Sunday 31 March 2024

Peaks: Stanage and Froggatt

Events constrained us to only one free day over Easter (and various abrasions and next-day-bones perhaps suggested that one day was enough), so Saturday saw me driving D, E and little Mi up to the Peaks, starting at the not especially unearthly hour of 7 am, or 6 am if you include getting breakfast and so on (and quietly forgetting the three pints with P and M I'd had the night before at the Castle; this may also be a good place to note Mi's helping plane down the underneath of the living room door). At my steady 65 mph up the A1 - blessedly clear - and Google's choice of Ecoroute, we took about 2:45 to get to Hathersage, where we had the traditional breakfast stop, and a quick look at the guidebooks, before doing the usual "well we'll go up to Stanage and see what's free". Wx: fine, sun and cloud, not cold, except in the wind at the top.

So a bit before 11 we left the car at the already-full carpark and headed up. This was Mi's first time out in the Real World. GPS trace. I lead Flying Buttress, and we watched someone doing the direct. Still a good route, and quite "interesting" getting from the side onto the slab on top. From there we moved not-very-far to Leaning Buttress Indirect, which D lead easily (well it is only VD).


From the ground E didn't believe it is possible to squeeze through the "Bishop's move" but it is. Oh, and D then top-roped the HVS direct.

After that to Hollybush Crack, which gets about my fourth ascent, but it is still fun. The start was easier this time; perhaps because it was entirely dry. I lead in my lovely Magdalen tights. And here's E and Mi at the top, with the landscape stretching away. My old helmet doesn't really suit Mi, but then again it never suited me either.


Lunch again at Outside, and I tried on various mountaineering boots, without finding a pair I really liked. Perhaps the Aequilibrium that EB had in Cambridge?

And so to Froggatt, now quite late, indeed we didn't start walking in till about 4:30. At this point the light was lovely, although the direction made for a poor photo. People were packing up so it was quiet. We did Allen's Slab, S; D lead it easily, I followed with slight trepidation on the rising traverse and even more on the pull up, but managed to force faith-in-friction onto myself and get my leg far enough up, and was up. It was good that D was so well within himself, because his gear was not the finest; but that's fine, part of the point is the practice (here's someone on Youtube massively over-gearing it, and also evading the crux by going a bit further R into the next crack, for the pull-up). E and Mi decided not to follow but go up the D (Slab Recess) which lead to the comedy of oh-we-need-to-get-D's-gear-out, but fortunately it fell out by itself while fiddling the rope.


And so away. By the end the sun was setting, and the light and the trees were even more lovely.


* Peaks: Stanage and Birchens (2023/04/08).

Boxing Day at Horseshoe Quarry (2022/12/27).

A trip to Pembroke (2022/09).

The leaves of Chatsworth lie thick on the ground (2015/11/15).

Stanage with Daniel and Jamie (2014/05/25).

* Chatsworth with Howard (2014/03).

* Stanage, 2013.

* Stanage; us with Howard and others (2010/04).

Tuesday 26 March 2024

London: Cloth Fair, Wigmore, Westminster, Courtauld, National Gallery, St Bartholomew the Great, RA

Mfd+J gave us a stay at the Landmark Trust's 43 Cloth Fair, to celebrate M's retirment and my 60th.


It was Betjeman's pied a terre. This is a "photo essay", which is to say I shall not trouble you with many words. If you don't recognise the pictures... check your culture. Full photo set here.


That's at the Wigmore Hall. Next morning, Westminster Abbey, which neither of us has ever seen, we think. I hadn't realised just how stuffed full of memorials it is. Some discretely understated:


And some absurdly elaborate, like this life-size figure, one of four:


And the flag-chapel is stunning.


Then off to the Courtauld, and would you believe that M wanted lunch?


I'm having an only-take-famous-pictures jag.


Fortunately the C, whilst not the largest collection, is relatively free of fluff.


I'd better stop there. We move on to the National Gallery.


I finally found this. Sorry about the reflections near the top, the NG aren't very good with their lighting.


Skipping lightly over my favourite spiderman and Bosch, we close with


Famous from my O-level history textbook on the development of the English in the 17th or whatever century. Home, via sunset views of St Paul's and quasi-dream views of alien spaceships. M, who had skipped the NG, was hard at work at home.


Sunday morning dawned. I had a quick walk around, which I spent entirely in St Bartholomew the Great, it being more interesting than I'd expected from Pevsner, with a lovely old feel.


There was a service going on, but they had gathered at the far end in the shelter of the altar so I wasn't disturbing them. Thence to the RA for intersectional coloniality and so on, which alas wasn't to my tastes particularly artistically interesting (I should have taken the large vibrant guy posing against a bright abstract background which Aesthetica has the good taste to highlight).


Flaming June, and some other RA-type stuff, is tucked away at the back.


After that we parted ways, M to church-crawl and me to Vets Head.


Tuesday 12 March 2024

A visit to Magdalen and Elias

We are uneasily aware that Miranda's time at Magdalen grows short. Here are some pictures from a visit for Friday Evening Prayers, Formal Hall, and a visit to the Ashmolean.

The cloisters, by the Old Library stair. I quite like "light in the cloisters" too, but I can't inline every one.


And above the archway, just visible in the picture above:


Addiscombe's walk. Alas I didn't find fritillaries, but Miriam did. Don't miss Lewis's poem.


Nearly at the end of the Walk:


Funeral pall of Henry VII (Cloth of Gold):


Dutch tiles; note Noah's ark.


St Catherine.



* Ashmolean: Egypt (2023/12)

Cezanne: a trip to London (2023/03)

Book review: The Load of Unicorn

PXL_20240312_200052445~3The Load of Unicorn is a children's historical novel written and illustrated by Cynthia Harnett. It was first published in 1959, as wiki will tell you.

My interest is in remembering it from childhood; the title, but not the story. And not with this cover; perhaps, the Puffin version shown here. Recently I bought it from Oxfam, and "gave" it to Miranda as a Christmas-present-loan, but have it back now.

The story is of Caxton, and printing-vs-scriveners, and of the Morte d'Arthur. It is, as it appears, a children's book, but pleasant enough for an adult to read.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Film review: Princess Mononoke

Christ's BCD Princess Mononoke is an animated Studio Ghibli thingy. It is quite good; the animation is mostly quite interesting with nice effects, the storyline carries you along. There is no great depth to it I think but that's not a problem.

The demons and gods are Shinto-ish: spirits-of-place, powerful but not all-powerful, mostly unburdened by speech. They can be defeated by Heroes but normal mortals turn away in fear.

There is no clear moral. Gunz-are-bad starts off looking like the moral but that kinda fades. Possibly respect-nature. And possibly, "Shinto", though I don't know enough about it to be sure.

The wriggly-eels around the demons is genuinely disturbing, so well done for that. Some of the isn't-the-forest-beautiful stuff was a little cloying though.