a girl free zone

What with the ME, small children, and Spurs Fan working all the hours, we’re not in the way of going out much. But the children aren’t small any more- they’re well able to go abroad to show off their Irish dancing with their dance school, and be briefly featured on Polish TV.

Spurs Fan, Jake, and I were home alone for 10 days, during school summer holidays. There was painting and furniture assembling, sitting reading on beaches, and generally enjoying time in Donegal.

We came back to join Awesome Academic in celebrating her marriage. Ditsy led us astray with directions, but the regular reader expects no less.

Spurs Fan is a primary school teacher. He is fortunate that parents and some colleagues like to acknowledge his work with small gifts at Christmas or the end of the school year. I am fortunate that I get to share some of these gifts (chocolates, wine, book tokens). From time to time a number of tokens gather up and much fun can be had. We spent one Saturday afternoon in the fancy hotel in town, having afternoon tea.

Any amount of hot drinks, sandwiches and sweet things, with silver acoutrements and musical accompaniment. Seriously civilised. Doggie boxes were available. Thanks to all those who donated to the vouchers- it was a fabulous experience.

We spent some time at a Hockney exhibition I draw, I do, enjoying skill, challenge and humour.

And, and, there’s more… we went to another concert in a church. Nick Lowe of the wonderful voice and incredible songwriting talent. He was fabulous. We even had free tickets, thanks to Claire’s prizewinning ways.

I was entertained by the fact that the location of the event had to be changed at the last minute so that this song, and others, wouldn’t be drowned out by traditional NI marching bands. Peace, love and understanding are still often wanting in these parts.

Girls are home from all the gallivanting. The summer holidays are drawing to an end. My brain is working itself clear of fug and mush. I always need more sleep, but I’m getting ready.

I might even return to blogging…


mooving to a different beat

We approached the city centre on foot.

There was crowd gathered. A loud crowd. There was shouting. Oh no, what are we complaining about now? It’s not time to protest about that already, surely? Is it even still marked? Closer inspection showed my outmoded thinking.

A huge tv screen. Crowds. The rowing. Local chaps. Ah. Of course I joined in with the vocal support. Girl1 was even approached by a journalist and was able to define herself as a pupil of the big school. The day had started well.

But we were there for a different gathering. BelfastTimes featured it, and I wasn’t going to miss out.

We have us the cows. Cow parade is the world’s largest public art event and it has arrived in Northern Ireland. Unusually, the cows will be spread across the region, not confined to a city. We saw the Belfast cows in the grounds of the City Hall, before they set off to veraious locations around the town. After being on display for a few months, all the cows will be auctioned for charity.

I’m so glad when the grass is full of colour and healthy support for athletes.

I’m so glad when we have nothing extraordinary to complain about, but plenty to shout about.

beauty, and war

I’ve always liked the paintings of Sir John Lavery; the beautiful languid ones of his wife, the water, and even those teeny, dangerous planes. These are in the local museum and readily available for me to gawp at any time.

The Green Coat

 Daylight Raid From My Studio Window, 7 July 1917

Under the Cherry Tree 

Until recently I had no idea that Lavery was so prolific – there must hardly have been a society or political type who wasn’t painted by him- nor that he was an official war painter. He became too ill to travel to the Western front, but was still able to paint the war.

The First Wounded at the London Hospital, 1914 

Scapa Flow, Orkney, from the Signal Station 

So many discoveries: not only more of Lavery’s art than I’d imagined, but a website where I can see all sorts of paintings in the UK museums from the comfort of my front room, and that Hazel Lavery might have been an interesting woman to know.