Three Day Arts Event in Hertfordshire – Childwickbury Arts Fair
I first met Christiane Kubrick when she took part in the Open Studio event in 2003 and since then I have made a point of going to her annual Arts Fair at Childwickbury, near St Albans.
Christiane has painted since she was a child, creating theatre sets, some even with electric lighting which nearly killed her!
In 2011 she used backdrops she designed for the set of Hansel and Gretel for the production at the National Theatre, in the area devoted to children working on their own painting. The backdrop included a mysterious eye and a witch that appealed to many children and whose paintings had a mysterious bent.
I interviewed Christiane about her life of art and theatre in 2008 when she spoke of her work, her husband Stanley and her background.
At 80+ she continues working daily on her painting and you will be able to to watch her working on her latest work at the Fair.
Her daughter Katharina is also a prolific artist with a figurative style of her own who will also be painting at the event as will many artists and craftspeople.
I’m looking forward to the next Arts Fair 6-7-8-July 2012 where it will be possible to watch crafts people at work … fascinating for all concerned. And there is a programme of events specially focussed on children’s interests, juggling, felt making, face painting and concerts in the evening. A three day event it is something of a celebration of creativity as well as a great day out.
Duxford – A Great Family Day Out … And Grandad came too!
The times I have driven past Duxford War Museum and thought it would make a great day out but never got around to it. Well we finally managed in the Easter holidays and we loved it. We’ll be making more visits soon – it is so well organised, we all learned a lot and could see there is so much more to find out about.
I would advise using the planner and map ahead of your visit to decide which parts appeal the most. The website very useful and we decided on our route before our visit, planning in the all important potential toilet stops and lunch place.
If you are unable to do any pre-planning don’t worry; the leaflet given out on purchase of your ticket is very useful and includes: a map, planner, a brief description of each main exhibit and other useful information such as; where to find out about tours and the mobility assistance vehicle. I have to say the disabled facilities and assistance were impressive. No worries about finding an appropriate toilet, exhibits were well spaced, lifts were easy to find, staff very helpful, a wheelchair loan scheme and the mobility vehicle to hand. If you wanted to be idealistic then a smoother runway when pushing a wheelchair (where the joins are) and it would have been nice to access the inside of a plane as, from what we experienced, you had to be able to climb stairs to go inside but I feel nit-picky considering how easy and relatively stress free the day trip was.
So, after a friendly greeting we followed the Families with Young Children plan. Airspace was our first visit. The first room/hanger display was pretty much what we’d expected with a few planes and a basic information board. However, once inside the main display room we were surround by planes both on the ground and hanging from the ceiling and the children’s eyes lit up. As the planes and other flying machines eg helicopters and reconnaissance remote controlled planes were all displayed in a similar fashion our youngest child grew restless but it wasn’t long until we arrived at the planes which you could board via free-standing stairs and once again the children’s enthusiasm was ignited.
Approaching the upstairs displays with historical visual programmes and futuristic design ideas I thought at first we were going to be rushing through as it wouldn’t interest the children enough but was pleasantly surprised at the variety of hands-on equipment. There is a range of tasks; from adjusting the fins on the plane making it tilt and turn to completing reaction time tests. The range of activities was not just based on subject but also from very simple (having heart rate monitored) to quite complex (simulation games eg choosing a wing shape and the angle at which to take off) which was great because it meant that there was something for everyone in our party. Eventually we dragged ourselves away as we were in danger of not getting around the whole tour!
We missed out the playground as it was basic (but handy if you need your children to let off some steam) and went for lunch. The different cafes serve varying foods and we chose simple jacket potatoes. The staff were courteous and helpful, the food was quite standard for such places (including the price). A nice touch were the complimentary crème egg with their purchase – it was Easter. There are picnic benches, including a covered area that are not indicated on the map.
In the Battle of Britain hanger there was the offer of a free guided tour which we turned down due to fact that we believed our children wouldn’t maintain enough concentration but others seemed to enjoy it. The use of real war footage on television monitors, audio recordings next to some displays and recreations of scenes (such as an enemy plan shot down and being guarded) all made this area much more real to the children and our eldest was particularly interested and enthused which led to lots of questions. An especially touching moment was the recreation of an Anderson Shelter with actor’s voices playing out a typical scene. What made it very moving was that I explained to my son that his granddad would have been the about the same age as the young boy featured and the same age as my son is now. Seeing him absorb this fact, looking at his granddad, asking thoughtful questions and generally trying to empathise with the situation was truly something that all history teachers would have loved to have seen. You couldn’t ask for a better compliment to an exhibition in my opinion. I know that both my father and I were filled with pride to see the attempt to understand.
On route to our next viewing we enjoyed watching a bi-plane take off on short flights around the area with passengers on board and made a mental note to partake in such a thing in the future. The same can be said for the flight simulator!
The American Air Museum appeared to be displayed in a similar fashion to the Airspace hanger but in an award winning design which was very impressive with its long sweeping slopes and glass frontage. One of the best parts of the day, for the children at least, was in here. The set of complimentary activities was called Whizz, Bang, Wallop! There were plenty of staff/volunteers on hand to supervise the children with additional support from parents if need be. Our children loved each activity. First they folded paper to make aeroplanes (different styles with instructions were available) and aimed at a target (of which a record was kept for who had been the closest). Then they made a rocket to launch along a string, flight path (propelled by compressed air) to see if they could reach the end. Lastly, they had a choice between badge making and Airfix model making. For each activity they proudly collected a stamp on their Activities Passport and later, when at home, couldn’t wait to show any visitors what they had made with lots of detailed description of how and where.
Last but not least we arrived at the Land Warfare which had lots of vehicles on display with a ‘jungle’ themed path through it which added to the atmosphere. The children could see how warfare may have been played out and some of the pros and cons of devices. My husband particularly found the information on The Forgotten War (WW2 Far East) interesting as he was not as familiar with it and even though I was more so there was still plenty to be learnt.
The weather put paid to the tank display but, that said, there is so much to see at Duxford that we will definitely be back there soon so I’m sure we’ll see it in the future … later this year, if my children have anything to do with it!
Karen Fletcher, Guest contributor
Visit iwm.org.uk for details of Duxford events and activities.
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Follow the progress of IWM Duxford’s new exhibition, Historic Duxford, on its blog by going to iwm.org.uk
What’s On at IWM Duxford:
Flying Legends – Saturday 30 June and Sunday 1 July 2012
The Duxford Air Show – Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September 2012
Autumn Air Show – Sunday 14 October 2012
Tickets for their air shows are now on sale. Book online at www.iwm.org.uk or call the Box Office on 01223 499353.
A Great Day Out – Up Front and Personal Access to Outstanding Potters
- Love ceramics?
- Like outdoor shows?
- Love talking to gifted potters?
- Like lots of space for the kids to feel free to run around?
- Like the chance to pot yourself?
- Like watching craftspeople working?
- Like listening to stimulating talks?
- Then why not go to Art in Clay in the beautiful and spacious grounds of Hatfield House in Herts to be held 6 to 8 July 2012.
Art in Clay – the best show we know for viewing a huge collection of ceramics together with their creators from all over the country and abroad.
Here’s a video clip we put together some time ago showing the standard and diversity of the work you can expect to see.
And here are more images from last year.
Yes you’ve guessed! We go every year!
2 for 1 tickets are available on all three days of the show. To qualify just copy this email and take it with you on the day. Feel free to forward it to your friends and family if you think they would be interested in visiting the show. You can pre-book with the St Albans Tourist Information Office 01727 864511, or directly with the show organiser on 0115 987 3966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you there! Val Reynolds Brown Editor
Know your Bike – How to Get the Very Best from it
One of the joys of biking is the feeling of freedom, the wind in your hair and a sense of wellbeing. Certainly riding up the hill you once had to walk your bike up gives a great sense of achievement.
I started fettling my own bikes as a teenager and soon found the right way and the wrong way to join up a cycle chain by having a chain break 10 miles from home and using someone’s garage to fix it! Similarly the inevitable punctures! The Bike Book should have been available years ago, it would have saved me a lot of time and energy.
Having said that, bikes have evolved a long way from the old simple Sturmey-Archer 3 speed hub gear to today’s 24 or more gears (33 are possible, though not really useable).
For me, servicing your own transport gives an appreciation of the limitations of the individual components, for example simply banging over large pot holes makes you realise that you will have to sort the front suspension the following weekend, to replace the bent king-pin or worse, wish-bone, reminding you not to be so stupid! Similarly servicing the bike helps to realise that servicing the bike brakes is just as important as servicing cars. Bike brakes may look simple they are not necessarily so, as you find out when they fail, when they shouldn’t!
This book helps bike users to realise the amount of development that has gone into bike parts. Just because things look the same they frequently are not, this book carefully explains the whys and wherefores of fitting bike parts. This is not to say that as soon as things go wrong, you should give up and haul the thing to the local bike shop to get it fixed. To me a large part of biking is, that it is ME; I chose the bike and very often the parts for my own good reasons, for a purpose, whether it be racing, or riding to school. The pleasure of owing a bike is vastly enhanced, by knowing something about the bits that make it work; especially when a funny noise starts! What is it? Can I fix it? Does it matter? Can I get home OK? In short, knowing simple maintenance can go a long way, literally and again save a lot of wasted effort. Pumping the tyres up, is a prime example of this, the number of times I see bikes, with nearly flat tyres is really painful; 5 minutes with a pump saves a lot of time and effort propelling the bike and in all likelihood, repairing the almost inevitable puncture. Just pump the tyres up, then see how much more easily you go and fun it is!
An excellent book for the enthusiastic biker that gives a good introduction to the evolution of the bike and its parts. There are discussions missing, but these are more likely peculiar to the racing fraternity, who very definitely service their bikes with great care; such as the more specialised tyres (for example tubular tyres and bar extensions).
The Bike Book: Complete Cycle Maintenance £16.99
ISBN: 978085733 118 2 Haynes Publishing, Sparkford, Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ
Reviewed by John Reynolds a cyclist for the last 60 odd years and counting!
At Elizabeth David’s Table – her very best everyday recipes
A copy of French Provincial Cooking by Elizabeth David was on my shelf for years and years, and when it disappeared I didn’t notice for a long time! Enough to say I had used it so frequently it was falling to bits, her philosophy and recipes the basis of my own cooking, with adaptations of course, and gradually I didn’t have need to refer to it very often.
What a joy it was to get a copy of Elizabeth David’s Table – her very best everyday recipes compiled by Jill Norman. Reading it I got that comfortable feeling of meeting up with an old friend and read it cover to cover. The inclusion of some down to earth features she wrote for various papers and publications over the years placed at the beginning of the various sections of the book made it a joy to read. Her distinctive, no nonsense way of describing a recipe and how to make it remains in my memory.
I loved her description of the market town of Cavaillon and history of the surrounding area. Full of imagery, her writing is inspirational.
I immediately started adding PostIt notes to mark recipes, Coriander Mushrooms, Aubergine Chutney, Chicken Liver Pate, Pork and Liver Pate – this recipewas one I used at a party many years ago, although I never got to eat any, it went so fast! Rillettes, Green Gnocchi, Broad Beans with bacon, egg and lemon, so many recipes I had forgotten. Those broad bean recipes in particular stimulated my purchase of some “http://realseeds.co.uk/”>Aquadulce Longpod seeds; well adapted for winter sowing and early spring eating.
I love this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in tasty, no fuss cooking, and wanting to experiment without making a hash of things!
Published by Penguin in hardback and softback editions
Lizbeth Canvey, Contributing author and professional cook
Know the Strategies of a Rapist to Keep Safe
A group of serial rapists in prisons were interviewed to discover what they looked for in a potential victim:
Hairstyle A woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other hairstyle can be easily grabbed. Rapists are more likely to go after a woman with long hair. Women with short hair are not common targets.
Clothing Rapists look for a woman whose clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many carry scissors to cut clothing.
Mobile phones Women on their mobile ‘phone, searching through their handbag or doing other activities while walking because they are off guard, can be easily overpowered.
Favourite locations include car parks of shops and offices, blocks of garages and around public toilets and, as we know, wooded paths
Rapists are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to a second location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught. If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they are likely to get discouraged, because it only takes a minute or two to realise that going after you isn’t worth it – it will be too time consuming
This group of rapists said they would not pick on women with umbrellas, or similar objects that can be used from a distance, in their hands. Keys are not a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these men you’re not worth it.
If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or are with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face and ask them a question like What time is it? Or make general small talk about the weather. Now you’ve seen their face and could identify them in a line-up, you lose appeal as a target.
If someone is coming towards you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell ‘Stop’ or ‘Stay back’. Most of the rapists spoken to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again they are looking for an EASY target.
If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength, but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker in the upper inner thigh – HARD. If you are grabbed round the chest pinch under the arm between the elbow and armpit. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it; it hurts. After the initial hit, always go for the groin. You might think that you’ll anger the man and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told the interviewers is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and they’re out of there.
If the man puts his hand up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible.
Practice some of these defences with a girlfriend – it will give you both confidence.
In conclusion, always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can. If you see any odd behaviour, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts. You may feel a bit silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.
Rape is something that you may think will never happen to you. We hope it never does. Don’t take chances. Obviously it is best never to put yourself in the situation where you could be attacked.
So ALWAYS be part of a group or at least have a companion with you
NEVER EVER walk alone in the dark in poorly lit areas
ALWAYS have emergency money kept separately from your purse for taxi fares or to contact friends or family
CHECK your mobile is charged and topped up before you leave home
NEVER accept a lift from someone you don’t know or only know slightly
STAY SOBER if you know you might get separated from companions at a popular event
Rape is: demeaning, confidence destroying, has long lasting effects, you could be infected with STDs, you may be injured
A chilling but compulsive read is I Have Life, The true story of Alison who was raped, stabbed and left for dead. A book most women would find an interesting and instructive read.
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
Really Inspirational Father’s Day Gifts
Most people seem to agree that finding the perfect gift for their dad is one of the least easy tasks of the year. Here are some ideas from our thoughtful team to inspire you:
Wine holiday in Oporto Built into the hillside of the spectacular Duoro Valley, The Yeatman hotel in Oporto is inspired by the celebrated wines of the region. Guests can seriously indulge themselves during the weekly wine evenings, tasting soirees and cookery courses. The extensive wine cellars hold 25,000 bottles alone and the in-house Michelin starred chef, Ricardo Costsa, is always on-hand to educate guests about food pairing. Even The Yeatman’s vinotherapy spa will be difficult for Dads to resist, as it offers a Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Bath or body scrub. Prices from €150 per night.
Failing that why not a bottle of Taylor’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 2005, available from £13.79 at most retail outlets nationwide. Here is a link to information on the website
Or he might have loads of the stuff in the cupboard but may not have some luscious glasses to savour it – we would choose the beautiful Riedel Port Glasses available at John Lewis and Amazon.
How about a short holiday break for someone mad on fishing? Forget Salmon Fishing in the Yemen although a couple of tickets might go down a treat! – how about Fly fishing in the Maldives All hard-working fathers deserve peace and quiet once in a while, and you would be hard pressed to find a more relaxing and tranquil outdoor pursuit than fly-fishing. On a secluded private island in North Maldives, Island Hideaway resort boasts deepwater channels and expansive shallow flats, ideal for whiling away the hours until that longed-for catch comes along. Prices from £1350 per week during low season, and £2300 during high season. OK, so that might be a bit over the top! How about The Ultimate Guide Book to Fishing? This Google page might give ideas.
Right, nothing so far appeals? What about a luxury wet shave? Harking back to simpler times when every man had a trusty barber to see to his beard and whiskers, in London the Spa at Dolphin Square offers chaps the rare chance to pamper themselves with a range of traditional Moroccan wet shaves. Choose from the age-old Savon Noir shave, which cleanses by combining crushed olives, olive oil and Eucalyptus (£35), or go all out with a Moroccan Cleansing Ritual, incorporating a Hammam and Shea Butter Massage, followed by the relaxing shave (£104). This would appeal to many men I know so it could be a winner!
On a more basic level though why not a gift voucher from B&Q? Lots of us like browsing in DIY stores, especially new and improved gadgets!
Or why not some Ogilvy’s honey – their Balkan Linden Honey is rather special. Gathered from colonies in the Danube region of Serbia. This honey was one of four varieties of Ogilvy’s Honey to win gold stars in the 2011 Great Taste Awards organised by The Guild of Fine Food. It is rather special – you can find more information on the Ogilvy’s website.
If you live in or near London then of course you could take him for a meal – Ping Pong in Soho is excellent, The Sanderson in Berners St has a wonderful dining area as has the Lanesborough Hotel opposite Hyde Park Corner. What about some tickets to a game at The Arsenal? A visit to the House of Commons to see Parliament in action and a meal in one of the boats on the river. Or a boat trip on the Thames? Of course you could just go for a walk in Hyde Park and have something to eat in one of the many cafes in the park.
Or how about an App for his iPhone or iPad – he doesn’t have one? There’s two more ideas!
Hope you might find one of these inspiring! Good luck – you have just three days left!
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
Seduced by Reduced! Making a Bargain into a Real Treat
How often have you been seduced by the REDUCED label in a supermarket – say ten or more onions, or like today, twenty limes – in your supermarket and find it irresistible and confidently expecting to make something of it? But it gets put to one side, gradually to the back of the fridge, forgotten and then discarded, optimism lost in the chasm of inertia! Well it has happened to me of course. The good news is that it happens less often now. Why? I can explore the web for ideas of what can be done with whatever I have bought.
Today I have twenty limes – these are going to be either made into lime curd (my mouth is watering at the prospect!) which takes very little time, or lime chutney – here’s a Google page with lots of recipe sites to choose from.
I collect jars to re-use and buy new tops from Lakeland. Jam and curd take time but very rewarding and make good standby gifts for many occasions.
A recent cookery course I attended included truffles – three different flavours, one including lime zest* which gives me the excuse to make some. They are so luscious I’m not sure they will get to their intended recipients … we just love ‘em! We rolled the truffles in a mix of plain and toasted coconut.
Here’s a recipe I found on the web which is similar to the one I used on the course.
Celeriac, not as often used by home cooks here as they do say in France, is frequently reduced in my local supermarket and it gives me the opportunity to produce Salmon with mustard coating, potato, pea and celeriac mash found on the BBC Good Food website. Again a recipe that works very well.
It’s this time of year when I look out for peaches and nectarines getting lower and lower in price and especially in the Reduced section. Then I usually reach for Elizabeth David’s cook book – At Elizabeth David’s Table – for her easy recipe Peaches in Wine. She tells us the best peaches for this dish are the yellow-fleshed variety. Dip the fruit in boiling water so the skins can be easily peeled off. Slice them straight into big wine glasses, sprinkle with sugar and pour a tablespoon or two of white wine into each glass. Preparing them too far ahead will make the fruit go mushy. If you would like to give the glasses an attractive look, before you start working on the fruit, put a little water in a saucer, put sugar in another saucer, holding the glass upside down gently dip the glass in the water, shake it to remove any excess water, dip the glass in the saucer of sugar, shake off any excess. Voila! You can now add the fruit and wine, carefully! This works with lots of different fruits and you could experiment with flavoured liqueurs – Cointreau and oranges, raspberries and pear vodka! Pears and raspberry liqueur, the list could go on … and on. Just experiment, great fun.
By the way, my favourite prune sweet is to use prunes soaked in white wine – could be red – for at least 3 months. I use screwtop jars, covered with cling film and the cap screwed on lightly, no need to tighten hard. This is so easy to do and makes a wonderful treat with custard! or cream or even better fromage frais, unsweetened. I keep them in a cupboard out of sight otherwise they are just too easy to dip into and devour the lot!
* For any recipe using lime zest be sure to remove the wax generally added to citrus fruit, unless marked as unwaxed. The easiest way to do this is to dunk the fruit in boiling water for 5 minutes, twice if needs be.
Katie Simpson Guest writer, Caterer for the Choosey