Throwback Thursday: Invisible Pirates at Lulworth Cove

I’ve been a little out of the picture lately, but I do have lots to post about! In the meantime, enoy this favourite memory of mine, when we visited Lulworth Cove which was a beautiful, peaceful place with amazingly blue water. We didn’t see any pirates, but the place did remind me of old Enid Blyton books where the heroes hid behind cliffs watching pirates using coves to hide their stash. Or something.

I’ve made you want to go read an Enid Blyton book now, haven’t I?

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Wooden Ships and Matchsticks

I love models (especially miniature ones!), and this is one I saw not too long ago which was pretty impressive – a Titanic ship model made entirely of matches by Tim Elkins. The ship (made of 147, 000 matches) is beautifully crafted – you’d never think that it’s made of matchsticks because of how tightly packed they are, and how well the ship has been crafted.

I love the detail on this ship – this photograph doesn’t really give justice to the size of it and the workmanship, but it does give that ethereal feel to it which I like : )

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Street Memories of a Past Era

I love seeing the layers of history in the streets of London today – the Roman roads, the posters which go all the way back to the ’60s and the culture of the 90’s, 00s and of course today’s technology which is also very visible.

This is an old poster seen in London on a walk around the Embankment area, which from one of the World Wars (I assume World War 2 but I could be wrong) and it’s one which has an air of nostalgia around it, despite the fact that hundreds of people walk past it everyday and probably don’t take a lot of notice of it.

It’s interesting to see old-fashioned posters like these, especially because there’s not many of them around anymore, and I think they’re a valuable part of the streets today – they may not be paid much attention to but they make up our history and the richness of the streets.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlso part of this week’s Weekly Challenge: Abandoned

Paul Friedlander’s Beautiful Kinetic Light Sculptures

Paul Friedlander is a scientist, artist and extraordinaire – just look at his beautiful light sculptures to see how he has managed to merge science into beautiful art. Friedlander focuses on kinetic light art, which primarily uses spinning strings and something called chromastrobic light, which is light that changes colour faster than the eye can see, so that it creates moving shapes.

The best (and perhaps simplest) way to explain the way the science works would  probably be this: “The vibrating string becomes invisible, but the white light that’s being reflected off the rope becomes visible in an exchange that lets our eyes see magic, as real as science can make it.”

The end results are beautiful, giant rays of lights which become beautiful sculptures. Friedlander has taken this further over the years by manipulating the colours, shapes and sizes over the years, in his exhibitions and tours to various countries. I love how spectacular these sculptures look, and how fluid and colourful they are. I’m waiting for Friedlander to announce an exhibition in London so I can visit and ooh-and-ahh at them, but in the meantime I suppose I’ll have to swing some ropes around and see if any sparks come off them!

You can visit his website for more images from his various tours and exhibitions in the last 14 years, or otherwise have a look at some of his videos to see how the light sculptures look like in motion – or read his bio and more about Paul Friedlander on his page here.

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All images belong to Paul Friedlander

Remembering on Remembrance Day

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In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

– by John McCrae, May 1915

Durdle’s Door & Lulworth Cove, Bournemouth

This place is officially on my Top Ten list of most amazing places ever. It’s not just the beautiful greeny-blue clear water, or the high rock formations (or ‘Durdle’s Door’, as it’s called) with its beautifully cool breeze. It’s that feeling of serenity which settles over you as you slowly gather closely to this beautiful place, the clean pebbles which crunch under your feet, and the feeling of being completely elsewhere, somewhere outside of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and it’s pollution.

Don’t get me wong, I love living in the city, London is home to me like no other, but when you get away from its crazy traffic, all those congested shops and materialistic, designer brands and stresses of crisp-white-shirted offices, to a beautiful place like this, it’s gives you a chance to switch off, relax and forget re-charging those batteries, just take them out.

We only spent a day at this beautiful place, but it was honestly the highlight of everyone’s day. I think it was also better because none of us expected to be this peaceful and beautiful, and it’s really a journey climbing down, walking down, strolling down (nearly falling down in my case!) before you even get to the shore. For me, this is the stuff of holiday brochures, but with all the sounds, salty smells and little jigs that come with it. I could go on more about what a beautiful place this is, but I’ll let the photographs say it for me – this is really a memorable, special place for me (especially as my sisters and friends chalked my name in BIG LETTERS on the cliff walls for me) – and I can’t wait to go back.

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Sandy times at Bournemouth Beach

I mentioned last week that the sisters and I visited Bournemouth over the Bank Holiday weekend, and loved the peaceful, clean sandy beach, the cool breeze and the tasty, tasty fishenchips. I’ll let the pictures do the talking, but suffice to say that we all enjoyed ourselves thoroughly (I got half my clothes wet but it was worth it to get some of these shots!) – the long drive down was definitely worth it!

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Escape to Bournemouth Beach

Sounds like one of those 50’s swamp movies, doesn’t it? Although this was less of a horror film and more of a beautiful retreat to the beautiful Bournemouth region. I love travelling all over England and the Bank Holiday weekend just gone was a perfect opportunity to go on a (sort-of) road trip with the family and plant some feeties in some tidal waters. Here’s one of my favourite shots from the day : )

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A Scorching Day out to Clacton-on-Sea

We made the most of our Bank Holiday weekend by doing the obvious thing – bringing together several members of the family clan, making a home-made picnic basket (or three) and driving down to Clacton-on-Sea in our family vans. As you do, on sunny days.

Here’s a few pictures of the results, the sun was glorious, everyone had plenty of ice-cream and I went home with a tan (which could also have just been a dirty face, most of my ‘tans’ wash off at the end of the day). How was your weekend?

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An Old Lady, and Artist, and the art of manipulation

“A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.”  – Mark Twain

Jane Harris’ Gillespie and I seems a simple enough tale; a Victorian old spinster sits in her chair recounting old days gone by, intending to tell us about a young artist she met years earlier in her youth, named Ned Gillespie. Set in the rambling city of Glasgow, the newly-arrived narrator Harriet Baxter pursues her love for art, taking advantage of the fact that she is independent and wealthy, showing her to be a modern woman in her own class. In due course Harriet meets a young, struggling artist who impresses her with his promising talent and his cheerful disposition – Ned Gillespie – with a loving family and a promising career. After saving Ned’s mother from near death (almost swallowing her dentures), Harriet finds herself in the beginnings of a sweet friendship with a respectable family who welcome her into their folds.

Yet while praising Ned and his work, at the same time, from the very beginning, we are warned that Ned will eventually “burn almost all of his work” and he will never become successful, meeting a “tragic and premature death” before his talents are realised. Added to this dark foreshadowing is Harriet’s present-day situation, following her concerns about her live-in carer who seems to have questionable, almost sinister intentions towards Harriet – showing that the warm, close friendship with this new family will not last and she will soon be left alone.
Thus begins the twin narratives which travels and weaves through the novel, in which the present-day Harriet looks back in melancholy, adding a chilling sense of apprehension to her story, while at the same time worrying about her vulnerability and her strained relationship with her carer.

Back in the depths of her memories, Harriet reveals how she slowly carves a niche for herself in the Gillespie family – she becomes a confidante to Ned’s wife Annie, a useful nanny to the couple’s two children, and a empathising companion to Ned’s aches-and-groans-filled mother, eventually becoming a familiar fixture in the family’s home and proving herself invaluable, acting as a jack-of-all-trades within the house, servant, cleaner and nanny.

Soon, however, beneath all of this are unspoken tensions and anxieties, and it is not long before the cracks begin to show and strange things begin to happen within the family.  There is a growing unease as the children’s behaviour begins to become erratic, while Ned begins to feel isolated from his family and there are increasing arguments with his wife, leaving a tense atmosphere and a sense of the unknown. Yet amidst all of this remains Harriet, steadfast, reliable and warm, in her attempts to keep the family together.

It would be difficult to reveal more of the novel without spoiling it, but suffice to say that the bliss and contentedness the family feel does not last for long, as they are soon struck by a mysterious tragedy. It is here that Harris shows her true genius of writing, showing subtly and craftily that all is not what it seems; leaving the story pulling and tugging at the reader’s mind, questioning what is truth and what is hidden. There is always a feeling of being manipulated, but by who is always quietly undermined by Harriet’s steadfast and positive character, and her loneliness in her present-day narration. There are plenty of metaphors too, but just what they point to also are subject to query – her two green finches, for example, which she lives with in her apartment in present-day London appears to symbolise true love, and perhaps even her love for Ned Gillespie – yet what does it mean when one of them die?

This is a book which is truly recommended, progressively pacing from a pleasant picture of family life and an elderly lady’s memoirs into something more harrowing, and it is definitely something which leaves the reader enthralled in the quest to find truth, right to it’s muted, terrifying end – yet ultimately leaving us to make up our own minds about who to trust and what to believe.

Jane Harris, Gillespie and I (Faber and Faber: London 2012) pp. 608, £7.99