Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Hospital of St Cross

The Church of St Cross. Click the heading for more photos of the church.

The Hospital of St Cross, Winchester, is the oldest charitable institution in Britain, founded in 1133 by Henri de Blois, King William's grandson. It has been home to the Master and Brethren of St Cross since medieval times.

The Hospital* is also England's oldest continuing almshouse and is a group of medieval and Tudor buildings, including a medieval hall and tower, Tudor cloister, the Norman church and gardens. For over 850 years St Cross has provided food and shelter to people in need and visitors can still receive the Wayfarer's Dole (a small beaker of beer and a morsel of bread) on request. In times past in the Hundred Mens' Hall up to a hundred poor men received a daily ration of food.

My father Patrick was first married here to Catherine Stephenson in 1940.

Visiting on a rainy day in May, I came across the Society for Creative Anachronism holding a fair and engaged in a pilgrimage to nearby Winchester Cathedral. Click here for some photos.

[*The term "hospital", in this context, has the same origin as "hospitality"]

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Chelsea Flower Show 2010

The Chelsea Flower Show 2010. Click the heading for more photos.

The Chelsea Flower Show this year fell in a glorious sunny week, the temperature on the first day topping 90F, but the gardens remained spectacular and those with strong water features unsurprisingly attracted the judges the most. The Best in Show garden was so crowded that I was unable to get close enough for a decent photo and had to be content to shoot over the heads of the BBC cameramen. But I liked his concept of the diverging paths and the huge wall, at the beginning so opaque, opening gradually to reveal that all paths lead to the same end.

My favourite designer, Ishihara Kazuyuki, again produced a stunning moss-covered room lit by his signature glass waterfall and surrounded by rich and unusual planting, but this year he only received a silver - having previously won two golds - possibly on the judges' perception that this garden was somewhat less original.

The small gardens were as always a delight, my favourite being a garden at the edge of a moor, complete with music stand on which rested the music for Die Schone Mullerin.

Click here for the Chelsea Flower Show 2008
Click here for the Chelsea Flower Show 2007

Friday, 21 May 2010

Scenes From a Hampshire Childhood

Herry and Danny at Stocks, Hampshire in 1953

'Scenes From A Hampshire Childhood' by Gerald Ponting is a small masterpiece, capturing beautifully the era of the 1940s and 50s spent in a peaceful village in the Hampshire countryside. Village life, grazing milking cattle on the village green (in that case Breamore marsh), his father's milk round, toys, dogs, household and kitchen equipment such as the 'copper', the arrival of television, flowers of the hedgerows, the village fete and the village school are all beautifully evoked from a background of the writer's simple and settled home life. The photographs are particularly astonishing, as Mr Ponting took up photography as a child and he has captured scenes rarely seen in such contemporaneity. Click the heading for more details about the book from the author's website

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Favourite Places

Wandsworth Common; not the most romantically named place on earth, but a huge and beautiful city park nevertheless. Click the heading for a walk across the Common to the river and back

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Old Wykehamist Reception at Lincoln's Inn

The Old Wykehamist Sports Reception was held in the Old Hall, Lincoln's Inn on 13th May 2010. The Warden, David Clementi, introduced the presentation of Winchester's sporting achievement by the likes of Douglas Jardine, the Nawab of Pataudi(who managed to play test cricket with only one eye), Hubert Doggart (who was a Cambridge Blue in five different sports and captain in four) and Howard Angus by David Fellowes, the Director of the Winchester College Society. About 100 people attended and all were amazed at the depth of talent that was exhibited, most of which proved the old truth that a healthy mind produces a healthy body, in that the sporting 'greats' were mostly also highly gifted academically as well.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Tate Modern's 10th Anniversary

Part of the Tate Modern's attraction is the approach to it from St Paul's over the Millennium Bridge

A favourite Bacon triptych. Click the heading for a selection of other works.

I was interviewed about the Tate Modern by the BBC. Fortunately I didn't see the news programme on which it was shown, but I've had people contact me from as far as Australia to say that they saw it!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Henri Matisse

Matisse - The Red Studio at the Museum of Modern Art

A superb series on the modern artists by Alastair Sooke opens one's eyes to Matisse's originality. His work has influenced artists such as Rothko and many designers including Tricia Guild and Paul Smith. See some of Matisse's paintings in the Musee Matisse by clicking the heading, although much of his best work is in the Hermitage, as well as in New York and Paris.

Friday, 7 May 2010

A Child From Everywhere

On 6th May 2010 Caroline Irby held an exhibition at the V&A Bethnal Green (The Museum of Childhood) of her 'A Child From Everywhere' project in which she photographed children from 185 different countries currently living in the UK.

Also at the exhibition was Alanna Clear, who's own project (with her husband) travelling 20,000 miles by motorcycle and sidecar from Alaska to the tip of Patagonia and interviewing people on the way about the secrets of long-lasting love looks to be even more interesting. It's called 'Going the Distance' and will be edited and published later this year.