Sunday, 17 April 2016

Preview of the Victoria Gate complex in Leeds city centre

After our social enterprise, Yorkshire MORE jams and chutneys , applied for funding, the developers were so impressed with our products and ethos that we were invited to visit this project.
 James Rogers of Hammersons with our jams and chutneys on the table
 James Rogers of Hammersons plc, who already own the Victoria Quarter in Leeds, gave eleven of Yorkshire MORE’s regular volunteers a presentation of what was to come in the first of two phases of this vast development which is due to open in Autumn 2016.  There is the biggest John Lewis store outside of London, a multi-storey car park, an ellipse shaped arcade housing shops, cafes and restaurants, a casino with rooftop restaurant and public toilets.  Victoria Gate will be connected to the Victoria Quarter by a walkway.
We were then appropriately suited and booted to visit the site.  We were shown round by the contractors, Sir Robert McAlpine, and were amazed by the logistics of the project, the amount of scaffolding and concrete used and the self-cleaning and bombproof glass.
 The arcades which are paved with polished tiles imported from China

 To go on site, we had to wear hard hats, goggles, hi-vis jacketets, gloves and steel toed boots

 Top of the casino

 The structure with the diamond shapes is the John Lewis store
 Board of Directors for Yorkshire MORE
I can’t wait for this shopping experience.  James requested sample of our jams and chutneys to show John Lewis and the management of the Victoria Quarter to see if we can sell our jam there.  Not bad for a dedicated team of volunteers and it follows on from a successful weekend selling at the BBC Good Food Show at Harrogate.

Yorkshire MORE jams and chutneys.  The process and profits help people with mental health issues

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Burton Constable

I spent an enjoyable day at this interesting house set in lovely grounds designed by Capability Brown. 
 The bridge, designed by Capability Brown, divides the two sides of the lake which is used for fishing and non-motorised boats of the caravan site situated on the opposite bank

The Constable family have lived here since medieval times although it is now owned by the Burton Constable Foundation.  It seems as though nothing was ever discarded throughout the centuries, so there were fascinating artefacts in the very many rooms.  The volunteer guides were enthusiastic and knowledgeable and the numerous paintings were well catalogued.
The extensive grounds made walking pleasant and the fine weather allowed us to picnic amongst the daffodils.
 The skeleton of a sperm whale found at the nearby coast in 1825 and appears in the novel Moby Dick
 The Orangery

 An archery contest

Didn't expect this in the Catholic chapel

Saturday, 19 March 2016

We’re back!

So, the new season begins with some sunny weather although the ground is still really wet.  It doesn’t look as if erosion has altered the coast line too drastically.
 The ducks were pleased to see us

Nothing to see in the garden, but most things seemed to have survived and the daffodils should be out next week.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Visit to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Although Yorkshire Sculpture Park is quite near, this was my first visit. 

Firstly we visited the Underground Gallery to see an exhibition by pioneering American video and installation artist, Bill Viola.  We were advised to let our eyes become accustomed to the dark, but we had to make our way in total blackness to the screens showing people experiencing a variety of deluges.  It was a strange sensation engulfed in the darkness and I bumped into walls and endured the antics of my husband who managed to see his way.

The extensive grounds are home to work by Henry Moore, Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth and Andy Goldsworthy plus the smurf-like figures by KAWS but the weather was so cold and many parts of the garden were cordoned off to protect the lawns, we couldn’t stop for long.
Niki de Saint Phalle was born in France in 1930 and grew up in the USA. After an early career as a fashion model, she studied theatre and acting in Paris before giving this up to become an artist
 Sophie Ryder's work is an exploration of the female psyche and sexuality.  She frequently references the artist' s own body as it morphs with the powerful energy and form of the hare.

 The Camellia House (c1812) A Grade II Listed building inspired by the lady of the estate, Diana Beaumont

Diana Beaumont (1765–1831) played an important part in the development of the landscape of the park.  She was the illegitimate eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Wentworth Bt. (1726-1792) of Bretton Hall,

This was by far my favourite of the whole visit with its large round-arched windows, Tuscan columns and scrolled iron brackets
Yorkshire Sculpture Park is certainly worth a visit on a warmer day when you can stroll comfortably in this 1500 acre outdoor gallery and maybe take a picnic.

Perhaps I am more a gardener than an appreciator of Art!

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Late Winter Blues

I feel as though I’m waiting for the year to begin in earnest.  I shall be glad when I can get back to spending more time in the garden, at the allotment and at the coast.  It’s not that I’m a fair weather friend when it comes to being outdoors, but  we have had some pretty dismal, rainy and windy days. I’m not exactly hibernating and here are some of the things I’ve been up to:

Top: Ripley, Bottom Entrance to Fountains Abbey, bottom

Our social enterprise Yorkshire MORE has been busy building up our stocks of jams and chutneys for the BBC Good Food Fair at Harrogate in April.
We've had some interesting talks at our gardening club

I am still writing and helpingt to produce a monthly programme on local radio but have had a stream of rejections lately.
.... and a random selection of shopping finds etc.  The blue cushiony thing was a charity shop find by my granddaughter who reasoned that if people have Christmas decorations, we could have Chanukah ones.  Then there is a stone I painted with Sharpies, although chives are distinguishable enough.  The laughing Buddah is for my succulent trough.  The mug toppers are made of silicon and form a seal so strong you can almost pick up your full mug of tea, besides which they keep in the heat and keep out the bugs.  Bargain at £1.  Finally, another charity shop find is this vase which turns out to be a collectable and worth more that the £1.99 we paid for it.