Wednesday, 27 July 2011


The day has arrived.
 Passports, euros, tickets, youth hostels and song lyrics are sorted.
There has been much packing and unpacking but finally they are loaded up with rucksacks so heavy that there's a strong chance that they will just tip over and land helpless on their backs like beetles!
The house looks like a tornado has passed through and a huge pile of bacon sandwiches have been demolished
 " because everybody misses bacon sandwiches when they are abroad  "
It's all a little scary but such a wonderful adventure.
 To busk your way around Europe!
When you read of the wonderful cities they will be visiting

Amsterdam ,Berlin, Prague, Budapest (a rock festival there!!!)
Padua, Venice, Bologna, Florence and then back through France to a friend's house in Brittany

It's no wonder they look excited...
Emily, Clare and Rosa
I shall miss her of course and I am more than a little envious but, oh, I am so glad she is doing this!
May they all sing beautifully and bring home some amazing stories (only some of which I will get to hear) and come home safely with many happy memories.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Summer Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens

It's mid-summer and it's raining, so it must be festival time!
Tents and chill boxes are packed, wellies rediscovered and outlandish clothes decided upon. For over 20 years the much loved Larmer Tree Festival has lured me away from my comfortable bed and tempted me into wearing unsuitable brightly coloured outfits.
 Many go for the eclectic mix of world music but I'm just drawn to the ambiance of the festival, with its art and colour and the feeling of freedom from everyday life. It is set in a Victorian Pleasure Garden and is full of hidden corners and eccentric buildings. It has ponds and temples, peacocks and parrots-

Throughout the gardens you come upon works of art and so many sights that delight. One year there were huge bubbles everywhere, another year everybody wore fairy wings and tutus. I'll not easily forget the sight of two local rugby players in pink wings and frilly skirts. This year, delicate rose garlands were the fashion... and yes, I did buy and wear one! 

There's music everywhere, of course.
With some bands you can just lie back and relax -

With others you go wild -
Or just be inspired-

One of the unique features of the Larmer Tree is the huge variety of workshops. You can do early morning Yoga on the main lawn, join a drum band or become very arty and crafty. I once ran a herb workshop, where everybody made a 'portaloo pomander'. These were to be held to the nose when visiting whiffy areas...

Another year I pinned up poems about summer and happiness all around the gardens-

One year we wrote and decorated our own favourite quotations and then hung them up for all to enjoy-

Every year we have our favourites places to visit and things to do- I love the wishing tree, and the hanging books library and we always get at least one henna tattoo!

The food is amazing, a far cry from the burger and chip vans at so many festivals.

A prize-winning flat bread pizza and home-made lemonade

The tea garden

The high spot for our family has to be fancy dress Saturday. Over the years we have been characters from books and plays and people watching is taken to new levels...

An uneasy truce between God and Lucifer

It's hard getting ready in the back of a van...

I think I was a Druid...
50's Revival

'Clockwork Orange' and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'

A sight of rare beauty

'Pirates of the Carabbean'

and Superman...

And I haven't even mentioned the carnival...  

The Larmer Tree Festival is a magical place to be.

Friday, 8 July 2011

A Tale of Two Cities... ( Paris, 1st version )

Champagne, ma cherie?

Our stairs were perfection, the view - so French

Our days were filled with art, sculpture, and music-

At rest we remained poised and cosmopolitan, far from the worries of an ordinary world-

Even traveling home we remained calm and aloof...

No, it's no good, we just can't keep this up...

Please see next blog for a true picture...

A Tale of Two Cities... ( Paris, 2nd Version)

We decided that we would move immediately into Paris time when boarding Eurostar... which mean that it was past 6 o'clock and we could open the champagne!  A 'Mothers Day' gift from my parents, this seemed the perfect occasion.
We had booked a studio apartment but due to its rather eccentric rules we had to pick up our keys from a metro station. We were informed-

" Go to the platform on line 6, heading towards Charles de Gaulle, there a man will meet you at 20.00 hours. He will be holding a beige envelope. Hand over the 25 euros and he will give you your keys"

 It felt as if we were taking part in a low budget spy film but to my great relief everything went like clockwork!

We were expecting the studio to be small but everything in the building was crammed into the smallest possible space! The lift was minute but our apartment being 6 floors up, we took our life and our luggage into our hands ...

and arrived... it was tiny but just so French!

We both know Paris well, so this was to be a working holiday. Next morning we headed to Antique Lover's heaven-

One look at the prices however sent us scurrying outside to places more suited to our meagre pockets!

Here we had some great finds-

Stopping only for some light refreshment-

 Truthfully, we spent rather a lot of our time 'refreshing' ourselves.

This was breakfast...

This a light lunch...
It's probably a good thing that there are no photographic records of our sumptuous suppers!

We did walk however, if fact I think we walked the length and breadth of Paris-

Our shoes had to be rested outside at night...

Oh, but we DID enjoy ourselves, I'm so lucky to have such a lovely daughter!

With love and thanks to Emily for her company and her photographs.