Monday 30 May 2016

Escape to Dún Laoghaire

A place to escape the hail showers
Bank Holiday Monday and not a soul about. I wanted to escape from the Sandyford Industrial Estate in search of something more human. Dún Laoghaire (Dunleary) is a seaside town about ten miles south, along the coast from Dublin.
It was chosen Laoghaire Mac Néill, a 5th-century High King of Ireland, as a sea base from which to carry out raids on Britain and Gaul. It was more peaceful on the afternoon of my visit although the wind was gusting to over 30 knots.

The harbour is one of the largest in the country. Getting out of my taxi I was confronted by two granite piers. A had a coffee to help me decide which to choose. Selecting the East Pier was a good decision; there were many people where out and about in the sunshine. Occasional gusts of rain drove us all inside this marvelous Victorian bandstand for shelter.

Sunday 29 May 2016

The Edgelands south of Dublin

Each and everyday my place of work
Over the last two months I have been working in Sandyford, eight miles south of Dublin city centre.

A major part of Sandyford is composed of the Sandyford Industrial Estate (opened 1977)

Apart from a Londis the area has no shops. Apart from one Italian restaurant and two hotels to serve transients comme moi,  there is little else. 

These journeys to Sandyford coincided with my discovery of the Edgelands phenomena: 
The walk back to the hotel 
‘Edgelands’ are those spaces where the veneer of civilisation peels away. They are the debatable spaces where city and countryside fray into each other; those most despised and ignored of landscapes that are part of our common experience’ - Martin Stott writing in The Journal of William Morris Studies. Winter 2011.

Sandyford is exciting and desolate after 6pm. Soon, after several fifteen-minutes-each-way-walks to the office one becomes attracted and attached to this  despondency.  

A drawing etched by  hail stones in my notebook 

Thursday 5 May 2016

Diary of a Church Mouse A wonderful Betjeman Poem

With all this churching (visiting churches) of late I re-read the anthology of John Betjeman's church poems. A favourite is Diary of a Church Mouse which evokes much of what I have enjoyed of late, in the nooks and crannies of many a church. It inspired this drawing in pen and ink.

 . . . .Here where the Vicar never looks

Diary of a Church Mouse
Here where the Vicar never looks
I nibble through old service books.
The cleaner never bothers me,
So here I eat my frugal tea.
My bread is sawdust mixed with straw;
My jam is polish for the floor.
For me the only feast at all
Is Autumn's Harvest Festival.
I climb the eagle's brazen head
To burrow through a loaf of bread.
I scramble up the pulpit stair
And gnaw the marrows hanging there.
But how annoying when one finds
That other mice with pagan minds
Come into church my food to share
Who have no proper business there.
A large and most unfriendly rat
Comes in to see what we are at.
And prosperous mice from fields away
Come in to hear the organ play,
And under cover of its notes
Ate through the altar's sheaf of oats.
While I, who starve the whole year through,
Must share my food with rodents who
Except at this time of the year
Not once inside the church appear.

Wednesday 4 May 2016

On the way to Up Marden - West Sussex

On the way to Up Marden,
Along a narrow lane,
Rosie and I pull over,
It’s just begun to rain.

We see a sweep of landscape,
Fall down to grazing sheep.

Barely a leaf on most trees,
Fields ploughed ready to sow,
in hedgerows on the high ridge,
The blackthorn starts to show.

I make a simple sketch, 
A memory to keep.

Puppy and I move on,
Along this lovely lane,
An appointment at St Michael,

Up Marden in the rain.