a space for all those thoughts and ramblings that have nowhere else to go

Friday, 23 September 2016

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Chatsworth again - gardens, not sculpture

A gloriously warm day tempted us back to Chatsworth - again! This is, of course, where living not so far away and having an annual pass helps (I'd never be able to afford to go so many times if I were paying admission each time)
Having seen most of the sculpture exhibition last weekend, this time we decided to walk round the quieter areas of the garden.

There was barely a breeze to ripple the pond, and,
the sun was so warm, it was pleasant to be under trees for some of the time.

Despite the sun, here and there it was obvious that Autumn is on the way.

As keen gardeners, we always like to check out plots belonging to other people, and Chatsworth's kitchen garden is full of both edible and attractive vegetables - from bright red chard to purple beans.

Is there anything prettier than a fountain on a sunny day?

I'm hoping this won't be our last trip before Christmas. Hopefully there'll be more sunny days as autumn progresses ...

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Sculpture at Chatsworth - Sotheby's 2016 Beyond Limits exhibition

It's sculpture time again at Chatsworth, with Sotheby's annual Beyond Limits selling exhibition opening last weekend, and there till the end of October. Admittedly, the pieces displayed are far beyond the price range of most of us, but it's nice to wander around, pick the ones you like (and those you don't!) and dream of which you'd buy if money - and space - were no object.

First, one that can't fail to catch the eye; Lilas by Zaha Hadid.

It's absolutely huge - see the people beside it! - but it's best seen close to,where it encourages you to frame the view through its 'legs' or 'stems'.

 Looking somewhat like parasol fungi, or maybe water-lilies seen from below, I found it more fascinating that I would have expected from its clear cut lines. I just wish I could have wandered 'inside' the sculpture as I'm sure looking out from it would have brought out another aspect of it.

I'm not usually a fan of the 'installation' style pieces, but here's another, very different, one that I loved.
Christina Iglesias's Habitacion Vegetal XV is a shiny reflective 'box' which almost disappears into its surroundings,especially here when surrounded by woodland.

Four openings lead to passages with a tree bark or maybe roots finish - and again I wish I could have explored inside!

This deceptively simple sculpture, Folium by Charles Hadcock, takes two simple flower shapes and bends them back towards each other to form a sphere.

 Move round, and it changes, the two 'flowers' creating different shapes as you circle it, looking at and through it. I found something endlessly fascinating about it.

And these three wonderful, more-representational sculptures caught my eye...

Firstly, in the order we walked round the gardens, was Tai Chi Arch by Ju Ming Ok approach this from the 'back' and it maybe looks likes a random assortment of rocks but from this angle it's clearly someone practising tai chi.

Then, at the bottom of The Cascade, Donna Sdraiata by Fernando Botero

Don't you have to just love this plump curvaceous reclining lady? No body shaming here! 

...and lastly, my favourite, and one which I'd love to own (a small copy maybe?), The Embrace of Hector and Andromache by Giorgio de Chirico capturing their parting as Hector heads off for the Trojan War. from one side, Hector looks stern and resolute...

..from the other, he's clinging to Andromache for every last second, never wanting to let go. That so much emotion can be captured in solid metal is astounding.

Previous years;

2011 - Sculpture at Chatsworth
           Chatsworth Sculpture Revisited
2013 - Chatsworth Sculpture Exhibition 
2015 - Sotheby's Beyond Limits Exhibition at Chatsworth

Friday, 9 September 2016

Time to think about Christmas? Already?? Not yet, thank you.

So here we are just one week into September.

Schools have re-opened, and the weather's improved (as it does) so I've been sitting out in the garden making the most of what will probably be the last few days of summer, before the leaves start to turn and nights draw in.

Others though are obviously thinking further ahead - or, at least, if my e-mail in-box is to be believed they are.

First, a few days ago I received an e-mail telling me to Shop NOW for Christmas! NOW?? Last time I checked we were still months away from Christmas!

But that seemed to be just the start of a flood. Since then I've had offers for Christmas market shopping trips and festive breaks, pre-views of Christmas books, ideas for stocking fillers and even e-mails offering advice on how to avoid Christmas stress.

I'm aghast. I'm not ready for Christmas, in fact I'm generally not ready when December 1st arrives and advent calendars go up, but when you start and look around so many of Christmassy things are starting to sneak into the shops - from mince pies in the supermarket to ball gowns for the office parties (though actually what office really has such a fab Christmas do?)
Why do sales and marketing folk want to rush us headlong through autumn without giving it a glance?

Go away and come back in three months time.

For now, I want to sit in the sun, later enjoy autumn's colours in their turn, walk through woods littered with fallen leaves,

THEN after Halloween and Bonfire Night when the days get really short I'll start to think about Christmas ... maybe ...

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Blackberry Time

It's blackberry season again, and it seems to come around earlier each year. 

I'm sure, way back long ago when I was small, blackberries ripened in September, maybe even as late as October. Certainly, in my memory, the long walks taken to pick hedgerow blackberries took place in Autumn, on a sunny Sunday afternoon sometime after the 'return the school'.

Nowadays, I don't have to go on a country ramble - I pick large cultivated blackberries that grow on the edges of our allotment -  and I don't have to wait till Autumn - the first fruits start ripening in early August, and by now I'm picking a bowlful every couple of days,possibly more if the fruit is at the right height for me to reach.

To be honest, though, I miss the whole feel of an 'occasion' that blackberrying used to have. Either my mum or grandma would head up a proper expedition, equipped with bags and bowls for our pickings, and hooked walking sticks to pull down the highest brambles. Hours later we'd return home laden down with pounds and pounds of fruit, and almost the same number of scratches from the vicious thorns.

There were nearer places where a handful or so of fruit could be picked to add to an apple pie, but the longer foraging trip was to a place where we hoped to find enough blackberries for jam. As an event, it fitted into the calendar between the beginning of the Autumn term and Bonfire Night, round about Nottingham's Goose Fair which starts the first Thursday in October;a time when afternoons might be sunny and warm, but mornings are beginning to feel cold, and spiders weave enormous webs across the footpaths on the way to school. 

Picking blackberries down at the allotment isn't quite the same.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Autumn

 After a stiflingly hot day yesterday, today has taken a stride towards Autumn.

This morning's dog-walk was damp and misty, and the acorns and conkers seem to have had a growth spurt overnight!

Friday, 19 August 2016

One of those days ...

I started out the day with a simple plan - to dig a hole and plant this verbena which I rescued from the allotment yesterday; there they grow like weeds, in the garden they only survive a year or so.

I picked a spot - a different area to where the other verbena is struggling to grow through montbretia and michaelmas daisies - but quite near to a lilac bush which is about twenty feet tall and needs pruning ... so I thought I'd do that first ... 

A couple of hours later, and the pruning wasn't complete but I did have a huge pile of branches blocking the patio, plus insect bites on my arms and a lump on my nose from hitting myself with the tree-loppers.

My quick and simple task was turning into a mammoth one, and it was lunch time (and a late one, too!) I decided at this point to leave any more tree-chopping for another day, and instead concentrate on getting the pruned wood into a combination of dustbin, compost heap and bags to transport it to the allotment.
Another couple of hours passed ...
It's quicker, and definitely more fun, chopping lanky branches from the tree,than it is getting them tidied up. Eventually though by late afternoon, the patio was clear, and, guess what?
I dug a hole, and planted that verbena.
All day for one little plant. 

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