Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Lady in Red

Dearest Emily,

What a lovely afternoon we had with you and Annabel and Mummy. You did eat a great deal of cherry tomatoes though- quite amazing!

Do you remember when we went paddling at Freshwater Bay, a rather striking lady in a red bathing costume crossed our path.

I remember noticing her as she made her way past us to go for a swim.

As she got closer- I realised that she wasn't just a beautiful woman- she was an amazing woman probably in her seventies!

When I got home- after you'd all gone back to Cowes, I did my usual download of snaps.

There she was behind us heading out to sea. As graceful as she was coming towards us- so she was from behind.

So I've painted us three as a reminder.

If that's how age can add to you Em, there's much to look forwards too...

(Ok, for you that's a looong way off- but for me a twenty year beacon!)

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Roses grow on you

Dearest Emily,

Looking forwards to seeing you and Annabel tomorrow. I've been working the End Papers for Annabel's book this week- and it's all about the rose here...

'I am here at the gate, alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
and the musk of the roses blown' 

                                                                                     Tennyson- Maud

In Annabel's book, as you know- the flowers can talk- so I thought that just for fun, I'd do the end-papers with you as the red rose Em, and Annabel the white. That's as far as it goes in our little modern-day parody Em. But in the parody we based it on, Lewis Carroll used the 'York and Lancaster' roses first in Alice in Wonderland, and then again in Through the Looking Glass- in the Garden of Live Flowers.
Back then, these Rosa Gallicas were all the rage. Pre-dating the Hybrid Tea, Perpetual varieties were trained along briar hedges (like the sweet-briar that Julia Margaret Cameron had as a hedge along the Gate Lane side of her house, and which she was criticised for growing as people would pick them- to which she retorted that that was what she wanted.)
Many varieties of  the most attractive Gallicas had been first bred at Versailles, and the fashionable Victorians did love their flourishes of flowers. 

A bit closer to home, your family love them too. Cousin Gary was meant to provide GiGi and Grumpa's wedding with a bouquet of red and white roses from his garden, being an avid grower, like his dad- but 2007 was a very wet summer. Cousin Gary didn't tell me anything- he just provided a lovely bouquet (more of which later.)

Last month we went to his mum and dad's diamond wedding, as you know.  Auntie Ellen and Uncle Donnie (he a great lover of growing roses) were married with garlands and bouquets of York and Lancaster roses. Their bridesmaids wore green.
So, when their diamond celebrations were planned, Cousin Gary and family set out to honour the memory of the day- with the same references...

A fabulous day was had by all, in one of the most exquisitely charming manor houses I have ever seen, owned by Donnie's brother Phillip.

Oh, and my bouquet Em? Can you keep a secret??

Cousin Gary didn't let me down with the memorable flowers. He got up early, and picked them from Tennyson's garden at Farringford!

See you both tomorrow for Strawberries and cream, and Red Queen biscuits!

Your ever-loving Grandmother,

GiGi xxxx