Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist (2)

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A return to my favourite haunt of Blickling Hall for my second contribution and a tree I came across a month or so ago with branches twisting close to the ground. I actually prefer the following shot, simply because I like the view of the hall in the background!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Twist (1)

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It’s taken me a while to get going to this week’s challenge, partly because I have contract deadlines to meet, but also because I was trying to find something other than the numerous twisted tree trunks that I’ve photographed recently. After trawling back through my files I found this from a holiday in the Wye Valley a few years ago. I was actually looking for a shot of the River Wye twisting through Symonds Yat, but it wasn’t twisty enough for my liking. So I settled for this one – taken with my old Olympus point and shoot, but not too bad considering. You can probably just make out my grandaughter who made it to the centre of the maze while I watched from the lookout tower!

Glasgow School of Art

Library windows School of Art

I’m reposting a photo I included in a ‘Travelogue’ post a few weeks ago, after a trip to Glasgow.

Today I’ve been following the devastating news of the fire that seems to have destroyed much of this iconic building, important not just to Scotland and the UK, but also to the world of architecture and design.

The whole building was very much unspolit, with the original features that Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed and crafted. The library in particular, which seems to have been in the worst affected part of the building, was a treasure of design and held an irreplaceable archive of material.

Over the last few hours, as the extent of the devastation unfolded, I’ve been retracing the steps we took on our recent tour of the building, recalling the furniture, light fittings, room numbers, brass door plates and gazing from the windows that are now twisted and broken by the flames. So much of the interior was made of wood!

Part of the beauty of this building is that it is not simply a museum to the memory of Mackintosh, but still functions as a living, working school of art. To make matters worse many students were in the last hours of preparing their final exhibitions – so much hard work lost! So fortunate that everyone is safe!

Already organisations are starting to talk of restoration, but they will never restore the true beauty of Mackintosh’s original work. Such a loss to the beautiful city of Glasgow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art (2)

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‘Touching Souls’ by Mico Kaufman, Tewkesbury Abbey

During our recent stay in the Malverns we had the opportunity to explore the many abbeys in the area, all works of art in themselves! As we left the grounds of Tewkesbury Abbey we came across this sculpture at the front, placed outside the ‘Touching Souls’ tea room in the visitor centre, run by volunteers keeping up the tradition of Benedictine hospitality as shown by the original abbey community.

My granddaughter loved the life size sculptures, running around them and eventually sitting on the lap of the ‘girl’ at the back of the group.

It was my son who worked out the double meaning of ‘touching souls’ that the arrangement represents….. it took me a while but eventually I understood too! You’ll probably get there quicker than I did – I’m always the last to work out the punchline of a joke!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art (1)

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Last September I (and friend) visited the ‘Houghton Revisited’ exhibition at Houghton Hall in Norfolk. As we walked around the Sculpture Park in the grounds afterwards we were intrigued, along with many others, by this ‘Fire and Water’ piece. The flame appeared to burn at the top of a jet of water and there was much discussion amongst the people standing around it as to how it worked. At one point the flame went out and the water jet dropped to the pool below, giving us a chance to watch the gas jet reignite at the bottom followed by the water jet which carried the flame to the top with the gas rising inside the fountain.

Very clever and quite mesmerising!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move (2)

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Lunchtime stop at Cambridge Services on the A14 today – halfway home on my way from the West Midlands to Norfolk.

I’ve been a frequent visitor to Cambridge Services on the A14 over the past 10 years or so, particularly in the months since Christmas when I’ve been there at least once a week. So much so that when I called in at lunchtime today as I made yet another journey across the country, the young woman in the coffee shop recognised me and offered me a loyalty card!

I have been ‘on the move’ yet again. The 420 mile round trip has become a regular part of my life as I travel from the flatlands of Norfolk to the hills of the West Midlands to provide childcare for my 10 year old granddaughter. Today was one of the better journeys: good weather, dry roads, light traffic – if you ignore the convoys of lorries that are an inevitable hazard of driving in the UK, A491 – M5 – M42 – M6 – A14 – A11 – and then through the city and home.

My life is ‘on the move’ at the moment and has been for the past six months. I’m between homes – renting in Norfolk, trying to sell a property in Pembrokeshire and waiting to buy in Stourbridge. The decision about where to settle in my retirement has been open to debate and discussion for 19 months now, since I retired in fact! Having been indecisive for so long events are now overtaking me and the options are slowly reducing – it may be that I have to stall the move to the Midlands and sit it out in Pembrokeshire for a while – not so bad during the summer but not where I want to be in the winter and, of course, those trips to the Midlands show no sign of abating, I’ll just be travelling from a different direction!

I am used to being in control, to making decisions quickly, pre-empting and reacting to ever changing circumstances so I am not at all comfortable in my current position where I have to wait for forces beyond my control to allow me to move forward.

Sitting at the services this lunchtime it struck me that the life of the world is constantly moving. The clouds scud or drift across the sky, leaves sway and shiver in the breezes, seeds burst and grow into plants, even while we sleep our hearts beat to keep us alive as our bodies rest. The world turns and we scurry across it, our daily movements marking the tracks of our lives.

When, I wonder, does a movement become a journey?