Saturday, July 25, 2015

Summer Holidays

Such a lot going on and I've not posted again for two weeks. SO, since my last post, summer has been an intermittent affair of hot sun and cold rain and the last week or so, the weather has turned decidedly cool. On one of those cool days, I got to catch up with my friend and journalist and sometime Sci-fi/Horror writer, Michael Logan, which was great fun.

Michael On The Beach

Even though it was every bit as cold and windy as this looks!

Next, it was off to Birmingham for a visit, a city of which I am very fond and, of course, the centre of the jewellery industry in the UK - despite what London would claim! I always love going there as it is not only still industrial and people actually make things there, but it is also genuinely multi-cultural and seems much more integrated than most of the rest of the UK. Add to the fact that it has some of the finest industrial landscapes and architecture within the city itself and it all becomes most appealing:

Ornate Brickwork - 1

Canal Scene With Boat

Although I was there for business reasons - which will be disclosed very soon - there was time to take in one of my favourite pursuits and to visit an abandoned factory. I noticed this when I was walking to the meeting in the morning, a hole in the wall off the canal footpath:

Forward Rolling Mills, Birmingham - 1

I knew that I was going to go back!

There are some phenomenal Victorian buildings in the city which has only really recently started to suffer from the "high-rise" syndrome of most other large cities in the UK, consequently the history of the place is still visible:


Derelict Buildings - 2

Unfortunately, all too many of these properties are in this sad condition.

After the meeting, I returned to the factory for more explorations -

Forward Rolling Mills, Birmingham - 21

Forward Rolling Mills, Birmingham - 6

Forward Rolling Mills, Birmingham - 32

I discovered from discarded paperwork that this place used to be a foundry and rolling mill for processing metal and that it shut down in 2006. It was also good to stock up on the nuts that I use for rings!

Forward Rolling Mills, Birmingham - 44

I then met up with an old friend, James, and we went off to explore one of the architectural oddities of the city, Pugin's positively Hanseatic St Chad's Cathedral:

Basilica Of St. Chad - 1

This is a remarkable building for many reasons, for me largely to do with the disconnect between the expectation generated by the exterior structure and the unexpected Catholic opulence within:

Basilica Of St. Chad - 2

Basilica Of St. Chad - 8

Basilica Of St. Chad - 7

I then spent some time catching up on the jewellery gossip with Norman Cherry - whom I have not seen in ages - before heading back to the hotel and Brighton.

Club Logo

For ages, I've been wanting to visit The Magic Circle in London for one of their tours and to see the museum and finally this happened. I had wanted to see it before preparing the work for the ACJ show, "Sleight of Hand", but lining up my own availability with the limited visiting was rather difficult. I didn't get a chance to take many photographs, but the tour is well worth taking as it comprises not only a visit to the premises and the museum but also two small magic shows, one close-up and one in the theatre at the top of the building.

The museum is brilliant and had an exhibit which would have been good to see before making the piece for the "Sleight of Hand" show, the cufflinks of Chung Lin Soo:

The Cufflinks of Chung Ling Soo - 1

A few more shots from the museum:

Sooty (and others)

Heads in a Case

Not much else to report except that the Brighton garden now has peanuts growing in it!

Arachis hypogaea

I just planted some unsalted, unroasted red-skin peanuts and they grew.