Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Oxford and York

John and I had a fabulous time in Oxford. The weather was glorious and the sun shone down on the dreaming spires. It was a real mixture of culture and beer (a bit like an episode of Lewis - but without the murders!) and John and I found a number of wonderful museums and real ale pubs to visit. My favourite was the Oxford Natural History Museum, which is an absolutely beautiful building, although rather over fussy in John's opinion but that's Victorian gothic design for you. John enjoyed the Pitt Rivers Museum because he was able to do some research for his latest Open University Project. This assignment is about the Benin bronzes and while we were standing there, another couple walked up to the exhibition case and began to stare intensely at the objects. Hello, I said, are you studying at the O.U. as well? It just so happened that the man was, and then the next minute another man walked up to the case and began to make some notes. Hello, I said, are you studying at the O.U. as well? The man looked quite amazed and said that Yes he was but how did I know? Oh just a wild guess...... the fact that this wonderful museum was crammed full of objects and yet the largest crowd was in front of the Benin art in one small corner gave me a clue...

At the Natural History Museum, we had a coffee with Jennifer who runs the Museum shop, although we have talked and emailed quite a few times this was our first face to face meeting. Sales had been going well and she was interested to see if I could get any inspiration from the museum collections and/or the building decorations. She loved the new Dodo and Chamelon designs. The really exciting piece of news that she had to tell us was that the museum had been visited by Tim Burton and Helena Bonham-Carter and they had purchased some of our Alice in Wonderland designs! I was sooooo excited I couldn't wait to tell Sophie and John (whose Laptop is never far from his side) put it up on Facebook before you could 'Wonderland'.

Oxford was wonderful but it was nice to get home to York. The first evening at home we watched an episode of Lewis and enjoyed guessing which bits of the city they were in and/or which pubs! It is incredible the number of times that Lewis and Hathaway seem to be walking past the Radcliffe Camera (the picture at the top of this blog)!

An interesting job that Sophie and I have worked on this week, has been the embroidery of a preaching scarf for a friend of Father Tim's. It was a real 'rush job' as it was needed for Sunday morning and he didn't bring it into the Studio until Saturday morning. However, we did manage to get it done and he was very pleased with our embroidery. It had been a real departure for us as Ecclesiastical devices are not our usual type of thing - to say the least.

The Swifts have been screeching above the city of York although not as many as last year. These birds are one of my favourites. The Buddleia blooms are coming out along the side of the Foss and I am avidly looking out for buterflies. This is our first Summer in this area of York and so I have my fingers crossed that I will see more than I did last year. In fact any would be nice...


1: Saw a beautiful demoiselle Damselfly in the garden of the Merchant Adventurer's Hall in York

2: A Red Kite (bird of prey) seen spiralling over a field near to Tring Natural History Museum as we left to start our journey home to York.

3: John and his O.U. course - he is doing so well and is getting into his seriously into his study. Not bad for a 'thick Barnsley boy'! I am so proud of him.

Bye for now,

Love Ruthie xx

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