Thursday, October 29, 2009

Postcard from Chesil Beach

I admit it.  I'm catching up on a backlog of 'postings' from a few months of visits to the South West, and this photo is a few months old.  Am just trying to get ahead of the Royal Mail and their inevitable backlog...
My time spent on Chesil Beach was inspired by the fact I was reading the novel of that name and thought I'd try a little co-location of the reading experience.  Not all of Ian McEwan's settings are real, but the suck and draw of the pebbles resisting the tide on this breakwater certainly are.  Attempting to hold pages open while the wind whipped them about, losing my place, wasn't easy but did add to my appreciation of the difficulty of the characters' situation.  And the physical effort of walking over those stones would leave anyone with scant energy to pursue more difficult, emotional goals.
I don't intend to get obsessive about visiting the locations I read about (I'm currently reading a book set in London.  1920s London.  Can you imagine the difficulties that would arise?), but as an experiment this was a successful one.  There are many more reasons to go to Chesil Beach though.  Well worth a detour any time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Postcard from Wells

Vicars' Close in Wells claims to be one of the oldest planned streets in Europe. Not that there haven't been renovations and improvement works: those chimneys were added in the fifteenth century to introduce some mod cons. And the streetlights are electric.

The changes of more recent years aren't so photogenic and explain the odd angle of this picture. Residents are now allowed to park their cars in front of their houses. The design of a twenty first century car may have a lot to commend it but, in this ancient street, you have to wonder what present day planning officials were thinking.

Vorsprung durch technik? Maybe not in this case.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Postcard from underwater II

County Hall used to be home to the Greater London Council. These days, the sharks there are real, and they're not afraid to show their teeth.
Palpable agression emanates from the tank, the quiet wisdom on the faces of replica Easter Island heads doing nothing to soothe its occupants.
Of course the aquarium staff are playing on the public's fears - piping tense music from speakers nearby, adding to the discomfort of standing there. Watching these fish swim isn't a relaxing experience; it is an interesting one though. The sharks are more compelling than any councillor could be.