Walking for Lent

It is Ash Wednesday and the first day of my walking pledge. James had a dental appointment and a few things to do in one of our nearest towns and I wanted to pick up some more books from the library. After weeks of storms and heavy rain it was a joy to wake up to blue sky and sunshine although it is still a little cold. We headed into town by car, I got my books and fortified by a coffee in a local cafe, set off for the return journey on foot. One of the pleasures of my usual walking route into town is a short section in the woods at the edge of a country park. Today, I know that at least one friend is walking with me in spirit even though he lives in another part of the country.

Path in the woods Astbury Mere (1 of 1)In places, the autumn leaves are still lying but in others spring flowers are emerging.

Trees Astbury Mere (1 of 1)

Trees 2 Astbury Mere (1 of 1)

The shapes of some of the trees often start to suggest abstract compositions to me and this out of focus shot of the mere through the branches and trunks of the trees has given me several ideas.

Trees 3 Astbury Mere (1 of 1)This walk was over four miles and other outings including a food shopping trip took me up to the five miles I was aiming for.

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.