A Raft of Apples

Saturday, 20 April 2019

Dark Energy

I saw this mysterious dark sphere arrive in the Kröller Müller Sculpture Gardens in the summer of 2018 surrounded by the curators and the Gerard Lammers' driver who has just unloaded it with his hands on his hips waiting to leave. I captioned it Touching the Void on my Flickr page but the Kröller Müller webpage has listed its new acquisitions and its actual name is 'Battery for Five Fingers' and if I had been closer would have seen the five round holes which "invite you to insert your fingers in order to charge yourself up" and the hatted man is indeed charging himself up.  The granite ball has been given to the Kroller Muller by the artist Jan van Munster and I wonder if the man 'charging' could be van Munster himself.
The long hot summer of 2018 as can be seen has taken its toll on the grass
 The lorry has left and the logistics of handling this large 9 ton granite sphere, or as the artist says 'amassed energy', has been passed on.  When one thinks of the deep time from which granite has emerged then indeed this is a planet sized "big ball of amassed energy".  Maybe I will be able to return to this wonderful art gallery and garden some time in the future and charge myself.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Henry Moore Animal Head

Animal Head  by Henry Moore (1957)
A mythical animal gazes at the gardens of the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands.  Is it mammal, reptile or from another dimension?  It could be described as a gargoyle, those that frighten and guard a church from evil or harmful spirits, this one looks more benign surrounded by the natural world and only a product of the artists imagination, one yet to come or arriving fully formed like an evolution of a species.

Henry Moore cast this animal head from 1957-1967 another has made its hone in  Tate Britain but I don't know if it is on display.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a Happy and Healthy 2019

The new year rolling in with an  illustration from 'The Nightingale Dished Up On China Plates' by Richard André published in 1899.  Writer and prolific illustrator of hundreds of books both adult and childrens, his life was full of change.  The March of Time blog encapsulates it perfectly with the added bonus of some of Richard André's beautiful illustrations in - A Colourful Life   

Friday, 30 November 2018

National Tree Week

From 24th November to 2 December the Tree Council promote 'National Tree Week' which is the start of the winter tree planting season (November to March) and volunteers and schools will be out and about putting that thought into action.  Winter also reveals the beautifully intricate structure of trees.
While in spring what is better than to gazing up into the sky through their branches  while taking in the glory of these yellow laburnum flowers.
Many make their home in trees.

The oak famously is home to a myriad of species and here is seen with a nicely snappy rhyme  'Plant a Tree in 73' postmark.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Ghosts of the Past

Time for walkies at Canal Foot for the Duddon History Group, the entrance to what was once the shortest canal in the country which today is a magnet for anglers, runners and strollers. The ship on the sign gives a clue to the reason for the canal as these came in at high tide from Morecambe Bay but there were also shipbuilders here as well. The notorious shifting sands and channels of Morecambe Bay added a bit of jeopardy to the changing  locations of piers.  The  canal had a short operational life and the coming of the Furness Railway sounded its death knell.  Canal Foot is now an ideal place to see the long railway viaduct (part of which can be seen in the background of the photo above) and the trains crossing, watch the bird life and enjoy the view,
We however were in search of past industries of which little remains but limestone quarries and lime kilns. The limestone is used in the iron making process and there were quite a few plants here at one time with also an iron ore mine but this view is what was the track-bed of the industrial rail link coming into the area and a rather fine limestone wall.
When I downloaded my photos I wondered why I had taken a picture of a field. Sheep in fields I am rather fond of but they are way in the distance then it was pointed out that banking loop to the right is also the old rail track.  In the distance can be see Hoad Hill
and the monument.  One can never get lost in Ulverston with this landmark and for generations of people a marker from a long journey that "we are nearly home".  After looking down the watery depths of the old iron ore mine we looped back to the canal
Low autumn light can make taking photographs tricky but it also lights up the colours of the few remaining leaves reluctant to let go.
After lunch at Canal Foot we journeyed half a mile down the road to the quiet hamlet of Sandhall with a handily placed postbox. In the 19th Century it was a hive of industry which included quarry, brick, and wire works and just round the corner
Carter Pool where the last ship to be built in Ulverston was constructed. From the size of it today it seems rather incredible.  Nothing on the surface remains of these industries and today this is a watery flat land and we watched hundreds of geese flying in formation in the sky, dividing and and then combining making shapes as they wheeled across the sky. Did I say nothing remains of the old industry here? Well there are two slag banks where now bee orchids grow and
a rather beautiful chimney that was once part of the wire works which operated from around 1882 to about 1919 and was left as a navigation aid for vessels berthing at Ainslie Pier, Hammerside.
The white brick banding is actually more yellow but digital doesn't pick it out too well. It looks to be in rather good condition.
I got rather excited about this chimney so clicked happily away as we passed it. Our guide for the day was Rod McKeever whose book The Industrial Archaeology of South Ulverston no doubt will guide us for another visit to the area.

Further and more informed information of Ulverston Canal and South Ulverston can be found on the Cumbrian Industrial History site


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Cease Fire

The bugle sounds on the 11 November 1918 for the cease fire and the end of The Great War.
Those that survived main question was 'what now' but it was time to live in the moment for this Canadian who had gathered blackberries from Bourlon Wood among the shattered trees. What better symbol than the blackberry  growing on its tangle of bramble branches in even the poorest soil and even in a land shattered by war.
Peace however was harder to find for although it came to western europe conflicts rumbled on in the east.  Some of the Canadian's comrades  lie at the end of the Avenue de Monument in the south-west corner of the village of Bourlon, lives never lived. The park is a series of terraces lined with ancient lime trees that were nursed back to heath after being shattered by the Battle for Bourlon wood. Nature survives us all.
Bourlon Canadian Memorial

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Heysham Spirit

The Spirit of Heysham sculpture by Michael Edwards on the wall of Heysham's Jubilee Institute depicts many of the historical buildings and artifacts to be seen in this ancient space and led us to the small but interesting Heritage Centre where the Duddon Valley History Group learnt about the area and indulged in a small bit of retail therapy and then moved on
to one of those buildings on the sculpture, St Peter's Church, a sturdy squat building whose churchyard slopes down to the sea and the buildings rear windows look out over the expanse of Morecambe Bay.  Two of the remains of crosses can be seen either side of the path in the photo above.  The core of the church is Anglo Saxon (mid 8th Century or before) and the door with a wooden bar and niches speaks across the centuries of times when refuge was taken from those with ill intent coming from the sea or land. Over the centuries the interior has been expanded from its Anglo-Saxon origin and altered with each era, Norman to Victorian.  One of the church's great treasures is the Hogback Stone, a Viking grave cover, and the story it contains of the Legends of Sigmund and Sigurd the Dragon Slayer are told and can be seen here .   Our church guide Richard Martin had a wealth of knowledge of the church and its history and has a handy guide available in the church for self tours.  

The church was consecrated in 967 and as part of its millennium celebrations the parishioners in 1966 made kneelers and cushions portraying the area's industry and occupations.  The four evangelists have pride of place
by the wooden screen in the chancel.  This is St Mathew and St John (the eagle)
St Mark (the winged lion) and St Luke (the winged ox).  The Cross with the crosses at the end is a Crosslet which also represents the four evangelists and the spreading of the gospel to the four corners of the earth.  Moving outside towards St Patrick's Chapel
a different type of cross can be see, a Pommée, the apple shapes at the end represent the fruits of the Christian life and it is thought that
St Patrick's Chapel's Anglo Saxon Doorway
St Patrick's Chapel on top of the headland was a place of retreat. It would have been a great place for contemplation with its views over Morecambe Bay and the hills of the Lake District.  Another of Heysham's treasures are the six rock-cut graves -
Nobody knows their origin but they are certainly unique and, as demonstrated, it looks a cosy place to end ones days under ever changing skies. Perhaps there were sky burials here although the less romantic archaeological explanation is that they were probably reliquaries for bones and other materials as they were not big enough for bodies but I observe they appear to big enough for female bodies.  The holes at the head were for crosses.  We took our leave of the Anglo-Saxon chapel and returned to the church
another stone coffin but of one which at one time contained the body of a past rector of the church (the crumbled remains of his chalice can be seen in the church).  We headed away
Remains of Anglo-Saxon Cross
to the nearby St Peter's cafe, a converted stables, which was a nice warming retreat to take the chill off the biting wind of the day.

The Heysham Timeline can be seen on Heysham Heritage Association website here.