Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Lots of stuff (or I’ve run out of titles…)

I was driving into Dorchester yesterday to the hairdressers (no major disasters there, hair same but shorter, hairdresser fully mobile again!) when I passed through an area called Poundbury. This is a ‘model village’ (read ‘housing estate’) which is being built on the outskirts of Dorchester by Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.

It is a very contentious development as opinions are divided about the architectural merit (or otherwise) of the houses being built there, the density of the development and its eventual size. This quote is from a local web site and reflects some of the ‘anti’ feeling about Poundbury (the full letter can be read here, it’s hilarious!)

“In my understanding, be it correct or otherwise, the Poundbury development was intended to reflect the architecture and community of a traditional West Dorset country village. This, I assume, is the brief that the designers, architects and developers are working by. It is possible that I am not the only person who is struggling with that concept, considering that the Poundbury development is quite possibly the diametric opposite of that brief, in every perceivable way.

I am no designer, nor an architect or a developer, but it doesn’t take an expert in this field to reach the conclusion that the surreal, and quite frankly “fake” Poundbury development appears to be taking heavy inspiration from the following:

– Kensington & Chelsea
– Walt Disney
– Regents Park Residencies
– 18th Century Normandy
– Southern European/Spanish
– Rural Germany/Austria
– Peckham
– Far-Reaching corners of the Milky Way.”

Personally, I think it’s dreadful and I could fill a whole post with my objections (hmm, now that’s an idea for a dull day) but one good thing that comes from all the digging and excavations that are going on are the poppies which spring up along the roadside. I was driving past and screeched to a halt to take some photographs of them. You can see some of Poundbury in the background.

I don’t mention Dorchester much but I went into town the other day and walked through the Borough Gardens and spotted the clock and the bandstand which have just been freshly painted and look really good.

All the bandstand needs is the Wessex Military Band which plays in Bucky Doo Square in Bridport on Saturday market days. They look amazing in their scarlet uniforms. I managed to get a shot of them last Saturday.

It makes a change to be showing you shots of the towns instead of the coast – I thought you might be getting a bit bored with those. I had a lovely surprise yesterday. My book swap book arrived. It was sent to me by Crazy Daisy Girl (alias Diana Waite) all the way from Utah. It’s a gorgeous little book and to tell me something about the town she lives in, she made the cover from a flour sack from a local flour mill, the pages are red to represent the red rocks which are from the area. Here are some photographs of it.

My album is coming along. I have finished sewing the pages together and have started to make the cover. It has been a nightmare! I am using thicker than usual board as the it needed to be sturdier due to the size of the album, so I had to take it to the gallery I used to work at where they have a huge guillotine which made short work of cutting the board to size. Of course I always have problems with glue and manoeuvering large sheets of gluey paper is just so difficult. I originally intended to have leather corners on the album but to be quite honest it would have made it even more difficult to position the marbled paper so I chickened out… Anyway, progress so far…

So far, so good, so stressful….now I need a lie down :-)

Instead, I am going to go and play with my Wii fit. I am trying to lose weight as you know and this is such a fun way of exercising. I love the step class and the hula hoop and the jogging and the downhill skiing slalom and the yoga….brilliant fun. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, check this out.

I have to close the blinds in case the neighbours think I have gone insane….next thing I’ll be moving to Poundbury :-)

22 responses to “Lots of stuff (or I’ve run out of titles…)

  1. Teresa June 5, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I would NEVER get tired of looking at the beach photos, but I do enjoy the city pics too. Any photos you take are great to look at! The poppies are sooo beautiful!

    What a neat book you got for your swap! It’s so cool the way she used the flour sack to make the cover. Very clever.

    The Wii Fit seems like so much fun! Dh had talked about getting a Wii for the boys; if they’re going to play computer games, they may as well play something that will get them up and moving. :)

    Now, get back to working on your book! Happy Thursday!

  2. Daddy Papersurfer June 5, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I love the way poppies ‘pop’ out of broken ground – damned clever that nature stuff.
    Poundbury? mmmmmm? – it IS very odd. I’ve seen it from a distance driving along and also seen various things on the TV. It could have been a great idea but this necessity to ‘cram’ with tiny gardens hits these type of things on the head from the word go ….. oh well.
    Glad you survived the hairdresser, doesn’t look much different really – tee hee.

  3. strugglingwriter June 5, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    Wow, that clock and bandstand are very nice.

    I hear what you’re saying about Poundbury. They often try to match architecture of the past but often come up short. They just don’t make things like they use to. Things used to be made of real wood and steel and are now made of pre-fabricated lumber and dry-wall.

    Anyhow, that book you got in the swap is pretty cool and your massive album there looks very nice.

    Finally, I came across a news story yesterday that David Tennant is dating the actress that’s playing his “daughter” on this season’s Doctor Who!

  4. Diane June 6, 2008 at 1:09 am

    Teresa – you are so kind, as always!
    My book swap book is lovely and such a clever idea. We ony get flour in paper bags :-(
    I love our Wii, Wii sports is such fun – we play tennis and golf and bowling as well as the Wii fit exercises and it does get you out of breath for sure!

    DP – I don’t like Poundbury. It is eating up Duchy land which used to be lovely farmland and I just wish that the architecture was a bit more adventurous and …well, contemporary. All this harking back to the past. Where is the new Elizabethan house style? All we build are mock Georgian and Victorian pastiches. Makes me quite cross.

    Paul – so sorry about the Penguins but they did their best, I’m sure. At least the beard can go!
    You are so right about building standards too…grrr!
    Glad you like the book(s).
    If that is true about David Tennant then that is so wrong somehow :-) (Although she was very pretty!)

  5. laketrees June 6, 2008 at 10:45 am

    the town photos are very colourful……
    the photo album looks smashing !!!
    love the flour sack book pretty and charming..
    reminds me that I use to have a pair of trousers made out of flour sacks…they were my art school favourites…
    I have to get a Wii..
    Charlotte has been pestering me about getting will have to now!!

  6. Lili June 6, 2008 at 10:54 am

    That is so random–bookbinding makes a small world. I wonder if I’ve met Diana Waite– I’m from Utah Valley and was surprised to see “Lehi” on your blog! Those poppies are gorgeous. Among all my favorite flowers, poppies might just top them all.

  7. AmyH June 6, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I hate to say it, but that Poundbury devolpment sounds like every modern neighborhood in the US–including mine, though here we like to leave Disney out of it, and try to recreate Tuscany. Seriously.

    I’m going to have to look into your swap partner–if she lives in Lehi (where the flour mill is) she lives in the same city as I do! Small world.

    Your album is coming along nicely. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  8. Daddy Papersurfer June 6, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I love watching you ‘being quite cross’ – a loud ‘tut’ was heard from Tunbridge Wells.

    I do sense that there might be more exciting things happening in mass architecture but I’m afraid that it’s always going to be behind the times – it’s the way the world wags – people are sooooooo boring and conservative.
    Cup of tea to sooth your nerves? ……. [giggling here – a lot!]

  9. Daddy Papersurfer June 6, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    [still giggling ……. and a *guffaw*]

  10. Shinade June 6, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Oh I finally got a signal and I am so glad too. Oh I am simply in love with your country.

    My daughter visited last year. It has always been a dream of mine to visit as well. But, alas, I am afraid it shall forever remain a dream for me.

    Unless we win the lottery of course. Then DP better be on the look out LOL!

    All of your pictures are just so stunning. I love the clock and the poppies are simply fantastic!!

    Thanks for taking these lovely photos and sharing with us.:-)

  11. tulibri June 6, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Diane, I hate working big books, too. Anything larger than A5 makes the fun-sweat balance weigh down enormously on the sweat-scale :) Yet, the marbled paper looks gorgeous and I’m sure it’s going to be a superb album!

    Poundsbury reminds me severely of an unbelievably unprogressive thing going on in Berlin: not only were they narrow-minded enough to have torn down the former “Palast der Republik”, to many an important monument of socialistic dictatorship and part of divided Germany’s as well as Berlin’s history. They now decided to have the former Berlin City Palace, a baroque building torn down by that very socialistic regime, re-built. Not enough of this. The palace will only be rebuilt as blind wall: three fronts baroque architecture, one front contemporary style. Unlike stated at Wikipedia, this chimeara will not be solely a place for science, called “Humboldt Forum”. It will also be a shopping center. So that’s where pretended historical awareness meets consumption and disney land …

  12. Jenny June 6, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Far reaching corners of the Milky Way! That’s hysterical.

    That clock tower is really something! Love the paint job.

    Hey Diane, I tagged you for a bit of silliness over at me blog. You can repay me some other time, LOL!

  13. Diane June 6, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    Just wrote very long detailed answers to all comments above and managed to lose them so apologies for abbreviated responses…

    Kim – you must get a Wii – it will give you a such a good laugh and if it gets you fit as well, well, that’s a bonus. They say that laughter is good for you :-D

    Lili and AmyH – that is amazing. You three should get together and compare bookbinding notes. Anyone out there live in Dorset?

    DP – don’t you start! Whenever I try to get cross with my sons, they look down at me from their great height (#1 son is 6′ 4″), pat me on the head and say ‘chill’….

    I’m going to stamp my foot with vexation…and then go and have a nice cup of tea…. :-) Stop giggling!

    Shinade – hope your trip is going well, great you can keep in touch!
    It would be great if you could make it over to the UK, I’m sure there would be no end of volunteers to show you round – me, DP?……

    Astrid – I have to psyche myself up to each bit and I am so stressed out when I have completed each part I have to leave it and go and do something else!

    Politics aside, I rather liked the ‘old’ 70’s building – all that bronze glass (although I could do without the asbestos). They are definitely going to ‘do a Poundbury’ on the new building though, aren’t they? With added shopping centre. Dreadful :-(

    Jenny – our local web site ‘Bridport Radio’ is hilarious – in a very weird sort of way. I can’t work out if it’s real or tongue in cheek! Thanks, I’m off to check out the tag now….. :-)

  14. 70steen June 6, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    fab post … poppies (my fav), new developments (what carbuncles are they!) and pride in a town all freshly spruced up

    ….. must say I am reeling from Strugglingwriters revelation … Dr Who is dating his daughter? There must be interstella laws about that???

  15. cathryn miller June 6, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Diane,

    Perhaps you need to meet truly ugly North American architecture before being too disappointed in local developments!

    Yes, I’m sure you are right about your crits, It looks a bit odd, but mostly because the trees are too small for “England”. As a sometime tourist/sometime walker in Britain, the new town looks no stranger than many old ones. Eclectic?!

    And I was delighted by the poppies on the roadside. My neighbouring city has finally stopped spraying toxic chemicals on all the green spaces. The dandelions (imported to Canada by the French — who were here first of the Europeans) are doing extremely well. But even better, some of the native plants are now invading the city!

    I looked at your various links, and I still think you are better off than I, with the instant commercial slum being built on my road. I’d pick slightly strange and artificial architecture any day!

    Loved the pics of your book and huge best wishes on the album: difficulties in binding expand geometrically with the size of the volume!



  16. DrowseyMonkey June 7, 2008 at 4:04 am

    I love your title, or lack thereof … lol

    The photos are amazing! Love the clock, what amazing colours. All that red is a nice change from all the boring grey cement around here.

  17. Lady Banana June 7, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    I LOVE the pic of the poppies :)

  18. Diane June 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    70steen – it’s all gone downhill today – read my latest post :-(
    As for Dr Who, it’s just plain wrong :-)

    Cathryn – I suppose what I want to see is some one being brave and building some contemporary housing stock instead of this pastiche of some idyllic past that never existed in the first place! Parts of Poundbury are quite nice, if you like that kind of thing, I don’t mind Phase 1, the first part they built (apart from two ridiculous Disney castle tower blocks) – it’s not my cup of tea but I can see why others like it. But Phases 2 and 3 and I’m not sure how many more, are soul-less and the size of the development belies its intention to be a model village – it’s a town! And who on earth is going to buy all these house? They are VERY expensive and lots are being bought as second homes, so will sit empty for large parts of the year….
    Anyway as you see I get quite worked up talking about it so I shall calm down now! Thanks for your comments about my book, I’m going to have a break from it and make something easier, just to get my book making ‘mojo’ back :-D

    Drowsey – thank you – glad you enjoyed the pics, the town is taking pride in itself which is a good thing in my book :-)

    Lady B – I see you have read my next post – bad news indeed :-(

  19. Leon June 8, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Great site! lets trade links

  20. nursemyra June 9, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    your work is lovely as always. and i really enjoyed the wii clip too

  21. perpetualplum June 10, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    I have a WII fit too! Luckily, I don’t have any close neighbors to peep in my windows.

    I love the poppies. I’m sorry someone has now mowed them. I’d be spitting mad too! I know that the mowing is in another post.

    I love that painted clock tower.

    Lovely books! You book’ies are amazing! ;-)

  22. Diane June 11, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    You do feel a bit silly doing it, don’t you? But it’s such fun, I don’t care!
    Glad you enjoy the books – must get back into it but it’s hard when the sun is shining…..

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