Today’s unconventional advent calendar is a short in words but rich in imagery; in today’s rather dark and dreich weather I was thinking about the wonderful colours I saw on a happy trip to the Outer Hebrides. It was a kind birthday gift, and a rare treat to see the world from an entirely different perspective as we got to go on one of those tiny wee planes out to Benbecula. The weather was stunning, we flew over lochs and islands and felt very privileged indeed.
From a cultural planning perspective, I was considering the links between the islands and their shared heritage, but unique identity.
For other calendar entries, have a look at these posts.
Girvan is a pretty seaside town in the west coast of Scotland where I spent a happy summer holiday once when I was wee. I revisited it this summer, and was surprised how much of it I could remember (and was delighted to see that the little aviary and gardens called Knockcushan park were still there).
I did not know of the history of the gardens, this must have passed me by last time as I was looking at the animals and birds when I was ten! That said, I do attribute my career choices to the fact that I was always taken to historic places and used to enjoy spending time looking at castles and drawing things related to my holidays… if blogs had been about then no doubt the very tattered scrapbook I made would have been digital with scanned copies of tickets.
Summer seems so long ago now, with Christmas almost here, so this is a very unconventional advent calendar entry indeed for December 10th although you can consider the character of a place at any time of year!
Girvan has a wonderful view of Ailsa Craig, which is famous for its special seabird colony and also for being used to create curling stones (see gallery above, and for photos of these see my Partick curling club photos) The Glasgow 2014 baton also features a special Ailsa Craig “gemstones” in the puzzle mechanism, an exciting Commonwealth Games link for the area.
To me, Girvan has fantastic seaside memories; parrots in the park, boating pond outings, beach sandcastle building, chips munching, 2p fruit machines (although I think they may have been 1p then?!?), big high street with shops selling buckets and spades and postcards, lovely colourful harbour, seagulls and other birds along the pier wall.. Girvan rocks!
What do you think makes up the character of your favourite place?
Previous unconventional advent calendar entries can be found here.
I had heard about West Pier before (and indeed glimpsed it from afar on a previous visit to the city) but I went for a closer look yesterday and was deeply saddened to see its demise. Only the seagulls can view those iron beams and beautiful decorative elements properly now. I have created a slideshow of the images so you can see different views.
When my relatives were here it would have been a wonderful sight to behold, and also the “new pier” opened in 1899 (the one which now has the flashing Brighton pier sign on.. as this postcard from the Old Stratford Upon Avon Brighton section shows).
The beach and sea in Brighton at night are quite spectacular, I loved these reflections and could not resist photographing them, neither, it seems, could this person on the beach. The reflections come from the bright lights of the funfair and signage on the “Brighton Pier”. I took this with a tripod and am rather pleased with the result, almost a rainbow of stripes in the sea.
From when I first woke up in Brighton (and all bank holiday long) I have been treated to a wonderfully sunny day, with a beautiful blue azure sea and the occasional group of white yachts sailing on the horizon. Fantastic art territory! I can see why artists are attracted to this city. Photographs almost do not do it justice, it actually reminded me of the sea in the Outer Hebrides, as it was so deep turquoise in parts.
When I booked this journey away I did not notice that it was bank holiday time (and also English half term) so perhaps I am getting a little of that “totally full beach with barely a pebble to see” Victorian holiday experience, as is shown in this Photo History of Sussex website! To add to the bustling atmosphere, it has been the last few days of the Brighton Festival and also the last week of the Brighton Fringe… the Lanes and North Laine are full of entertainment and Fringe City is a feast of entertainment.
The reason I am in Brighton is part of my Art Project “Are You Here”, to retrace the steps of my ancestors Marmaduke and Stella Langdale; artists who were born in Middlesex but stayed in Brighton for a number of years. In researching census and other archival information, I discovered that Stella went to Brighton School of Art, and then Glasgow School of Art whilst Marmaduke was a Turner travel prize winner. Stella’s work can be seen in the Maltwood Art Gallery in Canada, although I am also retracing some of the views in illustrations which she did for a book called “Unknown Brighton”, detailed online here. I found the Black Lion yesterday, but it is now adorned with a little gold as well!