• 11May

    This morning I read that the stunning hare amulet designed by Kit Williams is on display in the Victoria & Albert Museum. It is part of the British Design 1948 – 2012 exhibition running until 12th August 2012. I’m thrilled to finally be able to see this, having been gripped by the book when it came out in 1979 (when I was 11 years old) and treasuring his beautiful paintings ever since.

    Kit Williams fascinates me and he is so hard to find out about, which adds to his enigma, having withdrawn from the spotlight after the success and media attention of Masquerade (and who could blame him for that). Doing some searching today I discovered some interesting pages and information, so I thought I’d put them together here for anyone else who is interested and wishes to learn more about this magical and supremely talented man.

    To begin with I was unaware there had been a BBC4 documentary in 2009 called “The Man Behind the Masquerade”. Thank goodness for YouTube which has the complete programme split into 6 parts here. If you are unable to follow the link, you’ll find it under “Kit Williams doc” posted by mobias7. Read more »

  • 11Aug

    We visited the outside of Toddington Manor in 2003 when it was in a poor state and there was talk of Warner Hotels buying it. Got in trouble with the security guard who sped up in his car when we were peering in windows!! Our interest was that after delving into Tim’s family history we found his ancestors included the Tracy family who owned it – going back to Sir William de Tracy who’s depicted to the side of the main entrance as one of the assassins involved in the murder of Thomas Becket in 1170! I’ve just found an exciting and informative article in Cotswold Life about the house – thankfully Damien Hurst bought the manor and it is now undergoing extensive renovations – 3 years into possibly 10 years of work. Then it will be opened to the public as a museum of Hurst’s work which is fantastic news. Here are the photos we took in 2003.

  • 30Mar

    I really enjoyed the ten part series on BBC2 where celebrity guests choose their favourite 5 books, split between 5 categories. I’ve been pondering my choices since and decided on these:

    Favourite early childhood book
    A Dog So Small by Phillipa Pearce (1962). I remember having to write my first book review at junior school and choosing this book after being completely captivated by the imaginative story.

    Read more »

  • 25Mar

    I recorded this programme a while back but only watched it yesterday, full of renewed resolution to lose weight – my New Year’s resolution never really started with all the chocolate and cake still around! I found it so helpful, already aware that I need to focus more on exercise anyway as my diet isn’t too bad. Also I’m not giving up all the goodies, would rather increase my fitness levels by being more active instead.

    The full programme can be seen on You Tube in 5 parts, the first is here and I do highly recommend a look.

    If you haven’t time to watch the videos or want a handy summary, here it is: Read more »

  • 02Apr

    Make of this what you will, I found this film completely fascinating. I missed it on TV but all the parts are here on You Tube. I feel it is incredibly sad to see the history and architecture of this area not being preserved, but poetic that the land is naturally being reclaimed by the prairie and farming is returning to the city.

    I found it referenced on the Retro to Go website and the words are taken from their article. This is a new film by Julien Temple and it’s called “Requiem for Detroit”.

    Detroit was once America’s fourth largest city. Built by the car for the car, with its ground-breaking suburbs, freeways and shopping centres, it was the embodiment of the American dream. But its intense race riots brought the army into the city. With violent union struggles against the fierce resistance of Henry Ford and the Big Three, it was also the scene of American nightmares.

    Now it is truly a dystopic post-industrial city, in which 40 per cent of the land in the centre is returning to prairie. Greenery grows up through abandoned office blocks, houses and collapsing car plants, and swallows up street lights. Police stations and post offices have been left with papers on the desks like the Marie Celeste. There is no more rush hour on what were the first freeways in America. Crime, vandalism, arson and dog fighting are the main activities in once the largest building in North America. But it’s also a source of hope. Streets are being turned to art. Farming is coming back to the centre of the city. Young people are flocking to help. The burgeoning urban agricultural movement is the fastest growing movement in the US. Detroit leads the way again but in a very different direction.

    Of course start doing some research on Google and there are fascinating blogs about different aspects of Detroit and amazing photographs of the abandoned buildings on Flickr. This blog, Sweet Juniper, is written by somebody who knows Detroit well and there are stunning photos of houses returning to nature in the area.



  • 24Feb

    Really pleased to see people are continuing to post their memories of Hemel in response to a post I wrote 3 years ago. I have looked at these films before but now they are definitely better quality.  Wow they bring back memories!  Lovely to see Hemel with her optimistic early 60′s new town face on. Just follow these links to British Pathe’s website to view:

    Hemel Hempstead in 1961
    Old Town Face Lift (aka Hemel Hempstead New Town)