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Sunday 4 September 2022

Outings, Art, Wild Flowers - August in Review


Gail Hanlon from style blog Is This Mutton at Somerset House in central London

Dear friends. Welcome to my review of August. What a month! The fabulous weather continued, more or less unabated. There were quite a few outings including a Kettlewell Colour Club day by the seaside and a trip to the Tower of London to see the wild flowers growing in the moat.  I finally made it to the refurbished Courtauld Gallery to see the Munch exhibition. 

The month started with a family trip - grownups - to the Tower of London to see the #Superbloom display. This is a dazzling wild flower extravaganza in the former moat.  There's a huge slide for some photo fun. It's such a photogenic location. I love the juxtaposition between the old and new, with some of the modern buildings jostling for attention. 

See  pics here. 

Afterwards I went to the Courtauld Gallery to see the Munch exhibition. Sadly, The Scream was not in the line-up, although I did see it a few years ago in Oslo.  But in the main gallery, lots of very famous works of art. I'm sure everyone recognises this one.

There was some filming going on in the courtyard of the Courtauld Gallery - another photo opportunity! (Top of the post) 

I did 3 lovely walks with Meetup groups.  Highgate to Hackney Wick is a section of the London Link, and offered some very scenic walking along a former railway plus two huge and busy parks. Our lunch stop was Clissold Park.  Clissold House has a cafe and is an eighteenth century mansion house used for weddings and civil ceremonies. 

Clissold House in Hackney

I also did part 1 of the Wandle Trail, Colliers Wood to Carshalton, and saw this traditional farming scene: 

Shire horse and plough, farming the traditional way

The pub at the end was very welcome, another hot day! It's fun discovering parts of London and surrounds I've never been to. The public transport network here is outstanding. 

A walk closer to home was the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow, very close to where we live. William Morris was a famous English Arts and Crafts designer and early socialist. 

Water House, where the gallery is located, became William's family home when he was 10 and in "reduced circumstances." It's a  substantial Grade II* listed Georgian building. The gallery sits inside Lloyd Park where you can visit the cafe and sit in the pleasant gardens. 

There was another exhibition of the work of  textile designer Althea McNish. Her colourful designs were the perfect contrast to the more muted designs of Morris. Here's her "bachelor girl's dream pad" designed for the Ideal Home Exhibition in the 1960s.

And a selection of her designs: 

Selecrion of designs by textile designer Althea McNish

Petersham Nurseries, Richmond

I met up with a former colleague Oxana for a trip to Richmond to visit a well known garden centre. It's no ordinary garden centre:  the cafe gained a Michelin star under former chef Skye Gyngell, and the displays of glassware and flowers are beautiful.  My word it's pricey though, and I couldn't help laughing at the reaction Mr Mutton would have to "distressed slipper baths" and other items for sale which he'd describe as old tat! 

The weather was good until we had nearly finished our lunch, and then, after a very prolonged dry spell, there was a sudden downpour. The tube network got disrupted because of flooding at some of the stations, so it took me a while to get home.

Selfie taken at Petersham Nurseries Richmond

Kettlewell Colour Club

The gatherings with women from the "Colourful Croydon Coffee Club," as we call it, are quite regular now and we were fortunate that Jayne opened her lovely home to us in the seaside area of Whitstable and Tankerton. Again, beautiful weather. A number of us arranged to catch the same train, which was fun. We were joined by members of the Kent Colour Club, most of whom I've met before. After a swim, a lovely restaurant lunch on the seafront and back to Jayne's for sweet treats, we headed home on the train. 

Gail Hanlon from Is This Mutton with friends from the Kettlewell Colour Club at a meet up in Whitstable

Second Hand September!

I'm joining in with Oxfam UK for Secondhand September, where you only buy secondhand, pre-loved clothes.  I'm going to go one step further and not buy ANY clothes in September.  I was fortunate in that the new Kettlewell range landed at the end of August and I bought three pieces, but that was Aug 31! 

I've sold a few things on eBay, although it's frustrating these days because the prices are crazy. I donate most of my clothes to charity but if I have higher-end stuff or anything unworn with tags, I prefer to try to sell it and give a percentage to charity. But people expect to pay £10 or less for a designer skirt. The Vinted site seems even worse. 

I'm having a massive cull at the moment and will use the wonderful I Collect Clothes who can be booked to pick up  bags of clothes, linen, towels, books and DVDs.

I found this handy hanger for jewellery storage at the cool site Must Have Ideas. It's double sided.

Living My Best Life

I gave up my job three months ago now, and can honestly say I'm leading my best life. My short-term goals were to enjoy the summer with plenty of outings, go regularly to Pilates and continue my walks in Epping Forest. And this I have done! 

We've been joining John's daughter Rachel on some of the forest walks with baby Olive, four months old. Here she is meeting our cat Molly (aged 18).

Baby Olive four months old meets Molly the cat aged 18. Is This Mutton.com

For autumn, I've registered for a virtual class at the V&A Museum studying Art Deco history for a few weeks. I'm also intending to cook from scratch a meal from a recipe each week. 

I haven't spent quite as much time as I expected gardening, cleaning or blogging. They've all been taking a back seat. 

As the days get darker and colder, with a winter of discontent looming (strikes, energy shortages and huge bills), I'm sure I'll be back to cleaning and blogging.  Gardening is off the agenda in winter although I have placed my usual order for bulbs and will be planting them in October and November. 

In September we have a hiking holiday in the Lakes and will be ghyll scrambling and e-biking as well as walking.  We're also doing a discover stand-up paddle boarding session when we get back. I have sore misgivings because I doubt if I'll be able to stand upright - I need to use my my hands to get me up to a standing position! 

So I don't have any regrets about giving up work, although people are always asking when I'm going to go back. 

TV, Books and Podcasts in August

You'll find my recommendations and dislikes here.

Is This Mutton is back with a new post on Wednesday. Do join me then! 

Sharing this post with:  #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine Whatever,, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey Brunette, Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri at My Bijou LifeTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, Friendship Friday at Create with Joy


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