Thursday, 29 May 2014


We've just been to England for a visit to Bob's part of the family. We stayed in a log cabin on a lovely site at Crowhurst near Hastings in East Sussex.  We could just see the sea through the trees growing up from lower down the slope in front  of our veranda. 
We had collected Mum on the Saturday and had a family get together at Bob's sister's home in Eastbourne on Sunday then on Monday we were up and off to do some sightseeing. Hastings is famous for it's fishing fleet that still beaches it's boats as there is no harbour to moor in.  These are some of the older ones restored and on display in an area on the seafront.
Hastings is also renowned for the net drying sheds, tall narrow wooden structures now used as fish shops and museum displays.  This tiny cottage next to the fishing museum has been made out of half the hull of an old boat, the other half was standing on it's end and used for more historical displays.
The interior of our cabin was very comfortable with leather sofas and soft beds. A very nice place to come back to and relax after our busy mornings out sightseeing.
We also visited Rye, a charming unspoiled old town with some very pretty cobbled streets lined with old timbered houses and lots of flowers and Battle, famous as the site of the battle of Hastings in 1066.  Unfortunately I left my camera at Sally's so was unable to take any photos to use as inspiration for more sketches and we weren't able to go and collect it till later in the week.
On the Wednesday evening Bob's brother, Ivor came to collect Mum to go home for a hospital appointment and Bob and I were left to our own devices for the last 2 days in the cabin.
I took a walk along the woodland path laid out at Crowhurst where there were many wild flowers to see.  The bluebells had just finished flowering  but must have been fantastic a few weeks ago as the seedheads carpeted every inch of the ground under the trees.

Monday, 12 May 2014


With all the travelling we've been doing lately, I've just realised that I've still got a few sketches of spring flowers from February that haven't been posted.  These tiny daffodils were given to me by a friend from her garden.
These tulips brightened up our days when it was cold and very wet earlier in the year. We have certainly had some extreme weather this year and are hoping the summer will be more normal when it finally arrives!
This is a twig from a chaenomeles japonica shrub in my garden which is still flowering although the blooms are now hidden by the leaves.
I found this peacock butterfly sunning itself on the log pile by our hedge, I hope it found somewhere to lay it's eggs as we do so enjoy seeing the butterflies on our buddleas in the summer.
We're off on more travels at the weekend so I'll say 'au revoir et à bientot.'

Thursday, 8 May 2014


I've recently returned from a week's visit to England to see my family and participate in the annual charity garden party put on by my daughter Justine.  She lives in a beautiful house surrounded by a fabulous garden which she loves to work in growing wonderful flowers.  For the last 4 years she has opened the garden to family and friends in aid of the local hospice.  The girls make cakes and biscuits to sell and her mother in law comes with a friend to make and serve all the teas. For 2 days we all worked hard baking and cleaning, picking flowers to decorate the tables and looking forward to seeing everybody.
I had spent a lot of time in the winter binding sketchbooks and making lots of cards from my original paintings to sell.  Justine is a talented beader and had plenty of her jewellery on sale too as well as lots of plants from cuttings and seeds.  We set up our wares in her 'beading shed' next to the swimming pool garden house.  My granddaughter Stephanie took plenty of photos and this is one of me just before we opened for business.
It was a bit slow to begin with so I started a sketch of the back of the house which I had to finish later as I was soon inundated with customers. Some of the visitors were very interested to see my sketchbooks full of drawings and I'm sure I inspired a few to take up the sketching habit too! One  of Stephanie's friends was studying art at school so I lent her my coloured pencils to play with in the book she had just bought from me.  All too soon the afternoon came to an end and we counted up the takings which came to over £500, the best result yet.  I sold most of my books and cards and all the plants went too. I'm already planning my products for next year.
My other daughter Joanna took me back with her to Kent for a few days and we spent a lovely time together and playing with little Jimmy, her son now aged 2.  One day we went for a drive in the country and along a narrow lane we came across a couple of lambs that had escaped from a field.  Jo stopped the car and I tried to herd them back to their mothers who were bleating loudly at them to return to safety. It wasn't easy as they were fast movers despite their short fat legs but I finally got them to crawl back under the fence!  Jo and Jimmy enjoyed watching from the safety of the car and I had a lot of fun drawing this from memory when I was on the train back to Stansted airport to go home.