We finally got our broadband sorted out today, a month after moving in. So HD is catching up on the latest series of The Killing on iPlayer, which means I probably won’t see him for the next week or so! In other news, the car ended up not salvageable after its dip in a Glasgow puddle earlier this week, the automatic transmission is wrecked, so we have had to look for another. It was getting a bit complicated – I have to have a car for my job, but don’t want to stay in my job much longer, and we had hoped that the Golf would last long enough that it would see out my job and then we just wouldn’t bother with a car but hire one as and when we needed. When we found out the car was definitely terminal we looked into a short-term lease, but the insurance got so complicated we had to give that up too. Now we have found a car which we will be test-driving tomorrow and if it’s OK we will pick it up next week. It isn’t the world’s most practical car, and probably falls into the more-money-than-sense category, but it is less silly than the Daihatsu Copen which HD spotted and will do us for a while assuming it is OK. We will borrow a friend’s car for a few days meantime so I can get to work this week. It’s been a bit stressful, but it looks like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Moral of the story: don’t drive through Glasgow puddles.
Out of my front window I saw bright sun through pouring rain so thought there was bound to be a cracking rainbow around. I found the rainbow, but it was barely perceptible – this is the view from the kitchen door.
This is from a painting we have, painted by HD’s late grandfather. We have still to find the perfect spot for it. I wish I could paint this well (or in fact at all).
Today we had a trip out to Kelburn Castle. I had wanted to go here for ages since I first heard about it. The castle is the home of an aristocratic family, the Boyles who have owned it since the 12th century. As I understand it, a few years ago they learnt that they needed to rerender the front of the building, but rather than just take the pebbledash down and put up some new pebbledash, they invited some Brazilian grafitti artists to cover the old render with giant grafitti for a couple of years, with the intention that after a couple of years when they’d got enough money they would get it all off the building and rerender it as it was previously. However, I suspect due to these straitened financial times, they still haven’t taken it down (it’s been like this I think since 2007) and there’s no indication of any date when they intend to rerender. There’s now a facebook campaign to keep the grafitti, I’m not sure how successful it will be as according to the internet (so it must be true!) the current owner really doesn’t like it. Personally I think it’s great, and in all honesty if it hadn’t been for the grafitti I doubt we would have visited so it is a money-spinner for him regardless of whether or not he likes it. The castle sits in quite extensive grounds with walks along a glen which was a very pleasant walk, plus quite a large formal garden.
This is a detail from a poster I bought in the earlyish 1990s (I think 1992 or 1993 probably) from the Tate Gallery (this was pre-Tate Modern days). It’s from the Antony Gormley installation “Field for the British Isles” which was the first work of his I’d ever seen. I remember sitting at the foot of the exhibit (it filled the entire floor of a side room at the Tate, and we had to sit or stand in the doorway to look in) and gazing at it for ages, it was an amazing experience. I’m slowly ‘bagging’ more Gormleys – if I know there’s some of his work where I happen to be I will make a point of looking out for it. One of my favourite sculptors.
This is a detail from a picture called “Southern Trees” by Richard Barrett, from that well known art gallery Ikea. I really like this picture.
This is a painting I bought years and years ago, at madchurch’s summer camp. The one thing I really loved about madchurch was that it had loads of people working abroad who would come back for the camp and tell us of their work overseas, there were some really amazing people over the years. For several years there were a group of people working, amongst other things, with people in a psychiatric hospital and one of the activities they did with the patients (who by the sound of things had pretty basic care otherwise, and shocking care by western standards) was art classes/therapy. They brought a number of the paintings back with them to sell at the camp to plough back into their work in the hospital, this was one of them. I always remember them talking about it, and saying about one patient who told them “they used to call me Anna the Mad Woman, but now they call me Anna the Artist”. I don’t know if this painting is by Anna or not, but I still think of that story every time I see it, and I’m glad that for a time her dignity was restored.
I met up with surfing for a drink and a blether. This is what was over our heads (and over the bar) if we looked up.
Today’s dinner featured an unfeasibly large mushroom.
This print was a wedding gift from a lovely friend, it’s called “Chagall’s Dog in Love”. Unfortunately it wouldn’t work without the flash, so it’s not the greatest photo, but you get the idea.
This is the first present HD ever bought me, before we were going out (but after we’d had the “I think you’re cute” email exchange). He bought it at Potfest which we’ve visited several times since. The artist is Sue Crossfield.
More random artwork in our flat. I love the shadow here, and I love the thoughtful expression.
In other news, below (if I have worked out YouTube embedding properly) is a video for Autism Concern following a young guy called Alex. His mum (who also features) was in my class at school for many years, I’m very proud of her. I’m also very jealous, after all these years she doesn’t look a day older than when we were at school (which cannot be said for me).
Hmmm. The embedding thing seems to have disappeared. Never mind, here’s a link instead.
I wasn’t feeling too inspired on the photo front, so here is some more art from our flat. I got this poster of one of my favourite paintings, Desnudos en la Playa by Togores, which I saw in the Reina Sofia modern art gallery in Madrid a few years ago. I went to the gallery specifically to see Picasso’s Guernica (which was amazing, of course), but there was so much else there – of all the art galleries I’ve ever been to I have to say the Reina Sofia is my favourite by far. I think this painting is beautiful – seeing the real thing was breathtaking.
We had a lovely day today, we went over to Edinburgh and walked from the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, along the Waters of Leith Walkway to Leith Docks. The reason we were doing this is that there is an extended installation by sculptor Antony Gormley, installed last year – it’s called 6 Times and there are details here. We managed to see 5 out of the 6 figures – it did say on the blurb that the figures are designed to fall flat if there is a certain amount of pressure on them (I presume so they don’t mess up the flow of the water too much), and we did spot number 5 flat on his face in the river, but we didn’t manage to find number 4 at all, so I’m sure it was probably also submerged somewhere and we just weren’t eagle-eyed enough.
We had a really good day for it, weather wise, and the Waters of Leith Walkway is a lovely walk with lots to see apart from the Gormley figures. Unfortunately my feet got really blistered so the last couple of miles were agony, but I’m really glad we persevered through the pain barrier so we saw the final figure at Leith Docks. The total walk is 7.7km apparently, so not particularly arduous but long enough when you’re so blistered! It was lovely walking along and seeing the signs of spring – in a couple of weeks or so it will be a riot of colour as the daffs will be out.
Along the way I was trying to think of all the Gormley sculptures I’ve seen. The first one was “Field for the British Isles” in Tate Britain probably about 15 years ago, and I’ve also seen Angel of the North, Iron: Man in Birmingham, One and Other at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Firmament at Jupiter Artland, Another Place on Crosby Beach, and Another Time XI on Herm. I might remember another, but I think this is it! I guess you could say I’m a fan 🙂