Norwich

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After coming across the Cathedrals and Churches of Britain feed a few weeks previously, I was spurred on to finally get across to Norwich and the cathedral that I’d been wanting to see for some time.

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I went in on one those crisp, sunny, blue-sky winter days that are surely the perfect weather. The Close was looking like the most perfect Trollope/Elizabeth Goudge/ Catherine Fox literary fantasy, and the yew tree outside the cathedral was a rare corner of shade.

 

The cloisters – possibly my favourite part of any cathedral, as I tend to make a beeline for them – were beautiful.

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I wasn’t expecting Norwich Cathedral to be such an old foundation

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(there’s some wonderfully sturdy Norman columns underneath the lacy ceiling)

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and the cathedral was still in Christmas mood, looking extremely welcoming in the sunlight.

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In the side chapels was a mix of old stained glass (the Agincourt window) and more modern pieces.

I rather liked these two former bishops as well. Those were the days…

 

Afterwards I set off into the city, which was peppered with more churches, including this one on the main square with an excellent flying roof (so called because of the carved angels on the beams)

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Endurance

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As the Advent pilgrimage season continues, here’s some stunning photos from @martinrhartley’s Instagram feed. Martin seems to specialise in capturing Arctic expeditions and as well as these incredible images, his text is worth reading. He outlines how just standing still will kill you even though you might be in full protective gear, how an arctic explorer is also a mother of four in a classic “man pulling shed” shop, how clipping the corners off food packets and unnecessary zips and mosquito nets in a tent can save vital kilograms, and how salt leaches into the ice making it ironically very difficult to find ice to melt for drinking water. Fascinating and with no trace of self-pity.

Soft greys

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On the last day of my stay, Portland reverted to its usual weather. Autumn colours in the Woodlawn Park just over the road from the Airbnb I was staying in. Being a Brit, I quite like this weather…

October 2017.

An education

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The Portland Art Museum has a really good collection, from sculptures in the courtyard outside the entrance hall to prehistoric Chinese art,

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modern woodblocks, dancing gods, Versailles artists and portraits

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Impressionists and Roman Syrian art,

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American artists,

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and three generations of the Wyeth family.

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From top to bottom: street art, Chinese artefacts from 200 BCE, Jiang Bibo, Shiva from S India, Buddha from China, Jean-Baptiste Monnoyer x2, Gabriel Revel, Marianne Loyer, Alexandre Calame, Boucher, Gustavo Courbet and tomb carvings from Roman Syria, Julian Alder Weir x2, NC Wyeth, Eugene Speicher, Andrew Wyeth. Jamie Wyeth and Oswald Achenbach.

October 2017.

Drawing in

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The Painter’s family (detail)

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Another detail of The Painter’s family

Some time before I or any of us had even heard of hyyge, I had a short summer visit to Norway where I went to the National Gallery and strongly enjoyed the National bend for painting lots of pictures of people having breakfast. It’s very easy art to live with, and I found it immensely comforting. I particularly like this one for early winter with the lamplight on the faces, and the mix of snow, books and porridge.

 

House-watching

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Portland houses on the road to the zoo, Japanese gardens and rose garden. Pretty typical of the part of town I was staying up in too, with large porches smothered in Halloween pumpkins and accessories, immaculate front gardens reflecting the turn to fall.

October 2017.