For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right,since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.

Claude Monet

Arley Arboretum

5 Comments CherryPie on Mar 26th 2017

Filed under Art, Heritage

Banbury Cross

Banbury Cross

Banbury Cross

In the middle ages three crosses stood in different locations around the town. All three, The White Cross in West Bar, The Bread Cross near Butchers Row and High Street and finally The High or Market Cross in Cornhill were destroyed by puritans at the star of the 1600’s. The puritans disliked religious imagery and the superstitions associated with it.

There are no remains of these crosses visible today but plaques mark their likely locations.

The current cross which was erected in 1859 to celebrate the marriage of Princess Victoria, eldest daughter of Queen Victoria to Prince Frederic of Prussia, reaches a height of 16 metres.

The carvings on the lower section of the cross display the arms of the Town at different times and include the Town’s  motto ‘Dominus sol et scutum’ – which translates into ‘God our sun and shield.

The statues of Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V were added in 1914 to mark the coronation of George V.

On the upper sections are the coats of arms of people who have a strong connection with the town.*

Banbury Cross

A Fine Lady Upon a White Horse

The Fine Lady Upon a White Horse Statue

This statue was funded and erected by the people of Banbury to commemorate the nursery rhyme which has made Banbury famous throughout the English speaking world.

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.

The rhyme contains three essential elements Banbury Cross, the ‘cock horse’ and a Fine Lady Upon a White Horse.

One explanation of the ‘Cock Horse’ is the children’s hobby horse and Banbury holds a Hobby Horse Festival in the first weekend of July each year, with a parade of hobby horse ‘beasts’ through the town and Hobby Horse Races held in People’s Park.

The statue of the Fine Lady upon the White Horse now brings the rhyme to life all year round.

The statue was designed by Artcycle Ltd, cast in bronze and mounted on a plinth of local Hornton Stone.

The horse, which was sculpted by Denise Dutton is modeled on a Welsh Cob. The Fine Lady is depicted as the ‘Queen of May’ and incorporates many symbols of spring.

She wears a crown of thirteen spring flowers, alternating daffodils and wild roses, symbolising the thirteen ancient calendar months. A butterfly has landed among the flowers and a moth has settled on her hood.

The bells on her feet are interpreted as both musical bells and by seven bluebells representing the days of the week. She drops petals from her raised left hand to bring us prosperity. The rings represent power.

The frog represents metamorphosis, the cycle of nature and community.

The other symbol to look for is the Sun, which has been the symbol of Banbury since the sixteenth century.*

A Fine Lady Upon a White Horse

*From a sign board next to the statue

7 Comments CherryPie on Mar 24th 2017

A Fine Lady Upon a White Horse

Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
She shall have music wherever she goes.

Banbury Cross

On sunday we set off to Banbury, albeit taking a rather more conventional method of transport than a horse for a family gathering. Banbury was the chosen location because it was more or less central for for everyone to meet. The excuse was the return of a jacket to the owner who had left it in our house over Christmas (as if we ever really need an excuse to meet up ;-) . The Shropshire travellers stopped off to see Banbury Cross and the fine lady on her white horse, although she was looking bronze rather than white…

Banbury Parish Church

Quaker House

The family gathering was in the Saye & Sele Arms in Broughton just outside Banbury. The owners and staff were warm and welcoming and we had a wonderful afternoon chatting and catching up with each other which was enhanced by lovely food and service.

Whilst we were there Mr C and I noticed a sign to Broughton Castle and we just had to do a detour before we left for home. Unfortunately we could not see the castle from the roadside so out of curiosity I looked it up on the internet. It piqued my interest and we hope to return later in the year when it is open for visitors.

When we return to visit Broughton Castle we might sample call in to sample some pancakes in the delightful Little Amsterdam Cafe where stopped for a refreshing drink in Banbury before making our way to the Saye & Sele for lunch.

14 Comments CherryPie on Mar 22nd 2017

Candlelit

On Saturday evening I had the pleasure of attending a candlelit concert in the Wrekin College’s Chapel. The performance was by; Wrekin College Combined Choirs and Orchestra, The Old Hall School Chapel Choir with Piano and Choral Soloists.*

As we  approached the chapel it was very atmospheric because the outer porch window sills were illuminated with tealights. Once inside the chapel I found it quite delightful, a place I would love to explore and photograph. Every window sill was covered in tealights and as the lights dimmed at the beginning of the performance the sight, sound and atmosphere was quite stunning.

The opening piece was Overture to the Opera Idomeneo by Mozart, this was followed by Howard Blake’s If (A setting of the Poem by Rudyard Kipling); the Chapel choir pupils filed in and lined the walls their hair glowing in the candlelight as they sung the poem.

After the pupils had filed out Yuki Kagajo took her place at the piano and treated us to a stunning performance Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major accompanied by the orchestra. After this it was time for the interval and refreshments in the Memorial Hall. This meant a short walk across the campus over one of the roads that divides it, thankfully the wind and rain from earlier in the day had subsided. On arrival we were pleasantly surprised to find that refreshments were fruit juice or wine rather than the expected tea and coffee.

Practice

We returned to the chapel for the second half of the concert; Mozart Requiem. This was performed by the combined choirs and orchestra, accompanied by choral soloists: Lucy Gibbs, Ruth Theobald, Themba Mvula and Robert Tilson. The Requiem was performed wonderfully. It is a powerful score and to hear the orchestra and so many voices performing it whilst the candles flickered around us was very moving.

Practice

* All photos and videos are from practice sessions posted on the Wrekin College Twitter account

20 Comments CherryPie on Mar 20th 2017

Just as a fire is covered by smoke and a mirror is obscured by dust… wisdom is hidden by selfish desire.

The Bhagavad Gita

Hidden Layers

14 Comments CherryPie on Mar 19th 2017

Winchester Cathedral Crypt

The original Norman east end of the Cathedral was built upon a crypt, which remains virtually unchanged. It contains a well, underneath the High Altar, which my pre-date the present Cathedral.*

Winchester Cathedral Crypt

This superb low-vaulted stone crypt, which floods in rainy months, dates from the 11th century, the earliest phase of building the Cathedral. Here you’ll find Antony Gormley’s mysterious life-size sculpture of a solitary man, Sound II, sometimes standing up to its knees in water.

Winchester Cathedral Crypt

*from a sign board by the crypt

14 Comments CherryPie on Mar 17th 2017

… An update on the fitting of our new backdoor

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Before the door was fitted we discussed in length our exact requirements with the person who came to measure and assess the fitting; he knew exactly what we wanted. He suggested that a blank panel was fitted so that exact measurement could be taken when the door was in place. When the  top glass panel arrived it was not at all what we wanted or asked for,and was something that we could not live with.

The door should have had Georgian bars to match the windows. The new glass panel had huge squares at the bottom with smaller ones at the top. It seems to have been a miscommunication (and a badly drawn diagram by the fitter) between Mr C and the fitter who came to measure the window. Apparently the glassmaker had queried the design when asked to make the unit!  The best laid plans… Now we await a new glass panel at additional expenditure!!

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The new glass panel is now fitted and looks much better than the first panel they provided us with. Now we need to get them to come back and fix the beading that the workman damaged whilst fitting the new glass pane. Mr C thought it rather odd that the workman rushed off rather quickly after he had finished the work. On closer inspection he realised why!!

The whole installation has been a shambles from start to finish. When the workman came to fit the first pane of glass he had to get them to sort out the plastic panel by the side of the door which had been left in a buckled up state because the piece of plastic was too long!

When the door is eventually sorted to our satisfaction we will re-introduce the blinds in the door panel.

6 Comments CherryPie on Mar 15th 2017

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