Thursday, 26 May 2011

Chelsea Flower Show

Well what  a hoot I’ve had today!....

Each year I know I WANT to go to Chelsea Flower Show, Wimbledon and Glyndebourne.... and what happens each year? I forget to buy tickets early enough of course, and miss out on these events.... been doing this for years.

Now this year, today, in fact it all worked out rather differently. After a 9am meeting at Tower Bridge, ( I know, why? I wondered that too.) I was chatting about my inability to plan ahead, when my colleague suggested I just go along to Chelsea, hang about and try to buy a ticket from a ticket tout.... This sort of thing simply doesn't happen in Arundel, my dear!

Anyway I made my way to the main gates, looked around for a few minutes, pretending I was waiting to meet someone and realised no tout would be  touting right there in front of all the police... so I wondered off a bit further and immediately a rather shady chap muttered under his breath to me to follow him... Very cloak and dagger. We walked, pretending we weren’t walking together to a tiny cafe, the address of which I  cannot divulge here for obvious reasons... and in this aforementioned cafe, I commented that he might be a plain clothes policeman, or that I too  might be, well a plain clothes policewoman, of course. He roared with laughter and we began to discuss pound notes.

He started at a silly price and as luck would have it I only had about half his opening offer about my person, your honour.. Of course he accepted, I left with the grand total of £3 in my purse but clutching my ticket to glory and colour and inspiration...... What fun and he said I could ask my friends if they wanted tickets too!

Got through the gates with not even enough to buy a Pimms, but had the best, best time. It truly is wonderful to see the real thing after the TV coverage,  isn’t it? And such clever stuff there to  admire (or sometimes dislike), all laid out  there as though by chance, all the  effort so carefully hidden . And on my way to the tube, as luck would have it,  I bumped into my new friend having a pint! Told him that today actually meant much more than just a  happy day out,  because, the last time I went to Chelsea was with You Know Who before he died... Hey ho, memories and  sunshine mixed together today - great memories and great sunshine...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

1110 Water and Thought

A friend of mine has so inspired me I have to share. 

Carrie Forman, South African, living in Boston and founder of 1110 gave me one of her beautiful, silky soft vest tops for my morning yoga. Well, this is no ordinary vest, this is... you’ve seen the adverts here, so you know what I mean!

She has printed, on a collection of the finest cotton tops, (also available in tiny baby one pieces, which are just too lovely!) gentle, strong, pure words. So cool, and so peaceful. They are cut to hug, not constrain, long enough to move with you, and in soft gentle non-colours.

The thought behind 1110 is what makes this enterprise unique, I feel.  I have often worked on and with, thought patterns. It is not an unheard of idea that thought has a journey and a life of it’s own and that our thoughts can realise and gain power. It’s quite a mantra in meditation to clear one’s thoughts and to have positive thoughts around, and this is what has cleared Carrie’s mind to create her unique concept, her capsule collection.

Water is her inspiration, her own power wave (excuse the pun!). Her belief in all this started with an introduction to the power thought can have on water crystals. Messages In Water - Dr Masaru Emoto Quite weird, very American, but beautiful too - take a look at that and her very still and clear web site.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Summer Time Reds

Friends coming round for supper tonight, granddaughter sleepover-ing till Sunday, still life, "The Family Silver, 2" needs a tweak to finish it off before I go teaching portrait painting for all of next week,  moorhens nesting along castle moat, so a visit necessary before tea-time with oforementioned granddaughter. What on earth and when on earth to do about cooking for tonight...

Sorted - "Gorgeous Greens", by Annie Bell, I think the best of it's kind, along with that pair called "Tender", have you seen those too? Well Roasted tomato and basil soup, tonight, chilled, followed by roasted butternut squash and red onions with seared salmon steaks and salad with harissa dressing.

Soup - in an oven tray, drizzle some olive oil over  1.5kg or thereabouts,of ripe, on the  vine, tomatoes, for about 20 minutes or so (220C)- don't let the skins burn, but make sure the flesh is soft. Let 'em cool then pulling off stalks, whizz through in the blender. Press through a sieve and I though that was delicious enough - but then add salt, pepper sugar, a few drizzles more of olive oil, and basil leaves, all according to your taste. Whizz through again,  then let that cool. 

OMG I think this is the food of the gods!

Roasted squash? You'll have to check out Annie's book. I'm too busy sipping the little extra bit I made of the chilled tomato soup for tonight! But I will tell you about the salmon - marinade the steaks in fish sauce  for a couple of hours before flashing in a frying pan, heated up with  a dollop of olive oil in it. I use a tablespoon of fish sauce per 2 salmon pieces. Oh, and another thing, this works best with skin on, steaks - it goes really crispy. Bon appetit!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Education, education, education - and not a Blair rant!

"Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another." wikapeadia

Not quite what I was going to write about tonight, but that's the real point - the  going with, the "always being in the right place at the right time" sort of thing. It's not a matter of luck, it just means being aware of all the opportunities and turns in the road at any given time, which if  we look again, is  teaching on a real scale.

We, as teachers, hold up mirrors to our students, mirrors of ourselves, others and the alternatives. And being in the right place at the right time  doesn't mean always being in the clover . It can mean that we experience and taste some not so sweet moments too. But, if we look at the whole picture, it does all make sense and does lead somewhere, though the destination may be obscured from time to time.

Today I heard the news that I have been rejected membership to a pretty exclusive art conglomerate. I know that in a week, or a month or a year's time, I will have totally come to terms with this, or more so,   I will be grateful I  am not indeed a member, but  today it hurts. And that is really OK - today, my rejection slip was an unwelcome missile on my door mat, tomorrow I will see it as the herald of the next door opening.

We all need to remember and learn from our best teachers and we should also  really remember that learning is a lifelong commitment and enjoyment.