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Nina's Blog - Friday 5th July 2024

Friday 5th July 2024, 12:21

In Caffe 1901, ten minutes walk from the Alexander Laing Gallery.

Having a mocha and Biscoff cake. The cake could do with being slightly moister but is still good and, surprisingly, not too sweet.
ninalanyon · 61-69, T
Friday 5th July 2024, 14:28

I didn't just look at the wallpaper in the art gallery.

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was good. It's been turned into a son et lumiere. I was sat on the bench watching it when a school trip turned up and half a dozen teenage boys crammed themselves onto the bench next to me and the girls clustered around the entrance. It was interesting to observe the differences in behaviour. The girls were obviously much more self aware and the boys much noisier. But in fact both lots did pay attention to the art work and its presentation.

Here's the picture with one of the girls holding her mobile up to video it.
ninalanyon · 61-69, T
Friday 5th July 2024, 12:26

The first port of call after getting off the no. 28 bus was the Laing Gallery. Entirely unplanned and not the stop I intended to get off at. Proof yet again that there is something worth looking at everywhere.

But as usual most people in art galleries don't seem to realize that the gallery itself is also a work of art or at least craftsmanship.

So here are some pictures that ignore the exhibits

First the outside, which is a bit dull, but informative

A good stairway with a window depicting the marriage of painting and sculpture

A workmanlike piece of banister. Not as fine as the banister in the museum in Rotherham though.

And on the next floor

The door handles to the paintings gallery

Door handles on the ground floor

And who looks at wallpaper?

ninalanyon · 61-69, T
Friday 5th July 2024, 14:44

Pictures taken along the way from Washington to the Free Trade Inn.

In Birtley a monument to someone I don't know anything about

A very 'corporate art' piece. Is this the centre of Birtley?

A curious column in a churchyard. I have some closeups of the top but they will have to wait until I unload my camera when I get back to the hotel.

The library across the road from the Laing Gallery

A spiral walkway, more properly helical, that I didn't walk up because I didn't realize until I reached the other end via a different route that it went exactly where I wanted to go.

The other side of the building

Northumbria Uni.

No idea what this building is

More later.
ninalanyon · 61-69, T
Friday 5th July 2024, 14:39

Whenever I go out wearing a short skirt I take a quick video to check that it's not too revealing

Here's a few frames from today's
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ninalanyon · 61-69, T
Friday 5th July 2024, 14:13

In the Free Trade Inn having a pint of pale ale and a packet of Pipers Jalapeno and dill crisps.

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ninalanyon · 61-69, T
@robertsnj Churches in the UK are frequently repurposed as restaurants, bars, homes, shops, all sorts. One of my favourites is the church of the now defunct Malmesbury Abbey. It's still a working church but they run a good cafe there when there are no services. I'm an atheist but I do like the buildings, they perform a function even for non-believers like me. For me the English landscape would be poorer without them.

This one, St Peter's in Marlborough, is no longer a consecrated church but is used as a community centre and cafe: https://similarworlds.com/food-drink/4900305-Ninas-Lipstick-Trail-Marlborough-the-Cardinal-Coffee-Shop

And here is the one in Malmesbury Abbey: https://similarworlds.com/food-drink/4747073-Ninas-Lipstick-Trail-Malmesbury-Abbey-Cafe

Religion in the UK is not as divisively political or judgmental as it is in the US. Much more ecumenical. In fact at uni in the 70s I was a member of CathSoc, the university Catholic society. Most of my friends (almost all avowed atheists) were members because the beer was cheap and the annual sub. was a couple of pounds plus doing your turn behind the bar. The priest who ran the place was an urbane and educated man with whom one could have a good conversation; he never tried to convert anyone.
robertsnj · 56-60, M
@ninalanyon wow --thank you for the perspective. I didn't realize any of this. I will check out the two links. That is great use for them. Great story. thank you for the explaination. I no longer dislike UK churches.
ninalanyon · 61-69, T
@robertsnj A convert! Just kidding. :-)

I think one of the big differences is that most of the churches in England, Europe generally have mostly been part of the landscape for time immemorial so they are both part of the scenery and a symbol of continuity that is quite independent of their function as religious sites. In a sense they belong to us all not just those of a specific faith or denomination.

Back in Norway where my wife's ashes are buried every resident of a kommune (that's the word for the local authority) has the right to be buried in the local churchyard. The churches are Lutheran and until quite recently that was the established church, it was in fact a department of the state apparatus. But any resident can be buried in the local churchyard regardless of faith or, like my wife, lack of. So my wife's plot is surrounded by those of people who were probably nominally Christian but a few metres away is a small group of gravestones with Muslim crescents instead of Christian crosses. But actually not many of the stones are marked with overt markers of faith.

I often walk through churchyards when I visit a place and go inside the church if I have time and the church looks like it expects tourists (or cafe patrons!). I do it because of the sense of wonder I feel when I look at a, for instance, Norman church that was built eight hundred years ago without benefit of power tools or tower cranes. I sit there, sometimes with a cup of tea and a toasted sandwich as in Malmesbury, and appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry that people put into the building.

I feel much the same about some more modern buildings such as the Laing Gallery in Newcastle and the Clifton Park museum in Rotherham as you can see by some my posts concentrating on the building and it's decoration rather than the exhibits.

I should stop waffling on now and get dressed and packed, it's time to leave Newcastle and head for the opposite coast.

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