A Potpourri of Activity

The 'Cheltenham Flyer' at St James' Cheltenham

Linnet wrote of her stay at Hanover House ‘This is a first – at the end of every holiday we write ‘thank you’ letters to everyone who gave us hospitality – in your case we were ‘paying guests’ but nevertheless I feel I have to write to thank you for your fabulous hospitality!’ 

Lots going on today, in and around Hanover House. The most instantly noticeable event was Sophie’s return from her ‘puppy party’ at some unknown, but very dirty venue. She came back green and brown from head to paw, like disruptive camouflage pattern, with a strong accompanying odour!  She looked and smelled as though she’d been to a slurry farm – an absolute Nirvana for a dog…

I had detoured from work near Bicester to go home to Cheltenham via Harwell village near Didcot. I had gone to collect a fantastic signed print of The ‘Cheltenham Flyer’ (subject of a previous blog) steaming out of St James’ GWR Cheltenham Spa railway station in what must be pre about 1950 as the Pullman coaches are in the chocolate and cream livery of the GWR prior to nationalisation. Another clue is the skyline behind the station, because aside from the spire of St Gregory the Great, viewed from the back of our house, one can also see the tower and spire of St Matthew’s church. The tower and spire were removed in the mid 50’s, presumably because they were too expensive to maintain, but the removal damaged the Cheltenham vista in that direction – so train and skyline generate nostalgia on several fronts – even though we had never seen the originals! 

Arriving home with my ‘prize’, which fortunately Veronica instantly liked too, I was assailed by the distinct odour of ‘very smelly dog’. She’s shortly due for a good hose down and lather – serves her right for enjoying herself so much.

I took my new art acquisition to Paul at Crown Gallery to have a better frame put on it, and he was most impressed with the reasonable price I got it for on eBay. He had framed 16 of the run of 500 in the past (it being a local scene) and knew both the commissioner and artist and had some interesting bits of knowledge about it to impart to me. The original painting had been 4 times the size and the print run was to fund the roof on St Gregory the Great. Apparently in candlelight, the whole nature of the sky in the painting changes, so we have that to experience over the winter – probably during the next power cut…

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