Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: Abbotsbury

Some things never change

When I was first married, we lived in Cardiff and our best friends were a couple, Richard and Glynis, who have remained our friends for over thirty years. I am godmother to their daughter (hence the wedding reading – she is getting married in October) and Richard is the godfather to my #1 son. In 1983, my husband, our 4 month old son and I, went to live in Kuwait for three years and during this time, we kept in touch with our friends back in the UK, sending birthday cards etc. One year, on my birthday in early November, I received the following card from them.

card

Inside, it said ‘I’ve looked absolutely everywhere for a used birthday card that has flowers on the outside and money on the inside. Maybe next year. OK?

I sent it back to Glynis whose birthday is at the end of November, with the message ‘Found the card but still no money’ and thus a tradition was born. The card came back for Gavin’s birthday in April and we sent it back for Richard’s in May and so it has gone on for 26 years, sometimes getting lost, but always turning up again. We lost Gavin and Glynis from the rotation when both couples split up and so Richard and I continue to send the card back and forth. It has had extra sheets attached but remains intact and has just winged it’s way back to Cardiff for Richard’s birthday. Long may it continue!

card2

My #2 son arrived back from his travels safely last week. He arrived in Dorset on Thursday accompanied by his girlfriend. It was so wonderful to see him in one piece I can’t tell you! One of his travelling companions caught dengue fever while in Kuala Lumpur. Luckily, she has recovered but it was very worrying. He was thinner but otherwise healthy and he arrived bearing gifts – a gorgeous leather handbag. I am so thrilled with it that I shan’t object if he wants to go travelling again. As my friend Claire said the other day ‘I think I might have had more children if I’d realized they could one day provide so generously for me’. Quite. We went to my favourite restaurant in these here parts (in fact it’s my favourite restaurant in any parts) The Riverside at West Bay and he insisted on paying for lunch for us all. Love it.

On Saturday, I was invited to go and see an outdoor production of ‘The Barber of Seville’ in Abbotsbury. The plan was to meet up with friends, have a picnic then watch the opera. We managed the picnic but as we sat watching the opera, the heavens opened and we were all good and soaked. It was the first rain we have had for weeks and I felt so sorry for the singer playing Rosina because she was wearing a very flimsy costume and must have been frozen to death, the wind was really cold. They carried on gamely and even incorporated the man who came on at intervals to mop the rain off the stage, into the action. I must confess that during the interval, we took shelter, broke out the picnic again and listened from afar.

opera

I’m amazed that you can’t see the driving rain in this photograph but you can tell by the number of umbrellas belonging to the hardy souls who sat it out, just how wet it was.

The book

The book

Today, I have had news from Jemima. You might remember the wonderful illustrations she did for the book ‘Roverandom’ by J.R.R.Tolkien, (which I helped her bind for her university final project). She has just had a meeting with the Publishing Director of Harper Collins who publish all Tolkien’s work. He loves her illustrations and wants to re-publish Roverandom using her illustrations! She has left the book with them and they are going to show it to Christopher Tolkien who is J.R.R’s son, as they have to have his permission to use them in the book. Even if he doesn’t approve, they want to use her illustrations in future projects. Brilliant news, Jemima!

I’m off again next Sunday. I fly to Corfu for 10 days of sailing with my lovely sister and her husband. The day after I return, it is Glastonbury so I will be there for a weekend of Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Crosby Stills and Nash, Blur, Madness, Status Quo, Lily Allen, Spinal Tap……. (see full line up here)

I love my life.

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A Fleeting Glimpse of Dorset

I went up to London yesterday. I won’t bore you with the tedium of the journey there and back but suffice it to say it was a sorry catalogue of delays, misinformation and outright porkie pies.

Example, on journey home:

Announcement 1: ‘delay is due to operational misunderstandings at Waterloo Station’.

Announcement 2: ‘delay was due to an electrical storm in the Wimbledon area’

Announcement 3: ‘delay due to major signalling problems just outside the station’

Drives me mad especially as on the way there, the train was 30 minutes late because there was a problem with the train doors which meant they decided not to stop at all between Southampton and London. ‘Hurrah!’ the passengers cried, ‘A faster journey!’ -until the train ground to a complete halt and just sat there for 30 minutes.

Anyway, I had a nice time in London. Falkiners is even more yummy than usual as they seem to have had a bit of a re-organisation and all the lovely papers are now catalogued beautifully so that you can see everything they have in stock and not just the relatively small number of papers on display. Result? I spent probably twice as much as I would have otherwise – genius!

I then walked to Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road and bought some more paper and then walked to Liberty to buy a birthday gift for a friend and yes-you’ve guessed it yet more paper! Surprisingly, Liberty had a really good range of Japanese Chiyogami papers and some pretty gift wrap. So it was a very successful shopping expedition.

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL this last couple of days and especially sorry I haven’t been responding to your comments but yesterday, I met up with some girlie mates at a friend’s house and we had a very pleasant time making books. I showed them how to make ribbon books a month or so ago and they have caught the bug! It was really interesting to see their different approaches to materials and their ideas for extending what you can do with the books. It might even galvanize me into trying something new!

Last night I went for a long walk with a friend. We drove to a village called Langton Herring which is a mile or so inland from the Fleet and Chesil Beach. I’ve mentioned Chesil Beach before. It is a shingle beach which is 18 miles long and runs from Portland to West Bay. The stones on the beach are much larger at the Portland end and gradually decrease in size towards West Bay. It used to be said that sailors who were washed up on the beach could tell where they were by the size of the shingle. For 8 miles of it’s length, the beach encloses a lagoon called the Fleet. It’s famous because it is where Barnes Wallis tested the bouncing bombs which were used in the famous Dam busters raid during World War 2.

This is a photograph of the Fleet and Chesil Beach I took last year.

The walk from Langton Herring on a cool sunny evening was quite spectacular. It was silent apart from the sounds of skylarks singing and seagulls calling. The lambs in the fields were playing and leaping about, some of the field were bright yellow with oilseed rape. And when we arrived at the Fleet, the water was flat calm and the sun was setting, it was so peaceful and beautiful. here are some of the photographs I took. You can click on each thumbnail to see a larger version.

The other good news is that Abbotsbury Swannery which is also on the Fleet and had to close earlier in the year because of bird flu, has now re-opened and has just had the first cygnets hatch! Apparently, this has happened much earlier than usual and as the arrival of the first baby swan is said to herald the first day of summer, this is good news indeed!

This gorgeous image is by Geoffrey Franklin of Christchurch, Dorset and was taken from a slide show of his swannery images on the BBC website.