Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Out of Hospital

It has been a very long time since I blogged. But I have been in hospital,very ill. Reading hospital is okay and the staff have to put with a lot and I was not very understanding. I think they were glad to see me go. My disease was electrolytic imbalance and you can stay permanentl unwell. On the other hand you can get completely well in 2 or 3 months and they expect that of me. I get very tired but my memory is definitely returning. It has has been short term memory which has suffered most. So I am not to do much — and that includes driving. But that is for four weeks  at the moment.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Stuck on the M4

This morning, I set off down the M4 to my bookbinding class but came to a stop on the motorway. A blown tyre, really shredded. And no mobile with me. I am very bad.  at remembering the mobile. So I had to send poor Dorothy an urgent email and she turned up thirty minutes later. So I rang the AA saying Come and fetch me only for them to say But you have Ford assistance andthey will be with you shortly. I need to wait that is all
 Well there will not be any bookbinding today.

Monday, 12 November 2018


LAPC stands for Loughborough Antenna and Propagation Conference and I am attending this year.  In the old days, twenty years ago, I used to run them. I am an invited guest this year because of getting a presentation. The organisation was very anxious that I should attend a few of the sessions. The one just finished was all about mobile propagation , not an inspiring topic but I was pleased that I still understood what the speakers were on about. I wondered if I would. And the modelling software for sale has definitely moved on a bit. I was surprised that the people on that stand knew who I was.

I took the train rather than driving which worked fine. The trains went from St Pancras which is the Eurotunnel terminus and the station is very grand. Branches of Harrods and Tiffany’s and other such very expensive shops.

And this is the chunk of glass I was awarded—- lifetime achievement in engineering. A bit shattering. They seemed to know an awful lot about me

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

The warp is done

I threaded up and sleyedat 12epi which is what my wraps told me but it was clearly wrong and needed increasing. The difficulty was to what. Eventually I dragged out my accurate scales, and weighed out 5 metres which were 1.1gm. And from that I worked out the yards per lb.  which corresponded to cotton 5/2 and needed 16 epi. And that looks a lot better. So I have collected together everything I need to take to the Retreat and made a pile. 

I spent the morning feeling rotten as usual but I am okay in the afternoon. I have a nasty week next week which requires rathe a lot of trains and driving. I am looking forward to next Fridaywhen it will all be over. Dorothy is away painting the following week and the dogs are going on holiday to their dog sitter who adores them. I am going to stay at home and catch up.

Monday, 5 November 2018

Bad vibes

I have still not recovered from Uzbekistan and spennd most of my life sleeping Lots of tests have been done but nothing has been found. The doctor thinks I had a particularly nasty bug and am just enfeebled. Complex Weavers UK is having a two day do in London and I am anxious to attend but apart from not being strong enough, Am I uninfectious? 

Next weekend the Guild is having Melanie Venes to teach and I need to warp up. I have tried five times, four of which were disasters. I am just too stupid. I do seem to have made every elementary mistake. This time, I am half way through threading and it looks okay.  At last.

And that is what life has been like. 

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Back to Weaving

I have managed to quite a lot of weaving on the Schacht and am getting along nicely. Jerry has given up sitting on the treadles which does complicate weaving. Also the Guild is gearing up for a weekend with Melanie Venes and I have found some nice yarn in my stash. The warp  is wound and needs mounting. I am doing deflected double weave. Never done it before. I have put on a five metre warp with the aim of doing two scarves on what is left after the weekend.

I also found a book on photography that I cannot remember buying, it is called Wabi, after the Japanese simplicity thinking. The photos are all taken in.a nature reserve in North Germany with a macro lens. (Gerhardt Dibudda). I may have found the solution to my angst over photography.  They are really abstract

Sunday, 7 October 2018


It is one in the morning and I am wide awake - thinking. Woe is me. Or maybe just a scream of rage. Basically I am unhappy about photography. When I was doing the OCA course, at least I had projects to complete. They may not have been wonderful photos but they were photos and usually not of something I would have dreamt of taking.

My current problem is the trip to Uzbekistan. I took close on a thousand photos. Lots of blue tiled domes, beautiful minarets, none of which are more than picture postcards. I went to a meeting a few days ago where photos were critiqued and asked the question about these photos, what should I have done? And the consensus was take photos of the patterns. No, no, no. What I like best were the ones shot in the markets or people working. I am not much good at street photography because I think it is intrusive but I got several shots where the people did not realise they were being photographed. This is in fact just as intrusive but how do you ask for permission to photograph when you do not speak the language.

I have some photos from the market which are just sacks - of spices or rice or lentils. Sort of pattern , actually nicer that the minarets. Still not satisfactory. Composition is not my strong point. There are 'rules' in photography about composition. Not satisfactory either. The trouble is that I hope that I will turn into a Cartier-Bresson or Ansel Adams all of a sudden. And that is not going to happen. What is happening is that I am so dissatisfied that I am not taking photographs. I reckon I haven take 10,000 photos this year and I have not even taken ten that I think are good. Lots in Iceland, lots at the Goodwood races, some good portraits at Tom's wedding but there everyone knew who I was, I asked for permission weeks before hand.

Looking back over 2018, it seems to me that the best body of work was the posters showing people doing things. Otherwise everything is just a record.

And talking of records, I had five plants of squash, 'Sweet Dumpling', one of the best. I thought I would get one squash per plant. Instead, here are a few of the crop. I have given several away as well. And the freezer is filling up with tomato soup and tomato puree.

And the lord and master of this house (so he thinks).

So tomorrow I will take the camera and sally forth and just see what I can find.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Woe is me

You will have noticed a long period of silence. I brought home a bug from Uzbekistan and have been so ill that I have lost 6 kg. Dorothy had it too and has also lost weight. She is rather pleased about that. I am not. My trousers do not fit. Anyway last Friday I was definitely on the mend but Monday it struck again. This time I had had enough and visited the doctor who listened to my tale of woe and prescribed powerful antibiotics. The result is that I feel better already and quite hungry.

The result of all this is that I have not done much. We are having a two day workshop with Melanie Venes and I have wound the warp for the new Voyager. I also got to the linocuts class last week and cut a new block, not a cracking plant this time but a chemical plant in East Germany.  Nevertheless I am so feeble that I had to come home early.

Not much in the way of photos taken though the trees are turning autumn colours and I ought to get out. An interesting piece of info is that the new small Canon is very good indeed. The focal length is limited of course but it does a better job of macro than the Nikon.

 One piece of news. I have decided to replace my laptop which I use to drive the Megado. The existing one is nearly ten years old and I am worried about it packing life in. So I am having the existing hard drive cloned. It should be with me this week.

So I think I am on the mend. Jerry is his usual energetic self and needs more walks than we are well enough to give him. I have discovered that he much prefers pavements to woods because he gets people and dogs there. So he comes shopping. He loves the world and is startled when someone does not love him back. I took him to the vet for his monthly check up on Monday and the nurse gave it as her opinion that he would probably be 7 kg when full grown. I was expecting him to be bigger than that. Still I can tuck him under one arm.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

On the Way Home

Yesterday (Monday) I walked down to Registan Square early (before 0800). One or two other tourists with cameras and everyone else was local and cleaning the place. Ladies with witches brooms sweeping up the leaves, men with scissors deadheading roses, a man with a sort of hoover/polisher doing all the steps. And me. More interested in the people than the architecture.

But the architecture is still outstanding.

Later in the day we visited yet more blue domed tombs. They are all merged into one now. At 1840, we were on a train to Tashkent.

Four of us plus luggage shoehorned into a teeny closed space. That was first class. I wonder what the nonfirst class was like. 

This morning I had my favourite grapes for breakfast.

These are used to dry and make the very best sultanas. Definitely my favourites. 

At 1230 today we are going to set off home. Plane out at three, in Heathrow at 2000 hours. So what did I think? It is a very clean country. Only saw one beggar. Never saw a ragged, hungry child. Children spotlessly clean. I get the impression they love children. Our guide is always telling us about his four year old daughter. They are also very keen on preserving their ancient buildings and are spending a lot on conservation. The people are friendly and English is compulsory in schools. The hotels were good. The downside? The food is boring and a bit tasteless. Both of us have lost about two kilos in twelve days. Unusual on holiday!!!

Monday, 17 September 2018

(Backup) Athens

The way I can tell it is Athens, is that,if I step out on to my balcony, I can see the Acropolis in the setting sun. See below. Tomorrow I get to visit it. Tonight I am too tired to appreciate it.

Up very early this morning and off to Heathrow. It was Terminal 2which I have not visited since they rebuilt it. Very posh, it has a Heston Blumenthal restaurant, and loads of couture shops. Air Aegean was a bit disconcerting. The staff  just talked Greek. A four hour flight then 40 km into Athens which is very spread out. Apparently in the 1970s, someone put up a tower block. Everyone was horrified and it is now illegal to have more than five floors. So a very spread out city.

I have a personalised walking tour organised for tomorrow.so will report tomorrow evening.
I have worked very hard over the last few days. The Open Studios stuff is all hung up or laid out and the studio is tidy. I shall be glad when the Open Studios is over, end May. It has been a lot of work.

I have spent the last hour trying to get photos from my iPad into the blog and failing completely. It is a very new iPad and there has to be a way of doing this.

(Backup) Driving round Britain

Yesterday I drove to Leamington Spa by way of Worcester which is far from direct but my accountant works in Worcester and I had an appointment with him. He said several things of interest and I ended up at Anne's house in time for her to give me last minute instructions. Then they were off to Glastonbury while I prepared to drive Alex to a party.  But the postcode was wrong and we ended up in the countryside with nothing visible but fields and cows. So we were both miffed and went home.

Today I drove back to Malvern to see people and fight with banks. All of the battles were won -- by me. Then I drove to Castlemorton Common where I inspected the black poplars. These are centuries old and were pollarded for many of those centuries. Now they have thickened trunks which have rotting bits, in other words, very interesting. But a number have died. I was delighted to see that someone has planted twelve small black poplar trees. They are now about ten foot high. Whereas old ones are 40 to 50 foot high. I took a large number of photos.


This evening taxi drive was okay in that I got Alex to his swimming class and home again without incident.

I have been thinking. I am keen to do some Lino cuts and have some good ideas for two or three colour prints. The truth is that I have gone off weaving. MIT is a lot of effort to warp up the Megado. For what? In 2006, I suddenly went off antenna design. No new problems. I had done everything before. Boring. So I was not too bothered when I retired two years later. I suspect the same is happening with weaving. I know what I create a draft for is going to work, so why bother. I can see trouble ahead here!

On our way

We (Dorothy and myself), arewaiting in a Boeing 757, for takeoff to Tashkent from Heathrow. Uzbekistan Airways. It is not quit the same as Virgin! There is an air of casualness about and the business class seats are just wider than the Economy ones. No beds here! 

The dogs have gone to our dog sitter, JuLia for their summer hols and they will love it. Lots of other dogs to play with. The adults adore them all and spoil them rigid. Jerry got off to a bad start by steal a plastic bottle full of lemon yellow acid due and destroying it In The garden. This was done at home just before leaving for Julia’s. I noted he had bright green whispers but thought it was green tomatoes. After he left, I discovered the partly destroyed plastic bottle and yellow dye all over the lawn and, I admit it, panicked. But it turns out that acid dyes are used as food dye. So no problem there.. When I  phoned Julia, she inspected him and reported he had four yellow paws!. He was washed. He does not like water. Serve him right. And the first thing I have to do when I return is put forty odd bottles of acid dye. On a high shelf in stead of under a table in the garage.

I was in Uzbekistan in 2013 and looked through all my photos taken then. Interesting, they are records of things, silk weaving, food, bazaars and not at all good photos. I must try harde this time. I have been doing an onLine course with David duChemin which is a real eye opener. Not much on ‘use this f number’ more you need to engage with the sitter. He is most interested in people. And not in what he calls picture postcards. I will post asi grand you can see if I have cha ged.

(Backup) At Samarkand

Today we bussed from Bokhara to Samarkand by way of Timor’s town. Six hours of bus trip on not bumpy roads. However Timur’ town was worth it. The style is very different from Bokhara and Khiva, much plainer although monumental in some places.

The fortress walls.

His statue and the remnants of his palace gateway.

Two Uzbek girls sightseeing. They asked me, not the other way round.

Last night we were taken to a private house for a meal of plov. Sort of risotto with lamb. Delicious. Tonight’s meal at the Samarkand hotel was the standard fare, vegetable salads, meat and veg soup, meat and potatoes, small cake. These are very variable. Mostly the first two are okay but the third is poor and the cake can be horrible or delicious.

(Backup) Still at Samarkand

This morning we discovered that, since Saturday we have had no WiFi. No email and no roaming. Fortunately the kindle bit of the iPad was functioning well. Which was just as well because I have eaten something which disagrees with me. So I stayed in all day and very restful it was too. What I did was to read my way through the collected exploits of Sherlock Holmes. And make loads of notes about jobs I must do when I get home.

Yesterday was spent seeing the sights of Samarkand. I still think it is a beautiful place. 

Us in Registan Square, Samarkand

Just another dome with blue tiles.

The market. How I love markets.

Still at Samarkand

This morning we discovered that, since Saturday we have had no WiFi. No email and no roaming. Fortunately the kindle bit of the iPad was functioning well. Which was just as well because I have eaten something which disagrees with me. So I stayed in all day and very restful it was too. What I did was to read my way through the collected exploits of Sherlock Holmes. And make loads of notes about jobs I must do when I get home.

Yesterday was spent seeing the sights of Samarkand. I still think it is a beautiful place. 

Us in Registan Square, Samarkand

Just another dome with blue tiles.

The market. How I love markets.

Monday, 10 September 2018


Here I am back in Uzbekistan after five years. After a nasty overnight to Tashkent, we were hauled out on Saturdayafternoon to walk round the city. The highlight for me was the market. And of course looking at okay.

The next day we were out of bed at four. Tashkent National airport has to be experienced to be believed, even then you might have to pinch yourself. Basically it was a scrum to get past the checkin desk. That was only thr start of the group’s woes. We had been split across two flights, one at 0720 and one at 0740,we were on the second flight. We could see the other flight strumming to get on the bus and then we were called. We waited on the tarmac for 30minutes and then went. But when we got to Urgench, the others were nowhere to be seen. We had collected our luggage, very slow considering we the plane was only a few feet away. We then held a panic meeting when pointed the party arriving. This was twenty minutes after us. Where had they been? On the Tashkent tarmac! The reason for the panic was that there was on more flight that day and that was at 2200hours. By now we were late so we rushed off in a bus to see two fortresses of mud brick and in a scary condition. After we had lunch in a yurt. 

I had a good inspection of braids holding the yurts together.

Lots more on my iPad. Then we got to Khiva. — late.

And this morning I was out at dawn.

Today we walked round Khiva from 0900to 1600.  Mind you we had tea and cakes, astonishing good cakes. Tomorrow we drive to Bokhara.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Bookbinders at Chester

Last week I was at Chester University for the bookbinders annual do. Eight lecture/demos in two days plus an exhibition plus two auctions and of course lots of gossip with friends.

Because I have never been to Chester, I drove up early on Thursday, got there at one and set out to examine Chester which is very odd. It is quite clear that the city fathers are ruthless about shops. The place is full of black and white half timbered buildings with lots of decorative wood work and a shopkeeper has to live with that. So you have

A branch of Boots with a small tasteful sign on a spectacular mediaeval building and a modern BHS next door with a bus queue as well. And that is repeated throughout the city centre.
The first floor is all arcaded and full of shops too. So you have very upmarket shops (Penhaligons) mixed with Starbucks and a small sweet shop. And very busy too. Which is very pleasing. I could wander round all day. It is so quirky. very much unique and I am not at all surprised the City Council has strict rules on shopfronts. And not a Macdonalds arch in sight.

I really should have allowed two days. I never saw any of the Roman buildings. I did see the city walls but had no time to explore them and I walked past the cathedral. But I was determined to concentrate on the city centre. Chester, I will be back soon!

I have signed up for an expensive photographic course with David du Chemin (Canadian). About a year ago, I suddenly started getting newsletters from him, no idea why. I like his approach. Anyway I signed up for this course on travel photography. I had learnt enough to put some of his ideas into practice in Chester. I do not know if the photos are 'better' but they hang together better. I walked round for an hour before taking any photos and then concentrated on the quirky bits. Like the Boots building and the arcades. 

Monday, 27 August 2018

An exhibition

Early next year, Dorothy and I are having a joint exhibition at the National Needlework Archive as Tarragon Studios. It starts on February 2nd so we need to devote some thought to it. The big artistic problem is how to hang D’s quilts. Not physically, that is sorted but artistically. What gets placed beside what? So I decided that, if I took a photo of every quilt We could arrange them in Photoshop as she thought fit and she could develop a plan. In any case, I have always been scandalised by her lack of records. The drafts, photos and samples of each of my weavings are filed together in one folder and all are stored in lever arch files and in the computer. Actually looking back at (say) the 80s is really interesting. My interests were quite different then. Anyway, I have undertaken to document all her quilts while I am at it. To which end, this morning, I took one quilt round the house and photographed it in seven different locations to find the best from the point of view of lighting and area available. In the next few days, I will photo all her quilts.

There is quite a lot going on in the next few days. Tomorrow Jerry goes into the vet to have an operation. I will never be able to show him after it but I have a friend who shows his English sheepdogs and no thank you. Far too much like hard work. Then onThursday, I am off to Chester for theBookbinders annual shindig. I have never been to Chester so I intend to spend some time in the city on Thursday. I have a book in the exhibition too of which I think rather highly. In fact, I have got an entry in the Designer Bookbinders competition. I am very proud of that one for the design. The manufacture is not perfect. One of these days, I will be able to make books which look like the picture in my head. 

Saturday, 25 August 2018

The new camera

I have to report that the new camera is very good. In fact, unless you want real macro and real distance, there is little point in using the bigger camera. I tried it out on macro and found that I can get closer than my standard lens but not so good as the macro

Friday, 24 August 2018

A new camera

We are off to Uzbekistan in two weeks time. I was there for a week in 2013 as part of the Silk Road trip and was very taken with it. My sister, before she retired, was a doctor in the Foreign Office and at one point went to Samarkand regularly!!! But she inspected consular staff and hospitals and so on and says she once got an afternoon in Registan Square in Samarkand. Again she was very taken with it. We are using local transport which means Uzbekistan Airways from Heathrow!! And going on an internal train!!!. The point of this blog was a slight alarm raised by the tour agent's notes on security in Uzbekistan so I wrote to them. Now there was I trying to make my  mind which combination of lenses and tripods, I should be packing when the answer came back 'If it doesn't go in your pocket, don't take it'.

Alarm!! Followed by an examination of the bank balance. I had had occasion to listen to someone taking about compacts at West Dean and they seemed expensive (upwards of £1000.00). Eventually I remembered that a photographic magazine had done a very detailed critique of compacts a few months ago. So I spent sometime trying to find it and did succeed. Did you know that you can buy a pocket camera for a bit more than £5000.00. (royalty? billionaires?). However they did recommend a Canon G7 which looked as though it would do what I wanted. It arrived today. First of all, it is tiny. Secondly it is very well equipped with gizmos including a swivelable, rotatable viewing screen!! I have never had one of them before.. I have had trouble with the manual which only comes as a download, all 225 pages of it and it is laid out two pages to an A4 sheet which means it is not convenient for printing out and binding. And the only books on it are in Spanish and Serbo-Croat. Well I have it on the desktop and the ipad  and will have to read it that way. I do not like that. I am old. I like a book. you can stick fingers into pages you want to refer to or if you are rich you can use postit notes. I spent several hours on the manual problem.

Meanwhile the battery is being charged and tomorrow, I will start trying it out. Watch this space for trials.

Did I say I have done a lot of weaving on the Schacht this week?

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Tate Modern - Again

Every two or three weeks Dorothy and I take the dogs to the dog sitter in Bracknell for the day and go off somewhere artistic. Today we were going to Blenheim Palace near Oxford but given the heavy rain, we went to Tate Modern in London. We started by revisiting the abstract photography show and spent more time there than the first time. I got a lot out of it and spent some time writing up notes about what I had seen. 

Then we went off to find the resident art galleries. We found two separate shows, one where I think the topic was materials. So it did include installations, say, metal bottle tops or great chunks of wood. And lots of photographs. Very interesting. Then the painting show. Only one Braque I scream. But there were six very large Richters (Rosie, have you seen them? They are good). Lots of ideas. Dorothy is muttering about abstract quilts. I have intentions about photo expeditions. A day rich in ideas.

And the dogs? They fell asleep as soon as they were put in the car to go home - - and are still asleep, three hours later. 

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Tom’s wedding

Yesterday was my grandson’s wedding. The ceremony was in the walled garden at Cowdray which is beautiful. The flowers for the wedding were superb and the food delicious. But the highlight for me was on Friday evening when the families met up for a meal. I got a lift from the groom, Tom, in a bright red 1967 Mustang!! Rented for the weekend! Mind you it was noisy, hard sprung and the top let the rain in but I loved it.

The whole family turned out in their best get ups even me who wore a 1930s French straw hat trimmed with zinnias from my garden.

Charlotte, my grand daughter was a bridesmaid and looked stunning

And then of course Tom and Laura

There are lots more photos but those are the highlights.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

A polished halo

I am feeling noble and my halo is definitely polished. For today and yesterday I completed a raft of small jobs to do with the Bookbinders and Kennet Valley Guild. But most important,since my nephew is staying with us this week, we turned out the garage and had the tables moved around. We got rid of an extending ladder to a good home. Stuffed a lot of things in the rubbish bin and even more in the garden shed. And most important, I organised the council to collect old furniture next week and took a large number of items to the local tip. They included two large doors and are we pleased to see them gone! We still have a huge amount of wood which was being saved for shelving for Dorothy. And we have sent for the man who will build the shelves. 

I really cannot think why this was done this week since my eldest grandson is getting married on Saturday and I ought to be pressing my outfit and inspecting my hats. Grannies have to wear hats! Actually this granny intends to have a lovely time taking photos.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Been to the Races at Goodwood

Not my usual hangout but good fun all the same. I even ate a Mr Whippy ice cream with a chocolate flake. And I got quite sunburnt. The only problem was that I was using a lens new to me. And it focussed differently from others I have. The result is either a perfectly focussed shot or a perfectly unfocused one. No half measures. But as I had taken 413 photos in the five hours we were there.

I am having trouble with inserting photos!

Tomorrow we are off to catch the sunrise. I have started to think about next week and realised that I have a lot to do. I hope it is not so hot as my room is an oven. We are arguing about whether to get an air conditioner. I think they are too expensive!

Monday, 30 July 2018


I am at West Dean Summer School doing a week on photography. I thought it would be a good thing after a year with the OCA. Instead I have just exploded at Dorothy who is also here doing a class on painting which has including en plain aire. She complained about that. It seems it was rather windy at the seaside. My complaint is that everything is running behind time and I am bored. As Debbie will tell anyone, I get angry when I am bored. We went to Chichester today and I enjoyed that. I suspect that the problem is that, having spent a year with OCA I have developed a filing system and method for dealing with photos on the computer and have got very efficient. I do have a procedure which I follow rigorously. Oh well. Tomorrow we are off to the races at Goodwood. Horses, bookies, watchers, jockeys. It promises to be a good day. And I must buy some print paper from the shop here.

In the morning, I intend to spend my time in the walled garden here and use the macro lens. I need the laptop to show you photos and it is locked up downstairs. I will put in some photos in the next blog.

And in case you were wondering, Jerry and Tom have gone for a week’s holiday with Julia, the dog sitter. They will enjoy themselves enormously. We are having problems with him just outside the house. We live at the end of a cul de sac and our road is very steep. He has never walked down it until Thursday. Then he spotted the refuse lorry there and set off to visit. When he realised I was after him, he went into greyhound mode which much faster than I can run. When I caught up, the refusemen were making a great fuss of him and he seriously objected to being carried home. I wanted to put him in my car on Friday. Instead he made a dash for freedom — down the hill as fast as possible. I had realised this was likely and headed him off. Since then he is clearly looking to head down the hill to those lovely strangers and I am making it just as clear that he ain’t going that way.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

London exhibitions

Yesterday we went into London to see two exhibitions and ended up seeing three - and also ended up very tired. We went to Tate Modern to see the Picasso and were immediately reminded that I meant to visit the Photographic exhibition which is on there. So we went there first and I was bowled over. I have not seen such stunning exhibition since Rosie Price and I visited the drawings exhibition and took two hours to go round - when we came out we said 'That's it for today'. I could not do that yesterday and we went straight into the Picasso exhibition which was probably a mistake. It was too much of a contrast with the photo show which was almost all black and white. After the Picasso, we went to the RA Summer Exhibition and that was a stunner too. It was colour exuberant as you would expect from something organised by Grayson Perry. But for me, the stand out was a room devoted to architecture. I wanted to take everything home.

Two stunning exhibitions in one day!! There was another exhibition in the RA which I wanted to see but no we were all galleried out and came home.

The Summer Exhibition is worth two hours of anyone's time but the photo exhibition is perhaps a bit of a minority interest. It is about abstracts created by photography. It was a revelation to me. Tate Modern has a very fine art book shop and I bought several very expensive books. The highlight has to be a catalogue with essays on the photo show. We left the house at 0800 hours and returned having collected the dogs from the dog sitter after 1700. By 1730 two dogs and Dorothy were fast asleep in the sitting room. And me? Well I had slept all the way home on the train. 

Friday, 20 July 2018

Ice Plants

I have always like ice plants (mesembryanthemums) ever since I started going to an annual conference in Monterey (mid 80s?). It was held every start of March and ran from Monday to Thursday. So I could get home on Friday But - - - I was taken with the place and easily fell into a routine. Fly out to San Francisco on Friday and take plane to Monterey, pick up car and find hotel. On Saturday, get in the car and drive 17 mile drive, stopping frequently to admire the beaches covered with ice plants in full flower, the Ansel Adams shop (too expensive for me but you can wander round), my favorite deli where the assistant waits patiently while you work out which combination of things you want. And look for the Pacific Coast irises in flower. Then on Sunday I hit Carmel for the shopping street (and Clint Eastwood who was mayor then) and to make full use of my credit card.  On Monday, it was back to reality or rather computational electromagnetics.

A few weeks ago, I was in Dobbies garden centre and they were selling off some very unhappy ice plants which I bought (all two packs of them), took them home and have tended with care. And hurray!! I have flowers. And I have another pot the same size. And there are lots of buds in both pots. They love the hot weather we are afflicted by.

The Schacht weaving is coming on and looking good. The Voyageur has arrived and been assembled, looks good. I still need to put the heddles on (Tex-Solv not metal). I have been dress making which I have not done for a year or so. Shortened a pair of trousers by 4 inches - funny people they must have as customers in M and S. But much more important, lined a woollen bomber jacket. I wove the material some years ago and it got tucked away. I made it into a bomber jacket last winter but was unhappy because the pattern was for an unlined jacket and, when finished, I did not like it  unlined. I bought some green/white/black patterned lining in March and got round to making it up this week. The problem is of course no pattern but it has come out well. I have to finish the hand stitching of the lining to the jacket. Most is done and another 30 minutes will see it finished.

Tomorrow we are off to London to see the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy and the Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018


The weaving on the Schacht is coming along nicely. This is what plaited twill should look like.

And despite Rosie Price's protests, I have bought a Leclerc Voyageur 15inch with 12 shafts. I used to have a Voyageur 8 shaft which was good but got rid of it in favour of the Meyer - big mistake.

And I have completed a book. A repair of an early Penguin (1959) where the covers had come off. To my great surprise, it was not a perfect binding (standard paperback with cut spine and dipped in glue) but a properly sewn book so dead easy to put into a hardback. The old covers were trimmed at the edges and glued onto the new covers but the spine had long since disappeared so I reproduced it in Photoshop. Not at all bad and certainly good enough for the rest of my lifetime.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

The village fete

This weekend’s excitement has been the Sulhampstead and Ufton Nervet Produce Show. Or SUN for short. It is about 1.5 miles away. So there has been much reading of the schedule and the rules. In the end I entered five classes, French beans, sweet peas as well as three photos. They were set up yesterday and we went round this afternoon. Two firsts and two seconds! So I took photos.

The French beans are mine. 

A winning photo. The other winner was a close-up of a frog which I have shown here before.. 

Other news is that at last I have started weaving on the Schacht again and very nice it looks too. I will post a photo when I have woven a bit more. I have ripped the warp off the Meyer and tidied it up. It has been put in a cupboard until I decide what to do.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

All Sorts

First of all, my tutor has delivered his verdict on my final assignment which was very flattering and rather surprising. He was at me to do some more OCA courses which has caused me to think hard about what I want to do. I am missing the work for the photography course. Because, I guess, I am missing the problem solving. But I do not  think doing another course will fulfill my requirements. I could get one-on-one tuition by going on another course like the Iceland one in January. It would cost less than an OCA course. I have started one project which is taking photos of seed heads. I have worked out a method of displaying them.

Then again, years ago, I bought a book which contained a different photography problem on each page doublet. I got nowhere then but intend to start it up again. If I can find the book!

The next problem is that of looms. The Megado is its clunky self and works for me. I have recently laid out the power and signal cables so as to get everything up off the floor and outside chewing distance of a small dog. The Schacht is working fine. The 12 shaft Meyer is driving me crazy. The  problem is the down side of its size. The distance between heddle and warp and breast beams is very small. The space when shafts are lifted has to be big enough for a shuttle to pass through. So if the tension is good for the lowest shafts, the tension on the raised ones is enormous. Cotton can take it but fine wool cannot. So the tension on the lowest shafts has to be reduced. Then there are skips in the weaving. The last scarf with a fine wool warp is very poor, indeed embarrassing. The Meyer is being retired for cotton only demos and classes. So what am I to use for narrow small projects? The last two days have been taken up with poking round the internet at loom websites and asking questions. The smallest Schacht is too heavy. Remember this loom has to go places. I will not buy another Louet, too flimsy. Ashfords are too big. And so on and so on. Until we reach LeclercVoyageurs. Now I got rid of mine when I got the Meyer. So what about a Voyageur 15 inches weaving width and twelve shafts and coming in at less than 10kg. We found in one of our cupboards a stout bag intended for a sewing machine whose size seems exactly right. I will mull over this solution but I have a strong feeling ——-

And just to finish off, I have been out and about with the macro fitted. This is a cosmos raised by me.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Textiley Things

I have actually managed to complete some jobs! First off, this hot weather made me think of T-shirts and the fact that, in the winter, I had a clearout of same. So what does a girl do? She buys three white cotton T-shirts from M and S and ice dyes them!

Not quite as I envisaged but then that's ice dyeing for you.
I also finished off a green scarf for Rosie from her Regent Street yarn and decided to have a play around taking photos of it. When I enter an item for a juried exhibition, these days it requires a photo. I have never been able to decide how to take these. Should it be a 'show it full length? or should it be an artistic photo with props? So that's what I was trying out. And the following four photos are the best.

For a juried exhibition, it would have to be 1 or 2 but for a record, I like 4 best.

Next up is another Rosie scarf. This time in reddish orange and thicker so weaving will be faster. I am very fed up with these but I have enough yarn to weave another four. Currently I am using a thin oatmeal wool as warp. I am thinking of warping up the Schacht with the same reddish yarn so I use twice as much in one scarf! Trouble they would come out very thick.  


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About Me

I am weaver and - -. I dye my yarns with acid dyes, I paint my warps, put fabric collages and stencils on my weaving. I have three looms, a 12 inch wide, 12 shaft Meyer for demos and courses, a 30 inch Louet Kombo which is nominally portable but has a stand, two extra beams and a home-made device containing a fan reed. And last a 32 shaft Louet Megado which is computer controlled, has a sectional warp and a second warp beam and I am the proud owner of an AVL warping wheel which I love to bits and started by drilling holes in. I inserted a device for putting a cross in. I have just acquired an inkle loom and had a lesson from an expert so I can watch TV and weave at the same time. I am interested in weaving with silk mostly 60/2 although I do quite a bit with 90/2 silk. I also count myself as a bookbinder with a special interest in Coptic binding.