Sagrada Familia Temple – Barcelona – Photos

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

I visited the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona during my Spanish trip to visit the Sitges Quilt Show.  I’m ashamed to say that when I first saw it I thought that all the cranes and builders were doing restoration work.  In fact the building is still under construction.  Work began on it in 1882 and although the interior of the church is complete and has been consecrated, the exterior is still being built.  they are hoping to complete it by 2026 to commemorate the death of Antoni Gaudi in 1926.

Gaudi was the second architect to work on the construction and more or less devoted his life to it.  The church is beautiful on the outside, but totally, eyewateringly, exquisite on the inside.  I feel that I want to call it a cathedral, but apparently it is technically a minor basilica because it does not have a bishop.




Exterior detail

Exterior detail

Sagrada Familia exterior

The outside of the Sagrada is a mix of colours because the stone has been added over such a long period.  The design is extraordinary for its attention to detail.  There are holes in the stonework to allow the sounds of the music to reach out to the people of Barcelona. Eighteen spires will eventually reach above the church, representing Mary, the twelve Apostles, the four Evangelists and of course Jesus himself.  His spire will be the tallest.

Statues everywhere

Statues everywhere

Every aspect of the building has a religious reason behind it.  There are statues and columns and readings every where you turn.  A real feast for the eyes.

Texts

Texts

This section has passages of the Bible engraved in the stone.   Some words are highlighted in white against the blue of the other words.

Light shining through the stained glass windows

Light shining through the stained glass windows

Interior of Sagrada Familia

Step inside and the light is the first thing to hit you.  The stained glass windows are enormous .  They are designed so that the light shining through them is shaded through a particular colour range.  For example the windows nearest the door produced green/blue light which faded to gold from the windows further down the side.  The effect is stunning.

Blue stained glass

Blue stained glass

Here they are coloured blue, highlighting the statue.

Everything about the interior is planned to the last detail.  They are still using the plans and drawings produced by Gaudi before he died.  The length and breadth of the church are particular multiples – the only trouble is that I can’t remember what they are multiples of.  Sorry – that’s my age catching up with me!

Columns represent trees

Columns represent trees

The columns are made in different stones partly to represent different aspects of the bible, but also so that the ones that need to bear the greatest weight can be made from a stronger stone.  They are designed to represent trees and you can see the branches of the trees at the top of the columns.  This particular photo was taken in a mirror which allows you to see more clearly into the heights of the Sagrada Familia – so the branches are actually at the bottom of the photo.

The Altar

Sagrada Familia altar

Sagrada Familia altar

With all the stunning beauty and decoration throughout the church, the altar is a lovely contrast – very simple.  You can just see the top of the altar at the bottom of the photo with Christ suspended above it in a halo of lights.

View of the inside

View of the inside

I have been lucky enough to visit many beautiful places in my travels over the last few years.  I think that this building must definitely rank amongst the most beautiful that I have seen.

This view of the overall interior gives you some idea of the size of it.  There are no little chapels or anything to distract from the overall beauty.  Gaudi had wanted to give the feel of a forest and he certainly succeeded in that.

Sitges International Patchwork Festival 2018

Sitges patchwork festival

Siges patchwork festival

The Sitges International Patchwork Festival is an annual event and I have often thought about visiting it – this year I actually made it!  Sitges is a delightful fishing town just along the coast from Barcelona in Spain.  The buildings were all white with brick edging as you can see in the photo and the mountains made a magnificent backdrop.

I stayed in Barcelona for a few days but those photos will have to wait for another day.  The quilt festival was spread across nine venues throughout Sitges, but they were all within easy reach of each other.




Ricky Tims

Ricky Tims

Ricky Tims

The first venue was an exhibition of work by Ricky Tims.  I’m familiar with his work, so it was lovely to see some of his quilts up close.

Ricky Tims (I think)

Ricky Tims (I think)

Over the course of the day I saw many, many quilts and I can’t always remember which quilt came from which part of the exhibition, so please forgive me if I get it wrong.

Kumiko Frydl


Kumiko Frydl

Kumiko Frydl and Betty Busby

The next two venues were devoted to the above two quilters.  The work of Kumiko Frydl was amazing – such clever use of white to give the impression of light radiating from the middle.  This particular quilt was named ‘Night cruise on the River Thames).

Betty Busby

Betty Busby

The work of Betty Busby was interesting.  I have to admit here that I am not sure how this one was made.  I think it was either reverse applique or Hawaiian style applique but of course no touching was allowed so I’m not sure.  It certainly made an interesting quilt.

The fourth venue was of Anne Woringer’s work, but I’m afraid that I didn’t get to that.  The venue was out on a limb and it was a really hot day.

Mini hexagons

Mini hexagons

Sitges Patchwork Festival -Vintage quilts

The fifth venue was described as vintage quilts from the British Isles.  Naturally I thought these would be from Jen Jones, but instead the quilts belonged to Christopher Wilson.  What a treat they were.  I have since found out that Christopher is a Moda designer and has a huge store in London.  I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss him all these years.

This hexagon quilt was breath taking.  I put my finger across the quilt so that you could see how small the hexagons are – unbelievable.

Tumbling blocks

Tumbling blocks

This tumbling blocks quilt had an interesting central medallion – what a lot of work must have gone into this quilt!  The colours are amazing.

The trade stalls stood in marquees along the beach.  They were absolutely heaving with shoppers and it was difficult to move so I didn’t stop long enough to see what they were selling – although it was nice to see so many names of companies that were new to me.

There was also a marquee which was open to businesses only.  I managed to blag my way in there and made some good contacts.  They all said that they would deliver to the UK, so I hope I can offer some unusual fabrics in the future.

Peter Hayward

Peter Hayward

Peter Hayward and Ximo Navarro

Somewhere along the beach there was a venue devoted to Reiko Kato and students, but I can’t seem to find any photos of their work.

My final destination was to see the work of Peter Hayward.  Believe it or not, this quilt is a flat square.  The use of colour and size of squares has made it seem to bulge out.  I assumed he was Spanish because I heard him chatting to visitors in Spanish, but now that I’ve looked him up I see that he’s from the UK and has a website The Accidental Quilter.

Peter Hayward again

Peter Hayward again

All of his work was quite stunning, showing so much movement.

The same room featured the work of Ximo Navarro and that was very different but very interesting.  Some very ornate designs in his quilts.

I had a wonderful time both in Sitges and in Barcelona.  I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the wonderful quilts that I saw.

Ximo Navarro

Ximo Navarro

 

Southwark Cathedral – London – Photos

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

I visited Southwark Cathedral when I went to meet my newest grand daughter.  I had a while to wait for my train back to Birmingham and the Cathedral is very close to one of the stations that I went through (London Bridge).  It also stands next to the bustling Borough Market.

Cathedral interior

Cathedral interior

History of Southwark Cathedral

The Domesday Book in 1085 mentions the cathedral but it is thought that there was a religious community there for several centuries before that.  The official name of Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie is quite a mouthful, but it reflects the long history of the building.  First dedicated to St Mary it became known as St Mary Overie where Overie stands for ‘over the river’.   King Henry VIII took control of it and renamed St Saviours.  Now its name includes both of these saints.




Map of Zimbabwe

Map of Zimbabwe

The interior

I first visited the cathedral many years ago to listen to a concert given by the choir of my old school in Zimbabwe.  I thought that this quilt showing a map of Zimbabwe was there just for that concert.  However I was thrilled to see it still on the wall.

Lent Art installation

Lent Art installation

The waterfall of fabric hanging from the top of the cathedral to the altar floor puzzled me at first.  It is the Lent Art Installation, called Footfall.  Their website describes its meaning:

The artist Alison Clark has made prints from footfall in the Cathedral by capturing the worn surfaces of monumental stones in the Retrochoir. These prints are an echo of pilgrims who have come to worship over the centuries.

Fascinating.

Tomb of John Gower

Tomb of John Gower

People involved with the cathedral

The tomb of John Gower is very impressive.  He was a Poet Laureate to both King Richard II and King Henry IV and died in 1408.  I didn’t realise that the post of poet laureate went back such a long way.

The church (as it was then) is mentioned by Samuel Pepys.  Shakespeare lived in the parish of the church.  His brother is buried there and one of the stained glass windows celebrates Shakespeare himself.

John Harvard, as in Harvard University, came from the area and was christened in this cathedral in 1607.  He is celebrated through the Harvard Chapel.  This is designated as a place for quiet and reflection so I didn’t take any photos in there.

Floor tile design

Floor tile design

Quilt inspiration

All of Southwark Cathedral is filled with inspiration, but this particular floor tile design struck me as a great idea for a simple quilt.  You could make a scrappy quilt of very small squares from stash and then surround it with a bright and cheerful border.

London Bridge

London Bridge

Outside the cathedral

The area around the cathedral resounds with history.  A short walk to the River Thames brings you to London Bridge on the left.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge

HMS Belfast

HMS Belfast

To the right lies Tower Bridge.  Between the two bridges lies HMS Belfast.  A wonderful museum that unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit:

Explore all nine decks of HMS Belfast to discover what life was like on board for the crew at war and at sea. The most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship.

All in all, both Southward Cathedral and the surrounding area make a delightful place to visit.  I hope to go back there one day when I have a lot more time.

Jewellery Quarter – Birmingham – Photos

Jewellery Quarter

Jewellery Quarter

The Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham has always fascinated me.  This sculpture outside the station shows an enlarged watch mechanism and is very appropriate.  The Jewellery Quarter has been around for a long, long time.  A survey in 1553 named  one of the first goldsmiths in the area – Roger Pemberton if you’re interested!

The whole area is a designated conservation area and English Heritage has described it as a ‘place of unique character’.




Chamberlain clock tower

Chamberlain clock tower

The Jewellery Quarter’s Chamberlain clock tower

This clock tower dominates the area.  It was installed in 1903 in honour of Joseph Chamberlain.  He was MP for the area and worked really hard for the area.  His name crops up remarkably often when I am exploring Birmingham.  There is an interesting history of the jewellery quarter on the Victoria James website.

HSBC bank

HSBC bank

I took a separate photo of the building behind it because I thought it really attractive.  What a lovely building for a bank!  In fact I found myself spoiled for choice in photos of buildings:  there are over 200 listed buildings within the area.  That gives you some idea of what a wonderful area it is to explore.

Pen museum

Pen museum

Museums of the Jewellery Quarter

I tried to visit the English Heritage silver museum, but you have to book in advance for that.  On my walk I passed the Pen Museum which looks huge.  That’s definitely one for a return visit.

Button factory

Button factory

The Button Factory, now a restaurant, gives a flavour of the history of the jewellery quarter.  I waited ages for that white van to move so that I could take this photo, but I gave up in the end.

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

Warstone Lane Cemetery

This cemetery provided an oasis of green right beside the road.  I thought that it was most unusual for it to be so open – not tucked away behind high hedges or walls.  The crocuses in the foreground gave a lovely splash of colour.

The catacombs provide a three storey section which increased the available space for burials.  They have now been bricked up.  Apparently they were originally built because there was a sand pit that needed covering up!

The Jewellery Quarter is well worth a visit and I probably only scratched the surface with the parts that I visited this time.  It certainly is a real gem in the heart of Birmingham.

Botanical Gardens – Tenerife – Photos

Botanical Gardens Tenerife

Botanical Gardens Tenerife

The Botanical Gardens in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, are stunning.  They were set up in 1788 by order of King Carlos III of Spain.  He wanted tropical plants from his overseas territories for his palace in Madrid.  These plants needed somewhere to get used to the colder climate of Spain and the Botanical Gardens were set up as a halfway point to allow them to acclimatise.  In fact, the gardens are still known as the Gardens of Acclimatisation.  The gardens are incredibly well stocked and are highly renowned – on a par with places like Kew Gardens.

These red hot pokers definitely beat any that I have ever grown!




Winter colour

Bougainvillea flowers

Bougainvillea flowers

The whole area of Puerto de la Cruz, where we were staying, is full of colour.  I’m familiar with bougainvillea from my childhood in Africa, but rather surprisingly I had never noticed the small white petals right in the middle.  I have since found out that the white forms the actual flower while the pink or purple petals surrounding it are actually leaves known as bract.

Fan shaped plants

Fan shaped plants

The variety of plants was amazing.  These fan shaped plants had similar leaves to a banana plant, but I have only ever seen bananas growing in a more tree like form.

All the plants were well labelled, which was a great help for me, but I wasn’t able to photograph asll the labels – and of course my memory isn’t up to remembering any of the names of the plants.

Muscular tree

Muscular tree

Unusual trees

Some of the trees looked completely different from the ones that I am used to.  This one had nodules along all the branches which reminded me of muscular arms – either that or balloon sculptures.

Adventitious roots

Adventitious roots

And this one was fascinating.  Those are all roots that you can see – known as adventitious roots.  they are also known as aerial prop roots and support the main structure of the tree.  It allows the tree to grow over a larger area than it would otherwise.

Feathery flowers

Feathery flowers

Glorious colour

Coming from cold and gloomy Birmingham, it was an absolute treat to see all these wonderful colours.  In this particular flower there were droplets of moisture collected between the petals – glistening like diamonds.

Calliandra

Calliandra

I’ve seen this plant as a houseplant in the UK.  It was lovely seeing it growing outdoors in great profusion.  From the labels that I did take photos of, I think that this is called Calliandra and comes originally from Bolivia.

Wallisia

Wallisia

This one was stunning – the flowers seemed almost to be a part of the leaf structure.  I’m guessing that the spikes turned purple along the whole length with time. Gorgeous.  It comes from Ecuador.

Water section

Water section

Water Plants

Behind a wall we nearly missed the steps up to this wonderful water section.  The water was very still so the reflections of the plants made a magnificent feature.

Bird of paradise

Bird of paradise

Finally my favourite flower – and I know that I always show you one of these when I head off to warmer climes.  It’s Strelizia, also known as Bird of Paradise.  They bring back wonderful childhood memories and I’m always thrilled when I find one during my holidays.

The Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit and I’m so pleased that we were able to spend a morning there.  I can quite understand why the King of Spain wanted to transfer some of these magnificent plants to his palace in Madrid back in the eighteenth century!

Puerto de la Cruz – Tenerife – Photos

Puerto de la Cruz

Puerto de la Cruz

Last week I visited Puerto de la Cruz in Tenerife for some much needed winter sunshine.

The first thing that struck me (after the sunshine and the warmth) was the lovely colours used on the houses.  Many of them were delightful shades of ochre, with an odd blue or turquoise house amongst them.  Absolutely lovely.

I think that’s probably my abiding memory of Puerto de la Cruz (Port of the Cross) – the vibrant colours in both the flowers and the buildings.




Fisher Woman

Fisher Woman

Tenerife is one of the Canary Islands in the Atlantic.  Puerto de la Cruz was a fishing village in the 15th century – so it’s much older than I had realised.  This lovely statue of a fisher woman stands in the harbour area, reminding us of the island’s history.

The islands are so close to Europe that they are a popular destination for those seeking sunshine at any time of the year.  Originally they were visited only by the well off or by researchers – the plant life is amazing.

Church in Puerto de la Cruz

Church in Puerto de la Cruz

Church of Our Lady of the Rock of France

This church lies peacefully in a very attractive square.  You can’t miss it if you are meandering along the coast.  The inside of the church is stunning – very beautiful.

Church interior

Church interior

I couldn’t take photos inside because it was so dark so instead I can show you some of the beauty of the church in Buenavista that we visited.

We had hopped on a bus to take us to Buenavista (meaning good view) to see just how good the view was.  If I’m honest, the view there was no better than the views of the ocean from Puerto, but the church was magnificent.

Ocean view

Ocean view

The Atlantic Ocean

Puerto is set on the ocean front and I couldn’t resist taking lots of photos of the ocean.  I have some fabric that loos very similar to this, with the sea pounding the rocks.

Puerto lighthouse

Pouerto lighthouse

Given all the rocks, it was no surprise to see that a lighthouse was in place.  What was surprising was its unusual design.

According to Wikipedia it is 89 feet high, made of steel framework enclosing the red and white panels.  The light pattern of two flashes every 7 seconds can be seen up to 16 nautical miles away.

El Teide

El Teide

El Teide

This nearby volcano, El Tiede, dominates the skyline at Puerto de la Cruz.  I’m sure it dominates the skyline all over Tenerife.  It is the tallest mountain in Spain, which surprised me.

You can just see the peak in the top right part of the photo.  It is possible to take a cable car and walk to the top, but sadly we ran out of time.  I’ll have to take another trip to Tenerife!

Carved door

Carved door

Quilt inspiration

Obviously during my trip I was on the lookout for quilt designs.  This door had some lovely designs which I’m sure could be transferred to fabric.

I also managed to find an amazing fabric shop full of a huge range of different types of fabric.  I also saw a couple of things that I intend to make up for my craft stalls.

The Atlantic

The Atlantic

We also visited the renowned Botanical Gardens but I have so many photos from there that I’ll have to get them sorted in time for next week.

Seascape

Seascape

I’ll just leave you with some more seascapes.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Rose

 

 

 

Ashby de la Zouch – Leicestershire – Photos

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch castle

Ashby de la Zouch – the name of the town has always fascinated me.  I was convinced that there was some deep rooted French connection there, but I was only partly right.  The town was already known as Ashby as far back as the Domesday Book.  The name means ash tree farm according to Wikipedia.

The name was extended when the town was given to the La Zouche family during the reign of Henry III.  This was after the Norman conquest so I’m guessing that the La Zouche family were French.




Ashby de la Zouch castle

The castle is set within the town and it dates from the 12th century.  I didn’t go right into it, but it’s amazing how much of it still survives today.  It’s run by English Heritage and they have a fascinating article about it that you can read here.  I had noticed some connection with Ivanhoe in the town  and apparently this is because Sir Walter Scott placed a tournament in the grounds of Ashby Castle in his novel Ivanhoe.

Altar in St Helen's Church

Altar in St Helen’s Church

St Helen’s Church

I was on a bit of a flying visit to Ashby, but I spent far longer in the church than I had intended.  It is beautiful.  The church dates from the 15th century and is surprisingly large for such a small town.  Naturally I was on the lookout for floor tile designs to give me inspiration for quilts.  I found inspiration more or less throughout the church.

The altar was gorgeous with so much to look at.  The stained glass windows above it had beautiful designs but these didn’t show up very well in my photos.

Baptismal font

Baptismal font

This baptismal font was placed quite near the entrance and it really dominated the area:  all that lovely stonework and the flowers working up from the base.

Candle kneeler cushion

Candle kneeler cushion

These kneeler cushions were beautifully made and enormously varied.  So much love and time must have gone into stitching them!

Crown kneeler cushion

Crown kneeler cushion

I have shown just two designs in this article, but there were many wonderful cushions in the pews.

Bargello style knee rest

Bargello style knee rest

You may have heard me mumble on about how wonderful it was to see the original Bargello chair backs when I was in Florence.  This knee rest used the same design which I was thrilled to see.

Huntingdon tomb

Huntingdon tomb

Just one more note from the church:  the stonework on this tomb was very intricate and the tomb itself took up a surprisingly large area of the church.  The inscription shows that it contains the 2nd Earl of Huntingdon and his wife.  Now the interesting thing about this is that the English Heritage history of Ashby mentions both the 1st and the 3rd earls but makes no mention of the 2nd earl who occupies such a prominent position in the church.

Festive hay bales

Festive hay bales

East Leake

From Ashby I travelled a bit further to East Leake.  You may remember that last week I mentioned that I was visiting a friend for lunch.

We had a lovely lunch at the Manor Farm.  This wonderful Father Christmas was placed at the entrance.  It’s made from two bales of hay – what a wonderful idea.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope to see you again soon.

Rose

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall – Wales – Photos

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

I’m sure that Abbey Cwm Hir Hall is wonderful at any time of the year, but at Christmas it is truly spectacular.  The reception area is fascinating, with lots of old signs such as this Singer advert.  We saw vintage bikes hanging from the ceilings, traditional bellows beside the fire …..

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

Abbey Cwm Hir Hall

This is before you have begun the tour of fifty two rooms, each one decorated for Christmas with a different theme.  From the outside it’s hard to believe that there are so many rooms within it.  It was dark by the time we’d finished the tour, so we didn’t even have a chance to look at the 12 acres of gardens – we definitely need a return trip in the summer.

Seashell tree

Seashell tree

The Collections

We were shown around by Paul, the owner and he had a wonderful and amusing store of anecdotes about the hall and the area.  These photos aren’t in any particular order – just examples of the decorations. In this room the theme was obviously the sea and the tree was blue, decorated with shells and fishnets.

Sewing machine collection

Sewing machine collection

The owners of the hall seem to be obsessive collectors so it wasn’t long before we came across their sewing machine collection.  There must have been half a dozen sewing machines (all vintage) in this area.  Paul’s wife makes all the curtains, covers the seats and makes the decorations so I’m sure there is a modern sewing machine tucked away somewhere.

Gold star

Gold star

Tree Decorations

There were many wonderful tree decorations throughout the hall and I found loads of inspiration in all the rooms.  The lovely thing about Abbey Cwm Hir hall was that we were encouraged to take photos and pick up ideas during our tour.  What a refreshing change from the many places that don’t allow photos.

Button Christmas wreath

Button Christmas wreath

Christmas Wreaths

We came across many wreaths, but this one particularly stood out for me because I’m sure you have a huge button tin – I certainly do – and this struck me as an interesting way of using them.  The buttons were formed into a chain which was then wound around the basic wreath.

Dolls house room

Dolls house room

The red mantle scarf was interesting.  It varies from my own one in that it can be used on any length of mantle.  It was also very striking with Christmas trees forming a zigzag pattern across the scarf.

Clothing room

Clothing room

This room was dedicated to clothing.  The decorations on the tree showed lots of small dolls in different outfits.  So much detail!

Crocheted cakes

Crocheted cakes

A mouthwatering display of crocheted and knitted cakes formed a central feature of this room.

Floral mural

Floral mural

Abbey Cwm Hir decorations

The attraction of this hall is not just the Christmas decorations:  the hall has been renovated over a period of twenty years by Paul and his wife with some very talented artists.  This floral display was just one of many painted on the walls.  I would never have the confidence even to begin a project like that.

Paintings beside the stairs

Paintings beside the stairs

These two paintings on the stairs have been shaped so that their base follows the line of the stairs.  I had never seen this before and the effect was really striking.  Many of the walls and doors had individual floral paintings applied directly on the surfaces.

 

Angel tree

Angel tree

More Trees

Festive cheer

Festive cheer

I’ll leave you with more photos of a small fraction of the fifty two trees.

Fabric ornaments

Fabric ornaments

These tree decorations were a great idea – fabric shapes with a small amount of stuffing.  Very striking.

Visiting Abbey Cwm Hir was a great experience and certainly went a long way to putting me in the Christmas mood.  I would recommend anyone to visit there if they are in the Llandrindodd Wells area.

 

Lapworth Geology Museum – Birmingham – Photos

Lapworth Geology Museum

Lapworth Geology Museum

My visit to the Lapworth Geology Museum was an unexpected treat.  It’s run by the University of Birmingham and was absolutely fascinating.  It’s also free to visit!  The Museum is set within the University and there is a lot of building work going on around it so I had to use Google Maps to get there.  It was well worth it when I arrived, though.

Charles Lapworth

Charles Lapworth

The Museum has one of the oldest collections of fossils and stones together with lots of detailed information and videos which were great fun.

It is named after Charles Lapworth who was a noted geologist of the time, being Professor of Geology at the Mason College which was the forerunner of the present University of Birmingham.

Magnetic influence

Magnetic influence

Interactive displays

This display showed the influence of magnets really clearly.  As you moved the magnet on the left up along the slot the needle on the compass to the right moved to follow it.  I wish I had known about this museum when my children were young.

I

Revolving globe

Revolving globe

I spent ages at this revolving globe.  At the click of a button you could change the display to cover different areas of information.  In this particular photo you could see the lines of human movement but there were many other options.

Wonderful shapes

Wonderful shapes

Rock displays

I have various bits of rock around my house – I just love the colours produced by different layers of stone when they are polished up.  However these displays were something else – this particular one made me think of coral – what amazing and beautiful shapes.

I also learned a lot about precious stones from the displays.  For instance I have always believed that sapphires are blue but in fact they come in a whole range of colours.

Fossils and bones

Fossils and bones

Fossils and bones

These huge bones were a wonderful reminder of just how large dinosaurs were.

What impressed me about the fossil displays was not only how well preserved the fossils were, but also how instructive the notes were – explaining how fossils were formed.  The plant fossils fascinated me – I get that animals become covered in sediment and their shape is imprinted in the rock, but I was staggered to see that the same thing had happened to plants.  I would have expected them just to decay long before their shape was imprinted on the rocks.  Shows how little I know!

All in all my visit to Lapworth Geology Museum was a real treat – well done Birmingham University!

Liverpool – Merseyside – Photos

Liverpool memories

Liverpool memories

Liverpool is a photographer’s dream, but I have chosen this photo because the symbolism moved me so much.  A bombed out church has been left as it must have been at the end of the war and the sculpture in front of it shows a German and an English soldier shaking hands over a football during the Christmas truce.  Wonderful imagery!

I had not visited Liverpool before so it was a real treat for me.  I’m sure that most people (myself included) link Liverpool with the Beatles and the music of the sixties, but there is so much more to it than just that.  I had not realised that it is a Unesco designated World Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.




Gateway to America

Gateway to America

Liverpool as gateway to the Atlantic

I knew that the Founding Fathers left England from Plymouth to travel to America, but apparently far more people left from Liverpool.  In fact the estimate is that nine million emigrated to America through Liverpool.

This Legacy Sculpture was given to Liverpool by the Mormon Church as a tribute to all the families who made that journey.  It shows a family with suitcases and the small child is intended to represent moving forward to a new future.

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

The Cavern Club

Even though I knew that Liverpool was way more than the Beatles and the Mersey Beat, I couldn’t resist a pilgrimage to the Cavern Club.  We had intended to have a quick wander around the club and then continue our sightseeing, but ended up staying there for several hours.  They have live music during the day and we happily bellowed out all the old Beatles songs.

Interestingly, they also had an impressive collection of memorabilia – signed guitars and such like.

Liverpool docks

Liverpool docks

The Waterfront

As with so many cities, the docks have been re developed to create a wonderful area of museums, exhibitions and art galleries.  We could have spent several days exploring just that area, but time did not allow.

The Liverpool Museum had lovely interactive sections for the children – but as there weren’t many children around I had a play on several of the sections and ended up with a good rating for being a potential docker!

Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral

Liverpool Cathedrals

There are two cathedrals in Liverpool, not far apart from each other.  The first one that we came across was the Catholic cathedral.  It is a very modern and striking building.  I believe the overall shape has been likened to the pope’s hat.

Inside the cathedral

Inside the cathedral

It certainly dominated the area, but I was quite unprepared for the beauty of the interior.  Clever lighting framed the individual wall hangings which were all very impressive in their own right.  The building is round and they had made use of every inch of space.

We couldn’t descend to the crypt as there was something on that day, but apparently it was designed by Edwin Lutyens and is a masterpiece in its own right.

Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ

Cathedral Church of the Risen Christ

The second cathedral is built to a far more traditional design.  It is no less beautiful and surprisingly was only built at the beginning of the 20th century.

It is the longest cathedral in the world, although my photo only shows one end of it.  In this article you can find far more information about it than I could give you.

Royal Liver Building

Royal Liver Building

The Royal Liver Building

This wonderful building was built for the Royal Liver Assurance Company.  The two Liver Birds that you can see on the tops of the towers watch over the city and the sea.  Legend has it that if they ever flew away then the city of Liverpool would cease to exist.  Let’s hope that never happens to such a wonderful city.