The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour pine green, chosen by Jill Denison, whose favourite colour blue was already taken. I hope we can do justice to this shade of green. You can visit Jill’s blog here.

https://jilldennison.com/2019/05/14/%e2%99%ab-happy-birthday-%e2%99%ab/

Pine Green is surely the oldest shade of green. Pine trees are hardy and grow in many parts of the northern hemisphere. They were evolving during the early Jurassic period, old and dependable, not like flighty deciduous ( broadleaf ) trees with their fancy hues ranging from gold, through bright green to bronze. Pine green is a colour that stands out against the pure white of snow covered landscapes; pines the only trees hardy enough to survive long dark winters.

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Pine green will make you think of real Christmas trees with their delightful scent, or perhaps the aptly named Pinewood Studios next door to Black Park in Buckinghamshire, with its 500 acres of woodland. In Bournemouth the Victorians thought pine trees were good for your health and planted many in this seaside town so visitors coming to convalesce would benefit. Consequently there are over forty roads in the area that start with Pine and as many that start with Wood. Thank goodness for sat nav; imagine trying to remember if the friends you are going to visit live in Pinehurst, Pineholt, Pinevale, Pinecliff or Pinewood… Road, Avenue or Gardens… Pity the people who live in Woodland, Woodside, Woodstock… Drive, Close or Way and keep getting the wrong mail.

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For some of us pine woods immediately conjure up a bear with a red jumper and yellow trousers and scarf.  For nearly one hundred years Rupert Bear has lived in the pine woods.

http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/november-8-1920-rupert-bear-makes-his-debut-in-the-daily-express-11363942462439

But pine green is not always a popular colour in nature, the soft needle laden matting beneath the trees is barren compared with the rich diversity of plants and creatures found in ancient (not as ancient as pines ! ) English woodlands with their carpets of bluebells in spring. Pine trees waited billions of years to become the ubiquitous pine furniture; they grow quickly and smell delightful at the sawmill, but lovers and protectors of the sort of woodland that Robin Hood roamed around like to see green needles replaced by lacy summer green and golden autumn beech.

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On a banal note, pine green is the colour of disinfectant. When we moved to the coast I had the idea that it would be fun to only have disinfectants and cleaning materials that were blue and had names such as Aqua, Ocean and Seaspray with fresh sea air scent. I hate the smell of pine disinfectant or air fresheners. Only the real thing will do.

Pine Green in fashion? I don’t think so. Who says ‘I think I’ll wear my pine green dress tonight’ or ‘Darling, why don’t you wear your pine green tie with that shirt.’

Pine Green belongs in nature.

If you would like your favourite colour to feature, put it in the comments.

Yellow, peacock blue, purple and pine green have starred so far.

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The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour peacock blue, thanks to Kevin Parish who started the ball rolling last week by choosing one of the most exotic colours. You can visit Kevin’s blog here.

https://whatwordsmaycome.com/

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Other birds may have streaks or patches of the iridescent blue, in tropical waters we might find fish showing off that colour, I don’t think any flower could quite match it. So the male peafowl gets to have a colour named after him. His home was originally India, he may have arrived in Britain with the Romans, but most of us think of peacocks strolling proudly around the grounds of stately homes. I like to imagine the lord of the manor bringing some home as a gift for the lady of the manor, but would she be so enamoured after constantly hearing their mournful cry? Perhaps she would suggest a banquet; their beauty did not prevent them being eaten, a dish to impress at mediaeval feasts.

Would any creatures from the past have worn peacock blue? I have never been to New Zealand, but it fascinates me because it was blissfully devoid of human beings until a thousand years ago or less. Reminding us that other  creatures are there because they are there, not for us to go on holiday to look at or have documentaries made about them. Did the various species of giant moas have wonderfully exotic plumage, with no predators to worry about? But they did…

‘The Haast’s eagle (Hieraaetus moorei) is an extinct species of  eagle that once lived in the South Island of New Zealand, commonly accepted to be the Pouakai of Maori legend. The species was the largest eagle known to have existed. Its massive size is explained as an evolutionary response to the size of its prey, the flightless moa, the largest of which could weigh 230 kg (510 lb). Haast’s eagle became extinct around 1400, after the moa were hunted to extinction by the first Maori.’

I wonder what sights greeted the first Polynesian arrivals on these remote islands. How sad moas are no longer with us.

Further back are the species that humans can’t be blamed for making extinct. What colour were pterodactyls? It is now theorised that dinosaurs were not the shades of greens and greys they are given in pictures. Imagine a peacock blue diplodicus or could you take an irridescent blue Tyranosaurus Rex seriously?

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Can  artists recreate peacock blue? Artists have always sought ways to make blue pigment.

‘ Lapis first appeared as a “true blue” pigment in the 6th century, gracing Buddhist frescoes in Bamiyan, Afghanistan. Around 700 years later, the pigment traveled to Venice and soon became the most sought-after colour in mediaeval Europe. For centuries, the cost of lapis rivalled the price of gold, so the colour was reserved for only the most important figures, such as the Virgin Mary and the most lucrative commissions, the church.’

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The Winchester flower festival in the cathedral last year had as its theme the Winchester Bible, the bright red and blue flowers refelecting the colours used for illuminated text.

Or perhaps stained glass best recreates nature’s blue.

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Next week’s colour, purple, was chosen by Sandra. If you have a favourite colour you would like to see, tell me in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday Salon

Sunday Salon, the occasional blog that brings you all the arts.

Today a rattling good story, two very different theatre experiences and a concert.

She Who Goes Forth by Audrey Driscoll

I posted this review on Amazon.co.uk, but it was rejected! I also posted it on Goodreads, giving it five stars.

Whether you are young or can remember setting out in life on your own, you will connect with France our heroine in this ripping yarn. She is the new girl and nothing in Luxor, Egypt is as she was expecting. France finds herself with a complex set of colleagues and like anyone new does not know what is going on. But with her trusty cello by her side she does not let much daunt her. Although this novel is a fantasy, it portrays real people at an interesting time in history. We are not sure at first what is truth, what is France’s imagination or what part others have played in the strange happenings. Then events start to happen fast and there are terrifying page turning moments as France’s life changes forever.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2792704117

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Whatever your taste in music, drama or films; going out to a live event is always an experience.

The Pavilion, Bournemouth

The Pavilion has been celebrating its ninetieth birthday, not the oldest theatre in the country, but it has seen off two winter gardens and survived several attempts at closure or change.

The actual birthday night was celebrated with a trip back in time, three hours of varied entertainment for less than £10. A municipal orchestra was recreated and rose from the orchestra pit. This was followed by amateur silent film of Bournemouth in 1929 and newsreel films accompanied by the fantastic Compton theatre organ, which can also pop up and down and can make the whole theatre vibrate. At the many keyboards was Donald Mackenzie who plays its sister organ at the Odeon Leicester Square.

http://www.donaldmackenzie.org.uk/

After the interval was a showing of my favourite old musical, 42nd Street, made in 1933 when movies had made a great leap forward from silent to large scale musicals. The first time I watched it was when the lovely Art Deco cinema in Christchurch was having its eightieth birthday in 2011. On that occasion Mark Kermode, film critic from the BBC, introduced the movie and declared how great it was that the little cinema was still using real ( reel ) film. Shortly afterwards the cinema went digital; modern technology has to be embraced to keep these places busy and functioning…

Meanwhile back at the Pavilion I enjoyed the film again, great music and a show business story that is still relevant, the fat bloke with the cigar and the money was Weinstein. As the film finished the organ rose from the pit with a resounding chord and played the National Anthem and yes we did all stand. Happy Birthday followed to round off a good evening.

Lighthouse Arts Centre, Poole

 The Lighthouse opened in 1978 and has a concert hall, theatre, studio and cinema. We went to the theatre to see ‘Dracula The Bloody Truth’ a family friendly show with the premise that Bram Stoker stole a true story.  Exeter based Le Navet Bete are committed to creating hilarious, physical and totally accessible comedy theatre using creative and engaging storytelling. The four chaps played many roles between them, including all the ladies. Their timing was brilliant as they mistimed everything, knocked scenery over or spoke each other’s lines. By the end of the first half, most of the set had fallen onto the stage. It was hilarious for the adults, but even better, the theatre was filled with the genuine laughter of children.

http://lenavetbete.com/shows/dracula/

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has not been based in Bournemouth since it moved to the Lighthouse; it plays its main season of concerts there and some are broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 – make sure you have your mobile phones turned off! But it still plays some concerts at the Pavilion and also in other towns all over the South West of England, as well as spreading out its members to work with schools and care homes.

Even if you are not interested in classical music you probably have an idea what happens at a live concert and you would be right…   audience sits down as orchestra come on and start tuning, leader of orchestra comes on, more applause, conductor and perhaps the soloist comes on; even greater applause and they haven’t even done anything yet, but they look smart. If there are choir seats behind the orchestra and no singing planned the audience can sit up there and get a great view of the percussion section, although I always worry the huge cymbals are going to go flying backwards into the audience as the percussionist strikes them with gusto. I have never tried these seats as it involves lots of clambering around watched by everybody else in the auditorium and it would be embarrassing to trip. On broadcast nights you can watch the radio presenter chatting away silently to the microphone in his little booth at the side of the stage…

https://www.lighthousepoole.co.uk/about/

But every concert can be different and there is plenty to watch. Serious concert goers who all know each other, school parties, restless children and inevitably some people who fall asleep; even the most ardent music lover can find their eyelids, or worse, their head drooping as a busy day catches up with them and they sit in warm comfort soothed by the music… and what of those going for the first time? At one concert, as we all filed up the shallow steps to the exit doors at the back, I heard a woman behind me saying to her chap

‘I feel like I’ve been run over by a tractor.’

You have no soul, it was fantastic.

‘Don’t ever bring me to a live concert again, I don’t mind listening to Classic FM on the radio…’

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At a recent concert nobody knew what to expect and the conductor gave us an introduction so we would be prepared. It was the third symphony by Armenian composer Avet Terterian. Two soloists played small wooden instruments called duduks. The piece started with total silence for a good few moments which was surprisingly moving; do we ever hear total silence? This was suddenly broken by the drums. I noticed some of the orchestra had ear plugs and a lady up in the choir seats kept her ears covered the whole time. The duduks, far from being overwhelmed by the orchestra, played piercing notes that took you back to ancient lands. There were other periods of silence and sweet lyrical parts. I could not describe the symphony, but I loved it. There was rapturous applause at the end; it had been an experience.

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Friday Flash Fiction – Notre Dame

The Easter break from university was handy, Lucas had booked a flight before he could change his mind, but he was looking forward to the trip to Paris by himself; no rushing round sightseeing with friends or the pressure of creating the perfect romantic break for your girlfriend. Once he had found the Airbnb he would keep his promise to his grandmother then he would be free to wander at leisure around the city.

They had only had one family trip to Paris, his twelve year old self grumbling and bored, not taking much notice of Grand-maman retelling the stories of her youth. He and his father had opted for a bateau on the Seine while his grandparents, mother and sisters made the pilgrimage to Notre Dame. There had been other trips to Paris, but never all together again. He had preferred Eurodisney with the school, but now he would pay his first visit to Notre Dame and light a candle for his grandmother.

As Lucas emerged from the Metro station he sensed immediately something was wrong; a red glow in the sky, an ancient scent in the air and a strange silence.  It couldn’t be happening, but somehow he was standing with the crowds looking across the water at Notre Dame burning, gazing up at the fiery spire as it toppled. His throat was tight with shock as the crowd gasped and wept. Thank God his grandmere never lived to see this day. Lucas fumbled with his phone, he must tell his mother. He snapped a picture, it seemed almost indecent, but plenty of others had their phones high above their heads. What words to follow the picture?

‘Mum?’

Lucas? I know, we just saw it on the news, thank God you’re okay.

A bubble of hysteria formed in his throat, had his mother feared he had started the conflagration by lighting his candle?

‘Of course I’m okay, but Notre Dame… Grand-maman…’

His mother was crying.

Now, surrounded by Parisians, he understood for the first time what Notre Dame had meant to his Grandmere. He sent up a prayer, the god he didn’t believe in was surely listening this evening and Grand-maman did not need a candle; centuries of incense infused wood were sending holy smoke up to Heaven.

Lucas felt at home among the crowd, not the angry gilet jaune protests he had been looking forward to watching, but united and dignified. Brexit was off the agenda here, irrelevant, but he felt a stab as he recalled how the last few years had made Grand-maman sad, Lucas’ mother irrationally angry at his poor father just because his own father had voted Brexit.

The next morning Lucas was up early along with many others as they marvelled at walls and towers still standing. He was glad now his grandmother and mother had nagged him to practice his conversational French. In the evening he joined in the singing.

On Wednesday evening he was still finding himself drawn there and thrilled to hear bells pealing out all over the city. He vowed to visit the great lady every day of Holy Week.

Thursday evening found Lucas, with new French friends he had acquired, gathering outside Hotel de Ville to pay tribute to the fire fighters.

Now it was Good Friday and perhaps it was time to step inside a church as some of his new friends would be doing.

To The Big House

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Nearly a year had passed since we last visited Jane Austen’s house, a year in which we had failed to return with our tickets that lasted a year; I hoped she wouldn’t be offended. As I forgot to actually bring the tickets, at least she would know our visit was genuine.

The weather was greyer and mistier than last time, but at least it wasn’t raining. With two nights away we had all day and this time we were determined to see The Big House properly.

Because Jane’s parents were fortuitous in giving away one of their sons to childless rich relatives ( and what parent wouldn’t be tempted, I wonder if they chose the naughtiest? ) it came about that Jane’s brother Edward Austen Knight inherited Chawton House and was able to provide Jane, sister Cassandra, their friend and their widowed mother a home on the estate for the rest of their lives. Cassandra and the friend ran the household so Jane could concentrate on her writing and this was the happiest and most productive period of her life, sadly cut short by her early death.

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We strolled around the village first on this damp morning, being nosey of course and admiring the lovely cottages brightened with spring flowers. At the house there were few visitors yet and I was fascinated with a very jolly, well spoken family; granddad with three generations of women who all seemed to have impossibly long slender legs. You may recall last year we met Jeremy Knight, third great grandson of Edward who now volunteers as a guide at Jane’s. My ears pricked when I heard the grandmother of the family ask another volunteer ‘Is Jeremy in?’ He’s just gone for coffee. ‘I’m his first cousin.’ Oh, did you want to go in the office for coffee? ‘ What, with the staff? I haven’t seen him for years.’

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When we did arrive at Chawton House and went first to the kitchen where they serve light refreshments, Jeremy’s relatives were there having coffee, I wonder if they did meet up with him that day?

You can walk up to the house as Jane would have done. You ring the doorbell and get a friendly welcome. We bought tickets that will last a year. The house is a study centre for women’s literature and you can also see the books Jane herself enjoyed reading or did not enjoy…

I was intrigued to dip into a copy of this book; certainly heavy going, but now I understand this scene…

‘Sermons to Young Women in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Mr Collins chooses Sermons to Young Women to read aloud to the Bennet sisters on the first evening that he spends with the family (I. 14). This is an important clue to Mr Collins’s character, since by the time Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, Fordyce’s views were outdated and restrictive. Lydia Bennet is particularly unimpressed by Mr Collins’s choice of reading material: ‘Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him …’.’

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/sermons-to-young-women

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There is plenty to enjoy looking round the house even if you don’t pause to read. Imagine the family in the dining room, or gazing out at the views. Take time to wander the gardens as well. The primroses were out and we walked through ‘the wilderness’ and to the church close by where the family worshipped and Cassandra and her mother are buried. Jane  Austen’s last few weeks were spent in Winchester, where her family hoped  for a cure. She is buried there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chawton_House

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See more pictures at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

 

 

Fifty Shades of Away Grey

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Why would you paint a hotel battleship grey, inside and out; isn’t the idea to attract guests and customers not make them feel as if they are in prison? Perhaps the owners of The Swan, Alton, Hampshire got a job lot of grey paint.

Our two nights away in Hampshire started off in sunshine. Part of the plan ( the main part ) was to use up our tickets for Jane Austen’s house, the tickets lasted a year and we had only a few days left. If you ever buy tickets for any place and are delighted you have a whole year to revisit, it is guaranteed you will never return; even if you live in the same country, even if you have not been kidnapped for a year or overcome with disasters, you will not return. As the sunshine disappeared and the day became overcast and grey Cyberspouse asked if I had remembered the tickets. I hadn’t. Never mind, we would buy new tickets and make a contribution to a national and literary treasure.

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By the time we reached Alton the sky was heavy and grey and matched the hotel, this was our first view from the car park. Inside, all the decor was shades of grey, brightened only by a gloomy tartan carpet and pictures and lights. However, the staff were friendly and cheerful.

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Our room had a little sitting room with a small television screen and a tiny bedroom with a large TV screen. We were just in time to watch the Oxford Cambridge boat race, but the big screen would not work, lucky we had two TVs. This little sitting room could have been cosy, less like a prison cell,  in another colour scheme with better views,

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On the way out to explore we reported the broken television. When we returned they were just about to fix it; the second chap seemed to know what he was doing and after ripping it off the wall and repeated trips back and forth it was fixed.

When we went down for dinner the TV fixer showed us to our table. In fact he was on duty the whole time we were there, at the desk and everywhere and checked us out when we left.

Breakfast was okay, with orders freshly cooked, but an uninspiring breakfast bar with flasks for tea and coffee. On the second morning I asked if I could have a tea pot and that is what I got, no cup, no milk no extra hot water, back to the breakfast bar for that.

Jane Austen perhaps visited The Swan

..First mentioned in a rental document in 1499, the Swan hotel is an iconic building, set in the old market town of Alton. A tavern and hostelry, it was listed in 1674 as having 18 chambers, a parlour, kitchen, brewhouse, malthouse, old kitchen, and wine and beer cellars. It was further developed in 1777 to become the coaching inn you see today. The Swan would have been well known to famous local residents; author Jane Austen and naturalist Gilbert White. 

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Yes we did get to Chawton to visit Jane again and now we have a year’s tickets for her cottage and The Big House. The weather remained unremittingly grey for our stay, but we enjoyed our visit which you can read about next week. In the meantime here are some mellow and misty pictures of Chawton at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog

Read about last year’s visit here.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/04/18/visiting-jane/

What is the worst colour hotel you have been to? We once stayed at an Edinburgh hotel which was literally all tartan, we were definitely plaid out by the end of our visit. Candy pink would be too sickly, what colour would you paint a hotel?

 

Silly Saturday – Baz Fixes Brexit

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Few of you will remember Baz the Bad Blogger, most of his blogs sink without trace, his words not mine, I would not be so rude to a guest. His winning of the Unread Bloggers Award gave him a boost in confidence and perhaps drew the attention of the powers that be.  Today I am thrilled to be first to interview Baz since his sudden rise to fame. Let Baz tell his own story.

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Hello Baz, happy Saturday. Did you always have political aspirations?

Well I do sweat a lot.

Had you met members of the Royal Family before?

No thank goodness.

Would you call yourself a republican?

I do like a drink, real ale.

You don’t have to answer this question, but did you vote Leave or Remain in the 2016 referendum?

I didn’t bother voting, I had no idea what it was all about, still don’t.

So being neutral, neither Remainer nor Leaver, makes you the perfect candidate for the new position.

If you say so.

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I think we are all keen to hear how it came about that, after Her Majesty the Queen dissolved Parliament late on Sunday night, you became a member of the new parliament and were quickly appointed a minister by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.

Oh Charles you mean. I have to be modest here. Members of Parliament were to be chosen from among bloggers with the most Likes, but most of them didn’t want the job.

But to be chosen for The Cabinet as well, that was a surprise.

Not when Charles heard my Big Idea, Baz’s Big Idea he called it, wondered why no one had thought of it before.

Can you reveal it?

Weelll, do many people read this blog?

No, hardly any.

Okay then; this is my plan to please everybody. We leave the European Union as soon as possible, tomorrow… Leavers are happy. Then on Monday morning Europe joins us and Remainers are happy, not only are we still part of Europe, even better, Europe is part of us. The European Union will become part of the United Kingdom, The United Kingdom of Europe.

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Friday Flash Fiction 1000 – A Wife For Life

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A Wife For Life

The mist still hung over the bracken, the Thames meandered peacefully by. A pair of antlers rose above the bracken, tilting back as a black nose sniffed the air. The morning stillness was broken by the thunder of hooves and the cries of young men. Harry led the way on his strong grey stallion, his powerful thighs gripping the saddle. The horse was as strong willed as his master and eager to gallop, his master was the only rider who could keep him in check. The young man knew his hunting grounds well, but the long grass and ferns could easily conceal a fatal rabbit hole.

The alert hart was swift to round up his hinds and flee into the copse, but it was another man on horseback that saved his herd. The messenger galloped frantically after the hunting party sounding his horn. Harry turned his steed sharply, knowing what the news must be.

‘Word from My Lady, Sire’ said the messenger breathlessly, as his panting horse drew level with the stallion.

‘Has her time come?’

The message was a few days earlier than expected, but not a surprise. Harry motioned the other men to continue the hunt.

‘Bring back the finest haunch of venison, God willing we will have a feast tonight.’

Harry galloped alone back to the palace, the messenger on his chestnut mare had no chance of keeping up, but his mission was accomplished.

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Several grooms stood ready as their master leapt from his sweating horse. Harry was soon striding down the long corridors. Lady Maria Santos curtseyed at the door of his wife’s chamber.

‘How is My Lady?’

‘She is in good spirits as usual, her waters broke but an hour ago, the maids are fetching more hot water.’

Ministers and courtiers were gathering in the corridor.

‘Go, go, I want no one here except the Queen’s physician and the lady of the birthing stool.’

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Catherine looked up as her tall handsome husband entered the bedchamber. His red hair was tousled, he smelt of leather and bracken.

She laughed. ‘Your ruddy cheeks tell me you were out hunting.’

‘Not ten minutes ride from home and five minutes gallop back’ he laughed, as he knelt by the imported porcelain hip bath and stroked her swollen belly. She tensed as another wave of pain swept over her; but Maria the physician directed her skilled assistant to bring the bowl of steaming infusion from the fireplace. Catherine breathed in deeply and allowed the steam and hot water to soothe her.

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An hour later Maria declared it was time and Harry helped his wife step out of the bath, supporting her as she squatted and clung to the stout oak bed post.

‘Good, good, I can see the head’ said Maria.

Gravity, skill and the efforts of the mother did their work and the lady of the birthing stool removed the blade from the fire and swiftly cut the chord as Maria held the crying baby.

But Maria frowned, handed the baby to her assistant, then palpated Catherine’s belly. For the first time the king felt fear as his wife’s face contorted in pain.

‘It is as I suspected, another baby, pray it is in a good position, I fear the cord is wrapped around its neck.’

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It was yet another hour before Catherine lay back on the bolster, Harry perched on the high bed beside her.

‘Well done my beautiful Queen, two boys, a sign from God.’

She smiled. ‘Well done my King, did not Maria tell us it is the man’s seed that decrees boy or girl?’

‘…and was it not you My Lady, with your insistence on a Spanish court, who brought your wonderful lady physician with you? And now I shall fetch Edward and Alfred to meet their new brothers.’

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Two little boys with red hair and rosy cheeks burst into the chamber.

‘Permission to retire, Your Majesty’ said Maria. ‘I shall return in one hour. Now I leave you to enjoy your family.’

‘I once nearly had you charged with treason, wanting me to dismiss the royal physicians, barring my ministers from the birth of Edward. But you were right, a King should be witness to the arrival of his heirs.’

The little princes ran around the chamber, swinging on the curtains of their parents’ four poster bed, stopping to peer at the strange creatures attached to their mother’s breasts.

‘Shall you not wish for a wet nurse this time, now you have two hungry babes my love?’

‘No, no, royal Spanish milk is what they need to grow strong like Edward and Alfred, but what shall we call them? I wanted Phillip if it was a boy…

‘A king’s prerogative to choose, and I have chosen. Andrew and Martin.’

‘Martin?’ Catherine formed the unfamiliar name on her lips. ‘What name is that?’

‘Martin Luther, a great man, I have been reading his writings, he wants to reform the church and he is right, I shall reform our church of England.’

‘Husband you are very clever, you know several languages and write me songs, but you are not the Pope, why does the Holy Roman church need reforming?’

‘We must have The Bible written in English so the people can read it.’

‘But most of your people can’t read.’

‘So they must learn and they will learn the Gospel when they hear it read out in English in churches up and down our blessed country. In our great monasteries the monks must set to work translating. King Henry’s Bible, a work my sons will be proud of.

 

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The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

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If you recall the Sunday School chorus you will know the wise man built his house upon the rock and the foolish man built his house upon the sand. The rain came down and the floods came up. Even if you don’t know the chorus or Christ’s parable, I expect you can guess where this is leading. It is meant to be about building your life on Christ’s teaching, but it is also good engineering advice; advice that builders and councils everywhere, especially in coastal areas, often pay no heed to.

 

Someone I knew told me her father-in-law once had a chance to buy a cheap piece of land on the narrow strip of sand between Poole Harbour and the sea.

No thanks, it will be washed away in twenty years.

Sandbanks is now claimed to be the world’s most expensive coastal real estate in the world and the man’s descendants could hardly forget what they missed out on. But one day I’m sure the sand will wash away and there will be a different way out of the world’s second largest natural harbour.

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Move a little further east and cliffs start to rise towards Bournemouth where houses have slid down the cliff over the years. If left to their own devices cliffs naturally crumble into the sandy beach below. But when man made promenades and buildings are put up, the beach is washed away (coastal drift ) and if resorts wish to keep their beaches they must be replenished with sand dredged up from beneath the sea. Houses on the cliff top move nearer and nearer to the edge and remnants of gardens can be seen flourishing vertically on the cliffside. Chunks of cliff often fall on beach huts and three years ago a landslide wrecked one of Bournemouth’s three cliff lifts.

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But the council doesn’t wait for nature to knock buildings down. Last week was the ninetieth anniversary of Bournemouth Pavilion, which has survived both because of and despite councils over the years. It apparently took eighty years of discussion before it became a reality in 1929. In its life time it has seen two winter gardens demolished, but also saw Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra leave and move to Poole’s new arts centre. Looking out to sea from the ballroom the Pavilion was witness to a monstrosity being built at Pier Approach. This was The Waterside, featuring dark glass and a wavy roof designed to represent the sea. It was more commonly known as the Imax building and caused an outcry when it was opened in 1998, owing both to its looks and the fact that it blocked the view across Poole Bay to the Purbeck Hills. The Imax cinema only functioned for a short period and spent most of the years closed. In 2005 the Channel 4 programme Demolition asked people which building they would like knocked down and the Imax was judged first in line in England. The council then had to spend millions buying the building, demolishing it and creating a public ‘space’. Perhaps if they hadn’t demolished the swimming baths that stood there for fifty years…

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When we moved into our current house nearly fifteen years ago, the neighbour one side told us that the neighbours the other side were not there; they had to move out because of subsidence! This was a bit worrying and we should have known not to buy a house built on sand. We are not near the cliff edge, because those properties are too expensive, but we are on what was once sandy heathland.

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See more pictures of Bournemouth at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

 

Everyone is welcome here. Tidalscribe will be remaining in the European Union.

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Where Are We?

Are you sure you know where you are? I could say I live in Wessex, but Wessex has not existed for a thousand years. It was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in the south of Great Britain, from 519 until England was unified by Æthelstan in the early 10th century. But Wessex must exist because Thomas Hardy set his novels there… No, he used it as the name of the county in which his stories are set; corresponding approximately to Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

But Wessex must exist because there is an Earl of Wessex.  Don’t worry if you get confused with all the titles the Queen has bestowed on her children and grandchildren, most of us do. In 1999, Queen Elizabeth II’s youngest son, Prince Edward, married Sophie Rhys-Jones. By tradition the monarch’s son receives a title upon marriage. Prince Edward became the first British prince in centuries to be created an earl, rather than a duke. His wife Sophie became The Countess of Wessex.

Many organisations, including the army, that cover the area of Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Wiltshire use the name Wessex .

The ITV television series Broadchurch takes place in the Wessex area, primarily the county of Dorset. It features government agencies such as Wessex Police and Wessex Crown Court, and several characters are seen attending South Wessex Secondary School.

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I live in Bournemouth which is in Dorset… or is it?  Before it was founded in 1810 by Lewis Tregonwell, the area was a deserted heathland occasionally visited by fishermen and smugglers. Historically part of Hampshire, it joined Dorset with the reorganisation of local government in 1974, but it has always seemed to me to have little in common with real rural Dorset. Since 1997 the town has been administered by Bournemouth Borough Council. But wait, more changes are afoot Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council will be the unitary local authority for the district of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole that is to come into being on 1 April 2019. The three towns already form the South East Dorset urban connurbation. What will it mean for the locals? Most of us are expecting to pay more in rates and have more services cut. Bournemouth is a new town set between two historic towns with plenty of pirates. Poole has the second largest natural harbour in the world, Sydney, Australia has the largest. Our sea is Pool Bay. Christchurch lies round the corner separated by Hengistbury Head; in Bronze Age Britain this was an important seaport, there was a settlement here in the Iron Age. I wonder how they viewed their identity?

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But let’s zoom in. I live in Southbourne, the creation of Doctor Thomas Armetriding Compton, who set up general practice in Bournemouth in 1866 and could see the area’s potential as a health resort. The clifftop land here had been part of Tuckton Farm, purchased by Compton in 1871 and later developed by the Southbourne-on-Sea Freehold Land Company.

Local businesses consider they are in Southbourne-on-Sea, Southbourne Grove, thriving with interesting shops and eateries, has been nicknamed the Sobo Mile.

You can see plenty of my local area at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

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Now let us zoom out. I have never considered I come from anywhere in particular, having lived in lots of places. I was born in Middlesex, but it ceased to exist as a county in 1965. It stretched to Westminster many centuries ago, but London had finally swallowed it.

Our local borough may be getting bigger, but our horizons will narrow as Britain leaves the European Union, dark days for those of us who are Remainers. We shall all still be members of The Commonwealth and the English speaking world and The World, The Solar System and the Universe… as we used to write in our exercise books at school…

Do you know where you are, do you care where you are?