Thursday, 30 October 2014

Last Chance to Buy from Special Plants in 2014

The Special Plants nursery closes tomorrow, 31st October and why should you go? Because they have a 30% off plant sale and Derry Watkins has a fabulous selection of great plants which makes it a very worthwhile trip.
I combined the trip with a visit to Gardenalia, parking in Larkhall and walking back, not realising that the 'Keep Clear' notices outside the premises were for customers!I bought two plant containers and a couple of hand thrown clay plant pots and a new to me fork. What a great place it is:
 I then headed back from Bath towards the M4 and turned left into the road leading to Special Plants.
The bed beside the car park was packed with Salvias stocked by Derry to help you choose from the wonderful selection stocked there:

 And on the way to the nursery area there's a fabulous Spindle:
 Close up above and less close:
 Here we are:
 The sales areas:

 A great grass:
Here they are:
 I bought Salvia greggii Blue Note seen below, Salvia Javier, Rudbeckia maxima, Saxifragia Fortunei Black ruby and Geranium maderense Alba which I'll be lucky to bring to flower in 3 or 4 years time!
You've just got time to get there!

The First Monday of the Month in the Beehive

Every month, on the first Monday, I'm encouraging people to come along to the Beehive from 7.30pm; it's a chance to meet up with Artsite members, and more recently I've encouraged Swindon Open Studios artists to come along, and really anyone who would like to come along is very welcome to do so.
 We usually sit in the bottom bar, on the right as you walk into the pub.
Each month, there's a different artist exhibiting in the pub on the wall opposite the main bar, in November this is Patricia Mather, who will be invited to join us.
In addition to the monthly exhibitions, Andy Marcer, the landlord of the Beehive has kindly allowed us to display work by Swindon Open Studios in the top bar, latest additions being these two paintings:
 Above a gorgeous beach scene by Susan Carr and below a Swindon car park by David Robinson
I was also pleased to notice the new bar cloths:
Hope to see you next Monday if you're in the vicinity!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Walking to Bradenstoke from Tockenham Wick

On one of the warmest, most lovely days in late October, ie. yesterday, a walk seemed like an ideal activity, and I liked the idea of going to somewhere I hadn't been before. Bradenstoke had been mentioned recently, and looking at the map, I realised why I hadn't been there before, it has Lyneham airfield to the south and the main London-Bristol railway line and M4 to the north, making it appear to be hemmed in by too much civilisation.
It seemed like a good idea to park near the railway line at Tockenham Wick, and then walk along the ridge of high ground via the Banks to Bradenstoke, coming upon it on foot, rather then driving straight there.
At The Banks, we took a slight wrong turn and came across a fabulous antique shop, The Pillars, there is an amazing amount of furniture, garden ornaments and other wonderful things:
 In the showroom, there is just room to squeeze between the furniture, whatever you want, it will be there.

 I wish I'd known about this place when I'd wanted a marble topped washstand for the bathroom, I wonder if it would fit in...

It took a while to find Tim amongst the furniture, but having done so, we walked along to Bradenstoke via a green lane, and came across the first of the many religious buildings there:

Above a Primitive Methodist Chapel, below is the Church of St.Mary
 and Providence Baptist Chapel:
 There were lots of very old houses in the main street, two of which are currently for sale:

 There was also a great pub, the Cross Keys, which sold some great Black rat cider.
Bradenstoke is a great place to walk around, and being on a ridge, there are excellent views form it as well.
I'm now determined to walk more adventurously, it pays off.

Opening night of 100 Views of Swindon last Saturday

Tim Carroll's opening night for his 100 Views of Swindon exhibition, last Saturday 25th October was a great success. Thank you to all who came along and made it such an enjoyable event.
I took a few photos, I'll add the best ones:
 Above and below, lots of discussion
 Below Gina and Steve at the other end of the Handmade Swindon shop

 A couple of photos of the exhibits, some of the 100 views produced so far, some prints and postcards.
The Gallery is open from Wednesday-Saturday 11-5.30pm this week, there are also some of Tim's ceramics on sale.
The next exhibition in this space will be Laura Cadman.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Nine White Horses - a Great Performance at the Beehive last Sunday

Having seen an article in the Swindon Advertiser about Robert Stredder and Jackie Bardwell's forthcoming performance on Sunday 19th October, I thought I'd go and have a look.
What a fabulous event it was, I had expected poetry about the white horses and their surroundings, but Jackie's dancing was so good, with costumes made by Sue Bardwell of Bardwell and Baskerville fame, who had made some white horse heads. The photos give some idea of the show:
 Above, Robert on drums with some of the horses heads either side of him
And below a series of photos of Jackie as a white horse:

 Then Jackie appeared as a dramatic white horse rider, below- although there's not much of Jackie to be seen, this photo gives an idea of the movement:

The important thing is that if you want to see the show, it's still possible to do so by going to Hungerford where they are performing on Saturday 25th October at 7pm. For more details click on the link below:

Monday, 20 October 2014

A Visit to Balliol College, University of Oxford

Having been round the Ashmolean on Saturday morning, friends visiting Oxford with us wanted to look at one of the colleges. Walking down Broad Street we had just seen depicted by JMW Turner, we entered Balliol College via the Porter's Lodge and through into the front quadrangle where we saw this beautifully manicured Pyracantha:
 And these Rudbeckias were still looking very fresh
 there wasn't a dead head to be seen amongst any of these Cosmos
 The bed was a riot of colour reminiscent of Great Dixter
 With glorious buildings around the quad.

From there we went into the impressive Chapel:
 Such wonderful stained glass windows
 From there we walked through into the Fellows' Garden where the Aeoniums were magnificent

 Above is the Old Common Room with the Old Library above, and below the Salvin Tower

 A close up of the Aeoniums, it was hard to stop photographing them.
Finally we went into the Hall, this building designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1877 has portraits on the walls of Masters and distinguished alumini. Four are Nobel prize winning scientists, three British Prime Ministers, Herbert Asquith, Harold McMillan and Edward Heath.

Above Christopher Hall, and below the only woman featured, Dame Stephanie Shirley DBE, a Foundation Fellow.
 There were lots of crests, this one turned out particularly well.
 Balliol College is open for conferences, weddings, dinners and B&B during vacations, . What a lovely idea.