Welcome to my blog

This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Fourth Plinth Trafalgar Square

In November I wrote about the Fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. This week I visited The National gallery in Trafalgar Square to look at the five sculptures shortlisted for 2018 and 2020. One of the aims of the sculptures is to provoke discussion. Visitors to the gallery  were invited to vote for their favourite. I have included the gallery information about each sculpture to aid understanding of the artist's intent. Which one would you choose?
The Emperor's Old Clothes.
(Raqs Media Collective)
The Emperor's Old Clothes uses sculpture to look at how power can be both present and absent in sculpture. The artists invoke a statue, a stony relic of the British Empire in India found at Coronation Park,a site of historical significance in Delhi only to subtract the body of power from this figure leaving just an empty robe as a reminder. The robe empty of a figure it clothed is like the regalia left behind by an emperor who went out in search of new clothes in Delhi. What remains on the plinth in London are the emperor's old clothes, a ghost of the past and a warning for the future.

The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist
Michael Rakowitz

The fourth plinth is roughly the same size as the Lamassu, a winged bull that stood at the entrance to the Nergal gate of Nineveh from c700 BC until February 2015 when it was destroyed by ISIS along with other artefacts in the nearby Mosul Museum.

The Lamassu is part of The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist, a project begun by Rakowitz in 2006 that attempts to recreate 7000 archaeological artefacts looted from the Iraq Museum during the war or the destruction in its aftermath. The reconstructions are made from the recycled packaging of Middle Eastern foodstuffs, similar to how the reliefs at the base of Nelson's Column were made from canons salvaged from the wreck of HMS Royal George. The Lamassu will be made from empty metal Iraqi date syrup cans, representative of a once renowned industry now decimated by the Iraqi Wars.

 High Way
Damian Ortega

Public sculptures are often monumental in scale so they can be seen from a distance. The human scale of Higher is in deliberate contrast to this. Its irregular construction signals imbalance and fragility a device frequently used by Ortega. Higher continues his long standing practice of creating sculptural works based on everyday observations bringing together a range of found visual sources which are eye catching and evocative..... Higher is a vertiginous construction of a truck, oil cans, scaffold and ladders; it is both playful and precarious, as though it might suddenly collapse. Our initial response is alarm, before we realise we have been duped: the casual construction has been contrived, the sculpture is safe and secure.

Huma Bhabha

This large and imposing figure is made from brown cork and white polystyrene. It is smeared with expressionistic, painterly marks. The pose and scale suggest a modern comic sci-fi movie, where legendary city skylines become backdrops for CGI action figures. The sculpture goes beyond comic-book culture and pop art. The use of humble materials and being hand carved and connect it to African art, Picasso, Rodin and other early 20th cent sources.

The End
Heather Phillipson

The End is the cherry on the cream. And, on top of the cherry and the cream, the parasites.
Trafalgar Square sees extreme experience, from commemorations and celebrations to mass protests. This sculpture attempts to address the specific physical context of the square, whilst considering a broader ideological one. How do we negotiate congregation, the intimacy of personal experience, broadcast and surveillance in one space? The End represents exuberance and unease. Topped with a giant unstable load the plinth becomes a monument to hubrus and impending collapse. The surrounding architecture and its population are participants in a mis-scaled landscape, one that magnifies the banal to apocalyptic proportions.

My choice was The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist.
Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 20 January 2017

Scadbury Park

Last weekend I went for a walk around a local nature reserve called Scadbury Park. It was cold with a sprinkling of snow that had turned to ice overnight but it was good to be out in the fresh air.

The pathways were frozen and care was needed. I am doing another long distance walk in April so I need to increase the length of my walks.

It is a three mile walk around the nature reserve so I went round twice.

It is a three mile walk around the nature reserve so I decided to go round twice and then home for a welcome cup of tea.
Sharing with James at Weekend Reflection

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Temple Church

The Temple Church is one of the oldest churches in London. It was built by the Knights Templar and the round church dates back to 1120. The Templars were an order of crusading monks founded to protect the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The Temple Church was their headquarters in England and was designed to be similar to the circular church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.


Walk inside and you can't help but be impressed.

Grotesques and gargoyles were put in place during Victorian times.

Cast of the effigy of King John (1166-1216). The original effigy is in Worcester Cathedral.

The Temple Church

Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem


In 1608 King James VI and I granted all the Templars' former land between Fleet Street and the River Thames to the societies of Inner and Middle Temple, two of London's Inns of Court. Every barrister in England and Wales must, to this day,still belong to one of the four Inns. 
To Mark the 400th anniversary of this event a stained glass window was commissioned. It shows the scales of justice are suspended from the sword in the centre. Either side of the crown are the symbols from the Coat of Arms of James VI of Scotland and I of England: the three lions of England, the Scottish lion rampant, the Irish harp and fleur d'lys of France.

The left and right hand lights are the symbols of the two Inns.The  Pegasus of the Inner Temple and the Lamb and Flag of the Middle Temple

The inscription states' Repaired and Beautified 1687'

The stone staircase takes you to an upper gallery where you have views of the nave.

The church was also used for the filming of Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code'

Friday, 13 January 2017

Reflections in Ljubljana

So many beautiful reflections whilst walking alongside the Ljubljanica River in Slovenia.

Sharing with James at Weekend Reflection

Sunday, 8 January 2017

'Tea Darling'

 This weekend I was out on one of my Above the Underground walks when I  came across this Vintage tea shop. It was my lucky day. I was ready for a sit down and I hot drink and noticed a sign outside the Questors theatre near Ealing Broadway tube station. Always keen to avoid the coffee shop chains this seemed an opportunity not to miss.
To my mind the only way tea should be served. Poured from a china teapot into  a china cup with another pot of hot water to top it up. I ordered a homemade apple tart to accompany the tea and it was delicious, absolutely oozing apple. My mouth is watering now as I think about it.

Being in a theatre the furniture and decor are stage props brilliantly arranged to catch your eye.

Thank you Pam for your delicious tea, cake and company.