Friday, 31 March 2017

Day 32: More threads, more cousins.

Today's post is a bit of a grab-bag.  I'm having trouble creating a narrative thread!

First, a bit of a follow-up on the doilie story from yesterday. My cousin Christine, who is herself a collector of doilies,  has positively identified the one I thought was lace (right) as Belgium lace. Christine has an identical one bought for her in Belgium by a friend. Many thanks Christine. I'm chuffed.

I also had an anonymous posting to my embroidery blog, which, translated from the French in which it was written, said " For your mats, 2 = bobbin lace,  the 3rd the lace of Luxeuil and 4 crochet". This conflicts with Christine's information (Luxeuil instead of Brussels) - but we are on the right track.

My only excursion today was over to Bridge Road - yes, I admit it - to the quilting shop again.

I began my seagull panel last night - another Embroiderers' Guild of SA piece for the Aviarius exhibition in August. My seagull is going on the back of a bench seat, coloured tan. I thought I had enough thread with me, but bench seats use a lot of thread! So I ventured over this morning to see if I could match the colour. Mine, of course was unmarked anonymous thread from a previous project.

To my joy, amongst their quite limited range of thread, was Anchor 341 - a perfect match, along with 339 to give me some shading options. Yes!


My luck was also in with the car Veronica took a fancy to from my previous post. It wasn't parked there yesterday, but was back again today and I got a much better photograph.

It is, I discovered (from the word conveniently printed under the windscreen!), a Citroen Dolly (1987/8). Veronica has good taste. You can buy one for about £6500

I also noticed a rather charming pub that looks as if it would be worth sampling - but I don't feel inclined to try on my own - need cousins!

I haven't used Hampton Court station while I've been here. The closest I have got is to the antique shops opposite. I love the lines of the building - there's an embroidery in there!

I have been observing the lovely lamp-posts on the Hampton Court Bridge. At sunset, on a bright day, the light catches the filigree and they shimmer.

I checked them out today at close range. The figure on the top of the light is a lion in all cases. I had thought they might alternate with a unicorn.

There's more embroidery potential here!

My main commitment today was to lunch at the Mitre with Andrew and Jean. Andrew and I are second cousins once removed on my mother's side. We met, through a family history connection,  last time I was in London and again when Andrew and Jean were in Sydney last year. We have loads in common and had a really relaxed and enjoyable three and a half hours over lunch, discussing family, family history, travel, work - and the many things we share. We missed my brother - who had originally planned to make this trip too.

Although I had issued the lunch invitation, Peter insisted it was their treat. Unless they make a return trip to Australia soon (not on the cards) the next one in London is on me (and maybe my brother!).

The weather reached a high of 17C here today and it was almost glarey sitting in the window of the Riverside Restaurant.At 5pm it was down to 14C and quite chilly outside -but still quite sunny - and beautiful. I am starting to like shades of grey! Must be time to go home.

Tomorrow is my last full day in London and I will be spending it at the Royal School of Needlework. I am disappointed that I have missed seeing their Stories in Stitch Exhibition. I had assumed I could just go to the Palace and see it in working hours, but you need to book into a session .There are very few sessions and the two this week were booked out long ago. Had I realised, I could have booked months ago. It didn't occur to me to check.

Tonight I tried to capture the beams of the setting sun on the lamp posts.

Only one is close enough for me to capture.


Then the sun set.

I also videoed the movement of the water - so soothing. Hope you can see it.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Day 31: On a Mission

(NB - I posted this about 90 minutes ago, but then lost it. I had only a preview copy which could not be copied and pasted, so have retyped and loaded photos using the preview as a guide. Apologies to any readers who had an earlier notification and a dead link.)

I had invited cousins to have dinner with me tonight in the hotel and planned on a quiet day - maybe another trip on the Turk launch. Then  I had a request from a friend in Adelaide to look for some crocheted doilies in the vintage shops along Bridge Road.Nothing like a little challenge to give me focus!

 It promised to be a fine day as I set off around 10.30. I hunted through a number of shops without finding anything much in the way of linens.

Plenty of buttons, though. This bin is about 90cm high!

I checked out that shell-covered trunk - £95. The shells are very large - and not all that attractive.

 While the other antique and vintage shops failed to produce any linen, I headed to the Emporium where I knew there was a supply. I had a good rummage.

I selected five pieces for my friend.

This one was labelled as crocheted linen from the 1930s. While the thread may well be linen, I doubt that it has been crocheted. I am far from being an expert crocheter, but I doubt that this could have been done with a hook. I think it has been woven with a needle.

My Guild friends will know better than I.

It is nice, though and the method will not matter, I think, to my commissioning friend.

 This one is very fine and could be crocheted. Also marked 1930s.
 I'm not at all sure of this one. It is very fine. I'd guess some kind of lace.
 These came as a bundle, although they don't match. Definitely crocheted.
Although it doesn't show here, this one is pale pink - and crocheted.

I think I did quite well (I hope my commissioning friend agrees!) for £10.50.

Somewhere in the purchase process, I lost my room key - I suspect I pulled it out of my pocket with my phone while taking photos.There was no drama about issuing me with another - but I felt annoyed with myself - and a prat!

It was a lovely day and I was tempted to take the boat trip, but opted instead to open my sitting room doors, catch up on emails, blogs and stitching. This is a very pleasant set of rooms

The bedroom is very large. I have moved a small chair from the sitting room to under the window in the bedroom, where the wifi is stronger. It is very pleasant sitting there with the sun on my back.

There is a good desk - for charging my various devices.The sitting room has an ample wardrobe, so there is no sense of clutter.

I have a few niggles. I prefer a shower recess to a shower over a bath - my knee still doesn't like big steps - but I can't complain about the number of supports to help me get in and out of the bath!

I also appreciate the heated towel rail - makes laundry so much easier!

Where once I was just pleased to have an in-room safe, I am now exasperated with safes that require me to lie down on the floor to read and operate them. No-can-do anymore. I leave my laptop in the reception safe if I go out for any length of time.

I caught up on my embroidery blog and posted about my final Robins  panel. I also began my seagull panel - which should get me through the journey home.

I have spent the last three hours or so having dinner with my cousin David and his wife Susan.We were lucky. When I went to reception at 6.15 to check on parking arrangements for my lunch guests tomorrow, the hotel manager (one week into the job) greeted me with profuse apologies. There was a problem with the boiler and the kitchen was unable to use gas - so unable to cook. It would take two hours to fix - we might have to eat elsewhere. He was distressed and concerned. David, Susan and I opted to have a drink and see what eventuated. Within half an hour the kitchen was operating The manager came to find me to tell me the good news. It was a very human touch - indicative of the strength (and weakness!) of this hotel.

We enjoyed our meal. It was great to catch up on their news and family. They also bought me a gift - a lovely package of Liberty Tana Lawn fabric - two metres in fat quarters. It is so light , beautiful and carefully chosen to transport easily. I am already dreaming of what I will make with it. Such a thoughtful gift.

I am so privileged. - grateful for the opportunity, and the joy, of connection, family and friendship.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Day 30: Molesey - Weir, Lock and Bridge Street.

It has been grey all day today. I'm glad I made the river trip yesterday.

This morning I decided to take a closer look at the house I had noticed across the bridge with the cluttered balcony garden. On closer examination it turned out to be the home and business of a dealer in old wares. The balcony, while it does have some plants, is packed with statues and bird=baths.

The little corner yard and the front window are also packed with objects.  A notice on the door tells you not to knock, but to phone for an appointment.

I didn't notice any garden gnomes.

I walked around the block and back to Bridge Street, since I had another mission at the Quilting shop.

On the way I noticed some Arabia ware in a window. I still have one of these coffee cups and a dinner plate that Jim bought in the 70s. I seem to remember Deirdre and Alan buying a complete set in Finland.

Nestled amongst the shops on Bridge Street is this lovely cottage. I'm wondering if the stylish car parked outside belongs to the house.

 The florist nearby  had a great display today - the spring bulbs all ready to spring to life in your garden or balcony.

My visit to the Quilting Shop was because I can't find my travel scissors - the tiny rounded blade ones that I carry to use on planes. I had them on the journey over, but seem to have lost them somewhere. I was hoping to replace them before I leave on Sunday so I can use them on the flight home. I could always pre-cut my threads, but it's more convenient to have a cutter.

I was out of luck. I settled for an expensive Clover thread-cutter. I already have one of these at home as well. I hesitated but went with it. 31 hours is a long time to be without a cutter!

My other goal today was to walk along the river away from Hampton Court and take a look at the Molesey Lock and Weir. This means crossing the river and walking along the other bank back past the hotel.

It looks much larger from the other side of the river.

The houses along here are large three-storey and semi-detached. The only parking is in the front yard. They have fire-escapes that possibly serve as external ertnances to flats.

This one has the tower I can see so clearly in my sunset photos.

The Molesey (or Moulsey as it was originally) Lock was initiated by and Act of Parliament in 1812 because, in times of drought, the river level fell so low that barges were held up for weeks at a time, waiting for river flow. The distribution of coal, bricks and manufactured goods in one direction, and agricultural produce and timber in the other, was largely by river barges, and Molesey was a distribution point.

The Lock was built in 1814 of wooden piles and panels. Like other Locks and also bridges, it was maintained from money raised by tolls.

With the coming of the railways, the locks were put to leisure pursuits and became integral to Edwardian recreation.

The Lock was refurbished in 1905 and the lock house rebuilt in the 1920s.

The Lock was completely restored and modernised in 1959 with electronic controls.
The weir appears to have been part of the original lock construction in order to control the flow of water. It had fallen into disrepair and was rebuilt in 1859.

It was completely rebuilt between 2012 and 2015 

From the lock I returned to the hotel to recharge my phone. Photography drains the battery and I usually carry a back-up charger, but had forgotten this morning. While it charged I had lunch - the whitebait starter that I had been wanting to try. It was delicious - breaded (or crumbed, as I would say in Australia). The whitebait were slightly larger than I get in Australia but not quite sardine size,  For once I ate the dipping sauce - Mayonnaise based with gherkin.

After lunch I walked next door to the Gardenarium - a much praised boutique shop - and bought myself a top I have had my eye on for several days. They have some great gifts for little kids - I have to keep reminding myself that my grandchildren really do not want soft bunnies, marbles, wind-up torches shaped like cows, nor fold-out models of English villages.

Last night I finished the stitching on my last Robin panel. It is a very heavily stitched piece and I have done it without a hoop while travelling. I couldn't resist the urge to block it, so, before I went to bed I pinned it out and dampened it. I awoke to find it much straighter. I can now leave it aside until I get home. I will block it again at home but I now know it will be fine. I could live with it as it is and the quilt would work. whew! I'll post a full account of this in my embroidery blog in a day or two.

Tonight's sunset was grey and gentle -  a bit like the day.

For several days I have been trying unsuccessfully to photograph a spiderweb on the dining room window.

Tonight I had success of sorts. I couldn't avoid the reflection of my phone, but I captured (photographically!) both the web and the spider.

It is, at least, an interesting image.

No plans as yet for tomorrow. I may venture to Kingston again on the ferry.