View From The Conservatory


I know we are still officially in Winter, but a little bit of sunshine and elevated temperatures soon convince the plants to venture above soil level.

Amaryllis

This is one of two Amaryllis, a gift from my sister. I’m ashamed to say they were neglected and started to grow in the delivery package before I acquired suitable soil and pots. With suitable nurturing it is leaping skywards although at this stage it does remind me of The Little Shop of Horrors.

Outside, on the decking, I now have a number of pots and troughs, starting to show the fruits of bulb planting late last year.

Only yellows at the moment, but time will reveal more, I’m sure.

IFOS 2001 – Retrospective


As for many of us, I have had a bit of time on my hands. Some of that time I am spending going thru my old photos. And so I have come to browse some photos from a little under twenty years ago.

I had recently purchased my first digital camera, an Olympus C-2040Z. 2001 was also the year of the International Festival Of the Sea (IFOS). This was in place of the annual Navy Days and a much grander affair. The focus was shifted, very slightly, away from the Royal Navy warships and the event became a celebration of the sea and the history and heritage from around the world.

Here, I present a selection of pictures from the day that I spent at a super event.

Continental Car Ferry – P&O Catamaran Arriving from France
Flag Officer Spithead – Insignia
HMS Victory
Tall Ships
ARM Cuauhtemoc
Christian Radich & Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Stiltwalkers
Lord and Lady Cod ?
Handsome Couple
Jelly Fish ?
Buxom Wenches
Seagull
A Kazoo or Two
Julia Mary – A Gabbart Sailing Yacht
Steel Drum Band
Far left – RNLB William and Kate Johnston (ON 682) was a Barnett-class lifeboat stationed at New Brighton in the English county of Merseyside from the summer of 1923
Miscellaneous Craft
HMS Nottingham – Type 42 destroyer of the Royal Navy
Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Jacob Van Heemskerck (F812)
Research Vessel Triton
RV Triton
RFA Argus (A135)
Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Jacob Van Heemskerck (F812)
The luxury yacht LILIAN OF STOCKHOLM
A Family Of Frigates
Helicopter Ballet
Royal Navy Rescue Helicopter
A Flurry of Flags
Helicopter On A Stick
Standing Room Only
Smell The Roses
Posing For The Spectators
Chinook
Chinook
All Smoke And Mirrors
Patriotic Puppet
Patriotic Puppet
Historic Street Market
Cumberland Guard
Beautiful
Pocket Rocket
Cumberland Guard
Continental Car Ferry – Arriving From France
Continental Car Ferry – Arriving From France
Figurehead – ARM Cuauhtemoc
Tall Ship – Artemis

Limousin, France – Day 14


The morning started with heavy rain and thunderstorm surrounding the gite. With breakfast and the storm all done by 09:15, and with the sky brightening, we took to the car and set off. Todays target was Bort des Orgues but as usual we made detours or stopped off en route.

After filling up the fuel tank at Bugeat we pulled over to take in the beautiful vista that is le Lac de Viam. This is an artificial lake which now provides beaches from which many water based leisure activities are launched. And, as well as a feast for the eyes, the lake is an integral part of the French hydro-electricity network.

le Lac de Viam
le Lac de Viam, Correze, France

After enjoying the view we continued on our way, but not for long. Another small detour took us to Le Mont-Bessou just north of the town of Meymac.
Here we climbed the viewing tower

Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France
Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France

which I have since discovered

is built of Douglas fir, braced with steel cables, and is triangular in plan. 188 steps and six intervening landings, take the visitor to the main viewing platform, which is 26 metres (85 ft) above the ground.

Which probably explains why I came close to being seasick so far away from the sea. The tower resonates with every step as you ascend and never quite seems to settle, never quite stationary. Presumably that is why they have this mounted on the top deck in the middle of the floor.

Swing-O-Meter, Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France
Swing-O-Meter, Viewing Tower, Le Mont-Bessou, Correze, France

I’m pleased to say that I did not see the pendulum swing out of the center circle.

All that aside, the views were, despite the clouds, spectacular.

View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France
View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France – Looking towards Meymac

View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France
View from viewing tower, Mont-Bessou, Correz, France

All the fresh air, scenery and climbing the tower had made us hungry. So on we travelled to Bort des Orgues where we sat on the terrace of the Central Hotel overlooking the river and ate a superb lunch.

NB: I just discovered this post, in draft state. I don’t feel it is complete but have submitted it as is because my memories of that day are truly hazy.

Big Ship !!!


HMS Queen Elizabeth – Seen exiting Portsmouth Harbour

Earlier this month I became aware that HMS Queen Elizabeth was due to sail from Portsmouth Harbour after a short provisioning visit.

The Queen Elizabeth class is a class of two aircraft carriers in the  Royal Navy. The first, HMS Queen Elizabeth, was commissioned on 7 December 2017. The second, HMS Prince of Wales was commissioned on 10 December 2019.

My wife and I took a wander along Southsea sea front to take a look. As we had been in Australia for the previous seven months and had only just recently returned, this was our first opportunity to view this huge vessel.

We found a seat right by Southsea Castle, providing us with the ideal viewpoint to watch HMS Queen Elizabeth and her escorts head out into the Solent.

Here are just a few of the photos that I took on a lovely, sunny afternoon.

Sculpture By The Sea – 2019


In a recent post I made mention of last years Cottesloe ‘Sculpture By the Sea’ exhibition. Acknowledging the fact that I had visited, but not shared any pictures from that time. So, here they are. All images were taken using my mobile, which actually takes quite good shots……when I remember not to use it like a Kodak box camera.

Rolling The Earth – Tae-Geun Yang

Loved this one. Made me smile

Didn’t really catch the essence of this one. It deserved better treatment than I gave it.

Two for the price of one. Kit on or Kit off. You decide.

Thoughts of Pinocchio – Kim Bongsoo

I was always told not to pick my nose. But if I must, try and pick a better one. This one’s a cracker.

Here’s a subject to really get your teeth into.

Reminded me of an old style paper Christmas decoration.

This one really needed some bright sunshine to really set it off.

Although I liked Al-Mashoof I really didn’t understand either of these.

Vintage I Bush Truck – Janine McAullay

A lot of character in this truck but not one item of man made material. Or so the artist said, on the TV the previous evening.

And finally, a trio of mystery items. I really did not get any of them. Perhaps you can see what the artist can see.

Sculpture By The Sea – 2020


Around a year ago, 2019, I was spending a couple of months in Western Australia, with my wife and Aussie family. I think it was some kind of revenge on my daughter and her family, after they had spent a month, over the Christmas period, with us in the UK.

Cottesloe Beach – Western Australia

It just so happened that, in the February 2019, Cottesloe were holding their annual Sculpture By The Sea exhibition. We visited twice. Once with my daughter and son-in-law, and once with my grandaughter. We spent a glorious few hours, wandering along the shore absorbing the suns rays and, hopefully, a little bit of culture. Anyway, I’ve recently discovered that I did not share this experience with you. Very remiss of me. Let me rectify that error.

As it happens, 12 months on I find I am, once again, spending time in WA. The reason I am here will be the subject of a separate post. However, this March, Cottesloe were holding their 16th annual exhibition. My granddaughter and I made a date to go and get some more culture. The following photo’s are my record of that visit. The words below each image are those of the artists, taken from the exhibition catalogue.

Say hello to Cottesloe Sculptures By The Sea, 2020

Anta Omri is a work by Ayad Alqaragholli and his statement resonates ..

In my daily life in Australia I observe couples immersed in the intimacy of public affection, symbolising to me happiness, peace and freedom. This is everything to me after migrating from my birth country of Iraq where this is not always possible.

These three images are, in fact, alternative views of a single object. Showing the way the light affects the artwork as the angle of view changes.

A father cannot face his daughter; we come to know him as ‘Regret’. The young daughter winces, choking on a mouthful of coal. She wants the voice of her generation heard. This is the Lost Generation.

Similar to ‘The Burghers of Calais’, farmers experience a mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and despair. These two figures are one and the same.The isolation translates into a kind of cultural invisibility – they exist as ghosts in the landscape.

I love these metallic figures that become ghost as you walk around them.

Two organic figures are stood side by side, heir reductive forms work in unison and opposition as though pulling and pushing winds. Their singular ground connection creates a delicate structural balancing act as though they are caught in motion.

Here are a trio that I have given the monochrome treatment

My granddaughter getting into the spirit of the artists intention “to sit and listen to the silent story of a lone Cottesloe tree”. This, in direct contravention of the instruction to not touch the exhibit. Does sitting on constitute touching ?

Time for a little controversy. The Homer Homer exhibit has been the subject of accusations of plagiarism. Cool Shit subsequently admitted the inflatable work was inspired by Berlin artist Eike Konig’s Homer versus Homer.

Old story, New hero

Here is a rarity. I virtually never appear in my own photographs. Here I am accompanied by my granddaughter.

This exhibit gave us great entertainment as a magpie was attacking its own reflection, time and time again.

I sometimes wonder if the artists are having a huge laugh at our expense. Take “Flow” by John Petrie as an example. To me this is just a pile of Basalt off-cuts such as one might find in a quarry. Mr. Petrie says ..

The work mimics the geological rhythms and flow of the earth’s crust and reminds us that all stone was once in liquid form. The polished surface reveals the beauty of the stone.

Sorry John ….. not to me it didn’t.

Many of the artist exhibiting this year have an environmental message to impart.

For example, Sam Hopkins doom laden forecast that this skeletal form will become the norm by 2030. Due to the changes to ecosystems and the bioclimatic limit being reached by our trees.

Merle Davis focusses on our oceans referencing the risk to all sea life threatened by our careless dumping of rubbish and in particular, plastics.

And finally, rather prophetic and definitely of our time …..

Viruses need a living host to survive so they are not likely to completely kill their host until they have found another living host on which to live …

And so finally, a huge thank you to Cottesloe for once again hosting a superb show. It is a shame that the Coronavirus had to throw a spanner in the works and curtail this years show. Let’s hope that normality can be resumed in time for next years exhibition.