The Estuary

The Estuary

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Culture Vultures

Paul and I love going to exhibition openings!!

In the past we went to several at Compton Verney Art Gallery. It was very close to where we lived. Both Harry and Sam worked in the restaurant at various times so we always got invitations to openings.

Compton Verney
photo by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK

The great thing about going to the openings is that you are first to see the exhibition and you get free drinks and nibbles!

Paul is typical of the art lovers who attend openings...

Paul's brother, Peter Hide, is 'one of the world's foremost practitioners of welded-steel sculpture'.

Peter visited Shrewsbury a few years ago.

Peter lives and works in Canada. He teaches as Professor and Head of the Sculpture Department at the University of Alberta.

Peter's workshop in Canada

In recent years Peter has invited us to openings of  his shows in London.

Peter Hide, Trinity, 2007 Steel, H. 300 cm approx.
I saw this sculpture at the Ironbridge museum of Steel Sculpture (now closed)

Some of Peter's work is currently on show at the University of Greenwich and we had a very enjoyable time attending the opening and meeting up with family and friends.

The show is called Stockwell Depot 1967 - 1979There is loads to see and think about. We had some lively discussions, 'What is art?' etc. etc. at the galleries and afterwards over dinner.

 This is an example of a smaller piece of work by Peter that was included in the exhibition.

Peter Hide, Beryl, 1975, steel.
The book  Stockwell Depot 1967- 79 was launched at the Exhibition. It tells the story of 'the emergence of the London artists' studio movement'.

New publication on Stockwell Depot

It includes photos of the art, interviews with the artists and photos of the artists as they were back in the 60s. It makes fascinating reading.
Peter (right) and fellow artist Roland Brener on the roof of the Stockwell Depot
They are standing beside Peter's sculpture - Tower, 1969-70.

I have always enjoyed attending art exhibitions but it is extra special when you can discuss the work with the artist himself.

P.S. Thanks Sam, James and James for providing accommodation. We loved Greenwich and hope to return soon!

Monday, 20 July 2015


This weekend was open weekend at Viv Marsh Postal Plants. This is a family run nursery just outside Shrewsbury specialising in Alstroemeria and Tall Bearded Iris. Paul wanted to see the alstroemeria and hoped to be able to replace his yellow one which didn't survive the winter.

There was plenty to see!

He found the Yellow one he wanted.

'Little Eleanor'
 He also bought an alstoemeria species still in bud so the colour of the flower will be a surprise.


This is a bit taller than 'Little Eleanor'

I love the bright colours...

This pink one was very pretty
and I especially liked 'Indian Summer'

Later in the day we went for a 3 mile walk as part of my weight loss regime and looked around The Dingle.
This is the ornamental flower garden in the Quarry Park. Percy Thrower, the original T.V. gardener, was Parks Superintendent from 1946 to 1974 and the floral displays around the town are fantastic.

Looking perfect ready for the Flower Show in August.

Back home I have been very pleased at how well my orchid is flowering. I saved it from the dustbin a couple of years ago and this year at has really put on a show.
I'm glad I decided not to throw this one away.

A bumble bee flew into the sitting room to visit the flowers.

Unfortunately the following morning when Paul put his foot into his gardening shoe...
 The bee was asleep in the toe and gave him a nasty sting!

Monday, 13 July 2015

My sister works in space...

That is to say RAL Space...
Belinda next to the space suit of Helen Patricia Sharman. She is a British chemist who became the first Briton in space and the first woman to visit the Mir space station in 1991 (Helen not Belinda).
This must be the position she was in for take off. It looks very cramped and uncomfortable.

On Saturday there was an open day at the Harwell campus where my sister works. Her department is 'RAL Space' where they are involved in space missions and are at the' forefront of UK Space Research'.

People were eager to visit the new premises and there was lots to see and do.
 I loved visiting Space. The atmosphere was friendly and it was good to meet people who work with Belinda. Actually she seemed to know most people. She has worked there for twenty five years. She used to work as computer support so was involved with all departments. Now she is a project controller so continues to know what most people are doing.

These are the friendly team who work in space. I love the pink-purple T-shirts they were all wearing.

I particularly enjoyed handling rock samples from meteorites, the moon and mars. I was quite surprised when I asked how they had got the rocks, because the answer was $1000 on eBay for each of the moon and mars rocks but only £2 for the oldest rock on earth from the meteorite!

Legendary NWA 5000 Lunar Meteorite Moon Rock 17.20 grams - With Color ID Card!
This piece of the moon is currently on sale on eBay for £9,667.96

The Harwell Campus is owned and managed jointly by Harwell Oxford Developments Ltd, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

My father worked at Harwell from about 1956 until he retired. His work was with Atomic Reactors.

My father often talked about his work on these reactors called Dido and Pluto.
Things have moved on and the history of the organisation is fascinating. Harwell was at the forefront of computing and as a schoolchild I visited the Atlas Computer. The supercomputer of the day. It filled several rooms and could do roughly two hundred thousand multiplications per second. The supercomputers they use today are a million, million times faster.

It was a lovely sunny day for the open day and we enjoyed wandering around the whole campus. The new buildings are fantastic and there were picture displays, refreshment kiosks and picnic areas that we made good use of.

I was keen to see the particle accelerators. Mainly because I knew they would be very big. They were VERY, VERY big and I loved them.

Inside the Diamond Light Source (Belinda wearing her regulation T-shirt)

I really like this!

We also visited the particle accelerator at ISIS (named after the River Isis) otherwise known as Target Station 2.

The beam has a long way to go while it accelerates.

I'm not quite sure what the Huge, Really Hot Oven was for.
It was pretty big, but wasn't switched on.

Better be careful where we go.

It was a fascinating and fun day. It reminded me of my school days when I studied sciences and was pretty sure I was destined to become a scientist. I didn't. I moved in another direction but I am really happy to think of Belinda in this exciting environment where everyone is working 'at the forefront of modern science'. Especially those who work in space!
P.S. I am reducing my blog posts to one per week (on Mondays) as two and half months on from my retirement day I am finding life pretty busy.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Fruit tarts

Still suffering from the weekend's sunburn so just a short post and no pictures of my red raw face!

I have been practising making fresh fruit tarts as I am planning to make some to take to the Bridge Club barbecue next weekend.

I cheated a bit by using some shop bought pastry cases and ready made custard.

First take a sweet pastry tart case
Add vanilla custard thickened by heating
Cut up a selection of fresh fruits

Arrange the fruit tastefully to cover all the custard

Coat the fruit with glaze made from redcurrant jelly

Hand over to official taster!

Paul was the official taster. He said they were excellent and he would no longer be buying from the expensive pastry shop in town!

I hope to get mini tartlet cases for the barbecue and maybe work on getting the glaze a bit neater.

P.S. This size is about 200 calories a tart so I am only having one.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Hooray! A Great Weekend!

A great weekend means I am still recovering, so only a short post...

Hooray the house is growing.

Hooray the van enjoyed its first mini music festival and got us there and back with no hiccups.

Hooray the festival was great fun with friends and family, music, sunshine and a great burger van.

I was enjoying myself so much I didn't' have time to take many photos, but here is a short clip of my favourite band -'Fluid Druid' starting their set. Very exciting - I hope you can play the clip.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Getting stuff done.

Two months since I retired! I have slipped into a loose routine.
I find I feel a need to get stuff done each day. I wasn't expecting that. But there's no pressure and most things can wait until tomorrow, next week or next month, if necessary (except for my blog which I have promised myself to publish every Monday and Thursday... and 'Walking Club' on Wednesdays... and Bridge on Mondays and Fridays). Quite a lot really.

Moving day is beginning to sound like a reality - sometime at the end of August.

Next Friday we have an appointment with the Bovis site manager and the agent for our new house and need to choose flooring. Well that's not easy! We can buy from Bovis and it will all be done before we move in or we can buy it somewhere else and have it done after we move in.

The Carpetright website has lots of information

We just need to compare the price and quality of carpets, vinyl, ceramic tiles and wood from a range of suppliers and we are done. Of course we also just need to learn about how to judge the quality of carpets, ceramic tiles, vinyl and wood. That's something to get done before Friday, if possible.

However, Wimbledon has started. I have not had the luxury of 'Total Wimbledon' for over twenty years so intend to make the most of it. That's something to get done NOW.

Luxury lunch while watching the tennis (289 calories)

My diet is going well. The weight loss graph is going down and I am feeling quite pleased with myself for getting that done.

Luxury snack while watching the tennis (35 calories)

Macramé is keeping me busy. We have lots of family birthdays in the summer months so lots of cards to make. They have to be done in plenty of time for posting.

Sam's was a 3dimensional experimental card!

With so much to do I woke up early and saw the moon just before dawn.

The moon was orange getting ready for sunrise.
 So retirement feels pretty good. Still lots to get done, but fun.