Friday, 30 September 2011

Autumn dog-walk in the wood

It was an absolutely scorching day yesterday,  but the Wood was lovely, dark and above all - cool!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Sculpture at Chatsworth

Sotheby's Sculpture Exhibition is back at Chatsworth
and, despite threatening rain, we went for a look last weekend.

Damien Hurst is represented again - with two sculptures, Myth and Legend. Very beautiful from one side with wonderful detailing on Legend's wings - but see them from the other side and muscles and tendons are revealed. While not as disturbing as some of Hurst's work, they're still not my kind of art.

This is better

Visitor 2
by David Breuer-Weil

a pair
of ENORMOUS feet sticking out of the ground

maybe something that escaped from
The Little Shop of Horrors?
Flowers that Bloom Tomorrow
by Yayoi Kusama

or something a little more traditional -
by Eric Goulder

but these were my favourites

Taichi Arch

Taichi Single Figure
by Ju Ming

We didn't get to see everything as the rain DID arrive
but with luck we'll have chance to go back before the exhibition closes next month.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Bute - and its castles

I haven't been to Bute for many many years. I think I last went as a teen with my parents and their touring caravan, so perhaps I didn't include enough 'many's in that statement. We normally holiday further North in the wilder, more rugged areas of Scotland but I'd had a visit to Mount Stuart on my 'things to do' list for a while and when the Teen brought up the idea of a road trip, it seemed like the ideal opportunity to spend a night or two on Bute, and add some ferry trips into our journey.

As it turned out there were so many other places we wanted to visit on our round-Scotland trip that we settled for a single night actually on Bute.
Having spent the night at St Catherines on Loch Fyne we headed off for the Colintraive ferry - a really short crossing that finished almost before we realised it had started - but ferries always seem to add an extra bit of adventure to any trip!

Our first stop was Mount Stuart at almost the opposite end of the island. I've visited some of the other properties renovated and redesigned by the same Marquis of Bute but even so I wasn't quite prepared for the lavish over-the-top gothic interior.

 Every surface was intricately decorated in the gaudiest colours imaginable - yet somehow it all pulled together to make a fabulous fairy-tale interior. Perhaps understandably no photography was allowed inside - so either you'll need to visit the official page or, better still, Mount Stuart itself.

Afterwards we headed into Rothesay to visit the more restrained castle there.

 Really this is just a consolidated ruin but the whole exterior wall is there - complete with moat - and some of the towers can be climbed and rooms entered.

A better castle for full-of-energy children who can play fighting knight or imprisoned princesses as much as they like.

Next morning was time to go but with another ferry trip to look forward to - a longer trip this time and on a larger boat.

 There was one last treat in store for us though - a totally unexpected sighting of dolphins playing around the ferry as we made our journey back to the mainland.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Tudor Dressing Up at Haddon Hall

The Tudor Group were back at Haddon Hall this weekend - with an event entitled In My Lord and Lady's Chamber.

We went along on Saturday morning - without checking the opening times (duh!) - to discover that we were there a little early and things were still in the setting up stage.
We visited the gentlemen - still in their night gowns and waiting for their man-servants to turn up with clothes - where we discussed the amazingly modern appearance of their footwear and what the lord would do with his cast-off, not quite fashionable clothes.

Then on to the ladies' dressing chamber to see dry 'hair washing' with fullers earth - not quite as revolting as it sounds and their hair felt surprisingly clean afterwards - and the cleaning of teeth with ground cuttle-fish bones and sage.
For face and hand moisturiser, they had a paste made from lard and scented with lavender. When offered I tried a little on the back of my hand and it was nothing like as greasy or smelly as I expected - in fact, rather pleasant.

Unfortunately we had to leave at this point as we had other things we needed to do BUT, having season tickets, dropped in again on the Sunday.

We hoped to pick up at the same stage but the ladies were a little more advanced and into their first layers of underwear, having their hair done.
All the time, the participants were explaining what they were doing, what products they were using, telling the audience about Tudor customs and answering questions.

We then nipped down to the Great Hall where we found some of the liveried servants.
Displayed in the Hall were the clothes that the Lords and Ladies were to be wearing later. It was possible to handle these and investigate how they were made. We talked to the gentleman in charge of the Wardrobe and a 'tailor', both of them full of fascinating information about the running of the household and the making of clothes and shoes.

We then paid a quick visit to his lordship - who was now dressed but awaiting his shoes and hat -

then back to the ladies, to see them finish dressing before taking in a turn in the Long Gallery.

I wish we'd had the chance to spend BOTH days at this event as, with things happening in 3 or 4 rooms, it wasn't possible to see everything.
Hopefully the Tudor Group will be back at Haddon soon.