Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


Nimble Fingers

Detail from a statue of  Enriqueta Rylands at the John Rylands Library in Manchester city centre. John Rylands 2-1

Even given the graininess of this image I find the detail amazing, the knuckles, the sinews, the muscles all carved from stone. I wonder what the sculptor would make of the amazing hand transplant that has made the news here in the UK.

Enriqueta presides over the reading room of the library, that she founded in memory of her husband,

John Rylands 8-1 

many things in society may have changed with the passing of time but the fabric of the library is as it was in 1900 when the library opened to readers.

reading room john Rylands -1

I can’t help but muse on the fact that the current exhibition housed in the glass cabinets at her feet  is entitled Fifty Years of Clockwork Orange would surely be enough to to bring a blush to those blanched  Victorian cheeks. Goodness from her vantage point she can even see The Rocking Machine 

The John Rylands Library allows and encourages photography (no tripods, no flash) and invites its visitors to share their images on Flickr. They also make a very decent brew of tea in the cafe, at £2.50 for a pot for two we thought it a city centre bargain. Mr Uphilldowndale and I didn’t have long to linger, I’d like to pop back one day to take some photos that are a little more considered, I’ll add it to the list.


A Fresh View

Sat in my mental folder marked ‘things to blog about’ is my day at the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.

There were plenty of colourful, photogenic boats and much more besides, but as usual it was ‘the stuff round the back’ that caught my eye.   A dilapidated wide beam boat awaiting restoration,

Broad Beam -1

My friend Mrs Ogg thinks it is a watercress barge.

What is it about peeling/fading paint that I find so appealing?

paint fade-1

The reason for my visit was a photography course, I thought after five years it was time I found out what some of the knobs and buttons on my camera do. I think my camera enjoyed have its brain taken out for a walk.

Narrow boat-1

It was good to get away from things for a while, and on that subject; I’ve just spent a sublime half an hour looking at the blog of Steve McCurry, oh my, what a joy his photographs are,  his reasons for blogging are interesting too. I may have to pour myself a glass of wine and drift back for another look.



Especially for mj, Barry Flanagan’s wonderful hares; striding out across the canal pond

Nijinski Hare -1

Leaping through the trees

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The poised, Large Nijinski on Anvil Point

Nijinski Hare on Anvil-1

And possibly my favourites, the petite Empire State with Bowler- Mirrored,  a piece that is obviously appreciated by the local spiders

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They look so deceptively simple in close up, as if given a a pack of plasticine anyone could knock one up (oh no, I’ve just looked at last years post and I thought Damien Hursts work looked like pasticine, I think my art appreciations need s mature beyond primary school)

In previous years the Beyond Limits exhibition at Chatsworth has comprised of sculptures by many different artists and whilst I knew I would enjoy the Flannagan sculptures, I do prefer the bigger more diverse event that I’ve posted about before I’m a bit puzzled that it’s described as a ‘selling exhibition’, could so many of Flanagan’s works be for sale at once? But then  is anything is for sale if the price is right?


Summers Past

And the making of memories.

Forgiving me for returning to the beach and family holidays. But a couple of   posts I’ve read this week have catapulted me back to Devon.  First there was Nancy’s post reflecting on just how many summers her family had enjoyed their favourite beach  just like the Uphilldowndale family’s love of a certain Devon beach,

Summers Past -1

then there was Sarah’s post that made me smile and recall our coastal meeting with a grasshopper.  So I nipped back to the post I’d written at the time, back in 2009, about our encounter with the artist David Measures, about his glorious art and his generosity with both his time and knowledge: sadly, when I followed the links, I discovered that David died last year.  Looking at the website of Southwell Artists I saw that Christine Measures, David’s wife, is also an artist.

When I met David he told me he was working on a book that would capture, not just the markings of a butterfly, for identification but how it moved, its mannerisms, what a bird watcher might call it’s jizz.  The slide show of Christine’s art captures both David and Devon summer holidays perfectly. Beautiful.



Seaside Rock

How quickly our seaside holiday is becoming a distant memory. How quickly the real world piles in to the vacated mind.

How heavy it has rained today! Just as well I have some holiday snaps to look back at.

On the coast path there were some fine lumps of rock (you know I’m fond of them) ancient gate posts, long since disused girded with hand forged iron.

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The remnants of old walls

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The bizarre weather we’ve had in UK this summer seems at least to have pleased the costal flowers, or just made them flower later than usual. I can’t ever recall  ever seeing quite so many as this year.

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The insect world seemed appreciative

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Just delightful really, *sigh*

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Best of British

Tonight we  beach buddies will be gathering together for a feast and watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic games at the holiday cottage with the biggest TV.  I hear a rumour steak is on the menu, I’m pretty sure it will be British and as  I’m pudding monitor I can vouch for the British strawberries, although there are a few French blueberries involved, but that is the spirit of the Olympic games, isn’t it?

A friend who was involved in the building of the stadium, attended the dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony, all she will say is that it is amazing.

I’m twenty minutes late already, I must away. Enjoy.


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