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Friday, 27 January 2012

Looking up!

 Where does the time go - it's been almost two weeks since my last post!

Whilst I have been away from blogging I have been out and about - firstly I had a day out with a friend here last week.
The sun caught the windows on the west front of Salisbury Cathedral turning them to gold although that doesn't really show up in my photo.

 As we wandered round I looked up and my eye caught these little gems - aren't they fabulous?

And the detail in the carving on the columns too.

This is the roof of the almshouse in the Cathedral Close isn't it beautiful?

Yesterday we went up to London to meet up with some friends over from France and though the wind was very cold we were lucky to have a bright and dry day - apart from one very brief shower in the afternoon.

Flower stall outside the Underground where we met.

London has some amazing architecture if one looks up though you do need to keep an eye on the pavement in front too as with the numerous works taking place - maybe in readiness for the Olympics? - you could easily break your neck!

This is the church of Notre Dame de France near Leicester Square which another friend had suggested might be of interest to our French friends whom we were meeting.  I hadn't known it existed before and it was a real oasis of peace and quiet inside after the noise of the city.

 The Church was built originally as a panoramic playhouse which explains it's unusual round design and became the French Catholic Church in London in 1865 but was bombed out in 1940 and almost entirely rebuilt in 1955 when the artist Jean Cocteau was commissioned to decorate the Chapelle de Saint Sacrement - his work is a depiction of the annunciation - see  here

But what really struck me was the beautiful tapestry above the altar which reminded me of the tapestries I saw when I visited an exhibition of work by Dom Robert in Aubusson with the ladies of the patchwork group I belonged to in France.  It turns out that this tapestry is in fact one of Dom Roberts works too.  I was allowed to take a photo but as it didn't come out too well in the dim lighting I bought this postcard instead.

After lunch in what turned out to be a not very wonderful pub - we did though have time to sit and chat with our friends - even if the food wasn't that brilliant - we decided to go to the National Gallery -  looking up I noticed this wonderful rainbow just after the short shower we had.

Situated alongside one side of Trafalgar Square

With St Martins in the Field almost next door it was a stunning building.

I hadn't ever visited it before and being the art philistine that I am wasn't expecting to enjoy a visit here that much, it being our friends who suggested it.  Well never mind the paintings - I was blown away by the building itself - sadly no photos were allowed and I didn't get time to see if there were any postcards showing the details in the shop before we left. Am I the only person who could visit this gallery and see some of the most wonderful art work in the world and be struck not by the paintings but by the beautiful mosaics on the floor, the wonderful gold and coloured painted columns and ceilings, the fabulous fabic wall coverings the glass, the ....?!!  Oh and the perfume of two enormous vases of lilies in the front entrance.  I did so wish I had been able to take some photos as nowhere on the web have I found any images to show you what I mean.  You must go and visit for yourselves.  One series of paintings did take my fancy though and that was the Mariage a la Mode paintings by Hogarth  done in the mid 1700s and which tell a story of a marriage and its problems when the wife takes a lover and were full of amusing details.  My French friend and I agreed it was a sort of 18th century bande dessinee - a genre popular in France and which we might call comic or graphic novels perhaps.

Just look at that sky!  See it isn't always raining in England after all!  We left our friends as dusk was falling and made our way back to Hammersmith for the bus home as always wishing we had had longer and planning to go again soon.

Earlier in the week I had received a package from Louise - we had agreed to exchange magazines and this was what was in my pretty jiffy bag.  It is a lovely magazine filled with ideas I will want to have a go at....

...and along with my magazine she had sent the lovely little red quilt shown in the photo above  and which hangs well with the navy one which came from America too at Christmas time.

Louise had suggested it might go in the back of my cupboard!  Not at all - it is lovely and it hangs on the side of my cupboard Louise and will be enjoyed by all.  Many thanks.

I am also looking up this week because I finally got the results of my retinal scan done back in November and it is all normal.  The problem has more or less resolved itself and it seems it was nothing to worry about though my glasses seem to have been underprescribed - I mention no names but it seems going to the cheaper chains is not to be recommended!   I will now need new glasses but have otherwise been discharged.  Thanks for your concern.

For those of you who commented on the fingerless mitts and shawl on my last post I have posted the patterns on a separate page which you can access by clicking on Patterns in the section headed Extra Pages at the top right side bar.


  1. I was in London yesterday too - and was walking around Leicester Square as it started to rain. We could have passed one another in the street! Apart from that brief shower the weather was lovely, wasn't it? Looks and sounds like you had a super day too.

    Great news about your retinal scan results. It must have been such a worrying time for you and now you can relax about it. Hmmmm, I got my glasses from a large cheap opticians too..........

    Have a lovely weekend,


  2. A wonderful post Jane! I love the mosaic on the floor as you walk into the National Gallery too. I am glad that you have had a good result regarding your eye tests. My Mum once bought glasses from a cheap opticians and she had been given just clear glass despite needing prescription glasses! No wonder she couldn't see out of them!!! x

  3. I've always wanted to go to Salisbury cathedral so thank you for the mini virtual tour at the beginning of your post...

  4. How marvelous, Salisbury and London too! I truly enjoyed perusing your post and looking at the photos. I saw the first photo and thought it looked like Salisbury, and so it was! I hope to visit someday. I read the historical novel "Sarum" a few years ago and feel almost like I've been there already.

    Thank you for taking us along on your visits; it was very enjoyable. And, I'm very glad to hear that your eyes seem to be back to normal again and nothing to worry about. That is very good news.

  5. Really good news about your scan Jane, so glad the outcome was a good one!
    You have captured some amazing skies on your trip to London!
    Vivienne x

  6. Sounds as though you had a wonderful day with friends.
    Whenever I see images of London, it takes me back to my childhood.
    I spent a lot of time in St Martins in the field......My Mum and Dad liked it :)
    British pub food is very hit and miss, isn't it?

    Lovely gifts from friends......

  7. Great news about your scan results. When I was a student I spent many hours wandering round parts of London and love seeing images of it now. My mum and dad got married in St Martins in the Field in the early 60s - they have some lovely photos of it from then.

  8. Salisbury Cathedral is one of our favourite places, and we have enjoyed Evensong there many times.
    Glad your eye problem has been sorted out.

  9. Hi Jane,
    I went to Salisbury the day after you! A lovely city! A few pictures on my blog. Thank you for popping in to the group last week, it was good to see you,, and the mitts. I am in the middle of making them,, but I had to start over as I left a line of instruction out the first time! Good to hear that your eye problem is okay!

  10. Wonderful news about the scan results.
    I haven't been to St Martins in the Field, but must go there next time I visit London.
    A pity about the pub meal.

  11. Salisbury Cathedral looks stunning in your photo and I love the gargoyles!

    Sounds like a wonderful day in London, no doubt made better by knowing your eyes didn't have a serious problem.

  12. Oh I could do with a day in London right about now. We haven't been to the National Gallery so that needs to go on the list for next time.
    Salisbury cathedral is one of my favourites. I love the fact that it has space around it so you can see its full beauty unlike Winchester and Canterbury ( both of which I love too). In fact I really like Salisbury- not too big, not too small. I think I could live there ( or close by !)
    You are lucky to be close enough to visit London for the day, there is so much to see and then you can get out of the bustle and back to a quieter life.

  13. Your photos are as always fabulous. They make me long to come back to England for another visit.
    I am SO glad you like the little quilt I sent with the magazine. It looks wonderful on your cupboard with the other one your received from this side of the pond.
    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    Take care,

  14. What a fun outing. I love the colour of the stone of the Salisbury Cathedral shining in the sunlight.

    So glad your eye problem is resolving itself!

  15. I've always wanted to visit Salisbury, the photographs were super.



  16. I love Salisbury Cathedral too, doesn't it have the tallest spire in England? The pictures of the Grotesques are super, were there no Gargoyles?

    I am so pleased that you eyes are better, it must have been a very worrying time. I use one of the cheaper opticians but have never had anything but the very best service, my exams taking longer than half an hour, they are thorough.

  17. Glad it's good news about your eyes. I've just been put on drops for life for raised pressure - glaucoma in the family, but I think mostly because I made a complete mess of the field test which I hate! Anyway, better safe than sorry.
    We've lived near Salisbury several times, the Cathedral close must count as one of the most beautiful places in England. The city itself though can be incredibly cold when the wind gets up, especially in the market square! Have always loved the National Gallery, it has many happy memories and I, too look at the architecture.

  18. Lovely to see your pictures of London love the flower stall picture.

  19. That is great news about the scan Jane and a salutory message that bargain prices can carry unwanted side effects! Every time you mention Salisbury I keep thinking we should go there but how long have I been saying that? Those quilts you have are so lovely and if you make one I look forward to seeing it!

  20. What a very nice post, Jane. I haven't been into Salisbury Cathedral for many years and never into St.Martins in the Fields. (What fields???) When I worked in London in the late 1940s a friend from school and I met once a week in our lunchhour and 'did' a section of the National Gallery. The Portrait Gallery is interesting, too. Pleased to hear about your eye test - and the comments about the cheap High Street opticians. Have just decided to have mine retested.

  21. Love your London pictures, Jane. You always pick out such interesting details for us to enjoy too. The little quilts are very pretty.
    And such good news about your eyes! I am so glad to hear you are well.
    Helen x

  22. So pleased your scan was clear, have my doubt about bargain opticians too. Thanks for the day out. I really enjoy your travelogues.

  23. So glad to read that your eye problems are largely a thing of the past. And yes, I do it too, focus on the architecture instead of the art!

  24. Glad to hear that your eye problems are getting sorted! The cathedral looks gorgeous, great photos of the little faces! The little quilts are so pretty too! :) x

  25. Pretty quilt, fantastic cathedral - relax and enjoy that fantastic looking magazine!

  26. Looks and sounds like a wonderful day filled with beautiful places, good friends and ever changing weather. The quilt gifts are lovely. I've realized that my eyes have gotten worse yet again so another trip to the eye doctor is in order. Glad all is well with you. Best wishes, Tammy

  27. Thank you for posting the pattern - I look forward to trying it out! Have a good weekend and hope you keep cosy.

    Pomona x

  28. So glad to hear you have been discharged from the eye doctor.

    I will make a point o flooking inside the church of St Martins next time I am there. And actually, if you go again to St. Martins I suggest having lunch in the crypt under the church, it's a fascinating place, with a very beautiful shop and displaying art works. They employ people who are a bit vulnerable perhaps learning difficulties etc. and train them to run the cafe, under supervision, I think. The food is brilliant and very cheap. It's open pretty well all day and into the evening.

    Thank you for your nice newsy blog post.

  29. I loved the flower stall the most. Glad to hear your eyes are doing better, I was wondering how it all was turning out.

  30. So glad your tests came out good.


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