Meet Me in The Garden

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My friend Lyndall has spent much of the summer working on a social inclusion and cohesion project at Kings Lynn Arts Centre. With seven highly skilled and devoted volunteers, the most lovely garden has been created. Gentle, calming and full of colour, texture and interest.

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Lyndall is one of the most excellent artists I know, I’m always totally impressed by her patience and attention to detail, and I think those fine skills have been really useful here in supporting the garden team.

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The group of volunteers have come from a wide variety of backgrounds, and aside from having ‘being unemployed’ in common, more importantly and impressively, they have incredible amounts of talent and dedication.

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I felt so inspired by their sensitively designed and beautifully set-out garden. I am definitely going to go on the hunt for a ‘cup and saucer’ plant and grow some more vegetables around the garden – including that green spinachy one with the pink glittery top. And, if I ever come across an old Berko boiler I am going to plant it up, quick smart!

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I’m sure that the garden’s creators will be feeling very proud of their achievements, and I really hope that this is the beginning of something special for them all.

2014 08 29 lyndall phelps community garden kings lynn arts centre 10The garden is open every Thursday from 11am – 4pm until 25th September. Access to the garden is via Ferry Lane, off King Street, Lings Lynn, PE30 1HN.

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It’s just a small garden, but it packs a punch – or maybe not a punch, more like a gentle shoulder rub! Really, it’s the perfect place to stop off and relax. It’s free to visit too!

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Waiting & The Transition of Time

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Right now I am sitting at Welney WWT with a pot of tea looking out across the reserve at the chunky ginger cows and swirling flocks of birds that I cannot identify. I’m waiting, waiting for our sculpture to arrive. It’s been a very long wait, we really hoped for completion in January but it’s been a lot more involved and drawn out than any of us had ever thought it could be.

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It’s been another busy week. On Monday I was in London launching Shutter Hub’s latest exhibition just off Fleet Street at the St Bride Foundation. The theme of the exhibition, The Transition of Time,  was derived from and inspired by the Industrial Revolution. I am really pleased with the work we selected, it looks good, and I’m not the only one who thinks so – which is nice!

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We had a great turnout for the private view. The venue, the Theatre Bar Gallery, is a really interesting and historical space full of darkness, industrial remnants and raw brick walls.

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I met some interesting people and caught up with some old/new friends. One of the guests introduced himself to me by telling me that the Hazelnut harvest in Turkey had been bad this year. He told me his passion was photographing insects, he was very enthusiastic and continued to show me some photographs of Flesh Flies having sex. Later he rushed over to tell me that he’d taken his camera to the toilet with him… ‘Come on man! That’s a bit F’ing weird!’ I exclaimed… then he continued to tell me about the tiny moth he’d spotted.

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I had another marvellous and enthralling conversation with an artist named John Kaine who was very kind about, and interested in, the image from Reading Rooms  I was showing. He said it reminded him of Philip Guston’s Two Fat Feet, he liked the element of disembodiment against the juxtaposition of the knowledge that we all imagined the rest of the body, even though there was no body. We talked about his interest in robotics, and how he’d spent years attempting to create a robot that would leave home, about his interest in bars (bars of chocolate, bars of soap, you know!)  and about body image and ‘muscle’ implants. What an interesting chap!

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We’ve got two exhibitions on in London at the moment, PLACE and The Transition of Time, one off Brick Lane, one off Fleet Street – not bad hey? I’m chuffed with that!

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I did a funny thing on the train up to London, apart from huddling up to a stranger next to me, pointing at the grotesque insect on the window and half squeaking, half growling, ‘Whhaaaat is ittttt!’ (I later found out from fly sex man that it was a Ichneumon Wasp), I listened in on a conversation between a girl and a boy for almost an hour. She was very upset, she was studying for a PhD and she was struggling with anxiety. She felt she was pushing herself too far and she was afraid of being broken. I wondered if she was exaggerating, but when I looked at her big frightened eyes I thought she was actually quite serious. I listened on until we reached Kings Cross. Now, that’s not so strange, the eavesdropping bit, but the next bit might be!

I wrote a note to the girl on the train and as we got off I handed it to her. I said, rather awkwardly, ‘I’ve written you a weird note because I was listening in!’ and then I legged it!

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I felt embarrassed, but I also felt that maybe I could say something that might make her feel a bit better. I just couldn’t say it out loud. She might have thought I was a right idiot, but I hope that, if anything, she might feel a bit better knowing that even a random stranger cared how she felt.

Anyway! I also  had a manky pub lunch and popped to Tate Modern.

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On Tuesday night Adam and I went to see St Vincent at Cambridge Junction. I was a bit annoyed with myself when we got to the doors and discovered I actually had four tickets – two spares!

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I kept on about how amazed I was by the amount of old men there were in the audience. Then St Vincent came on stage, ‘Oh, I see!‘ I said to Adam as he nodded and looked around. She is just really stunning, with an amazing voice, beautiful bones, moves like a slightly mad mechanical doll and effortlessly plays awesomely grinding, powerful guitar. Oh, I see!

It was an excellent gig, and even better for the fact that I only saw two people take photos/videos with their mobile phones. Hooray for old men who keep their hands in their pockets! Hmmmm.

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On Wednesday I battled my email pile into submission, got a much needed hair cut, met Hannah for a noodle lunch, and bought some new trainers. Then yesterday consisted of a very productive office day with Neil and a lovely evening with Mummy Harvey.

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And now, now I’m here, waiting!

Recipe: Festival Flapjack

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I asked my friend Stewart if he had any cake requests, as I knew I’d see him at the Lotus Festival. He suggested Chocolate Flapjack, and, while I wasn’t really sure what he meant, I thought it sounded a little bit too ‘cocoa powder’ to me, so I did my own thing!

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Welcome the crunchy, chewy, sweet and yummy ‘Festival Flapjack’… ta da! It’s dead easy to make, and pretty lethal in the sweet stakes too. You might be able to go back for a second piece, but you’ll never manage a third!

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Ingredients:
200g rolled oats
170g salted butter
50g sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
150g dried fruit and nut mix (I used sultanas, papaya, cranberries, coconut flakes, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts)
100g milk chocolate

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Instructions:
Preheat oven to 180ºC
Put oats, fruit and nut mix, sugar and syrup in a bowl
Melt the butter in a saucepan
Pour the butter into the bowl and mix all ingredients together
Line a deep baking tray with grease-proof baking paper
Pour mixture into tray, push down with the back of a wooden spoon
Bake for 30 minutes
Remove from oven, leave to stand for 5 minutes and then cut into pieces in tin
Melt the chocolate and pour it evenly over the top of the flapjack
Leave to cool fully in the tin, then turn out… and tuck in!

Mmmm, hmmmm, I love a good flapjack!

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This is my own original recipe (Ooo, I’m at it again!) If you do decide to share it I’d be really grateful if you’d link back to this post – thank you!

The Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch, Kent

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Yesterday we went to the Lotus Festival at Brands Hatch in Kent. We’ve been a couple of times before and enjoyed it, but this time it was really good. We bumped into lots of people we know from the Speed Championships, and even saw the couple we met at Willington Hall with their Lotus Esprit. They were there for the ‘Show and Shine’, it was the first time they’d entered a concourse and they came second!

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The weather was a bit changeable, slightly sunny with sudden downpours. The rain came on so suddenly at one point that we were quite surprised – I squatted down in the same way that the chickens do, and Adam ran straight into the ladies loos – neither of those were appropriate reactions!

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We were very lucky that, as members of Lotus on Track Racing Drivers Club, we received hospitality up in the Media Suite where we could stay dry, drink tea and keep an eye on everything.

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We also got to wander down to the garages and see some of our friends who were preparing and racing cars in the Elise Trophy and Lotus Cup UK. It was all very exciting and I was only slightly envious!

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There were hundreds of cars to see, lots of beautifully designed classics, lots of super powered beasts. I really like the graphics and fonts used, and I really like the Lotus Esprit.

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If you like nice cars and friendly enthusiastic people you should go along to the Lotus Festival next year. Take an umbrella.

Oooo look, it’s Mark and Russell’s cars from the Speed Championships!

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Cats at Home

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Sometimes Winnie likes MoJo, mostly she doesn’t. On rare occasions I find them snuggled up together, generally when it’s cold and Winnie wants MoJo’s warmth, sometimes just because she wants company. Her deafness makes her needy (and shouty). I think she was secretly pleased to have MoJo back from the vets, so she used him as a foot rest!

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