Halloween with Tove Jansson


On the special evening I am now going to tell you about, the weather was terrible indeed. My roof creaked and squeaked, now and then the sou’wester pushed smoke down the chimney….

“Mother, won’t you read to us?” said the Mymble children from their beds.

“Yes” said the Mymble. “Where did we stop?”

“Inspector-Twiggs-silently-crept-to-the-door” the children chorused.

“All right” said their mother. “Inspector Twiggs silently crept to the door. Was that a pistol barrel that gleamed for a second in the moonlight outside? Coldly determined, he advanced on the feet of Avenging Justice, stopped dead, took a step…”

“I like that story,” said the ghost. It was embroidering a sponge bag (crossbones on black flannel) while keeping an eye on the clock.


The Memoirs of Moominpappa; photos of a vintage jewellery shop in Charleston


The other Hermes


Gertrude Hermes was not just a sculptor but also a print maker and engraver. I missed an exhibition of her work at the Gunnersbury library a few months ago but hearing about it really made me want to find out more about her work. She looks like an independent spirit.



The Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston is set in a fairly grand building, with mosaic floors and a grand hall that would give Tate Britain  run for its money.


The collection spans from the portraits of the wealthy 18th century settlers to recent art installations,


from miniatures to traditional rush baskets,

and from artists of the Charleston Renaissance to those capturing the south today.


From top to bottom:

Betwixt and Between, Patrick Dougherty; Mary Whyte, Jill Hooper; The Wreck of the Rose in Bloom, John Devaere; Still-Life with Watermelon, Thomas Wightman; basket by Mary Jackson; Emma Doughty, Samuel Morse; General Pinckney, James Earl; John Moultrie III and family, Rigaud; Sarah Middleton, Henry Benbridge; Charlie’s at night, West Fraser; Line Street Railroad Crossing, William McCullough; It Needs Louise, Kate Gilmore; Lauren Fensterstock; wisteria and peonies, Caroline Petigru Carson; April, Childe Hassan; Girl in Toledo, Robert Hein; The Sisters, Charles Edmund Tarbell; basket by Mary Jackson; still life by Charles Fraser; Barbard Elliott, Jeremiah Theus; Joseph Hinson, Geslain; Mrs R V Hartel, John Robinson; Morning Light south Carolina, Anthony Thieme.

All photos October 2018.

Rainbow Row


East Bay Street in Charleston has a series of painted houses known as “rainbow row”.


The colonial era houses are generally stuccoed and painted, their window boxes and shutters offering contrasting splashed against the main colour. As you can imagine, it’s an Instagrammer’s dream.


photos, October 2018

Cakes and cool things

So it turns out that as well as a long and few fraught history, a strong food scene and beautiful scenery Charleston also has quite a few good shops.


Yes, big preppy chains (J Crew, Williams Sonoma) are there; yes, there a lot of one off art shops offering scented oils, pottery and paintings of sea scenes and oyster shells.


But there’s also a bookshop and bow-tie store, there’s many, many antiques shops, and there’s a string of bakeries and stationery shops on Cannon Street.


And food, obviously. All hail Hominy Grill and the Savannah Bee Company.