Tag Archives: east anglia

Hunting signs of spring


Today is the equinox and the official beginning of spring. Signs of it are catching hold all across East Anglia. Yesterday I popped into the gardens at Blickling Hall to see their lovely dell full of hellebores – if the weather holds this weekend will be the perfect time to visit them.

It’s a blowsy spring joy seeing so many together among other spring plants and set off by the elegant browns of last autumn’s fallen leaves. There are some more daring combinations to – hellebores with black grass – is that Ophiopogon Nigrescens?

Even more unexpected – hellebores with tree ferns, which I would never have thought of but looked beautiful, somehow anchoring the alien form of the tree ferns into this very english garden.

The rest of the garden is laid out on impeccable classical lines, with a great deal of attention paid to vistas opening up and focal points as you move through the garden. If, like me, you fetishise lichen-covered urns and centuries old  mellow brick walls, then this garden is heaven.

It wasn’t until I turned back to the house that I realised there is a whole lake there as well. The views are so controlled for when you approach the front of the house onwards that you just don’t see it until you turn back on yourself.It’s still a little early in the year, but the bones of the perennial garden are beautiful and everywhere there are green shoots thrusting through the mulch. Definitely one to visit in full summer as well.

The house is a delight too – unlike many National Trust properties it is built on a properly domestic scale so you can actually imagine living there, with bright, cosy rooms, low ceilinged enough to heat and not so large you would have to shout to people at the opposite side of the living room. Add in beautiful decorative ceilings and wallpapers, and a glorious Long Gallery it’s a place to spend a little time. Everything is open Wednesday to Sunday at the moment, more in the summer.

Blickling, Norwich, Norfolk NR11 6NF
Telephone: 01263 738030
NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.
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All the toys you can shake a stick at

Drum-playing BearThis Thursday there is a very special auction happening at Keys auction house in Aylesham, Norfolk. A stonking collection of automata, robots, toys. Browsing the catalogue it seems that everything that moves by itself is worthy of inclusion.

RobotsI’m a sucker for both auctions and toys with interesting or quizzical expressions on their faces – bringing them together might be too much for my discretion and self control.

Automated CowThere are also delights such as the lampophone (below), a combination lamp and gramophone, with the turntable hidden in the ‘cake’ base of the lamp and the speaker tube being the lamp’s column, the opening concealed by the shade. Although it also works as an ordinary lamp, so as not to give the game away.

The marvellous lampophone

Bids can be made by phone and over the web as well as in person, although with no estimates or guide prices on the website I suspect we might be in the ‘Collectors Only’ end of the price range.

Special Collectors Sale Thusday March 19th 2009.  To Feature the Arthur Windley Collection of 100+ Lots of Automaton 75+ Lots Japanese Robots, 300 + Vintage and other Toys, 75 Old Radios, Arcade Machines, Model Thursford Wurlitzer Organ, Juke boxes inc Wurlitzer, Rock Ola, Seeburg, Gramophones, Quantity of Lps & 45’s to include some rare Elvis Presley. Also to include 1970’s Taito Space Invaders Arcade Game, Sega Afterburner, Konami Track & Field Video Arcade Game.
Viewing Wed 18th March 9am to 7:30pm and from 9am the day of the sale.
Sale starts from 11am Thursday 19th March 09
Keys Aylsham Salerooms
Off Palmers Lane
Aylsham
Norwich
Norfolk
NR11 6JA
+44 (0)1263 733195
Maps and directions here.
Catalogue here.
NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

The light in Aldeburgh

I fell in love with the work of Derek Chambers today – he’s a printmaker based in Suffolk who has done some glorious work in and around Aldeburgh that, for me, captures the peculiar light and atmosphere of the place.

The Crag Path, Aldeburgh by Derek Chambers

He was a london ad man for 40 years before moving to the country and concentrating on drawing, painting and printmaking in 1994. He doesn’t seem to have his own website but can be found through the Sudbourne Printmakers, a group of prominent East Anglian artists.

Aldeburgh town steps by Derek ChambersExhibitions include: The Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions, The Royal Watercolour Society, The Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours, The Discerning Eye, The Singer & Friedlander, The National Print Exhibition, and the New English Art Club.

Steps in winter by Derek ChambersI look forward to observational drawing being the next big thing coming out of art schools, but somehow it never seems to happen. I love how this winter scene looks like an illustration from a childrens book – you can imagine it as the first page of a story about the woman and her dog going home through the snowy evening. What do they find when they get there?

You can’t be an artist in Aldeburgh without doing fishing boats on the beach. Brrrr.

Boats in winter by Derek Chambers

View and buy Derek Chambers’ work thorough the Sudbourne Park Printmakers.
NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Sliding House

Sliding House in Suffolk

As the seasons move and the weather changes from summery to blowing freezing rain in the space of 5 minutes, the Sliding House recently built in Suffolk looks more and more genius.

Wallpaper have done a great video all about it here which explains everything better than I would.

The architects are dRMM.

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Birds Eye View is coming to Cambridge

Still from Love you more short filmBirds Eye View will be fetching up at the Picture House Cambridge on Sunday 8th March as part of International Womens Day with a programme of interesting short films by women directors. Not many people in this country know there is an international womens day – it’s not something we think about so much here, but the fact is that only 7% of film directors in the UK are women, and Birds Eye View is doing great work in supporting more coming through and showing great work by women from around the world.

I’ve been to a few Birds Eye View events and they are always thought provoking and high quality. Have a look at the shorts programme here. They are combining it with talks and a networking event, with people from local places like Wysing and the Cambridge Super 8 film festival.

See BEV’s listing here and book tickets here.

bev-logo

International Womens Day at Birds Eye View
Cambridge Picture House
38-39 St Andrew’s Street
Cambridge CB2 3AR
Tel: 0871 704 2050
Top picture from Love You More, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood
www.birds-eye-view.co.uk
NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Arctic blasts

It’s been a cold and chaotic week round our neck of the woods, but today has been beautifully sunny and the snow is retreating. I abandoned the plans I’d had to drive a hundred miles away and instead took a walk over the snow dusted fields to look at some big skies.

Definitely a week to stay close to home and enjoy the simple pleasures of hot cocoa and a wood burning stove.

A couple of weeks ago there were so many signs of impeding spring – bulbs shooting through the soil and a rash of snowdrops. Now all the growth is on hold again, under the snow and ice, ready for next week when it’s going to warm up again.

I took a picture of that tree around harvest time – it’s hard to imagine it’s the same tree.

I love this walk every time of year, with its simple pleasures of flat fields and enormous skies.

And I know, the amount of snow looks a bit pathetic compared to the fuss that has been made, but there was much more before, honest guv!

Also, we came across this, which is rather wonderful on so many levels

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.

Wimpole Hall Farm and Gardens

 

Espalier apple tree at Wimpole Hall

Espalier apple tree at Wimpole Hall

In the last few sunny weekends of the year, the outdoor parts of Wimpole Hall near Royston are worth a lingering visit, either if you’ve got kids or are enthusiastic about gardening. 

 

I fall into the enthusiastic about gardening category, so I loved the victorian walled kitchen garden. Surrounded by beautifully mellow brick walls with fruit trees trained along the warm surface, it was a riot of vegetables and colourful dahlias when I visited. They have a demonstration greenhouse filled with cordon trained tomatoes, but comfortingly you can also glimpse the enormous modern greenhouse behind the scenes where the real work gets done. 

 

Wimpole Hall

Wimpole Hall

 

 

The entrance to the kitchen garden is a perfect example of formal simplicity which I’d love to reproduce the feeling of in my own garden – it makes the whole experience like visiting a temple to vegetables.

 

They have a variety of home made scarecrows – this one is my favourite.

It seems to have a lovely knowing expression as in knowing where all those birds have gone.

For kids and followers of teh fluff, the farm is a must visit. A riot of baby fluffy and furry things, they are an outpost of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, and you can see all kinds of breeds of goats, ducks, chickens and pigs, visit the beautifully tiled old dairy and revel in the structure of beautiful barns.

The current series of wooden barns were designed by Sir John Soane as a model farm, and they exude a homely elegance. The biggest one holds an exhibition about food production through the ages at Wimole, but it’s worth a visit for the breathtaking roof construction alone.

 

The big barn

The big barn

And being National Trust, there are all the tea, cakes and plant sales you could possibly want to round off an afternoon in the pale autumn sunshine.

Wimpole Hall is open every weekend but dates during the week vary. http://www.wimpole.org/

NB If you’re interested in reading more about art, design and culture in East Anglia, please do follow the blog to its new home at http://flatlanders.co.uk/ – you’ll find more posts on everything interesting happening in the area.