Wednesday, 25 December 2019

The Day of Christmas

Wave upon wave of rain for weeks made me wonder if it is ever going to end but is there hope in sight?  Observe the day on which Christmas falls for the weather ahead says 'The Knowledge of Things Unknown' published in 1729 when Christmas day fell on a Sunday.  Of course just to confuse things that depends on whether you were using the Julian or Gregorian calendar.  Here is the handy guide to the days of Christmas -

If Christmas Day falls on a
Sunday, that year shall be a warm Winter, the Summer hot and dry: peace and quietness shall be plenteous among married folks.  If on a
Monday, a misty Winter, the Summer windy and stormy: and many women mourning their husbands.
Tuesday, a cold Winter and much snow, the Summer wet; but good peace shall be among Kings and Princes
Wednesday, the Winter naughty and hard, the Summer very good; young people and cattle shall die sore
Thursday, the Winter mild and Summer very good and abundant; many great men shall perish
Friday, the Winter neither bad nor good and the Harvest indifferent
Saturday, the Winter with great wind snow and cold, the Summer good; there shall be war in many lands

I like the benign beginnings of the forecasts with often doom-laden endings.

Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas  

Saturday, 21 December 2019

The Mere Cremone Gardens

To continue my stroll by the side of The Mere from the previous post I'll start with this Wood Pigeon chilling out.
The sun was against me to capture 'Secure' (made of steel and oak) by Nick Horrigan so maybe I'll pass the view off as moody.  Next
Its so quiet -sshhh. 
The artist John Merrill was inspired to create the wooden SShhh by the peace and quiet of the beech avenue at the end of Cremone Gardens. Originally made of local lime wood the weather eventually took its toll so he has re-carved and replaced the letters in good old sturdy oak. The utility vehicle was also quiet however its driver was hard at work with a leaf blower keeping the path clear. He had come prepared for in the yellow bucket was something most welcome on a chilly and windy day, a hot drinks flask. His leaf blower was turned off when we reached the sculpture and he
waited until I had taken a picture of the decorated holly tree and passed him to retrace our steps
for the path beyond in the woods was very muddy not the place for someone wearing the wrong footwear.
Or to go beyond the gate to the Fishing Pod to gaze over the waters. I believe there is a family of otters living on The Mere - no need for them to join the EAC (Ellesmere Angling Club) for these natural catchers of fish have carte blanche


Ellesmere Sculpture Trail - John Merrill
Ellesmere Sculpture Trail - Nick Horrigan with a much better photo.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

Bee Metropolis

A willow by a mere on a rainy and blustery day in Shropshire. The place is Ellesmere and the area contains the largest natural glacial meres in England outside of the Lake District, which of course are on a grander scale. The mere here (Old English for Sea Lake) is perfectly formed and simply called The Mere.
The waters are surrounded by interesting trees and also
on a hill is a Bee Metropolis, hoping to give bees a helping hand
The slowly moving sculpture was being rotated by the breeze and is by local artist Caroline Lowe who wove a willow sculpture representing a Wool Carder Bee (Anthidium manicatum)

and this honeycomb shaped sign shows it and its plant of preference.
The logs the willow bee rises above have been drilled with holes to make homes for solitary bees and other invertebrates.

1. Ellesmere abuzz over giant bee sculpture - artist and bee
2. Caroline Lowe

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Museum of the Moon

A clear November day when some trees still retain their autumnal colour . Here we are on Castle Hill about to enter Lancaster Priory to see a moon.
The view on entering of our time worn natural satellite - a recreation of the surface by Luke Jerram which he calls the 'Museum of the Moon'.
Walking down the aisle to enter the chancel and look back from the 14th Century choir stalls.
which are intricately carved. It is appropriate that these wonders of woodwork by unknown medieval craftsmen have
an embroidered cushion celebrating the furniture making of Robert Gillow and the company he founded in the 19th Century - Gillows of Lancaster and London.  The medieval misericord of the folding seat can be seen above it.
The moon is 7 metres in diameter and there were both spiritual and cultural references to the moon scattered around in the Priory as well as an information sheet with prayers, stories and the dates of the moon's cycle through the month.  I love a pun and the leaflet uses Lancaster's river as one as it is called - By the Light of the Silvery Lune.  Moonlight on water is of course always magical.
Going up the stairs to the gallery a different perspective of the moon can be seen.
There has been a church on Castle Hill since Saxon times however Lancaster Priory dates from the 14th Century but apart from the rich medieval heritage changes have been made throughout time . The bell tower (10 bells inside) is is dated 1759 but it needs some repair and there is a sponsor a brick scheme running inside the church.

The Museum of the Moon like its celestial template is always on the move and the Light Up Lancaster festival, which it was part of, ends today so it will travel south to the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff for December and the new year. (Museum of the Moon website) 

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Last Day of Summer

Walton on the Naze beach, Essex
The weather forecast is that today's high temperature is summer's last hurrah and that storm clouds are gathering.
Of course one could hire a beach hut and enjoy the seaside whatever the weather and
this one comes with its own puffin.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Polstead Thatch

The Cobblers, Polstead, Suffolk  (Historic Grade II Listed Building)
I love a thatched roof and this one is a pure delight.  With the two levels and two doors I imagine it was once two cottages but today this 18th Century building is one.  Do you spot anything scampering across the top of the roof?
Well perhaps more a still life. From a distance I first thought this was a fox but of course only a squirrel would be at home on a roof top. 

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