Yesterday was a glorious late summer’s day so we headed south over the moors to Bernard Castle and the Yves St Laurent exhibition at the Bowes Museum. Not exactly a boys day out but fun can be had by pushing the Fuji in the near dark. The results are more sinister than the curator or YSL might intend although not entirely inconsistent with Helmut Newton’s iconic street image of Le Smoking tuxedo. Whilst I was wandering about being ‘creative’, the good lady was entranced by the exhibits.
By good fortune the Mondrian Collection also provides a useful hook for this week’s photo challenge – grid:
1. Having or appearing to have only one colour.
2. Of or composed of radiation of only one wavelength: monochromatic light.
3. Done in monochrome: monochromatic paintings.
4. Exhibiting monochromatism.
5. Unvarying or dull: “the more prosaic and monochromatic aspects of communist life” (Amy Tan).
This is detail from the sea wall at Helmsdale, a town that sits on the edge of the North Sea and the river estuary from which it takes its name (or vice versa). The major A9 trunk road through the town once took a circuitous route through its streets, crossing the river by an elegant stone bridge. A concrete bridge that would suit any motorway, anywhere in the world, now swoops across the mouth of the estuary in a single bound, by-passing much of the town. The peace that has descended on its streets is probably welcome by many of its residents but perhaps not so much by its traders. The golf course has seen better days and the talk at other clubs was of financial collapse. Its destiny may have been determined by the arrival of the dull, monochromatic bridge.
The first of these images fits the bill but the second, less so. I must learn to stop dabbling with saturation:
Alice Pleasance Liddell was the primary inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.
The connection between Alice Liddell and this image is temporal but I am not permitted to say how, people get tetchy about time:
The Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’
`Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’
`Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock.
The other connection is that I cannot look at this image without being reminded of Charles Dodgon’s favourite young friend. But for the vagaries of time and place it might have been Pamela’s Adventures in Wonderland.
I am biased of course – Pam is my wife who grew up to be like this.
Beneath my feet on this summer evening, straight lines of stubble leading down the hill from Beaufront Woodhead to the fringes of Hexham. Like me, a field too lazy to shave:
a. the stubs of stalks left in a field where a crop has been cut and harvested
b. (as modifier): a stubble field.
2. any bristly growth or surface
[C13: from Old French estuble, from Latin stupula, variant of stipula stalk, stem, stubble]
My first bicycle was a BSA and my second a Triumph Palm Beach – foggy damp Manchester was about as far removed from sandy beaches as can be imagined but then the Triumph Smog doesn’t quite have the same ring.
According to various websites, the Palm Beach was actually produced by Raleigh using the name Triumph under licence from the motorcycle company. There is therefore a long and distant connection between my pedal-powered days and my Triumph Scrambler. Both symbolise freedom, the wind in your hair/helmet and life on the open road. Toad would understand completely 🙂
My WordPress activity has diminished lately because when I am not hitting golf balls (not very successfully) I am out on wheels of various configurations. By way of explanation here are some more images of the Scrambler from life on the open road:
Now spot the Triumph Scrambler (and the golf clubs!) in this trailer – star of stage, screen and Northumberland.
… to rainbow’s end. The photograph is taken from the crossroads at Branch End, south of Hexham. This ordinary ROY G.BIV image is just an excuse to share this uplifting track from Public Service Broadcasting, appropriately called ROYGBIV. Hope it brightens your day 🙂
In the valley south of Juniper, Devil’s Water runs north east towards Corbridge where it joins the Tyne. Hall Burn that gently flows down from Dukesfield to join Devil’s Water once turned mighty waterwheels which powered a lead ore smelt mill. On a bright spring afternoon when everywhere is bright fresh green and dappled light, it is hard to imagine this as the setting for such industry. Operational from the late 17th century until 1835, it was one of the largest smelt mills in the country. The Dukesfield Arches are all that remain:
Walk a half mile up the hill adjacent to the burn and you reach Dukesfield Hall parts of which date from the seventeenth century when it was the smelt mill agent’s house. A bothy opposite the main hall once stabled the packhorses which brought lead ore to the site from across the north Pennines. The drovers slept in the loft above the stables.
The bothy loft above the stables probably offered less than salubrious accommodation for the drovers but much has changed over the centuries. The Grade 2 listed Dukesfield Hall is now a thriving farm and Bed & Breakfast offering “Charming en-suite rooms, guest lounge with a log fire and a friendly atmosphere”. Your average drover would be astonished.
The last image is from Middle Dukesfield some 400 yards to the east.
Much of the information for this post was gleaned from the excellent leaflet “Dukesfield Arches & Devil’s Water” produced by Friends of the North Pennines.
Finally, that barn roof looks broken to me 🙂
(click on the images to enlarge).
These waters are never still. The perpetual motion of the tides carries drowned sailors south from Cape Wrath to rest on the shores of haunted Sandwood Bay.
I think of Lycidas drowned
in Milton’s mind.
How elegantly he died. How langourously
in those baroque currents. No doubt
sea nymphs wavered round him
in melodious welcome.
And I think of Roddy drowned
Off Cape Wrath, gulping
fistfuls of salt, eyes bursting, limbs thrashing
the ponderous green. – No elegance here,
nor in the silent welcome
of conger and dogfish and crab.
Norman MacCaig – Sea change, January 1978