Saturday, February 26, 2011

Award-winning designer

The most exciting day yesterday. My son Xavier rushed into my studio trembling with excitement, he’d received a letter saying he had been shortlisted to the top 100 of his age-group for his entry to the Blue Peter competition to design the logo for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. And you may be thinking, so – how many children sent in entries? The answer – 35,000! He didn’t win but he did receive a great prize for coming so close. He was sent a Blue Peter annual and the very sought after Blue Peter badge which entitles him to free entry to loads of attractions, museums, theatres etc.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Don't mess with me!

I am a nervous, cautious driver, so since passing my test I’ve never had a car accident. I work on the principle that if you hit something slowly, you’re going to cause a lot less damage than if you’re going fast, and I always defer to the other driver. However in the freezing cold weather before Christmas, I was unfortunately caught up in an accident where a, let’s say, driver-in-too-much-of-a-hurry-for-the-road-conditions, skidded on black ice, crashed into my car which spun around and was then crashed into by another car. Fortunately no-one was hurt, however my car was a complete mess. As there were no independent witnesses our insurance companies agreed to sort their own clients out and as I don’t have fully comprehensive insurance that basically meant I wouldn’t get a bean. So with money tight in this economic climate it meant making the best of a bad job, bartering services to get a friend to bash out the worst dents and finding a second-hand replacement door – which is in a delightfully contrasting colour to the rest of the car.

Now you might think this is all a tale of doom and gloom, but there is a positive side to this tale. I regularly drive to the next town and the traffic filters down from two lanes to one lane. I always let the other drivers go first. But now, with my newly ‘enhanced’ car, I’m being treated like royalty. Everyone wants to let me go first, so at last I’m revelling in the joys of assertive driving.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More headgear and praise for Bridget Riley

Wearing a rather fetching scarf, covered in skulls, Xavier cut quite a dash when we visited the National Gallery. We had a spine tingling moment looking at one of Bridget Riley's paintings, where we could see white circles, that weren't really there, dancing across the canvas. The large originals of her work have such a physical effect on the viewer, they are so much more exciting in real life than they are in reproduction. We also had fun working out whether we thought that Caravaggio's perspective was flawed in his painting “Supper at Emmaus” – surely those outstretched fore-shortened hands should have been drawn at much more different sizes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wonderful book

Alison, one of the trio of one mile from home walkers, has produced this wonderful illustrated book, of memories of her childhood in Scotland. I’ve really enjoyed the stories and images as they’ve been published over the years on Alison’s blog, so it’s a real treat to have them put together as one collection. You can now buy a hard back or soft back version of the book or view it online at Blurb .

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Choices, choices

Option 1

Which option would you have chosen? A concert of Early English choral music accompanied by a string trio. The Carravagio painting ‘The lute player’ reflects the music and the trio, but the portrait is of Edward VI who commissioned one of the pieces and died at the young age of 15.
I couldn't choose so I left it to the St Albans Chamber choir to decide. And if if you're interested in buying tickets for the concert visit and if you want to find out more about the concert visit