Searching for patterns in a railway station and a museum

The plan to await my train in the lounge sipping a coffee and digesting the newspaper was thwarted when an irate passenger began a long, loud phone call complaining about being stuck in Crewe due to West Coast Mainline problems and not knowing what time he would be back in London. I gave up and wandered down to the platform. The sun had come out and looking up, I started thinking about abstract paintings based on the patterns of the roof structures against the sky.

Station roof 1 (1 of 1)

Station roof 2 (1 of 1)

My train was on time and after a sprint up the platform (it had come in in reverse formation) I was settled on board and in London without a problem. My first destination was the Victoria and Albert Museum where I wanted to see the ‘Fabric of India’ exhibition which is on until early January. It was all sold out on my last trip to the capital but today I was able to enjoy it. There were antique textiles from many different parts of the Indian subcontinent, with a commentary on the history and the production techniques used. The trade routes and modern Indian fashion were also included with contextual information. Amongst the many good things, I loved the Kashmiri shawls and familiar patterns (my uncle worked in a Viyella factory so my sister and I had clothes made from ‘Paisley Pattern’ fabrics as children). This map shawl showing Srinagar and Lake Dal with the mosque and surrounding countryside dating from c.1875 and was particularly interesting as I have been there and was trying to decipher the various buildings and Mughal gardens. We were not allowed to take photographs inside the exhibition but I bought the book and here are two details from the map shawl. As they are taken from photographs in the book, the colours are probably not completely accurate.

V&A Srinagar hanging 2 (1 of 1)

V&A Srinagar hanging 1 (1 of 1)

The other fabulous thing I spotted was this light in the museum foyer.

V&A light (1 of 1)

I walked from the V&A to my hotel in Kensington (11,600+ steps as I did not want to take a shortcut across the parks in the dark). Now an early night is essential before a long day tomorrow.

James Bond, paintings and a very wet drive south

Saturday was rather dreich and after a slow start and some shopping in the morning, we were off to the local cinema mid afternoon. The Dominion has sofas and footstools, a very different experience from the usual. We were off to catch the latest James Bond Film. Ever since James had a bleep number of 007 thirty years ago when we both worked in the old Royal Infirmary in Stirling, we have had to see the Bond Films. The cinema was full and there were several children’s’ parties there. This morning, with slightly better weather, the plan was to see at least one of the exhibitions at the National Gallery or the adjacent Royal Scottish Academy. Not so easy. They have been renovated and unless you enter via the Princess Street Gardens, it is very difficult to find your way around from one to the other. Eventually we found what we were looking for and the galleries were quiet.

NGS 1 (1 of 1)

I was keen to see ‘Rocks & Rivers, a display of thirteen works from the private collection of Asbjörn Lunde, New York, which are on long-term loan to the Scottish National Gallery. I don’t think I quite got the lighting and colour right on these shots:

Giuseppe Camino Forest with Raptor (1 of 1)

Giuseppe Camino’s ‘Forest with raptor’ and Alexandre Calme’s view of Jungfrau

Alexandre Calame Jungfrau (1 of 1)

After this, a quick coffee and it was back to the flat to pick up the last few things and head south. As soon as we were in the Southern Uplands there was torrential rain a lot of water on the road which lasted all the way down. We passed one accident and left the motorway near Warrington as there were huge tailbacks ahead. We made very slow progress but are now sitting in front of a warm fire.

Reading about Wyoming and driving to Edinburgh

The last two weeks have been very busy around work and home so I have not had any time for venturing further afield. However, I have been planning and making arrangements for next summer’s US coast to coast drive. We will pass through several states we have not been to before in addition to some more familiar ones. I have never visited Wyoming before so it was a happy coincidence to come across two books: one in a secondhand bookstore and one in the public library which have served as an introduction. Mark Spragg’s ‘Where Rivers Change Direction’ is an account of his growing up on one of the oldest ranches in the state, situated on the Continental Divide (we last crossed this further south in 2013 on Route 66). He describes the harsh winter weather, learning about horses, his parents and being mentored by an old cowboy. He has also written novels and I must seek them out.RiversEngland

I have read some of Annie Proulx’s novels and last month found her non-fiction account of searching out and building a property in Wyoming. ‘Bird Cloud’ is enthralling. She writes about the natural history of the area she is building in, the people and the challenge of acheiving the house she wants. This is something we will be doing in a few years as we downsize a bit. Figuring out priorities (e.g library, studio) and what compromises to make will be hard and sometimes it does not sound like downsizing.
Annie Proulx 1 (1 of 1)

This afternoon’s drive was the familiar trip to Edinburgh. I noticed that the northbound bridge near M6 Junction 18 had had a ‘D” added to the ‘Vote Pies’ directive, putting it in the past tense. In Cumbria there were very high winds, low cloud and driving rain. The recent Indian Summer and very mild autumn (I still have roses blooming) made me think that in my childhood, this would have been snow. I recall standing on snow in my Brownie uniform at the village War Memorial on Remembrance Day. Over the border, the rain had gone, some blue sky and the late afternoon sun in the golden hour beloved of photographers made the hills glow. We had an appointment in Edinburgh early evening so could not wander around with the camera much at all. Here are a couple of shots in the Clyde Valley.
Hill 1 (1 of 1)
Afternoon landscape (1 of 1)

Just before West Linton, a huge skein of geese flew over and the clouds were pink. No time to stop for photographs unfortunately.