Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Happy Saint George’s day everyone!

Today is England's national day, a day in which we celebrate St. George (our countries patron saint) by wearing red roses in our lapels and fly the Cross of St. George.

Alas, this is a sad fact to mention, but if truth be told, not all Brits celebrate today. I can't quiet put my finger on the main reason for this (I do have some theories, but that's another conversation entirely) .. however, I can say, by enlarge, most of us are terribly patriotic (including myself) and do celebrate today.

So for those of you out there who are likeminded .. "Happy St. Georges Day!"

PS: Incidentally, today's date is also reputed to be the day on which Shakespeare was born, and also sadly died.

Monday, 21 April 2008

A quick catch up

Gosh, please forgive me, it's been absolutely ages since I've had the chance to post anything. It's been a rather hectic month (mainly due to work if truth be told), however, we have had the chance to visit a few places which we've been wanting to visit for absolutely ages...

We finally got around to making the pilgrimage to Shakespeare's Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon & Ann Hathaway's Cottage (childhood home of Shakespeare's wife) .. both of which were absolutely marvelous and definitely well worth the trip! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take any interior photographs as it wasn't permitted, however, the above photograph is of Ann Hathaway's gorgeous chocolate box thatched cottage.

Earlier on in the month we attended the fine arts & antiques show held at Hatfield House .. needless to say, we spent a small fortune on a couple of pieces, one of which was a Jacobean period (c.1613) painting done in oil on a single oak panel .. (I hope to write more about this once it's back from the appraisers/restorers as it's absolutely charming and was a present from my darling hubby to help remind me of my beloved homeland whilst I'm away).

My Aunt also came down for a visit last week and we had a truly lovely time moseying around the city together. One place I'd been wanting to visit for absolutely ages but never gotten around to it was the Queens Gallery at Buckingham Palace. Aside from the main art collection, they have a wonderful exhibition on at the moment entitled Amazing & Rare Things which brings together the amazing works of ~ Leonardo da Vinci, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Alexander Marshal, Maria Sibylla Merian & Mark Catesby. Each diverse figures in their own right with a shared passion and fascination of the beautiful and bizarre in nature ~ exhibition runs until 28 September 2008.

We also visited The Royal Academy of Arts to see the first major exhibition in Britain devoted to Lucas Cranach the Elder (c.1472-1553) .. I must admit, I'm a little biased on this referral as Cranach is one of my most favorite artists, but I have to say, this exhibition is truly fantastic and well worth a visit! It comprises of 70 of his most important paintings & woodcuts ~ exhibition runs until 8 June 2008.

My goodness, I've just looked at the time .. eek, I best pop off to bed.

I hope everyone’s been doing well and that you've all had a lovely weekend!

Cheerio until next time,

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The humble pot!

Whilst frequenting my favorite Farmers Market (just off Marylebone Lane) last week, I picked up a bunch of tiny 3-4" charming antique terracotta pots.

True, they are somewhat of a strange purchase due to their small size, and not very exciting at present, but I hope to put these lovelies to good use at our next assignment (as apparently, we'll be required to do a fair bit of entertaining).

A while back, I read an article by Martha Stuart using these small terracotta pots as simple yet elegant place card settings and favors .. they looked lovely, so I thought I'd give them a whirl.

To make one, place a small piece of broken china in the pot, fill with potting soil, and top with a rounded mound of velvety lush green moss. Insert a birch twig or sprig of pussy willow into the center of the mound and secure a name card to the twig.

As a variation to this I thought I'd either pop a vintage ribbon bow around the pot and attach the name card there in the center, or attach Regency period woodcut images of ladies & gentlemen to picks and insert them into the top of the moss and have their name cards affixed to the front of the pots in a scrolling style banner.

I've also been mulling over various ideas for lovely invitation cards, etc, but I think I'm going to seek the amazing talents of Katie ~ Homekeeping Hearts, as no one does dainty stationery as beautifully as she!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Lark Rise To Candleford

For the past month or so, Sunday evenings have long been one of my most favorite times of the week. BBC1 has been airing a wonderful ten-part adaptation of Flora Thompson's magical memoir of her Oxforshire childhood ~ Lark Rise to Candleford.

After watching the first couple of episodes and thoroughly enjoying them, I thought it prudent to purchase a copy of her immortal trilogy (book) containing ~ Lark Rise, Over To Candleford & Candleford Green .. A truly good read and a definite must for any avid reader of quintessential English life of a bygone era!

It’s an endearing portrayal of country life at the close of the 19th century, and depicts the story of three closely related Oxfordshire communities - a hamlet, the nearby village and a small market town. Based on Flora Thompson's own experiences during childhood and youth, it chronicles things such as May Day celebrations and forgotten children's games, the daily lives of farm workers and craftsmen, friends and relations, all painted with a gaiety and freshness of observation that make this trilogy an evocative and sensitive memorial to Victorian rural England.

Unfortunately, those of you in the States will be unable to purchase a "region 1" DVD of the BBC's adaptation Lark Rise to Candleford as they have only released region 2 (for Europe viewing) at present .. However, not to worry, if you're interested in purchasing a copy of her book simply click here .. I promise you won't be disappointed! ;)

Cheerio until next time,

The comfort of Tea and Grandma's

My dear old Grandma used to have a saying whenever anything was troubling me as I was growing up .. "A nice cup of Tea always puts the world to rights, if only for a wee while!"

To be honest, it wasn’t just the tea which helped at times such as these, but mainly the quiet chats we used to have and the loving hugs she would always willingly bestow upon you at a moments notice.

Her sage advice and canny ability to put the world to rights in those short moments whilst sipping a hot cup of tea were nothing short of remarkable! No matter what the problem or sticky wicket (so to speak) would be, she could always find a helpful solution to ease your woes. Gosh, I sure do miss her!!!!

Anyway, I digress .. what I meant to tell you is that I've seen my fair share of comforting cups of tea these past couple of weeks as it's been somewhat of a trying time for us here at the Watson-Rosso household. We've just received news of where we will be going on our next assignment .. Seoul, Korea.

We are due to leave here (England) in late July, so at present we're trying to organize everything involved with undertaking a transatlantic move (oh what fun!). I shouldn't complain too much as the Army does help by providing the packing Co., etc, but I don't relish the thought of packing and unpacking our entire household contents yet again .. lol ;o)

Till next time, take care!

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Are you per chance asking yourself why....

as to the reason why I started this blog? Well I suppose, to put it simply, it's a wee case of mere self indulgence if truth be told. Gosh, I sound like an absolute bore I know, but please bear with me .. You see, my world is in a slight state of flux at the moment. Alas, it's a long and convoluted tale to tell I'm afraid, but I hasten to add, this blog will not be one of woe (as such) but rather a place where I can hopefully call a home away from home, sharing some of my fondest memories of merry old England, along with lovely places one should visit whilst here in this neck of the woods, etc.

I should probably give you a brief summary as to why I'm at this stage (of melancholy musings so to speak), as I'm sure you're asking yourself why on earth would I want to continue reading, so I will try to keep this short & brief as best I can...

As with most folks, one always loves their homeland .. a place where they grew up, hold dear and feel at peace in. So, after being born and raised here in England for the best part of 23-years, one can probably understand why I have such a close bond with the place.

After leaving England roughly 9-years ago and marrying the love of my life (who serves as an officer in the U.S. Army), I finally had the chance to come home again for a 3-year tour of duty here in London, England .. Well, as the old saying goes “all good things must come to an end”, so here I sit writing this note as our time here in London draws to an end. Alas, we are due to leave England this coming summer .. we’re not exactly sure where our next assignment will be at present, but by the looks of things, all signs seem to be pointing towards Asia .. I’ll keep you posted ;o)

I apologies for rambling on so long, I had planned on keeping this short. If you’re still here reading the end of this note .. Thanks for listening!

Cheerio until next time

Take care!