Friday, September 02, 2011

Back To Business

Hello folks! I'm posting to my blog  once again after the Summer Recess. I must say, I had really got into the swing of writing this, but, with Carol on holiday for the past month, we've been busy with one thing and another, so there wasn't a great deal of time to sit and keep this up to date. We had a few days away in Bournemouth a couple of weeks ago, visiting Carol's mum and dad who live there. We usually go down and back in the same day, but it makes for a very long and tiring day, so it was better to book a hotel in Bournemouth and stay over-night and visit her parents and then come back the next day. The hotel was on the sea-front, and preparations were going on for the Bournemouth Air Show, so we found that a lot of the streets around the seafront were closed off so we couldn't park the car, but we eventually found space in the hotel car park (very few spaces left when we got there, but we did manage to park.)

We arrived in Bournemouth on the Tuesday, the journey down seemed to take forever. We got our usual 'full English' breakfast, which was nice. (we don't very often have a fry-up, basically because it's so full of cholestrol, but  I do enjoy it, nevertheless!) After some deliberation we decided to drive to Christchurch and have something to eat. It turned out that we'd go to a cafe and have coffee, and wandered around near the river, where there was quite a crowd of people as the weather was fine. There was large number of swans and ducks and other birds gathered near the water's edge and people were feeding them bread, but they were becoming somewhat aggressive as we walked past.

The next day, having spent the night at the hotel, we got up early and walked along the seafront, taking some photographs as we walked. I may upload some of these onto this blog or my Facebook page when I have time, so look out for them!

On the way home I rather wanted to visit the  Sandham Memorial Chapel in Burghclere. We've been past the exit on the A34 several times on the way down to Bournemouth and back, and, as we're members of the National Trust, and this place is managed by the N.T. it seemed a worthwhile visit. Also, this chapel was painted by Stanley Spencer, who is one of my favourite artists. Carol's mum and dad visit Cookham regularly, staying at a hotel owned and run by John Lewis (Carol's mum used to work for Waitrose, which is part of the John Lewis Partnership.) and present and former employees are entitled to use this facility (a good company, John Lewis, treating their employees properly, although, as an employee, you are a 'partner' in the company, as they share all their profits, unlike most businesses who 'share' the profits with shareholders who don't usually work directly for the company.) What I'm attempting to get around to is that Stanley Spencer lived and worked in Cookham, and many of his paintings are set in and around that area. There is a gallery there which we have visited, and was recently renovated and re-opened, thanks to a National Lottery Grant. It was very well worth visiting. He was really a great painter, and his genius shows in this chapel. I was struck by how small the place was, and the fact that the painted walls covered virtually every single inch of space from floor to ceiling. Nothing he ever did was like anything else you are likely to see, his Biblical and particularly Christian-inspired work has an originality about it I don't think I have ever seen attempted by any other artist. I can genuinely say that it would be well worth visiting, if you are in the vacinity of Burghclere.
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