Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hands and hearts

It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home ... apparently the same is true of quilts.

Juno says "I've been a bit busy for the past 2 days something at the weekend inspired me to get on with it"

Madette too ...

Think it might be a virus?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Such a perfect day ...

The V&A is running an exhibition "Quilts 1700- 2010". A great day out, even if the atmosphere was redolent of HRT with a touch of crimplene. I liked this quilt by Anne West. There is a sad Australian piece made by the women on the convict ship, HMS Rajah in 1841. A poignant piece of Australian history. You can have your sensibilities challenged by Tracy Emin and Grayson Perry. Inevitably, some parts enchant, some parts sadden and others annoy.

Anne West's quilt at the V&A

For my last birthday requiring the use of zeroes, my cousin made me a quilt. A beautiful, inspired piece of stitchery that hangs on my sitting room wall There. She makes stunning art quilts and leads a group helping them find their own creative thread.

Juno has creativity through her like a stick of rock. Everything that she makes from her famous upside down pineapple Christmas cake to the exquisitely decorated photograph albums are little works of art.

Sometime back, Madette revealed a dark secret. Tucked under her arm was a little quilt. Since then,there has been a proliferation of quilts. Madette is not one of those people who spent their childhood with a needle and thread, or even a pot of paint and paper. From the moment she could read, she disappeared into a book. Her chosen look is more black and purple sub-goth than country girl. Now beds, settees and chairs are each covered with a quilted offering. Beautiful, every one.

So here they are, sitting in the sunshine after our day out.

And what could make it more perfect? A surprise visit from Junior Mad. Just for dinner and an overnight stop.

Such a perfect day ... I'm glad I spent it with you. Lou Reed

Just as well really, since the car service albatross has just flown over and crapped on me.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mumbling Roast Rhubarb Tart

Back in April Mountainear published a fab recipe for new season's rhubarb. A roasted tart with a crême fraiche custard. It looked so delicious that I borrowed it. Trouble is that you need to make it to share, don't you?

So this last weekend, we had visitors.

And when they went there was a small leftover slice ... and obviously the Collie won't eat it, will he?

My friends are keen walkers so we went out to do one of the local hills.

First of all, we had the debate about the definition of what makes a mountain. I had always been told that it needed to be 3000ft above sea level. That means that none of the peaks in the southern half of Wales count. But there was a view that it was only 1000ft. I think that's a bit of a cheat.

Anyway, this was 663m or 2155ft. Fan Nedd.

The Collie complained all the way up. I was the one carrying the pack not him. Anyway, at the top, I remembered that my camera was on the kitchen table, so these are their photographs. The line running between my ears is Sarn Helen, a Roman road.

Our reward when we got to the top ...

... this wonderful view all the way to the sea. The Bristol Channel and the Mumbles.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful

"The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful." - e.e. cummings on Spring

Grab a dog and wellies and go for a walk.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Company of Strangers

I spent yesterday in my least-favourite European city. There seems to be more unwashed people on the streets and in the stations every time I go. Groups of young men huddle in corners and glance over their shoulders. The hostility is tangible. My colleagues are solicitous to make sure that I know where is safe to walk and where my bag is likely to be snatched. An incautious foreigner is likely to find their purse lifted in the bustle on a street corner.

I've always enjoyed hopping on and off public transport wherever I travel and even this miserable city has a reasonably efficient metro. Providing I keep my bags tucked in, I'm happy to miss the taxis.

Opposite me on the metro was a young Muslim mother with her hair neatly tucked into her headscarf. Her baby daughter sat on her lap, wide-eyed with interest in everything about the journey. Next to me was a beautiful leggy black girl with clattering bling that jingled with every movement of her wrist.

The mother battled constantly to stop her daughter putting her hands on the germ covered seat, walls and windows and then stuffing them joyfully into her mouth to rub against her gums. As we pulled into a station, she spotted a dog on the other platform. Desperate to distract the tot, she pointed out the “Ouff, ouff “ to the baby. “Ouff, ouff “echoed the baby. As we pulled out of the station the baby glimpsed an advertisement for a Lion chocolate bar. I followed the direction of her gaze and smiled at her. Immediately, she responded with “Ouaarrrrr”. “Ouaaarrrr”, I agreed back. The black girl chuckled and her bangles laughed too.

The baby was fascinated and the girl unhooked one of the bangles and twirled it round her finger. And then peepo-ed with the baby with her mega-sunglasses that had been perched on her hair. The baby climbed over to sit between us, eyeing my watch as she did so. I flicked my wrist and held it to her ear. It’s a traditional sort of watch and ticks. She sat leaning against the watch and spinning the girl’s bangles.

Pretty soon, we were at my station. We all smiled and baby-waved “bye, bye”, "au revoir", "tot ziens".

Mothers, daughters, sisters.