Books, birds and more strolls.


Sunday was a bit of a gloomy day. I was out early-ish again, the most memorable aspect of that walk being the thrush which was adding it’s voice to the gathering chorus in Eaves Wood.

The boys had rugby matches in Kirkby Lonsdale and towards the end of the matches the cloud began to break up and we even had a few brief moments of sunshine, giving me high hopes for the afternoon. However, by the time TBH and I had set out for a tour of Hawes Water the leaden skies had returned. It was a fine walk none-the-less.


But since I don’t have all that much to say about Sunday, I thought I’d mention this:


…which is Mercury Fountain by Alexander Calder. We saw it at the Miro Foundation last summer, but in the photo at the back you can see it at the 1937 Paris Exposition, with Picasso’s Guernica behind.

Like Guernica its a war memorial of sorts, commemorating the Spanish Civil War:

“The mobile sculpture consists of a series of three metal plates arranged above a large pool of mercury. Mercury is pumped up so that a fine stream trickles on to the top plate. It quickens in droplets and rivulets across the plates in turn while they gyre and bow under the weight of the metal, before it vanishes quietly into the pool below. The mercury is the key to the meaning of the work. It came, like the majority of the world’s mercury at that time, from the cinnabar deposits at Almaden in Ciudad Real south-west of Madrid. This strategically important location was to be repeatedly besieged by Franco’s insurgents, and Calder’s work commemorates the miners who had successfully held off the first nationalist onslaught a few months earlier.”

I wish I’d known all that when I saw it in the flesh. This passage comes from Hugh Aldersley-Williams “Periodic Tales”, which I’m currently reading. The title suggests a book on Chemistry, but whilst there is a great deal of Chemistry, there are also great anecdotes, a deal of history, and all round a very entertaining read. Highly recommended.

Books, birds and more strolls.

5 thoughts on “Books, birds and more strolls.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Because I have both sons playing for two different teams, I sometimes feel like I spend more time pacing back and forth between pitches than I do actually watching the matches. But, I think it went pretty well for both of them. Oldest son in particular and a barn-storming second half, seeming to be everywhere on the pitch at once and rounding it off with a great run and an off-load out of the tackle to set up a try with the final play of the match.
      I enjoyed it, as you can probably tell. Eldest played again this weekend against opposition who were superior in several ways, but I thought the whole team did well to keep their heads up, even though they were pretty much constantly fighting a rearguard action. He was playing hooker some of the time and was perplexed about what to do about the fact that one of their second-row was pushing through into the front row to headbutt him. I’m not sure whether his coaches will approve of the advice I gave him. Lets say it was robust. And involved not binding properly.

      1. Scrums are a moral minefield for both coaches and parents. However, it is clearly your moral duty, and that of your son, to teach the opposing second row that all our actions have consequences. Well, that’s what I used to say when anyone complained.

        I miss Sunday rugby now that they have left home. Even the cold, the losses and the dodgy referees.


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