A Sculpture

Foundry Statue Morrisons CloseThis above sculpture may or may not be particularly noteworthy to you.

But the location may be. It is for me. For it is situated on a traffic roundabout, and not even a particularly busy traffic roundabout rather one that is mostly passed by shoppers on their way to and from a grocery supermarket, or to get their vehicles filled up with petrol or diesel, or even washed.

Sculpture MorrisonsOn the other hand perhaps it is a good way of this sculpture getting attention to itself as likely most shoppers are creatures of habit and will be passing by this roundabout and thus sculpture on a regular and frequent basis. At some point their curiosity must get the better of them, even the most resolutely art-unimpressed of them, to wander over from their parked vehicles and take a look at it? Certainly this was the case with me.

I thought it fitting to take round about pictures of this roundabout sculpture! Here’s another one.

Morrison's Supermarket Sculpture I took these photos on 12.12.12 but I am making no significance of that – am not going to tag this post so and attract ‘those types’ to my blog! – but you can see it was a frosty winter-day and it gave an added other-worldly dimension to the setting I felt.

At first I tried to get pictures without traffic but traffic proved to be quite persistent in that regard – who would have thought in the middle of the day outside a supermarket carpark! – and in the end relented thinking the pictures are more realistic with the presence of a constant stream of traffic. Though perhaps the presence of a strange man at that time of the day taking photographs of said sculpture triggered their interest and attention much more than the sculpture would have otherwise done!

Sculpture Morrisons Car WashI did not just want to photograph and share it with you though, I wanted to find out more details about it and its creator/s hopefully by way of a plaque – but as I closed up on it there was  no plaque to be discovered – a sculpture with no name and no sculptor giving their name to it, this only piqued my interest more.

Morrisons Sculpture Close Up

I could see that it was representing a foundry with an industrial type bucket pouring molten steel – its usual industrial process diverted from railway switches and crossings instead suspended in time and motion. So perhaps this was the site of a previous industry on this now retail space?

I say retail space as the plan is to extend into a retail park – currently though it is just that supermarket and a drive-by fast food chain (Okay McDonalds, which aside I learn is the third busiest branch in the UK – we are but a smallish town of thirty or so thousand so what does that say about our health!) but there is an area of land nearby fenced off with hoarding waiting for new tenants and it is named the Foundry Retail Park.

This would be my next move to check out their business site and see if they had any further details as to this work.

What I should add is that this supermarket – admire how I am steadfastly not naming it remaining commercially pure despite it being quite clear from the photographs to any of you familiar with it or indeed not familiar with it seeing as the name appears in a few of the photos! – only opened last year, 2011, and the sculpture followed shortly after.

The developers of this land are known as Carillon-Richardson (two separate companies in a business marriage) but the details they provide are sketchy – literally! – including plans and work-in-progress photos of the supermarket build but which then terminate unfinished in July 2011.

Carillon Richardson Bathgate Development Aerial Shot

I then discovered a website for a graphic design consultancy To The Point who are responsible for the branding for this retail park and in a blog post of September 27 they detail that the site is indeed built upon the site of an old foundry – Balbardie Steel Foundry.

This foundry having many owners the latter being  Balfour Beatty and was closed in 2009 according to the website of the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland which includes 72 digital images of the site including this!

RCAHMS digital photography View of sculpture alongside public path of line of dismantled railway with back view of foundry buildings from south. DP053459 Copyright RCAHMS

RCAHMS digital photography View of sculpture alongside public path of line of dismantled railway with back view of foundry buildings from south. DP053459 Copyright RCAHMS

The sculpture had a previous life, but was this life its first life?

And still no details of its provenance. By the way if you like photographs of derelict industrial spaces (as I do!) then there are many colour and black-and-white photographs to feast yourselves upon in this collection including another of this sculpture but that is just it, it keeps being referred to generically as a ‘sculpture’.

I did discover that the steelworks itself was originally opened in 1907 so spanned a full-century before being laid-to-rest (business actually relocated to nearby Queensferry) and there is much detail of its history and main industries undertaken, but no reference to the sculpture. The mystery remains. But in these Internet times there can be no mysteries, can there?!

Keech Furnace Technologies

KFC Foundry Website Images

Well the web did allow me to establish that a South African company Keech Furnace Technology had this listed as one of their previous works as Balbardie Steel Foundry Germiston. Known by their abbreviation, KFT specialise in the design, production and service of electric arc furnaces. They were founded in 1978 so could they have undertaken this sculpture? If so there is no detail on their website.

Credit to the supermarket whose sculpture this sits in front of, okay I relent, Morrisons!, who have commissioned a number of statues situated in front of their other stores such as the two featured below. The first for a Tyneside store, the second a Leyland store.

Jarrow Crusade by Graham Ibbeson

Jarrow Crusade by Graham Ibbeson

Leyland Motors Sculpture

Leyland Motors Sculpture by Stephen Charnock

They though both have information, about their work and their creators.

The sculpture the star of this post remains though a mystery, to me and it seems to the Internet.

To you?

Foundry Sculpture Bathgate

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Lost in the woods

Easton Bing towards Glasgow RoadIn London (and I presume in other populous cities) before you can become a licensed taxi driver you have to be tested comprehensively to demonstrate you extensively know your city – or at least its streets that most quickly (if not most cheaply!) take you from the proverbial A to proverbial B. It is known as acquiring The Knowledge.

I don’t live in a city but a town, and usually when I travel I do so in my car, passing through my surroundings in a bubble of air-conditioning, warmth and music. I am paying attention to the road, at least subconsciously, and very little heed to the people and places passing me by. Additionally I am likely driving the same tested and trusted routes to my usual destinations.

Of late though out of a desire to add some healthy routine to my sedentary lifestyle I have begun walking. I had tried returning to mid-distance running of my teenage years as an activity I enjoyed and did well at but those years did not want anything to do with  me – running now gave me a pounding headache instead – so I then decided by way of a more gentle return to exercise that I would walk, and a minimum thirty minutes per day.

Easton Bing WoodsOn my walks I often take music though I don’t always listen to it – nature’s soundtrack is often as preferred. But if I am listening to music I use it has a time measurement too, usually walking for about five songs in any direction before turning around and heading home.

And I discovered that walking, by slowing me down, caused me to be taken in by the world around me. I also discovered how little I knew of my town, of my closest neighbourhood, even the long and winding street that I live on.

Usually if I am walking not driving it is still with some purpose – to the Post Office or Grocery store to do the things you usually do in those places! Again I am not paying too much attention to the world beyond my peripheral vision. Whereas walking for the sake of walking and I start to take note and notice of what is going on, and not going on, in my town.

And last week about three songs from my home I came upon a stile-entrance to some woodland which ordinarily I would cast a cursory glance at and move on but here decided I would take up its invite. Once in I quickly forgot about my thirty-minute time-frame wanting to see which part of town the other side of this wood would take me too.

I was in a part of my town only those with The Knowledge or A Knowledge would have – those being not just school-age children but all-ages children – part-time pondering poets, wandering wondering writers, perambulating prevaricating philosophers, sauntering seeking singers, ambling angling artists, and other such vagrants, and was surprised therefore to come upon a sign-post.

This signpost.

Easton Bing signpostIt was not as if I were in deep woodland. These trees I was moving among were skirting a housing-estate, their houses could still be seen through the trees. Traffic on both Glasgow and Easton Road (where I had entered the woods from) could still be heard. I could not get lost even if I wanted to. Yet there it was, a sign-post.

Whose ideas was this?

It would have been erected by our local council, West Lothian – perhaps in a particular year they had run a surplus and having sign-posted the roads and pavements to death it was decided that untended nature would be next.

The only sign that was mysterious was Easton Bing. You might know Bing as that old guy who you hear on the radio about this time of year serenading White Christmas. Likely too you know Bing as Microsoft’s attempt to cash in on Google’s search-engine territory. But in Scots parlance it is a term for waste, more specifically mining waste.

But I was pretty sure it was just the route to take me deeper into the woods. So perhaps upon this mining waste trees were planted and this wood grew. When and if that is even possible I do not know. I could find out but for now I like to continue to speculate.

Perhaps had I ventured into it I would have encountered not just further sign-posts but a Woodland Wi-Fi area run by squirrels and have been accosted by boot-shining badgers and  busking deers.

Easton Bing

What lies beyond?!

Now I have written that I will have to go back and find out!

Winter from my Window…

Five weeks ago I posted a photograph of the autumnal view from my window calling it ‘Autumn from my Window‘ – I was proud of that title!

And you liked it, well WordPress Liked it – twelve of you to be precise. Thank you one and all. Though that is twelve more than my more regular writing posts and I took those 12 Likes as more a denigratory comment on my writing skills than a complimentary one on my photographing skills!

In passing I noted that if I were so minded I ought to take the same picture each day – I am quite sure then those twelve Likes would soon dissolve back to zero but at least you could admire my single-mindedness if give it a wide enough berth.

Well anyway I did not commit myself to that but I thought I would share with you the view from that same window today by way of a now and then, if then being a mere five weeks ago.

I would have preferred that nature had not sprinkled the scene with Christmas dust, and that you could see the trees as wintry stark stoic statement. And perhaps another day I may post that too.

I have tried to recreate the view angle to the best of my abilities and what has not changed is the presence of sunshine, hence my Elizabeth Fraser inspired title!

Autumn from my kitchen window

Untitled

Not Yet Sunburst and snowblind

Not Yet Sunburst and snowblind

Anne & Bobbie’s Bathgate – The Marriage Room

Anne and Bobbies are a Wedding Boutique based in Bathgate.  The Marriage Room is an extension of that business.

Anne & BobbiesTheir website shares with us their vision and their business.  It includes a welcome message which is clear and helpful but I feel long and supported by just one photograph of a wedding-dressed bride. A few more photographs on the home-page to split this written welcome up would make the page more engaging I think – perhaps even some of the content linked to on a separate page.

The lack of advertising on the other hand gives the page a clean feel and does not distract from the content.

There are links on the side to other pages on the website such as the Wedding Gowns collection, Bridesmaid dresses and Accessories.

Ellis Bridal Gown

Ellis Bridal Gown

The Wedding Gowns page presents their available collections – currently Maggie Sottero, Ellis Bridal Collections, Amanda Wyatt and Alfred Angelo along with a link to their 2010 collections. The Ellis Bridal gowns were my favourite.

The pictures on this site are in high resolution and provide a good introduction to the items available.

The Bridesmaid Dresses list the stockists available such as Hilary Morgan and Ebony Rose but would have been better presented as with the Wedding Gowns page with a photograph illustrating each collection if not photos of all the items in the collection.  There is such a link for Alfred Angelo.  The same applies to The Prom Dresses section.

Amanda Wyatt

Amanda Wyatt

The Evening Wear section is just a cursory line of text and would also benefit from listing collections stocked and photographs of some if not all of the items.  The Accessories section provides more details but again would benefit from photographs of the accessories stocked.

As well as providing wedding wears they also organize weddings and this service is explained on the site too.

Perhaps also some video shoots of the bridal wear being worn could be utilized by the site but I appreciate this is a small local business and the cost of this may outweigh the benefits.

The site though provides a good overview of what products and services the Anne and Bobbie business provide and reminds that a web-presence can be the most impactful way to advertise and promote a business. See for yourselves.