Wednesday, 29 August 2012


On the 25th of April 1949 Jessica Alice Garbett and Thomas George Seaman Baynes were married at St Botolph’s church, my parents.

It was arranged marriage, arranged by two friends of theirs, a couple who lived in London. No family were invited, my parents came up from Essex, by train, and walk from Liverpool Street Station, a few minutes from the church.

‘The present church, the fourth on this site, was completed in 1729 to the designs of James Gould, under the supervision of George Dance. It is aisled and galleried in the classic style, and is unique among the City churches in having its tower at the East End, with the chancel underneath. The font, pulpit and organ all date from the eighteenth century.’
Extract from the Guide to St Botolph without Bishopsgate

Early for a meeting I again visited the church and made a hurried drawing of the exterior and afterwards returned to step inside. It was a hot sunny day, inside the church was flooded with sunshine and totally silent inside, its cool interior impervious the noise of traffic and construction.

I had made a painting of the church, for my parents, in 1998 and whilst the church had not altered the surrounding were much changed.

After leaving the church, the wedding completed and witness, they crossed London to Victoria Station and thence to Brighton for their honeymoon.

Friday, 24 August 2012


It must have been about four weeks ago when I set to and gave the herb garden a big haircut.

Marjoram, sage, rosemary, mint, lemon balm, and variegated sage -  all our bushes were given a thorough trim!  However I could not bring myself to throw all the trimmings on the compost heap and stuck several large clippings in a jar. Changing the water regularly this collection of cuttings has been and still continues to provide a lovely display and aroma.

Across the ages, herbs and flowers have had special meanings. In earlier centuries it became very popular to send bouquets or posies of herbs with hidden messages of love and friendship, for example a posy of thyme, mint and sorrel would convey affection.

Saturday, 18 August 2012


The other day I was seeking to provide an activity for 10 colleagues by taking them into the British Museum. Having sent them off to explore at will, I headed the China Asia and Southeast Asia collections in room 33. The wonderful thing about the BM is that if one hankers after being back in Asia then you can enter this exciting part of the world through the doors the British Museum!

A completely new discovery for me was Korea (Room 67) this contained some absolute delights from 5000 BC to A.D. 1900.

One forgets, with so much written about modern Korea, North and South, that that there is a vast heritage of delightful and beautiful design and craft from this part of the world. The whole set up in room 67 is so quiet and so peaceful being light at the back of the museum that you are quite undisturbed and completely in Korea. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Tucked away on the campus of University College London is a dual box of Egyptian treasures.

I've visited, briefly, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology it is a museum, then the classic sense of the word: rows and rows of narrow glass fronted cases containing around 80,000 objects. Here is one of the greatest collections of Egypt in Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world.

The high spot for me were two 3000-year-old frocks that had been beautifully displayed on mannequins and displayed so that one could get up really close to these delightful confections.

The whole place is absolutely enchanting. The museum is open Tuesday through to Saturday from 1 o'clock through till 6 o’clock, it’s a lovely place to visit and I shall return. 

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Five minutes walk from my father’s house,
The Church of St Mary’s Kelvedon,
We walked out in sunshine following the sound,
And caught the bell ringers at it,
Ringing a change?

In sixty minutes the wedding party would arrive; Ushers anxious already.

I try to get the ringers down on paper,
Arms and shoulders
And their grasping for the ‘Sally’
Sally, the velvet grab handle on a bell rope.

Must find out more about bell-ringing.

Friday, 3 August 2012



Now the estuary is quiet and peaceful; Curlews, Oystercatchers skim the water and occasionally pipe up against the constant chatter of the gulls.

A swarm of mullet rose to the surface, perhaps for our tortilla chips, before absolute low water.  Then Ragdoll like several others moored close by tipped over 30 degrees and we spent a couple of hours on one side of the cockpit, legs braced against the other side to maintain some sense of balance.  Large Gin & Tonics really was the only recourse as we prepared for being level and the chance to prepare and consume supper and with in finished, wine was the consolation.

Cooking was almost brought to an end when we ran out of matches and called across the water to a boatful of sea scouts; answering our hail they then rowed over to a neighbouring boat begged a lighter off them: Be Prepared.

Mill pond calm dawn with orange tawny light: Saturday at 0630 we awoke to find ourselves at 20% a-tilt, however we were soon horizontal again and after breakfast we sailed gingerly out, towards deeper water and the journey back, eastwards, home to Emsworth. Wind and tide were with us for four hours; sails un-reefed and full.

The fine weather and it being Saturday brought hundreds of craft into the Solent. Most of these were following the race of J-Class boats in a round the island race. Four J-Class juggernauts, with their crews of twenty or more, were hard at it, impossibly large sails and masts 180 feet high. J-Class, the kings of yachting, vying for supremacy and casting every other vessel was a bit-party in the sun-blessed pageant.

Later in the afternoon and we were back on the mooring; cleaning up and clearing out; kit bags off and covers on, all tied down and at rest; soon we were back in the dingy to the clubhouse after a splendid voyage aboard Rag Doll.