People (including me) call it ‘The Stonehenge Exhibition’, but the display at the British Museum is not on Stonehenge, but about the world in which it was created. I visited it with my London friend, Mary, last Friday. (My previous post is on the Jubilee-riddled London I encountered then.)
Mary had visited the very comprehensive exhibition twice before, so went ahead to pay more attention to later exhibits. I learned from this and did not spend ages on each item, flitting somewhat. My eye – and particularly my camera – was disproportionately attracted to shiny objects. As ever, this is just a small selection of photos I took.
I was thrilled to find this. The Sweet Track, named after the person who found it when ditch cleaning in 1970, is buried on the Avalon Marshes, near to my home. It has been dated by dendrochronology to precisely 3807-3806 BC, and is preserved by the peat bogs. I have seen reproductions and imaginary pictures of it, but never a section of the real thing. I could find no suggestion that this was not part of the original …
This exhibit, using a moving light show, showed both the structure and the finished object (see header picture) of the oxen pulling the cart and cart itself. The original, excavated in Germany, was lifted as a single object to preserve the archaeological evidence.
These tiny gold pins, almost invisible to the naked eye, were attached to a dagger pommel, using techniques seen in Brittany and Mycenaean Greece.
A final comment at the end of the exhibition, which is on until 17th July 2022:
(This article explains a little more to the background to her remark. “[A 1967] article surveyed the discussion of Stonehenge as an observatory: she believed that it was not, that its significance was ritualistic and religious, and that attempts to see it as a scientific construct were as much a product of the present time as the ideas of other ages about Stonehenge were of theirs.”)
I was ridiculously excited on Sunday, feeling as if I were going on holiday the following day, not just out for a few hours in a beautiful city. I had clear plans and was slightly worried that I would be disappointed as I drove home, so much I was looking forward to living them. But no, all worked out perfectly. (Except that I took far too many photos and have had great difficulty in cutting down their number.)
Actually, it wasn’t even a full day. I left home at 1 o’clock, after an early lunch, and drove trouble-free to the Odd Down Park and Ride in Bath. In the few minutes I had to wait for a bus, I browsed the map in the shelter.
As we drew near to the turn-round point near Bath Spa station, from my upstairs front seat I snapped the car park I planned to use later. (I thought my evening activity might well end too late for the last bus back to Odd Down.)
Conscious that the evening’s entertainment was to be at a venue nearby, I recce’d as I got off the bus, and there it was, the Forum.
I made my way northwards, and slightly east.
Behind me was Parade Garden of and from which I took the next few photos.
Back up from the garden, a better view of the celebrated Pulteney Bridge over the River Avon.
I used it to cross over the river, and looked back having done so, but you can’t tell that you are actually on a bridge.
I arrived at Laura Place, and could see the length of Great Pulteney Street, with the Holburne Museum, my destination, at the end.
I arrived at the Holburne Museum. Yes, I know. It’s part of one of their exhibitions called ‘Old Ghosts‘ which ‘invites visitors to engage with and challenge the perceived notions of power and authority that sit at the heart of many museum collections’ So now you know.
But it was not that exhibition which I was there to see. I was visiting ‘The Tudors: Passion, Power & Politics’. A small room, with not many pictures – all portraits, I think, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery – and probably all the better for that. The room was fairly dark, and my camera makes these selected photos look brighter than my eyes saw them, but not brighter than they really are.
It had not taken me long to go round the exhibition, which had portraits also of Henry VII, Edward VI, Mary I and Lady Jane Grey, the other wives, and other contemporary politicians, courtiers and explorers. I had a brief look around this room
with exhibits by staff volunteers and visitors to the museum, including
I had not visited the Holburne Museum before. It is centred on the vast collection amassed by Sir William Holburne (1793-1874) and left to the City of Bath on his death. I visited all the other rooms, briefly, and realised I could not do them justice in the time and energy I had available.
On the way, pictures along the stairs caught my eye for various reasons.
In another room I saw more Old Ghosts, but there were interesting things on the walls and in cabinets also.
I was particularly pleased by this ‘Marriage of Bacchus and Ariadne’ by Pierre-Jacques Cazes, (1676-1754). Two days previously I had seen at my local cinema, livestreamed from the Met(ropolitan Opera, New York), Richard Strauss’s ‘Ariadne auf Naxos‘. The libretto ends with the meeting and falling in love of the pair, after Ariadne has been abandoned on the island by her former lover, Theseus. This painting ends the story nicely.
Incidentally, I had been impressed that, as the camera panned round the Met’s audience, every single person was wearing a mask – it is presumably the law still in the USA. Not only that, all members of the orchestra did as well, except those playing wind instruments. I was in a small minority of visitors in the museum wearing one – a trusty FFP3 mask. And at the cinema where I had seen the livestream. No wonder, as I read, cases are going down in the States and rising sharply here.
A volunteer insisted that I look at this ‘gruesome’ dish. As I learned, when I mentioned my interest in the previous picture, that he had heard the same livestream on Radio 3 on the Saturday, I indulged him.
From now on I just wandered without noting what things were. The next room was the most spectacular, and really needs revisiting to do justice to all its contents. These were Holburne’s treasures.
It was time for the coffee and cake I had promised myself, to fill in the time until the museum closed at 5 o’clock. And then a gentle walk back, a longer way round, to the bus stop for the Park and Ride.
As I retuned over Pulteney Bridge, I thought it no wonder that the shop was closing down, if it relied on sales of fly-fishing dogs.
On my longer way back, I saw these in quick succession. Hardly surprising in a city known for its healing waters.
This however was the name of a different kind of watering – or rather eating – place.
I arrived at the Theatre Royal, and was disappointed to find that its street level was marred by works. (Note, not so much the gull in the air and on the edge, but the rather more ferocious birds at the windows on the right.)
My longer way round took me to a less eye-pleasing area, but the old industrial building on the other side of the Avon was interesting – zooming in shows that it is now converted into flats, including a no doubt very prized and pricey penthouse apartment.
On the bus, I again had an upstairs front seat.
A packed meal waited me in my car. Rather than try to be imaginative as to where I could eat it, consuming it in my car in the Park and Ride car park, watching the sun go down through the trees, seemed as practical as any.
I arrived back in the Forum, a converted cinema, in very good time. The concert I was to attend was under the auspices of the Bristol Beacon, the new name of the former Colston Hall, and currently closed for ‘transformation’, except for its foyer which remains open for smaller scale events.
After a quick drink in the rather crowded entrance area, I went into the hall as soon as I could, perused the (free!) programme, and admired all the art deco work. I had selected a seat which I hoped would be fairly well away from the most popular area, and was pleased that it had remained so after later bookings.
Members of the London Symphony Orchestra made their way in gradually. (Like the Met’s orchestra, they were masked except for wind players – and unlike two-thirds of the audience.) I had not heard this orchestra live since I left London in 1975. I wondered if any of them were in the orchestra then. And I realised that most of them hadn’t even been born at that time!
And the maestro came in. Sir Simon Rattle, whom I had never seen in the flesh. The programme gives a fairly conventional biography. But I remember when he hit the musical scene back in the 70s, aged barely 20, a se most attractive young man with a huge talent, and clearly going places!
A most enjoyable concert, which was livestreamed, and can be for a month , to care homes throughout the UK: Hannah Kendall, ‘The Spark Catchers’ (which was sparky but not spiky); Dvorak, ‘American Suite; and Schumann, Symphony No 2, of which I particularly liked the third movement.
Wednesday 8th September was one of my ‘un-pre-planned’ days, but my wishlist was long. High up it was the geology section of the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro. My knees, unaccustomed to so much strenuous walking over the previous few days, and which had much disturbed my sleep the night before, pushed it even further up. The weather forecast for the day cemented its new position.
St Michael’s Mount was nowhere to be seen as I drove along Penzance’s Western Promenade in the morning. Rain and/or heavy mist accompanied me to Truro, (as did much very slow traffic in the city itself). I was pleased that it was only a few minutes’ walk from the car park, (found courtesy of satnav), to the Museum. The main hall:
set out Cornwall’s history, and the very impressive and beautiful geology collection was in the first room off to the left.
But first there was a showcase of Cornwall gold.
I have no idea how many of the world’s minerals were represented there. I just enjoyed the visual feast. For real scholars it must be a treasure chest.
As you enter the room, there are firstly some paintings on the wall to your left. I found this one particularly striking.
The title of this display cabinet is ‘Rocks and Minerals of the Lizard Peninsula’.
Vince had explained at the Levant Mine on Sunday how minerals separated out in a lode. This diagram shows how the various grades of copper settle out.
I took dozens of photos. Here are just a few. (I have no specialist knowledge. When I did my Open University module on geology in 2007/8 it was the macro stuff that interested me most, and in any case, in one basic module, you don’t get much detail on individual minerals.)
Hopefully detail on labels can be seen by clicking, then clicking again, on photos.
The museum also commemorated individual mineral collectors.
This photo does not give fully replicate the rich purple colour of the ‘Blue’ John.
Finally in this room there were models of a beam engine.
Moving on round the main hall:
I ‘did’ the rest of the Museum, with lesser or greater intensity,
Not all the exhibits came from Cornwall.
I went upstairs.
and walked round a room whose theme I could not diagnose, but where I much enjoyed this painting,
and this piece of pottery, about which I have no details.
In a separate room was a temporary (to 24th December) exhibition called ‘Fragile Earth: Watercolour journeys into wild places’, featuring the paintings of Cornish painter, Tony Foster. He travels the world and comes back not just with paintings he has made, but mementoes of each location which he incorporates in each work. A little map,
samples of vegetation,
models of what is harming the relevant environment,
or paintings of leaves and seeds.
The last wall of the museum downstairs marked more recent times, the 19th and 20th centuries.
It was time to cross another causeway. After all, it was nearly twelve weeks since I had driven across the one to Lindisfarne. But this time it was to be on foot.
For the first time this week, the view to St Michael’s Mount was clear as I set off along the Western Promenade in Penzance for Marazion and the causeway to the castle on Tuesday, 7th September. Booking ahead was imperative; entry would be denied without a pre-booked ticket. The attraction is run jointly by the National Trust and the St Aubyn family, who still own much of the island.
You are told to arrive at the gate of the castle at the time of your ticket, and to allow 15 minutes beforehand to cross the causeway, whether on foot when the tide is low enough, or by ferry. I was pleased to have allowed even more time than that, since the car park fee took time to pay, at one of those horribly complicated machines that wants to know all about you.
At the castle gate I appeared to get special, expedited, treatment. Was this because I was a National Trust member? Anyway, I was soon on my way to the visitor centre.
Then over to the wall for some views,
before starting the long, steep and difficult cobbled and/or stony upward trek to the ‘top’.
I amused myself looking for dolphins (unsuccessfully)
I also filled in the time reading about the castle on an app I had downloaded thanks to a QR code at the bottom of the steps. Annoyingly, that app is no longer on my phone. I suppose it’s possible that it could have auto-deleted as I left the premises, but, much more likely, I deleted it myself thinking I would have no more need of it, forgetting that it would be really useful in identifying my photos. My memory serves me poorly…
I do recall that this particularly appealed to me in a whole roomful of delightful drawings by Lady Catherine Someone.
The route led to an upper terrace
They’re still queuing down there on the lower terrace.
Despite the number of people there, the 15th century chapel, where a service is held every Sunday in the summer months, brought a sense of palpable calm.
I could have spent a very long time in the maps room, and took photos of several of the exhibits. I limit myself to sharing just one of them.
In the same room was this cork sculpture of the island.
This is a portrait of Dolly Pentreath, said to have been the last person to have spoken only Cornish. (Though the next day was to moderate that claim in my mind – see two posts on in due course.)
At last there were no other people around for a short while, as I looked back along a corridor of pictures.
A room described as the Museum was closed for renovations, and the Garrison Room did not interest me too much. But a few more pictures towards the exit did. For colour and style…
… and for nostalgia: Giles, Vera and Gran!
When was looking, without success, to see if I could find any more detail about the castle’s contents on the internet, I came across this walk-through film lasting about 15 minutes.
The walk down the uneven path could have daunted me, but this time I had my walking pole with me. Without it, I would have found the descent a miserable experience. Once down, I was reminded that the ferry, which I was planning to take back for the sake of having a boat ride, would not be running until well after 2.00 pm, given the state of the tide.
Not really hungry after the very copious breakfast served by Alan and prepared by the unseen Sally at Chiverton House, (despite my taking neither sausage not bacon, nor any of the carbohydrate-packed offerings) I went to sit on the big lawn for a few minutes.
I usually try to avoid taking photos with people in them unless they are part of the story, but I think they add something here – others may disagree.
I was delighted to see a little egret on the near shore and zoomed in on it.
Having patronised the Island Shop, I then walked back to the car park. I saw no point in hanging on for more than hour just for the sake of having a short boat ride. The cobbles were not kind to sore feet,
so I cut off leftwards to take the hypotenuse back to my car. Sadly the ripple marks on the wet sand were almost as uncomfortable as the cobbles.
On the way to Marazion, I had noticed a signpost to an attraction I had added the evening before to my ever-increasing list of ‘Things I’d like to do’…
The National Trust tour I had pre-booked for the Sunday afternoon of my Cornwall holiday was of the Levant Mine and Beam Engine, in the St Just area on the north coast of the Penwith peninsula. As requested by the Trust, because of the earlier start of the Tour of Britain, I had allowed plenty of time to get there, and, also at their request, parked not at the Mine itself but a 20-minute walk away at Geevor mine, open to the public, but not NT property.
It was a very grey day, with rain threatening all the time.
As I had thought, the Tour of Britain had no impact on access, having passed surely three hours previously – but thank you, National Trust, for having alerted me to it! I had therefore, even allowing for the walk to Levant, some 30 minutes in hand, so I wandered around the desolate landscape for some while.
I was surprised to see how little nature had taken over from the abandoned terrain, but later learned that Geevor had only closed in 1991.
Vince was our volunteer guide, a geology teacher of both aspiring mining engineers and of A level students. (In reply to a question from me, he said that the future’s in lithium, indium and gallium apparently, although the first two are running out, especially indium, essential for our touch screens to work, and that will be all mined out by 2030.) From his style, I would guess that Vince is an excellent and passionate teacher.
He gave us full and fascinating explanations, and was also a mine (sorry) of historical anecdotes. I was very conscious that I would manage to hang on to very little of what he said, which is perhaps fortunate, since this post would be very long if so. But I do recall that he said that mining in this area had started some 4500 years ago. Beaker people from Switzerland had brought the skills here, but it was not known how they had acquired those skills. Here is a full account of mining in Cornwall and Devon.
Vince explained about lodes and the way their valuable constituents separated themselves out, into tin, copper, arsenic and silver, and how they went for miles out to sea.
After a while, Vince took us to the beam engine, and handed us over to Peter, the engineer, who explained how steam was raised and worked the engine. For various reasons I was able to follow little, and just concentrated on the sheer beauty of the thing, and loved seeing it set in motion.
Ahead was the Miners’ Dry. a huge room where the miners dried out at the end of a shift. But before that, Vince explained why some parts of the land were so dangerous.
When a shaft was closed, it was just covered with wooden boards which were grown over and just rotted in due course. Tread on one of those areas and…
In its heyday this was the Miners’ Dry:
Just the floor remains now, with the Compressor house chimney beyond.
Next and last we descended to the start of the the man engine shaft. The man engine was an ingenious but very dangerous mechanism for lowering the miners to their working areas. It broke in 1919, killing 31 people, after which mining the lowest levels was abandoned.
Botallack mine (also National Trust, though not part of this tour) was just a kilometre further down the coast. I was shattered, and had a 15-minute climb back to the car park ahead of me, so I decided I would not join a couple who were planning to visit, but returned to my car tired, but very happy, at the end of two excellent days.
I had planned nothing yet for the Monday, but had lots of competing ideas.
The Newt in Somerset, to be precise. I hadn’t seen my cousin Mary, who lives in Croydon, for several years, so her love of gardens and gardening, along with the fact that I had a garment to hand over that I had knitted for her, gave the perfect pretext for us to get together last Friday, 20th August, in one of my favourite local places.
South West Trains brought her in perfectly on time to Templecombe Station, which is about 15 minutes’ drive from The Newt (also served by GWR to Castle Cary, just five minutes’ away). We started with the obligatory coffee, bought from the Cyder Bar, and studied the plan of the grounds.
By then, we had just 30 minutes or so before our lunch reservation at the Garden Café, and Mary opted to visit The Parabola, which features hundreds of varieties of apples, and I suggested that the kitchen garden would nicely fill the rest of the time.
Not only apples are grown in The Parabola, so named for its shape.
To get to the kitchen garden, you go past the huge wildflower area,
and through a tunnel, which I’ve seen develop from not there, to there but plantless, to supporting small nameless plants,
to producing many different varieties of gourds.
It was time to make our way to The Story of Gardening. No time to wait for this deer to lift its head.
We could have just walked down the slope to the entrance, but instead went the slightly longer way round on the slightly vibrating walkway,
from which we saw these deer.
I think this selection of photographs does not too much replicate the visit I made with my friend Mary four weeks previously!
Mary was very envious of the Victorians for their greenhouses.
Four weeks ago, I assumed that these smell horns would not (because of Covid) be working. This time they certainly were.
On the long Tool Wall, I was attracted to these many balls of string, all apparently made by the same company.
It was time to move back to real plants, mainly flowers, once we had visited the cactus house.
The Cottage Garden
The Victorian Fragrance Garden
Mary pointed out toxic Monk’s Hood to me.
Part of the White Garden, near to the Red and Blue Gardens
The beginning of The Cascade
Hadspen House, now a luxury hotel
The view from the same spot 180 degrees round. The far pool retains its historic name of the Bathing Pool, though I think paddling would be all it enables, now anyway.
The Fowl House, within the Lower Egg
Back through The Parabola,
where Mary got the joke before I did.
After a visit to the farm shop, where we bought freshly ground coffee, and bottles of the pink cyder of which we had been given small samples at lunch, we made our way to the Cyder Bar, where we enjoyed glasses of The Newt’s delicious chilled fresh lemonade.
A final look round the tropical greenhouse, and it was time to take Mary to my place, from where her brother (a third first cousin – I only have five! – met within 11 days!) picked her up from her to spend the night of his and his partner’s house.
I am somewhat behind with my blog posts, so here is just a brief account of, in effect, Part 3 of the trilogy on this hospital, which I visited – now converted into luxury dwellings – on Christmas Day last year, and whose cemetery I visited a few weeks ago. This third part concerns the Wells Museum exhibition, now over, but due to open at the Wells Bishop’s Palace shortly, about the inmates/patients/residents, whom I shall henceforth refer to as residents.
Most of the exhibits were principally typed text, not ideal for a blog intended mainly for photographs, nor indeed for the visitor. I do hope the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery , whose work goes so much further than just the cemetery, will find the means of putting it all online. It is all on members’ computers, and just needs someone with the know-how to be found (and probably paid for) to convert it into a web site. The material is fascinating.
Doctor Robert Boyd was the first Resident Physician and Superintendent of what opened as the Somerset and Bath Pauper Lunatic Asylum, became the Wells Mental Hospital, and ended up being called the Mendip Hospital.
When I read this I was reminded how Covid-19 had prevented me, since February 2020, from making my monthly visits to a local nursing home to sing bygone popular songs to the residents.
Once photography came in, an image was taken of very resident on arrival.
There were many, many accounts of individuals. It would be good to be able to sit down and read more of them at leisure, each one a story to be told.
The following photos are of various members of staff and their families.
I did read the whole of this large panel, a very sad tale of Mary Ann Norman, 1833-1913, a homeless woman living on the streets, on prostitution, and on drink, in and out of of both Shepton Mallet Prison and the Asylum. No-one wanted to know her then, but we can give her attention now.
A talk given by Dr Morag Hervey in 2000 on the history of the hospital is here.
It is so good that the Friends of the Cemetery are not just maintaining the grounds but reviving the stories of the residents of the hospital itself.
The celebrated garden writer and designer, Penelope Hobhouse, (b. 1929), at one time married into the family and having had a great influence on the restoration of Hadspen House’s gardens in the 1960s, wrote a book called ‘The Story of Gardening‘. Was it in tribute to her, in ignorance, or for some other reason that the museum in the grounds of what is now called The Newt in Somerset bears the same name?
Last Friday, my friend Mary and I, as part of our visit to The Newt (see previous post), spent the best part of an hour looking round this museum. Its external setting is well described here. Inside it consists, on the left-hand side, of a long, very wide corridor, with a wall of tools and including central island exhibits, and on the right-hand side a series of nine rooms, with a further, much narrower corridor, fully glazed, beyond them on the right, so that you have access to the rooms from both sides.
When you arrive you are given an audioguide, for one ear only. It works on the same principle as a satnav/GPS system, except that it’s a Building Positioning System. It knows where you are and offers you various options to learn more, relevant to that very point, referenced by the little numbered trowel indicators that are discreetly everywhere. If you listened to all of them you’d be there for hours, and I fully intend to do just that (well, perhaps not all of them) before too long.
Here are some of the pictures I took, in order. You start in the entrance hall, and we missed the commentary on the short initial film because we hadn’t quite twigged at the very outset, despite being told by reception, how the audioguide worked.
The (his)story started with classical times,
and moved through the time and geography.
This island was about scent. In normal times you would put your nose up to the cone, and squeeze the puffer. I didn’t try it, and my assumption in any case was that it would not be in operation in present circumstances.
This island, the theme of which was ‘colour’ was a real curiosity. This is roughly how the human eye saw it, all the time.
But as I was taking my eye away from the viewfinder of my camera, which showed the picture I had just taken, I noticed that the image captured was this:
So I took another…
Only on my fourth essay did my camera faithfully reflect what my eye saw, and shown first here. I expect there’s some scientific explanation about white light being made up of the spectrum of colours, but I’m intrigued.
The last area in the museum concerned modern gardens and gardening, and featured what is going on in Singapore a lot.
It was time to return to the entrance, taking the long, wide corridor, passing its islands on the left this time.
On Christmas Day last year I took a walk around the old Mendip Hospital, South Horrington, near Wells, now converted into luxury flats, and wrote it up. At the time I regretted that I had been unable to find out much of its history, but had found something on the hospital’s cemetery, now a nature reserve, and wanted to visit it one day, the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery opening it to the public on summer Sundays. I finally got around to doing so yesterday, the hottest day of the year so far. I read up on its history again.
The right-hand red dot in the picture above is Peter Jaggard, Chair of the Friends. We had a brief chat before I wandered round the reserve, and a much longer one afterwards, before I went into the chapel to find out more about ‘it’s history’, which I took to be that of the cemetery.
There were very few headstones, which cost more money than could (or would) be found by relatives, if indeed there were any relatives known. In the early days, graves were not marked at all. After a while a numbered metal marker was used to mark each grave. However, although the names of every person buried there is known, is is not possible to identify which marker belongs to each person. The markers were moved and gathered in clumps together long before the Friends became responsible for the cemetery.
There were a few wood sculptures around the reserve. I learned later that all had been carved by one member, Peter Bolton, and each from the trunk of a dead tree, some still rooted in the ground, carved on the spot.
As I walked around, I was aware of harp music in the otherwise very peaceful setting. It was irritating me a little, (only on principle, as the sound was gentle), just as recorded music for tourists in some large churches does. But I became aware that there was some stopping and starting and that therefore it was live, possibly someone practising in a garden in one of the surrounding houses, which changed my attitude entirely. I drew nearer to the sound.
I was tempted to go up to the harpist and chat, mindful of how I had been so taken by the harp in the Grantown-on-Spey Museum two years previously. But I decided to to leave her alone, and continued my stroll.
Beyond the lower wall, there was a long smooth patch of lawn. I learned later that it was part of Wells Cathedral School’s playing fields.
I identified the bungalow I had considered buying when I moved to the area ten years previously.
This would have been approximately the view from the bottom of my garden had I done so. The house had come second on my shortlist.
After my long chat with the Chair, I entered the chapel. I was delighted to find that the history was not just that of the cemetery but of the Hospital as well. The Chair has done an enormous amount of research, which is ongoing, but yet to be put on line. I was a little frustrated that my ability to take in the detail of what I was seeing was limited by the misting of my glasses due to my mask. Which I probably didn’t need to put on as I was the only person in there. And it was the day before the so-called ‘Freedom Day’.
Once photography came in, a photo of every patient/inmate/resident was taken. I think these drawings of the very first male and female residents are lovely.
I was saddened to see that Sir Gilbert Scott, whose work is so beautiful, had been deemed to have fallen out of fashion at one stage.
Peter Jaggard told me that Wells Museum currently have an exhibition on on the subject of ‘The Somerset and Bath Lunatic Asylum, 1848-1918’, for just two more weeks. I shall really try to get to it – and hope that I shall be the only person there, and therefore not feel the need to wear a mask!
Hitherto, the photos in this series of posts have been dominated by the colour green. In this one they will be predominantly browns and greys, being manmade buildings.
For my full day with them, 18th June, Hazel and John wanted to take me to a local National Trust property, but of all days to close, it closed on a Friday. So instead they took me to Kirkstall, north-west of Leeds city centre, to see the ruined 12th century abbey there, and also Kirkstall Museum, in Abbey House, the old gatehouse of the abbey. We started with the latter.
The ground floor of the museum is a series of Victorian streets. Here is a selection of photos I took of the shops and houses.
This reminded me of the Somerset Rural Life Museum, where in normal times I am a volunteer. It has a similar display of washing out to dry.
Upstairs was mainly given over to a temporary exhibition, ‘Sounds of the City’ [of Leeds], which, as it seemed to me, was mainly given over to pop music, with groups I had mainly not heard of, did not excite my attention nearly as much. But I did rather enjoy this:
I may also have been rather biased in my observation, since this online visit seems very much more interesting than I found the physical one.
There was also a collection of (working) automatons, not part of the temporary exhibition, I think, of which here is one:
And here is another (the voices are those of staff on walkie-talkies):
I was interested to read this history:
Fortified by a coffee, we crossed the busy main road to the ruined Cistercian abbey.
I know it’s not good for the stone, but I do find vegetation growing in ruins very attractive.
There were informative panels everywhere.
I loved this tree.
I wondered out loud what stone the abbey was built in. John told me it was Millstone Grit. Further research tells me that it is the Bramley Fall variety of the grit – and that Westminster Bridge also is made of it.
We wondered whatever this curious thing was – and then realised it was just one table and bench set stacked on top of another!
Even more curious was I, at why this man needed five cameras (one is hidden). He introduced himself as Mark Vernon, ghost hunter. He invited me to look his website up on the internet. I have found a few references in local media, for instance this one. But no personal website – perhaps it’s an invisible ghost.
In the evening there was some football match on the TV. Hazel and I sat in another room, knitting and nattering. Every now and then, John reported the score. It didn’t seem that much was happening, as there were no goals. I think it was a match between England and Scotland.
Homeward bound the next day, to include one more visit.