Thursday, 31 December 2015

SOS Blog in 2015

Firstly the blog isn't all about Swindon Open Studios, although it started out to be. I like taking photographs and putting them onto the blog, often with not much to say about them.
I copied the idea of summarising the blog from a friend who has a Wordpress blog , I'm a bit disappointed that blogspot don't send a summary, but I can say that my most popular post was the one about the Corn Exchange published on the 12th of April, it's had 526 views. Thank you to all those who have looked at my photos this year, and I hope to carry on in 2016.
Below is a copy of the most popular post in 2015.

Taking a Look inside the Corn Exchange

I am hoping that the plans to restore the Corn Exchange in Old Town to its former glory, and enable it to move forward into the 21st Century come to fruition. At the local Pipers Area residents association meetings, Steve Rosier, the person behind the latest plans for redevelopment, has talked passionately on several occasions about his spectacular plans, bringing the place alive again with artist' impressions of what it could look like.
When the strong winds brought down the hoardings around the place blew down last weekend, I thought I must go in and have a look and see what it looks like.
Here's what I saw when I looked round this morning:
 I went in through the left hand side doorway, above which is carved the following:
 'Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with benefits'
 And through into an arched doorway, and below looking up into the tower
 Below through a window
 Below looking into the collapsed basement where floorboards have been destroyed by fire in 2003 and 2004.
 The roof has long since gone, and Buddleia have largely taken over.
 From the inside looking up at a boarded up window.
Built in Italianate style, the inside of the Corn Exchange, even amongst the ruins felt very special.
 A great shot of the tower against the clear blue sky

 Three more photos of trees inside the building

 And another photo of the tower:
 I am pleased I was able to look inside the Corn Exchange and hope that the next time I walk inside, it looks very different, and is being enjoyed by the community.
Passing the building later on, I saw the hoardings had been replaced, so it's no longer possible to look inside.
Some great photos appear on a Swindon Web video.

Photos of Sunrises in 2015

Unless you're a really early riser, it's unlikely that you'll see many sunrises in months other than January, February, November and December. I thought I'd search through my photos and include them with some lovely ones this month. I didn't take any in November, maybe because it was dull and wet, but there have been some amazing sunrises in December.
So here they are:
24th January above, and 10th February below
And 14th February:
 Next 23rd February
 The Festival of Literature's dawn Chorus at the beginning of May started with a good sunrise at 5.30am, here's Newport Street with the sun rising behind the Corn Exchange

and then the very start of the dawn Chorus at the top of Lawn Woods with a juggler:
There were no repeats of the early rising, so the next sunrise is on December 6th:
And 17.12.15
  And 21.12.15
 And 28.12.15
 My favourite is the very pink sunrise on the 17th of December, although I love them all for different reasons.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Another Walk to Avebury in Glorious Sunshine

The days between Christmas and New Year have that eerie quality of suspended animation, especially when it's dull and drizzly outside, no one's doing much, and eating more is out of the question. This morning however was bathed in glorious sunshine and it was still mild, so I set off for Avebury once again, hoping to get some good photos of tree silhouettes on the way.
I was two hours later than last week, so there wasn't a sunrise photo, and the one over the M4 was dull, so I've left it out.
This was taken at the top of Ladder Lane, with the remains of the huge beech tree that had to be felled in the bottom left of the picture.

 I've tried to get a good photo of Barbury Castle, but it never looks as good in photos as in real life.
 It took just under three and half hours to reach Avebury, so I had time to take photos once I arrived there, the tree in the photo below is beautiful, the branches droop at the ends.
I love the blue sky, such a bright day

 I took a photo of the Red Lion, and thne took a couple more photos of the stones

 And then sat outside the Red Lion waiting for the bus.
 It really was warm enough to sit outside eating lunch.

Monday, 28 December 2015

Solstice Day walk to Avebury

There's always a great buzz in Avebury when it's the Solstice, and well worth a trip there, especially on foot, arriving by the back route from the Ridgeway.
Last week's trip started really well, and I was hopeful that the rain, forecast for 11am might hold off for a bit longer. There was a lovely sunrise, still looking good when I arrived at the M4 at 8.26am:
 and even when I'd crossed the motorway and was about to approach Ladder Lane it was still looking good.
 After that, dullness prevailed, and there were no more sparkling photos to be had, although I did try a couple of photos from the Ridgeway looking down on Barbury Castle.
 It's quite hard to see unless you recognise it.
From there, the weather closed in, and by the time I reached Avebury, there were celebrations around the stones, with bagpipes playing, but everyone was dripping wet, but determined to attempt celebrations. I was a bit relieved when the bus arrived.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Wessex Places Exhibition in Wiltshire Heritage Museum, Devizes

Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes has an excellent exhibition entitled Wessex Places which runs until 2 January, so there are just a few days left to see it.
As you can see from the poster, it features work by David Inshaw, Dave Gunning, Ray Ward and Rob Pountney.
I went along to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes by bus  last Saturday to have a look at Ray Ward's work in particular, and was so impressed with the print depicting Marlborough College grounds that I bought it. Here it is:
 I love the trees, and the way other aspects are depicted. Close runner up was the Mound at Marlborough College seen below:
 This, another depiction of the Mound is also glorious

 These David Inshaw prints were also stunning
 The John Piper stained glass window at one end of the gallery is a celebration of things in Wiltshire.

 After looking at the exhibition, a group of us went to the Bear for lunch, and emerged as it was getting dark, the fountain  looked majestic at dusk.

 And on the way home, we managed to sit in the front seat!!
 Devizes is a jewel nestling in the Wiltshire countryside, a short distance along the road from Avebury, there are so many beautiful buildings, I'm going to visit again soon.