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Friday, 31 October 2014

I don't know

The American sculptor Richard Tuttle's colourful work - I Don't Know. The Weave of Textile Language - currently installed in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall is bright, colourful, enjoyable and playful - but not 'great', I felt. I rather agreed with the Guardian critic's summary. But it warms you up, almost as though it was a fire.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

London Icons 4

Another view of The Shard, London's towering skyscraper: 87 floors of glass designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano. Despite its size, it has an ethereal quality and somehow doesn't look as dominant as it might seem. It sits quite happily, I feel, alongside the classical 19th century tower of Southwark Cathedral.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

London Icons 3

I think this one should be called Shard and Bard.... It shows the top of London's newest and tallest building, the Shard (2012), and the reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre (1997) on London's South Bank.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

London Icons 2

Another mono, this time showing St Paul's Cathedral (1708) and the Millennium Bridge (2000), which go together strangely well, I feel, considering that there are 300 years separating them.

Monday, 27 October 2014

London Icons 1

My recent trips to London were mostly about trying to be a helpful mother and granny, but I did manage a day out in the city centre. I ambled peacefully along the South Bank, with its wonderful riverside views of some of the great sights of London. The London Eye (2000), Big Ben (1859) and the Royal Festival Hall (1951) are all icons of their time. I felt this image needed the Ansel Adams black and white treatment.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Beauty in the familiar

Meanwhile, back in Saltaire, the autumn colours are peaking. I left my car in London for a couple of weeks to assist my family so I'm back to walking everywhere. I love the rhythm of walking and it keeps me fit, so I don't mind at all. I took the scenic route on my way to do the supermarket shop, past Saltaire's church and along the canal towpath to Shipley. This is only a humble iPhone photo but the colours are good and the scene nicely balanced. It's a view I never tire of and it looks so different in different seasons and lighting conditions.  Click the Saltaire URC label below to see more photos of this lovely heritage church.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Until we meet again...

RHS Harlow Carr - I had such a wonderful time wandering around the RHS's Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate. Every view, every planter, every bed, every border is breathtaking to the senses - colours, shapes, textures, scent. So many photos - but I hope you've enjoyed them and didn't mind me taking a bit of a (necessary) break and resorting to posting endless garden pictures. We'll say a fond farewell to Harrogate for now - until another season.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Thursday, 23 October 2014


RHS Harlow Carr - There are lots of places in the gardens to sit and rest, and to contemplate the beauty of nature. This little summerhouse is in a pretty spot beside a stream.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014


RHS Harlow Carr - This rose is called 'Grace' - that's my eldest granddaughter's second name too. Isn't it gorgeous? It has a lovely scent too.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014


RHS Harlow Carr - more willow sculptures, like poppy seed heads, enliven an area planted with wildflowers.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Colour coded

RHS Harlow Carr - like a colour swatch chart - more of the inspired colour combinations in the long borders.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Pixie paradise

RHS Harlow Carr -
If I was a pixie, I think Harlow Carr Gardens would be the most desirable place to live that I could imagine. There were little doors in the walls and little doors in the the tree trunks  - and look, they even have their own village.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Potting shed

RHS Harlow Carr - even the inside of the potting shed was photogenic.

Friday, 17 October 2014


RHS Harlow Carr - a sunflower, one of my favourite flowers. I have a huge vase of fake ones in my sitting room and they never fail to cheer me up - a bright patch of sunshine in the corner. At Harlow Carr, the vegetables beds were filled with flowers as well as vegetables. This sunflower is right next to a runner bean plant.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A bowl full

RHS Harlow Carr - It was the small 'set pieces' at Harlow Carr that stopped me in my tracks, as much as the big vistas and wide borders. This would not be impossible to replicate in my tiny back yard. I especially like the walllflowers scattered among the paving stones.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Natural sculpture

RHS Harlow Carr - more naturally sculptural plants and wonderful colours.

Monday, 13 October 2014


RHS Harlow Carr - one of the little streams that runs through the gardens, giving the opportunity for a different kind of planting of ferns and foliage.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Personal update

My daughter is home from hospital now and hopefully on the road to full recovery, thank God - though her daily medications routine needs its own planner! The baby seems fine, thankfully, and her big sister (3rd birthday next week!) will get back on a more even keel now she has her mum back, I'm sure. Phew. I'm sorry I am not doing much in the way of visiting everyone else's blogs  - it doesn't work on my iPhone really - but we will all get back to 'normal' one day. I'm regrouping ready for some more granny duty - though when I managed to lock myself out of their apartment with no coat, no phone, bag or money and only my slippers on my feet, I don't think I was being much in the way of help!


Continuing the garden series from RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate - now here's an innovation! The Tomtato, a grafted plant that produces both cherry tomatoes above ground and potatoes below ground, from the same plant. This is possible not through any genetic modification but simply through careful grafting. Potatoes and tomatoes are closely related, so they can be grafted together in the same way as fruit trees or roses - an all-natural and perfectly safe process.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


RHS Harlow Carr -  This reminds me so much of some of the photos that Randy posts from Santa Fe (Santa Fe Daily Photo). His pictures are always filled with colour and the orange wall is very like some of the adobe walls there.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Bear's breeches

RHS Harlow Carr - If I have identified it correctly, this is Acanthus spinosus, commonly known as bear's breeches, a wonderfully sculptural plant that apparently looks good in winter too.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Old Bath House

Back to RHS Harlow Carr  - and back to the summer too!
The area around the city of Harrogate developed and became famous because of its sulphur springs. The Old Bath House dates back to the 1840s when the owner of the estate at that time built a hotel and a spa. The building, now within the RHS Gardens, serves as a study centre and exhibition space. When I visited there was a lovely display of paintings by local artists.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

The view backwards

Spotted this mirror, placed so as to assist vehicles to safely exit a driveway on the Bingley St Ives estate. The drive goes up to the archery club that has a meeting place in the grounds. The reflection seems a bit Alice-in-Wonderland to me, like a doorway into another world.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

WWI memorial

I went walking on the Bingley St Ives estate and stumbled upon the dedication of a new war memorial and field of poppies in the grounds. It is to commemorate the centenary of the start of the war and to remember those from the Harden area who fought and in many cases died. It was a short, simple but quite moving service and blessing. It was special for me too, because the vicar of Harden is an old friend and neighbour of mine. Before he was called to ministry he and his wife used to worship at the church I attend. I rarely see them anymore so it was a pleasure to bump into him.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Into the woods

Oh dear, I thought everything was going a little too smoothly.... My daughter is back in hospital with her new baby. Madeleine is doing very well but my daughter has an infection and is feverish. Hopefully IV antibiotics will soon banish it but it's worrying, especially after everything seemed to be fine this time. The other grandparents are there, helpfully, but if I suddenly disappear at short notice you'll know why.

A walk in the fresh air helped lift my spirits today. The autumn colours are creeping in and there are leaves on the ground but it was a lovely warm, sunny day.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Our little rosebud

The handle of the crib provided a pretty frame for my second granddaughter's first portrait. Madeleine Lily was born on Tuesday morning, 30.09.14. Unlike her big sister's abrupt and early arrival into the world, she took her time and was about a week overdue. Weighing 7lb 5oz, (3.3 kilos) she is more than twice her sister's birthweight and already seems remarkably settled, calm and much more robust. Needless to say, the whole family is overjoyed at her arrival. She is named after her maternal great-grandmothers. My mum would have been so thrilled.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Canal turn

Also in the centre of Bingley, the Leeds-Liverpool Canal threads its way though, alongside the railway and a relatively new trunk road (see here).  This rather striking curve in the canal resulted from the need to move it a few yards over, to make room for the 'bypass' road (which actually goes right through the middle of the town but has freed up the old Main Street from traffic jams).  The land to the left was until fairly recently a string of mills and industrial works. There are few left; most of the buildings have been converted into flats or demolished and residential new builds constructed.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Bingley's eyesore

I can't believe I haven't actually shown a picture of this building before, though I have mentioned it once or twice.  It's the former headquarters of the Bradford & Bingley Building Society (later Bank) right in the centre of the small market town of Bingley. At one time it employed huge numbers of people. This mid-1970s concrete Brutalist building, designed by John Brunton, was famously called 'a carbuncle' by Prince Charles and it is fair to say that most local people hate it. It has been nicknamed 'the Ziggurat' and 'The Hanging Gardens of Babylon'. It does tower over the town in a rather forbidding fashion. It has been bought by Sainsburys, who have planning permission to demolish it (and build, I gather, an equally uninspiring 'superstore' in its place.)  But they seem to be dragging their feet and various excuses are trotted out (Pipistrelle bats hibernating..) The last I read, demolition work was scheduled to begin in July, but at the beginning of October there seems no sign of anything happening. Its bulk contrasts rather pointedly with the delicate ironwork of Myrtle Park's bandstand. Actually, I think the rear view is its 'best side'.

One of the young boys cheekily 'photobombed' my picture and made me laugh. He then asked me why I was taking a picture of the building, which I thought was a perceptive question for a young kid. So I explained that although it doesn't look very pretty, it is an icon of its time and I wanted a picture before it gets knocked down.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Autumn joy

Another abstracty one - sometimes I just feel like taking pictures of nothing more than light. Trees reflected in the canal show definite hints that autumn is here.

The shimmery gold mirrors my mood. I'm delighted to say that my new granddaughter was born safely yesterday, a healthy 7lb 5oz. Her name is Madeleine Lily, which I love and am touched by, as Madeline (slightly different spelling) was my late mum's name. Quite unlike her older sister, who was introduced to the world rather abruptly and very early, this one was rather shy to arrive, being a good week or so overdue.  Hoping to see her later this week and one day I'll post a photo, promise.