Tuesday, 2 June 2020

A HYTHE OLD TIME

Fishing Huts ring fence and appear to defiantly hold their ground

With lockdown virtual travel being all the rage I have been revisiting some of the material Trevor and I have created in www.curiouscoast.co.uk

Of late our time in on the Kent Coast, between Romney Marsh and Hythe, resulted in some great photography and drawings, which I now revisit and ponder.

The end of that jaunt was Hythe, which once an important Cinque Port Hythe and bustling harbour until the sea decided to take it away and silt up the harbour. Hythe was the home of the Mackeson Brewery until it closed in 1968. The first Mackeson Stout was brewed in 1909.

West Parade is the road parallel to the sea front and at its eastern end becomes Fisherman’s beach. Home to still a few fishing boats and the excellent fishmonger Griggs.

A bit further and the fisherman huts and paraphernalia are strewn across the beach.
Their lines and ropes, buckets and what have you providing local colour against the shingle.

The huts ring fence and appear to defiantly hold back the development of houses and flats behind.

The property company proclaims  
Contemporary Beach-front Apartments, Houses & Villas - Life On The Water’s Edge  
…Luxury two-bedroom ground floor apartment, the creation of Kentish Project Ltd having been designed by award winning architect Guy Hollaway. Set on the jaw dropping site at Fisherman's Beach this is a rare opportunity to live within a stone's throw away from the beach…. literally!”
Help To Buy Available - Help To Buy Price: £239,995

However fishing is very much alive and has move along the beach, Reports Fishing News 
“Beach fishermen of Hastings (the largest land-based fleet in the UK) keep very active. The Stade, where they fish from, is popular with tourists, and their annual food festival gives them an opportunity to promote themselves.”

Saturday, 30 May 2020

Meet my new friend, the BiC Biro

Draw with a biro? Me? I should think so (not)!

... 
Meet my new friend, the Bic Medium Black.

When Linnette my tutor suggested we draw with a biro the other week I was horrified. 


The ballpoint is my least favourite writing instrument. 
I gave it a go the other evening when trying to work out a composition.




In these days of new habits I confess to a complete turnaround.

Its cheap, 

does not need sharpening, 
always works, 
and you can leave the cap off 
and it never goes blunt! 



Thank you Linnette!!

Thursday, 28 May 2020

THE LABURNUM TREE




More tree talk.
Many gardens at this time feature the ‘golden rain’ of the laburnum tree, which around here has only just ended it shower of colour.
It is actually a native of area that stretches from France to the Balkans. The tree’s wood has been a favourite with cabinetmakers and those creating musical instruments: recorders and the bagpipes. 

As I made this drawing of the laburnum tree in our garden it was alive with the huge sound of bees busy about their business.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

COOKHAM - AXES AND APPLES

Cock Marsh again available for lovely walks

Redding's Orchard

Cookham is a celebrated village on the River Thames. It is notable as the home of the artist Stanley Spencer. 

Three miles north of Maidenhead, on the county boundary with Buckinghamshire on the Thames north bank.

 The highest part of Cookham is Cookham Dean, and a separate village and is served by two pubs, Uncle Tom's Cabin and The Jolly Farmer. 

It is lovely spot at this time of year. 

Some years ago friends of ours, with local neighbours banded together and bought Redding’s Orchard that sits in the centre of the village. The group all now tend to forty different varieties of apple trees!

Dropping down to the Thames there are several prehistoric burial mounds on Cock Marsh, which were excavated in the 19th century. The largest stone axe ever found in Britain was one of 10,000 that have been dug up in nearby Furze Platt. 

The National Trust now manages Cock Marsh and with the easing of restrictions we can now begin again enjoy the lovely open countryside here, who’s chalk grasslands are home a huge community of plant species. 

Do consider if for a lovely, details are here  jaunt 

Monday, 25 May 2020

THE FIRST AVENUE

Left: Two construction workers at work on the Upper East Side

The six miles of goodness on the East side of Manhattan, which takes us from Houston Street all the way up to 126th Street in East Harlem. First Avenue is lovingly maintained by the NYCDOT

Its Upper East Side sections are becoming well known to me as they are so often featured in the work of photographer PJ Lehrer, and so the 1st av. features in my recent New York pieces.

The ‘heck lets’ build this’ decision was taken in 1811. Today it passes through a mixture of neighbourhoods, including the East Village, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. Onwards and upwards, where it becomes quite wide in the 23rdStreet area and past the UN building. Keep going north and you’re in Spanish Harlem around 1st and 96th.

Yes, one road out of many in Manhattan, full of rich history, it snakes through cultures and communities, major medical centres and the seat of world government. 

And I discovered a couple of blocks away from where Professor Lehrer lives, on First and 77th was filmed the opening scene of Ghostbusters II.

‘Who you gonna call?’…

Friday, 22 May 2020

FLAT AS THE BACK OF YOUR HAND



Certainly one of my favourite buildings, anywhere, Sian bought me a print of it when we were in New York one summer, years back.  My New York  correspondent Prof. P J Lehrer has taken several good shots of this iconic piece, one of which inspired this drawing!

The Flatiron Building, originally the Fuller Building, is a triangular 22-story 285-foot tall steel-framed lovely. You can find it at 175 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District neighbourhood. It was created by Daniel Burnham and Frederick Dunkelberg and when completed in 1902 it was one of the tallest buildings in the city. 

The history of this triangular marvel is long and varied, features in films and TV (Murder she wrote) home to art shows (Edward Hopper) and its distinctive ‘cow catcher’* lower floor was used as a US Navy recruiting station in WW1.

There is a wealth of pictures and facts about the place here 10 Ten Secrets

*Not part of Burnham or Dinkelberg's design, but was added at the insistence of owner and developer Harry Black, in order to exploit the use of the building's lot and produce some retail income.


Flatiron Building  -  Typical Floor Plan

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

TREES ON THE DOOR STEP

The Birch next door. Usefully in a sauna.

Many of us, in spite of the crisis, have been enjoying the weather, the trees, gardens, parks and land around us.  

The other week my painting tutor gave me an exercise. I was to paint some trees. I cast around for some subjects and found these four on my doorstep. Remarkably I had been walking past them each day for twenty-eight years and never really appreciated their beauty.

And each tree has a back-story.

Weeping Cherry. My thanks to the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens with their piece eight things you probably did not know about weeping cherry trees. These include 
Their blossoms change colours; many are dark pink when in bud, lighter pink when they first blossom, and then eventually pale pink or white. 
They make fruit. Though these trees were bred for flowers, not fruit, some do produce small cherries, which appear during the summer. They’re too sour for us to eat, but birds love them.
Next door but one.

Wisteria which is growing next door; this species is native to China, Korea, Japan, and the Eastern United States. The Wisteria has been widely used in Japan art throughout the centuries and was a popular symbol on family crests and heraldry. There is a popular dance in kabuki, the Fuji Musume or The Wisteria Maiden
 
Japanese Maple, acer palmatum has been cultivated in Japan for centuries, the first specimen of this tree reached Britain in 1820. Japanese horticulturalists have long developed cultivars from maples found in Japan and nearby Korea and China. They are a popular choice for bonsai enthusiasts. 

The good old Birch tree; birch-tar or Russian oil extracted from birch bark is thermoplastic and waterproof; it was used as glue in making arrows. Fragrant twigs of birches are used in saunas to relax the muscles – enough of that!

Friday, 8 May 2020

FDR to the BQE and MORE FOR YOUR NEXT QUIZ NIGHT

Either 1. Taking the FDR to the BQE  Or 2. Going onto the Brooklyn Bridge. 

I saw a marvellous picture on PJ’s Instagram feed of roads, steel, girders, concrete and cars moving along roads. A remarkable shot, which I had to draw. Not having a clue as to where it might be in NYC. 

So where is this I asked. I was informed that it was either 1. Taking the FDR to the BQE
Or 2. Going onto the Brooklyn Bridge

Response 2 had a more attraction for me.

BQE is the abbreviation for the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (BQE). This is a road that runs across northern Brooklyn and Queens It is part of Interstate 278 (I-278) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway in New Jersey and New York. Look for the 278b badge symbols on the map to get some idea of how this vital and often jammed route weaves it weary way!  



So with that TLA safely decoded we can turn to the FDR. 

This is the acronym for Franklin D. Roosevelt drive. It is a just short of ten-mile parkway running along on the east side of the New York City borough of Manhattan running along side the East River.  It starts the southern tip of Manhattan at South and Whitehall Streets in the Financial District and ends around 125th street. 

In the course of researching these vital facts I came across this https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/tlc/downloads/pdf/practice_exam_eng.pdf
‘This’ being the Taxi & Limousine Commission Practice Exam – English: What an excellent way to test one’s knowledge of New York and surrounding area. Don’t panic the answers are in the last pages of this handy downloadable PDF.

For you next Lockdown online quiz with family and friends why not include some questions from this exam.
Example 
Question: Fort Tryon Park is in what borough?
a. Queens
b. Brooklyn
c. The Bronx
d. Manhattan 
Answer: d

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

DOWN CHINATOWN

Chinatown inspired by a photograph by PJ Lehrer 
New York Chinatown 
On my first visit to New York in 1986, Chinatown one the first points of exploration. I remember the street signs had Chinese names as well. As they do today.  

This district of Manhattan is home to the highest concentration of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. 

Since that time the area has accepted waves Cantonese-speaking people from across China and Hong Kong. From the late 1980s through the 1990s, a large influx of people came from Fuzhou, in southeastern China and with them the speaking of Mandarin. 

More recently real estate pricing and gentrification have put pressure on living in Chinatown for the original population.

Said to be the first person to have permanently immigrated to Chinatown, Ah Ken is said to have arrived in the area during the 1850s. He was Cantonese businessman and founded a successful cigar store on Park Row to the SW of the district. No doubt he was selling his wares to high rolling businessmen.


Districts of Manhattan Map: Copyright and its usage permissible by Civitatis Tours S.L., based in Madrid.  THANK YOU


Saturday, 2 May 2020

A TICKET TO RIDE TO NIKKO TURNING JAPANESE: RETURN TO NIKKO


The other evening I was with chums, on a Zoom call (where else!) and we were talking about when one of our numbers would reschedule his major tour of Japan. October came up, question being would it still be nice at that time of year?  
Yes I declared I went to Nikko Park in October, years ago”.
“Well, said H Nikko was on our list”.
OK, said I, I will just check into when I did go. 

THE HISTORY OF A REMARKABLE BRIDGE 
I found the notebook and it was October 2005 when I made the trip to Nikko a wonderful national park in Japan.  Excitedly, I rescanned the drawings and found the maps and my train ticket.

Thinking further I thought I had written the trip up somewhere. 

Next morning it occurred to me that I had, in an old blog that I keep from 2004 through 2009. Long neglected, it was originally on a platform called MSN Spaces (their attempted to be funky in the blogger-sphere. The eventually go bore with it (MS) often did then with initiatives in the social media space and sold it to WordPress.  

DRAWING NEAR TO THE BRIDGE
And my blog, Tim Baynes Artist Traveller is still up there! I wrote up most of my Microsoft business trips across 2004 - 2009















THE ESSENTIAL MAPS

A gauche piece of writing, however it serves to bring the adventure back into sharp focus. 

ENTERING THE TEMPLE 
FELLOW TRAVELLERS ON THE TRAIN TO NIKKO 
NIKKO  ENSHRINED

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

A SILVER END


Curious Coast Small Gems
Now with more than enough time to reflect and revisit our 2000 photos, 5000 words and 70 drawings we’ve discovered some small places that deserve their own shout!

It was an Autumnal trip with Trevor to Ipswich to collect a sail for his boat that turns into another coastal jaunt to Shotley, a forsaken headland in south Suffolk. 

On the way back we were ravenous!   Keen to share a bit of Essex on the way home we took a side road to Silver End


Silver End is a village in Braintree, Essex, in England. The industrialist Francis Henry Crittall established the Crittall factory and developed Silver End as a model village. 

My grandfather managed one of the Lord Crittall farms; my father delivered the milk around Silver End.
The village includes some noteworthy early examples of Modernist architecture, the work of influential Scottish architect Thomas S. Tait, a leading exponent of Art Deco.

We found the best possible Fish and Chip shop called the Cod Father. Marvellous food and just what was needed to fortify us to tackle the M25. To be thoroughly recommended https://www.codfathersilverend.co.uk/menu/

Curious Coast is discovered at www.curiouscoast.co.uk

Saturday, 25 April 2020

A HARTY CHURCH






Another Curious Coast side story for with time to reflect and revisit our 2000 photos, 5000 words and 70 drawings we’ve discovered some small places that deserve their own shout!

Harty Church on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent is like many a lovely church close to water. The marshes of Sheppey are readily enjoyed from the Church Yard. Sheppey was historically known as the Isles of Sheppey comprising were Sheppey itself, the Isle of Harty and the Isle of Elmley.  Over time the channels between the isles have silted up to make one continuous island.

We explored the pretty church St. Thomas the Apostle, it has stood in this place for over nine hundred years. There is much to admire inside and the Victorian restoration was not overwrought. As visitors we were in good company for John Betjeman after his visit to Harty Church. 

 “Alas I shall have to console myself with memories of the Church in its splendid isolation, with sea birds wheeling by and the Thames so wide as to be open sea.

The full church guide is available here and makes absorbing reading. https://sheppeyhistory.uk/z-sheppey/churches/harty2.html and a lively Facebook page maintained by the community is here https://www.facebook.com/HartyChurch/

Curious Coast is discovered at www.curiouscoast.co.uk

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

MSK: TUCKING IN A NEW TOWER

One of the wonderful benefits of armchair travel to New York, courtesy of my good friend Prof. PJ Lehrer’s photography, is the discovery of new buildings.

This painting is based on a photograph is of a breath taking view across Roosevelt Island across into Queens.
A breathtaking view from the new MSK building
The photo was taken from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK)

Another photo this exciting MSK building, taken from the York Avenue and East 74th Street intersection of this exciting building.

The tale of the construction of remarkable building which delivers vital care to outpatients is told in American Builders Quarterly LINK https://americanbuildersquarterly.com/2019/03/18/memorial-sloan-kettering-2/





The MSK's building seen from York Avenue and East 74th Street intersection

Saturday, 18 April 2020

DON'T LOOK NOW: A HEFFALUMP TRAP


I recently read a brilliant piece in The New York Times Magazine by Sam Anderson about blind contour drawing - drawing without looking at the paper. I have given it a try and find the results curious and exhilarating.

With bits of the woodland floor added 
Walking Rosie in Hogback Wood a wonderful place five minutes from the house has provided opportunities to try this out.  it is becoming a creative habit!


By Sam Anderson May 15, 2015 © 2020 The New York Times Company

The open arms of Hogback Wood

Looking down into the Heffalump Trap in Hogback Wood

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

THE BOAT CHURCH OF ST PETERS


St Peter's its plan reflects the shape of a boat

Curious Coast Small Gems: It was another blessed jaunt between Romney and Hythe on the Kent coast. We quite the beach of Greatstone for The Parade, a curious road of houses that runs parallel to the sea.

 And discovered St Peter's Church first built 1953 as a wooden hall situated a little further up Baldwin Road than the present church. At this time Greatstone was little more than shingle and sand dunes, with only a few houses, a railway station, and a holiday camp that had started just after World War 2.


The present church as opened April 1962 by Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury. The shape of the church reflect the shape of a boat. The disciple Peter was a fisherman. The east end is rounded to be like the bow, and the west end tapers, and squared off to represent the stern.
We quite the beach of Greatstone for The Parade


With all our churches shut and locked the reflection of a discovery like St Peter’s is precious beyond measure.

CONTEXT FOOTNOTE 
Curious Coast Small Gems www.curiouscoast.co.uk
Now with time to reflect and revisit our 2000 photos, 5000 words and 70 drawings across 17 jaunts we’ve discovered some small places that deserve their own shout! This is one.

Friday, 10 April 2020

AN EAST SAXON DELIGHT


Splendid peace by the edge of the North Sea


All ready for God's service
South Essex: The Chapel of St Peter-on-the-Wall, Bradwell-on-Sea sits alone on the edge of farmland, as it becomes marshland. Looking out across the North Sea towards Holland.

Trevor and I had come here on the way home from Canvey Island. This oldest essentially intact Christian churches in England and still in regular use. It dates from between 660–662.

According to the Venerable Bede*, a 'city' named Ythanceaster existed nearby. 

Bishop Cedd originally built this lonely, delightful place in 654. It was an Anglo-Celtic church for the East Saxons, set astride the ruins of the abandoned Roman fort of Othona, so a well ordered bit of up cycling by the Saxons. Inside is all plain and tidy, ready for service.

A delightful digression if you are in the area.


*The Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written in around AD 731.



FOOTNOTE 
Curious Coast Small Gems www.curiouscoast.co.uk

Now with time to reflect and revisit our 2000 photos, 5000 words and 70 drawings across 17 jaunts we’ve discovered some small places that deserve their own shout! This is one.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

ROOSEVELT ISLAND, DUTCH SCHULTZ and CHARLES DICKENS


ROOSEVELT ISLAND and CHARLES DICKENS

Roosevelt Island is now the place of high rises and expensive private housing schemes. As a location it is very popular with folk who work at the UN, which is just across the East River on Manhattan.

Through the 19th century, the island housed several hospitals and a prison, which at one point held 1,700 inmates, twice its designed capacity. One eminent resident was Dutch Schultz.  Born Arthur Simon Flegenheimer, ‘Dutch’ was a New York mobster of the 1920s and 1930s. Dutch made his fortune in organized crime-related activities, including bootlegging and the numbers racket. Poor thing, he was weakened by two tax evasion trials that led to his rackets being threatened by competitor Lucky Luciano. However Dutch’s net worth was $7m, pretty impressive; he doubtless could have afforded one of today’s fancy-schmancy apartments on Roosevelt Island.

Oh, and another visitor was Charles Dickens. He described conditions at the Octagon, an asylum for the mentally ill then located on the northern part of the island and really part of the prison complex, in his American Notes (1842). 

The Octagon, now posh housing, was built in 1834. It served as the main entrance to the New York City Mental Health Hospital which opened in 1841.

Again this piece is inspired by the photography of PJ Lehrer who took the photo from the back or a cab. https://www.instagram.com/pjlehrer/


The writer is indebted to Wikipedia, ‘the people who keep knowledge free’, and he contributes to their cause. 

Monday, 6 April 2020

MARVELLOUS MANHATTEN AND A CRUSH ON ANDREW?

Again inspired by the photography of PJ Lehrer who lives on 2nd Avenue,  here is another NYC piece for the pot.  I am forever rummaging though her Instagram feed https://www.instagram.com/pjlehrer/ for pictures of a favourite city.

It must have been a real estate deal of Trumpian proportions when the Dutch bought the island from the Native Americans and called it New Amsterdam. Then the English took it over and changed the name to New York. 

The name Manhattan comes from the Munsi language spoke by Lenni Lenape people meaning ‘island of many hills’

Another notion suggests that that the name originates from one of three Munsi words. ‘Manahactanienk’ meaning ‘place of inebriation’*. 

However it is an exciting part of the world and the city must be now coping with lock down, shortages. However the Governor of New York, Democrat, is taking charge and setting hearts a flutter…
‘Hot for governor! Women confess they are developing 'MAJOR crushes' on Andrew Cuomo, 62, as the New York Democrat takes charge during COVID-19 pandemic’ 
CARLY STERN DAILYMAIL.COM 25 March 2020.

I love New York. 


*Little change there then

Saturday, 4 April 2020

A HOUSE FOR ESSEX


A HOUSE FOR ESSEX 

We were on a Curious Coast jaunt on the way back from Harwich in Essex, we discovered this wonderful confection. 

We parked at Wrabness Station and walked round the corner and down a lane at there it was, on the end of a field full of Wild Flowers. A House For Essex.

Designed by ‘national treasure’ Grayson Perry with help from the FAT architecture firm. Completed in 2015, the two-room bit of architectural flight of fancy. It is a bit of a challenge to draw; triangular tiles of alternating green and white leading up to a cascade of peaked roofs that look like they might collapse in on each other like a nesting doll. However once started you quickly see the repeats and rhythms of this remarkable place.
September 2019



FOOTNOTE 
Curious Coast Small Gems www.curiouscoast.co.uk
Now with time to reflect and revisit our 2000 photos, 5000 words and 70 drawings across 17 jaunts we’ve discovered some small places that deserve their own shout! This is one.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

FISHGUARD: INVASIONS AND PIRATES

DRAWING ON THE SPOT: Lower Town Harbour

Lower Town Harbour Detail. Acrylic on  50 x 35 cm



February 19th.

We sat, sipping our beers, Sian and I, glad to be out of the rain. We’d been to the Royal Oak before a welcoming place in Fishguard’s town centre. 

What we did not know was that this public house was the site of the signing of surrender after the Battle of Fishguard. This brief campaign lasted from the 22nd until 24th February 1797. One thousand four hundred French soldiers landed near Fishguard yet surrendered two days later. 

It almost stopped raining so we popped down Lower Town, which is the old port of Fishguard situated at the mouth of the Gwaun River. This charming setting (in better weather) has been used as a location for many films, including ‘Under Milk Wood’ starring Richard Burton. 
Lower Town Harbour Quick Colour Preparatory:  Acrylic on  21 x 21 cm 
This coastline was the place of many bust ups and invasions. I began wondering why the French were so roundly defeated. I guessed that locals must have got their eye in eighteen years earlier. Lower Fishguard was held to ransom by the privateer Black Prince in 1779, the port was bombarded the town when the payment of a £1,000 ransom was refused. ‘Quite right lads, you can go now’ probably said a representative from the Town Council…