Monday, 30 September 2013

Chatsworth Sculpture Exhibition

It's Autumn so it must be time for the Sotheby's sculpture exhibition at Chatsworth! Although I'm not likely to be buying anything, I love to go and look round this open-air show with pieces dotted round the Chatsworth gardens.

There's often a lot of exhibits to which my reaction is 'what's that?' or 'is it the right way up?' but a lot of this year's were appealing in a variety of ways.

First up, a couple of  'practical' pieces - a pavilion to sit in and maybe admire your garden...

Pavilion by Thomas Heatherwick

Sitting on History 1 by Bill Woodrow

and a seat entitled Sitting on History, to sit on and read

La Machine a rever by Niki de Saint-Phalle

there were some weird cartoony things that really aren't my style of thing at all

Spiral of the galaxy by Marc Quinn

  and a giant sea shell

Declination by Tony Cragg

Tongue in Cheek, again by Tony Cragg
and some that I just didn't 'get'
untitled by Bosco Sodi

but these I did rather like

Ivy by Manolo Valdes
The Lens by Unus Safardiar

Femme Assise, Mains Croisees by Baltasar Lobo

alien by David Breuer-Weil

Dos Figuras con mano en el peche by Juan Munoz

Standing Woman by Fernando Botero

Cyclone Twist by Alice Aycock
and my favourite - Marianna

Marianna by Jaume Plensa
 a seemingly 3D piece that viewed 'end-on' becomes almost 2D

Isn't that wonderful?

Monday, 23 September 2013

Kes at Derby Theatre

Set in the 1960s, Kes is the story of 15 yr old Billy who longs to escape his depressing world of bullying at home and school, where there's nothing to look forward to beyond a life spent down the pit. His only brief glimpse of freedom comes when out training and flying his kestrel, Kes.

Now, plays that are adapted from books aren't quite my kind of thing   - I always feel they're in some way a cheat, cramming the whole experience into a couple of hours, a lazy way of absorbing a story without making the effort to read it. So, normally, I wouldn't have gone along to see Kes but I did - as one of my daughters was in the Young Company playing Billy's schoolmates - and it was brilliant!
 Actually it was so great that I don't know where to start!

Sam Jackson in the lead role was amazing - I seem to be the one person in the world who hasn't seen him in Skins, so I had nothing to compare this performance against but he really captured the teenage attitude and mixed-up turbulence of Billy's emotions. 
There was great support from the rest of the cast particularly Jimmy Fairhurst playing his drunken bullying brother, Thomas Pickles lightening the mood with his tadpole-wellies and one of my local favourites, John Elkington. I've seen him in all sorts of things from panto to Chekhov - this time he played Billy's only  sympathetic teacher, a role that seemed to fit him like a glove. And  I mustn't forget to mention the Young Company's wonderful performance even though I may be biased.

At the time of writing, there's about another fortnight left of the run, so catch it if you can!

Thursday, 12 September 2013


 This last month, we seem to have been fully occupied at our allotment just keeping
 pace with blackberry picking.
 Balancing on tip-toe and stretching to reach the best fruit - always just out of reach - is almost as good as a pilates class!
Obviously we're picking from cultivated briars but 
I've been surprised this year by the number of other people blackberry picking;
from the hedges round the playing fields were we go dog-walking, from the brambles in the wood and even 
one intrepid pair I saw picking next to a traffic island!
Is it down to the season? The berries this year have been delicious. 
Or something to do with economics? 
or just a desire to get back in touch with natural surroundings?
Newspapers and magazines certainly seem to be giving foraging a lot of press.

 We're very much into grow-your-own and foraging- 
in early Summer I pick elderflowers for home made fizz
 and soon we'll be out and about looking for elderberries, rose hips and sloes, even the humble hawthorn berry has its uses.
I wonder if any of the blackberry pickers will be joining us?

Are there any first-time foragers out there? 

Friday, 6 September 2013

The Last Day of Summer?

 Yesterday was a day of glorious sunshine though on our walk up to the Wood, I found plenty of signs of Autumn on the way -

 Hawthorn berries ripening

 conkers on the chestnuts


 the bracken high above my head

 rosebay willow herb in seed
 and the first signs of leaves turning colour
but still some cranesbill in flower.

Today has been damp, dark and generally dismal.
I'm hoping we haven't seen the last of the summer's warmth.