Thursday, October 25

The Medicine Garden, Cobham

On a sunny day in September I visited a little place called the Medicine Garden, tucked away in Cobham, Surrey. Once a Victorian walled garden, it's now open to all those who appreciate a spot of tea, a wodge of cake, a mosey and a shop. There's a lovely cafe located in the old hothouse, which serves lunches and tempting afternoon teas. In the courtyard behind the main garden a cluster of independent shops, businesses and art galleries make for an interesting wander about. We had a really relaxing afternoon here and I loved the look of the place - the sharp brickwork, sail white shades, green grass and lavender. It's a truly beautiful find - photogenic opportunities galore.

Monday, October 15

Autumnal eating

I love food, and I love it most in autumn.

These are some of my favourite autumnal meals. I could have drawn about a hundred more (risotto, stuffed giant mushrooms, cottage pie, lentil dahl...) but these were the first that sprung to mind.

Lasagne has been a favourite since childhood. Minestrone and chili are the kinds of meals I love cooking on cold rainy autumn evenings, warm wholesome smells fugging up the kitchen. Food that is nourishing, warming and satisfying. Pastry is my vice so I can never resist a pie.
And if you put roast beef, butternut squash, carrots, onions, stock and herbs in a pot and slow cook it for a few hours, you're onto a winner.

This is the kind of drawing I did all through my childhood and teenage years...even aged sixteen lots of my schoolbooks were illustrated with colouring pencil and black ink. My religious studies teacher, who said she looked forward to marking my work because she loved looking at the illustrations, wrote in my leaver's book that I should always "march to the beat of [my] own drum". She probably didn't mean "switch all your direction in life to art because I really liked that illustration you did of the Garden of Eden at the end your essay that time," but it's funny that I've chosen a more artistic route with her advice in mind.

P.S. sorry about the dodgy scanning!

Wednesday, October 3

Black swans and paintboxes

I took lots of photos when we went to visit Chartwell, a National Trust house & gardens once owned and lived in by Winston Churchill. Lots of photos of the gardens, which were lovely. Early autumn purples, a huge vegetable garden complete with sleepy hens, rolling lawns landscaped to hide the house and make you feel far away from everything. Black swans sitting by a lake.

The house itself, design-wise, wasn't completely to my taste (nor was the overpowering ivy vined wallpaper covering the whole of the upstairs landing). But, being nosy and obsessed with other peoples homes, I still loved exploring all the rooms, particularly liking all the 1930s kitchenware and - bizarrely - one of those old trellis-y lifts. Preserved interiors are fascinating, especially from that sort of era - not quite four poster beds and chamberpots, but not quite modern either. I kept imagining what the house would look like had it not been preserved, and had been updated as the decades moved on.   

In buildings set apart from the house Churchill had his art studio which was crammed floor to ceiling with his paintings - yes, as well as leading the country and being a great writer & orator he was also a pretty good painter. In fact the visit really inspired me to pick up my brushes again. I loved this quote from Churchill:

"We must not be too ambitious. We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content ourselves with
a joy ride in a paintbox