Tuesday, 27 August 2013

New Look

Hello, After having a lovely couple of weeks away I decided to revamp my website and blog post...both not quite as easy as I first thought. My blog is almost fine but it doesn't appear to have taken my friends with me....so please make friends again !
My website although redesigned doesn't want to appear at all...so it's either taking a few days to think about it , or I must have to delete previous design to allow the new one!...I might just have to add a Map page onto the old one in the meantime....ho hum....anyway I must now go and load the car up with paint....back to work...always difficult when the sun is shinig and I'm still in holiday mode !
Ps a big thanks to Ann Hyde who helped me with how to alter the look of my blog. http://studiohyde.blogspot.co.uk/

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Champagne....Invented by a Lad from Winchcombe !

Looking through Twitter this morning I came across this article relating to Champagne...'Champagnes Bubbles were a happy accidentt, written by Mark Wilson. ..
Sorry to say something different, but following Jean Brays Interview on Radio Winchcombe ...It was Winchcombes own Christopher Merret !  Christopher Merret, a Naturalist and Physician who was born here in February, 1614. In 1642 he gained an M.D. degree from Oriel-Oxford and then moved to London. He wrote several books including
'A collection of acts of Parliament, Charters,Trials at Law, and Judges' Opinians' 1660 and
'A short view of the Frauds and Abuses committed by Apothecaries, in relation to Patients and Physicians '.
Pinax Rerum Naturalium Brittani-earum,continens Vegetabilia, Animalia et Fossilia in hac Insula Reperta' London 1667 , 8 Volumes. This book was the first of its kind relating to British natural history...I thought that all the bollards in Winchcombe....we have lots ! could all be shrink wrapped with old and new pictures of our immediate local history. Christopher Merret employed a well known Herbalist called Thomas Willisel to travel with him throughout Britain for five summers...sounds great..I'd love to spend five summers outside drawing pictures...perhaps I might on day. He also wrote several papers,...experiments on vegetation, the art of refining, tin mines in Cornwall..I still have my share in a tin mine ( available when there was a loophole around Poll Tax ), and bizarrely..some curious observations relative to the fens of Lincolnshire !

In December 1662, He presented The Royal Society of London with a paper called ' Some observations concerning the ordering of wines'. He described creating a second fermentation process in the bottle by adding molasses and sugar, thus making the win 'drink brisk and sparkling'. This was six years before Dom Perignon became the cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers. Merret added sugar not for taste but purely to add fizz and increase the alcohol content. In the 1670's wine from Champagne in France was shipped in barrels to England to be bottled with English Glass because it was strong enough to not blow up.
In 1998 in the Consumers digest it writes about English Wine growers trying to put the story right.
Well next year is 2014 , a good excuse to toast his health with a 2008 Sussex Cavendish Cuvee Merret Ridgeway....anyone got a bottle ?
By the way, apparently on the 22 January, 1666, Christopher Merret got drunk with his friend, the Diarist Samuel Pepys !

The latest news is that Jean Bray and myself applied and have got permission for a blue plaque....so... Winchcombe in Gloucestershire is now going to have it's first Blue plaque celebrating the birthplace of Christopher Merret.

Monday, 5 August 2013

New Book

Hello, It's been a while but I've been restoring an old fairground Waltzer.
..well still restoring....and woodgraining an old diesel cab.
The start of woodgraining...as you can see Thomas was in the engine shed with me !
The waggon that I am restoring has been rubbed down, filled and undercoated and is now having it's top coats done. Unfortunately my little camera went missing last weekend so no photos until I buy a new one....but I can tell you about a new book.
Its called 'Gypsy wagon painters' and is by John Mc Kale.
As well as history and old painters it has chapters about painters now, including myself. I had sent John a few photos but wasn't sure if any would be used at all. It is a limited edition and costs £40 /from Waterstones. and has lots of inspiring photographs of different styles of waggon painting and over twenty waggon painters.

The lovely Peter Ingram is noticeable by his absence but I mentioned him in my chapter. He doesn't paint waggons anymore but his painting has a great flow about it...not fussy but beautiful flowing scrolls and ribbon work.
John Pockett has a good chapter with lots of photographs, he does beautiful waggon ceilings. Although all the waggon work has a basic tradition it is usually easy to recognise who painted what and new ideas get used and swapped. Well I haven't managed to read the book myself yet, just looked at photos, but when I get the chance I'll add more information about this lovely new book.

Midsummer Madness

Hello, I'm back blogging ...now the bug on my computer has been cleared!

Earlier in the year Jane and myself were chatting about 'interiors' and the trend for pale washed out shabby chic...often very pleasant but we love colour! Sometimes it seems that people are afraid of using colour in their homes, children's bedrooms sing out with mad walls and bedding but it soon disappears into 'magnolia'. Bathrooms may have a little bit of seaside inspiration holding memories of happy holidays in beautiful aqua glass jars, a kitchen might have a touch of yellow and green vintage kitchen utensils and garden sheds might flutter with some Cath Kidson bunting ....but that's where it ends.

Both Jane and myself love colour....and lots of it. ..so Jane mounted an Exhibition called 'Midsummer Madness' at her Winds of Change Gallery in Winchcombe, Gloucestershire.. The Exhibition finishes on the 13th August but Jane and myself will continue selling and offering Interior Design advice via future Exhibitions and on the Internet. We do have pale shabby chic pieces but everything has an added touch, such as some painted lines and hand painted decorations.

Jane has a natural instinct for Interiors, being able to use colour in the home but still keep it looking beautiful. I on the other hand, create my own colourful lampshades and furniture but can go overboard on colour, mixing lots of colours and patterns together! So we make a happy team.
Jane has searched out some of our best colourful artists and craftspeople. I can't mention them all in this blog but I will sing the praises of my personal favourite...Mary Rose Young'  Her pottery ,like herself, is a rainbow of smiles and vitality. Even if you only own one of her mugs it will instantly make you smile every time you sit down with a cuppa. The colours give you summer abundance all year round. Featured in Jane's Gallery is a fantastic chandelier...a true one off that will never go out of fashion....The centre is a large teapot with large baubled arms holding teacups....fully wired up it lights up a room both 'on' and 'off ;

The private view was a lovely 'do', everyone wearing bright colours,drinks decorated with fruit and umbrellas and the most colourful and tasty cakes that you have ever seen. Hayley brought over buckets of her Hotch Potch Organic flowers, which was the' icing on the cake'.

Although the Exhibition finishes soon Jane and myself can be contacted at any time if you would like us to brighten up your home, office ,garden summer house, Shepherds hut or party!


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