18 March 2018

Hopefully, this latest little flurry of snow will be the last of the season – is that too much to ask? We had a couple of positively Spring-like days in the week but the Mini Beast from the East arrived overnight on Friday/Saturday. The temperature plunged and we were dusted with a smattering of snow – those clever folks at the Met Office tell us we’ll get to keep these lovely freezing temperatures until the middle of the week. That’s OK, I guess as long as that really is the end of it. It’s time!

Ms Playchute and I had another excellent outing on Thursday – we went up to town to see the Charles I: King and Collector exhibition at the Royal Academy. Charles I was an avid collector and acquired one of the most valuable and wide-ranging art collections of his time. He had works by Titian, Mantegna, Holbein, Dürer, and he commissioned leading contemporary artists such as Van Dyck and Rubens.

When he was deposed and executed at the conclusion of the Civil War the collection was sold off by the Commonwealth and scattered throughout the courts of Europe. After the restoration a number of works were retrieved by Charles II although many now grace the walls of the Louvre and the Prado and other public and private collections.

I did come away feeling somewhat sorry for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth. Not surprisingly, a considerable number of these paintings and sculptures are part of the Royal collection and she lent dozens of paintings for this exhibition. It must be somewhat dismal to wander down the corridors of Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle and see all the blank spaces on the walls where these normally hang. Still, I guess she has a few to spare and perhaps this was a useful incentive to change her artwork around a bit.

Friday was a glorious day, sunny and actually tolerably warm – it felt positively Spring-like. Friday was also the day of Ms Penelope’s latest Walking Group stroll. This time we departed the village with about a dozen folks in tow and wandered across the fields and byways to the neighbouring village of Weston where we stopped for lunch at The Crown. It’s clear that the way to get the numbers up for these walks is to advertise the opportunity for a drink and a bite to eat at the halfway stage. After a lengthy lunch break we wandered back to the village and reached our front door just as the heavens opened. Perfect!

My father would have enjoyed these photos from the Bird Photographer of the Year competition. I certainly did. 


Love to you all,



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