craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, summer, travel, Uncategorized

Stourhead Revisited

Part of my plans to get fitter (and therefore feel less guilty when I sit down to knit / crochet!) has included a new exercise regime.

As I had a couple of days off last week, I decided to go to Stourhead, one of my favourite National Trust gardens and only a short drive from home.  The grounds are absolutely beautiful – so much so that in my many visits, I haven’t yet ventured into the House!

There are many buildings around the lake, which all offer a different view of the surroundings.  The gardens are most famous for their rhododendrons and azaleas, but there are many other wonderful trees and shrubs to enjoy.

I was much later visiting this year than previously, but the show of colours did not disappoint…

Stourhead Head Gardener, Alan Power, was very kind to respond to my Tweet asking what these two lovely and unusual specimens were – the first he told me was Crinodendron Hookerianum – the Chile Lantern Tree and second was an Enkianthus.

The next two are reverse views – my favourite view from my favourite place, the Temple of Apollo – and the view of the Temple from the other side of the lake.  This lovely monument featured in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice – in the proposal scene.

All in all it was an inspirational visit, and a lovely start to my new regime.

Standard
Andalusia, architecture, art, photography, Spain, spring, travel

Andalusian Art and Culture

Having been to Andalusia a few times now, I have a real appreciation of the lifestyle and culture, the laid-back attitude and, of course, the need for a siesta in the middle of the day…

Marbella is a lovely resort which has been revived and refreshed to something more like its 1960s heyday (although, thankfully you don’t need to be a millionaire to go there now!

Apart from the miles of golden beaches, the main draw of Marbella, for me, has to be the Old Town.

The Old Town is a winding maze of cobbled streets, cafes, restaurants and shops, selling everything from linen and cotton clothes and home furnishings, to local artisan shops and designer handbags, with wisteria, bougainvillea and hibiscus spilling over you from the balconies above.

Only 45 minutes away by a very reasonably priced direct bus, is Malaga, birthplace to the artist Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.  A beautiful city with architecture old and ancient a-plenty to feast your eyes upon, including this beautiful former Hospital and the Roman Amphitheatre ruins.

As Picasso’s home town, there are a number of Museums / Art Galleries – we decided to go to the Museo Picasso Malaga – which appeared to be the largest, but also had an additional exhibition on which we wanted to visit.

I must admit to never having been a big fan of Picasso, from the few pieces that I have seen, but my view has definitely shifted now, having seen the range of oeuvres including sculpture, ceramics, print-making and his early, more naturalistic paintings.

The additional exhibition was a touring exhibition called Energy Made Visible, focusing mainly on Jackson Pollock’s Mural which was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her New York abode.

IMG_20160427_132126

Although I love Pollock’s drip painting, it was one of the rare occasions when the other exhibits – including those who both inspired and were inspired by Pollock – were more interesting than the main feature.

There were works from artists and photographers that I did not recognise, such as Barbara Morgan, Herbert Matter and this painting by Antonio Saura – La Grande Foule (the Great Crowd) which made more of an impression on me than Pollock’s work.

IMG_20160427_131219

Initially this looks a bit bleak, but in reality the faces vary from comical to the downright scary.  Being a complete geek, I couldn’t help but see a misshapen Darth Vader in the figure on the bottom row, just before the half-way mark.  Can you spot him?

My final surprise was to see a work by Andy Warhol, another artist who I have always thought was over-rated.  This work, entitled Yarn Painting was so eye-catching and bold.  Regular readers will know why I laughed when I found out the name of the work – as a mad-keen crafter, I spend half of my time looking at or working with fibres and yarns!

IMG_20160427_131058

This exhibition is on in Malaga until 11 September so, if you get a chance, take some time out and enjoy Andalucia!

Standard
nature, spring

Springtime in Wiltshire

This week I’ve been holidaying at home, and what a lovely week it has been!

I’ve managed to get in some fun days out and shopping trips as well as getting some of those long-overdue jobs done at home…

On Thursday I had a lovely trip out to Lacock.  This is a beautiful village owned by the National Trust, and includes a beautiful Abbey and grounds.

IMG_20160204_130257

IMG_20160204_130754

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The village is beautifully kept and as most of the buildings range from 14th to 18th Century, it is heavily used as a filming location for many period dramas, including Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Cranford.  The Abbey cloisters have also been featured in many of the Harry Potter films.  It is a film and TV buff’s dream destination!

We’ve had such a mild winter here in the UK that strolling through the Abbey grounds, I found a wonderful carpet of spring flowers as far as the eye could see…

IMG_20160204_130553

IMG_20160204_130225

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carpets of yellow and purple Crocuses, Cyclamen, my favourite Snowdrops, and even the odd patch of Daffodils and Narcissi already in bloom.

 

IMG_20160204_130333

IMG_20160204_130452IMG_20160204_130616

 

IMG_20160204_130531

I then wandered into a part of the garden that I have not visited before and found this wonderful Botanical Garden.

IMG_20160204_131809

IMG_20160204_131503IMG_20160204_131653

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_20160204_131450

What a lovely way to finish my week off.  And to top it all the Fox Talbot Photography Museum at the Abbey had an exhibition of Icelandic landscape photographs – a year from now I am hoping to be back in Iceland, probably one of the most beautiful places on this planet, and certainly one of the most fascinating.

One of my earliest blogs was about Iceland, so I may have to revisit that one now and ramp up the excitement factor for next February!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Standard