Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Day in Boston

What a wonderful time to visit Boston. The weather has been sunny and cool. The rain is pretty much confined to after dark hours this week. And the legendary Pilgrim-Roy Quilt Collection is on exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts until the end of July. Random photos here and no comments, other than I didn't take a photo of every quilt . . . but that's because I bought the book.

Lavinia's favourite

My favourite

Bob's favourite

Dale Chihuly installation in the café atrium

A chance to visit with my favorites in the MFA. Frank Benson's Maine summers
in white pinafores . . . 

. . . and pastel dresses.

Dedham Pottery, most famous for their rabbit designs, but I love those turtles.

Saturday Evening Girls pottery painting club sponsored by the progressive Paul Revere Pottery . . .

. . . for young immigrant women through North End settlement houses.

John Smibert's 1738 view of Boston. Thanks to melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica,
 this view may be a look of the future too.

After a ride across town on the Third World public transit system,
a walk down to the refurbished harbor . . . 

. . . past the Children's Museum with Arthur (also a Hingham resident) atop
 and the Boston Tea Party replica boat, to the Hingham Commuter boat and a cruise home.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Easter Week in North Devon Day 9

Our last day in Devon meant we needed to take another walk before driving back to London tomorrow. So off to Countisbury Hill on the Exmoor coast rife with Iron Age hill forts.

The National Trust path is along a steep combe . . .

. . . with stands of . . .

. . . mossy trees . . .

. . . and always sheep . . .

. . . some of whom don't make it past predators or through winter . . .

. . . but we made it easily back to Countisbury church and the car park . . . 

. . . to a fantastic lunch at the Staghunters Inn in Brendon . . .

. . . and a drive across the desolate heath of Exmoor . . .

. . . covered with gorse and bracken.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Easter Week in North Devon Day 8

Another blue sky day led us to explore the old fishing village of Clovelly. The village is managed by a local trust which charges an admission fee to all visitors who enter through a giant visitor centre souvenir shop with an exit to the cobbled path with picturesque views leading down the cliff . . .

. . . on one of the steepest slopes I have ever seen. The charming
old houses and shops cling to the hillside . . . 

. . . until the final steps that wind down to the beach and quay. Once upon a time, Clovelly supported a herring fishing fleet.  The men went out daily to fish, returning to the quay where the women collected the herring from the nets, carried them up to the road where the visitor centre now stands. They were picked up by wagons, carried to the train for transport to the markets of London and other industrial cities. 

Then on to the church in Hartland dedicated to another local saint . . .

. . . Nectan, a Celtic hermit, whose statue is still in a niche in the  tower.

The church was built on the site of an abbey founded by Gytha, mother of Harold the last Saxon king, who lost the Battle of Hastings to his Norman cousin William the Conqueror a few years later. The church is a treasure house of art.

The carved Norman font.

Old panels stored away in an attic storage room when it was too late for God or anyone to save either James.

The beautiful ceiling and carved chancel screen

The embroidered altar cloth

Flemish glass roundels

And some very old carving

At the end of the day we just had time to stop in at the small local North Devon Maritime Museum with interesting dioramas of local history. And a fascinating display of film and photos of military preparations for the D-Day landings done on local beaches because they were similar to the target beaches in Normandy. Problems like how to transport heavy tanks and trucks through water onto the beaches, the proper footwear for soldiers to wade ashore through muddy sand, and efforts to stun the soldiers on shore to give the invading allies time to unload people and weaponry were all tested here. The most dramatic film was of a wheel loaded with explosives to be rolled on to the beach to produce smoke to cover the landing which on its final test, hit a bump in the sand, went wildly spinning out of control exploding as it rolled into watching personnel and followed by a dog who thought it was all great fun.