Monthly Archives: September 2017

Bodnant Garden

Photographs of the Laburnum Arch dominate the pictures used to promote Bodnant Garden, examples of what I’ve called elsewhere ‘Kodachrome Icons’.  It’s a convenient simplification of what is an extraordinary, complex place.  My diary notes: ‘Spectacular and beautiful, full of … Continue reading

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Sic Transit

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Ozymandias warns: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: / Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ / Nothing beside remains. Round the decay /…’.  It is not just the ruination of the works of … Continue reading

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Mole Plough

We did a five mile walk round Little Walden, Essex, yesterday.  High up on a big open field an ancient caterpillar tractor hauled a mole plough slowly and noisily back and forth. A mole plough, or subsoiler, is used for … Continue reading

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‘We settle onto Room 206 at around 3.15 pm.  A second floor room with a view: a narrow strip of road; a wide shingle beach; herring gulls floating by at eye-level; and the tranquil sea stretching to a hazy horizon.  … Continue reading

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Blue sky, blue sea, blue rope. Blue is often associated with depth and stability, symbolising trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.  Blue may also mean being rigid, deceitful and spiteful, depressed and sad, self-righteous, superstitious, too conservative, … Continue reading

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Pied Piper

The Pied Piper of Hamelin is the eponymous character in a legend dating back to the Middle Ages from the German town of Hamelin.  The story describes a piper dressed in multi-coloured clothing, who is a rat-catcher hired by the … Continue reading

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Tourism – Discontent

‘Costing the Earth: Tourist Tide’, BBC Radio 4, 6th September tried to give a balanced view of the dilemmas posed by tourism’s costs and benefits.  This photo predates the current summer of discontent by almost ten years and shows that … Continue reading

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Guggenheim, Venice

The Guggenheim in Venice is one of my favourite small museums (or is at a gallery?).  It embodies Peggy Guggenheim’s dedication to the advancement of 20th century art – I think Giacometti’s Woman Walking (1936) is worth the cost of … Continue reading

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Urban Photographs

Roger Estop has an excellent blog: ‘Reading urban photographs – What photographs tell us about places’ (  In a posting, ‘Urbanism through the window’, Roger quotes a definition that, ‘Urban design is everything that you can see out of the window’; and … Continue reading

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Delft Memorial

Christian countries and cultures discouraged cremation historically; the body was considered sanctified by the sacraments, therefore requiring respectful disposal. The dead were buried, following the practice common in ancient Rome.  However, the idea that cremation might interfere with God’s ability … Continue reading

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Modern Architecture

On the visit to the Attenborough Building, part of the new Museums Site, Cambridge, the guide from Fauna and Flora International spoke with great enthusiasm about the modernist complex of buildings in which it’s housed (see post 9th September 2017).  … Continue reading

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John Keats died in Rome in 1821.  He wished to be interred under a tombstone bearing only the words, ‘Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water.’  His friends, Severn and Brown erected the stone, but added a relief … Continue reading

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In Mani (1958) Patrick Leigh Fermor wrote of ‘the tall spike of Vatheia entirely crowned with towers’ and praised the hospitality he received there.  Founded in the 18th century, it flourished in the 19th and declined 20th as people left … Continue reading

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‘Past the fish market and the landing area where men in blue squat gutting fish, attended by hordes of well-fed herring gulls….Fish are packed on ice in plastic crates and carted away from the quayside.  Meagre catches rest in baskets … Continue reading

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Ermine Moth – Nine Wells

Ermine moths are usually white or pale grey with many dark speckles, hence the name.  The larvae make spectacular and ghostly communal web like nests for protection, allowing them to gorge on trees, sometimes stripping them bare.  The trees may … Continue reading

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