity of the handsome tailor is unknown.
He  looks very elegant in his doublet and hose.

The Ansidei Madonna by Raphael
Raphael painted this altarpiece for the chapel of the Ansidei family in Perugia.

The Family of Darius before Alexander By Paolo Veronese
tells the story of the defeat of the Persian Emperor Darius by Alexander. Darius' mother is appealing to their conquerer for mercy. However she mistook Alexander for his friend Hephaestion. Alexander in the red armour graciously turned this mistake into both a compliment for Hephaestion and an assurance that he would protect Darius' family.

A Man and a Woman seated by a Virginal (an early type of piano)
by Gabriel Metsu
In Dutch painting music often serves as a metaphor for love. In this work Metsu depicts a gentle flirtatious encounter where a young woman is passing a piece of music to a man, who in turn offers her a glass of wine.

The Courtyard of a House in Delft by Pieter de Hooch

Cognoscenti (people who are well informed about a particular subject) in a Room hung with Pictures by an Unknown Flemish artist
This imaginary ideal gallery is crammed with paintings, sculptures and astronomical instruments showing the best of what was available in private collections on Antwerp.

This is the only surviving large scale drawing by Leonardo da Vinci. Made up of eight sheets of paper that are glued together. It shows the Virgin Mary sitting on the lap of her mother, Saint Anne. Mary cradles the Christ Child in her arms, who reaches towards his cousin Saint John the Baptist with a gesture of blessing. It's displayed in a dimly lit room to help protect it.

Portrait of a Woman inspired by Lucretia by Lorenzo Lotto
The identity of the richly dressed woman is unknown. She points towards a drawing of the Roman heroine Lucretia who, after being raped, stabbed herself to preserve her family's honour. Lucretia was celebrated as an example of female virtue. However with the provocative placement of her necklace and assured pose, the woman challenges fixed ideas of female behaviour!

Philip IV hunting Wild Boar by Diego Velázquez
The King is shown on the right meeting the charge of a boar. The hunt takes place in a canvas enclosure or royal canvas, with numerous retainers in attendance. 
Hardly sport is it? like catching fish in a barrel, although wild boar are very dangerous.

St Margaret of Antioch by Francisco de Zurbarán
The saint is shown as a sheperdess with a crook and Spanish saddle bags. The difficult to see dragon in the left of the painting recalls the story that she was swallowed by a monster but burst forth from it unharmed -  hence her role as the patron saint of women in childbirth. 
I didn't know there was a patron saint for women in childbirth.

Still Life With Lemons In A Wicker Basket, by Juan de Zurbarán
I like this one

and the simplicityof this one
Cup of Water and a Rose on a Silver Plate by Fransico de Zurbarán

Madame Pompadour at her Tambour Frame by François Hubert Drouais

I think this is beautiful
Whistlejacket by George Stubbs
Whistlejacket, the second Marquess of Rockingham's prize racehorse, is presented full-size and rearing in the levade position usually used in equestrian portraits of military commanders. Stubbs deliberately depicted Whistlejacket without a rider against a blank backdrop, making the viewer focus solely on the majestic beauty and unrestrained power of the Arabian stallion.

The interiors of the gallery are stunning

An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump by Joseph Wright of Derby
in which a lecturer demonstrates the creation of a vacuum to a family. A white cockatoo (an exotic bird, unlikely to have been used for this experiment) is imprisoned  in a glass flask from which the air is being extracted by a pump. The candlelit setting is characteristic of Wright's interest in dramatic contrasts of light and shade.
I like the painting but not the subject matter. The young girls look very distressed.

                            Van Gogh's Chair       &      Sunflowers

This is an unusual subject for art.
Exhibition of a Rhinoceros at Venice by Pietro Longhi
In 1751, a rhinoceros known as Miss Clara was publicly exhibited at the Venice Carnival, creating a sensation across Europe. She was the subject of poems, paintings, tapestries, medals and sculptures; ladies even styled their hair in the shape of a horn. Pietro Longhi painted this picture around the same time.

The Story of David and Goliath and The Triumph of David by Francesco Pesellino
these are so good up close, there is so much detail in them.

Saint George and the Dragon by Paolo Uccelo

A Satyr mourning over a Nymph by Piero di Cosimo
this is sad, it may be the story of Procris and Cephalus. Procis heard false reports of the infidelity of her husband Cephalus. One day Cephalus was in the woods on a hunting expedition. Procis followed to spy on him. He was resting and mistook her for wild game and shot her with an arrow. The dog looking on is quite poignant

I was very disappointed that there were only a couple of Botticelli paintings, most of them were out on loan. 

The shop had some lovely items

This necklace and earrings were gorgeous but a bit out of my price range

Street entertainment

We finished our day out with delicious fish and chips at an Angus steakhouse.

∼ Be safe and well∼ 
Polly x

3 May 2024

A Nice Walk

Our walk last week was much better than the previous one - most of the mud had dried out. Our evening walks have started, we meet at 4.30, walk for a couple of hours then back to the pub for a meal.

It was a nice walk through countryside passing allotments

through magnificent bluebell woods

a Church

and Churchyard

pretty cottages and lots of eye wateringly opulent houses.

We think this was a mole, a very tiny mole. It seemed to be digging but wasn't getting anywhere. We hoped it wasn't a lost youngster. I didn't want to leave it out in the open and vulnerable, but there wasn't anything we could do.

Our walk finished back in the lovely village of Stock.

 ∼ Be safe and well∼ 
Polly x 

29 April 2024

We Bought A Pub!

Yes dear reader, along with lots of other villagers I am a proud part owner of the village pub. The money raised by us and the government funding scheme secured the deal. The dedicated and hard working steering group have done a great job, working tirelessly for months on end for no reward other than to get the pub back open. They also visited lots of other community owned pubs around the country, and all but one of them are thriving. We are confident that we can make it work but not blinkered to the reality that it is going to take a LOT of HARD work to undo 2 years of neglect and modernise it. Being a listed building will probably slow things down and add a few hoops to jump through. And when we get that done we hope that people will come back to patronise it.


Bluebell wood is looking very pretty and smells lovely.

Sunshine, birdsong and Rufus running around lifts my heart.

∼ Be safe and well∼ 
Polly x

23 April 2024

St George's Day


Happy St George's Day

St George, the patron saint of England is known as a heroic knight in shining armour slaying a ferocious, fire-breathing dragon. Click here if you would like to know more.

∼ Be safe and well ∼ 
Polly x

22 April 2024

Earth Day

 Happy Earth Day 

🌏 Be safe and well 🌍
Polly x 

18 April 2024

A Nice Day Out

Our U3A bus pass group outing last week was a tad convoluted. We went to Epping but there isn't a direct bus from Chelmsford so we went via Ongar. And then to get home the Ongar bus is only every 2 hours so if we had gone back to Ongar and got the timing wrong there would have been a 2 hour wait, so we went to Harlow and caught the bus from there! Ongar is a nice place but we didn't stop, just caught the connecting bus to Epping.

where we strolled around, had coffee and cake and did a bit of retail therapy.

Many people describe Harlow in a derogatory manner. I don't know it well, only having travelled through it, and visiting the hospital when my grandson was born. It does have a very nice smart  shopping mall

with a lovely water garden. I think there is a notice asking people not to feed the fish but I think they do because these came up to us very quickly.

We visited an excellent art gallery.

The Gibberd Gallery is a lovely, restful and peaceful gallery away from the 'hubbub' but close to cafes and eating places. 

Piglet has a history. On the 8th January 1985 he was stolen from his plinth in the children's library at Basildon. The following day he was discoverd on a grass area at the rear of the building, missing an ear. After repair he was given to the gallery.

There are lots of exhibits and they hold regular exhibitions of all kinds of arts and crafts.
Everyone had a lovely day out and we caught a direct bus back home.

∼ Be safe and well∼ 
Polly x 

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