Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The House of Marbles

Recently, a problem has arisen between Windows LiveWriter, my preferred blogging software, and Google Blogger, and I have been unable to publish any new blog posts since then. Now, thanks to the valiant efforts of a team of volunteers, Windows LiveWriter (which Microsoft is no longer supporting) has been launched in an open source format as Open LiveWriter. The team has been working hard to iron out the various glitches over the past week or so. This is my first post using the new software, and is also by way of a test to make sure everything is functioning as it should. So far, there is no facility for adding categories, but we are hoping for this to be available soon, after which I shall edit this and subsequent posts to include these.

It has been a long time since I posted to my blog. My creative mojo is still distinctly absent, and my health remains about the same – still feeling pretty fatigued and the peripheral neuropathy and other neurological symptoms from my chemo still around, but I live in hope that all this will soon be diminished.

We have had a busy couple of weeks with several meals out and meeting up with family and friends, in the run-up to Christmas. Hoping for a fresh start in the New Year, getting my life back to some sort of normality!

On Monday, my hubby thought we needed an outing, just the two of us, for a treat, so he took me to the House of Marbles at Bovey Tracey.

20 House of Marbles_thumb[3]

I do not feel as if my Christmas is complete unless I go and see their wonderfully tasteful (not!) Singing Christmas Tree:


Singing Christmas Tree Legend_thumb[2]

The House of Marbles has a glass-blowing workshop, a shop, gallery, museum and restaurant. Plenty to see, and excellent food.

We began our visit by going to the gallery and museum. The gallery has a beautiful collection of art glass pieces which are all for sale.

01 Art Glass 1_thumb[2]

02 Art Glass 2_thumb[2]

03 Art Glass 3_thumb[2]

I love these organic forms.

04 Art Glass - Wave 1_thumb[2]

05 Art Glass - Wave 2_thumb[2]

06 Art Glass - Organic Form_thumb[2]

07 Art Glass - Organic Forms_thumb[2]

08 Art Glass - Waves_thumb[2]

09 Art Glass - Teign Valley Glass_thumb[2]

In the museum they have glass from many periods. Here is some Lalique glass, which I adore – one day I would love to own a piece of genuine Lalique!

10 Glass History - Lalique 1_thumb[2]

11 Glass History - Lalique 2_thumb[2]

Glass eyes!

13 Glass History - Glass Eyes_thumb[2]

Some beautiful lead crystal.

14 Glass History - Lead Crystal_thumb[2]

On the outside of the building is a series of murals. I love how the little girl in this one is peeping in at all the customers in the shop, and the other girl is pressing her nose against the glass.

15 Mural 1 - The Shop_thumb[2]

In the restaurant is an animated jungle assembly, and this mural depicts that. I am very intrigued by trompe l’oeil (literally “deceiving the eye”) and have done a bit of this myself on the murals I created in our old house. Particularly intriguing in this picture is the way the edges of the bricks are painted to capture the perspective, with the tops of the lower bricks being visible, and the bottoms of the bricks at the top.

16 Mural 2 - Jungle_thumb[2]

This mural depicting a hole in the wall crammed full of marbles on the left, shows that to get the proper effect of trompe l’oeil, one has to stand in one particular place to view it, because although the picture represents something in three dimensions, the drawing itself is flat. You can see that the edges of the bricks, photographed from this oblique angle, do not work, and it looks all wrong! The mural on the other side of the corner shows a real mastery of perspective with the brickwork receding towards the vanishing point somewhere in the clouds. I love how the artist has incorporated the opening times sign into the picture. Unfortunately the Christmas lights in front of this mural are obscuring it somewhat.

17 Mural 3 - Marbles and Trompe L'oeil_thumb[3]

Mural depicting the glass blowing workshop. Great perspective again.

18 Mural 4 - Glass Blowing_thumb[2]

Finally, another fun “hole in the wall” mural showing children playing with marbles. I love the kid on the right, wearing the sweatshirt of a local school, and the pair of feet disappearing over the wall in the background!

19 Mural 5 - Children Playing Marbles_thumb[2]

On the roof of the building is an animated Santa who moves his arm, waving at the customers below.

21 Santa on the Roof_thumb[2]

We had a great lunch in the restaurant (which is part of the old pottery) and I was very unadventurous and had yet another Christmas dinner – turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding! (About my third or fourth this year… I am not cooking a Christmas dinner this year and didn’t want to feel deprived.)

My hubby had booked a table because we knew the place would be very crowded this close to Christmas, and we were seated at a table for four. He said to the waitress that if another couple wanted to join us to avoid waiting in the queue for a free table, we would be more than happy to accommodate them, and a delightful couple came to join us and we chatted together throughout the meal. They ended up by giving us their address and contact details and inviting us around to their house on the evening of Christmas day!

When they left and my hubby went to pay the bill, another family came to occupy our place. They were an older couple with their daughter and her baby. The man was a wheelchair user and we got talking about our disabilities and wheelchairs, and I told him I’d had quite a year of it with bowel cancer, and now had a stoma, and he said, “I’ve got one too!” so we ended up talking about that, too! They were a delightful family.

I am always amazed at how many great people one can end up meeting while out and about. Having flowers and decorated spoke guards on my wheelchair has brought so many people over to me, full of smiles and nice comments, and it’s made my day, and theirs. Without decorations on my wheelchair I am overlooked and feel quite invisible.

On the way home we called in on some friends at their business, where they and all their staff and some other friends had gathered to sing carols and eat mince pies! After this we called on some friends at home where we had another cup of tea and enjoyed their company (and that of their relatively new kitty who I had not met before) before returning home. It was such a lovely day out.

Yesterday we had another outing when my hubby took me to Sainsbury’s! It may not sound very exciting to most people (grocery shopping just before Christmas isn’t most people’s idea of fun!) but I can’t remember the last time I went in a supermarket – I always do my shopping online, and for most of this year my hubby has been going out shopping for me. As usual just before Christmas, all Tesco’s delivery slots had been taken so we had to go out to do the shopping. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as I’d expected, and I really enjoyed the experience. As well as the normal weekly shop, we stocked up on a few party bites and treats to have as our Christmas dinner. The only thing that blighted the outing was the fact that it was pouring with rain…

All being well, from now on I should be a bit more active in Blogland, and hopefully I will soon be back in the studio with all my creative juices flowing again.


  1. Pleased to see you are getting out and about again. I so adore Lalique though I don't have any but do have other opalescent glass by Joblin, think you might like it. Thanks for the visit to mine, have a great Christmas, a very Happy and Crafty New Year x Angela x 21

  2. Lovely to hear of your outings and new friends. May you both have a wonderful time together this Christmas. X

  3. All that software talk is gobble de gook to me. Hope everything gets sorted. The glass is amazing but not sure about the glass eyes lol! Sending best wishes to you for a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  4. What a great day out Shoshi! That looks like a wonderful place to visit! Love the glass art and the murals. I'm glad you met all those nice people - and I bet it has to do with your positive attitude! When I'm in a bad mood I always seem to attract people that are, well, let's just say, not nice. Best wishes for the holidays! I'm glad you're back to blogging and hopefully you can get back to creating as well quite soon. xx

  5. Oh that singing tree is a hoot.The glassware is stunning.I LOVE glass like this.It has quite an ethereal quality like no other material.
    So glad you are ok and it's the computer not you that's been out of action. Hopefully computer issues sorted now.Have a LOVELY Christmas!!!
    Judy x

  6. So great to have you back, Shoshi! Looks like a fabulous outing. My husband is a big fan of glass - he would love that place! Merry Christmas to you.


Thank you for your comments! They are much appreciated. Spammers, please be aware that I read and moderate ALL comments, and yours will be deleted before publication, so please don't bother!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...