Tuesday, December 04, 2012

English Notebook: Three

Last Bits and Bobs

True to my promise, these photographs from the England trip have no relationship to one another except that what I saw, I liked. And what I liked, I tried to photograph.

This was especially challenging in a setting like King's College Chapel in Cambridge, where the lighting was extremely subdued. It was tough to get a decent shot of anything without recourse to a tripod, so the haul was very small. I suppose I could have tried lying flat on my back in the aisle, as one misguided tourist did; but as he was politely but firmly escorted to the door I'm glad I didn't.

I'm more for details than sweeping views in a space like that. Sure, the vaults and the stained glass are spectacular. They've also been photographed thousands of times. I spent a lot of time admiring them, but the camera turned on for smaller things.

Kings, Angel

Desk, Kings

The book above was on a chorister's desk. I had to shoot it "blind" by craning my short, peasanty arm over the top of the desk, therefore the odd angle and framing. The note at the bottom of the cover says NOT TO BE TAKEN AWAY. I've been listening to the annual "Festival of Lessons and Carols" live broadcast from the chapel for years, so it was more than a little thrilling to stand where the music is made.

Even walking past London's Greatest Hits (like the statue of Eros at the center of Piccadilly Circus) I tend to be more attracted to obscurities. These are carved into the entrance of a theater spitting distance from the Piccadilly tube station, half-hidden by posters.

Piccadilly, Theater

One of the things I notice, in looking them over, is how much of what I love in the London cityscape boils down to color and pattern.


Near Portobello Road. (Click it.)


Somewhere in Kensington. (Click it.)

No visit to London is complete without my friend Jane, who is (surprise) a knitter. Jane arranged for us to have dinner at Brown's Hotel. (I had grouse, of which there is no picture. It was delicious.)

Jane introduced us to her splendid fellow, Nick, who is not only charming but the perfect size to model the Fair Isle sweater Jane had just finished. She took endless pains selecting the colors, none of which shows properly in the photograph because the aggressively trendy hotel bar we were in was lit primarily (and dimly, of course) with purple lights. (Because nothing flatters the human complexion like purple light.)

Still, here is Nick and the sweater.


The sweater isn't even for him. He just agreed to model it. Jane knit it for somebody else. Is that a cooperative boyfriend, or what?

That's not even the most of it. The rank and file of knitters have to carry our work in bags. Not so Jane. Not since she met Nick, who's in a band, and who gave her a yarn road case. A yarn road case. So she can tour.

Jane's Case

Love you, Jane. You'll want to hang on to Nick with both hands, dear. And he to you.

There will be one more England entry. About...shopping.


Liz said...

Beautiful photos; will be listening to the 9 Lessons and Carols along with you (even if I have to take my own radio along with me these days)...

Roxie said...

That Faire Isle vest totally rocks! I stand in awe and bow before her genius and persistence.

FiberQat said...

A yarn road case! That is an excellent boyfriend. I wonder if there's also room for a handspindle and some fluff.

I think the mark of a person who travels is in the detail noted. Everyone sees the big things but the little things add charm. I love your photographs. Thank you for sharing!

Lori said...

Laying on the floor of the church to get the shot is far too public. However setting the camera on the floor with the self timer set works a treat. I have some beautiful shots of the crossing towers of several different English cathedrals.

Nadya said...

I have lain (laid?) down on the floor to take a picture of a massive Chihuly on the ceiling. But it was Vegas, so that didn't even elevate me above quirky.

When I saw Kings College chapel at the tender age of 16 I thought it was the prettiest thing I'd ever seen. The following week it was neck and neck with Sainte Chappelle. Now it's in the top three with the Sheraton Palace Garden Courtnin San Francisco.

Thanks for sharing your pictures and stories.

Jennifer said...

Great pictures and I love the shout out to lovely Jane. What a great shot and the touring yarn bag is fabulous. Looks like you had a great time!

Anonymous said...

I attended the Nine Lessons and Carols concert on Christmas morning in 1999. The boys' voices were beautiful. It was magical. I wept.

Seanna Lea said...

OK, now I want a yarn case. That is super cool!

The Bunny said...

Am I the only one that saw Star Wars possibilities in that gorgeous Fair Isle? Something with the X-wing.

Be still my nerdy heart.

Pretty Knitty said...

I was so much looking forward to the third installment, and I am not disappointed! In face, now I feel the need to have a yarn road case of my own...where do I contact Nick (who is indeed a keeper!)?

Marcie Grover said...

I got kicked out of the Sistine Chapel (forcibly removed even) for lying down to admire the ceiling. The Swiss Guard are tough. Good choice not doing that in England.

MaryAnne said...

I so want my own yarn road case. Are you listening, Santa?

The Slop Queen said...

Screw the yarn case, I want Nick! ;-)

But seriously...great photos, great yarn case, great vest. Go Jane! (and you too Franklin. Very glad you weren't "escorted from the premises.")

genevieve blog said...

I work very near Piccadilly but have never spotted those figures, I must pay attention to my surroundings more!

Also, I love your pattern and colour pics, especially the Kensington one - gorgeous.

Liz said...

My son used to sing the same Lessons and Carols at Washington National Cathedral every year. If you can't get to England, it's the next best thing. Now he's a bass--nothing is forever!

annie said...

The photos.....thank you. I've already googled road case. What a great trip you had.

Anonymous said...

What is the name of Nick's band? Please do let us know.
It is indeed hard to think of many rock musicians who would willingly model fair isle.
It sounds like a terrific dinner indeed.
Lisa in Toronto

Anonymous said...

"I suppose I could have tried lying flat on my back in the aisle, as one misguided tourist did; but as he was politely but firmly escorted to the door I'm glad I didn't." It sounds like the tourist was standing in for Dolores in the public-ill-behavior department!

Melanie said...

I am catching up on reading the posts. I have to say your pictures are great. I went to London and took some good pics. However yours are splendid. Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Burns said...

Nice to have you back Franklin! Hope your life stays peaceful.

Shan said...

Jane's coat. OMG, Jane's coat.

Sioux said...

Nick's a keeper, so's the Faire Isle.

As for you, Franklin, I love your view of London. Takes me back a bit, it does, to see the row of stripes in Kensington.

Thank you for sharing the lovely Jane, the noble Nick, the fair Faire Isle, and most certainly the frank and funny Franklin.

Leslie Gladney said...

ok, so I now need a fiber road case. This has become a requirement. Think my wyfe will join a band so I can get one?

Lily said...

I hope it's okay that I've used the photo of Jane with a roadie case in a blog post? Above it it has the URL of your blog.

Nini Andrester said...

Excellent posts to read keep it up and keep going on this way.

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