Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Sunny Sunday at Carsington

 Our luck seems to be holding throughout September as far as weekend weather goes.

Yesterday was another lovely, though maybe not as warm, Sunday for an afternoon walk - this time alongside Carsington Reservoir.

 Living just about as far from the sea as is possible, I love Carsington Reservoir - it may not be the 'real thing' but the sun glints back up off the water in the same way, the moored yachts clatter and the 'mew' of buzzards can sound almost like seagulls crying.

We started at the Sheepwash car park and headed for the visitor centre ...

...then walked out and round Stones Island (not really an island) to the modern standing stones, through which you can play 'i spy'.

I spy 'yachts'

Jacob sheep

It wasn't a long walk - maybe three miles at most - but my legs were aching by the end, so I think we need to take more of these weekend rambles (weather permitting)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Chatsworth again - gardens, not sculpture

A gloriously warm day tempted us back to Chatsworth - again! This is, of course, where living not so far away and having an annual pass helps (I'd never be able to afford to go so many times if I were paying admission each time)
Having seen most of the sculpture exhibition last weekend, this time we decided to walk round the quieter areas of the garden.

There was barely a breeze to ripple the pond, and,
the sun was so warm, it was pleasant to be under trees for some of the time.

Despite the sun, here and there it was obvious that Autumn is on the way.

As keen gardeners, we always like to check out plots belonging to other people, and Chatsworth's kitchen garden is full of both edible and attractive vegetables - from bright red chard to purple beans.

Is there anything prettier than a fountain on a sunny day?

I'm hoping this won't be our last trip before Christmas. Hopefully there'll be more sunny days as autumn progresses ...

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Sculpture at Chatsworth - Sotheby's 2016 Beyond Limits exhibition

It's sculpture time again at Chatsworth, with Sotheby's annual Beyond Limits selling exhibition opening last weekend, and there till the end of October. Admittedly, the pieces displayed are far beyond the price range of most of us, but it's nice to wander around, pick the ones you like (and those you don't!) and dream of which you'd buy if money - and space - were no object.

First, one that can't fail to catch the eye; Lilas by Zaha Hadid.

It's absolutely huge - see the people beside it! - but it's best seen close to,where it encourages you to frame the view through its 'legs' or 'stems'.

 Looking somewhat like parasol fungi, or maybe water-lilies seen from below, I found it more fascinating that I would have expected from its clear cut lines. I just wish I could have wandered 'inside' the sculpture as I'm sure looking out from it would have brought out another aspect of it.

I'm not usually a fan of the 'installation' style pieces, but here's another, very different, one that I loved.
Christina Iglesias's Habitacion Vegetal XV is a shiny reflective 'box' which almost disappears into its surroundings,especially here when surrounded by woodland.

Four openings lead to passages with a tree bark or maybe roots finish - and again I wish I could have explored inside!

This deceptively simple sculpture, Folium by Charles Hadcock, takes two simple flower shapes and bends them back towards each other to form a sphere.

 Move round, and it changes, the two 'flowers' creating different shapes as you circle it, looking at and through it. I found something endlessly fascinating about it.

And these three wonderful, more-representational sculptures caught my eye...

Firstly, in the order we walked round the gardens, was Tai Chi Arch by Ju Ming Ok approach this from the 'back' and it maybe looks likes a random assortment of rocks but from this angle it's clearly someone practising tai chi.

Then, at the bottom of The Cascade, Donna Sdraiata by Fernando Botero

Don't you have to just love this plump curvaceous reclining lady? No body shaming here! 

...and lastly, my favourite, and one which I'd love to own (a small copy maybe?), The Embrace of Hector and Andromache by Giorgio de Chirico capturing their parting as Hector heads off for the Trojan War. from one side, Hector looks stern and resolute...

..from the other, he's clinging to Andromache for every last second, never wanting to let go. That so much emotion can be captured in solid metal is astounding.

Previous years;

2011 - Sculpture at Chatsworth
           Chatsworth Sculpture Revisited
2013 - Chatsworth Sculpture Exhibition 
2015 - Sotheby's Beyond Limits Exhibition at Chatsworth

Friday, 9 September 2016

Time to think about Christmas? Already?? Not yet, thank you.

So here we are just one week into September.

Schools have re-opened, and the weather's improved (as it does) so I've been sitting out in the garden making the most of what will probably be the last few days of summer, before the leaves start to turn and nights draw in.

Others though are obviously thinking further ahead - or, at least, if my e-mail in-box is to be believed they are.

First, a few days ago I received an e-mail telling me to Shop NOW for Christmas! NOW?? Last time I checked we were still months away from Christmas!

But that seemed to be just the start of a flood. Since then I've had offers for Christmas market shopping trips and festive breaks, pre-views of Christmas books, ideas for stocking fillers and even e-mails offering advice on how to avoid Christmas stress.

I'm aghast. I'm not ready for Christmas, in fact I'm generally not ready when December 1st arrives and advent calendars go up, but when you start and look around so many of Christmassy things are starting to sneak into the shops - from mince pies in the supermarket to ball gowns for the office parties (though actually what office really has such a fab Christmas do?)
Why do sales and marketing folk want to rush us headlong through autumn without giving it a glance?

Go away and come back in three months time.

For now, I want to sit in the sun, later enjoy autumn's colours in their turn, walk through woods littered with fallen leaves,

THEN after Halloween and Bonfire Night when the days get really short I'll start to think about Christmas ... maybe ...