Steve n Jen's UK adventures

UK and European adventures. Read on my pretties, and discover what two stray Aussies can get up to on their travels.......

29 June 2011

Jun 2011 b

Fri 17 Jun 2011
We caught up with our Aussie friend Master Daffydd tonight, over dinner and a couple of pints.

Sat 18 Jun 2011

This morning Jen bought fabric for Steve. In the afternoon we hung out at Steve's boss' birthday BBQ, to wish him a happy biffy.

Sun 19 Jun 2011
Today we got out and saw the Green Lantern film.
Jen's thinking of a flying visit to Brisbane for her high-school-best-friend's wedding (Kylie).

Wed 22 Jun 2011
Jen has a day off work. Steve is the snot-beast, but is at work!  Jen surfs the internet, reads magazines - that sort of lazy day stuff. Nice to have a quiet house to self.

Sat 25 Jun 2011
We were meant to go hang with Deb and Clancy this weekend, however Steve's snotty and head-coldy, and Jen's voice will not hold up to chatting very much, so no socialising for either of us unfortunately. So instead we stay home and take it easy. Jen gets 6 hours of embroidery done on Steve's new laurel cloak.

Sun 26 Jun 2011
Jen spent about 4 hours gardening today without hat or sunscreen, and got a little touch of sunburn. Sunny, cloudless blue skies and 28C. Perfect afternoon for a lazy swim (if we had access to a pool that is). Poor Steve is still under the weather, so Jen made him brekkie and lunch - a minor miracle as far as Steve's concerned.
The one thing Steve did muster the energy to do this weekend (having been nagged by the little woman for weeks now) was drill 3 holes and glue/screw the front gate latch on to the front brick wall. It's finally finished, nice one Steve.
Mon 27 Jun 2011
Steve finally takes a sick-day off work. He probably ought to have done this on Thursday, but super important things on, meant he soldiered on anyway. He managed to squeeze in about 20 episodes of Bab5.

Tue 28 Jun 2011
We booked flights to Nuremberg. We'll be doing Oktoberfest with Cadogan and Eufemia - yay! Also booked a flight to Brisbane for Jen, to be there for Kylie's wedding at the end of October. Squeee! Poor Stevie-poos will have to bachelor it out for a whole week, poor diddims.

12 June 2011

Jun 2011 a

Sat 04 Jun 2011
Red House was really nice, but it means we now have new inspiration for more places to go visit .... such as the William Morris museum and Kelmscott Manor.

The Red House was designed under the direction of William Morris (as the architect's client) and was the first "modern" house built apparently. For starters, the servants and the family had sleeping quarters in the same area of the house.
Morris and friends spent 5 years designing and making things for this house. This included stained glass windows, furniture design and painting, tiles, wallpaper, painting on ceilings, wall murals, tapestries etc etc. 

The National Trust only acquired the house 4 years ago so they're slowly making progress uncovering the original paint in many areas of the house which was largely white washed over the years. Much of the furniture and other items of beauty which once adorned the house are in museums and art collections elsewhere. Most of this guided tour involved words like "Now imagine what this room originally looked like ...." describing the original colour schemes.

Here are some photos, and it was such a delightful day to be out in a fragrant English garden!
The Red House was once nestled amidst orchards, but today suburbia surrounds the estate.
The surrounding garden "clothes" the house.
A round of croquet anyone? We marvelled at the pear trees which were tortured into shapes around the house, such as you can see behind Steve here.
In the entrance an original piece of furniture remains. You can see where original patterned paintwork is a little revealed on these brown panels. The door behind Steve is enormous, and the four in-set stained glass panels are 1970's, as the originals were removed for fear of being stolen (worth a fortune).
The house is double-storeyed, and the plan is L shaped. This oak stair is at the heart of the house. The ceiling plaster is pierced to grid out the space, making later hand-painting easier... apparently a medieval practise. The piercing is done by a board with nails, pressed while the plaster is still setting.
Two views of the art room. Loads of natural light from all directions!
Also a sink/basin behind Steve - very handy for an artist.

The white-wash angled ceiling panels are original.
The top ceiling is also hand decorated with the pierced plaster and a pattern.

This, the main Dining Room was once dark and boldy painted. The ceiling didn't have the boards. This is another original piece of furniture - but modified by Morris to be a loft ladder. Also used by their children as a choir loft during family Xmas celebrations.

A closer look at this dining room. A really lovely bay window, and wedding feast wall mural. Below this, hidden away behind the panelling is a little hint at the original wall decoration!
Some of the stained glass windows made for this house - these are Fortune and Love. The size suggests these may be two of the four panels from the front door, relocated to the sunny garden hall now.
A lovely day to enjoy the garden! At top is the motto over the dining room's fireplace,
meaning Art is Long(lived), Life is Brief.
Sun 05 Jun 2011
Well the weather from yesterday didn't hold today, so a good day to be inside a museum.
Caught up with Soph for lunch then together we all popped in to the British Library to see the science fiction exhibition. Great suggestion, thanks Soph, and Steve loved every minute of it! We also popped our noses into the Treasures Room while we were there. Afterwards we chatted over a couple of pints in the pub across the road.

Jen at the British Library, with the turrets of St Pancras (Victorian) railway station in the background.
Jen and Soph relaxing the feet and enjoying a good long chat with Steve.

Tue 07 Jun 2011
Plotted a course and booked stays in chalets in the Bretagne region, France - to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary.

Sat 11 Jun 2011

Steve went to the gym for the 4th time this week. Jen went out and bought several metres of wool. Jen's making Steve a laurel cloak, and herself a tudor overgown/jacket.

Sun 12 Jun 2011

Continuing the pre-raphelite / Aesthetics movement theme, we traipsed down to the V&A and saw their exhibition titled "the Cult of Beauty". They had many lovely artworks on display including The Day Dream, the Countess Brownlow, Pavonia, and Veronica Veronese. Here's a pic of Steve with The Day Dream, his 2nd favourite pre-raph painting of all time. (Steve's favourite is La Ghirlandata by Rossetti)

Steve in front of 'The Day Dream' by Rossetti,
at the V&A's Cult of Beauty exhibition.
Jen in the courtyard, V&A.