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Friday 31 March 2023

March in Review

 #WhatsBeenOnYourCalendar #WBOYC

David Hockney Immersive exhibition in London

Dear friends. March could be described as "the month that sunshine forgot."  They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.  Unfortunately, it was a lion for most of the month! Let's hope for an improvement in April.

So what did I get up to? I continued with my monthly discovery of art, and I succeeded with my personal self-care goals.  There were two colourful Kettlewell meet-ups and a trip to Devon for Mother's Day. Not to mention walks and books.


Five colourful mid life women meet in Birmingham, a highlight in Is This Mutton's account of March 2023

Had a train trip to Birmingham for two meet-ups on the same day:  first, five members of the Facebook Sensational Springs group, pictured above, and then a bigger meet-up with the FB WXYZ group.  Both groups are off-shoots of the Kettlewell Colour Club. It's always brilliant to meet like minded women. Some strong friendships have been forged through the colour club. It was brilliant that stylist Jo from Kettlewell was an unexpected guest (third from left). 

David Hockney Immersive Exhibition 

David Hockney, 85, is Britain's greatest living artist, and still very prolific. He has always embraced technology and was one of the first artists to use an ipad to create art. 

Immersive shows are the future, it would seem. The Hockney show is staged at a new venue, Lightroom, in the King's Cross area of London. This district is unrecognizable from how it used to look. An imaginative regeneration has made it a wonderful place to dine, relax and shop. 

Is This Mutton blogger Gail Hanlon arrives at Lightroom in London for the David Hockney Immersive exhibition

The immersive experience is in a huge room with projections.  The show lasts 45 minutes. It was lovely, and moving, to hear Hockney's recollections.  The projections are very imaginative, it's not just his artworks blown up larger.  I was captivated and shot several videos. I loved the section devoted to the Wolds seasonal collection,  where Hockney painted the same trees in the north of England over four seasons. In the immersive, rain and snow falls during the winter paintings. 

I later realised I didn't have many photos. The photo at the top of the post shows Hockney's LA swimming pools era. 

After the immersive we had lunch in the nearby Granary Square Brasserie. It was buzzing. 


This was a new walk with my London Meetup group. It was very overcast and windy.  The walk had two highlights: the David Bowie mural in Brixton, and one of the last surviving windmills in Lambeth. On the day Bowie died, in 2016, I bought flowers and made my way to the mural along with many others. 

Over the month I walked 98.77 miles, slightly down on Feb (100.79). I would have finished on 102 had I walked today, but looking at the awful weather, it's a No. 

One memorable walk was on the day of the local running club's biggest race of the season, the Orion 15. J had helped to lay the sawdust trail the day before, and on the big day he went to Yates Meadow to video the runners struggling up the steep hill covered in mud.  I was doing a normal walk but saw the runners several times, and stopped for a quick snap with J.


I resolved at the start of the year to spend a bit more time on pampering and relaxing activities. In March I went to another gong bath. I also had a Guinot Hydradermie Lift Deluxe Facial.  This had a miraculous lifting effect although it only lasted a couple of days.  I'd definitely do it before a big event or night out. 

Gong Bath at Chingford in East London

Wardrobe Refresh

I was a bit dismayed when the summer bags of clothes and shoes came down from the loft. Three bags!  I was at the point where I'd pared down my winter clothes and my wardrobe was looking so much tidier.  I've now been quite ruthless with my summer stuff and have a lot to take to the charity shop.  I sold some items on eBay, where you can still get good prices for certain brands.  Two handbags went for £180 and a pair of unworn pink brogues for £70. 


It seems there's no standardized date for Mother's Day worldwide.  Ours is earlier than in the US. I took the e-car down to Plymouth on my own, which meant I had to charge it "in the wild" for the first time.

This is fairly easy as apps tell you where the chargers are, and you can program the sat nav accordingly.  We have registered for one particular network of fast chargers via BMW, and I used them twice in each direction. These are at smaller service stations just off the motorway.  It takes around 20 mins to get to 80%. 

I also gave the car a bonus charge in Saltash, Cornwall, where I'd gone to meet a fellow Kettlewellie, Di. This was using my debit card and was a much more expensive charge than the one where we use our BMW card. 

It was lovely meeting Di, we have bought items off each other in the last few months. I was wearing one of her green tops! 

While in Devon I took Mum to Endsleigh Garden Centre for lunch - they had a lovely Easter display. A yellow handbag managed to find its way into my shopping basket....

For Mother's Day five of us went to a restaurant in Plymouth.  I was "in the moment" so didn't take any photos. 

I hadn't been to the local village chippy in Colebrook for years - since I was a kid - but had fish and chips one evening and it was extremely good!  Better than what we get from our local chippy in London. 

Another family event was our eldest granddaughter's fourth birthday. The grandparents went round for cake. 


I was on a bit of a roll in March, probably because of the bad weather, and read 10 books. My two favourites were Metronome by Tom Watson (fiction) and Henry VIII The Heart and the Crown by Alison Weir (historical fiction).  Read my reviews. 

In the Good Reads Reading Challenge my target is 100 books and I'm on track with 24 read so far.  Im currently reading Ghost Girl, Banana by Wiz Wharton which is very good, and Fearless by Louise Minchin. 



She Said (Prime) is the story of how two determined female reporters from the New York Times finally got to expose the misdemeanors of Harvey Weinstein. It was factual and non-sensationalised. It didn't need to be: the women's stories said it all. 9 out of 10.   Another Round (Netflix) is a Danish film where a group of disillusioned teachers, including Mads Mikkelsen, decide to conduct a scientific experiment where they add certain amounts of alcohol to their working day, in an effort to see if it improves their teaching without making them addicted.  It was honest and truthful - the experiment didn't really end well - but ultimately uplifting. 7 out of 10. 

TV Shows

I'm enjoying the latest series of Unforgotten (ITV, ITVX), although I'm not entirely convinced yet about the replacement for Nicola Walker.  The series is focused on solving cold cases. I'm always fascinated by these because it requires methodical and painstaking police work to resolve crimes which may have happened pre-CCTV and DNA. 

Another police series we're enjoying is Blue Lights  (BBC1, iPlayer) about rookie police officers on their probationary period in Belfast. One of them, a former social worker in her early 40s, is determined to make a difference to the lives of people she encounters, but as we saw in episode 1, this is probably not going to end well.

I was thrilled to see the return of Race Across the World (BBC), this time in Canada.  Six couples compete to get to crossing points with hardly any money and no mobile phones. The contestants have to work to earn cash, and rely on the kindness of strangers at times for travel and accommodation.

I thought it would be an easier challenge in a predominantly English speaking country, but not so.  In the first episode, some of the entrants were dismayed to get to Vancouver Island and find out the boat they needed wouldn't sail for several days. 

Some of the contestants in Race Across the World want to change their lives for various reasons,  but they are never humiliated as in other reality TV shows, and in fact end up strong by the end. 

We have been to the Greek island of Skiathos many times, and will be going again this summer, so I had to watch Home Greek Home (More4) about how interior designer Sarah Moore bought a ramshackle 123 year old house on the island during the lockdown, without seeing it. The series shows how the house is restored, although it's not plain sailing:  the local builders all have additional jobs during the summer season. I loved seeing Skiathos out of season for the Easter celebrations. 

We've just started Rabbit Hole (Paramount) where, in a familiar role for him, Kiefer Sutherland is a private espionage agent framed for murder. Lots of thrills, surprises and flashes of humour. 

Liason (Apple) is a bit of a Marmite drama - you either love it or hate it.  It's a big British-French  thriller starring Eva Green and Vincent Cassel, filmed in London and Paris. The dialogue is occasionally very wooden, particularly among some of the Brits. The premise is post-Brexit Britain getting cyber hacked. I like it, there are a few "whoah!" moments. 

Not keen:  Daisy Jones and the Six (Prime) and The Night Patrol (Netflx) are floating J's boat, but not mine.  Daisy Jones doesn't seem realistic to me, it's as if they're going through the motions. It tells the story of a band in the 70s, loosely based on Fleetwood Mac.  The Night Patrol is another FBI drama with an incomprehensible plot. 

Podcast Recommendation

Who Killed Aldrich Kemp? ( BBC Sounds) is a spoof on the spy genre, and absolutely hilarious.  Phoebe Fox is the fearless operative Carla Page. Her mother likes to ring her up to ask how she is, and if there's any danger of terrorists, and is BA the airline?  (This sounds quite familiar to me!).  Nicola Walker is the jam making assassin Mrs Boone. Another member of their cabal is Aunt Lily, who cheers up at the prospect of someone making tea but then asks who made it. On hearing it's Sebastian she says "probably not then." 

That's a wrap for March. I'm joining the southern hemisphere ladies for the What's Been on Your Calendar link-up.

Sharing this post with #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Rena at Fine WhateverTalent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, #SpreadTheKindness at Shelbee on the Edge,  #Neverendingstyle at The Grey Brunette, Final Friday at Marsha in the Middle


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