Monday, 30 May 2011

The Creation window

From the first full day of my little tour to the last. I had arrived in Wales the Wednesday afternoon to visit Bev and on the Thursday we drove over to Chester for a look about. The main event of the day was definitely a look at the Cathedral where we found this magnificent window in the refectory. One of the ladies serving food took ten minutes out of her day to show us a few points about the window, which greatly increased our appreciation of it.

The window was made for the cathedral in 2001 by Rosalind Grimshaw. Each panel represents one of the 6 days of creation. The dove of peace over the top of the window is patently obvious but I didn't notice until it was pointed out to me that the hand of God is outlined in white right across the whole window.

Days 5 and 6 - creatures of the waters and the sky and the land  and man.

In the picture below, just  underneath where the two white lines cross is a butterfly. This was drawn by the artist's daughter.

The bottom parts of each of the 6 panels all show a more human aspect of the 6 days of creation. Below for the 6th day, when man was created, we see an ultrasound picture of a baby in the womb.

In the 1st day frame, Ms Grimshaw reproduces the effects of long exsposure photographs of traffic moving on a road, to convey the creation of light. In the background are urban towerblocks.

For the creation of the Earth she has pictured the earth as it would be seen from the space shuttle - part of the shuttle can be seen in the bottom of the picture.

As if the window were not remarkable enough on it's own, what makes it doubly so is that in 1983 Rosalind Grimshaw was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. This is represented in this panel which shows the brain scan of a person suffering from Parkinson's.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Swallows at West Kennet

 It's catch up time on the reading and writing blogs front. As an excuse I must say I've been away for a while although that only accounts for a week. It was a very varied week, admiring the passing world and taking a mighty pile of photographs of the more interesting things that come my way. I have no intention of documenting my travels chronologically, mainly to aid variety but for a first serving I will begin at the beginning with a day in Avebury.

Avebury isn't just a jolly impressive stone circle - the entire area is full of evidence of life in ancient Britain. In the first picture is Silbury hill. At 37 metres high and, comprised of chalk and clay, it is the largest prehistoric man made mound in Europe. Carbon dating has found that it was started in 2400 BC plus or minus 50 years. Excavations of the hill from the 18th century onwards have damaged it badly and now the general public don't have access to go on it.

Burial mounds near the sanctuary. These are early bronze age - about 4000 years old. They're quite common around the area - not all have survived though, some have been excavated or ploughed into fields.

The concrete markers below don't look much but they mark the post holes of the prehistoric circle known as the Sanctuary. Dating from about 3000 BC it is thought that it would originally have been a circle of wooden posts which would have been replaced at a later date by standing stones. It is linked to the main Avebury circle by one of the avenues of ancient stones.

Silbury hill from the West Kennet Longbarrow

The longbarrow itself.

The front of the barrow is faced with several large local sarsen stones

Behind the middle stone, you find the way in.

At some point during excavations, somebody has installed a couple of skylights in the barrow so you can see perfectly well inside. It's very atmospheric and to me feels quite comfortable

As I was turning round to leave I spotted a swallow flitting in and out.

By standing in the shadows of one of the chambers I was able to watch them as they attended to the nest they had made in the opposite chamber.

It was a very pleasant day catching up with some old friends I haven't seen since last year and having a pint in the Red Lion and of course what visit to Avebury would be complete without a wander round the stones.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Moniaive Folk Festival Part 2

Alas it seems that the Moniaive folk festival part 1 blog has been eaten up in the problems that Blogger has been having this last day or so and I just don't have the time to type it all out again. I do have time to leave you with a mainly pictorial tour if the rest of the festival, No particular story to it except that it was all excellent and involved a very late night. My friends over on the Dark Side may find these pictures a little familiar.

The Cairn Chorus


Martin Carthy

Chris Parkinson


And of course lots of music in the pubs and cafe.

I'm off in the car for a few days now so there will be minimal appearance on me here until my return - hopefully with plenty of tales to tell.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Moniaive Folk Festival Part 1

Now, I'm resisting the temptation to call Moniaive a sleepy wee village because for all I know there could be wild and interesting goings on there every night of the week. All I can tell you for certain, is that last weekend it certain was not sleepy, despite it's appearance in this picture - it's the standard postcard shot of the village as far as I can see, over the bridge at the George Hotel.

It was time for the annual folk festival there, and having just got back from work I decided to commute from Kirkcudbright for the first day. Just as well I left with plenty of time to spare before the evening concert as I got quite lost on the way over. Galloway is a maze of little back roads and if you pick the right ones you can knock a lot of your travelling time. I didn't and ended up in Dumfries - I might as well have driven there in the first place. Anyway, enough of this navigation ramble and on with the concert.

First up was a young and very fine, local piper, Oliver Rigg

This was followed by tunes of an Irish nature and the odd song from Killultagh, from Northern Ireland. I notice that their Myspace page, here, has some of their music that you can listen to on it.

Alistair Ogilvy was one of the finalists in this years BBC Young Traditional Musician of the year. I'm not sure how this link will work for people outside the UK so incase it doesn't work here he is on Youtube with Darcy Carson who accompanied him at Friday's concert

The main act on Friday night was the Emily Smith band. Emily must be the most successful musician from the area right now and with good reason I my say. There's no end of her on Youtube so here's two goodies here and here

Still time after the concert for a bit of playing myself. There were two sessions going on in the George Hotel and two in the Craigdarroch, I settled on this session of mainly songs in the Craigdarroch.

I managed to get lost on the way home too!