Clumber Park Historic Bridge

 We walk around the lake at Clumber Park twice a week. During the Covid restrictions the four mile trip has been a mainstay. But this is a post about the beautiful 250 year old, historic bridge that was vandalised in March 2018. Usually we walk in a clockwise direction which means that by the time we cross the bridge we are about half a mile from the estate courtyard, cafes and toilets. This means coffee, cake or lunch awaits or, more mundanely, car and journey home. Goodness me, we even have two favourite ducks we feed there, cross breeds with domestic escapees I suspect judging by their size. But back to the vandalism where criminals drove a stolen car in a determined and successful attempt to ruin this landmark and route over the lake. Luckily after fund raising and great expense their destruction has been erased, reconstructed and a rare beauty emerges, all the more gorgeous because we now realise the treasures we have, not to mention being spared the extra effort of navigating our way around the upper lake. It’s good to know craftspeople still survive and that suitable stone is still able to be quarried  – from very near us as it happens. I’d rather dwell on the positives though I include a photograph to show the task the constructors faced immediately after the incident. Unfortunately no bodies were discovered in the burnt out vehicle or lake.

RHS Harlow Carr in Colour: Sunglasses Required

RHS Harlow Carr is our local garden must see. Whatever the season and, indeed, if one considers the Alpine House, whatever the weather, there’s something to yearn for. Today it is the colours.

Crimson is for Helleborus × ‘Anna’s Red’. So rich, so upright, so resplendent in the winter sun that graced us today. So badly named, for surely this is crimson, not red, with that hint of purple and the yellowish stamens. Photographed here with a backdrop of green cornus stems. I want one.

Orange is for Cornus sanguinea ‘Anny’s Winter Orange’. The stems do have red in there as well though, oh dear, was this an eye-stopper today with  everyone pausing to take a photo, to the point that I found it difficult to dodge their shadows from the low winter sun. Shopping list.

Pink is for Erica carnea ‘December Red’. So pink and purple as the flowers age. And it’s February. When I first commenced gardening heathers were very popular along with dwarf conifers.  I’m not so keen these days with two exceptions ….

Purple is for Erica carnea ‘Nathalie’. Oh boy what a lovely purple,red. The variety is courtesy  Kurt Kramer from Edewecht, Germany and is developed from the Scottish ‘Myretoun Ruby’, a variety I used to love before I fell out of love and needed the space. ‘Nathalie’ has turned my head.

Violet is for Crocus thomasii. And there are one or two other varieties there adding to the splendour. We have it on our front lawn in increasing abundance if not as abundant as here. When the sun shines there’s nothing nicer, even Nathalie. It seeds itself everywhere, disappearing when one cuts the lawn or hoes the earth. To return.

Here.


Gold is for the shot before my battery ran out unexpectedly. Never buy cheap batteries on ebay. Yellows, golds, oranges. A mixture of aconites, Hamamelis and cornus. The focus is all a mess, not that it matters.


Green is for Galanthus ‘Edith’. I’m very fickle. Now I love Edith. The sparse information on this gorgeous snowdrop does not mention the lime green inner markings that were so evident this afternoon. I must have this variety. There were so many varieties to choose but I chose you, Edith.

Turquoise is for the Bramall Learning Centre & Library. Have I mentioned my battery running out? Well not before I photographed this sensational modern building with my macro lens. When I come into money I’m going to get the architects to make me one to live in. Opened in 2010 it is everything I desire in a building save that it is not mine.

All the colours of the rainbow. The alpine house. Heaven should be so inviting. Feast your eyes on this. Sunglasses required.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 19th November 2017

Apart from the parking fee, there are few nicer places to visit on a bright, cold morning than the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Well, I say cold but sitting on the balcony having a milky coffee there was warmth in the sun and as we embarked on a long walk we generated heat well enough.

Anthony Caro’s “Promenade” (1996) looked stunning in the autumn light and set amongst the trees.
The view from the balcony was also lovely. On the stairs to the cafe was an exhibition by Ed Kluz: “Sheer Folly – Fanciful Buildings of Britain”. All the works were for sale and it passed my mind for a split second to … I settled for a photograph of “The Dunmore Pineaple”.

Tony Cragg’s work crazily complemented the Yorkshire landscape.

However Joan Miró’s 1974 piece, “Tête”, would be my choice to grace the front lawn.

Or Barbara Hepworth’s “Square with Two Circles”(1963).

Lynn Chadwick’s “Little Girl” (1987) looks pretty grown up to me. She seemed a little lonely. An angular beauty.

The parkland itself is one of the sights of Britain.

Believe it or not, this is an exhibit. David Nash, “Seventy One Steps”. We saw it seven years ago when it was being constructed. Very fitting for a sculpture park in inspiring surroundings.

 We’ve got to have a Henry Moore. Or three. “Upright Motives No 1” and “Glenkiln Cross No 2” & “7” (1955-6).
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 And finally a Garden Centre, Alfredo Jaar’s “The Garden of Good and Evil”. I resisted the temptation to get out the secateurs.

Henry Moore "King and Queen", RHS Wisley, 5th February 2016

Made in 1953, the original studio copy for Henry Moore’s “King and Queen” series of sculptures is an added bonus this winter at RHS Wisley. It overlooks the “canal” standing in front of the already beautiful period building that houses the laboratory. Moore chanced on the design while shaping his modelling wax into a flattened head and thence into the King, to be joined by the Queen. This is the third year the the sculpture has been on display, retained by popular demand. By way of contrast, another of the sculptures is on display at the Tate. Wisley suits the monarchs better don’t you think?

The original buildings at Wisley are attractive even on an overcast, cold February day.
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And suburban though it might be I like the house by the entrance.

Salford Docks Decline and Rebirth as Media City, Saturday 16th January 2016

I remember Salford from the days when my grandmother took me to see the Manchester Ship Canal. The canal connected Manchester to the sea and its terminal or starting point was Salford. It was in decline even then. The final dock closed in 1982. Reborn as Salford Quay it is now Media City writ large with the BBC and  ITV basing a sizable chunk of their operations there. Money seems to have followed with a multitude of apartment blocks and retail outlets, not to mention spin-off companies and a theatre complex containing the unmissable Lowry Museum. It was a day when the snow burst through just after I took the photographs. Colour had drained from the concrete, glass and steel edifices and yet they possessed a beauty in their reflections in the water. The spots of colour that existed were appreciated. Pity we were two of very few to enjoy the spectacle.