Autumnal Equinox in Worthing

red tree in Homefield Park, Worthing

Autumn closes in. This glorious tree in Homefield Park boasts leaves of rich ruby red while the other trees around it are still green with just a few rust tinged leaves between them. It's a trailblazing tree, too impatient to wait for today's autumnal equinox!  Last week my daughter found her first conker in the Quashetts - the ancient twitten we walk through en route to school. Friday's journey home saw us colliding with cobwebs and we spotted three huge stripy yellow spiders invisibly suspended in mid-air.
   Another autumnal phenomenon in these parts seems to be the discarding of musical instruments in the street. I longed to take this upright piano home (but how to carry and where to put it?) and puzzled over the Westminster radiogram abandoned at the side of the road. Meanwhile the yellow rose bush in my garden continues to bloom, oblivious to the change in the air.

spider and conker
piano and red leaf
roses and radiogram

Autumn's tote bags in Dutch wax prints, lemons and daisies

ukulele tote bags by Ivy Arch
Here are six new ukulele tote bags for autumn. Four of them are cut from different pieces of Dutch wax print fabric. I love the super bright colours found on this type of material and have a small collection of Dutch print fabrics bought variously at street markets in Shepherd's Bush and Worthing, as well as from African fabric shops in London's Petticoat Lane. I've used it to make everything from dresses to wall hangings for my home but thought a range of tote bags in these highly patterned prints with contrasting appliqued ukes would look fabulous.
Dutch wax print uke totes
The other two new bags in this collection are made from a Scandinavian style retro daisy print designed by Ann Kelle for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. I've matched it with a cheerful lemon and lime print cotton by Ikea.
Lemon and daisy print bags
All these bags are on sale now in the Ivy Arch Etsy shop.

Waxing lyrical on ukuleles, beards and moustaches

Ukulele Flashmob
On a balmy September afternoon Wukulele trooped over to Brighton to pay a ukulele tribute to the hirsute individuals taking part in the British Beard and Moustache Championships. It was a flashmob happening but in our own idiosyncratically understated style. No rehearsals, no secret rules, no complicated instructions or mystery to the proceedings, just a call to all comers to turn up, strum and sing in appreciation of this fine event. Those of us not endowed with sufficient facial plumage wore home made or hand drawn moustaches and beards.
     We played The Kinks 1966 hit single Dedicated Follower of Fashion twice through to a cheering and mostly moustachioed crowd.
ukulele flashmob with beards and moustaches

Pattern in Scotland: from concrete murals to ferry furnishings

 Ivy Arch in Edinburgh
Man-made patterns became a theme of interest to me in Scotland and provided a counterpoint to the stunning natural beauty of the landscapes we travelled though. I saw these three huge carved concrete panels on the side of a University of Edinburgh building on the way to Holyrood Park.
Concrete mural at Edinburgh University
Concrete mural, Edinburgh
Concrete mural at Edinburgh University
At Glasgow Queen Street station I found a glorious technicolour ceramic mural hidden away in the stairwell corridor outside the women's toilets - an unlikely location for this elaborate artwork.
Ceramic mural, Glasgow
The final set of patterns pictured here are variously from carpets on the ferry to Mull; seating at Edinburgh Waverley railway station; plastic floor tiles in Oban; concrete paving stones in Holyrood; and the front of The Clyde Bar in Helensburgh.
Man made patterns in Scotland

We Picked-Our-Own at Roundstone Farm

Roundstone Farm signage
The start of September marks our annual trip to Roundstone Farm. This year my lovely friend Mock Duck and her charming family joined us on our rural adventure.
   England's early summer floods and continuing rain have meant that the only successful fruit/vegetable crop in my garden has been my daughter's tomatoes - grown from seeds found in her box of Innocent smoothies - so it was a real delight to see the abundant harvest at Roundstone. It's an ideal place to visit with children, but you don't have to be 7 years old to get a kick out of riding to the top of the farm in the tractor's passenger trailer, or from digging and pulling carrots out of the ground. The biggest cheer from me came when we found the orchard of Victoria plums - hundreds of trees heavy with large red, gold and dusty pink egg-shaped fruit. I picked as many as I could carry.
Victoria plums
     We returned home with long stems of rhubarb, punnets full of berries, huge beetroot, bags of onions, fat ears of sweetcorn, carrots, cauliflower, red cabbage and beans, and our lungs full of sweet country air.
    We travelled there by train - the nearest station being Goring-by-sea, then it's a 20 minute walk (alas along a busy main road) towards the farm. Leaving Roundstone with a heavy load of delicious produce we caught the (expensive) 700 bus from just outside the farm back to Goring-by-sea station.
Roundstone Farm Pick-your-own
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