Monday, 28 April 2014


It's hard to avoid bikes this year wherever you are in the UK, let alone here.

But, believe it or not, in Cambridge...

...there are many ways to escape the darn things (or is it just me who dares to be bored with bikes?)
Here, for example, you will find the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology where you can see objects collected on Captain Cook's voyages and other South Seas kit, donated by these jolly chaps.
South Seas necklace.
Native American Mask.
  There's free entry to many museums and to the grounds and chapel of Pembroke College.
We ended our visit, on foot, with an afternoon of quiet contemplation in the Fitzwilliam Museum.
Zadie Smith said, "Cambridge was a joy...people reading books in a posh place."
Perfect, despite the bikes.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


This place is very popular! We followed the dog-walkers...
... to Holkham Beach in North Norfolk, a windy wilderness. This Easter trip was supposed to be a big antiques safari, but the weather was so good we could not resist tramping along some of East Anglia's beaches in the sunshine. I cannot decide which bit of Britain's varied coastline is my favourite. Do you have special seaside place?

Holkham Beach

Around and down the coast, as the gull flies...
... to Walberswick Creek in Suffolk where, 30 years ago, we went camping and fishing for crabs. Perhaps that's the unique thing about beaches - the memories they hold for us last a lifetime. Inevitably, we change - in towns and villages buildings decay and others are built - but beaches stay the same, give or take the odd bit of coastal erosion.
Walberswick Beach
Could this be the most poplar beach in East Anglia?
I hear it is a favourite with the metropolitan middle classes; writers, artists, thespians and the like. We did encounter actress, author and comedian Meera Syal who called to her son to move out of Mr N's path (I know he badly needs a haircut but, really, he didn't look too scary.)
Do you know it?
Every girl loves a nice beach hut - in Southwold!


Saturday, 12 April 2014


It was my big idea - to show my grandchildren their heritage... here we are again at Bradford's Cartwright Hall, a super gallery that I believe needs its praises to be sung a lot more loudly. The central exhibit in one of three new exhibitions, is the awesome Sikh Fortress Turban or Dastaar Boonga on loan from the British Museum...

...heavily armed with daggers, swords and metal throwing-discs.
Mum seems to like the Sikh textiles.

I'm not so sure about these two!
Please concentrate little B, this might be useful one day.
The hands-on approach is much more fun, for some. 
The Cartwright Hall is full of interesting art from all over the world.

Come on - Nana's should be fun, not swotty!

OK - follow me!
Outside at last.

Mr N is taking arty photos of Sophie Ryder sculptures...
...everybody's happy!
Cartwright Hall Art Gallery is set in beautiful Lister Park with a boating lake, water garden and small cafe - it often hosts interesting exhibitions and events. Also on at the moment is a beautiful exhibition of paintings, drawings and photographs illustrating Dante Gabriel Rossetti's obsession with Janey Morris, William's wife, see here.

Saturday, 5 April 2014


It was business as usual for us at the IACF antiques fair at Newark this week, until I noticed the elegant lady in the yellow beret, two stands away from us.
(I think she was having a quiet snooze.)

Mr N did not recognise her, but I am well-known in our family for being a mine of interesting information and useless tittle tattle. "She's quite a famous actress!" I whispered excitedly, "And a well-known expert on thimbles and sewing sundries! I'm sure I've seen her on TV, in fact I saw her recently in 'Perfume: The Story of a Murderer', the film of that creepy novel by Patrick Suskind!"
It was indeed Bridget McConnel, who, in the film, plays the aunt of a pretty young woman, foolishly intent on purchasing some perfume.
Here she is back in 1981, in an episode of Tales of the Unexpected. Ms. McConnel's excellent website is here and includes items for sale.
It isn't the first time I've noticed a famous face on the selling side of antiques - I wonder if you have seen any around the fairs - and do you remember these?
This is Chilham Village Hall in Kent - an amazing tithe barn where we've spent happy hours hunting antiques - after the initial shock of meeting this fine fellow on the door...
...HELP! He's on the left and he was once a famous professional wrestler and antiques fair organizer. Answer a) below.

Do you remember this dolly bird? She sells antique Scandinavian furniture - and she's Ben Fogle's lovely mum. Answer b).
There may not be many of you old enough to recognise this moody young 1960s rock star from Sheffield, though you may know his hit "The Crying Game", later recorded by Boy George. He's still there and still rockin', but now he also sells antiques at local fairs and in local shops. Answer c).
a) Jackie Pallo 1926 - 2006
b) Julia Foster
c) Dave Berry