Monday 29 January 2018

Paper 53 a new idea for a new year

A field by Wilton Park soon to be swept away by a Beaconsfield By Pass

The tower at Wilton Park Wilton Park on the edge of Beaconsfield Old Town has been occupied by the military since 1940. Now sold off for housing in Beaconsfield - plans for 300 dwellings and attendant traffic. 
I have been experimenting with Paper 53 an App for iPad or iPhone for drawing and such like.

So when out and about, over recent weeks, I have popped the iPad in my pocket and made these sketches.

What do you think?
St Mary's waiting for the rehearsal to start

St Mary's two alto's arrive early 

Old sentry box through the security wires at Wilton Park

Saturday 27 January 2018

Meeting MERL: Rural Studies in Reading

From dairy to doorstep

Aged rocker

A pair of old carts

The Museum of English Rural Life that likes to abbreviate itself to MERL is a wonderful museum dedicated to chronicling the changing face of farming and the countryside in England.

This is a thoroughly modern museum, thanks to the recent and generous benediction of the National £ollery largesse. Inside you can enjoy remarkable collections of objects, archives, photographs, film and books all about the countryside, country folk, country living and livelihoods.

This place is a real treat and one to be highly recommended. 

They even have a dedicated Archers exhibit with short program excerpts, including the when John Archer took Tony’s vintage Ferguson tractor out to do a repair. He never returned and later that day, he was found him dead, under the overturned Fergie (tractor).

On a brighter note the national collection and records of Ladybird Books are here as part of Reading Universities Special Collections. There are have 700 boxes of original artwork, proofs and documentation from the 1940s to the 1990s, including examples of the work of notable artists such as C.F. Tunnicliffe, Rowland Hilder (one of my grandmother’s favourite artists).

MERL is a great day out in the countryside – enjoy it soon.

Thursday 25 January 2018

Essex Girl Discovered in Bisham

Sir Phillip at rest
Front and centre   Lady Russell

Before Christmas I found Bisham Church locked. As it was the last on my list of Berks Churches to see I was determined to negotiate entry. This I achieved last week and went along to see All Saints with churching chums Chris and Ricardo.

The high spot at All Saints is the Hoby Chapel in the South aisle. A stout alabaster monument, a typical family shrine of the Tudor age.

Next to it, dressed in armour and head resting gently on his helmet is Sir Philip Hoby, diplomat, (d.1566) again this is a virtuoso piece of carving in alabaster.

Philip’s sister-in-law, Elizabeth Hoby, in her first marriage (1528–1609) had the chapel built.

Elizabeth re-married to Lord Russell and her tomb is so much grander. This was without doubt funerary bling and a little research tells that Elizabeth was born at Gidea Hall, Essex! She was by all accounts an early modern woman writer, through her correspondence, poems, monumental inscriptions and elegies. There are numerous writings about her courtroom appearances: Later in life she became litigious and pursued grievances in law, not always successfully.

Feisty is the womankind of Essex.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Porthcawl, a seaside gem.

Porthcawl. We returned there the other day by coincidence I discovered this post which had be dozing in my Drafts folder for twelve months 

Close by Wigfach where we stay in South Wales is Porthcawl. We spent more time in the town on this last trip. While there is an air of faded glory about the place, once nearly the whole population of the mining valleys decamped to Porthcawl. It suddenly mushroomed into one of the most popular holiday resorts in the country in 1950s.

Now the acres and acres of fixed caravans of Trecco Bay Caravan Park offer holiday homes and what looks to be more permanent places to stay.
The town centre provides an exciting array of fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours and pubs and one of the best Poundland stores I have ever visited.
Lovely beaches, Trecco Bay’s and several others close by enjoying Blue Flag Status.

On the way home one evening Sian and I called into The Jolly Sailor pub, the oldest in Porthcawl and overlooks the green at Newton. 

The next day, returning with the bread for breakfast, I stopped and made a drawing at the church. St. John's Church, founded by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem 800 years ago, and originally built as a fortress, overlooks the village green. It looks like a stronghold facing towards the sea.

It is wonderful making discoveries as we travel.

Saturday 20 January 2018

Pipes and Daggers - more from Pitt Rivers

Pipes and Daggers - more from Pitt Rivers 

As part of that recent trip and again exploring in the arsenal that is the upper floor of the Pitt Rivers . . 
Remarkable steel from Japan and bamboo put to good use in Indonesia. The blow pipe must be an effective weapon the right hands I am sure

Thursday 11 January 2018

A short trip to Nagaland

 Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar. Here have made their home to diverse indigenous tribes, whose festivals and markets celebrate the different tribes' culture.

Nagaland  is one of the places that Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers visited as he amassed his collection of 20,000 objects that from 1884 to this day has to be one of the most exciting museum collections on the planet -

The Pitt Rivers Museum today is an anthropological romp around the globe. Unsurpassed and a collection brimming with exciting bits and bobs.

I spent two hours in the Upper Gallery, billed as ‘Shields, Spears and Samurai’ and most of that time with my face pressed up against a huge glass case of pieces from the Naga Peoples.

Another trip is planned, to  spend more time with the Nuer and Dinka Peoples from Sudan.

The Pitt Rivers Museum is a Caucus-Race; there is no start or finish. No story to follow, no instructions or intrusive curatorial directives. This is a place where  it is sufficient to wander through a maze of cases letting your curiosity lead you.

Wednesday 10 January 2018

The tenacious tourist

It poured with rain in Oxford the other day. On the 275 Red Rose bus from High Wycombe one could hardly see out of the windows – rather what is must be like to be on Harry Potter’s night bus.

However once in the city it was gratifying see that the place was crowded with tourists undaunted they paraded with umbrellas and selfie sticks, some baffled by the parking regulations.

The group was outside the Bodleian, which is one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

Colourful umbrellas, the perfect counter point to a grey day.

Oxford - hope springs eternal, tourist dampen but unbowed.