Wednesday, 29 October 2008

More Huts!

Having just read a recent post on Juliet's Musings from Coldingham Bay in Berwickshire I thought I'd share a few more of my own efforts with you this evening... I've been quite fascinated with these rather idiosyncratic modest pieces of seaside architecture for some time now and have been painting and drawing them for a few years... it seems at almost any sandy beach or bay or inlet or cove around these islands you can find them in almost infinite variety of designs and shades.
I think we are particularly fortunate on Mersea to have such a variety of them and they all seem almost without exception to be lovingly maintained throughout the year. My only worry is the stealthy advance of the 'one size fits all' designer hut/chalet that we have now see here. These to my mind are the beach hut equivalent of the grey squirrel!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Missing Mersea

When I first moved to Essex, about 17 years ago I couldn't really see what all the fuss was concerning Mersea. The way that the tide slides in and out with barely a ripple seemed rather a let down after living right beside the crashing waves at Trebarwith Strand in North Cornwall.
When we moved to Mersea 10 years ago it was lovely for the artist to be back where he was born and gradually I started to see the beauty of the huge skies, the birds and the fantastic sunsets.
This week I am up in Norfolk helping my brother to care for my lovely dad and I miss Mersea, my family and my cafes like crazy. I haven't made a single scone since Sunday and although it is really good to be spending time with another branch of my family it is in rather sad circumstances. My Dad has become very confused in the last few weeks and it has made me realise how rubbish we are generally at caring for our elderly. Both my parents were extremely lucky to have been taken to Norfolk by my brother and his wife when they decided to leave London for a better life. My mum used to say it was like being on holiday all the time. I am tempted to bring my dad to Mersea for awhile (if I can squeeze him into our house) so that my brother can have a rest but I'm not sure he will come.
I think we are really lucky on Mersea. In the cafe I often see elderly people who could have been lonely chatting with others who they only know because we live on the same island.
I was going to set down my opinion of Jacket Potatoes this evening but once I start thinking about things I get a bit stuck. Jacket Potato politics another day.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

English Cox Time

I just munched my way through an English Cox apple and yum! They're so very sweet and crisp right now, I suggest you get yourself down to the green-grocers and treat yourself and 'keep the doctor away' into the bargain.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Real Food

The other day whilst baking my heart out at home I listened to You and Yours on BBC Radio 4 and was delighted to hear that someone (a big brewery) has at last got into trouble and been fined a hefty sum for advertising food as homemade when in fact it has been bought in. Nearly every week I get a list from one of the big food providers offering me things that look as if they have been carefully and thoughtfully prepared when in actual fact they have been mass produced in a factory.
I don't mind a bit if people choose to eat this sort of thing but it is vital that they know what they are getting. If I make you a cake you can been sure that I have used real, free range, eggs, that the lemon zest came off of a real lemon and I rubbed it off with my microplane the way microplanes are brilliant. The naughty side of baking things myself is the bowls that need licking at the end but my children and 'theartist' are happy to help with this job if not the washing up.

Friday, 10 October 2008

A Souvenir From Berlin

My very own Trabant!

The youngest member of the artistandtartist clan returned from his A level history trip to Berlin last night and presented me with this rather funky model 'trabi'. I had completely forgotten a few months back I had waxed lyrical about one day having one of these most un-cool, cool cars from the former DDR. I'm now the proud owner of my very own Trabant! We scoffed some rather excellent chocolate whilst watching his slide show of all the sights...The Reichstag...Checkpoint Charlie...Brandenburg Gate...T.V Tower...The Wall...etc. Anyhow he had an interesting trip and we are pleased to have him home.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Autumn Leaves & The Economy

View from the Artcafe this morning.

Sweeping the leaves from the cafe forecourt this most glorious of Mersea Island Autumn mornings my mind wandered to the current banking crisis, which at times has seemed very far removed from our little marshy island. Now, I'm not exactly 'up to speed' or even remotely interested in the machinations of the global banking system as a rule but the sheer scale of this monumental cock-up has me intrigued. You see, for most of my adult life I've been led to believe that banks were safe places to put one's [business] hard earned cash and they in turn would charge a commission for being so clever and prudent with such deposits. Now it seems that this is less true than ever, in fact it was announced yesterday that sales of safes are up 25% and I'll bet that as I write this many people are ferreting away wads of cash into 'slumberland' and 'sleepeasy' accounts at home!

So often in recent times I've heard these financial [I use the term loosely this morning]... giants bemoaning the 'nanny state' for over regulation etc. Now it transpires that what most of them desperately require is not simply a nanny but something more akin to supergran with a spare £50 billion in her trolley. I may be wide of the mark here, correct me if I am, but this will equate to about £1,000 for every tax payer in Britain. I do hope they spend it wisely.

On a different tack, I (theartist) subscribe to a splendid e-mail twice a week from the Canadian painter Robert Genn on 'arty-farty' matters. It's usually pithy and interesting and last Tuesday's was no exception and particularly pertinent.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

A Comedy Genius

Just a little something to cheer up a very grey and rainy Sunday afternoon...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Tartist 'In The Wars'

Two Loaves

Fruit Soaking

More Loaves and a Couple of Victoria Sponges

My missus aka. the tartist has really been in the wars this past week. She cut the index finger of her left hand and then a few days later tripped over a sack of potatoes in the course of duty. Today with bandaged finger and strapped wrist she turned out eight (count 'em), eight loaves of orange fruit teabread. Sometimes I wonder what it would take to stop her baking each day, when the lure of packet/bought in product can be very tempting indeed. It really seems to both of us at the moment that the more adverse the circumstances become, the more important it is to us that we provide something genuinely handmade from 'proper' ingredients.