31 August 2011

later than you think

Much loved egg timer, went the way of Humpty Dumpty

When I visited Southwold this weekend, I noticed a little brass plaque on the pier commemorating a happy union which included a message reminding them that 'it's later than you think'.  Indeed it is.  Just when you think summer might be getting into its stride, the nights are drawing in and all the things you meant to do or mention seem to have happened weeks, or even months ago.  So here, in no particular order, and sadly late in many cases, are some of the things I've enjoyed, or not, this summer.

:: An eyrar of swans.  It was the mayday bank holiday and it felt like the beginning of summer.  All week I'd been listening to, and very much enjoying, the reading of Edgelands  by its authors Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley on the radio, and I wanted to take a cycle ride through some of my own edgelands - up the canal to the Lea Navigation.  We rode past the Olympic Site; saw wild roses on the tow path; had a picnic on Tottenham Marshes (it's not all riots); and carried on into the wind all the way up to Waltham Abbey.

 There we found, joy of joys, the church fete in progress with all the treasures they offer - a second hand thermos flask, a selection of plants, a cup of tea and a slice of cake, a walk round the abbey church and its ground, lots of lovely walls.  A brisk ride home and the eyrar of swans.  If you have not come across Edgelands and you are interested in the forgotten landscapes at the edges or between-spaces of cities, the beauty that can be found in the remnants of industrial landscapes, the way that nature can creep into such places to create something secret or magical or moving, then I'd strongly recommend it.

:: another ride last week, this time to Walthamstow Marshes, to find blackberries.  Half the bushes had been cut back, and the rest had been stripped bare.  But I did see a kestrel sitting on a post and that felt like some kind of reward for my effort;  that and the cup of tea at the Counter Cafe on Fish Island where there is always a friendly welcome for you and your bike.

:: a bit of culture, with lots of thinking about how utterly amazing Turner was after twice visiting  the Tate's Watercolour exhibition (too late to go again now), and then trying to outdo each other with supposed "sightings" of seascapes on our days out.

We also had a great giggle at the Vorticists' Blast, and after that creating our own list of all the items we would include in our own edition.  I seem to remember that Seb Coe featured high.  Good fun for a rainy day.

On a day when the sun shone, a trip to Folkestone and a high speed tour around some of the Triennial exhibits.  Along the Leas to the Martello Tower for a magical peep into the wildness around the tower.

Towards the Sound of Wilderness, Cristina Iglesias

Out along the beach to ring a 16th C out of tune bell, and witness the disdain of a couple of locals.

Out of Tune, A K Dolven
A walk through the abandoned station on the sea front, the place soldiers arrived to continue their journey to the battlefields...

Rug People, Paloma Varga Weisz

... and an encouraging sighting of crambe, toadflax and valerian growing through the desolate sleepers.

:: a sighting of the straw Urban Fox on the Southbank during the celebration of the Festival of Britain; and liking Tracy Emin more than I thought.

Urban Fox

::  a trip to the Imperial War Museum to see the eye opening Women War artists exhibition, worth seeing  Ruby Loftus close up and the moving work of Frauke Eigen.

A lot to think about.  And now we need to get ready for our last few outings before the equinox sends some gales our way.


Esther Montgomery said...

First time I've visited since you've given the blog a new look. Feels a bit disconcerting in its unfamiliarness - but shows off your wonderful photos brilliantly . . . or your brilliant photos wonderfully . . . or . . .


knit nurse said...

It is way later that I think and we haven't even been on holiday yet! I always feel sad at the first signs that summer is on its way out; the chill in the morning and having to adjust the timer on the lamp in the lounge. But then I get out all my woolly clothes and start to long for the time when I can wrap up in them and shut out the cold. It's quite comforting but I do regret the loss of the light evenings. Like you I visited Folkestone - but stayed a couple of nights and managed to get in a sea dip as well as plenty of art - and also caught the Tracy Emin show just before it closed. I'm glad I did; her art moves me on a very profound level which I still haven't managed to fully analyse. And thanks for the lovely photos of London's little-loved edges as usual.

monix said...

"Beauty is Nature's brag and must be shown." What a gift you have for finding it in unexpected places. I look around me in a new way when I have visited here. Thank you.

Joanna said...

Lovely photos. And I learnt a new word - eyrar.

Rattling On said...

Love that fox! You are lucky to be near so many interesting places to visit on a bike. Not so here unless you're fit enough to do the Tour de France!
I can't believe it's the new term on Monday, all I seem to have done is decorating and decluttering. All worth while of course, but...

Annie said...

So very much later ... September, how did that happen! But you seem to have filled your summer making good memories.

I just went scurrying off to Radio 4 in the hope that the Edgelands reading would still be available on Listen Again. Alas no ... so a copy of the book now sits in my Amazon shopping basket.

Kate said...

all very Robinson. I have ordered Edgelands.

Liz said...

We spent a lot of time learning collective nouns in junior school but I didn't know that one. Your new camera is performing really well, those pictures are fab. Shame about the egg timer.

Val said...

There is a lot of food for thought in your posts..or a feast for the eyes..actually both I think :0)

Many Thanks for an enjoyable share