Morston Anchor

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I had lunch with a girl friend today at The Anchor at Morston. it was her treat for a lesson on the intricasies of Pinterest!

It was busy and buzzy, and we had had the sense to book our favourite table by the window in the bar, so heaved a sigh of relief when we arrived ( late -after wending our way along the mad coast road with all the half term visitors), to see the very welcome  `Reserved` sign was still on our table. We decided to go for a starter and a pud ( naughty) ,and we both had the most delicious local asparagus, with smoked hollandaise, a crab beignet ( yummy-love a beignet) and watercress.Very pretty on the plate too.

My friend had the white chocolate torte with raspberry sauce and meringue, and I chose the Anchor creme brulee with honeycomb ice cream.

There were lots of lovely dishes to chose from, on both the printed menu, and from the specials blackboard; including fish soup, tempura courgette flower stuffed with rosary ash goats cheeses and salt baked beetroot, as well as old favourites such as crab salad and golden beer battered fish and chips.

Good , cheerful service and a lovely glass of Gavi.The perfect lunch!

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Two great films

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I always come to the party late so to speak, re watching the latest films, as we never go to the cinema and buy DVDs instead. We have seen two excellent ones this week.

Both very different but both love stories and both made me cry.

Firstly The Theory of Everything , just out on DVD,  an extraordinary and uplifting story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, and of two people defying the steepest of odds through love. The film, based on the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, by Jane Hawking, is directed by Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire). So well acted by Eddy Redmayne and Felicity Jones.

Secondly Walk the Line, an older drama following the life of the legendary ‘Man in Black’, Johnny Cash. The movie begins in 1955, when a tough, skinny guitar-slinger who called himself J.R. Cash (Joaquin Phoenix) walks into the soon-to-be-famous Sun Studios in Memphis. It was a moment that would have an indelible effect on American culture. With his driving freight-train chords, steel-eyed intensity and a voice as deep and black as night, Cash sang blistering songs of heartache and survival that were gutsy, full of real life and unlike anything heard before. That day kicked off the electrifying early career of Johnny Cash. As he pioneered a fiercely original sound that blazed a trail for rock, country, punk, folk and rap stars to come, Cash began a rough-and-tumble journey of personal transformation. In the most volatile period of his life, he evolved from a self-destructive pop star into the iconic ‘Man in Black’ – facing down his demons, fighting for the love that would save him time and again, and learning how to walk the razor-thin line between destruction and redemption. Reese Witherspoon won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role as June Carter, Cash’s long-suffering wife.

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Vive Espana

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I have been home in North Norfolk from our home in southern Spain for a week now, and I am still craving the wall to wall sunshine ,and the ( almost-even in May) guaranteed ability to plan a supper or lunch party; outside safe in the knowledge that you will be eating outside on the warm balmy air, with no last minute panics and rearrangement of dining tables inside after all.

There are five things that I miss the most, apart from the bliss of being able to read as many books as I like back to back without interruption,( I read nine!), and they are :

1. The amazing views , from our terraces :inland across the campo and up to the mountains-particularly in the evening when there is a pink hue hanging over the hills, and first thing in the morning with the bluest of blue skies looking down to the sparkling sea.I also love the hilltop view from the much-visited by us, white village of Frigiliana, down the valley to the sea.

2.I miss the shocking pink Bougainvillea , a fabulous pop of colour against white wash walls.

3. I miss the freshest clams ever, cooked at home or eaten at our favourite beach restaurant, and I miss the delicious Pimientos de Padron. I did bring some home for guests here on Saturday night, and everyone else loved them too.  Bring them on!

4.The sea. I love swimming in the sea. North Norfolk, the Med or the Caribbean. The water was still cold a week ago , despite temperatures soaring into the 30s, but swim we did, on a tiny (mostly deserted save a handful of local fishermen) beach, very near our house. Nothing more refreshing.

5.Eating outside is always a joy wherever you are, and in Spain we eat every meal on our terrace.Nothing better.

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When Marnie was there

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I simply HAVE to write a few lines about this wonderful childrens book!

`When Marnie was there`, was written in 1967 by Joan G Robinson ( who wrote the Teddy Robinson books that I remember from my childhood), and this magical book set in `Little Overton` on the North Norfolk coast, is very charming and beautifully written. It is in fact set in Burnham Overy Staithe, where  Joan holidayed each summer with her children, indeed she is buried in the churchyard at St Clements.

The book:

Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognises – and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna’s first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays – and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed…

I am fortunate enough to live just down the road from Burnham Overy, so the author`s hauntingly beautiful descriptions of marsh, and creeks, sea lavender and samphire and running in the dunes are very familiar to me, but for those who don`t know this wondrous area, the book will be no less charming. I might be slightly older than a child myself, but I couldn`t put it down!

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Sonia Delaunay

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I hot-footed it to Tate Modern on Thursday to see the fabulous Sonia Delaunay exhibition. I loved it . I particularly loved her later work, but also the paintings that she did during the first World War; when her and her husband Robert lived in Spain and Portugal. But it was interesting to find out ( and see more ) of her textiles designs too.

It was lovely to visit the Members restaurant (great views across the Thames) ,for a drink afterwards with a friend who is a member (definitely worth doing if you are a regular visitor to the Tate), and do buy the exhibition catalogue. The only disappointment was that the exhibition shop didn`t have any cards of her work on sale, something to do with copyright apparently, a shame as I usually leave any exhibition I visit with a clutch of arty postcards.

The exhibition at Tate Modern is on until August 9th.

Sonia Delaunay (November 14, 1885 – December 5, 1979) was a JewishFrench artist who, with her husband Robert Delaunay (of whom she said , “In Robert Delauney I found a poet. A poet who wrote not with words but with colours.”) and others, cofounded the Orphism art movement, noted for its use of strong colours and geometric shapes. Her work extends to painting, textile design and stage set design. She was the first living female artist to have a retrospective exhibition at the Louvre in 1964, and in 1975 was named an officer of the French Legion of Honor.

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Richard Diebenkorn

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I meant to post this a while back as it`s some weeks since I went to this wonderful exhibition at The Royal Academy. I was truly gobsmacked at Richard Diebenkorn`s painting. A great visual seducer.

I loved each and every one of them. A must-visit exhibition.

Revered as one of the great post-war masters in his native United States, Richard Diebenkorn is an artist whose staunchly independent career takes us from abstraction to figuration and back again, a man described by the Washington Post as one of America’s “finest abstract painters” to a UK audience for the first time in more than 20 years. Diebenkorn’s career is broadly divided into three phases and the exhibition shows some of the most outstanding works from each period.

Beginning in the early 1950s, when Abstract Expressionism was a dominant force on the East Coast. Diebenkorn initially embraced abstraction, before making what was a surprising change of direction to figuration in the mid-1950s, which would persist until the mid 1960s. Then, returning to abstraction in the late 1960s, we look at his famous Ocean Park series, which according to the Boston Globe includes “some of the most beautiful works of art created in America or anywhere else since the Second World War.”Diebenkorn’s seductive colour palettes and intricately balanced compositions draw from the light and a sense of the places in which he worked, and define a career that spanned more than four decades.
The exhibition is on until June 4th
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Big eyes

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Director Tim Burton

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Margaret Keane and Amy Adams

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I had been waiting excitedly for this film to come out on DVD, and I was not disappointed. I love biographical films, and Tim Burton directs this drama starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams.

The film follows the true story of American artist Margaret Keane (Adams), who, in the 1960s, allowed her husband Walter (Waltz) to claim credit for her artwork, he believing that a female artist could not find success through painting.

The phenomenon of Keane`s `big eyed waif`( incredibly kitsch to us now) paintings, and the mass production of them led to the Keanes acquiring huge amounts of wealth, and the paintings were in high demand throughout their time living together as husband and wife. However, when they later became separated, Margaret announced to the world that she was in fact the true author of the paintings, sparking a long-drawn-out legal battle between her and her estranged husband… Adams won a Golden Globe Award for her performance.

I loved the `50s/60s interiors, clothes and cars and true to form of many Tim Burton`s films, the cinematography had a slighty unreal, over-coloured, kitschy feel to it-just my vision of San Francisco and California in that period.

Margaret Keane remarried , and is still painting for her gallery in San Francisco.

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