Rainy Tuesday in Cragg Vale

Fortunately the morning got a good kick with the handing down on the Supreme Court judgement on the legality of Boris Johnson’s prorogue of the UK parliament. Of course, we all feel that the unanimous judgement is a triumph for democracy, but there are dissenting voices.

At least now they can get back to business and work on a deal or a referendum or an election, whatever.

Knowing that today would be a very wet day I have checked on movies in iTunes and we have one that none of us have seen, but which promises to be interesting called ‘Never look away’ about a German artist.

Another small project was to photograph some of the artwork in this house. At first I found it very confronting, but I’ve gradually got over the sense of it being very spooky. Stephen, of course, doesn’t mind that nude women feature quite a lot, even though they are not painted or sculpted in a realistic style. The artist, our host Michael, was a music academic before retirement, but a visual artist as well and the house could well be a sort of gallery as he has worked on many different types of art. Overall, the feeling is of a dark, demonic mood, though I can also sense that it isn’t for Michael, and that some of the pieces are purely for fun and meant to evoke laughter.

Here goes:

This is one of the nicer ones which is on a ceiling beam in the kitchen.

Spiders and snakes in the downstairs bathroom. The overall effect of the room is rather nice, with attractive tiling around the bath. However, real spiders sometimes come into the house and sit in the upstairs bath tub for Eversley to gently force out the window.

These four photos some just some of the artwork in the main bedroom that Stephen and I use. It is a large room that takes up the whole side of that floor, with windows on either side.

Eversley has a smaller bedroom, but there is a nice sunny little sitting room next door which she uses for reading and writing. The following photos show part of some of the many artworks in that room – not necessarily contributing to the comfort. Best ignored.

Finally, there is the lounge room. It has lounge chairs, not very comfortable, a TV and a piano that is in tune. My beloved is having a play on it at the moment. The lighting is a bit dim for reading music.

Imagine having this confronting you every time you walk into your lounge room. We go there fairly often because the downstairs bathroom is reached by walking through this room.

This photo is of a sculpture in the rear garden. We can see it from the kitchen window.

Not all of the artworks are ugly, I like this one. There are some musical instruments hung from ceiling beams.

We are not sure that all of the pieces throughout the house are Michael’s work, some may be bought because he likes them. There is an attic with oil paintings spread out and stacked to dry, which would be more of his art. The kitchen has a great deal of pottery – fairly conventional designs and I didn’t bother to photograph them.

We can smell the paint used in the paintings and have some concerns about the toxic effects.

We were glad to get away to York to a house which was more conventionally furnished. But, even there, the owner had got carried away with movie themes. There was a large jukebox in the kitchen dining room – annoying because it wasn’t a large room and who really wants a jukebox at home. There were posters and bits in the smaller bedroom featuring weapons, etc., which made it not as comfortable for a woman to sleep in as it could have been. The main bedroom was not particularly quirky.

We didn’t take a photo of the large, black creature to the side of the house, holding a weapon. We don’t know what movie it is from. Our host was formerly a policeman and perhaps feels that guns are a normal part of life. My advice to people on Airbnb generally is to go for neutral furnishing and artwork as themed decorations may not sit well with some of your customers. We didn’t say anything to him, of course. He was very kind to us, the kitchen was well equipped, and the lounge furniture and beds were comfortable. The house was spotlessly clean. Hence, we found it far more comfortable than here.

So, the thing we love about being here in Cragg Vale is the locality. Our surroundings are beautiful and the local villages very quaint. We were talking to a young business owner at our local cafe yesterday. She is from Hebden Bridge, but has travelled a lot. She has come home because she feels that this is a very beautiful place to live and can’t be bettered anywhere she has seen. She said she might be tempted to move to Australia, but has a daughter to a man who lives here and doesn’t want to separate them. She has a friend in Sydney and will be visiting next year.

We are constantly finding that people we talk to here in England have some connection to Australia, whether having family or friends living there, or they have travelled to Australia and often visited Perth. It feels surprising to us because Australia has such ethnic diversity that we could be forgiven to thinking that there is no longer such a strong connection with the UK.

Let us acknowledge the artist, Michael Wilson, who might or might not have created all of the artworks featured in this blog. For his original works, he owns the copyright, of course. However, it does seem to be acceptable to photograph artwork, as often happens in galleries, as long as the artist is acknowledged. Hebden Bridge is well known as a place where artists like to live and there are artist’s workshops in the town. I noticed something of a theme of skeletons, which also feature in this house.

My photos were taken with the Sony A6400 and a Sony 50mm 1.8 lens to allow for maximum light hitting the sensor. On a cropped sensor camera this meant I was working at about 85mm, a long lens rather than wide angle. Hence showing parts of paintings rather than the whole. This house is not particularly well lit and on a grey day we are not getting much light from outside.

The photos were transferred wirelessly to the iPad using compression to take them from full sized to about 2mb each. This works well for the web, but wouldn’t hold up for enlarging them for a big screen. I haven’t processed them in any way or added a watermark regarding copyright, but they are too small to be useful apart from in the blog.

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