Tea and cake at the Turner Contemporary

We are really fortunate to have a major gallery open its doors at one of our less salubrious towns here in Kent. It was a chance remark and a quick Google that led us to the Turner Contemporary on Friday evening. We had been to Richborough but we started to get a little soggy so our original plan to see the Viking Ship at Pegwell Bay had to be abandoned and we were working out what to do as we were already out and about in the car. I said I’d like to go to the Turner but hadn’t yet managed it and figured I ought to go before they started to charge a lot to get in but had heard mixed reviews as people had said it was empty-looking. I saw they were open until 10pm which is unusual for a Kent gallery so we continued into Margate, found a parking spot and got ourselves a mug of tea and some very good cake indeed.

I had a really delicious granola bar with apricot, cranberries, honey and lots of seeds in

and pao had a really yummy Portugese rice cake. As cake consuming veterans, we were very pleased to give their cake a big thumbs up. It was only later after chatting to the catering manager that we discovered the cakes were baked on the premises daily so we vowed to make a return visit for what looked like it could be a seriously delicious breakfast.

After fortification by tea and cake, we ventured into the gallery. I’d been told about the steps by a friend and enjoyed walking up reading the words as I ventured up.

We came upon the first room of exhibits and although I could see that people might construe it as empty, I saw it as being just right for the space. It was intimate because you could get up very close to the art and I really enjoyed the artwork and thinking and wondering how the artist created the globes. This is a piece by the artist Russell Crotty who I am now very interested in seeing more from.

I had a quiet little laugh to myself when I saw the word Arcadia lit up in Ellen Harvey’s installation. I was watching a programme about Ben Okri’s rail journey from London to Arcadia in Greece earlier in the day. I never did see the end as pao was watching the motor racing qualifying so it was like I was getting to see another Arcadia but for myself this time.

People have talked much about the gallery and what really impressed me was the use of space. The window from the first level framed the view of the sea that Turner knew so well.

The windows themselves were pieces of art.

Definitely going back for another visit. For breakfast. Soon. It is definitely a mood lifter.

First Crochet FO at Richborough

I was feeling a bit low yesterday afternoon as we’d had another day in which was fine but I was feeling a bit sad as I’d been reminded on Wednesday of my pretty exciting childhood where as a family we travelled a lot. As an adult, I certainly don’t have that opportunity as readily any more as my parents got heavily discounted fares and hotels for being airline workers. I do have a bit of wanderlust and was missing the trip we’d planned as we are in an uncertain situation with health at the moment. I woke pao from his slumber and suggested we get out of the house for a bit of air. It was already 4pm so wherever we were going to go needed to be in the 20 minute radius of our house so we could enjoy it a little. Being English Heritage members, I remembered about Richborough Fort and Amphitheatre and we headed that way as it was open until 6pm and should be interesting to look at. The visitor centre is rather pretty.

It is quite a bleak hilltop spot – in the distance you can see the towers of a disused power station and to the other side (not in shot) the pharmaceutical facility which is shortly to close its operations in the area putting many more people out of work. This didn’t help the sad feeling too much! Especially since I’d just spilled hot hot chocolate down myself 🙁

I’m not sure what these furrows were for but as I declined a listen to the audio tour and I can’t tell you!

I was happy to spy these gorgeous ruins and thought they would be just the spot to show off my first crochet FO! My interpretation of the Japanese Flower Shawl 🙂

It has taken me months to complete having started it back in April.

It is nice to have it finished and finally be able to wear it. The weather here is cooling down a bit so it is ready just in time.

I used a load of stashed yarn to make this. I had loads of lovely Rowan which I’d scored at half price a couple of years ago so it was a very nice stashbuster. I think I crocheted 5 or 6 flowers during pao’s last trip to A&E as I was determined to get it done and ready to wear.

pao came over to tell me that it was starting to get spotty with rain and we ought to go

so in the absence of kitty models.. 🙂

Festival Grotters

I had to go to a meeting in Whitstable yesterday evening when I happened to hear that the grotters were being lit at dusk so very excitedly, we headed over for a look. This week, Whitstable is hosting the Oyster Festival for which it is so famous.

In case you are wondering what grotters are, they are lanterns made from oyster shells.

Traditionally, they are shrines to mark St James’ Day who is the patron saint on fisherman. Just before they were lit, there would have been a blessing of the waters by a local priest (sadly we missed this).

Throughout the day, children would have gathered on the beach to build these grotters and I had to marvel at some of the ingenuity that was put into designing them. Sadly, my camera battery went flat or I would have taken more photos. My photos are a little blurry due to the bad light, I did try the flash once but it wouldn’t have conveyed the beauty of the grotters in the dusk.

We are trying to muddle along with whatever pao can manage to do as he has a week off work on vacation so it was nice to be able to have a little glimpse of one of the festival highlights for a few minutes yesterday. We can only do what we can but at least we can try and enjoy ourselves a little. I think more tea is consumed than ever before and we’re becoming good at finding nice cake (which isn’t so good for my waistline but it isn’t every week we’re on holiday together).

Squeee – new yarn!

New yarn is few and far between these days due to the lack of full time job but when it does arrive at half price happiness it is quite an event 🙂

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind cutting back on yarn purchases as I do already have a sizeable stash and I am enjoying playing and planning projects with that but when the Rowan yarn is half off…. Besides, it did provide a stuff on my cat moment. Tamyra lay like that for an hour before she moved away. I’m thinking of making a seamless cardigan with the pattern from the Blackrose socks going up the front.

Book 53: Death of a Village by M.C.Beaton

I was so tired today! It was definitely a day for resting. I managed to grab a little sofa nap in the afternoon so we were raring to go and see the final Harry Potter (at last! – we’d been wanting to go for a little while but with pao being ill…) Thankfully, I didn’t find it as scary as part 7a or there would have been popcorn in the hair of the people in front of us.

I realised I’m lagging behind on the book reviews as I’d waited on our book group happening before I posted about Dear Fatty. The choice in our library van can be a bit sporadic so I picked out this Hamish Macbeth I knew I’d not read as there weren’t many others I fancied too much.

Death of a Village by M.C.Beaton

Hamish visits the village of Storye whilst he is on his beat, however, something seems to be amiss – the whole village is in church(!) Suspecting foul play, he steps in to investigate and discovers the villains sneaky plot. At the same time, he suspects a local nursing home of bumping off its patients in order to profit from the sale of their houses which were signed over to pay for their care and enlists the help of an elderly amateur sleuth to find out the truth.

I wouldn’t say that this is the strongest book in the series but I am only interested in finding out how Hamish gets a Scottish wildcat so I guess I’ll have to keep my eye out for other in hope that I do find out.

I thought you’d enjoy this photo of Tamyra’s dad (he is the cat nearest to my feet in this photo). Tamyra is somewhere in this photo but her little brother looks completely similar to her apart from the smudges she has under her nose. Tamyra’s cousin is also in the photo and although I’d love to adopt him, I think Sirius might have his nose firmly put out of joint.

Waving not drowning

Do not let the floodwaters engulf me
or the depths swallow me up
or the pit close its mouth over me.
Psalm 69:15

When I took this photo earlier this evening, I had just dropped pao at the emergency centre at the hospital and I was getting some knitting together ready for a long stint of sitting in hospital. I was sitting on the stairs, feeling a bit sorry for myself and the tears I’d been biting back on the way home flowed very freely. It was soon after that Sirius jumped on the table (they aren’t supposed to be there..) and stuck his head in the jug and then Tamyra followed suit and made me smile again. A few hours later, pao has been given the all clear and although he is in pain still, he’s been allowed home. So a little hurrah.

Two due dos deux ٢ to dua twee

So tiny when we first met…

Just a wee tiny thing …

It was sad to lose his brother Minerva

He was still really tiny when he came home with us though

He fills our days with fun

We got him a playmate and he led the way in causing mayhem

He does now seem to be maturing and less likely to climb the bookcases but he still likes to show us he can 🙂

What a wonderful two years we’ve had with him 🙂

Happy 2nd Birthday, Sirius Black!

A quick break at Whitstable Castle

One of the fairs I was selling at yesterday was at Whitstable Castle. The last time we had been to the castle grounds was some time ago and the castle itself wasn’t open. I remember pao and I having to buy suncream and busily slathering it on in the castle gardens. It was only when we got home again that we realised it was self-tanning sun cream and we had crazily golden palms and streaky skin.

Ooops, I zoned out there slightly 🙂 I got to stand and watch the bowling club in action for a few minutes.

The gardens are really rather gorgeous. I had to scuttle back in as the market was about to open but I did enjoy a snatched moment of peace and coffee. I am not at my best first thing in the morning after a lot of sleep so peace and coffee were just what I needed to perk myself up! Other stallholders who I’d known from before were a bit surprised at how unawake I was when I arrived.

This is my half-awake effort at a stall. I think I’ll need to work on presentation a bit – any suggestions? I like the stands – they are a repurposing of the cupcake stand I used for the wedding cake last year and I had the display case made but I need to do something to really bring attention to my stand and draw people over. I am thinking about bunting but need to figure out how to hang it in an easy to erect way.

Sirius would like to help too but I won’t let him as I’d have too much fun playing with him. He loves the boxes that I store things in 🙂

So that’s where the missing hairbands go

Tamyra has always loved to steal and play with hairbands. You find them everywhere – in water bowls, in the bed, on the carpet but I’ve always been careful to get them back and hide them because I’m afraid she’ll swallow them and come to harm. This is what you get if your cat hides them and gives them a good chew!!

I had a super day in Whitstable which I couldn’t have managed without the wonderful Lady Chutney and her efforts at the other end of town! Thank you very much, Lady Chutney. You are super!!

I just can’t end my blog post today without thinking about my friends from Norway and the terrifying events that have happened recently. I am holding them in my heart and prayers as the tragedy is so random and so horrific. I visited Oslo some time ago to see my school friends and it is such a shock that those friends have gone through something so indescribably awful. Peace be with you, Norway.

Book 52: Marley and Me by John Grogan

I’m so glad we’re coming to the end of this week – it feels like it has been so long. I was feeling very low this morning but have perked up now I’ve had a very serious offer of help tomorrow by the lovely Lady Chutney. I’m looking forward to a long day but I’m so glad she stepped in and said she’d help as I’ve had to cancel a lot of events this month so far and I felt a bit anxious as I’ve been losing money on them. I know it isn’t all about money but I’m glad to be able to do some of the events I’ve booked to do and one of my lovely clients has emailed and said she’d come along and say hi.

I noticed this book’s movie on sale in a supermarket and then also in it came on TV so when I spotted in the mobile library I thought I’d read it and see why it became so popular.

Marley and Me by John Grogan

John and his wife Jenny have both had childhood dogs with impecable manners so when they pick out Marley at a local breeders they are in for a big shock. Marley’s mum looked all sweet and placid but it was only as they were leaving they caught a glimpse of his dad, a lolloping, crazy-looking creature, running wild around the place. It was a forewarning of the kind of dog they were about to have!

John Grogan interlaces the story of how Marley came to be part of the family with the deeply personal and emotional times that he and Jenny share particularly when trying for a baby and then subsequent parenthood.

I can certainly relate to how the author felt about his beloved dog. Our pets are such big members of our lives – they come and see us when we’re sad and provide such companionship and enjoyment. It is heartbreaking when they go.