During this time, I believe we are all in training as ‘master chefs’ in our kitchens because we are enjoying our creative 'downtime' and appreciating locally sourced produce. Our local street markets may not be operating but we have been educated by popular cookery books and TV programmes enough to instill that boundless curiosity and ‘have a go’ attitude. Also they teach us about resourcefulness and what we can rustle up with what remains in our cupboards and fridges before we make our essentials list for the local supermarket or independent food shop visit. We adapt easily to what is around us and look forward to foraging in the fields and woods to create that blackberry and apple pie, mushroom soup or lemonade that our grandmothers used to make for us.
Our attitudes to food are changing and we are grabbing that opportunity to learn about our local food producers and farmers who need our support and loyalty more than anything now.
To write this blog, I called out, via social media community, to my friends to ask for their favourite recipes they are enjoying creating over the lockdown period, so here they are with contributions from Nottingham UK, Italy and USA. I hope you enjoy reading them and that they give you and your families that smiley, satisfied fulfilment when you make any of them yourselves. So have a go...and let me know of any outcomes!
From textile designer Oksana Holbrook, also known as 'Pudding Queen at Sharing Sherwood', is her rustled recipe for Courgette & Lime Cake. Thank you Oksana, your straight-from-the-oven cake below looks very tempting!
Courgette and Lime cake
Makes: 1 (21cm) courgette cake
For the Cake
3 medium eggs
125ml vegetable oil
150g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
250g courgette, finely grated
For the icing
400g cream cheese
175g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lime juice
40g pistachio nuts (finely chopped)
1 tablespoon lime zest
Preheat oven to 180 C / 160 C fan / Gas 4.
Beat together the eggs, oil and sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Sift in the flour, bicarbonate soda and baking powder and beat well.
Stir in the grated courgettes until well combined. Divide the mixture into the cake tins.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and carefully turn out onto a wire rack. Carefully peel off the paper lining and leave to cool.
For the icing, beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth. Sift in the icing sugar and stir in the lime juice.
Use a bread knife to level one of the cakes if necessary. Use 2/3 of the icing to sandwich the 2 cakes together, the levelled one on the bottom, and use the remaining icing to cover the top of the cake. Sprinkle with the pistachio nuts and lime zest.
Oksana tells me she has another experiment in the oven. Apple and sultana crumble with a crushed sunflower and goji berry topping instead of traditional crumble.
Mmmm, Oksana, I think you ought to write a book entitled "Oksana's lockdown recipes" or other!
Pam Miller, fine artist, gave me her well used Olive Bread recipe by Liz Thomson. It's called "The 5 Ingredient Olive Oil Bread (No yeast required)".
My son and I have produced this since. Super divine Pam, thank you...we're hooked on the Olive Bread!
Recipe & Method
Add cup of any type of flour with teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir together in a bowl. Add 1/3 cup of warm water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil together in cup and mix. Then, stir all ingredients together. Cover bread board with a little flour and form into four or five patties whilst rolling them in it. Put a little olive oil in non-stick frying pan just to coat bottom. Cook all patties for 5 mins on each side. Best eaten straight away with margarine or butter! Georgeous with Flora! If you have any herbs, toss onto uncooked patties then cook! Enjoy!
Justin Donne, of Donne & Associates, gave me his delicious recipes for Mighty Meatloaf and Daily Smoothie.
"I've always loved good meatloaf! Perfect for meal prep to have on hand for the week. 🙌🏼 Actually it was better cold the next day. So when I make it again next week, I’ll eat it the next day and not fresh from the oven! Swapped out some traditionally used ingredients for higher-quality options and the taste was on point. "
2 lbs ground meat (I used grass-fed organic beef)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour
2 tbsp coconut aminos
2 large eggs
1/4 cup no sugar added ketchup
2 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup @primalkitchenfoods BBQ sauce
1) Preheat oven to 350 F
2) Mix all ingredients together well (except BBQ sauce) in a mixing bowl
3) Place meat mixture into a 9" x 5" glass or other type loaf tin
4) Top meat with BBQ sauce
5) Bake in oven for 30-35 minutes until cooked through.
Here’s the Smoothie recipe I have every day, using a high speed blender. Sometimes I exchange bitter greens 🥬. The energy from it means I haven’t had coffee or sugar in 7 weeks. No need.
Lee Meiser, editor & writer, in Ohio USA sent me this.
"Bruschetta made with olive oil, diced tomatoes, thinly sliced basil, balsamic vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and 1 large baguette, sliced 1/4 inch on the bias. Oil bread & toast until golden on a large baking sheet, 10-15 min. Let bread cool, and top with tomatoes, basil, and vinegar. Simple. Marysia, do you like?"
Yes I DO Lee!!
Rita Mitchell, fine artist, Attenborough, sent me this tempting recipe for honey-glazed pan-fried haloumi.
"Here is the lunch we had yesterday with the first pickings from the greenhouse of salad leaves."
Looks so tasty Rita!
Here's Katie Stewart's recipe for Banana Nut Bread that I've been making for yonks! But I don't use the nuts now. So much goodness and protein. My children love it and it was great sliced up and cling film wrapped for their school lunchboxes when they were young. The loaf is moist and keeps well. Serve it sliced and buttered. Loaves can easily be frozen too, and taken out to thaw and eaten at your leisure, or for that tea-party with family or friends.
Ingredients & Method
6 oz/175g self-raising flour
½ level teaspoon salt
1 level teaspoon mixed spice
4 oz/100g castor sugar
1 ½ /40g chopped walnuts
2 medium-sized ripe bananas
1 large egg
1 oz/25g butter or Flora, melted
Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into a mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar and walnuts. Peel the bananas and mash to a puree with a fork. Add to the dry ingredients along with the egg and melted butter or Flora. Using a wooden spoon stir to blend the ingredients and then beat thoroughly to mix.
Spoon the mixture into a greased and lined small (7x4x2ins, 18x10x5cm) loaf tin. Spread the mixture evenly. Place in the centre of a moderate oven (350F, 180C, GasMark4) and bake for an hour. Turn out and leave until cold.
Makes 1 small loaf. Double the ingredients if you wish to make in a 9x5x2½ ins loaf tin.
(Referenced from my copy of The Times Calendar Cook Book by Katie Stewart, Reprinted 1979, The Hamlyn Publishing Group Ltd, Copyright Times Newspapers Ltd 1975).
Here's Deborah’s Banana Oat Loaf I produced last week for the first time - tastes yummy! I know so because it was eaten by Marcus and I over a day and a half! Tip from Marcus: Toast two slices and smear with Flora!!
Ingredients & Method.
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup skimmed milk
2 large eggs
2 cups mashed bananas (3-4 medium sized)
Mix all together in one bowl.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg (I didn’t have any in stock)
Stir together in one bowl.
Then add both mixtures together in bowl. Wipe with loaf tin (9insx5ins) with oil using kitchen roll paper or line with parchment paper. Pour the combined mixture into loaf tin. Put in the centre of a heated 350F oven for 1 hour. Take out and allow to cool. Then remove and place on a serving board and slice. Delicious with butter or Flora!
Patrizia Poggi at Villa Roncuzzi https://www.villaroncuzzi.it/en/ explained to me about the Italian classic and traditional sweet of Romagna...
In Italy, the donut is a ring-shape cake which means a swollen ring and is therefore a donut with a hole. In Romagna, unlike the rest of Italy, the donut does not have the hole, but the shape of a small swollen loaf with grains of sugar on the surface, to be consumed for religious and patronal feasts or for family celebrations. But it can also be eaten for breakfast, immersed in milk, but above all at the end of the meal, soaked in Sangiovese wine.
Pellegrino Artusi (1820-1911) born in Romagna and died in Florence, best known as the author of the cookbook La scienza in cucina e l’arte di mangier bene [Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well], has two different recipes for the donut, number 606 and 607, called "donut or buccellato ". The first, richer and more complex, is designed for convivial occasions. The second is a donut, Artusi specifies "for a family of simpler [...] processing". However, both are not from Romagna, neither for the shape (because they are ring-shaped), nor for the ingredients used, but most likely with Tuscan inspiration.
The basic dough of the Romagna donut, which testifies to the very popular character of the preparation, is made with the poor ingredients of the most common peasant tradition. They are the same that were produced in the countryside and that were never missing at home: eggs, flour, sugar, butter and / or lard. Simple ingredients that have allowed, however, to bring to the table a tasty dessert that will satisfy the tastes of the whole family, young and old.
Here are the ingredients for two donuts:
500 g of flour
1 sachet of baking powder
30 g of butter
30 g of lard
200 g of sugar (plus the one for sprinkling donuts)
Grated lemon zest to taste
Lukewarm milk to knead the donut
In a large bowl, lightly whip the eggs with the sugar and add the grated lemon peel. Then add flour and yeast and mix. Melt butter and lard and once lukewarm add them to the mixture. Lastly lukewarm milk just enough to make the mixture soft and sticky. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, pour the mixture and shape the two future donuts with your hands. Sprinkle the donuts with plenty of sugar (or sugars) and bake at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes. In any case, when they are golden on the surface and by inserting a toothpick it will come out dry, then the donut is cooked. Enjoy!! 😀
Awesome Patrizia, thank you! It will get us in dream mood thinking of a future visit to Romagna and to Villa Roncuzzi! I certainly can't wait to have a go cooking in your kitchen under your tutelage!
Gail Frost, of NHS QMC Hospital Nottingham, relayed to me one of her favourite recipes she has made during lockdown.
Mim’s Apple Cake
10 oz Self Raising flour - 8 oz Brown Demerara Sugar - 2 oz Raisins or Sultanas
4 oz Margarine - 6 fluid oz Milk - 1 tsp Cinnamon - ½ tsp Salt - 2 large Eggs - 8 oz apples.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt and add sugar, raisins and mix together. Melt butter and mix the eggs and milk to the recipe and then add the sliced apples.
Cook on Gas Mark 4 for 1 hour in a loaf tin. Or double the mixture and put in a long deep baking tray and then cut into slices.
Delicious! Thank you Gail and Mim!
Ramona Usher, historic buildings specialist, forwarded her two vegetarian & vegan recipes to me -
Crispy Cauliflower Bites and Meatless Meatballs in tomato sauce.
Crispy Cauliflower Bites
One large cauliflower, cut into florets
4 cloves fresh garlic, 1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger, 2-3 birdseye chillies (red or green) chopped
Two parts plain flour, one part corn flour (about 200g/100g
I tsp each Ground coriander, fennel and cumin seeds, Chilli powder and paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix with some water (add slowly) to produce a thick paste
Drop the cauliflower in and make sure it is coated thoroughly
Heat a pan of oil and fry dipped cauliflowers until golden.
Meatless Meatballs with tomato sauce
For the meatballs:
100g brown or red lentils (cooked as per pack instructions). Olive oil for frying. 1 red onion, chopped. 1 medium carrot, grated. 100g chopped spinach or chard. 3 garlic cloves, crushed/chopped. 1 tsp cumin. 50g breadcrumbs (I grate stale bread and put it in the freezer ready to use), 25 pine nuts.
2 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp chopped parsley, 1 egg beaten (or cornflour - add until mixture thick). Fry the garlic, onion and carrot until soft. Add the spinach or chard and cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Take off heat and stir in breadcrumbs, pine nuts, lemon, parsley, lentils. Add the egg or cornflour until able to make balls that stick together. Put on a greased tray into a preheated oven for 12 mins.
For the tomato sauce:
Fry 1 lg red onion in olive oil with 3 cloves crushed/chopped garlic. Cook until soft. Add 2 tins chopped toms, 200 ml red wine, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tbsp harris paste, chopped parsley, squeeze of lemon juice. salt and pepper. Simmer for about 30 mins, add water if it gets too thick.
Add a tsp of sugar to the sauce as well!
Put the sauce in a glass dish. Put the meatballs on top of the sauce, part submerged. Put back in the oven for 5 mins.
Wonderful recipes Ramona, and great in-kitchen photos! Many thanks.
Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed compiling this blog so I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all my contributors : Oksana Holbrook, Pam Miller, Justin Donne, Lee Meiser, Patrizia Poggi, Gail Frost, Ramona Usher and Rita Mitchell.
Look forward to receiving your reactions and any comments or questions you wish to write underneath this blog. Have a safe and healthy lock down where ever you are in the world, enjoy creative times in the kitchen with your family, and please do send me any of your favourite lockdown recipes and photos. I'd love to hear from you. Thank you!
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I appreciate that many of us are fortunate enough to have gardens and can enjoy their natural growth and derive much pleasure during this corona virus isolation lock down. On Easter Sunday I posted on Facebook a series of photos of my garden and noticed how fast some of the plants and shrubs had shot up ‘Triffid’ style over the last two weeks. It prompted me to ask my Facebook community friends about their plants and which ones had shot up in similar fashion in their gardens, and to kindly post any comments and photos taken Easter Sunday 12th April and during this week. So here they are after my own garden photos below.
Below are photos of my garden and those of some of my friends near and far. It’s always good to receive comments about each other’s garden developments and how much surprise and real joy they give us.
My garden's fastest growth plants -
Back yard - Euphorbia & Clematis
Front yard - Pulmonaria
Well, my fastest growing plant must be the wine coloured clematis (below) which is shooting up about 1-2 feet a day! It grows so profusely that I have to contain its weight by stringing across the top posts a green metal wire to prevent the whole trellis of clematis collapsing forward!
Front yard photos below.
Oksana from Sherwood, Nottingham, said, "Wisteria all in bud. I hope I get some flowers this year."
Lisa from Camberley, Surrey, said, "My Magnolia and Pieris! My pieris has been stunning this Spring, a real joy! xx"
Wow Lisa, beautiful photos showing their magnificence!
Maeve from St Ann's, Nottingham, said, "Plants winning the growth rate prize are my Japanese anemones. I like the leaf shapes, because the flowers won't be appearing for a while."
She added, "Here's a more colourful bit, ignore the dying daffodils! They did last about a month though!"
Kate from Tollerton, Notts, said, "Lilies and peonies have shot up. This is a beautiful crinkly white flowered one (below) from Sarah Raven. I swear it’s grown a foot this week! My 'Molly the Witch' yellow flowered peony is coming up grand too, have been waiting years to see that in flower and there are 5 buds this year! Excited! 😊😊"
Kate, I would love to see how your 'Molly the Witch' peony progresses so please do send me some photos in the following weeks!
Lee from Ohio, USA, said,
"My Magnolia tree is now blooming; Marysia, it’s going to snow again this week. Temperatures 37 degrees F with highs only near 42 degrees."
Such weather extremes Lee! This week here in Robin Hood Land, it's in the mid 60's degrees F.
Lee added, "Today it is 38 degrees F and will snow on Friday 1-3 inches. Not uncommon in Ohio.
We look forward to warm weather beginning May 10 - our Mother's Day. Then we are assured everything will bloom. Here's a photo of my Magnolia taken May 2019."
Suely from State of Bahia, Brazil, sent me these wonderful photos of her garden plants that are in abundant colourful flower! I've captioned each one with their names & stories (hover over photo to read). Thank you so much Suely!
Pam from Beeston, Notts, said, "My tête-à-tête' dwarf daffodils and pieris for you! xxx"
Teresa from West Linn, Oregon, USA, said, "I am sending a picture of the Camellias in our garden right now, SOOC shot, I haven't been out of the house in days, these are definitely the fastest and prettiest, outside of the Tulips, in our garden right now. :) "
She added, "The weather here is very similar to England this time of year, part of why we love it so much, our connection to home, plants and weather."
So beautiful Teresa, I really wish to plant a Camellia bush in my garden, but where to place it? In my front or back yard and near which wall? Maybe you can help me decide.
Below photo is from Patrizia Poggi at Villa Roncuzzi, near Ravenna. She said, "Our lilac has started to bloom!"
Wow! Such beautiful colours, I can whiff the perfume from here!
Thank you very much everyone for your contributing comments and lovely photos; keep them coming!
I would love to hear from readers, wherever in the world you are, who wish to write a comment to me here below, or email me, or PM me on Facebook about YOUR fastest growers in your gardens and submit some photos; I will ADD them in this blog and re-publish, so a record is saved and archived on our website blog for a long time.
Enjoy Nature at its best and the simple pleasures the outdoors can bring you. For those of you in isolation in apartments and houses (without gardens), and have internet access, you can see and roam many of the glorious national / international historic house gardens and public park lands via their webcams and website photo galleries. Here is a wide collection of links researched and sourced by ACT contributor and photographer Inna Schutts on her blog site “4 Curious Adventurers” - Exploring the World Digitally - digital resources for travelers trapped at home.
Below - Midhope Castle, Scotland.
I really enjoy ‘traveling’ with Inna and her family and I’m sure you will too!
I also look forward to hearing from you with any comments or questions, and photos, you wish to contribute and submit. Do enjoy your Springtime, or your alternative seasonal time in the world. Thank you!
#staysafe #stayhome #stayhappy
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On 21 March I published my last blog about achieving my first reduction of two-colour lino printing. On 23rd March, our Prime Minister put the UK into lock down. Contrasting statements that highlight this surreal ‘wartime’ corona virus era. These are crucial times for us to understand, support our Front-line medical workers to the military, from our sheltered ‘black-out’ at-home environments.
We constantly look to our parents, grandparents for education, guidance and to understand how they persevered through their lives to a positive future. Now is the time for your children to
Face-time or Skype their parents and grandparents and record their conversations. They can listen to and question them. They can draw and write about early youth and experiences from old photographs their grandparents hold up to the Face-time screen. This is a way they can sustain a genuine 'live' connection with their families and in time, learn and develop their own positive future. They can create their own family history album that will be a keepsake - moments of social history recorded forever.
I keep remembering my father’s three philosophies which he drummed into me while growing up - “Your Number One in Life is your Health and well-being because when you are ill, you cannot look after your family and loved ones”, “Life is People” and “Travel is the Best Education in Life”. I’ve written articles on these titles over the last eight years.
Mieczysław Zipser 1912 - 2001. His eulogy, written by his godson Krys Cietak, is on my LinkedIn profile should you wish to read it, detailing how he lived through his youth and battling wartime experiences in Poland to a new, healthy and positive life in England. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marysia-zipser-b4b89668/ See/read eulogy under Features.
In North America tracing your family roots is the number one hobby; in the UK it is number two, after Homes & Gardens. It was my own family ancestry on my father’s side that prompted my initial Zipser search way back in the early 1990s, after receiving a sort of ancestry.com letter from the USA.
Knowing about my father’s visit in early 1960s to Zipserburg / Spis Castle / Spisskyhrad in Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia) and to his home in Lwow Poland (now Ukraine), with my eldest brother John, then 18 years old, made me determined to unravel more about my ancestry.
It has taken all those years up to my first and only visit to Lwow, now Lviv, Ukraine in 2013 with John and his wife Christine, courtesy of Slav Tsarynnyk of Lviv EcoTour https://lvivecotour.com/. It took me a year to research and prepare this historic trip with Slav, and it will take me more years into the future to complete our ancestral history from Ukraine through to Saxony, Germany, where the Zips originated in the 1300s. After the Black Death, peaking in Europe 1347-1351, the Zips colonised what we know now as Central Europe. Search and read about the Zips and the Zips/Spis region of Slovakia via the Internet.
Central Europe c.1360. You will see SAXONY (left of Silesia) and ZIPS region (top of HUNGARY) are clearly marked. From Philips' New School Atlas of Universal History, edited by Ramsay Muir and George Philip. Published 1928 by George Philip & Son Ltd. This book was awarded to my mother in her West Bridgford, Nottingham, school days.
Earlier I had set up and operated European Ancestry Trails & Events (EATE) 2004 - 2008 with Chris Slade, now retired tourism ambassador & businessman (of the Nottingham Experience), and Jan Curd-Pelling (of Heritage Placements 1980s with Norman Hudson MBE, & later Teamworks) who sadly passed away March 2012. She said to me, "Marysia, always think global!" EATE is global tourism.
During 24-26 June, 2005, I helped organise with Sir Richard FitzHerbert Bt and Lord Stafford, the FITZHERBERT 880 Celebrations and Family Gathering of 150 FitzH/herberts from around the world at their Derbyshire and Staffordshire family homes. This event was featured in Country Life magazine July 28, 2005. See part of the feature below and reference from Sir Richard FitzHerbert here detailing more about the event. The letter is also on my LinkedIn profile page.
European Ancestry Trails & Events has been dormant since 2008, so maybe it will rise again and have a new birth in future years. Maybe ancestry.com will become a future ACT & EATE investor and sponsor, who knows!
Please check out your Libraries Inspire websites to get you started with your family heritage search which will take you back to 1840 when UK's first modern census was produced. From then on, census records were produced every ten years. In fact there are census records going back to 1801. https://www.inspireculture.org.uk/heritage/ . There are many family history search sites, the main one being https://www.ancestry.com/. Start investigating, you and your family members will be hooked! Please tell me how you get on and ask me any questions you like, or leave any Comments below.
While I continue to write my series of books “The Adventures of Tag and Miss Zippy”, blog and craft, as well as monthly podcasting with Art Culture Tourism / ACT (next one 28th April), I wish you all a creative and enlightened ‘Grand Tour’ search with your families during lock down.
#Staysafe #stayhome #stayhappy
Beeston, Nottingham, UK
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I wrote in my last blog that I attended this 1-1 experience on Monday with Fiona Holmes who is a professional linocut artist and printer, at The Art Room in Long Eaton, Derbyshire.
www.minifis-oddities.myshopify.com @minifisoddities - Facebook,
@minifis_oddities - Instagram email: email@example.com
What a treat it was for me for 2.5 hours, and here you can see the fruits of my labour!
Being a very experienced workshop leader, Fiona first explained what reduction printing is all about and the design and print process that I would be following, considering the paper and ink colours that I’d like to use.
For one colour linocut beginners like me, these were her basic guidelines:
The lightest colour is first done on white block.
Cut away what you want to stay white.
Ink plate again with next lightest colour.
Print it. I produced 10 prints.
Make sure you define the dark lines around the items.
Print again with black ink.
Few second video (below) that Fiona took of me carefully peeling away my print.
I’m sure, for one colour linocut printers out there, you will have questions to ask me or Fiona directly to take you to this reduction printing stage in your design process. For your information, Fiona will be doing online videos. Her contact details are here again for you below. Her style is unique and I love her nature and wildlife prints!
Thank you so much Fiona for your masterly class in reduction printing, I SO enjoyed it!
In addition, I thought I’d show you my latest print produced with different inks of my January design of Wollaton Hall & Deer Park.
I’ll be experimenting more with inks and papers over the following weeks/months and producing new designs for both one colour and two colours.
Think and act creatively. Get your crafting skills to the fore and stock up with your cutting and printing items. There are so many brilliant YouTube tutorials out there and do please get in touch with Fiona to ask questions if you decide to embark on this craft and need more guidelines before purchasing any beginners’ lino cut printing sets or materials.
Above all, have FUN, like I did!
During these anxious times, the need to write or blog, podcast and make art & craft as calming therapy at home is even more compelling, so I’m continuing to do so and hope you are or will too.
Anyone local who NEEDS help or those who wish to OFFER their help during COVID-19, please contact our Beeston & Chilwell community Facebook site Beeston Chilwell Area Mutual Aid Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/262907364704981/
Saturday 7th March
Nottingham Health & Well Being Show at Jubilee Conference Centre 7-8 March. I attended this 10.00-12.00 and was well impressed - the exhibitors, the location, meeting and talking with Liz & Ian of http://www.lizianevents.com/ . Liz personally took me around the two exhibition spaces where she kindly introduced me to individual exhibitors. Spaces and workshop/lecture rooms were being utilised extremely well. By the time I left, the spaces were buzzing. In the future ACT looks forward to collaborating with Liz and Ian on creative health & well-being projects. In the meantime please look up these exhibitors and see how they can help you by studying their websites, emailing them for assistance and listening to their podcasts. https://lizianevents.org/nottingham-well-being-show/
“Health and well being is your No. 1 in life, as when you are ill you cannot look after your family and loved ones” my father kept repeating to me as I was growing up.
Tuesday 10th March
10.30-12.00 D2N2 Growth Hub 1-1 meeting with Richard Crowden at Broxtowe Borough Council offices in Beeston. This was a very welcome update with Richard advising me about ACT’s next growth steps, especially investment & funding and hence recruitment. Our services have developed excellently over the last six years with all proof on our website and archives. I will complete our What we Do / Consulting section soon. https://www.d2n2growthhub.co.uk/
Our local Beeston Rylands internet goes down causing inconvenience to hundreds of homeowners and businesses. As a result I went into Beeston coffee shops like Green Hood coffee house and Beeston Library to access the internet and carry out valued communications.
Thursday 12th March
PM announces ‘delay’ method for COVID-19.
Friday 13th March
ACT Group catchup calls with Inna Schutts and Dawn Lindson.
Saturday 14th March
10.15 - 12.00 Attended Nottingham Print Fair Contemporary and then to my InterNations group lunch - please read my previous blog about this 15.3.20.
Sunday 15th March
11.00-12.00 Exhibition by Mat Collishaw at Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts University Park (proposed run until 7 June 2020, now cancelled). This was awesome and I’ll be posting my blog & photos about it this week.
Thank goodness, the Internet is now up and running again. 6 days without; apparently a BT cable was accidentally cut through and engineers finally renewed connection.
Monday 16th March
11.00-13.30 Had a wonderful 1-1 tuition on Reduction linocut printing at Long Eaton Art Room by the lovely Fiona Holmes known as www.minifis-oddities.myshopify.com I will be writing my blog about this during the week with photos of my 2-colour linocut prints and creative development process. http://www.longeatonartroom.co.uk/
Stay safe and stay strong in mind. Think and act creatively at home.
Anyone who NEEDS help or those who wish to OFFER their help during Covid-19, please contact our Beeston & Chilwell community Facebook site Beeston Chilwell Area Mutual Aid Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/262907364704981/
I visited Nottingham Contemporary yesterday morning Sat 14th March and really experienced an inspiring few hours downstairs, with over 30 stalls by independent artists, designers and collectives from the city and all over the UK. It continues today Sunday from 11am to 5pm so I really recommend you to go visit if you have the chance.
Talking to several exhibitors I discovered many were from Scotland, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. This is Contemporary’s first Print Fair and I predict they will repeat it annually over the following years.
Above are photos of a number of artists and print makers I spoke to. Those I spoke at length to were Nancy Powers (Original hand-printed lino cuts), Leicester Print Workshop, Canadian Geri Coady (Geri Draws Japan), Peter Knight of The Common Press, Crich, Benjamin at Dizzy Ink now at The Carousel 25 Hockley, and Todd Allan Stewart, Montreal Illustrator currently visiting from Dundee for this print fair.
I treated myself to this fantastic print of Montreal street (above) by Todd Stewart
toddallanstewart.com Wow! I love your artwork and printmaking Todd. Wonderful to talk with you and about your creative journey from Winnipeg to Montreal to Dundee. Being a qualified architect and urban planning expert, which I have just discovered about you this morning from your website, I now see how you have become a master illustrator of children’s books and editorial. As said to you, I hope you enjoy walking around and looking up at our fantastic city centre & Lace Market architecture tomorrow morning. Being an art tourism expert and promoter, I would love to know how our architecture affects and inspires you.
I’m also currently writing a series of small children’s books (already recorded as diaries with photographs) - The Adventures of Tag and Miss Zippy - based on Tag, my English wire haired fox terrier (with sticky up ears like Tin Tin’s Snowy) and our explorations and adventures together in regional areas of England and Wales. So they will also become small tourism aids for each visited area. See my framed photo below with representational fine painting (actual) by Daniel Rose in pocket fob and my 'bible' Children's Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2020.
At 12.00 I ambled down to another Wow! venue - https://www.yamas.co.uk/ on Thurland Street, Nottingham - to meet up with my InterNations group for superb Greek traditional Tapas & Meze. After two hours there and upon leaving, the restaurant was packed out and people queuing at the door to be seated. I thoroughly recommend this place for superb food and service. Bravo Yamas! Such an enjoyable lunch with international friends who had travelled from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.
At 2.00 pm, I drove back home to Beeston and rested reflecting on what an awesome morning I had experienced.
I've created new developments to my GARDEN ART front and back. You can see how my garden developed 2014 to 2019 under our More... Events and scroll down, on our artculturetourism.co.uk website.
At the end of February my front patch was changed from wild flowers area (of 5 years) with ground cover being copied to match the sandy coloured pebbling of my back garden. Existing lavenders, pulmonaria, cyclamen and other perennials remain in place as you can see.
In my back garden the seven year old lavenders had got too woody so are being gradually replaced with new ones continuing with the same and different species. All existing perennials and roses are growing well and being cared for. New roses are being added this month. I do like moving shrubs and perennials around if their current location doesn't suit them and re-arranging the garden colour palette to my taste.
Nature is my inspiration for my writing and blogging as well as my own art. My creative development embraces my sense of place and identity. The wild life visiting my garden increases in harmony year by year. Over the last six years, Art Culture Tourism has been evolving organically to keep in tune with nature, health and well-being.
Last Tuesday 25th February saw myself and our ACT Team - Caron Lyon PCM creative, Inna Schutts and Dawn Lindson - launch our first 2020 podcast, and what an enjoyable and enthusiastic production it was!
Led by Caron, who is our podcasting and ‘extending the audience’ guru, we all met up at 10.00 am at The Bean upstairs, 1 Stoney Street, Beeston,
to set up the laptop microphone to catch our close chat together on all things “What’s On Local” for March. You can listen to it here on the link...
We had a lot to talk about so Caron had prepared a running order schedule with all our relevant event links to information, photos and blogs. It was a slick podcast, thank you Caron! We started off reviewing our experiences about Nottingham #LightNight 7th/8th February and then followed with what events we had selected and were attending during March.
Our special guest, John Currie, director of the Beeston Film Festival, gave a 5 minute talk about this 6th annual event 25th - 29th March. Launch night takes place on Wednesday evening 25th at The Berliner Bar, Chilwell High Road, Beeston from 7pm. ACT is a Sponsor of the BFF for Best Audience Award every year. Thank you John, you were fab!
Catch all the film session schedules and purchase tickets (only £4.00 each) on http://www.beestonfilm.com/ and Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
You can listen to the podcast here and download the Anchor.FM App to your phone. We hope you like it and please 'Like' and leave your 'Comments' after this blog - we’d really appreciate them! www.anchor.fm/artculturetourism
Our monthly Tuesday schedule for 2020 will be as follows, taking place at The Bean Upstairs, where we’ll invite you to pop in and join us as our studio audience including any of our local sponsors & contributors. Our
10-15 minute podcasts will be recorded between 10.30 - 11.00.
Tuesday 24th March
Tuesday 28th April
Tuesday 26th May
Tuesday 23rd June
Tuesday 27th October
Tuesday 24th November
Thank you everyone and let’s see how our ACT-ive audience extends and expands over the following months. We wish you to benefit from our “What’s On Local” podcasts because YOU are our best audience, and we care about you and community.
Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham
I had the pleasure of experiencing a retrospective exhibition tour of Ivon Hitchens (1893-1979) led by writer Peter Khoroche who got to know the artist personally during the last ten years of his life in Sussex.
The exhibition considered a full scope of the artist's career spanning a remarkable six decades. The gallery was divided into four areas from Beginnings 1920s to his final years 1960s - 1970s enabling a wonderful sweeping walk through nature's landscapes and personal scenarios from daily life. It was visually and emotionally uplifting to watch his colour palette change over the years and heighten in the last decade of his life into almost abstract expressionism.
Peter Khoroche began his tour explaining about Hitchens' early life and start of his career. I took notes of his talk so this is the result of them. His father, Alfred Hitchens, was a Royal Academy member who made his main income as a portrait painter. After leaving St John's Wood Art School, Ivon entered the Royal Academy Painting School in 1911, and in 1919 he set up his artist's studio in Hampstead, London. 1920 saw his first mixed exhibition and in 1925 his first solo exhibition. It was the start of a "twenty-year struggle, with sallies to Shropshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Sussex".
Peter urged us to see "the beauty of his brush works, his sheer bravura". For sixty years he was passionate about his art. Ivon always carefully thought out the type of canvas he would use. Peter remembered seeing about 100 brushes carefully stored from decorator brushes to the finest brushes in the studio.
Ivon was finding his way, through the Arts & Crafts world, and had a strong spirited side, always sensitive and sensitized. He focused on landscapes, rarely touching hills, mountains - trees and woodlands were his comfort zone.
In 1935 he married Mary 'Mollie' Coates. In 1940 their Swiss Cottage home was bombed and they moved to live near Petworth, West Sussex north of the Downs. Here they stayed until 1979, starting out in a real gypsy caravan with no electricity so it was tough going. As the years went on, they added a studio and built on a flat- roofed bungalow called "Greenleaves". This area became very important to him. He never owned a car so painted in his woodland garden or near his house. It was the experience of place that meant so much to him. They scraped a living but prevailing all, he had an iron will and sense of humour, and could be very serious but charming. Above everything, he wished to give pleasure, and he knew his own worth.
Ivon had very good patrons to help him. Howard Bliss, son of Arthur Bliss, was one of them who collected Ivon's paintings from 1944, and he loaned many of them to exhibitions around the world.
He made friends with Ben Nicholson and his wife Winifred, and Henry Moore, and in 1925 he stayed with them in Cumberland. Inspiration came to him on discovering Cezanne and Roger Fry's "Vision" and Clive Bell's "Art". Colour and colour composition were his focus and, thanks to Winifred, a lighter palette and paring down.
In 1936 and during the wartime he turned to wide format canvases. He met Mr and Mrs Cecil Harris in 1929, who were to become Hitchens' first major patrons for the following ten years. Hitchens was very interested in the composition, becoming more and more intrinsically pleasing using vertical and horizontal brush movements. Every scene was well plotted, and he had to paint in front of the subject or motif. It was the tension between Nature versus chaos and then bringing order into chaos.
He was a master colourist with space and hence the title of this exhibition. One can see he was much influenced by Cezanne, Matisse and Braque, and in some parts I think by Dufy. We enter the 1950 to 1960s area where we see water pools with white priming providing the sunlight. 'Colour is descriptive.' The 'River Pool' 1955 is very powerful and we discover Ivon's work is getting more abstract.
In the 1970s, we see, from the below images, brighter and broader sweeps becoming more and more abstract.
I am not a professional artist but I do know how to look at paintings and to 'read' them. In the 1970s I lived and worked for most part in London, Islington being my home territory. For me, the colours and musical vibrancy of this time among the architects, designers and media houses I worked for, brought the final stages of Hitchens' artworks of the exhibition really close to me. They sang the same tune; I wore the same colours so this area really 'hit' home with the swathes of pinks, purples, blues, turquoises, reds, maroons, mustard and eggy yellows. This exhibition was my first introduction to Ivon Hitchens and I left elated at the discovery of such a master of colour and space who brought Nature up close and personal.
Thank you Peter Khoroche for telling us the story and journey of Ivon Hitchens as you knew and understood him. You certainly 'sold' his art to me...and your book at the Djanogly shop! Thank you for signing and dating it for me, because now I'm delving even more into the beauty of Ivon's brush works and appreciating his sheer bravura.
Left - photo of Peter looking at his favourite painting - Spring Day. 1973. 'Not bad for an 80 year artist!' as you said.
Ivon Hitchens by Peter Khoroche
Published by Lund Humphries
£25.00 from bookshops & on line.
My photographs of the artworks account for only a small part of the exhibition and I have captioned them as best I can. Spec details will be added to those not captioned.
This exhibition ran from 2 November 2019 - 23 February 2020. For further exhibitions and events at Lakeside Arts, University of Nottingham, see https://www.lakesidearts.org.uk/
Below are some black and white photographs of Ivon Hitchens I selected which are captioned and photo credited.
The Victorian Nottingham world of architect Watson Fothergill appeared in full colourful glory with Lucy Brouwer explaining and showing why he was such an important influence on the red city. As storyteller, she brought him alive giving us fascinating snippets into his life, his personality, family, apprenticeship, practice, and his recognisable architectural trademarks...his brand.
I could hear and see the hustle and bustle of Nottingham market square and surrounding streets with the clatter of horses hooves pulling carts, trams and carriages on the cobblestones, and Victorian ladies and gentlemen briskly walking and weaving in between wearing elegant attire. Nottingham was a booming town with banks and businesses being built to match its meteoric trading growth. It was the world’s lace market capital with textile manufacturing and engineering utilizing a huge human workforce. Queen Victoria visited in 1843 and Jesse Boot was building his chemist shop and pharmacy empire. In 1896 Nottingham becomes a city and it is Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
The stories that particularly delighted me were about Zebedee Jessop and William Daft, sculptor Benjamin Creswick and his terracotta panels, the architect’s showcase office on George Street, Queen’s Chambers and colonnade and the magnificent Notts Bank head office building on Thurland Street now housing ‘All Saints’ clothing store and ‘Bravissimo’ lingerie shop. Try and spot the monkey peeking out between the chimney support and roof tiles!
My photographer friend Ray Teece who started his Nottingham21 website in 2004 of Nottingham in Photographs - Nottingham in Pictures - has many fine photographs of the Notts Bank building, as well as other Watson Fothergill buildings, so please do take a look. http://www.nottingham21.co.uk/build_nottmbank_thumbnails.htm
The three photographs below are by Ray Teece from above link.
Whilst on the subject of Victorian building and Queen Victoria, Ray and Spanish artist Joe Ganech collaborated, together with Art Culture Tourism, on Joe’s magnificent artwork ‘Queen Victoria Complete’ referenced from Ray’s photograph of the late Queen 1905 statue in the Nottingham Embankment Memorial Gardens and which earlier had moved from the city square in 1953. Please find out more about this fascinating story with NottsTV clip 23 Nov 2017 by clicking on https://www.artculturetourism.co.uk/screen-media-room.html
I only managed to take a few photos myself on this ‘Watson Fothergill Grand Tour’ before my mobile charge ‘died’ halfway through but you can see excellent photos taken by Lucy and Nottingham photographer Lamar Francois on the official website together with all facts, blog reviews and how to book a tour. https://watsonfothergillwalk.com/
Many fine slices of architectural history were served by Lucy, as well as tea and cake by Debbie Bryan where we finished the walk and sat down in welcome comfort in her shop on St Mary’s Gate in Nottingham’s Lace Market. https://debbiebryan.co.uk/
Applause to Watson Fothergill himself and his architecture, and many thanks to our guide Lucy Brouwer.
Remember...please look UP whenever you walk around the streets of red brick Nottingham because you’ll be surprised at how many architectural curiosities, embellishments, stone animals and birds reach out to proudly display themselves!
All the ACT artists and management team contribute to this blog. Press Releases, Reviews, Events and Calls to Participate are posted here too.