Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Events. Show all posts

Saturday 22 April 2017

🌎 Happy Earth Day 2017! 🌍

Happy Earth Day, fellow Earthlings!

Every year since 1970, on the 22nd day of April, a group of like-minded folk, who love this wonderful planet that we all call home, have been celebrating its biodiversity and trying to draw attention to environmental issues.  It all kicked off back in the USofA, but the movement has grown so much that Earth Day is now the largest non-religious festival in the World with over a billion of us getting involved.

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Fibre East 2016

A big "thank you" to everyone who stopped by at the Fibre East Fair last weekend. We enjoyed meeting you all very much.

And Fibre East? Well, it was sensational. We had the best time. If you're a serious yarn enthusiast who enjoys the company of like-minded souls who share your passion, then this fair was tailor-made for you. I don't think I've ever been to such a friendly gathering of yarn-fans. And there were so many talented designers and makers exhibiting. It was a real honour to be part of the line-up.

And the good news is that they've got another one in the diary for next year. So save the date for Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th July 2017.

I was also hugely assisted by Emi, who gave out an amazing number of flyers, and by Mr B, my tech guy, who drank an equally amazing volume of coffee in the cafe marquee out back - so a big "thank you" to them too.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Friday 22 April 2016

Happy Earth Day 2016 !

They've been celebrating Earth Day, 22nd April, since 1970. It all kicked off in response to a massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969. At first it was a bit of a fringe event, but by 1990 amidst rising concerns about global warming and the detrimental effect we were having on the environment, Earth Day went mainstream. Now about a billion of us do something on this date to mark our support for environmental protection.

It's co-ordinated globally by the not-for-profit organisation Earth Day Network, and has become the largest secular celebration on the planet. You can find out what's happening in your area on their website:

I know there are lots of climate-change doubters out there, and folk who challenge the science on all of this. I'm not really qualified to argue with them, but it seems to me to be an issue that's just too big for us to gamble on. The downside of getting it wrong, for the sake of our children and the world we leave behind, is just too terrible to think about.

So for Earth Day 2016 here's my own little collage of favourite moments from the last 12 months, by way of celebrating Mother Earth and her rich bounty.

All the best for now and Happy Earth Day!

Bonny x

Saturday 21 November 2015

Greece v Rome ... intelligence squared

On Thursday night Mr B and I went with some friends to a debate, Greece v Rome,  organised by Intelligence² at Central Hall Westminster. In the Greek corner, we had London Mayor, Boris Johnson, arguing the case for the world's first democracy, the satire-loving Greeks, and in the Roman corner we had the formidable Prof. Mary Beard. The billing for the event boasted that, had Mary been in charge, the Roman Empire would still be going strong! And that wasn't hyperbole. For all of Bojo's considerable eloquence and charisma, she wiped the floor with him.

Going into the debate 30% of us (self included) had no clear view, 38% favoured Greece and 32% were in the Roman camp. After Mary had finished her argument, the vote went in favour of Rome as she romped home with a 56% majority. She argued about the enduring legacy of the Romans, how they had built the first super-city in which their architecture was only eclipsed by feats of engineering made possible by the industrial revolution in the 19th century, and about how they had been inclusive extending citizenship to everyone, regardless of their country of origin or how humble their status, to create an upwardly mobile, multi-cultural society.

It was a good-natured exchange that threw up lots of interesting insights into the classical world and both speakers made us laugh. Intelligence² have an amazing programme of debates over the coming months. Videos of many of their past events can be viewed for free on their website: Intelligence Squared. The only thing to bear in mind, if you'd like to go along, is that tickets sell out quickly. So, if you see something that tickles your imagination, book it straight away.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Thursday 12 March 2015

Salt and Silver photography ... faces from the 1840's

It's not every day that we get a chance to stare history in the face, and marvel at how the good folk of yesteryear looked ... well ... a bit like us, but if you mosey down to the Tate today you'll be able to do just that at their Salt and Silver exhibition. The costumes, the gentlemen's whiskers and the hair styles belong to another age, but stripped of the fashion foibles of their time, the faces that look out at us look just like the ones we see in the mirror every morning.

Look at this photograph below. It's thought that the subjects were mother and son. I wonder where Dad is, and why he's not in the frame too. They're posing in their Sunday best, and mum's seated on a chair to rest her weary legs. Her nails look like they belong on hands that work hard every day, rather than hands that get treated to time-consuming manicures. Just look at the way she's threading her arm proprietorially through that of her son; look at how she's gazing with maternal affection at her pride and joy. It's an attitude that wouldn't look out of place in a status update photo posted on Facebook today. I love how the boy's neck tie is a bit askew with a loose end jutting out too far to the left of his chin. Maybe he was proud of having tied it himself for the very first time that morning.

Many of the photos in the exhibition are small, which creates logistical difficulties for someone with terrible eyesight like yours truly. And I'm sorry if you were there at the same time as me, and I seemed to be hogging some of the exhibits with my nose as close to the glass as I dared put it. The truth is that I found those faces and portraits from the far-distant past totally compelling. I really had to tear myself away from some of them to give the rest of the people in the gallery a chance.

The whole shooting match kicked off with an amazing polymath called William Henry Fox Talbot who figured out how to make his first camera way back in 1835. Apparently he was motivated to do so because he was a bit rubbish at sketching. He'd used the camera obscura and the camera lucida to help him with his compositions and got to wondering whether he could invent some new gizmo that would capture the scene before him without needing to resort to pencil or charcoal. In time he came up with the technique of producing a negative image of the subject using paper soaked in silver iodide salts. These darkened on exposure to the light producing a negative image of the subject before them.  This negative image was then photographed again to produce a positive image. It was a fiddly process by the standards of today, but it was easier that what his rival photographer, Louis Daguerre, was doing with his cumbersome plates.

Henry Fox Talbot

The image (below) of Nelson's column as it was being constructed was taken by Fox Talbot himself. Isn't it amazing to see a scene that many top-hatted Londoners must have driven past in their carriages tut-tutting over? They probably thought it an eyesore and a huge inconvenience. And just look at all those bill posters that entrepreneurial types have stuck to the hoardings to promote their wares. How very 21st century! Look at the little wooden hut, where I'm guessing the workmen would  have locked away their tools of an evening when their day's work was done. It looks just like next-door's garden shed.

And the image below is another one of Fox Talbot's, showing the view from his hotel window in 1843 when he'd gone to Paris to promote his newly invented salt prints. Isn't it an intriguing snapshot in time of a Paris street scene with the cabbies all patiently waiting in a line for a fare?

I was enchanted by some of the bucolic scenes of country life. Just look at the wonderful image below by Paul Marès of an Ox cart in Brittany, taken in about 1857. Doesn't it look charming? Like it could have been painted by the Impressionists?

For me it is a perfect example of that soft, velvety texture that was a key characteristic of the technique, and made the image appear much more arty than the sharp definition of the contemporaneous Daguerrotypes. However, those white crosses that were painted on the wall, seemed a bit sinister to me. They jar with the gentle charcoal quality of the composition. On reading about the image I learned that they were commonly painted on walls of rural houses to warn passers-by to keep their distance when the occupants had succumbed to some awful infectious disease. That little nugget of information brought a sinister note to the idle ox cart. Was the driver suffering alone somewhere in the bowels of his home when the image was captured? Did everyone round about feel terror clench their chests when their eyes fell upon those markings? Did they all walk on by and ignore the plight of the people inside?

Or take a look at these Newhaven fishermen in the photograph below:

Do they look as though they're swaggering to you? Once again, in the age of self-promotion on social media, I find their pose thoroughly 21st century. Dressed in jeans and t-shirts they could be a bunch of lads off on a stag weekend. I wonder what they thought about getting their photograph taken? Did they even understand what the man with the strange camera was doing? Did he ever come back and show them their photograph after it had been printed?

And for me that's the lovely thing about this exhibition: it gets you started on a journey of a thousand maybes. As you look at all these individual moments in time your mind, or maybe your heart, craves the backstories and the what-happened-nexts. For anyone with an interest in either social history or the history of photography this exhibition is totally compelling.

If you'd like to go along and see what all the fuss is about for yourself you can check out the website here: Salt and Silver: A rare and revealing collection of early photography. It's running until 7th June. Enjoy!

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Monday 20 October 2014

The Life and Times of Spencer Perceval: calling all history buffs in West London

Do you remember a little while ago I wrote a post about Spencer Perceval the British Prime Minister who lived just around the corner from me? He was the only serving British Prime Minister to be assassinated in office.

Well, the Reverend Rachel from All Saints Church, the Spencer Perceval Memorial Church, built on the site of his old home in Elm Grove, Ealing, has been in touch to tell me that they're recording a play about his life for live broadcast. It's called Three Years a Prime Minister and will be recorded in the church on All Saint's Day, 1st November, which is a nice touch because that was his birthday.

If you'd like to come along and listen in it's open to all comers, and they'd love to welcome as many people as possible. Entrance is £12 on the door, or £10 if you book your tickets in advance. You can buy the tickets from the Rev. Rachel at the Vicarage just across the road from the Church.

The action kicks off with some light bites at 7:00 p.m and then the play will begin at 8:00 p.m.  The address is All Saint's Church, Elm Grove, Ealing Common, W5 3JH and their website is here :All Saint's Website. You can contact Rev. Rachel by email: 

All the best, and hope to see you there,

Bonny x

Wednesday 8 October 2014

The Alexandra Palace Knitting and Stitching Fair ...

Calling all crafty types!

It's on: the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Fair is in full swing from now until Sunday 12th October.

And it's bigger and better than ever before.

I headed up that way this morning, and had a ball.

There was a real creative buzz in the air; everyone was incredibly friendly. Conversations were being struck up between complete strangers all over the place. People seemed to feel a connection through their common enthusiasm for what was on display, which melted our normal British reserve.

Are you a knitter or a stitcher, people I'd never met before kept asking me as we queued for coffee, for the bus, to buy tickets to get in. There was a great atmosphere.

There were luxurious yarns galore. I especially enjoyed seeing some of the fabulous things that had been made up. It's a great place to come for ideas, and to support some of the smaller artisan producers who don't have a large presence in the craft stores.

There was something there for everyone. I've tended to focus more on the woolly stalls, because that's what I'm most interested in myself. 

But, ignoring my own bias, there was loads of stuff for patchworkers, and dressmakers, and beaders, and fabric printers, and embroidery enthusiasts.

In the galleries there were some knock-out displays by the bright young designers of tomorrow. I'm sure  Emi would have found it difficult to not touch this lovely bear if he'd been with me. Isn't he a handsome, cuddly chap?

It was great to see so many textile design students, with so much talent, being given a showcase for their work. I chatted with several, charming young designers who were fizzing with enthusiasm for their craft and who were delighted to discuss how they'd made the items on display. Good luck to all of them.

This exhibition is the biggest that they hold in the UK. If you'd like to go along, they're open every day from now until (and including Sunday 12th October). You can find their website here: 

There are lots of things that have been specially priced for the fair, so with very little effort you should be able to bag a bargain or two to boot. It was interesting watching the folk struggling home to the tube station afterwards. I think we were all laden down with purchases and additions to our various stashes. 

The nearest underground station is Wood Green on the Piccadilly Line, and they operate an efficient free shuttle bus from the station that will take you all the way to the doors of Alexandra Palace. And once inside there are loads of places for coffee/ lunch/ a quick snifter. 


Bonny x

Monday 28 July 2014

The Mid Devon Show

Last Saturday morning we all piled into the jeep and set off for the Mid Devon Show. Now I have to confess that I love county shows; I guess deep down I'm still a country girl at heart. There were three generations of us on board: my husband and me, Emi, and my parents and we were all pretty excited about our big day out.

In country circles the local show is one of the high points of the year. I have happy memories of my grandma and my mum entering their Victoria Sandwich Cakes, jams and flower arrangements at our own local Clogher Valley Show back in Ulster. One of my father's cousins still goes along with her best Aberdeen Angus cows every year.

And the Mid Devon Show certainly didn't disappoint. It was brilliant. The sun shone, the cider flowed and everyone had a ball.

The boys made a beeline for the tractors. We're not in the market for a new tractor, but they just like to tyre-kick. I can't say I blame them; some of the modern tractors are such leviathans. Just look how tall the small front wheel of this monster is: Emi could fit comfortably under the mudguard.

But then I guess they've always been keen on bigging up the horsepower for work around the farm.  Just look at this fine chap, all decked out and ready for action:

It must have taken a day and a half to get him brushed and cleaned and into his finery. And I'd really rather not have the job of polishing all his horse brasses.

My father remembers having a gentle giant like this on my grandfather's farm. Back in Ulster each small-holder would have kept a dray horse, and then at ploughing time they did a horse-share with their neighbour, bringing their horse to the neighbour's farm to make up a pair to pull the plough.

There were lots of other horses on display as well. I was particularly taken with the carriage driving competition.

I especially liked the old London rag and bone wagon with its wonderful prancing horse, and the bucket on behind to pick up the poop to bring home for the roses.
I also admired this very elegant lady in her carriage with a groom on behind to open the gates as she drove along.
Emi and his dad were much more in awe of the stunt motor bike riders. I watched them with bated breath, thinking all the while about how one miscalculation could cost them their lives.

I much preferred the relaxed domesticity of the fowl enclosure. For many a long while I've hankered after a few chooks of my own that I could keep in the back garden, but the thriving London fox population and my gypsy lifestyle have held me back from getting any. Don't you think Mr Rooster and his hen are just about the most handsome couple in the chicken coop?

Or how about a couple of crested ducks? They'd be sure to prettify any duck pond that they graced with their presence.

There were any number of exotic, pristine birds, many of whom were for sale - so very tempting ... .
Then we went to take a look at the cattle enclosure. Now I have to say that I'm a really big fan of the moo cows. Those big bulls are the top animals in any farmyard so far as I'm concerned. Maybe it's my Irish background, and all the old stories from the Táin about Queen Maeve of Connacht's attempt to capture the great Brown Bull of Cooley to match her husband's White Bull of Connacht and her battle with Conchobar mac Nessa, King of Ulster, and his champion warrior Cú Chulainn. Whatever the way of it the bull is my undisputed king of the farmyard for whom I have total respect.

Now who would pick a fight with this majestic Limousin bull? Isn't he amazing?

Or how about this wonderful Angus bull? He seemed to be eye-balling me when I dared to take his photo. He's not a lad to be messed with, that's for sure.

I love the little Dexters who come originally from County Cork. Aren't they the sweetest little fellas?

Or how about the Red Devon? What a beautiful family: Mr and Mrs out for the day with junior in tow.

At the risk of being very boring I could spend all day showing you photos of my favourite cows, but how about those lovely calves that were led out by the children?

This sweet little girl was only 8, and she led her beef calf into the arena like a total pro.

This little girl was a very grown-up 10. You could tell that she'd been doing this for a few years.

And this handsome young farmer-of-the-future was a canny 12.

They were all amazing, and I'm sure their parents were really proud of how well they all performed.

After the amazing cattle Emi decided that he'd have a go on the bucking bronco. Everything went well ... for a while.

He won a rosette, which Maxi wore proudly for the rest of the day.

And then we went to have a look at the WI flower arranging, just to change the tempo and shake things up a bit. And being country ladies they used country props for their arrangements. Check out the bailor:

Inside they had a selection of amazing competition winners. This was the best Victoria Sandwich cake.

And here are the winning entries from the flower arrangement competitions:

Next we took a quick turn in the bunny tent, where lots of very cute noses were twitching nervously at a very excited Maxi,who had never met a rabbit before. We decided not to hang around too long in case he out-stayed his welcome.

We left him outside with the boys who wanted to take another turn around the tractors and went to check out the goats and the pigs.

It was really hot down with the pigs, who were suffering just to stay alive in the heat. But the rather grand dame below looked like she could have been cast as the Empress from Blandings - or, well, she could have been if she'd been a black Berkshire.

The goats, on the other hand, seemed to be coping just fine with the hot weather.

And this little chap actively wanted a chat with us. He came right over and bleated on for several minutes about whatever was on his mind.
Outside Emi had a go at a few rural pursuits. Here he is working hard on a handle for someone's scythe.

There were lots of wonderful country crafts on display from bee-keeping to Honiton lace-making, ironwork and knitting to field work with hunting dogs. Sadly the ferret racing was called off owing to the heat, which was a shame as I was especially looking forward to that one.

As you've probably gathered we had a brilliant time. There was something to entertain all three generations. These shows have a timeless formula, which is a real winner. If you'd like to have a great day out, see the animals and get a window into country living, they're the real deal. There are a raft of them taking place up and down the country over the remainder of the summer. You can find the calendar for forthcoming events here: Country Shows.

All the best for now,

Bonny x