Saturday, 30 June 2007

In a dilemma

I always buy free range/organic chicken these days especially after the plight of caged chickens has been highlighted on programmes such as Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. It is pretty expensive but I think worth paying the extra money. My Jack Russell has colitis and is often ill and when he is recovering from a bout of this I feed him fresh chicken, so I've started buying free range for him too. But as my sister pointed out - does the usual dog food that I buy contain free range/organic meat? Obviously not so what do I do now..? Has anyone come across organic/free range, hypo-allergenic, chicken and rice dog food?

Friday, 29 June 2007

Pretty gardens

I recently wrote about visiting Hallsands in Devon and how the village was destroyed by the sea in 1917 probably because of the dredging of gravel offshore. I watched one of my favourite programmes this week - Coast which featured South Wales - a beautiful area in which I grew up. Part of the programme was about sand and gravel dredging from the sea bed off the coast at Porthcawl, one fifth of an eight mile sand bank has already been removed and nobody has any idea how this will effect the coastline. Also as the programme pointed out - sand is a finite resource, once it's gone it's gone. Apparently it's all so we can make our gardens look pretty . . .

Friday, 22 June 2007

A time in France remembered

Nearly two weeks since my show at Stansted and I've caught up with all my outstanding work, neglected house, garden and allotment. I had a wonderful time, the weather was gloriously hot, the venue dreamy and the atmosphere in our marquee was great, I met a lot of extremely talented and interesting people and . . . I sold a lot of my work - nearly all my jewellery, quite a few framed prints and cards and most of my bowls.

The most popular prints were based on two photographs I took in France when visiting the unusual garden show at Chaumont. I say unusual as the theme that year was erotica; there was a rubber garden; lots of very tactile gardens; a garden which featured a huge pair of bosoms - they had a ladder at the back which you could climb and have your photograh taken between them (it goes without saying - a lot of men were doing this) and the funniest of all - a garden shed with a spy hole drilled in - when you looked through the hole you could see garden gnomes in compromising positions. Only the French could manage to put on a show like this with such style.

© Nicky Linzey 2002

Strangely enough the show at Stansted and the one at Chaumont had exactly the same atmosphere, probably because of the blisteringly hot weather and the imposing buildings in dreamy gardens and this transported me back to the most wonderful holiday in France. It was very nearly a disaster as we had not pre-booked any hotels and after spending the first two nights on the Ile de Ré in a lovely hotel that had had a last minute cancellation, we drove around the Charente unable to book in anywhere. A lot of the hotels we tried were full so we ended up three nights in a row in some particularly awful ones. Gray suddenly had a brainwave - to ring the Cheval Blanc in Bléré where we had stayed several years ago - I phoned and reserved their last free room. What a relief! The drive there took us about 2 hours during which time the weather got hotter and sunnier. We booked in and found that the Chaumont Garden Festival was on - something I had wanted to visit but had always missed and the hotel had a new swimming pool installed. We headed straight to the pool and shared it with diving swallows dipping into the glistening water. It was magical as was our visit to Chaumont - also a reminder that often the best times are not planned.

Friday, 15 June 2007

Fishing update

© Nicky Linzey 2006

Despite casting 3 times through shoals of mackerel - he still has not caught anything!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Mister Tom's lesson

My Jack Russell met a new dog in the field yesterday. A small and lovely brown terrier rushed over to him and of course MJR growled and showed his teeth in a lop sided snarl. "Don't worry" shouted his owner. "Mister Tom needs to learn his lesson. He's young and a bit cocky - it won't hurt him." Suddenly MJR and Mister Tom take off and run to the other side of the field as a large Doberman has appeared - this is not good news as it's a breed MJR hates - I could see him standing there rigidly, refusing to look at the Doberman. Mister Tom was watching. Next they headed back across the field to annoy some terriers, a lot of growling and snapping is heard - from Mister Tom. He's definitely learnt a lesson from MJR but not the one his owner had hoped for!

Monday, 4 June 2007

My adventure

Six months ago a friend and I decided to take a stand at The Garden Show, Stansted Park. I'm selling my prints, cards, jewellery and bowls and she's selling her beautiful handmade fabric bags, we've also bought in some colourful hand-dipped candles.

Well - the show has finally come around - it's on this Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we've actually got everything prepared. I feel a bit scared - it's years since I've stood in front of my work in this way. I'm also excited - it's a new challenge and although I'm lucky and design for a living - the work that I'm showing at the weekend is 100% me. I really want it to be successful so that it can become part of the way I earn my living. To physically make things and draw using a pen and paper is so rewarding compared to sitting at my computer all day.
A little mix of both would be great.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Our holiday with cousin Gif

Cousin Gif with my Jack Russell on holiday

We've just been on holiday with cousin Gif, my sister and my nephew and had a wonderful week at Beesands in a cottage by the sea. A week of crabbing, fishing, skim boarding, walking the cliffs and inland hills in this most beautiful wild area. Fresh fish for dinner every night and falling asleep to the sound of waves lapping on the beach. We managed to exhaust the dogs and the kids had the kind of freedom they are not used to - exploring and mucking about on the beach from morning to night with new found friends.

We walked to the next village - Hallsands which in 1917 was destroyed by the sea - read about it here. Today you can see the ruins from a viewing platform which overhangs the sea precariously and some of the old cottages are still inhabited even though their doors are almost on the cliff edge.

Just before we went away we saw boys catching mackerel from the beach in Bognor and decided that we would have a go. (We do the gathering now we should try the hunting - or fishing!). We bought a rod that the boys could use too and Gray spent much of the week fishing. Despite the fact that everyone around him were catching loads of fish he didn't actually catch anything except a cold! There was even a woman fishing just to humour her husband who landed a monkfish from the beach. Gray was kind of worried about the actual task of killing the fish and the boys spent ages carving him a wooden cosh with their penknives. I did wonder if the worry of killing it actually stopped him from catching any but if we are going to eat meat or fish I think we need to be prepared to kill it too, although this may be easier said than done - we've yet to find out.