Monthly Archives: July 2012

Love Loughton fun day

Louisa and Julian came round with Tove and Harper to join us in our first Love Loughton fun day! There were street stalls, bouncy castles, bands and crowds of families. This was masterminded by St. Mary’s church and had religious undertones but that didn’t particularly  bother me as the atmosphere created was a vast and welcome change to the otherwise TOWIE prevalent culture of the town.

a bouncing Tove

Tove was particularly captivated by Reachback, a local band, that played by the fountain at the back of the post office.

In the evening we joined Colin and Susan for dinner at Seasons in Woodford (opposite Cartright Cunningham & Haselgrove – our solicitors) for an anniversary meal. The Manns and Leamans got married in the same year and around the same time of year, so we all had 42 years of bliss to celebrate. Seasons was good – delightful, delicious food if a bit pricey.

Meanwhile, Julian went off to Horse Guard’s Parade with his mum, Jonathan and Jonathan’s partner Marcia to watch the Beach Volleyball.



art day at the RA and National Portrait Gallery

We repeat the day we had almost a year ago with Louisa, Julian Tove and Harper and spend a day around the art galleries. The Royal Academy is first and we see the Summer Exhibition which is the usual mixture of good, bad and ugly. But this year seems better and there are a number of pictures we like.

standing below Joshua Reynolds RA – presumably the first RA!

Lunch is with Thom at Tibits and afterwards we go to The National Portrait Gallery which also has a good selection of paintings and we all agree that the three winners were deserving. There were some very good detailed portraits that looked like photos but made you wonder why take the trouble when, clearly, they were copied from photos to make them look like photos!

wonderfully sinister juxtaposition of neglect and care

my favourite in the National Portrait Gallery

It is another glorious hot day with blue skies and no clouds and temperatures in the upper 20ºs. The Olympic build-up continues but we manage to get through London easily enough even though the Olympic torch is to pass up Charing Cross Road within the hour after we walk up it.

Happy Mondays finish

Rocco is off to join Esme at Snaresbrook School in September and that glorious day – Happy Mondays – sadly comes to a finish. Obviously we shall see all the grandkids but there is something poignant about the coming of age when  Big School arrives and those lovely days of aimless amusement are curtailed.

As a treat for his last Happy Monday, Rocco wanted to visit London Zoo in Regents Park and that is what we did!

a snake’s eye view

I meet Mr. Tiger

and Rocco is with Mr. Lion

Rocco jumps for joy at being in the zoo

the gorilla was Rocco’s favourite

I quite liked the piranhas






Lille and Cologne

My diary has all the awful details, but Ray and Di, Nicolas and Susan and Sheila and myself spend 5 nights in Lille and Cologne, travelling to both cities by Eurostar. Lille is a surprise; a beautiful historic city with some lovely architecture  (including art noveau buildings) and masses of pedestrianised shopping. We stay at the Carlton Hotel in the absolute centre of the city.

outside the Paris Gate in Lille

Cologne is less attractive but our hotel the Arthotel is on the Rhine and close to the Dom and the Heumarkt where all the restaurants are. The city, however, does grow upon you and I found lots to like.

there was an Ark outside our hotel in Cologne

because it rained a lot!

As usual when we all get together and go away for a city break we cram lots of sight-seeing in and cram lots of food and drink in and cram in lots of chatter.

the view along the Rhine

I managed to do a run around the citadel in Lille and hit the 10km mark on a run along the banks of the Rhine – but see iType2 for details.

on the Eurostar heading for Brussels and home

More photos are on Flickr.

Kent coast art trail

The details are in my macjournal diary but Sheila and I spent 5 nights with the Burkes in Sandwich and Folkestone, ostensibly checking out the art and galleries that are emerging in the south coast seaside towns. But, in essence eating and drinking and sight-seeing. However, we started off with seeing something of Tracy Emin’s work and ended by viewing the ex-boyfriend, Billy Childish‘s art.

Sandwich was a quaint historic town whilst Folkestone was a once grand Victorian resort. Both were wonderful but Folkestone is the place I’d want to return to. We also visited Whitstable, Margate, Broadstairs, Botany Bay and Deal. The art was in the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate and the Creative Quarter in Folkestone and the Chatham Dockyards. The oddity was in the Shell Grotto in Margate.

tracy emin’s work – her tapestries were brilliant

the bell and the quay from which we took a boat along the Stour

the mysterious shell cave found in 1838

botany bay where there are chalk stacks on the beach like huge tooth stumps

the relish

billy childish, tracy emin’s ex-boyfriend, posing for Sheila

me putting on a childish display

my own art – the crispin inn – is a bit childish

I did a lot of running and discovered a rhythm and gait that seems to suit me. The Sandwich old town wall and the Folkestone Leas were great places to run (see itype2).

More photos can be seen on my Flickr site.