Saturday, 13 July 2013

Midyear misfits

During my last trip offshore I was watching the weather forecast and thinking I was missing the Summer. Evidence from the last couple of years suggests that the British Summer can easily be missed in a two week absence. But, to my relief, it was still Summer when I got back, though not spectacularly hot and even the occasional day of rain which saves my father a little time garden watering. During my current time at work it seems to be the same, everyone on the mainland is being roasted but this time I feel more confident there may be some left for me when I get back later in the week. Summer's on catch up.

Here's a pleasant and shadyish corner.

Kirkcudbright has a  Jazz Festival every June, this year was the 16th one. Can't say I'm big on Jazz and we spent the Friday night playing our usual session of folk and mixed acoustic music in the monthly session at Masonic Arms (we also have a monthly session in the Gordon House Hotel as well as other sessions and open mics - a week without tunes is a rare thing indeed). On the Sunday though, I went to see Rose Room playing in the Gordon House on some reliable recommendation. They play in the Stephane Grappelli, Django Reinhardt style and are quite stonking - here's a little that appears on Youtube. They have a Myspace channel which I can't call up offshore and may have a website that I can't find - you'll have to look it up yourself.  Interesting, to this guitarist at least, is the double bass player - he's Jimmy Moon, who's Scotland's best known guitar maker.

Somewhere between looking at the Angel of the North and dropping in on Hardraw, I visited Durham Cathedral. The current building dates back to Norman times - construction began in 1093 though with the usual alterations over the centuries. There was a church on this spot to house the Shrine of St.Cuthbert, and his remains are still here, with the head of St Oswald tucked into the same box. It has been mentioned here, many times I think, that it is Cuthbert that Kirkcudbright is named after and  he is on the town crest holding on to the hear of Oswald. I thought considering all the mentions, it was only polite to pop in and see him. For those collecting holy relics, Durham Cathedral not only has one and a bit saints at one end of the church but you can tick the Venerable Bede of the list as he is buried at the other end of the church.

The entrance to the cathedral.

This tremendous door knocker is a sanctuary ring. In the middle ages, anyone who had committed a serious crime could come to the North door of the cathedral where they would be given 37 days sanctuary, after which they had to choose between trial or voluntary exile. The original is from 1170 - 1180 AD and is in a box somewhere - this is a 1979 replica (humph!)

There's plenty to see inside but there are no photographs allowed - it's probably saving you another deluge of stained glass (it's got is fair share). They did allow photographs in the cloisters of the attached abbey.

The wooden roof over the cloisters looks ancient - the link from Google to the cathedral website page seems broken but the extract suggest it is medieval and restored in the mid 19th century.

One of the bosses in the roof.

I found my way down to the Market Place. That's St. Nicolas' church at the bottom of the picture.

This is Charles William Vane Stewart who was the 3rd marquis of Londonderry

 I hope Neptune has an eye on what he's doing with that thing - I can see the trident and toes and the impending accident just seems to leap out at me.

The gargoyles and carving on St. Nicolas' church look a good deal older than you'd expect on a church built in 1858. Perhaps they were saves from the previous church - there's been one here since the 12th century.

 A path along the River Wear at Durham. All that green is a relief after a dreary winter.

I liked this park bench along the path which has snakes at either end.

I paid a very brief visit to the museum when I was in Edinburgh last - it was nearly closing time. I thought this fellow was trying to lick my face but he turned out to be stuffed. His neighbour could do to eat a little more.

The standards of taxidermy here is very high. The exhibit label tells me that barn owls always close their eyes when sweeping down on their prey to avoid getting twigs and stems stuck in them.

A pair of blue tits, a common sight in this country, but will they sit still for a photograph?! Certainly not but the museum has solved the problem.

The Yorkshire Dales museum I visited a couple of blogs ago is situated in the town of Hawes. They had their bunting out for me.

I looks as if the local council has been cutting back rather in the sculpture budget.

What do you think, sheep? sheepdog? Babe the pig???

 The River Ure runs through the town.

This iron bird sits on a set of railway buffers outside the museum. The sculptor, Michael Kusz, has named it, between a rook and a hard place.

I spotted this piece of knitted graffiti just outside the parish church in Kirkcudbright. Is this example of the yarn bombing the first of many to hit the town? - I hope so.


Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I've always enjoyed the music of Grappelli & Reinhardt and always wanted to get a CD or two and just never have. This may have just been the tipping point. That was great and I bet sounded much better in person that on that YouTube clip. Thanks for today's smile.

Sandy's witterings said...

I'm much the same John - I did have a cassette tape of The Hot Club de Paris at they were collectively called but when I eventually caught up with the technology, I never quite caught up with that little corner of jazz. I now have a Rose Room cd to help plug the gap. I didn't have much of a choice for them on Youtube - they certainly were better live.

The Glebe Blog said...

You've packed some stuff into this post Sandy, are things a bit quiet for a chemist offshore at the moment.
Rose Room are excellent to listen to
Seonaid Aitke has her own website, as well as playing a mean violin she has a great voice.
This is the bands MySpace page.
I might have mentioned this before, but my first visit to Durham was to the Miner's Gala back in 1962. The mines might be gone, but judging by the turnout last Saturday the spirit of the occasion still survives. Here's a clip that's just gone on YouTube Durham Miners Gala 2013
The bunting could be out for you Sandy, there's a vacancy for a traveller now that globe trotter Alan Whickers gone to meet his maker.
Hope you've got calm seas.

Sandy's witterings said...

Jim, I had found Miss Aitken's site when I was at home - it was a bad surfing day when I wrote this blog (for anyone passing through now )She's a mighty fiddler all round and certainly not just jazz.

I'm sure the BBCs letter is waiting for me at home to film the first series of Sandy's World.

We certainly do have calm seas. Too calm, we're surrounded by a thick fog instead which is stopping me getting home.

Shundo said...

Well I hope the weather cleared up - we are getting the fogs too, but that is normal here. Looks like I will be the first to groan at the sculptor's pun... I did get to Durham once, and I can't remember how long ago, so it must be more than 20 years. I remember how beautifully the cathedral sits above the river.

Sandy's witterings said...

I think the sculptor thought up the pun and made the sculpture to match - I did have a bit of a groan to myself when I saw it.

Just returned from my morning constitutional along the deck - this cruising is the life. Fog has just lifted - it has to try and stay that way till early afternoon.

Michael (Light-In-A-Box) said...

Sandy, you sure cover a lot of area on your time off! The wooden statue, definitely Wilbur the pig. Knitted graffiti, now there's a new one, never seen that before at least not over here! The cathedral, majestic! : )

Sandy's witterings said...

Michael, you could be right about Wilbur - it's certainly more pig than sheep.
Knitted graffiti is worth a surf, there are some spectacular examples out there in the wide world. Sometimes given the great name of Yarn bombing.

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lots of good photos in this post! I like the architectural details you always seem to be able to notice and share with us

Pam said...

Your comment about summer gave me a good laugh. No problem with that here in Wisconsin, but when I spoke to my sister-in-law in Newfoundland yesterday she was on about how "miserable hot" it was there this year. I've been on the rock in the summer...they have no idea what hot is really like! Beautiful post, lots of eye candy.

Sandy's witterings said...

Thanks Juliet - there are some great bits of architectural details. Faces on churches are easy to spot but I can miss them as much as the next chap - your dragon from the High Street on Shapeshifting Green or the great Jester I walked past on Cockburn Street for years
Pam, I think hot's always relative. If we get a Summer with less rain than not rain then it's officially a good one (this one :) ). I'd be a bit like your sister in law and grumble if it got really hot (I've been missing it this year) - the poor weather can't win.