Friday, 31 August 2012

More Somerset touring and Bits of Bath

A lovely start to the day with clear blue skies - and a bit cool. It made our neighbours' back veranda look like part of the Riviera.
Valerian framed against the blue sky. 
Great to see this sunflower actually in the sun.
We went over to Hungerford Road in Bath - nice stone frontage to these houses.
Then it was off to Midsomer Norton via Marksbury. I really like this church steeple.
We went through High Littleton and Hallatrow.
Then it was Paulton past the old Purnell print works, now being reclaimed for housing.
Then into Norton to pick up my glasses - fixed in record time.
After that, we repaired to Whiteways Garden Centre in Bath with views over the Somerset countryside we had just driven through. Great cloudscapes as well.
After some lunch, I took Bella out for a walk up past the golf course. Saw this one thistle flower with three very pollen-covered bees drinking in all the nectar. They seemed quite drunk on it.
Thistle down was blowing in the wind, ready to scatter.
One that got away!
Another thistle flower with another very interested bee drinking the nectar..
Some small wild scabious flowers.
A bender in the making in the woods.
This day a year ago, we went to see Pedro ALmodovar's "The Skin I Live In", a good film indeed. On the way, saw this display of toxically coloured lollies in a sweet shop.
Talking of films, "Shadow Dancer" the other night was very atmospheric and tense - a couple of good plot twists. Andrea Riseborough was very good and Clive Own was - Clive Owen, as usual.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Tour of Somerset

After the last few days' concentration of applying viscous liquids to hard surfaces (AKA "decorating"), we had a jaunt through Somerset today. The sun came out as we drove South from Bath.
By a circuitous route, we came through Buckland Dinham (between Frome and Radstock).
Then we passed through Kilmersdon (The "Jack and Jill" village - and, yes, there is a big hill for them to have tumbled down).
We finally arrived at our destination - Wells, to see this decorated swan on the way to the car park. 
Had a delicious lunch at the excellent veggie restuarant, "The Good Earth", before venturing further where we came upon another decorated swan. It turns out that there are 60 0f them in all, to be auctioned off in September as part of a scheme like Bath's pigs and lions and Bristol's gorillas (all featured in this blog over the last couple of years).
We didn't spot all 60 of the swans, but saw quite a few on our meander up the High Street.
Many were positioned outside shops, and decorated with some relevance to them. I didn't always spot the reason for the particular decoration, but the swans were very attractive.
After a cup of coffee, and a visit to Anokhi (Su's favourite shop), we wandered round the Market Square and saw lots more swans. This one was at the back of the Crown Hotel.
This red, white and blue one was outside the town hall.
This was near the National Trust shop - nice colours.
This one was in the Bishop's Palace gardens, where the actual swans tend to hang out in Wells (lots of tourists to feed them there). 
This bewigged swan was outside a firm of solicitors 
 Outside a kitchen shop and gallery.
I dodn't notice where this one was placed, but loved the iridescent mosaics which really caught the sunshine. 
Further down the road in a charity shop, Wells showed its proximity to the Glastonbury festival site with these dungeons and dragons-type figurines.
On the shelf above, lots of eastern mystical statues to complement them.
In a newsagent window, an opportunity to buy a fluffy swan for only £14.99…
Came home by a more direct route, stopping in Chewton Mendip (ancestral seat of William Waldegrave, former Tory minister) to buy some provisions at the local shop.
Got home and took Bella out for a nice long walk up past Charlcombe church (stopping by the Holy Well) and down through the valley. Resisted the temptation to get even higher…
Nice flowers just coming out.
Dropped down the hill and crossed the stream, into which Bella happily splashed. She is definitely a water dog! This was the view looking up the valley into the sunny afternoon.
A lovely sunset here tonight  - promising another nice day tomorrow?
This day a year ago, we went off for lunch on the Gloucester Road in Bristol, then (deep joy!) onto Ikea to look at kitchen sinks (which we finally installed this Summer) before rounding off the day with a Street Party organising meeting in the pub down the road.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Rain, Painting, Dentist and More Painting

A very rainy morning. I waited until the rain subsided a bit before walking Bella (old dogs are so more tolerant). These teazles are definitely entering Autumn mode.
Similarly, this plant whose flowers have turned dark red/brown.
Finished off putting the second coat of emulsion on the walls in the bedroom this morning, then went and met Su at Prior Park Garden Centre's Secret Garden Cafe for lunch. After that, it was off to the dentist with my loosened crown. Luckily, he was able to reaffix it (I had expected a much more expensive bill!) - and with no pain whatsoever. On the way back, stopped at traffic lights and saw the next band of rain massing for a downpour
Not long after getting back home, the rain started in earnest.
It was strong enough for me to be able to get a photograph of the raindrops coming down - they were so heavy.
Then, an hour or so later, the skies cleared and the sun came out (after Su had taken Bella out for her walk). I carried on with my painting task, and have applied the first (and I hope only) coat of eggshell to the wood work. It does look good!
This day a year ago, we were at Westonbirt's Festival of the Tree on Bank Holiday Monday. I was impressed by this wooden dragon.
Must dash - we are off out to the pictures shortly to see "Shadow Dancer:, with Andrea Riseborough and Clive Owen - review tomorrow

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Lots Going On Today

An odd photo to start with today - this is what I managed to photograph of the heavy rain last night in the beam of my camping torch. It looked better to the naked eye, but was a bit of a challenge for the iPhone's camera!
In contrast to yesterday, this morning looked quite promising weather-wise. Just as well, seeing as I was up earlier than I would have liked after watching the film "Eagle Eye" on the TV late last night in order to be ready for the heating engineer to service our boiler.
Dropped Su off in town before driving off to Midsomer Norton to get my glasses fixed (the optician's I bought them at has moved there). Saw this most unusual bumper sticker on a wheelie bin - I was impressed by the vocabulary used!
More word play in evidence on Midsomer Norton High Street - this chalkboard notice for a newly opened tattoo parlour.
The weather had turned a bit grey and threatened rain, not for the last time today.
Came home and about to get stuck into Round 2 of emulsion painting, when our neighbour came round with his new-to-them MacBook with a few questions that needed sorting out. I decide to have some lunch before tackling painting, then the phone went. It was a neighbour on holiday asking me to let a delivery person collect something from their house round the corner. So, Bella got an unexpected early afternoon stroll (avoiding another potential shower in the process). Saw another garage that is used for storing a vehicle and not "stuff"!
This is new graffiti, but it looks aged - must not have used the right brand!
After that, I finally managed to reacquaint myself with the joys of emulsion paint. We are using the favourite brand of cats - cosy matt:-)!
Painted until the tin ran out (Su bought more when she was out) - admired our ripening grapes as I took Bella out for her proper walk.
Saw this old hinge support on the way.
Flowers overhanging the path.
This graffiti looked a bit hammer-and-sickle-like at first glance, but I wouldn't think the artist is a Marxist somehow…
Abandoned baby's bottle on the overgrown grass of the football pitch.
Bella played in the stream and then we climbed up the hill through the field of umbellifers. The weather had brightened up by now, and the temperature was going up as well.
I noticed lots of fine detail in the plants today - maybe because I am wearing glasses with my old prescription while the others get fixed?
These umbellifers keep on giving - this is their post-flower, pre-seed phase.
Not to be outdone, the thistles are still hanging on in there too.
On Charlcombe Lane, more building works - here railway sleepers holding back the hillside while they work on a parking area/garage.
Lovers carve each others' initials into tree trunks, BT engineers carve obscure numbering conventions into telegraph poles (or is it code for "I love ISDN"?).
The stolen egg container has been replaced with a more modest enamelled bread bin - not on full display like the other one used to be.
This day a year ago was Bank Holiday Sunday. We had been off to an event in Alice Park, but diverted to Victoria Park when the skies opened - I braved the rain with Bella while Su stayed dry in the car and took this photograph of us contemplating quite how we were going to get soaked on our walk.