Across 110th Street

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Strolling down 5th.

So, our first full day in New York – time to get out and about and see what’s what. By the time I took the photo above, just down the block from our hotel, we’d already eaten breakfast at a small but very busy sandwich bar called Toasties.

Heading back from there, we came across these very large, unusual sculptures…

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Paparazzi Dogman and Rabbitwoman.

Seated next to a water feature you could walk through…

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Just off 6th.

We were heading down 5th Avenue looking for East 34th Street, but on route we stopped off at the New York Central Library…

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New York Central Library

Downstairs there was a small museum, accessed by booking only. We hadn’t booked, so I had the slightly surreal experience of being helped, by the man on the door, to book online, before he scanned the resulting QR code and let us in. Anyway, it was well worth a visit, because among other things it had the original toys immortalised by A.A.Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories.

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Cristopher Robin’s immortalised toys.
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A fancy ceiling.
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Insect art.

You’ll notice that there are no pictures featuring books – the public lending library was across 5th Avenue. The Central Library did have reading rooms with specific collections of books, but they weren’t open to the public.

This was where we had been heading…

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Can you guess what it is?
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This might give you a clue.

The Empire State building is a full on tourist attraction. First you have to queue to have a family portrait taken, so that later you could buy photographs of yourself green-screened onto various views. This turned out to be a common theme just about everywhere we went in Manhattan. Little S took great delight in vying with the sales-people to discreetly take snaps on his phone of our portraits when they were trying to entice us to shell out our hard-earned on their pictures.

King Kong was one of many attractions on the lower floors. He was animated, so that, whilst TBH was posing, his face went through a huge range of expressions, which was quite amusing.

I enjoyed the time-lapse footage of the tower in construction. Astonishingly, it was built in 410 days and finished ahead of schedule.

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Here we all are smiling near the top. Well, except B who is too cool to be impressed.
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B – still not impressed.

We got views from the 82nd and 86th floors, if I remember right. We could have paid extra to go up to the 102nd floor, but were quite content with the view as it was.

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Looking downtown.

The bit of green in the foreground is Madison Square Garden, with the Flatiron building just beyond. The Hudson River is on the right and you can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the distance. The sky-scrapers on the left are in Brooklyn and those on the right are in Jersey City.

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The Chrysler Building. And others. And the East River.

The views are pretty amazing and I took a lot of photos, but they all essentially show lots of tall buildings, so I’ll limit myself to three here.

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More tall buildings.
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Interior splendour.

Back on the streets the rest of the family got excited about…

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Shopping.
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Bryant Park.

With the obvious exception of Central Park, green spaces are at a premium in midtown. This is Bryant Park just behind the Central Library. We were looking for a relatively small building which we had spotted from the Empire State Building and had all taken a fancy to. From ground level we couldn’t agree which building we had been admiring.

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110th and Broadway Station.

We’d bought a week’s pass on the Metro and used it a lot. It could be confusing at times, but was generally very convenient.

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110th street – a prompt for a song.

I often felt that everywhere we visited had a song associated with it. I got particularly excited about 110th Street, although if I’d remembered more than just the chorus of the Bobby Womack classic I might have been less keen to visit. Apparently, 110th street was traditionally the boundary of Harlem, and the song is about surviving in the ghetto. Today it seemed very leafy and unthreatening.

The station is at the northwest corner of Central Park. We walked diagonally across the park to catch the Metro again on East 60th Street, which given how hot it was, was quite a hike.

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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
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Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir panorama.
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Posing in front of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir.
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The Lake.
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Bow Bridge.
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A big squirrel.
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The Bard.

The Mall has statues of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns – why no American writers?

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Posing again.

Eating out in New York was expensive. Actually, eating in in New York was expensive. Well, everything in New York was expensive. But, we found a fairly reasonable place called the Tick Tock Diner and I discovered the delights of a Cobb Salad. Very tasty.

One way to save money as a tourist in Manhattan is to invest in a City Pass. It gives you entrance to a number of attractions and whilst it isn’t cheap, it does save a lot compared to buying individual tickets. We thought it was good value. As a bonus, a City Pass entitles you to a second, night time, ascent of the Empire State building.

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The Empire State Building.
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Looking downtown again.

Again, the views were stunning. Sadly, my phone seemed to be overwhelmed by the lights and the many, many pictures I took haven’t come out very satisfactorily. Still, quite an experience.

Across 110th Street

The Mawson Garden

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TBH under the rose pergola.

On the Sunday of the Art Trail weekend, TBH and I were keen to visit ‘The Mawson Garden’. It’s far from being the only Mawson garden around. There’s at least one more garden in the village which was designed by Lancaster landscape architect Thomas Mawson, and lots more elsewhere, including some overseas. But in the village this walled garden, within the grounds of a large house called Grey Walls, seems to have become known as ‘The Mawson Garden’, so I’ll go with that. As part of the trail it was open, with art on display, although the principle attraction for us, and, I suspect, for many other visitors, was to see the garden itself.

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We walked there via our Sunday route through Fleagarth Wood and around Jenny Brown’s Point.

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Warton Crag and the Bowland Skyline across Carnforth Salt Marsh.
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Common Mallow.

Here’s an image of Grey Walls, from an old postcard, which I found on t’interweb.

Grey Walls.

The house was also designed by Mawson and was apparently finished in about 1925. It looks very different now, since the substantial grounds are now heavily wooded and there are no views of the Bay or the local hills anymore. Actually, the house was renamed Ridgeway when it was bought by Joe Foster co-founder of Reebok, but still seems to be locally know as Grey Walls.

Since access to the garden is only via the grounds of Grey Walls, we had to wait for a guide to lead us to the entrance. (The guide was R, one of our neighbours). Whilst we waited, we chatted to friends from the village about how long it was since we had previously visited. All I knew was that I didn’t know. TBH was spot on with 8 years.

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Former Summer House, now a home.

I thought I’d been again since, but I can’t find any reference to such a visit on the blog, so perhaps not. Things have certainly changed a great deal since that first visit.

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The pergola again.

I suspect that restoring the garden must be a huge labour of love. It’s really impressive, and I don’t think my photos do it justice.

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A Dogwood apparently.

The first time we came, there was a great deal of discussion about this tree. It was suggested that it was a Judas Tree or a Strawberry Tree. Our friend’s daughter, who was home from Massachusetts, was confident that it’s a Dogwood, which are common in Massachusetts gardens apparently.

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A small sample of some of the art on display in the garden…

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A very enjoyable visit. I hope we get to have another look before 2030!

The Mawson Garden

Cark to Grange with X-Ray

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Cark Hall.

TBH had missed out on our walk from Cark to Grange via Cartmel and I thought she would enjoy it. X-Ray was keen to meet us for a walk, and perhaps a bite to eat, and I was pretty sure he would enjoy it too. Actually, as I recall, I presented X-Ray with a number of options and this was the one which most appealed. He hopped onto the Northern Fail service at Lancaster and we joined him at Silverdale for the short journey around the bay.

Cark has a pub and a cafe and I made a mental note that an evening repeat of this walk could start with a meal at one or the other. Cark also has Cark Hall, an imposing building which is now three dwellings. It dates from 1580 with a Seventeenth Century wing and alterations. Three hundred year old home improvements! The doorway looked really imposing, from what we could see of it, but good old-fashioned English reticence prevented me from wandering in to the garden to have a proper gander. (Historic England listing)

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Hampsfell from just beyond Cark.
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TBH and X-Ray sat on the fish tables (apparently) outside the Priory Gatehouse in Cartmel.

We bumped into a couple of old-friends and former neighbours in Cartmel who had won (in a raffle?) a meal at L’Enclume, Cartmel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. When we spoke to them later in the week they were highly impressed. Might have to check it out, if I win a booking in a raffle. Or rob a a bank.

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Cartmel Priory
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Cartmel Priory interior.
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Inside the church there was an exhibition of painted masks. They’d been there on my previous visit, but I paid a bit more attention this time. Collectively, they were very striking.

Ironically, the forecast was much better for this walk than it had been a few weeks before. On that occasion, the showers held-off. This time, sod’s-law was in operation and it rained quite a bit as we climbed Hampsfell. On the top we were shrouded in clouds and it was very cold for August.

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There’s a small hearth in the Hospice and somebody had laid a fire, it was very tempting to light it while we sheltered inside and made a brew.

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On our descent, at least the cloud lifted a little and we saw fleeting patches of sunlight on the Bay. It was actually quite striking, but sadly the photo doesn’t begin to do it justice.
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We came a slightly different way down in to Grange.

We were hoping to enjoy some lunch in a cafe near to the station which we used to bring the kids to when they were small, but were disappointed to find that they had nothing vegan on the menu for TBH. With a train imminent, and a long wait for the next one, we reluctantly had to abandon our late lunch plans. Maybe next time.

Cark to Grange with X-Ray

Greifswald

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Another day, another picturesque Baltic coastal town to investigate.

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I’m not sure how I managed to take a photo of the market without managing to include a fish sandwich stall: they were legion. Clearly, the good burghers of Greifswald really like their fish sandwiches. Having tried one, with a plate of salads too, I can see why.

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Greifswald has several large churches, but this is the Dom St. Nikolai. As in other German towns we visited, because of other buildings nearby, it was difficult to take a photo showing the exterior of the cathedral.

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I assume the shabbiness of parts of this church are a consequence of its location in a part of the former Eastern Bloc.

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This…

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…is the corner of a slab in the cathedral. I assume that it’s a fossil of some sort. Always gratifying to sneak in a nature photo!

I’ve included this photo of a courtyard…

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…because it appears to be the only photo I took in the thoroughly underwhelming Caspar David Friedrich museum. I studied his paintings when I took an OU course years ago and was very pleased to discover that he was born in Greifswald (when it was part of Swedish Pomerania – who knew?). I think it’s fair to say that he’s a major artist, so I didn’t expect to see any of his famous paintings on display, but maybe some sketches or juvenilia? But – nothing. This was a museum with no content at all, just lots of information boards and a video. It did keep us out of the rain, but it seems a bit cheeky to charge for an empty museum.

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Greifswald

Rügen: Jasmund National Park

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The island of Rügen was quite close to where we were staying, and I have to confess that images of the chalk cliffs of the Jasmund national park had quite a significant influence over my choice of that location.

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We parked on the outskirts of Sassnitz and walked through the woods to a visitor centre, then back along the coast.

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Painted Lady on Hemp Agrimony.

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Silver Y moth on thistle.

Silver Y moths have appeared on the blog before, we’ve even had them in the house, but they are immigrants in the UK and I’ve never seen them in the numbers I saw in clearings in the beech woods of Jasmund. Often there were three of four together.

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Another Painted Lady.

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The visitor centre – I didn’t go in, I was too busy photographing insects outside.

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I had been hoping to see the Wissower Klinken, a spectacular rock formation, but my research had not been thorough enough to realise that it had collapsed in 2005.

Not to worry, the cliffs were still worth a look.

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The path was in the woods, but followed the cliffs for a while, before dropping down to the shingle beach.

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Cormorant.

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House in Sassnitz.

Further north, at the Konigsstuhl, the cliffs are taller still. Maybe someday I’ll come back to see them. In the meantime, here they are as featured on a DDR stamp from 1966.

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The cliffs here also featured in paintings by Caspar David Freidrich, of whom more to follow.

Rügen: Jasmund National Park

A Visit to Moco

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Near to the Rijksmuseum, there’s a much smaller gallery called Moco.

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They had, and still have I think, a substantial exhibition dedicated to the work of Banksy. I found it immensely enjoyable. I think this Mickey Mouse swallowing constrictor was my favourite, but it was a close run thing.

There was another exhibition – which sadly looked more interesting on their web page than it did in reality.

They also had artworks from their permanent collection which I think had been selected as being precursors of Banksy or in some way relevant to his work. I seem to remember works by Warhol, Koons, and Lichtenstein amongst others.

I was more impressed by these paintings by Keith Haring…

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…and this…

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…by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Little S, meanwhile, not always a lover of art galleries, was very taken by this sculpture in the small garden outside…

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A Visit to Moco

Sunderland Point

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Looking across the Lune.

Oh, I haven’t done that for a while: this post ought to have preceded my last one. Not to worry.

This was another, short, half-term wander. One of our cars was booked in for a warranty service at a garage on the White Lund industrial estate between Lancaster and Morecambe. At the last minute, the offer of a courtesy car was withdrawn. Since we had other things to do later in the day, that left us with some logistical difficulties. We decided to try to make something of the morning, so TBH followed me to the garage and then we continued south to the small village of Sunderland Point.

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The causeway road which is the only one in and out of Sunderland Point.

It’s a crazy thing that I’ve never been to Sunderland Point before, even though I’ve lived in the area for nearly 30 years. Twice a day, the tide rises over the access road and the village is cut off from its neighbours.

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Sea Beet.

It was an overcast and windy day and we were pushed for time, so we kept our walk short and I didn’t take as many photos as I might have done. I noticed a lot of seashore plants – these Sea-beet, some Horned Poppies, Sea Campion for example – and was thinking that I must return some time to have a more leisurely look around.

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Dryad’s Saddle.

I was keen to see this…

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Horizon Line Chamber by artist Chris Drury.

Which is just a little way around the coast from the village. It’s a camera obscura, with a small lens in the wall which projects an inverted image onto the opposite wall.

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Image inside the chamber.

There’s more about the project on the artist’s website here. Including this delightful film…

Visiting on a gloomy day probably wasn’t a great choice, so I intend to come to have another look when the sun is shining.

The chamber is close to…

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Sambo’s grave.

A relic of Lancaster’s history as one of the ports engaged in the transatlantic slave trade. Sambo was a former cabin boy who came to Sunderland Point in 1736 and, having died of a fever, was not buried in consecrated ground. This plaque…

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…dated 1796, features a poem written by Reverend James Watson.

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Sculpture by Ray Schofield, who lived in the house opposite where the sculpture is now sited.

Sunderland Point

Doddington Hall – Sculpture Exhibition

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As I mentioned in my last post, Doddington Hall has a biennial sculpture exhibition, which was the principal reason that TBH and I were keen to go back there. I’m really glad we did – I really enjoyed viewing all of the works on display in the gardens. I took a huge number of photos, many of which are here, but some of the sculptures which I liked haven’t made it into this selection, simply because my photos haven’t worked too well in some cases.

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The extensive gardens were littered with sculptures – some tiny, some huge and all points in between. I think I remember the exhibition brochure saying that there were over 600 works on display. We didn’t see them all – some were ceramic and on display inside somewhere and we didn’t get around to those. We probably missed some in the garden too.

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As I say, we had a brochure, but for the most part I don’t remember which artists made these sculptures. These two, above and below, however, must be by Heather Jansch; her horses are so distinctive and well-known. The one above is actually bronze and not wood – an original wooden model has been cast in bronze. I think it was priced at £70,000. We’ve decided to buy three of them. Perhaps.

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About the remaining sculptures here I can’t tell you much at all, apart from the fact that they gave me great pleasure.

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This one…

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…has water flowing down between those three hollows.

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The boys were very taken by this enormous seat…

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At the back right of this photo…

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You can see A and TBH examining this sculpture…

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It was mesmerising: a very geometric design which looked quite different from different directions, even slight changes of perspective could create radical shifts in it’s colour and pattern.

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I think we all liked it.

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I don’t know why Little S wants to box these huge seeds. Perhaps he was taking his lead from this nearby hare?…

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There’a a rang tang in my garden, anyone?

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I decided, on the day, that if I could take just one statue away with me it would be this one…

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As usual, I find it almost impossible to say why. Partly, perhaps, it’s because, like Heather Jansch’s horses, a very lifelike image is created from seemingly unpromising elements. And then there’s a lot going on, both visually and emotionally, in the image: the figures are about to kiss, but are also apparently flying apart; it’s both touching and poignant. Maybe it’s just because it reminded me of a very arresting panel..

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…from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons ‘Watchmen’ comic. Who’s to say?

Presumably, the next show will be in 2020, anybody up for a visit? Better start saving your pennies now.

 

Doddington Hall – Sculpture Exhibition

Art Trail at Ashmeadow

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This is the yacht ‘Severn’. Recently bought by Arnside sailing club, thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was built in Arnside in 1912 at the Crossfields boat-builders, who also made Arthur Ransome’s ‘Swallow’.

What with the bread course on the Saturday, I didn’t see quite as much of the Art Trail this year as I usually do. (You can find statements here from many (all?) of the artists taking part) I still managed to get to the Silverdale Art Group exhibition in the Gaskell Hall and to the Church Rooms and the Methodist Church, both of which are close to home. On the Sunday, TBH and J were keen to get to Arnside. We had a look in a couple of the galleries there, and also in the Educational Institute and W.I. Hall, but we spent most time exploring the Ashmeadow Estate.

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Part of the estate was left to the village. I’ve wandered around it before, but found that it is a little bigger than I realised. It has a small orchard, an enchanting walled garden and woodland stretching along the riverside. Artwork was dotted around the gardens, but my photos of it are very disappointing. I am going to include this…

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…out of focus failure, because we were all very taken by these characterful alien creatures – there were nine of them literally hanging around in the orchard, although we only managed to find eight. They’re made by Simon Hutchinson who calls them junkpunk.

As if to prove that it can take close-ups when the mood suits, my camera-phone cooperated when I wanted a shot of these particularly large Common-spotted Orchids in the walled garden…

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…much of which is now given over to a grassy meadow.

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The house just visible above is Ashmeadow House, built apparently in 1819, but for much of it’s past, the home of Earnseat School. A former colleague of mine was a pupil at the school, in what must have been its last years, since it closed in 1979. These days the house  contains retirement properties.

Formerly, the grounds of Ashmeadow were even more extensive than they are now. This house…

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…where there was more Art on display, was once the Coach House and Stables for the estate.

Art Trail at Ashmeadow

Scarborough’s North Bay

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A fortnight ago now. B’s rugby team had a tour to Scarborough.

We stayed at Scarborough YHA, which was terrific, very comfortable and welcoming. What’s more, I survived Friday night’s drinking games relatively unscathed.

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Before Saturday’s match we had an hour to spare, so took a short trip down to Scalby Mills. The hostel is tucked away on the banks of Scalby Beck and this is where the beck emerges into the sea.

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After some team photos the boys all darted off to charge around on the beach. B managed to fall over and get plastered in mud. Also, when we rinsed away the mud it was to reveal some nasty scratches on his shines from the rocks he’d fallen on.

There was some speculation amongst the adult members of the party about how far it would be to walk around to the Castle on the far side of the bay. Perhaps that set some cogs whirring in my head.

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The facilities and pitch at Scarborough RUFC were amazing and the boys really enjoyed their game.

In the afternoon, we went to a water park with a wave pool and lots of slides for the kids and open-air heated pools and lager for the dads. The sun was shining, but the wind was artic, so this was a very odd experience. I could see that a second beer was likely to follow hard on the heels of the first, and knowing that mid-afternoon drinking would wipe me out, I decided to leave B with his friends and in the capable hands of the other dads and have a bit of a wander.

I first returned to the hostel, where one of the wardens recommended a path which follows the beck to meet the cliff-path, the Cleveland Way no-less, just north of Long Nab. I was pleased to see a hedge of Blackthorn decked in white blossom, a spring event which I always look forward to, but which I seem to have missed this year at home.

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Scalby Beck.

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My first thought when I reached the cliffs was that I must walk the Cleveland Way some time. It’s an idea I’ve often entertained.

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North Bay.

I was pleasantly surprised to see Alexanders…

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…growing abundantly in several places on my walk. They’re unmistakable, even though it’s eight years since I last saw them, when we were down in Cornwall.

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My walk took me along the sea-front, which was being splashed by waves.

And then up to the grand houses of Queen’s Parade.

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North Bay from Queen’s Parade.

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Scarborough Castle.

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South Bay from near the Castle.

 

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The Castle was just closing as I arrived, not that I had time for a visit. Another time.

I dropped down through a park, full of Alexanders, called The Holms and then back along the sea-front to the hostel.

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‘Freddie Gilroy and the Belsen Stragglers.’ by Ray Lonsdale.

“The sculpture is based on a retired miner Ray became friends with who turned out to also be one of the first soldiers to relieve the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of World War II.

This piece of art is not just about Freddie Gilroy but represents all the normal people that were pulled out of an ordinary life and forced into a very extraordinary and dangerous one during the World Wars.”

The statue is huge, perhaps twice life-size and very striking.

All-told the walk was almost exactly 5 miles, so I had an answer for those who had been wondering in the morning.

The following day we were in York for another match. Then last weekend, Little S was away on his team’s tour, this time to Dublin (accompanied by TBH). Both tours were superbly organised and very friendly, and great experiences for the boys. What’s more, I enjoyed myself too.

 

 

Scarborough’s North Bay