Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Insta post September 2015: Autumn, Burghley Horse Trials, and other bits of London Life

It's Autumn in the northern hemisphere which means these striped deck chairs get packed away in London parks.
September is a busy month for everyone as everyone is back from holidays and going back to the grind.  Remember when Harry Potter used to go to school from Euston station?
Isn't it funny how large cities are culturally autonomous?
I left London and arrived in true blue England when I arrived in Stamford, Lincolnshire.
This is the Burghley Hospital that was started in the 1100's!
Now it is one of the quaintest and most charming housing associations in the country.

Stamford is a market town with all the trimmings of stone buildings and rivers.
My friends and I stayed in a private house that sometimes caters to guests if you know them.
It had bits of architecture dating back from the Domesday Book with the latest additions being from the Georgian period.
What made the home so special was that it was the size of a manor but situated in the town center with views from every window.

I loved their entry hall.
In my room, I noticed there were no spotlights and there was a open glass pane exposing the original and repatched ceiling.  The owners of the home said that they had to be so careful about lights as the home was rather flammable from the inside.

The dogs ruled the roost as with most English home.
That's "Trollope" on her very own chair.
Shakespeare had no shame and was begging for crumbs.
I normally don't oblige but the dog is old and the owner allowed it so I shared my breakfast.
This is real country living territory with all its eccentricities.
Burghley Horse Trials takes place at Burghley which is one of the finest examples of Tudor architecture in England but as it's no longer Downton Abbey like, most homes have to earn its own keep and hold events to pay for the roofs and heating bills.
The locals in the surrounding villages apparently use this occasion to do all their Christmas shopping at the horse show.  They sold all the "horsey" and "country" stuff.
But they also surprisingly sold kitchens!
It was a horse show but walking around the event you would have thought it was Crufts Dog show.
I had never seen so many black labradors in my life.
If you lost your black lab, it would have been looking at Where's Waldo.
I'm not a huge fan of the Victorian era for reasons I shan't bore you with ( mainly that Queen ) but they made attractive train stations.
Politically it's been a tumultuous time around the world.
If the new leader of the Labour party ever becomes the PM, there will be lots more public housing situated right next to Selfridges. 
Canary Wharf isn't somewhere I frequent often.
Who knew the fishing was good at Canary Wharf?

I went to hear a talk about the expeditions on climate change that the schooner Tara does when it sails all around the world.
The scientists spend months in this common room especially when it sails in the North Pole.
It was really depressing to hear all the destruction.
Did you know that there is a floating whirlpool of plastic bags the size of Australia in the ocean?
But the scientists plod on gathering information on this modest boat.
Canary Whart tube station freaks me out.
Bit like a nuclear bunker which I am sure it is supposed to double up as in times of emergency.
I just saw the back of the crowd that was following Ai Wei Wei and Anish Kapoor do a walk to
 East London to highlight the plight of refugees.

If you don't want to commit or are saving for a chandelier 

I was thinking this paper lantern I saw in the Burlington Arcade could work in the interim.
My friend and I decided to make the most of a sunny day and had a midday drink overlooking Trafalgar square except the experience was blighted by surrounding bees.

Kensington Palace's gardeners are kept busy even though the Windsor-Middletons are not in normally in residence.
Today I went to a talk at the Focus event at Chelsea Harbour Design Center.
I have always been a fan of Douglas Mackie and came across his work when I was googling interior designers who use folding screens.

It was interesting to hear him speak as he doesn't do much press and publicity.
He trained as an architect in Cambridge and he said one of the defining moments was a school trip to Rome where pictures were banned and they had to draw baroque churches freehand.
He said that drawing things out made his perception change as viewing things from a camera lens.
He drew for design firms for extra income and things eventually let to him becoming a designer himself.

He showed a few pictures of projects of homes where the clients have insisted remain private.
He said that might be the reason he might not come out with a book as most of his clients are intensely private.

I loved hearing his views on art and how it affects his decor.
This is a very short synopsis on an hour talk!
I thought the editor of House and Garden did a nice job of letting Mr Mackie speak because in the past the hosts of lectures can sometimes overshadow the guest by trying to share the stage.
The design center was decorated for the week's events.

I love Greek keys but sometimes I get sick and tired of them too and 
think some designers over use and over rely on this motif.  
 But then it has been around 2000 years so 
I should stop being such a bitch.
A lot of the display showrooms had updated their windows to attract custom.
There were some fun new fabrics at GP J Baker - 
perfect for an ottoman.

This wallpaper kept me entertained for a few minutes examining the detail.

Best window display went to Zoffany for these colored pencils that were actually fabric.
Doesn't this new wallpaper from Cole and Son remind you of that video game Simcity?
I am going away for a few weeks so will be taking a blogging break to coincide but might drop in time to time on Instagram while I sort my jet-lag out.
I wish you a very safe red blood full moon which also happens to be the Harvest Moon festival which is the East Asian Thanksgiving!
Stay well and see you late October xx


  1. There was much to love about this post, especially the dogs. Our Bella is a staffy x lab we think. She always watches me cook dinner. Have a great holiday- off to Mayr?

  2. Gosh, you have been quite the busy bee. So much in one post to absorb and all of it wonderful! Where to start.... I would have loved to go to the horse trials with you and trot about the country folk and accompanying dawgs. The house you stayed it looks divine - the perfect spot for rest and relaxation during your trip.

    The schooner talk does sound depressing, sigh, and yes, I know all about the plastic floating island sadly. So much destruction from plastics - I loathe the stuff!

    I found Mr. Mackie's obervations on drawing quite wonderful. Too few architects and designers draw anymore sadly (could this be because everything is computer generated nowadays?). Have you seen the mind-blowing video of the Three Classicists, found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66_8H6tWUtQ. If you have six minutes to spare, do yourself a favor and watch it.

    Finally, where did you sit for your drink over Trafalgar Square? Adored the view.

    Enjoy your trip.

    1. Well only sometimes busy the other time I am sitting around watching netflix really.

      The horse trials are funny because the horses are incidental and it's just absorbing the culture and the different atmosphere from London.

      The talk on the Tara was so interesting because they were saying the by product of plastics no disintegrating is that algae survives on it as a platform and the air we breathe isn't dependant on just the forests but the oceans. Honestly I walked out of there depressed!

      I adore Douglas and his work and such a pity not all of it can be seen but I did think I must put my camera down a lot more. Thanks for the link too.

      next time you are in town - try the Trafalgar hotel and go to their rooftop but go early because on a nice day it gets full. We went at noon on the dot and there were already people there!

    2. Thank you Naomi for spilling the beans on where that wonderful shot of Trafalgar Square was taken. I do know the hotel so should have figured it out. Rest assured, I shall enjoy a drink there when next in London as I have so many fond memories of the square from my youth, feeding the pigeons as a child, and many New Year's Eves spent in celebration with the rest of London (I don't think I can do that again in a hurry - with age comes wisdom I guess).

  3. Happy trails. Love these glimpses into your world.

  4. Wonderful mix! You do have an interesting time! How interesting also your almost close encounter with Ai Weiwei. Have you read Barnaby Martin's "Hanging Man - The Arrest of Ai Weiwei"? He's a remarkable man - and also an architect of course.
    The plastic island is shockingly bad. So much to concern us environmentally. Well done the crew of the Tara.
    Wish you a happy break from blogging - but will miss your posts. I like that we can never predict what you might write about. Warmest wishes, Pammie xxx

    1. But what you don't see is me being a couch potato!! Ai Weiwei is a figure for history in China and it is so interesting to see how they view him so dangerously because of his art too. Stay well and hope you get stronger and fitter after you last bout - maybe you can join IG? xxx

  5. A wonderful post, leaving me with the realization that I need to fill my calendar with more fun events for sure!!
    Have a great time, and I will check Instagram to see your latest adventures!!

    The Arts by Karena
    Painting Central Park

  6. I just looove the house you stayed in. And the village! So charming - the archetypal English village.
    As for the deck chairs you've just reignited my post traumatic stress disorder of the sight of pasty English people stripping off in the parks to sun themselves whenever the temps rose above 18C. Shudder. Happy Harvest Moon and thanks for the sneak peak of Designex and the CH show/ talks. xxx

    1. Double Shudder!! I remember men in suits, stripped to the waist wearing handkerchiefs (knotted at the corners) on their heads and spread out on the grass in London parks. They had No Shame!
      PS Ai Weiwei is such a brave man! One of the heroes of our time. Pammie xxx

  7. NO WONDER I saved this POST to READ when I had MORE TIME!
    HAVE A wonderful trip...........will be looking for you on Instagram........
    Over and out YOUR Antique Goddess!

  8. Interesting post all around and while GSL defers to you on all matters maritime Naomi, that trashbag whirlpool size of Australia did have Den staff (underpaid and overfed) putting down their cheeseburgers to see if this claim held up....it does if not with quite the dramatic visual your description conjures (Den Editorial staff do give generous allowances for artistic license although never delete paragraphs post publication without notice....despite what Heidi's empty Gin bottles encourage her to believe)


    If only Al Gore had Den Staff handy to fact check his ridiculous doco he parlayed into a Nobel Prize....only NINE major mistakes...but who's counting.


  9. Goodness me busy busy. The Stamford house looks very pretty. I'm a sucker for open and airy hallways too. I'm glad you managed to stay safe in the house given it was prone to being flammable! I wouldn't have expected spotlights to be in that style of house to be fair. Anyway have a lovely time away xx

  10. Trust me to turn up just when you are taking a break. Lovely to read about your recent activities.

  11. Harry Potter went from Kings Cross!

    1. You are right! Don't know why o had Euston in the post! Will correct later.

  12. So much pretty here Naomi! Love that village and what a neat home to stay in! I'd love to get there one day. I think I'm in love with that blue wallpaper and sofa with the bird print! Hope you are having a lovely break. It's wonderful to see the U.K. through your eyes! xx Kim


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