Popular 2012 Posts: Day 2 February 2012

I thought with the run up to Christmas I would re-blog my most popular (and favourite) blog posts of 2012.   I have had so many new readers and followers throughout the year, both them and new first time readers may like to have a chance to re-read or see past posts they may have missed on the Hurtled to 60 blog.

Click HERE to read DAY 2:  Most popular February 2012 post

Redundancy: I Will Survive – 16 February 2012

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I Must Go Down to the Sea Again

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

“I must go down to the seas again” – John Masefield

The British weather is so unpredictable.  Who would have thought that today was going to be so beautiful.   The Weather Channel said that the high today was 50° F, (10°C), although it certainly felt much warmer than that.   I live within 10 minutes walk of the beach and sometimes weeks go by without me going down there, so in the words of John Masefield this morning I thought “I must go down to the seas again”.

Just the morning for a walk along the sea edge, with my camera.   Come and join me, the sun was warm, there was no breeze. it was so still, the sky was a magnificent blue, and the sea was calm with the sun shimmering, almost blindingly, on it.

Everyone had the same idea this morning.   The World and his wife were out with their dogs, on their bikes or just walking, like me, along the coastal path.  There are two ways to walk along Worthing seafront, right to left along the promenade towards the pier and the town or left to right which is a rough path and you can walk miles this way along the headland.  This is the way we are going.

The path has its good share of strategically placed benches, so if you want to you can take a seat and contemplate life.

It probably will not have gone unnoticed that Worthing beach is shingle.   I saw an old photo of Worthing in Victorian times and the beach was sand then.  Over the years, with sea protection in mind, shingle has been continually added and now creates a very steep drop down to the sea edge.  The tide goes out a very long way, and if you are lucky you can still find small patches of sand.

The other thing that doesn’t go unnoticed when you are walking along the coastline is that we suffer from an abundance of seaweed.  There are times when the smell is overwhelming.  Apart from its smell, I like seaweed, it is so varied in shape and colour.

If you don’t mind making your way over the seaweed, which is sometimes inches deep, we can go down to the water’s edge.  As I said earlier the sea was quite calm today, rolling in gently and soapy, it was as though someone had filled it with washing up liquid.

A little further along the path, beyond the houses, as you look out to your right, you can see the Downs.  I love this part of the walk, the view is great on both sides.

At this point, I turned around and made my way back.  We could go on further along the headland but I will leave that for another day.   A walk such as this on a warm November day makes me remember how very lucky I am to live by the sea.   Below are  a few more of the sea photos I took this morning.  They speak louder than words.

I hope you enjoyed that walk with me.  The weather stayed good all day, which meant I was able to take my Mum out this afternoon.  As she is in a wheelchair we went the other way along the flat promenade towards the town, where we found an ice cream van.  We had a lovely mother and daughter afternoon to be treasured.

All in all, today was a wonderful day!

© Hurtlingtowards60 and ©Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Everything back to normal – or is it?

There was a fatality at Gatwick airport railway station last night. A man was hit by a train at 4.45 pm. You can imagine the disruption it caused, it affected thousands of people just at home time. All trains stopped whilst the power was turned off. People were apparently stranded on trains halted midway between stations and station platforms were heaving with people trying to decide alternative ways home. To make matters worse the rain was coming down as though it was the monsoon season. It occurred to me that it was probably more apt weather for such a tragedy although awful for the rescue crews to work in.

I was fortunate, someone in the office had not left and phoned me at the station offering me a lift home. I was only 20 minutes later home this usual but I understand the trains were still running up to 2 hours late well into the evening.

I was told this morning, by a work colleague, that this incident was caused by what is known as “a jumper”. The man was seen to just step off the platform into the path of the oncoming Portsmouth train. He must have been in an awful state of mind to take his life this way, and sadly a surprising number of people take this option of suicide; what a wake of destruction he left behind him.

When I looked around this morning all seemed back to normal as though nothing had ever happened. But is it? There is the trauma the train driver must be suffering, and the people on the station who saw what happened. Not to forget the station staff, not only at Gatwick but other stations who were bombarded with questions from angry, tired and wet commuters who just wanted to get home.

Not everything was quite back to normal. The trains were running with fewer carriages due to rolling stock being in the wrong places. We had announcements on the train apologising for the short form of trains and explaining this was due to a fatality at Gatwick last night and Southern Rail de-restricted the First Class compartments to allow standing commuters seats. That is something you rarely hear.

Did the man have any family? If so they must be devastated at the horror of the manner in which a loved one had chosen to take his life.

I hope that those involved in the tragedy last night, from the train driver, the rescue crew and the bystanders, as well as his family, find the strength to come to terms and recover. As for the man himself, may he now find peace.

Beach Huts and Fishing Boats

I’ve just had a “holiday-at-home” and come to the conclusion that it’s important (for me anyway) that a proper vacation away is infinitely more beneficial than a week at home.   It has not been at all restful, mainly because of the constant reminder of jobs that need to be done.  It’s been a busy week, whereas if I had actually packed a suitcase and taken off, I would have had meals cooked for me, visited places of interest and finished the evening sitting in a bar with a large gin and tonic (or two).    As it is, I have decorated my lounge, paid several trips to the recycling/rubbish tip, been out shopping and bought things I didn’t really need and managed one day in the garden.   The fact that it rained most days stopped me from spending all my time in the garden, which probably would have been more relaxing, albeit it hard work.

Many people may see living on the Sussex coast,  there is need to go on holiday with the sea just under a 10 minute walk away, a walk I don’t do often enough.   Yesterday, with a holiday perspective,  I  took my camera to the seafront with the idea that I would write a post with lots of photos,  introducing you all to the 5.5 miles of  Worthing coastline which runs  from Ferring and Lancing.

I took lots of photos, but there were dark clouds in the sky and the sun was coming in and out, making the lighting difficult.  I played with the exposure and what I thought were going to be good and exciting photos, were either over exposed or too dark.  Disappointing.

Today the weather is glorious, the sun is shining , without a cloud in the sky and this morning I went down to the sea again to give my idea another go.

All along the sea front there are white beach huts in rows set up on high ground, above the shingle beach to one side and an expanse of green sward, where families gather for picnics.    On a windy day, you will find windsurfers and kitesurfers with their paraphernalia laid out on the grass.

The photos of the huts below I took on Friday, you can see how stormy the sky looked.

What a difference a day makes.   The sun brings out the World and his wife so I had to wait a while for a break between people and their dogs walking along the path,  to take this photo.  I allowed the painter to remain where he was!

I would dearly love to own a beach hut.   These sell for between £8,000 and £12,000 which is astronomical for what is ostensibly a garden hut in a prime location.   The drive from Ferring towards the main part of Worthing, is one of my favourites, looking over the grassy area rising to the (mostly) pristine white huts evenly spaced with benches in between.   What we see in photographs is a very personal thing, but I love the one below and think I’ll have it made into a canvas.  Something about it reminds me of Stonehenge, although I can’t think why!

I can’t write a post about the seaside without including photos of the sea, so here is a selection of the many shots I took both yesterday and today.  The sun was really sparkling on the sea, and if you concentrate you may just be able to hear the swishing of the shingle as the sea washes over it and retreats ready to roll in again for another onslaught.

Worthing beach is very susceptible to seaweed and on days when the sea has been very rough, the ‘aroma’ of seaweed wafts around the town – not always very pleasant.  It lies thick on the shingle, making walking to the water’s edge difficult and in the summer if you feel the urge for a paddle, it wraps its slimy self around your ankles.   However, when you really look at it, the variety of shapes and colours is fascinating.

I can’t complete a post about our coastline without photos of the fishing boats.  These you will find dotted on the edge of the beach at the Ferring end and again at the East Worthing/Lancing end.  Fishing used to be the mainstay of the Worthing economy in the 19th century and even today you can buy freshly caught fish of the day from the fishermen in the car parks dotted along the way.

Whilst there is plenty of parking in the road from Ferring to Worthing,  there are double white lines on the road between Worthing and Lancing.  It meant I couldn’t complete my photo tour for you but this last photo is taken from what is called “Splash Point” and you can see how the bay runs around to Lancing, with Shoreham and Brighton in the background.   You can probably tell from the sky that this was another of the photos taken on Friday.

I hope you enjoyed this taster of the  Worthing coastline, it has certainly reignited for me the reasons why I live here.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

When art becomes part of the garden

It is only recently that I have taken a fresh look at art in the garden and the difference in how it is displayed.   Is it a garden with art in it, or art in the garden?    I think there is a big difference.   Let me explain.  Several years ago I paid a visit to West Dean Gardens, with someone who was not really a gardener, let alone interested in gardens.   At the time West Dean were exhibiting a variety of sculptures around the gardens.   My companion was quite rude about the fact there was art in the garden and couldn’t see its place, commenting that art should be in an art gallery.   The problem, I suppose, was that it didn’t blend with the surroundings, the sculptures were placed in the open, with the gardens being used as a backdrop.   I enjoyed looking at them and tried to uphold the idea of displaying art in surroundings other than indoors.

Gardens are used a lot for displaying pieces created by local and national artists and the way they are displayed is important.    Obviously, as art is seen differently by us all, the manner in which we view it is a matter of taste also.  I have come to realise that I like seeing art within the garden, strategically placed to become part of the garden, rather than standing alone as in an outdoor gallery.

So what has made me think about art in the garden?   A few weeks ago I stayed at The Mill at Gordleton near Lymington in the New Forest.

The privately owned hotel is a 400 year old mill set in two acres of garden with a river running through the grounds.  It is here you will come across some interesting and varied pieces of art.  They are unusual and different and rather than being “set down” in the garden,  the sculptures have been used within and have become part of the garden.

I am not in a shape or form an expert in art and the comments I make below are purely my own personal opinions but I would be interested to know what you think about art in the garden.

I liked this bronze straightaway and found it fascinating the way a face is nestled within the flowerbed.    When we sat in the dining room at breakfast and looked out at this part of the garden, it can be seen at the end of the garden.   I can imagine it is quite a talking point over dinner and breakfast by many.

This chandelier made from Recycled glass, plastic and copper  hangs over the river and is viewed from the bridge.  Initially I didn’t like it but sometimes art grows on you and the more I walked passed it the more I liked it.  I suppose because it was not  what you would expect as you cross a river.  I began to see how clever it positioning was, amidst the trees.

I thought the oversized stone apple and pear were ideally positioned next to a tree as though they had just fallen from the branches.  Ok, a stretch of imagination but isn’t that what art is all about?   They look so smooth, even now I feel I want to touch them.

An amusing piece of art which is used for a purpose.  This is a gate I would have in my garden, just to make visitors smile.

  • Tree Fountain – Julian Bailey

There is a lot of garden  to wander around at The Mill, and as you cross one of the little bridges over the river you arrive at a tranquil place to sit, either with a cup of tea in the afternoon or a gin and tonic in the evening.

Here you will see the Tree Fountain, which also lights up at night.   Another beautiful setting for a clever piece of sculpture.

These are just a sample of what you will find as you walk around , I could fill this blog post with many more, and if you are interested take a look at  Art at The Mill.

Just one more though.  As we sat outside, overlooking the river, eating the most delicious lunch, we could see a number of  insects happily sitting around.

As you look around you will find lots of  these sculptures made from recycled metal, all carefully placed so they don’t look out of place.

We had a lovely short stay at The Mill at Gordleton.   Maybe I have seen to many episodes of  The Hotel Inspector,  there were one or two things that I don’t think would have passed muster, such as the mucky grouting around the shower and an old sponge left in the bathroom bin.  I would have liked a bowl of  fresh fruit for breakfast instead of the various pots of dried fruit for the “make your own” muesli, but  if you are a cooked breakfast person you would be spoilt for choice and I was reliably informed the scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages were excellent.

The upside was that the staff were exceptional, friendly and helpful.  We were greeted by Liz, the owner, who clearly is very hands on and made us feel very welcome.   What more could one want?   I also learned that you have cucumber with Tanquery gin – now that is not something many bar staff  would  know!  It wasn’t a cheap weekend but The Mill at Gordleton  is definitely one place I will return when I am in need of a chill-out weekend.

Now back to where I started and the whole point about this post.  What is your  view of  using art in the garden, either as an  exhibition or integrating it into the garden as part of the design?

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Are you Social Network Savvie?

Why do I find it surprising when the not so old and particularly the young, proudly announce they don’t understand Twitter, Facebook, blogging or any kind of social networking or even how to use their smartphones?

A young girl at work was quite happy to tell me that she had no idea how to use her smartphone for photographs or access the internet. This same girl, a few weeks ago, said how impressed she was that someone ‘of my age’, not only uses Twitter but also blogs. She doesn’t use Twitter or blog, she is not interested which is fair enough. She is not alone, I have friends who are totally phased at the thought of blogging. There are even some who, with satisfaction, proclaim that they don’t have email because they wouldn’t know how to use it. My dad is 87 and is lost when his internet connection goes down.

Folk in their 40s and 50s, tell me that they wouldn’t mind using Twitter are worried they don’t know how it works. Am I intolerant in my old age, well 60? I can’t understand why so many folks are not getting to grips with modern technology. It is there, waiting and easy to use. Yes, it is scary – I put off using Twitter for a while before realising how very simple it is. I go through phases with Twitter, some weeks I tweet relentlessly and others I am hardly there.

Blogging is my lifeline and an all important diary, whether anyone reads or not it doesn’t really matter, although it makes it worthwhile to know people around the world read and enjoy what write and my photos.

I use Facebook as a valuable way to keep in touch with family and friends, exchange photos and follow what is happening in the life of my nearest and dearest. I don’t have hundreds of “friends”, I only have 28, that’s enough to keep tabs on. The other useful arm to Facebook is having a Hurtled to 60 Facebook Page on which I share blog posts.

At work we have something like Facebook called Yammer. Company information is posted on Yammer, if you don’t use it you miss out. Yet there are still employees who refuse to join. Is that shortsighted? I think so, but on the other hand it is possibly wrong of the firm to use this as the only vehicle to spread company news.

With this in mind, it would be interesting to run a poll to find out people’s thoughts about social networking. Please join in, it is just for fun.

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