Wells Harbour Tour

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North Norfolk has been at its sunshiney best this weekend and it has been fun-packed as well, with Burnham Market Craft Fair on Saturday where artist husband
Fish and Ships Coastal Art had his usual stand, and my sister and family staying for three days, so it has been out to supper and on the beach..

Sunday morning we were up bright and early and heading to Wells beach with bacon sandwiches and flasks of coffee. Perfect. The tide was high, the sun was shining, and the sky was big and blue, as only North Norfolk knows.

After two hours on the beach, we headed to the Quay at Wells, as I had booked a
Wells Harbour Tour, the first time for us, even though we have lived up here for thirteen years and come to the beach at Wells at least twice a week. But having visitors is always a good excuse to do something new, and see where we live from a new view point. Oh and the dog came too.

The lovely Nick runs Wells Harbour Tours, and you catch the boat from the pontoon by the Harbour Office, check out the website or give him a ring to see when the trips are, tides permitting. He does a beach , tour, a marsh tour and a sunset tour too…

We loved it. The perfect weather helped of course, but as we left the town, it was so lovely to see the sea front from the water. Nick keeps you informed with lots of information about the history of the harbour, birdlife, and the various boats and yachts and fishing and crabbing boats moored along your way. It was particularly good to see the newly renovated former lifeboat and Dunkirk veteran `Lucy Lavers`owned by Rescue Wooden Boats.

The beach and the lines of colourful beach huts looked wonderful from the sea and it was lovely for my nephew Henry ( who also took the helm at one point), to see where he had been sitting and playing and paddling on the sands from the seaside so to speak.

I loved getting up close and personal with East Hills as I had only seen it from the beach, and the colours of the samphire and sea lavender were so pretty…

So another North Norfolk winner. The trips last approx. an hour, and Nick is a mine of information.We loved seeing the spot along the beach by the scots pines where Eagle has Landed was filmed ( one of my husbands favourite films) and there were many more stories ,that I will leave you to find out when you go on the trip which you must do!

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Breathe In

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I loved this film.

Breathe In (2013) is beautifully shot, tense, and beguiling. Guy Pearce plays Keith, a married, discontented music teacher who longs for the creativity of his penniless youth. Then  British exchange student Sophie (Felicity Jones) comes to stay with his daughter, and her shy beauty and musical brilliance startles Keith. This is the chronicle of a taboo relationship foretold, by everyone in the audience.

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Lightscape by James Turrell at Houghton Hall

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James Turrell

James Turrell

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Image courtesy of Houghton Hall

Image courtesy of Houghton Hall

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Skyspace Seldom Seen by James Turrell

Skyspace Seldom Seen by James Turrell

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Sybil Hedge by Anya Gallaccio

Sybil Hedge by Anya Gallaccio

Full Moon Circle by Richard Long

Full Moon Circle by Richard Long

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Houghton Hut by Rachel Whiteread

Houghton Hut by Rachel Whiteread

 

Scholar Rock by Zhan Wang

Scholar Rock by Zhan Wang

Houghton Hall, in North Norfolk ,built in the 1720s by Britain`s first Prime Minster Sir Robert Walpole is one the grandest survivors of the Palladian era and sits within a park which is home to a herd of white fallow deer and smaller groups of exotic deer. The Hall is now home to David Cholmondeley the seventh Marques of Cholmondeley, and his family.

This summer ( until October 24th), Houghton Hall is hosting a major exhibition;`Lightscape` of one of the world`s most renowned artists, James Turrell`s light pieces, many collected by the Marquess of Cholmondeley,  who has long been an admirer of his work. Turrell is widely acknowledged as one of the most important artists working today. From the mid 1960’s onwards his principal concern has been the way we apprehend light and space. His study of mathematics and perceptual psychology, as well as his Quaker upbringing and background as a pilot, inform his practice. His first exhibition in 1967 of ‘projection pieces,’ used high intensity light projectors to give the illusion of a solid geometrical object, often seemingly floating in space. From these investigations of light, Turrell went on to begin his series of ‘Skyspaces’.  Since then he has continued to create works using light as his medium. Perhaps his most celebrated works are his ‘Ganzfeld’ chambers, whole spaces immersed in light; as well as his more recent ‘Tall Glass’ series, which resemble windows of slowly changing colour. Meanwhile, Turrell continues work on a monumental project at Roden Crater, an extinct volcano in Arizona. Here he has created a series of viewing chambers, tunnels and apertures to heighten our sense of the heavens and earth in one of the most ambitious artistic endeavours of modern times.

My son and I unfortunately are unable to visit the `Illumination` of the Hall this week, which takes place on Fridays and Saturdays after dusk, when the entire west façade really is lit in a spectacular site-specific display…truly ablaze, but I am going back with my husband just to swoon over it properly.

But we arrived early with our pre-booked tickets today ( and joined the queue of cars at the gates),ready to enjoy not only this ambitious exhibition but also the contemporary sculptures in the grounds, by artists of world renown such as Richard Long, Rachel Whiteread as well as the works by James Turrell.

I loved the juxtaposition of old walls and new art, and I loved that it was the light that was important not what was being lit. It was pretty magical and very clever and cool.

There is a short film on display with James talking about his work with David Cholmondeley, which is definitely worth watching, he says , “Light is a powerful substance.We have a primal connection to it” and “What interests me is the quality of light inhabiting a space.”

What we found immensely clever was how the light on these pieces changed. It was so  very subtle that you simply couldn`t see it happen.It was only seconds afterwards that you were aware of the colour changes without knowing when or how it happened.

One word of advice, do wear footwear that is comfortable as we yomped around the grounds going from piece to piece for over an hour and a half,through avenues of pleached limes, walkways edged with topiary box hedging, weaving our way alongside the many ha has ( I do so love a ha ha),and acres of newly mown grass. I loved the copper beech `Sybil Hedge` based on the signature of the late Lady Sybil Cholmondeley, and my favourite contemporary sculpture was the `Full Moon Circle` by Richard Long made from Cornish slate. What is fun about a sculpture `trail` so to speak, is that one is always surprised when one sees the sculpture, as the pieces are often hidden, or in secret paces, which makes them all the more charming or dynamic.

We loved Jame` s Turrell`s `Skyspace Seldom Seen`, an enclosed wooden viewing chamber with an open ceiling, which affects our perception of the sky, and light and shadows and sun, and we sat in there for quite a while just taking it all in. Great place for a dinner party too we decided!

It was fun taking the photographs taking in the light and shadows, and it was most refreshing  to see something slighty edgy, and out of most peoples comfort zones here in Norfolk, and as someone ( like my son as well), who is passionate about contemporary art, it was a real treat.

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Glorious North Norfolk

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And here are a few of our own shells!

And here are a few of our own shells!

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View from Burnham Market to Overy windmill

View from Burnham Market to Overy windmill

I have been playing tourist today as my son Tom is home for a few days  and as I had to go to Wiveton Café to deliver some Fish( more later) , I thought I would take the opportunity to go with him to the fabulous Shell Museum at Glandford, visit Grey Seal Coffee and have a general tootle along the wonderful coast on this sunny morning..

So first stop Wiveton Farm Café. Artist husband Andrew Ruffhead has an exhibition of his colourful and quirky Coastal Artwork there until the end of August. He also always has a small shoal of Fish in the Café shop so I was delivering said fish to top up supplies. The exhibition is going very well and I have been back twice already to replace sold pieces.

Wiveton was looking just grand this morning with fields of gold waving in the wind, cornflowers nodding towards the sun, and the heads of people picking raspberries and redcurrants ,bobbing up and down in the rows of canes, as they filled their trugs.

Tom and I sat outside looking out over the marshes to a very high tide. Gloriously hot, but gloriously breezy as well. Fuelled by coffee and the best sausage roll that we have ever tasted , we headed inland a few miles to the pretty village of Glandford.

I have lived in North Norfolk for thirteen years and it has taken me all this time to get to the
Shell Museum. Considering that we have a vast collection of shells ourselves, all I can say is tut tut!

It does have limited opening hours so do check online before a visit. You open a creaky gate and walk towards the churchyard through a garden with a path edged with `blooming` big yellow rose bushes. So pretty. So very English. This tiny jewel of a shell collection is housed in a Dutch gabled building, and lined with shelves and cabinets of shells, coral, sailors valentines and small sculptures , along with an evocative tapestry executed by a local fisherman John Craske depicting the North Norfolk coast. I love all the notes next the various collections giving details of who donated the shells and and where they were found. It was charming and a musty-visit place!

Next to The Grey Seal Coffee Roasters. I had been told how good this coffee is and that the guyd there are just `coffee crazy`.

Grey Seal Coffee Roasters is a small batch coffee roastery also in Glandford, who ethically source and freshly roast green coffee beans to sell to the public and the wholesale trade .They are located in a farmyard , opposite the Art Cafe, and it is possibly the most rural setting for a coffee roastery and coffee lab and also, probably, one of the most picturesque.  They love to roast, brew, drink and talk about coffee and the Grey Seal Roastery is perfectly equipped to allow them to indulge their passion and share it with others. Why Grey Seal?  As they say, Try thinking of the North Norfolk coast and not seeing the grey seals lounging about on the sands at Blakeney Point!

I bought the Costa Rica Hermosa( their most popular I am told) and their Guatemala Fraijanes. They smell delicious!

Popped into the Art Café and had to buy `Norfolk`s own Cook Book` Everything stops for tea.

It is written by Norfolk foodie stalwarts, Mary Kemp, Melinda Raker and Vanessa Scott, with photography by Keiron Tovell ( whom we know well and who made the great little film about Andrew and the Fish and Ships Gallery, featured in an earlier post on my Blog).

The book is choc-full of yummy recipes from 80 top chefs and celebrates the wonderful diversity of Norfolk`s food, and by purchasing it you are helping to raise funds for Marie Curie.

We took the slow route home, roof off the car, music playing, via Blakeney, Burnham Overy ,and Herrings  Lane in Burnham Market , to swoon at the views to the coast, amaze ourselves at how many people were crabbing on the quayside again, and both admire and abhor some of the houses that are being built here. Some so stylish, and some so `my house is bigger than yours` and all in the worst possible taste.

The good and the bad about living in such a beautiful place I guess.

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While we`re young

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We watched this ( just out on DVD) film last night, slightly out of my comfort zone, but really enjoyed it .A clever but actually simple idea for a story, that will make anyone over the age of forty think!

I have to say that we all have friends who are old before their time, or that we perceive to be /act older than we do, and maybe that is because it depends on the `world` work-wise and interest-wise in which we live. At the end of the film I certainly could identify with both couples, so felt quite pleased that I am not that out of touch at all. Well actually I do know that I am not. I liked Cornelia`s father , another generation older, who actually ( and again maybe because he was a film-maker), had his finger more on the pulse in some ways than his son. Interesting….

Oh and PS. I absolutely detest those wretched pork pie hats!

Plot: Noah Baumbach writes and directs this comedy starring Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts as a childless married couple living in New York who befriend a younger and more `exciting` couple. Fed up of their friends who pressure them into beginning a family of their own, documentary film-maker Josh (Stiller) and wife Cornelia (Watts) meet hipster couple Jamie (Adam Driver) and Darby (Amanda Seyfried) and start to enjoy the new and refreshing experiences that come with the territory. However, are Jamie and Darby’s motivations for spending time with the older couple as harmless as they seem?
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Ladies who lunch…

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It was an absolutely abysmal day today as I wended my way along the coast, past copious holiday- makers crabbing on the quayside at Wells ; huddled under grey skies in the rain wearing decidedly un-summery clothing. Four of us girlies ( my very glam friends) were meeting for lunch at The Wiveton Bell , just a mile inland from the coastal village of Blakeney , ( haven`t been there for yonks), with great plans to sit and eat outside in the sunshine in the stylish garden there.

But the Great British Summer weather prevailed ,and by the time we were seated in the conservatory it was raining sooo hard it sounded as though the roof was falling in!

But we had the best gossip and chat about all things girlie, and all superbly superficial ( but these things do matter!): holidays, holiday packing, the dreaded case weight rules,  lipsticks, handbags and shoes, our past relationships (!?), bitchy women we know, London, and art . Loved it all.

The food was excellent.

Lobster with very good hand made chips (with the skins still on), rocket and parmesan salad, sublime crab linguine with chilli, followed by lime parfait with raspberry ice, and Italian wine with tons of ice ( such a hot day ha ha.)

So it was good to be back. And the bad?  VERY stained  cushion covers on the banquettes, and although we had very good service, when we had spilt water on the table, I asked the waiter if he could clear it up , he came back and gave me a handful of what he called`serviettes` ( no no no no; `napkins` at all times), and said `there you are`. No that is not right!!

A fun time though despite the ghastly weather.

http://www.wivetonbell.com

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Just fab music

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I have just heard four albums via a playlist on  Spotify ,and bought them on ITunes immediately.Just fabulous…

The first are by the very young ( 14 years old!) Jasmine Thompson who has an amazing breathy , haunting voice a tad `Birdie` like. My favourite song by her is `Say Something`.I love it.

The second are by Boyce Avenue one of the best group of hidden talents found on You Tube. They are best known for their cover work but can produce their own amazing music too.

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