Tag Archives: sculpture

The Iron Men

Julia took this picture by photographing the information board at the beach – I hope we will be forgiven for using it, as we are, to be fair, publicising the sculptures.

Just in case you don’t recognise the statues, they are part of Another Place by Antony Gormley.

 

The summary, in case you don’t want to read the links is that the bloke who did the Angel of the North also did 100 identical cast iron statues which are now spread over the beach at Crosby, near Liverpool in an area 3,000 metres by 1,000 metres. It spreads them out quite a bit and means you can’t get groups of them in one shot. For me it dispels the impact, but, to be fair, I’m not an artist and know nothing of these things.

I do like the barnacles and other growth, which Julia caught well in the second photo, but was too lazy to walk down the beach to take my own shot.

If you decide to visit, ignore the postcode listed on one of the review sites – L23 6SX. It takes you to a free car park with no facilities and though it’s one end of the installation I’m not sure it’s the better end, unless you like a lot of walking along a treacherous beach. There are various suggestions on how to stay safe, which suggest on not walking too far out.

We saw brown signs in Cosby, ignored them in favour of the satnav then, after finding the first car park, returned to them. I think the correct postcode is L23 8SY.

 

The second car park had catering vans, a lifeboat station and some excellent toilets, though they were 40p  I’m of an age where toilets are a good thing to have, but 40p is eight shillings, which is a lot of money. There were also lots of starlings about, sheltering in the lee of the parked cars, as you can see from the photos. Starlings seemed to be everywhere we went on the coast from Cosby to Barrow-in-Furness.

 

 

 

The Tyre Change

I will catch up with the main events later, but as I promised the story of the tyre change, here it is.

As I said, I noticed one of the tyres was teetering on illegality. What I didn’t tell you (because WordPress is teeming with burglars who look out for such information, is that we were away for a few days).

If we’d been at home I would merely have left the car parked for two days and taken it 400 yards to the garage.

However, we were 150 miles from home, which left me with the choice of changing it in the car park or driving to Lancaster to get it changed. The simplest way seemed to be to change it myself, rather than ringing round and then finding a tyre depot in a strange town.

Imagine, if you will, two elderly figures, bent, limping, rotund and arthritic, but, in their minds, perpetually nineteen. I’ve changed numerous tyres in my life and I had my trusty sidekick with me. What could possibly go wrong.

So, we unpacked the boot, lifted out the spare, the jack and the tyre iron and walked round to the front of the car.

Job one – loosen the bolts.  You have to do this before jacking the car up or the wheel will merely rotate as you try to get the bolts out. This was where the trouble started – they were on so tight I couldn’t shift them. This happens when you have them put on at a garage that uses power tools and an idiot to tighten them.

Normally you can shift them by standing on the wrench and pushing hard. This didn’t work. I’m heavy enough to shift them but you need to bounce a bit and my ankles have no bounce these days.

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Starlings at Cosby Beach

Fortunately a passing member of staff came to the rescue. I reckon he was about 12 stone (168 pounds in American weight, 76 kilos to the rest of the world) and even then he had to actually stand on the tyre iron with both feet and bounce to get them to move.

That wasn’t even the difficult bit.

The next two stages weren’t too bad either. I positioned the jack correctly, even though I had to lie down and wriggle a bit. The jack worked well, the car rose, the bolts unscrewed and the wheel came off.

So simple.

I bet you’re wondering what the problem was aren’t you. I mean, all I needed to do was bolt a wheel back on and wind the jack down. Yeah.

With Fords, for instance, you have four bolts sticking out of the hub at this point, stick the wheel back on and put the nuts on. Done. With Volkswagens, though, you have five bolts in your hand and the hub has five holes in it. You have to position the wheel and get the bolts through to the holes.

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Pier – St Annes

It’s not easy and I’ve never thought of it as a good way of doing things.

I tried, I tried again. I cursed, I swore and I cursed again. Julia told me off for my language, grabbed the wheel to help and dropped it on my hand. It was surprisingly heavy and very effective at straightening out bent arthritic fingers. I wouldn’t want to do it gain, as it’s quite painful.

I was about to do this when it happened again. I will point no fingers. Even if I wanted to I wouldn’t be able to, on account of the pain of the forcible straightening.

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Pier – Southport

Eventually we got it on, and all five bolts tightened. Then I lowered the car and tried to get up. By this time we were covered in black dust from brakes and a variety of debris from the car park.

And I was stuck.

I tried getting up using my walking stick and couldn’t. I tried using the car door handle. The door came open. I tried using help from Julia but she isn’t quite big enough to manage.

Fortunately the driver from a nearby campervan came to the rescue. He was a few years younger than us (who isn’t these days?) and well built, which was handy. With his help, I was soon back on my feet. Meanwhile someone else tightened the bolts for me. He was in his 70s, I estimate, and therefore the only participant in the action who was older than me.

The two tubby oldsters will now fade away, thankful for the help of their Good Samaritans, and ponder on the revelation that they are no longer the nineteen-year-olds they used to be.

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Stone Wall – Lake District

Lessons from this – check tyres more regularly, buy a long-handled tyre iron for more leverage, put some cheap gloves in the car. And lose some weight.

The photos are some we took this week. It’s a longish post so I thought I’d break it up a bit.

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Gateway – Roa Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harlow Carr Gardens – The Visit

The approach to Harlow Carr was interesting as the satnav told us to take a different route to that indicated by the brown signs. It was an interesting, and narrow route. I will follow the signs next time and suspect I will have a less strenuous drive.

There is a lot of building going on in the area, and there is a large set of roadworks at the entrance to the gardens. Despite this we didn’t have to queue for long and were soon in the car park, dodging doddery pedestrians and trying to find a space.

I think I’ve already mentioned that most of the pensionable population of Yorkshire was out in the garden. Many of them were playing slow-motion Russian Roulette in the car park whilst others formed an orderly queue at Bettys.

That still left a surprising number to fill the garden paths. Fortunately, although the unkindness of the passing years has rendered me less mobile, it has made it easier for me to formate with pensioners. I was even able to hold a few up as I paused for photography.

There are some compensations to getting old.

We only saw about quarter of the gardens. There was a big bed of heathers as we walked in. It was good winter colour, one of the things I was looking for, but not something likely to be making an appearence in our garden.

There are some great vistas in the garden which, again, aren’t likely to be repeated at our house. You need distance for vistas and that isn’t something you can buy at the garden centre.

We looked at the alpine house because Julia is looking at a cactus/succulent/alpine project this year. I suspect the Mencap version will be slightly less polished than the RHS version.

I had taken a few photos by this time, including a wicker worm and a moving sycamore sculpture.

I won’t take you through the rest of the day in such detail – just give a quick list. Spring flowers, rhubarb, dogwood, kitchen garden, scones, toilets, mosaic display, sulphur springs, foliage beds, garden centre, bookshop, afternoon tea at Bettys.

We missed the lake, the library, the arboretum, the education garden and probably some other things we don’t know about.

To be honest, my search for new winter ideas didn’t meet with much success – I already knew you could plant bulbs and shrubs and leave large areas of bare soil.

It was a very enjoyable day despite this and I’m looking forwards to the spring visit, though I might try taking a flask and sandwiches next time. That way I can save money and take up an entire bench whilst pensioners tut their way past looking for somewhere to sit.

I’m a member. I can go as many times as I like without it costing more. I’m feeling quite smug.

 

 

Memories

 

When I picked up my old camera last week there were nearly 1,400 photos on it. Each one is a memory, even if the memory is “…and that’s one I took in case the first photo wasn’t any good…”.

The first photos I’ve taken off are from Sherwood Forest – I presume three of the sculptures are still there despite the remodelling of the visitor centre, though I suppose the Robin and Little John statue will have gone as part of the demolition of the old one

 

The last photo of this set is an outlaw in the car park – I’m afraid that there probably won’t be any outlaws in the new car park. Well, there are no trees, for one thing. This is progress.

Robin Hood lurking in the Forest

Robin Hood lurking in the Forest

I’m quite enjoying a stroll through the old photographs, though some are a bit painful when you think about the passing of time.

 

Even More Guest Photos…

It’s late again, and we’ve just been to a barbecue to celebrate Julia’s sister’s 50th birthday. It’s amazing how things change over the years. I won’t labour the point but when I first met the family there were none of the grey-haired, balding, wrinkly brothers-in-law that were in evidence today (and I include myself in that number). Nor were the alluring siren-like and sophisticated sisters-in-law anywhere – they were mere  giggly girls in those days.

So, as a quick fix – more Malta guest photos in the style of those from yesterday

 

 

More Blood…

Blood test again, and I went down for 8.20 this time, to avoid the queue.

It started going wrong when I was prevented from entering the car park by a man shouting at the machine in a haughty and peremptory manner (which immediately made me assume he was a doctor).

“I’m at the car park in front of Maternity and the barrier won’t lift!” he said.

They raised it for him. When I pulled up at the barrier I found that he’d neglected to take the ticket from the slot, which would have raised the barrier. It worked for me.

By the time I’d parked, he was walking into Maternity with an expensive leather bag over one shoulder. If he has such trouble extracting a ticket from a slot I can’t imagine he’s much of a gynaecologist.

As I walked across to the blood-letting department it started to rain – small, sharp, freezing droplets.

It got worse when I entered the waiting area and took a ticket. I was 11th in the queue. Not only that, but after doing ten people the service seemed to stop. even the people behind me noticed it, and they weren’t next in the queue or  in a hurry to get out and have breakfast with their wife before going to work.

I had “the trainee” again. She’s making progress because, after two multiple failures she nailed it first time. They now use a piece of arm which hurts more than usual, but if it works I suppose it’s better than multiple stab wounds.

As I walked back to the car it rained. This time the drops were bigger and less icy. They were still cold though. The roof of the shelter over the ticket machine, I noticed, is just the right size to channel drips of cold water onto your head as you feed your money into the machine. For an extra £20 in materials they could probably have built a shelter that kept people dry as they paid.

It occurs to me that the NHS is missing a trick. Charles Saatchi once owned a frozen sculpture made from the blood of the artist Marc Quinn. Despite it nearly defrosting in a builder-related incident, he managed to resell it for £1.5 million.

Clearly, as the NHS has plenty of blood going spare, there’s an opening here for an enterprising artist, an Arts Council Grant and one of those marketing companies that knocks out limited editions via the colour supplement on Sundays.

You can do 150 heart valve operations for the cost of one frozen blood sculpture. Or 1,500 cataract operations

I’m not saying that it’s the solution to NHS funding problems but it might help.

 

 

Bowie, Bears and Staxtonbury

There’s been an outbreak of bears in Yorkshire.

We were coming back from a day out on the coast last year when we first spotted them. It was twilight at the time and too dark for photos. This year we were better prepared and managed to take some photographs.  There is another group about 200 yards away, but that would involve parking by the side of a fast bit of road, obstructing traffic and putting my life at risk for a picture of a teddy bear made from straw bales.

They are advertising Straxtonbury. Follow the link for more information and a video including pictures of last year’s bears.

They are at Staxton, in case you want a look. Or pretty close to Staxton, I’m a bit hazy on the geography.