Monthly Archives: July 2011

St. Ives at Number One

The train journey to St. Ives is sublime. Especially rolling down the Exe estuary around the coast to Teignmouth, where the track is yards from the sea, and up the estuary to Newton Abbot. We only spent three nights with the Crockers who were in residence at 1, The Terrace for the summer, but we had an exquisite taste of Cornwall. Literally, as we ate out all the time between talking and walking.

The first night we ate in the new restaurant across from the Tate: St. Ives gallery, overlooking Porthmeor beach. Another Symons establishment. In fact the Symons did well out of us as we also went to their Porthgwidden and Porthminster cafes. All the three main beaches of the town.

Sunset on Porthmeor Beach.

But the best place was The Gurnards Head pub.We caught the 508 bus from the Malakoff for the 30 minute jaunt through narrow country lanes, past Zennor, to the bus stop right outside the pub door. From here we walked for 2 or so miles over the fields to Gurnards Head and back to the pub for lunch where I had the best moules marinere I can ever remember.

The walk to Gurnards Head.

Resting above Gurnards Head

Wrey and Polly

Crossing the stream below Gurnards Head

The view from the Clodgey to Porthmeor beach

The Lighthouse



The school summer holidays! Happy Monday turned into a picnic in Epping Forest when Louisa, Julian, Tove and Harper joined us. And, of course, we had Esme as well as Rocco. Then we had a call from Danaë’s friend Eleanor, over from Switzerland, and she and Annabel and Harriet came too!

We had our picnic at the pond at the bottom of Staples Road  which overflowed in a flash storm and caused the famous flood of 1982 when the High Road was under water. This reservoir was also a favourite haunt of Thom and his friends.

Freud died but art lives

An arty weekend.  First, the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy. It is, again, outrageously mediocre with it’s mix of the usual RA suspects – Tracey Emin, Allen Jones, David Hockney et al – and their ludicrously overpriced offerings, and the art work of the lucky public. The Weston Room is always absorbing. I didn’t see anything special but Cindy Sherman, about whom Danaë wrote a dissertation, is always worth a glance.

The visit was greatly enhanced by bumping into Ian Hislop in the foyer. Best of all, though, was the dancing around the fountains outside.

After lunch at Tibits, it is the National Portrait Gallery and the BP Portrait Award. A particular favourite was The Shooting Gallery by Tony Noble

and, I liked our local artist Raul G(Guerrerro)’s portrait of James, a pupil at Rush Croft school.

The weekend’s fun was gently deflated by taking all the grandkids to see Cinderella, a summer(!) panto, at the Lopping Hall. I was pressed to perform on stage but Buttons agreed to give my understudy, Julian, his moment of fame.

Thom’s 30th Birthday

At long last the family, all 12 of us now, have a date that we can all meet to celebrate Thom’s 30th birthday. We do it at LMNT – not sure what that stands for – which is a brilliant restaurant in Hackney, near London Fields. The decor is mostly ancient Egyptian and the old pub has been reconstructed to become a rabbit warren of little nooks and balconies, which the children excitedly explore. The food is superb.

Oh! and BTW it rained on the 15th July, St. Swithin’s Day, and it has been raining ever since.

the art colony

Louisa One and Tove Three at work.

My start on a John Piper interpretation.

Louisa One’s work.

Happy Mondays Caption Contest

In the Wildwood where the wild things are…….

What’s in a name?

I’m not unduly fussed by the news that David Beckham’s newly born child is also called Harper. After all imitation is often described as the most sincere form of flattery.

Ever since David and I both attended the same school – Chingford Senior High: he as a pupil, myself as a teacher – our lives have intertwined. His children have not only been named after the road we live in but, also, the NUMBER!

How eerie is that?