Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Day Out

Had a day out, with the DOB (dear old beloved) and my sister and her husband, to visit Pashley Manor gardens, last Saturday. The excursion turned out to be a proper "Curate's Egg".  The outward journey was uneventful apart from the driver having problem getting the right gear and rustling through papers to find the proper route.  I could not understand why he didn't have a SatNav.

Pashley Manor, is a quite splendid building but unfortunately we only had access to the gardens.  A bit of a let down because we all like a nose at other peoples' possessions, don't we.

There was some compensation for this in the form of  an Arts and Crafts Fair run by a Contemporary Design Association.

After being processed through the entry point, and receiving the statutory lecture on do's and don't's, and the positioning of the facilities, we set-off for the, almost mandatory, visit to the convenience.

On the way we met this figure, and I'm not sure whether this was done by designed, but the siting of this sculpture struck me as being very carefully and cunningly thought out. It is a very clever piece of positioning, as it stands in place just outside the WCs., with a look of spiritual, cerebral and physical strain and contemplation and carries the titled, I think of "Reflection".  The sitting pose, with knees drawn up, hints at a discomfort that to  needs to be (to use an old one) worked out with logarithms or a pencil.

The borders were nicely maintained, weeded - which is not always the case with Gardens open to the public - and beautifully planted with plants that are, for the most part, freely available.  The main feature, however, was the statues - I don't propose to show them here, your can look them up on-line - that are strategically placed throughout the gardens.  A number of woodcarvings were featured in a wooded part of the garden, and I suspect for a limited period only because they were offered for sale.  Again the placing was carefully, cleverly, thought out because without exception they had that nymphy, greenman, middle-earth feel that appeals to our innerly suppressed tree-hugger souls.

I cannot leave without a mention of the craft fair, after-all I am a wood turner.  There was some very cleverly done stuff. but also a lot of pretension.  There were three Wood turners, one of which was displaying a little goblet on a 5 foot 6 inch stem - not my thing (did one with a 7 inch stem, didn't see the point of doing any more) but very skillful, nonetheless. Amongst the knitters, embroiderers, sewers, jewellery-makers, there were a couple of lead-light makers - this I found was quite interesting because at one time I worked for a firm of glaziers and we made lead-lights.  It was the turners that really were of interest to me, certainly two of them, and maybe, all three considered themselves as Artists rather than craftsmen, and charged their prices accordingly.  The DOB summed it up when she picked up  a 10 or 11 inch bowl, looked at the price and said - in that voice that penetrates lead - , "...how much; £70, yours are much better and you give them away...".  The guy on the stall looked a little put out, perhaps because he had one or two interested punters.  I don't think he was absolutely pacified when I told him that I was a turners and she was a critic.

The homeward journey was something that no-one anticipated, not even the DOB, the arch-pessimist, expected what we got. We were supposed to have gone for afternoon tea, but the coach expired. it was struck down into immobility with a loss of revs that could not be recovered.  A two hour wait ensued and the tedium was only partially relieved by frustration of other motorists trying to squeeze past us. A new, but very much older, coach eventually arrived and we were quickly on our way, but with the Afternoon Tea stop no longer a possibility most peoples' thoughts were being concentrated on the need to empty out  rather then fill up.  The driver offered a stop in Tunbridge Wells or the Services on the M25 - we opted for the latter.  Not the right choice.  Everyone was off the coach in record time with slightly squeezed faces and smartly back on with relieved smiles anticipating a relatively short journey home.  How wrong could we be?  The driver just could not get the coach into reverse - every gear went forward - that would have been OK except for a "Bloody Great Cast Iron Pole" that was in the way.  After listening to a one-sided conversation, that had it's own entertainment value, we decided to get off the coach and push it backwards so that it could drive forwards.

We eventually got home, and the letters of complaint will (are), no doubt, duly be(ing) written and the organisers will come to some arrangement, but I wonder was the experience of more value as a story to be told the grand kids, or anybody else that will listen, than any compensation we receive?

1 comment:

  1. Well, I enjoyed it! The best part of your post though was the strategically placed statue outside the WCs.