Friday 22 July 2011

June and July; wow how time flies when you're enjoying yourself.

Did I mention I have just read Jo Nesbo's The Devil’sStar; a kind of norwegian Girl with the Dragon Tattoo?  I am now reading History of Love by Nicole Krauss.   Leo Gursky is just about surviving, tapping his radiator each evening to let his upstairs neighbor know he's still alive. But life wasn't always like this: sixty years ago, in the Polish village where he was born, Leo fell in love and wrote a book. And though Leo doesn't know it, that book survived, inspiring fabulous circumstances, even love. Fourteen-year-old Alma was named after a character in that very book. And although she has her hands full--keeping track of her brother, Bird (who thinks he might be the Messiah), and taking copious notes on How to Survive in the Wild--she undertakes an adventure to find her namesake and save her family. 
The novel was inspired by the author's four grandparents and I think it  is being made into a film too.

 I was blown away by the gardens at Chelsea this year although I was too late for tickets and had to watch on the television.  Really inspiring.

Freya leaves the country, but not before losing a shoe.  Broken tooth required painful dental work and more to come.  Bad thing usually come in threes .....

Made a fabulous, fattening cheesecake for Shavuoth, though I say so myself. Took the kids to the children's service where they were treated to icecream.

Sean had a holy communion/8th birthday garden party where we enjoyed chatting with the neighbours.  As it turned out that was the last dry day for a while.

Grandchildren back at school (Hurray!) and I had to take Ellie to the nurse for a booster, which didn't go down well.

Celebrated my birthday at the caravan with special guests visiting for the day.  Weather not too good but managed a ride out to Bridlington.

 cupcakes made and iced by me and Ellie

 Uncle Jack at Topham's

Went to see some of the Chelsea exhibits by Leeds City Council, now housed permanently at Roundhay Park.

and seeing Harlow Carr at its peak

We had a lovely family weekend attending some of the events at the International Jewish Performing Arts Festival held at the Northern Ballet, Leeds.

The play 'They came to Leeds' is set at the end of the nineteenth century and Leeds is throbbing with the influx of Eastern European Jews fleeing the pogroms that are destroying their communities.

In Avram Behr's yard, in Bridge Street, preparations are underway for the wedding of neighbours and childhood sweethearts, Jack Simon and Rose Benjamin.

But not everyone in Leeds views the influx of Jews as a positive move and the celebrations are threatened by violence on the streets.

A classic from the pens of Alec Baron and Louis Saipe, this play was first produced to great acclaim in 1950 and brings to life a colourful and uplifting period in the city's history.

This production was adapted especially for the Festival by Harry Venet as a part of the celebration of '150 Years of Jewish Life in Leeds' and directed by Alfie Israel and none other than my nephew Simon Glass, who also played the bridegroom, Jack Simon.

It was very well received and we all went off to eat a huge amount and, in some cases, drink a huge amount, at Casa Mia in Millennium Square

The next night there was a short film 'Where Have All The Bagels Gone?' by The Zone's Young Filmmakers, decrying the complete loss of jewish bakeries in Leeds.
This was followed by Simon's film and starring many of my relatives and Ben, dressed as a polish immigrant. The film tells the story of a community at a cross-roads, as it celebrates its contributions to a city, whilst preparing to face the challenges of the future.  It certainly made the audience reflect on the future of the Leeds Jewish community.

150 years after escaping poverty and persecution at the hands of the Russian Empire, the sons and daughters of the Jewish immigrants who settled in Leeds are preparing to face their toughest challenge yet. Once housing the largest proportion of Jews in England, the face of Leeds' Jewry has changed dramatically over the past few decades.

Charting the history of the Leeds Jewish community from the slums of the inner city, along their social and economic climb to the leafy suburbs of Moortown and Alwoodley.

Super weekend at Dave and Jacky's at Clapham.  Although retired from providing accommodation to the public, no hospitality could have been better.  Excellent food, convivial company and perfect weather. 
Clapham is situated at the base of Ingleborough mountain one of  theThree Peaks.
Running through the village is Clapham Beck which is fed from Fell Beck which starts on the slopes of Ingleborough and sinks into Gaping Gill, England's highest waterfall, where Fell Beck drops 110 metres vertically down a pothole, and exits via Ingleborough Cave into Clapham Beck. 
Above the village is a man-made lake built and expanded in the 19th century. This provided pressure for the water turbines and the drinking water supply, while the outflow fed an artificial waterfall at the top of the village.

 Alan Bennett has a country cottage in the village. The notable botanist Reginald Farrer (1880-1920) was born and lived in Clapham.  Up until 2000 the Dalesman magazine was based in the village.

Based in the village is the Cave Rescue Organisation which serves people and animals above and below ground across a wide area of the Dales.

We took a stroll through the woods towards the caves.

We saw a performance by the Harrogate Gilbert and Sullivan Society who sang various songs from well-known musicals in the first half followed by Trial by Jury which the cast enjoyed just as much as we did.

We watched Dave bell ringing; the only jewish campanologist that I know of!  Very interesting.

We all agreed it was a weekend for the memory box.

The beautiful weather continued as we made our way through the stunning countryside of the Trough of Bowland, known as Lancashire's hidden gem, before descending to Morecambe Bay and a scrumptious afternoon tea at the newly renovated Midland Hotel.

 the spiral staircase with its ornate ceiling

Judged some amazing entries for Yorkshire in Bloom this week; it is a real privilege to get to see some of these gardens.

On the way to the coast we stopped off at Aldby Gardens Plant Centre which is situated in a Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden at Buttercrambe near Stamford Bridge. It once served the large country estate house Aldby Park.   Full of interesting plants and quirky art work and artifacts, Ann Lloyd, the proprietor, told us of the history of the estate and of her father, James Lloyd, who had work in the Tate Gallery and mentioned many well known artists who he knew well, for example Lowry.

 Cat and Mouse by John Lloyd in the Tate Gallery

James Lloyd (British, 1905-1974)

"The work of James Lloyd I found most interesting and unusual...owing to its individual style, its sincerity of approach and its care in execution. It is the result of perceptive observation of certain everyday things which appeal to the artist, revealed in his own personal way." ( L.S.Lowry, 1971.)

James Lloyd was born in Cheshire and grew up on his father’s farm. He had some interest in art in his younger days, doing small black and white ink drawings, but it wasn’t something he pursued as he worked in a number of careers, including farm laborer, builder’s laborer, lamp lighter, stoker, bus conductor, and policeman. Lloyd was in his forties when he married his second wife, Nancy, and as she relates, it was after the birth of their first child that he seriously took up painting. “It happened one Christmas; there was no money to buy Christmas cards at Woolworths, so James said he would paint them.”

Lloyd appreciated the works of the English artists Turner and Constable, and studied reproductions in books. Upon very close examination, he realized that the pictures were formed of tiny dots as a result of the printing process. It was this discovery that set him on the path of his pointillist technique.

Many of the subjects Lloyd chose for his compositions were scenes of life in the English countryside.

Sir Herbert Read the poet, scholar, literary and art critic, was the same man who helped Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Ben Nicholson establish their work. Along with fellow critic John Berger, they bought some of Lloyd’s work, encouraged him to do more, and brought him to the attention of London art dealers.

James Lloyd was eventually introduced to filmmaker Ken Russell. A television documentary was made about his life and work, titled “The Dotty World of James Lloyd”. He was also cast to play the French painter, Douanier Rousseau in another Russell film.

In 1974, James Lloyd died of a heart attack in Skirpenbeck, near York. He was 69 years old.

His painting Cat and Mouse is held at the Tate Gallery. At the time, he was the only living artist to have a painting at the Tate. The Anthony Petullo Collection of Outsider Art in Milwaukee has a number of works by Lloyd. Leeds City Art Gallery, Bowes Museum and Thomas's College, York hold work. His work was collected by museums as far apart as Caracas, Venezuela, and Zacreb, Yugoslavia. He won the coveted International Best Primitive Painter Award in 1973, with his painting Boy with Horse.

(Cambridge book and print gallery)

Thus endeth my blog. 

My plan was to write a blog for a year and doesn't time fly when you're having fun?  I have completed much of what I set out to do, and more.  However there are still many ticks to complete on my wish list.

My thanks go out to all those people from countries all over the world, if the stats function on my blogger dashboard is to be believed, who have taken the trouble to read my thoughts.

Comments and other forms of communication are, as always, very appreciated x

Monday 18 July 2011

Spring Bank Holiday

Great weekend in London spending quality time with Ben and Freya.  Ben made Tuna Casserole a la greque, a variation of mine, for Friday night.

In Ealing Shopping Centre we visited Tiger, Poundland and  M and S.

 Freya reading my diary
Stopped off the M1 at Misterton on thw way down

We visited various local parks, which must be London’s best kept secret from tourists.  All have free entry to all areas.

Acton Park, which is well used by the residents, first opened to the public in 1888 to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria. A dying Dutch Elm tree, one of the last in the borough, close to the main entrance has been transformed into a dramatic 28-foot carved statue called the Twilight Tree.

Brent River Park with its wildlife, walks and maze.

Gunnarsby Park with its wild parrots and museum, which is housed in an early 19th century mansion, once home to the Rothschild family. Displays include local history, costume, carriages and there was a temporary exhibition of embroidery.  

 Freya in Acton Park

 Shopping for babywipes alone in London found this deserted car park in shopping mall.  Realised the reason why when we had to part with £8.00 minimum charge - for 15 minutes!
 In Morrison's lift; a very expensive photoshoot location




Straight on to childminding for the other grandchildren.

Stopped for picnic at Kilnwick Percy off the Hull road to the East coast.  Here, at the foot of the wolds, established for 25 year and internationally renowned, is the Madhyamaka meditation centre set in 42 acres of grounds and historic house with a vegetarian cafe and   Bed &Breakfast facilities

 Crazy golf

 Boys and their toys
 The RAF  helicopter with a simulated exercise to rescue people from the sea 

Had a good few days; bike rides and walks to sea.

“The sea is their grave but this Memorial sculpture is, in many ways, a headstone for the lost trawlermen”

I have always been impressed by the architecture in the centre of the maritime city of Hull, especially the old buildings with their carving...