Monday, March 26, 2007

A story to tell the grandchildren

At the weekend, Sarah went to Bournemouth to stay with her friend Hattie there. On Thursday evening they went into town to Elements, where S put her bad foot in her handbag (figuratively speaking) and enjoyed herself, dancing. Look who she found to partner her for a while. Yes, it is! He'd gone out for an evening on the town with some fellow officers and a few security men, to mix with the "locals". Unlike some more mercenary young ladies, Sarah did not sell her story to the Sunday Mirror, but then, she did not go back to the barracks afterwards.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Sagrada Familia - The Inside Story: Part 3

I was very taken with this wonderfully sinuous spiral staircase, sadly roped off so a closer inspection was impossible.

Not the best of photographs, but this demonstrates that there will be stained glass within this church: another great love of mine. Who was it that said that stained glass is the purest form of colour? It makes my heart sing.

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Sagrada Familia - The Inside Story: Part 2

After the busy, ornate exterior, the main church body seems almost spare in comparison, with much interplay between the stonework and the light admitted by the windows. It is still very much a building site, but nonetheless there is a feeling of deep peace within.

These glorious pillars are clearly built to resemble tree trunks, so the nave is like an avenue of trees, the ceiling a canopy of branches and leaves in the abstract. Not surprisingly, Gaudi was very much influenced by nature and there was a fascinating exhibition on this theme below in the crypt but sadly it had closed by the time we got down there. However, I think I get the general idea....

The jagged forms you can see above remind me of the palm leaves I saw in the park over the orad, and indeed all over Barcelona, but the lines are so clean and essential, a masterpiece of design and stonemasonry.

I love the golden flowers cast of the ceiling by the low, late-afternoon January sunlight: so simple but so wonderful.
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Sagrada Familia - The Inside Story: Part 1

Before we enter the Sagrada Familia, let us reflect upon the ornament of the exterior, as reflected in the pond in the park across the road. This has plenty of benches for the weary to rest their legs and feast their eyes - although some had chosen to take a nap on theirs.

I love the pattern on the ceiling of the hallway where we queued for the lift to the roof.

I also like this window there - a potential design source for shisha work or cut work in the style of broderie anglais, perhaps?

Fortunately, the queue was not long, but long enough to appreciate another facet of this small area of the building.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sagrada Familia

It felt almost surreal to see the familiar images of Gaudi's Sagradia Familia in reality. We took a taxi there, which let us down right outside. The hollow spires certainly echo those of the Cathedral, down in the old town.

There is much beautiful use of mosaic - this is on the roof, which can be accessed, again like the cathedral, by lift. You are then supposed to descend by stairs, but the lift attendant, espying my two walking sticks, insisted we should take the lift back down again, when we were ready. The views across the city were wonderful, and we enjoyed a conversation with another couple from the UK while we took our time up there. However, it was no mean feat to go against the flow of newcomers to regain the lift when we could drag ourselves away.

I could have spent much longer up on high, but time was passing and we wanted to see the interior before the church closed for the night.
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Monday, March 12, 2007

More Gothic Ornament in Barcelona


These are all to be found on buildings close to the Placa Catalunia, at the top of La Ramblas in Barcelona. I'm fascinated by these variations on the theme. The bottom right picture is this gorgeous bit of screen which has been incorporated into a modern building, El Corte de Ingles (a department store).
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Friday, March 09, 2007

Something else, for a change

Here's the latest finished object: a scarf, for a change. I'm also enjoying a change in the weather: the warmth in my garden has caused my lateish frogspawn to hatch out in the last few days and the weeds are growing away furiously.




This scarf or shawl is made in Hand Maiden Rumple 100% silk yarn, and it took me less than a week, despite some massive undoing early on when I made mistakes with the simple 2-row pattern, which I only noticed some while after the making. I have been extremely tired again, which might explain it. The colour is Periwinkle Promise. It took one entire skein - nice to have made something with just a couple of short lengths remaining after sewing in the ends.

What next on the needles? Don't know. Maybe it's time I knitted my beloved a pair of man-socks (perhaps his own pair of Jaywalkers!)
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Thursday, March 08, 2007

More Scenes from the Cathedral


By the time we came down from the cathedral roof (thoughtfully provided with a lift for access) the light was giving way to evening, but this provided an interesting ambience within the church and in the cloisters.


There was the gentle music of trickling water into an ancient drinking fountain.

The square enclosed by the cloisters cotained some beautiful trees and shrubs, including palm trees, and a duck pond with a number of white foel in the style of Aylesbury ducks, who were too fidgetty to pose for photographs in the fading light.

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Monday, March 05, 2007



Not apples, but flowers. Last week's slightly premature March winds decapitated all but one of the flowers from my camellia bush: a small tragedy of nature. Here they are, in browning splendour, before consignment to the compost bin and the circle of life.
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More socks!


Hot off the needles, here's my lovely new pair of socks,
Giotto made in lovely, buttery Blue-Faced Leicester wool from Jeni at Fyberspates They are wonderfully cosy and I now plan to make more use of Blue Faced Leicester yarn, even if it does require hand-washing.
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

More ornament from Barcelona

How is this for a lovely example of architectural ironmongery? A pretective grille for a ventialtion hole on a building wall, very Gothic and pleasing to me in the same way as a quatrefoil. I love the light in this picture, too.
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That Quatrefoil again

Another example of the quatrefoil (cf my previous postings regarding Tyntesfied and Venice), this time found on a gate at the Cathedral.
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By the Cathedral

The Cathedral in Barcelona dominates the Gothic quarter and is quite glorious and awe inspiring, with wonderful ornament and lovely golden stone that picked up the January sunlight and reflected back its warmth.


I was fascinated by the spires, which are not solid as in the UK, but hollow and holed, which would reduce their weight and their wind resistance. My first thought was that I could see where Gaudi was coming from with his Sagrada Familia, which we visited later on but which I knew from photographs and books.


Here's a lovely angel:-


I love this metalwork and how it seems to relate to the delicate leaves of the tree in the foreground, both providing delicate tracery silhouetted by the pale blue sky.


Here I am, in front of one of the Cathedral outbuildings, which now houses a museum and sometimes doubles as an art gallery. We thought that these modern sculptural doors were interesting.


Santa Anna, Barcelona

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We happened across this lovely Byzantine church as we walked down the Passage of Angels - somewhat appropriately! It was peeking above the rooftops in the street of shops, so we diverted to investigate. Sadly, it was the wrong time of day to be able to step inside, so we must return one day. However, we enjoyed seeing its spare beauty, sharing a small Placa with a flower-seller's stall.