Saturday, 30 April 2011


 We decided to go to Knossos after all - although the bus journeys were long ( and the buses stopped everywhere) there were spectacular views of the snow-capped White Mountains on our return
 While mainly reconstructions, the site does give a vivid picture of what it may have looked like - reminds me of an architectural model with cutouts

 And there were some splendid big pots!!
A lot more areas were closed off than 20 years ago when I last visited - presuure of visitors I guess, it's the second most visited site in Greece after the Acropolis.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Highlights of Chania Archeological Museum

We both loved this ceramic pull along toy from 3500BC
 Some covetable jewelery
 A few amphorae
Amazing decoration on clay coffins
Lots of bird headed women -"interpretation is difficult"

Unlikely to get to Knossos as organised  tours have not yet started and it would be 5 hrs+  return by public transport so making the most of being in Chania while my ankle mends.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Views from Windows

We transferred from kissamos to Chania yesterday - visiting the Naval Museum ( with it's full size replica of a Minoan sailing ship ) before checking in our hotel. Views from the museum to the lighthouse and harbour.

The view from our room at El Greco hotel.
From our room looking South

From our room looking North to the sea (that feels very odd!)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Kalo Pascha

 Happy Easter! We're looking forward to some lamb later ( Ian has pink fingers from peeling a red-dyed egg for breakfast!) Woken up at midnight with lots of firecrackers and fireworks and bells ringing to announce'Christos anesti'.Still ots of firecrackers going off - I remember that from Nauplia.  On Good Friday,seeing the processions of the Epitafios (biers) from many churches converging on the main square was both solemn and uplifting. From our balcony we could catch glimpses of lines of candles in the darkness  with snatches of singing and brass bands.
 The local wine takes a bit of getting used to - it's brown sherry like rather than red  but works well with the food. We've had a lot of little doughnuts in honey for pudding . Seen lots of beehives  both square and in doorways. Not too many crumbly doors yet but I have hopes for Chania

Making cheese pies at the Taverna Odyseus in Polyrhinia last night

Orchids of Crete

 On a walk to the sea on the far west coast of Crete, we at last see a few orchids - Anacamptis pyramidalis and Orchis italica mainly. Seeing so many in one spot (above) and distracted by a consultation about an anemone I trip over a stone and twist my ankle! Luckily we weren't far from a taverna and I whiled away an hour painting while others looked around a ruin and was able to get a taxi back.

Spent yesterday at the museum and a picnic lunch by the sea.
My ankle is a lovely colour now ( and I've discovered some other bruises in unexpected places) but hopefully with resting again today should be fit for a short walk tomorrow.Meanwhile , thanks to digital cameras , I'm still acting as consultant for flowers seen along the trail such as this Ophrys lutea.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

First Impressions of Crete

Arrived in Kissimos Kastelli yesterday - an early start and a gloomy day but a good nights sleep and  sunshine and instantly relaxed.

 View from our room!
 Walk through the olive groves, observed by goats
 Walked up to the topo of this hill
Taverna lunch with this view

Monday, 18 April 2011

Watercolour and Susan Hiller

 A busy week at work making sure my plants will be happily growing while I'm away , a weekend packing bags and then today the treat of being a tourist up in London. After clearing the fridge for breakfast we've been eating out since. We got the train from Brentford to Vauxhall (only 30 minutes) and walked over the bridge to Tate Britain and went to 2 contrasting exhibitions ( with a Vietnamese lunch  between and coffee and cakes after!). It wasn't too busy in the Watercolour exhibition  so could close and see the detail. Some new discoveries ( Lucy Skaer, Uwe Wittwer, Callum Innes)  among the old favourites of  Eric Ravilious, John Piper, Paul Nash . Neither the 'exhibition ' pictures(too much like oils) or the botanical illustrations(too much like work! ) do it for me but some interesting pieces in the war and improvisation sections. Work by Alexander Cozens looked bang up to date - until read they were from 1780's!! But the star was Turner.
There was some fascinating multimedia  installations  in the Susan Hiller exhibition, mixing ephemera with anthropology, exploring themes  of memory,  language and imagination.  I loved 'Dedicated to the Unknown Artists' featuring postcards collected from seaside town captioned 'rough sea' , also 'recycled works' where she had cut and bound old paintings with thread into sculptural blocks.  You could see  hints of paint at the edges -by coincidence I noted that effect in my old watercolour books (picture above)  when I was choosing my painting materials for Crete. Takes 'repurposing' to  a whole new level.
'Witness' was completely magical and mysterious - walking among hundreds of suspended microphones/speakers with whispered testimonies  of UFO spotting.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Another Boat Friday

Another slow walk home from work along the Thames towpath, taking photos of the boats. This time I ventured a little further coming out opposite the boatyard. So many people on their houseboats, sitting on the benches and grass alongside basking in the sun  that too inhibited to draw ( and as the walk was impromptu, not much  sketching gear anyway). On the way back at St Pauls Church there was a display of application plans to expand the Kew Bridge development  - left my comments as a pedestrian and cyclist who goes past it every day.Opening up access should be a good thing although I hope it doesn't change the character of the place too much.

Chocolate Sculpture-Not Quite Moore

In preparation for Easter, chocolate sculptures have been popping up around Kew ( various people in fluorescent jackets have been wielding paintbrushes and pots of brown stuff). Not quite the Henry Moore that so inspired my quilts  in 2007  but fun nevertheless. We'll be in Crete for Easter but have a couple of Lindt Chocolate Bunnies on the mantelpiece next to the Staffordshire pottery dog awaiting their ritual slaughter. Ian is rather shocked by the violence with which  I  decapitate them.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A Productive Weekend

The week didn't end too well - an ATM ate my card!! But taking  Friday off work to sort out some of the financial fallout ( and Ian  paying a brief visit to his parents) meant I had some time to concentrate on various projects and accomplished quite a lot over the weekend. I put my new Pfaff walking foot through it's paces turning up jeans  that have been in the  wardrobe for a couple of year as well as Ian's new work trousers. I also  used my Journal Quilts as practice pieces and have got ahead of myself for once!
The theme was circles and  I've tried to develop each piece from the one before, based loosely on images from work
March 'Petri Dishes' was  manipulated using 'cutout' filter in Photoshop combined with some commercial fabrics.
April ' Positive Negative' again using Petri dish images cut out and the 'holes' also used.
May ' Stained Leaf Sections' printed micrographs of cut sections of leaves showing stained cells. The letters are a transition to the next challenge block - text.

I also finished off sewing the 'secret books' to the metal frames that make up my interpretation of the 'Taplow Vase' . The label will be in the interior - just name and title. I'm  happy to sell this piece but am struggling to price it. Should I price it using the same formula as my other work  or cheaper as it's an experiment which  uses less materials and time to make (although it took oodles of planning and thought)??