Much of a muchness

Things that make you go 'hmm'…

Tag Archives: swans

Where there’s a Will….

I’ve just returned from Stratford on Avon. It was my sister’s birthday. A BIG birthday made all the more disconcerting because she is my younger sister and the less reminders I have the of how old I am, the better! I made her an album for her birthday, which involved the inevitable trawl through old family photographs. The bad hair do’s, the shocking clothes, Memory Lane can be quite a terrifying place to walk down. I also dug out some old home movie footage which was originally Super 8 film which I had transferred onto DVD. Quite hilarious. Memories of so many family outings –  I can only think that every time my dad said ‘Do something for the camera’, we flung ourselves off whatever rock or wall we were standing on onto a beach or we did a cartwheel. In Scotland, in Wales, in Cornwall, in our garden – always the same. Here is a photograph of me and two of my three sisters (presumably just before we threw ourselves off the sea wall at Blackpool). I’m the tallest and birthday girl is the cutie in the middle.

This is the album I made for her.

We had a lovely family party at a hotel just outside Stratford on Avon. Yesterday, we had a very quick trip into Stratford to see the sights. It always astonishes me that William Shakespeare’s birthplace is still standing there on a busy shopping street.

We had a very quick walk along the River Avon by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It is undergoing a huge renovation project so it is currently covered in scaffolding and camouflage. It normally looks like this

but at the moment looks like this

Here are a few more shots of the visit.

This last guy was one of those performance artists who stood as still as a statue until someone approached him to take his photograph and then he leaped off his box and frightened the life out of them. I’m not sure Will would have approved.

To round off, (tenuous link alert) this is a calligram I did a few years ago. I repeated the phrase ‘As You Like It’ to make this image of the great man himself. Click on it to enlarge.

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A Fleeting Glimpse of Dorset

I went up to London yesterday. I won’t bore you with the tedium of the journey there and back but suffice it to say it was a sorry catalogue of delays, misinformation and outright porkie pies.

Example, on journey home:

Announcement 1: ‘delay is due to operational misunderstandings at Waterloo Station’.

Announcement 2: ‘delay was due to an electrical storm in the Wimbledon area’

Announcement 3: ‘delay due to major signalling problems just outside the station’

Drives me mad especially as on the way there, the train was 30 minutes late because there was a problem with the train doors which meant they decided not to stop at all between Southampton and London. ‘Hurrah!’ the passengers cried, ‘A faster journey!’ -until the train ground to a complete halt and just sat there for 30 minutes.

Anyway, I had a nice time in London. Falkiners is even more yummy than usual as they seem to have had a bit of a re-organisation and all the lovely papers are now catalogued beautifully so that you can see everything they have in stock and not just the relatively small number of papers on display. Result? I spent probably twice as much as I would have otherwise – genius!

I then walked to Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road and bought some more paper and then walked to Liberty to buy a birthday gift for a friend and yes-you’ve guessed it yet more paper! Surprisingly, Liberty had a really good range of Japanese Chiyogami papers and some pretty gift wrap. So it was a very successful shopping expedition.

I’m sorry I’ve been AWOL this last couple of days and especially sorry I haven’t been responding to your comments but yesterday, I met up with some girlie mates at a friend’s house and we had a very pleasant time making books. I showed them how to make ribbon books a month or so ago and they have caught the bug! It was really interesting to see their different approaches to materials and their ideas for extending what you can do with the books. It might even galvanize me into trying something new!

Last night I went for a long walk with a friend. We drove to a village called Langton Herring which is a mile or so inland from the Fleet and Chesil Beach. I’ve mentioned Chesil Beach before. It is a shingle beach which is 18 miles long and runs from Portland to West Bay. The stones on the beach are much larger at the Portland end and gradually decrease in size towards West Bay. It used to be said that sailors who were washed up on the beach could tell where they were by the size of the shingle. For 8 miles of it’s length, the beach encloses a lagoon called the Fleet. It’s famous because it is where Barnes Wallis tested the bouncing bombs which were used in the famous Dam busters raid during World War 2.

This is a photograph of the Fleet and Chesil Beach I took last year.

The walk from Langton Herring on a cool sunny evening was quite spectacular. It was silent apart from the sounds of skylarks singing and seagulls calling. The lambs in the fields were playing and leaping about, some of the field were bright yellow with oilseed rape. And when we arrived at the Fleet, the water was flat calm and the sun was setting, it was so peaceful and beautiful. here are some of the photographs I took. You can click on each thumbnail to see a larger version.

The other good news is that Abbotsbury Swannery which is also on the Fleet and had to close earlier in the year because of bird flu, has now re-opened and has just had the first cygnets hatch! Apparently, this has happened much earlier than usual and as the arrival of the first baby swan is said to herald the first day of summer, this is good news indeed!

This gorgeous image is by Geoffrey Franklin of Christchurch, Dorset and was taken from a slide show of his swannery images on the BBC website.