Liverpool

Liverpool Docks . . . Watercolour – WHB: – 2011

The Port of Liverpool Building (formerly Mersey Docks and Harbour Board Offices, more commonly known as the Dock Office) is a Grade II* listed building in Liverpool, England. It is located at the Pier Head and, along with the neighbouring Royal Liver Building and Cunard Building, is one of Liverpool’s Three Graces, which line the city’s waterfront.[1] It is also part of Liverpool’s UNESCO-designatedWorld Heritage Maritime Mercantile City.

The SPIRE

Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire, England . . . Pen & Wash : WHB – 2015

THE SPIRE

This work of man
Exultant spire
Sings to the world’s
Celestial choir.

Man’s needle point
It pricks the clouds
Defies the lightning
Lures the crowds.

Commands the heavens
Upholds the sky
Tells the world
Don’t fear to die.

This vibrant sky
These bright moonbeams
Define our souls
Colour our dreams.

This work of man
Exultant spire
Sings to the world’s
Celestial choir.

Salisbury Cathedral, is an Anglican cathedral in Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, and one of the leading examples of Early English architecture.  The main body of the cathedral was completed in 1258.  Two men filmed themselves climbing 404ft (123m) to the capstone of the Cathedral’s spire to replace a faulty weather meter.    I add below a link to this video giving the spectacular view captured by these conservators working at the top of this, Britain’s tallest spire  . . .

CLIMB to the top of the SPIRE

The footage shows the breathtaking views only usually experienced by the Cathedral’s peregrine falcons.

ART by the SEA

I include below images of just a few of my pen and watercolour sketches of a variety of waterfront scenes in different parts of Europe to which I have travelled.  Click on any one to view a slide show of all the images and locations in larger format . . .

The Lyke Wake Dirge

Aysgarth Church at dusk – Pen & Ink . . . WHB – 1981

The Lyke Wake Walk is a 40 mile walk which crosses the most extensive area of heather moorland in England – in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park.  When the walk was first instituted in the mid 20th Century the challenge was given to complete it within 24 hours.  Many walkers still attempt this.

Although the walk itself is a relatively modern event, the Like Wake itself originated as a funeral chant in the 14th Century in and around Cleveland on and around the northern scarp slope of these moors.  The Dirge as it was known, was normally sung during the traditional watch (wake) at the side of the corpse (lyke).  Known now as the Lyke Wake Dirge,  it is said to be one of the earliest still extant, dialect poems.

John Aubrey wrote in his diaries in 1686 “The beliefe in Yorkshire was amongst the vulgar (perhaps is in part still) that after the person’s death the soule went over Whinny-Moore, and till about 1616-24 at the funerale a woman came and sang the following song.”

Lyke Wake Dirge

This ae neet, this ae neet,
Every neet and all,
Fire an’ fleet an’ candleleet,
And Christ receive thy saul.

If thou from here our wake has passed,
Every neet and all,
To Whinny Moor thou comes at last,
And Christ receive thy saul.

And if ever thou gavest hosen or shoen,
Every neet and all,
Then sit ye down and put them on,
And Christ receive thy saul.

But if hosen or shoen thou ne’er gavest nane,
Every neet and all,
The whinny will prick thee to thy bare bane,
And Christ receive thy saul.

From Whinny Moor when thou mayst pass,
Every neet and all,
To Brig o’ Dread thou comest at last,
And Christ receive thy saul.

From Brig o’ Dread when thou may’st pass,
Every neet and all,
To Purgatory thou comest at last,
And Christ receive thy saul.

And if ever thou gavest meat or drink,
Every neet and all,
The fire will never make thee shrink,
And Christ receive thy saul

But if meat nor drink thou ne’er gav’st nane,
Every neet and all,
The fire will burn thee to thy bare bane,
And Christ receive thy saul.

This ae neet, this ae neet,
Every neet and all,
Fire an’ fleet an’ candleleet,
And Christ receive thy saul.

The following is an extract from ‘Lyke Wake Walk” by Bill Cowley . . .

“Wake” means the watching over a corpse, and “Lyke” is the corpse itself- as in the “lych” gate of a church-c/f. German “leich “. … there is no suggestion that corpses were carried over the Lyke Wake Walk, and the connection between Walk and Dirge is merely that members of the first party to do the Walk, like many who have done it since, finding themselves in the middle of Wheeldale Moor at 3 a.m. felt a great sympathy with all the souls who have to do such a crossing, and a real affection for the poetry of the Dirge-its stark simplicity, repetitions, and dramatic power. Perhaps only those who have crossed Wheeldale or Fylingdales Moors with storm and darkness threatening can fully appreciate the beauty of the Lyke Wake Dirge.

For a sung version of this ancient poem – by Pentangle, click on the YouTube link below . . . Lyke Wake Dirge

Haworth Churchyard at dusk – Yorkshire  … Pen & Ink – WHB – 1983

The NORTH YORKSHIRE MOORS National Park

A Gallery of my sketches of notable scenes related to one of the two National Parks in Great Britain’s largest county of Yorkshire. It is where I grew up and where I first experienced the riches of Britain’s glorious countryside.

Pen & Wash . . . WHB
Map of The North Yorkshire Moors

Click on a drawing to enlarge it and view the titles

ARGUMENTS YARD

Some viewers  may remember that I published some verses a few days ag0 in a blog entitled  ‘Mona Lisa Revisited’ .  The photograph I used, taken by me some time ago (as are the other photographs om this page) in Church Street, Whitby, on the North Yorkshire coast, showed prominently the entrance to one of the town’s well-known ginnels, or Yards, called ‘ARGUMENTS YARD’.

This led me to ponder over the possible derivation of this ancient name for the short dark passageway leading directly down to the north bank of the harbour and the mouth of the River Esk.  The following verses are the result of my deliberations . . .

All this is conjecture;
You don’t need a lecture

But, in doggerel verse,
Which could hardly be worse,

I’ll tell you a tale
Which will make you turn pale.

#   #   #

I tried very hard
To find ‘Arguments Yard’.

At last, when I’d found it,
Suspicion compounded,

I knew it was true;
It was no Avenue.

But a hotbed of squabble,
Of trouble and babble.

#   #   #

For once it befell
In this yard there did dwell

Large families three,
Who could never agree.

The ginnel they lived in,
Dwelt side-by-side in,

Was almost a tunnel
A regular funnel.

Lived so close together
They’d bicker and blether.

Their life was uphill
Without any goodwill.

#   #   #

So as this story goes
These neighbours were foes.

And they started to fight
Over which one was right.

They argued from dawn
From the day they were born,

And when evening had come
They continued the scrum.

All mired with scandals,
Both hoodlums and vandals.

Figures of shame
Who denied any blame.

They argued the toss
And got very cross;

Yelled over the fence;
The noise was intense.

They disturbed passers by
With the oaths they let fly.

Disagreed with each other,
With sister and brother.

Shouted and cursed –
The children were worst.

Each day they’d bicker,
Whilst knocking back liquor.

Complained, moaned and grumbled,
Botched, fudged and bungled.

Bemoaned their existence,
Claimed their subsistence.

Refused to comply,
Or for jobs to apply.

In short it was hell
In that yard to dwell.

And everyone near
Existed in fear.

#   #   #

Move on to the present;
Now, not so unpleasant.

It appears that now
All has sobered somehow.

Yes, there’s nothing more strange
Than how times do change.

I’m assured that now
Things are much more highbrow.

Yes, they’re now avant-garde
Down in Arguments Yard.

In fact, the real derivation of the Yard’s name is much more prosaic.  It is now known to have been named after the Argument, or Argment, family, a well-established Whitby family who lived in this  yard for many years.  The family has been traced back hundreds of years, when they fled to Whitby to escape religious persecution.  Argument is actually an Anglicisation of the Flemish name Argomont.  They were Huguenots, sixteenth century Protestants, who fled Catholic France to avoid persecution and settled in Whitby.

At one time there were two yards of the same name, from this family name Argument.  The yard pictured – off Church Street – is one of the best known, loved and photographed in the town.  These days, more than 80 such named yards still exist in Whitby.  Their origins lie in the town’s mediaeval past.

Arguments Yard seems to have remained  much as it always has been, still intriguing, full of old-world charm, and much more tranquil than is suggested by its name.

MONA LISA REVISITED

MONA  LISA  RECRUDESCENT

When I met her pleading stare
I nearly had a seizure.
A revenant confronted me,
Labelled ‘Mona Lisa’;

I saw her on a street in town,
That enigmatic beauty.
Reduced to begging for a crumb,
That captivating cutie.

A painting from another time
With pallid face and frown;
A legend from another age,
On a street in Whitby Town.

So sad to see her brought to this,
Esteem and beauty stolen,
Bereft of stature, fame, renown.
How are the mighty fallen!

The two photographs were taken by Roland in Yorkshire in October 2016

Aberaeron & Wales – Pen & Wash

Pen and Wash watercolour from the harbour – Aberaeron … WHB – 2013
aberaeron-map

ABERAERON is a small harbour town in Ceredigion, Wales. It lies on the coastline of Cardigan Bay looking out towards the Irish Sea.  It has a small but vibrant harbour usually heavily stocked with pleasure boats of all sizes and shapes. There is much extremely impressive and beautiful Georgian architecture to be seen in the town.  Many of the houses have taken on a distinctive look by being decorated in bright colours as can be seen in my pen and wash painting above. The town has the reputation of being “one of the best examples of a planned township of small scale in Wales”.  Today the town, situated between Aberystwyth and Cardigan, serves as a touring centre for the Cardigan bay area of Wales. The town’s name is from the Welsh meaning “mouth of the River Aeron”. 

I include below images of just a few of my pen and wash sketches and two photographs of scenes in different parts of Wales (titles below).  Click on any one to view a slide show of all the images in larger format . . .

The Sandman

THE  SANDMAN

The sandman looms

long and low in the westerly sun

on the evening shore

treading his beach

with dedicated feet

an image hunter

heir of Autolycus

searching

 for Nature’s hidden ornaments

probing with his stick

revealing the sand crabs

tempting the tide to turn

and wash away his presence

leaving no imprint

only a fleeting glance

a captured instant

of memory

of another world

arcane and mystical

beneath the sand

before the glimpse

releases him

and he moves on

into the dying day.

The Sandman was spotted on the beach beside Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland,UK, in 2003 …
Photo and sketch …  WHB