Sunday, December 31, 2006

the three cats who guard our slumbers

a rambling sort of verse that has criss-crossed my life, first as an errant schoolboy, then as wandering van driver

The Rolling English Road

Before the Roman came to Rye or out to Severn strode,
The rolling English drunkard made the rolling English road.
A reeling road, a rolling road, that rambles round the shire,
And after him the parson ran, the sexton and the squire;
A merry road, a mazy road, and such as we did tread
The night we went to Birmingham by way of Beachy Head.

I knew no harm of Bonaparte and plenty of the Squire,
And for to fight the Frenchman I did not much desire;
But I did bash their baggonets because they came arrayed
To straighten out the crooked road an English drunkard made,
Where you and I went down the lane with ale-mugs in our hands,
The night we went to Glastonbury by way of Goodwin Sands.

His sins they were forgiven him; or why do flowers run
Behind him; and the hedges all strengthening in the sun?
The wild thing went from left to right and knew not which was which,
But the wild rose was above him when they found him in the ditch.
God pardon us, nor harden us; we did not see so clear
The night we went to Bannockburn by way of Brighton Pier.

My friends, we will not go again or ape an ancient rage,
Or stretch the folly of our youth to be the shame of age,
But walk with clearer eyes and ears this path that wandereth,
And see undrugged in evening light the decent inn of death;
For there is good news yet to hear and fine things to be seen,
Before we go to Paradise by way of Kensal Green.

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

a very short poem, Self-Pity by D H Lawrence


I never saw a wild thing
sorry for itself.
A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

Friday, December 29, 2006

this gentleman kindly obliged the photographer by standing for his picture in the wind and rain at edenbridge

reculver ... looking west

From Pevsner's North east and East Kent, written by John Newman ...

The Saxon church, the latest of the group built in the C7 by Saint Augustine and his converts, remained until as recently as 1809 almost intact.

Then, most scandalously, in the bitter words of the parish clerk,

"Mr C.C. Nailor been vicar of the parish, his mother fancied that the church was kept for a poppet show, and she persuaded her son to take it down"; ...

... so we are left with little more than the foundations, and the austere two-towered west facade added late in the C12 and spared to be a sea mark on the cliff tops for ships in the Thames estuary.

later ... a map i spotted in an exhibition at the V&A in november 2007

eastwell park

i passed this as it was getting dark and starting to rain again, so could only stop for two minutes ... i need to go back and photograph it from ground level

it is worth quoting from the pevsner guide to north east and east kent, written by john newman in 1969

"The neo-Jacobean gatehouse on the A251 announces Eastwell Park with a trumpet blast, a flint and stone be-turreted tower springing upwards in the centre of a low semi-circle of wall, with big rampant lions, and a tremendous coat-of-arms over the arch. It was built c.1843. Alas, there is nothing now to announce. Or nearly nothing ..."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

hastings net sheds

old hastings boats and net sheds

hastings net sheds ... a sympathetic tower

hastings net sheds ... any colour you like, as long as its black

this old image is from the united states library of congress archives

hastings' little funicular railway

the old hastings boats had strongly fortified hulls

the modern hastings fishing boats are like sledges

i hadn't looked at a lobster pot for forty years ... the design has evolved a long way from the old baskets

maybe seagulls can read ...

winchelsea church

interior of winchelsea church

despite the destruction of parts of winchelsea church in past centuries, the interior still feels spacious, and today i was lucky to find the christmas decorations still looking very good

stained glass by douglas strachan in winchelsea church

terrifically well organised designs with a very clever use of appropriate perspective to emphasise the height of the figures

memorial window by douglas strachan in winchelsea church

all the windows in winchelsea church are by douglas strachan

they aren't pretty, to my eye, but quite big and spectacular and "fit for purpose"

who commissioned them ? who paid ?

i should have bought a guide book !

one of several knights resting in winchelsea church

lion or lapdog ... how long have they been together ?

... and lastly, the bike ride home through wandsworth park

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

re-visiting battersea park peace pagoda

i've missed nearly three months of cycling since twisting my knee

it has cost a fortune in bus fares

today we were lucky to finish work early ( before dark ! ) and so i cycled very slowly home through battersea park, across albert bridge, and on past the old chelsea power station

there was no sunshine, but enough light to see some detail and texture

battersea park buddha vandalised

battersea park buddha not yet vandalised

albert bridge south side

cheese smugglers hiding away over on the battersea side

couldn't someone nip round to oxfam for a cardy and a bobble hat ?

posh skyline by the river

medieval genetic engineering

looking back downstream towards battersea power station

battersea bridge close-up

view from battersea bridge - one

view from battersea bridge - two

chelsea ... old power station, old pub

lots road ... don't look back

loads of gas in chelsea and fulham

by the bus stop at chelsea wharf

Sunday, December 24, 2006

by rights ... a man's porridge should come in a golden bowl ...

... how else is he to find the energy to get the baubles up on time ?

decorating is done to strict regime in upper putney

you drink palacio de bornos verdejo 2005 from valladolid

you listen to la mystere des voix bulgares

you can't go wrong !

Saturday, December 23, 2006

we pause near punnets town whilst the farmer does his work at biblical speed

john's fresh fish supply

as i was driving from ashdown park to cuckfield, i spotted john's stall in the car park of the danehill social club ... the fish really is good, and the clients really are sociable ... i'll be looking out for him in future