Tuesday, 30 November 2021

It's beginning to look a lot like . . . Childwickbury!

 


the entrance to Childwickbury stable block, flanked by angels
© Teresa Newham

The last weekend in November means several things: it's the first Sunday in Advent; the Christmas lights are due to be switched on in Harpenden; and it's time to wrap up warm and head for the Childwickbury Christmas Market.  


Christmassy decor in the courtyard
© Teresa Newham

Even the fringes of Storm Arwen hadn't deterred visitors from descending on Childwickbury on the Saturday morning; the fabulous angels were in place, along with the tree, the lights and the Christmas garlands; everything was festive and there was plenty to see.


glass art by Siddy Langley (top) 
and Opal Seabrook (bottom)
© Teresa Newham


First stop was a visit to two glass artists - Harpenden-based Opal Seabrook who was in prime position near the entrance to the stable block with Siddy Langley, from Devon. Their work was attracting a lot of attention, but we did manage a brief chat.


artists and makers making good use of every inch of space in the stables
© Teresa Newham

Throughout the stables, a variety of artists and makers had set up shop, ranging from textiles to jewellery, pottery - and candles from another local maker, Handmade in Harpenden.  Paintings and prints hung from ceilings, cushions were piled high; every nook and cranny was pressed into service.


local producers selling their wares
© Teresa Newham

In what I think was once a cow shed, local producers selling everything from cakes to flavoured oils were doing a roaring trade, with eager customers snapping up bargains; it was like and yet unlike the summer Arts Fair, with spaces being repurposed, although several of the regular exhibitors were showing, including Childwickbury's owner, Christiane Kubrick.


floral wreaths and garlands
© Teresa Newham

I had a splendid, if chilly, morning, dodging the crowded areas and steaming up behind my mask, but it was well worth it - coming home with various purchases, and the distinct feeling that Christmas is well on its way!


visitors by the Christmas tree
© Teresa Newham









Monday, 15 November 2021

The joy of imperfection

 


a mixed hedge on the housing estate
© Teresa Newham


November is a wabi sabi time of year in this part of the world.  Much of nature is in a state of decay, and in many ways all the more interesting because of that; there's far more to see in the hedgerows now, for example, than in summer when everything is lush and green.


the last of the leaves
© Teresa Newham

It's been a mild, wet Autumn. A few leaves are still clinging gamely to the deciduous trees and shrubs in the gardens and fields, making bright patterns when they fall. The Tudors used to refer to Autumn as "fall", and the Pilgrim Fathers took the word to the New World, where it's still used to this day.


berries, gone over
© Teresa Newham

The birds have had the best of the berries but there are still plenty to be seen. Many are shrivelled and well past their prime, and definitely fall into the category of wabi sabi.  I wouldn't fancy eating them . . . 


a tree in the fading light
© Teresa Newham

The nights are drawing in so the sun is quite low in the sky when I take my afternoon walks.  There is a compelling quality to the light, as though the countryside is slowly putting itself to bed for the winter.



something not growing on a wall
© Teresa Newham

Before I get too maudlin, I remind myself that everything has to die back in order to come alive again.  Winter is approaching, but Spring will follow!


beauty in decay
© Teresa Newham