Everyone dreams of those typical Provençal scenes – the rustic wooden table, set out under the dappled shade of a bounteous fig tree, chairs collected from all over the house set around the table as a miscellaneous collective of dissonant styles, and upon the table pitchers of wine, large bowls of salads and platters loaded with fruits and meats set down in waiting for a large family gathering…Such was the idyll we created last weekend, but not in Provence. In England, where the country’s best summer in decades continues to bring smiles of sun-inspired joy across all four corners of the Kingdom.
For me, the heady mix of sunshine and a lush flower-filled English country garden, is one of the very best ways to enjoy the summer. My childhood memories are full of nostalgic reflections on summer picnics on the lawn, the feel of grass between my toes, the smell of lavender wafting in the wind, the sensation of stone paths baked by the sun (I think I must have deleted the memories of the rainfall which inevitably dogged other days – who needs to remember those?). So on those occasions when the English summer bears fruit, I head to my childhood garden where the flowers still grow abundantly, and the family can still gather despite the many years that have gone by.
So all things combined, and with my family now double the size what it was in my childhood, my homage to the English summer was a table laid under an iris tree, freshly cut flowers hung overhead so their perfume imbued the air during a lunch of barbecued meats and elaborate Mediterranean style salads. The wine, of course, was flowing, and as my birthday fast approaches, a first cake and early presents were enjoyed to mark an occasion perfectly fitting for this fine English summer. And as befits a luncheon more Mediterranean than British, our afternoon was spent at the seaside, where the waters of the South Coast are easily as warm as Spain’s.
Vive the English summer! Long may it continue.
© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
It’s Mothering Sunday in the United Kingdom… or at least the last few hours of it. But there’s still time for people everywhere to appreciate their respective Mummies. And for my maternal homage, I was able to show love for my dear Mother with the help of the Norms, and a dose of her favourite of all places – our house in Marbella, Spain.
Continuing my rather personal collection illustrating family homes past and present, I presented my Mummy with the ultimate of all Norm gifts this Mother’s Day: A Normified depiction of our family holidaying in our beloved Casa Valentino. There, standing proudly at the door to our little old town house, Mummy Norm takes a break from cooking in her flamenco apron, while Daddy Norm waters the burgeoning Bougainvillea. Upstairs on the first floor, there’s me – paintbrushes in hand (of course), while up on the terrace, engaged in his favourite of pastimes – the siesta – Dominik snoozes away, a book lately put down as he gives way to the summer heat. Naturally, our charismatic neighbours make their way into the sketch too, not to mention Jenny, who has cleaned our house so faithfully for years.
Mother’s Day Norms at home in Marbella (©2018, Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)
Giving this sketch represented not only a gift of thanks to my Mummy, but a chance to reflect on the home where we have all spent some of our happiest times. Happy Mothering Sunday to all Mothers, and to all Norm Mummies too!
© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2011-2018. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.
Christmas is all about nostalgia, for the Norms as much as for us humans, and when the Norms think of Christmas, they reflect upon snowy days in their family homes, when the ground is as white as they are, and they can roll around unnoticed amongst the frozen snowflakes and white-covered landscapes. So what better way to wish all readers of The Daily Norm a very Merry Christmas than to share with you all this depiction of a Very Normy Christmas, as we join the Norms in one of their family homes on Christmas Day. Whether it be building a snowman, putting up the tree, or taking a breath of fresh air after a hearty Christmas lunch, the Norms love their Christmas afternoons out in the snow. Even Father Christmas Norm appears to have stuck around for this one (if you can find him!).
Norms go home for Christmas (©2017 Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen and ink on paper)
This is actually the Norm sketch I created for my Mother’s present this Christmas (don’t worry, she’s already opened it, so I’m not spoiling the surprise by sharing the sketch with you all this Christmas Day morning). Each Norm represents a member of my family at Christmas, and the house you see is my family home and the setting of all of my childhood Christmases. Even though I won’t be there this Christmas, it’s a setting where my mind always wonders on these nostalgic days of Christmas.
What more is there to add than to wish you all a very Merry, Normy Christmas – look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!
© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. For more information on the artwork of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, visit http://www.delacybrown.com