Wednesday, 24 June 2015

A passion for churches

I remember watching this delightful John Betjeman film many years ago, mainly filmed in rural Norfolk - he fascinated me as a child and I used to love his programmes with director Jonathan Stedall. I still do and I too, like JB, have a passion for churches and cannot resist looking in when I find an interesting one.

That's where it ends. I am not remotely religious but have an interest in ecclesiastical things, especially the architecture.

Monday, 15 June 2015

The anglers Christmas Eve

I always think as an angler I am lucky. I must add, not in what I catch, but the amount of expectation and excitement throughout the year. It's like I have a number of Christmas Days to look forward too. The trout season has started and now it is the turn of the traditional coarse fishing season. Tomorrow is the "glorious sixteenth" as Mr Crabtree says to Peter above. For some reason the 16th June, for me, is the most exciting of the lot - this is how I felt as a child on Christmas Eve and still do now. Long may it continue.

Best fishes, tight lines, creaking cane, dipping floats, wet nets and all that to you all!   

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Chalk & Ice

One of the highlights last year was the adventure to East Sussex and the marvellous Peggy Angus exhibition at the Towner gallery in Eastbourne. This was followed by a visit to the wonderful Furlongs where Peggy lived and Ravilious visited so often - friend Demus and I were invited to walk around the garden after finding the property by its lovely understanding owner. We pictured some of the scenes ER painted and looked at from his very sitting / painting position.

Furlongs - 1934

Furlongs - 2014

You can still listen to the splendid BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature: Chalk and Ice (by clicking this link) which was aired back in February and if you haven't done so you may like to squeeze in a visit to the Dulwich Picture Gallery where a huge exhibition of the great mans work is showing until 31st August - we are hatching another adventure to visit that in the coming weeks.

The old saying goes - take only memories and leave only footprints - I always have this in the back of my mind, but I did actually pick up a fallen cobble which was hidden in the grass. It now rests on my desk as a paperweight and something to fondle as a memory of this treasured corner of England.

Monday, 8 June 2015

"I am, so to speak, a showman"

My images do not do this delightful scene justice! My fascination with puppets and all things Punch & Judy is as a result of helping my friend at school deliver a series of P&J shows to all the other classes. He was a master and I his helper - it was an exciting thing for a seven year old to be involved with before Christmas and has stayed with me ever since. I am gripped with a feeling of nostalgia in its purest form whenever I see puppets like this.

As if by magic the window of a local beauticians shop was transformed overnight to this wonderful cabinet of curiosities relating to the showman's art. If Barbara Jones was researching material for a new book I am sure this would have been included.

This excellent article, accompanied by even better images, explains the reason behind the display (click on the link here)

It won't last long. The shop has recently been sold so I expect all of them to disappear as quickly as they arrived and the town of Bridport will be all the poorer for it. Joy & John Rodber we thank you! 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

St Basil of Toller Fratrum

When I started my journey collecting the Shell Guides the one title I wanted to find, for obvious reasons, was the Dorset volume. As I have said previously, the joy of these delightful books is not only the hidden treasures within the county landscape that the editor directs you to, but the atmospheric photography - usually John Piper, sometimes Edward Piper and if you are really lucky Paul Nash or Edwin Smith.

The first Shell guide to Dorset was published in 1935 - written and illustrated by Nash it is as rare as Burbot in River Toller (or River Hook as it is now known). You will have to make do with the still very good later Pitt-Rivers edition which includes much of the original by Nash........and if you are lucky only for the price of a pint of beer! 

The one image in the Dorset guide that, for me, stands out above all others is of the late Saxon font at St Basil, Toller Fratrum by John Piper. The guide did its job - it made me investigate the church and it has now become a regular place to visit when in that part of the county. What are the figures depicting? Moses saving the Israelites in the battle of Amalekites? Christ or Saint Michael, with cross leading souls from hell? Creatures attacking a man, a fallen Golden Calf, slain Amalekites? Take your pick, but I find it totally mesmerising. 
  The wonderful Little Toller Books have published a small book on the church which can be purchased directly from them (click on this link) - another book I must add to my "wants" list!