On the rails again

Another early start on what was promising to be a hot day. The air conditioning at the station and on the train was very welcome. In Cheshire and Lancashire combines were working in the fields and most of the remaining cereal crops looked ripe. As we approached Preston the train manager announced ‘all change at Preston for the exotic resort of Blackpool’. I don’t know how many people did.
Rosebay Willowherb was in full flower alongside much of the track. Cattle were enjoying the morning sunshine sitting in the fields chewing the cud and near Carstairs, they were drinking in the Clyde. The sky was blue all the way to West Lothian where a few clouds appeared but by the time we had reached Edinburgh it was blue sky again. As I walked from Waverley to the bus stop I looked at exhibitions on at the National Galleries and will catch some either on this trip or in August. Otherwise I am hoping for a few relatively peaceful days ahead catching up with some writing and a clear out in the flat.

Homeward Bound

My train journey home on Friday was enlivened by the company of three fifty-something Liverpudlian women who were heading to Birmingham for the weekend. Nail varnish was applied, eyebrows tweaked, hair colour and texture discussed and family misdemeanors dealt with on the phone. They had a discussion with the woman opposite about the standard of nightlife in Liverpool, Wolverhampton and Birmingham – conclusion: Liverpool is for young people, there is nothing happening in Wooly these days and Birmingham is the best option. Drinks and crisps were consumed (and I was very generously offered some) and then one turned the music on her Blackberry up and we enjoyed some Michael Jackson as we crossed the Runcorn-Widnes Bridge. The train manager emerged after Runcorn to check tickets and had not got very far down the carriage before he returned to our table to ask that the music be turned down as someone had complained. The volume was reduced by a small amount with the knowledge that it would take the train manager some time to do the whole train and return to us at the back. All too soon I got to Crewe and wished my companions a good weekend.

Art in Liverpool

Friday was cooler and I had a teaching session to do in the afternoon in Liverpool. In the morning I treated myself to the Tate Gallery exhibitions: Mondrian and his Studios and Nasreen Mohamedi, an Indian artist whose work was completely unknown to me. It is always interesting to see how an artist’s work develops, particularly if only one period is well known. The exhibition covered Mondrian’s work over the years and into the abstracts we are most familiar with. I always find artists’ studios fascinating. I remember visiting Georgia O’Keefe’s last year and feeling very at home with her collection of found objects from the natural world. My little collection is on my table in the my studio. Mondrian painted squares of colour on the white walls of his studio.
Composition C (No.III) with Red, Yellow and Blue 1935 by Piet Mondrian 1872-1944
Nasreen Mohamedi also produced abstract works beginning with natural forms and moving onto very minimalist abstractions. She was also a photographer and I could appreciate her focus on cropping scenes to look at the edges and geometric forms.
Tate Liverpool chandelier
My original plan had been to spend some time down at the waterfront taking photographs as the light was particularly good, the tide out and I could see some possible compositions. Unfortunately just as I left the gallery the heavens opened and it rained very heavily. The black cloud followed me all the way from the Pier Head to Toxteth and I arrived at the hospital dripping wet. On my return walk to Lime Street Station it had fortunately eased off somewhat.