One thing I love about my Welsh house is my Welsh garden. I can grow things here that would never survive in the harsh, Siberian, east coast winds. Each Spring I’ve been able to plant something new, some brought from Norfolk, which go on to thrive, and others I’ve bought locally. The pleasure in returning after a break of nearly two years has been to see how much they have grown and flourished. The agapanthus, in particular, is my pride and joy!
More often than not, while the weather has been so fine, I’ve ended my day sitting in the garden, just gazing at the beauty of the plants. They are big and bold and this evening, as the seagulls wheeled against a blue sky, this was my little patch of heaven!
I’ve been rather preoccupied over the past few weeks, having moved from the east coast of the UK to the west. As a result I haven’t been posting and I’ve only dipped in to take the occasional look at what’s going on. But, things are settling down…. the boxes are unpacked and I’m establishing some kind of new routine, although there are still a few bits of remedial decorating work to be done. My garden is definitely a work in progress as I try to resurrect a somewhat neglected lawn and trim the hedges back to reveal the shrubs I planted when I first bought the house 6 few years ago.
This was my retirement plan, but things have changed in six years and now I’m needed elsewhere, so this is only a temporary residence until I can sell and move closer to my family. Meanwhile I’m going to try and make the most of the beautiful area I’m in. hopefully entertain some visitors and get out and about with my camera.
A completely unadulterated shot of one of my many local beaches to be going on with…..
Old and new – the original Mackintosh building at Glasgow School of Art standing just across the road from the new Art School building on the morning after its official opening earlier this year, and just over a month before the fire which devastated parts of the old building.
Another trip west and back again in the past few days to look after Granddaughter while her parents went away on an ’adults only’ weekend on the West Wales coast. Left with a whole weekend to fill I looked for somewhere new to explore on Saturday and, as I have National Trust membership for both of us, that seemed an obvious place to start. We’ve already visited quite a few of their sites in the area, but there are still plenty of others. This time I chose Moseley Old Hall, partly because it had a story attached to it which I thought she might be interested in. I will add that she has a thirst for knowledge on all subjects and, as long as there is space where she can run around, she is quite happy looking round ‘old houses’!
Moseley Old Hall is quite a small property in National Trust terms. A late Tudor house built in 1600 and famous as one of the hiding places of Charles II during his escape to France after being defeated by Cromwell’s army at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. A Royalist, Roman Catholic household, complete with chapel, resident priest and priest hole to hide him in when the authorities came knocking… and very useful for hiding the fugitive king. Fortunately Granddaughter was fascinated by the story and had plenty of questions to ask. She was equally fascinated by the peacock roaming around the orchard where we had our picnic lunch!
I’ve included one shot of the parlour and couldn’t resist adding a view through the parlour window out onto the main gate and the ‘cottage’ garden. The others are taken at different points in the main hall, one showing the staircase where Charles was hurriedly taken to the priest’s bedroom, now known as ‘The King’s Room’ and still containing the bed that he slept in. The interior was heavily panelled and rather dark so I’ve used the ‘fill light’ option on each one – I don’t like using flash in places like this as I think it spoils the atmosphere for other visitors looking around. I’ve also added a view of the front of the house, looking onto the outside of the door and windows in the other shots. The original Tudor timbers were encased in brick by the Victorians! The ‘W’ worked into the gate represents the ‘Whitgreave’ family who owned the house from its construction in 1600 right through to 1925.
And, as always, we rounded off a very pleasant afternoon in the tea shop, where they did a very good white chocolate scone with fresh strawberries!
And it all came tumbling down…….
But it had all been going so well just a few seconds earlier……
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!
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!
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.
‘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!