Monday, 25 October 2010

oh i do like to be beside the seaside

just back from a lovely trip to Bournemouth.  i always have conflicting emotions when visiting as i spent 7 years at boarding school there so, much as i love the beach, it still makes me shudder a bit as it brings back memories of being on constant "lock-down".  and of being forced to single-file crocodile-style to church on a weekly basis with the other inmates, all dressed in green capes, looking like abandoned orphans (tho, admittedly, as my auntie used to say...fairly well-off orphans!).  anyway - it was wonderful to stroll along the beach with my parents, aunt and uncle, cousin and her children (what does that make them...2nd cousins?).   the weather was glorious and as my family always say "it never rains in Bournemouth"!!!

we also popped into the fabulously grand Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.  Sir Merton Russell Cotes, owner of the  Royal Bath Hotel, had the house built for wife Annie in the grounds of the hotel in the late 19th century.  as many of the wealthy Victorians did, the Russell Cotes loved to travel and collect.  they accumulated a wonderful collection of paintings, sculptures and knick-knacks which, following Merton's mayorship of Bournemouth, they donated to the town.
the bedroom windows afford the most spectacular views and the house really is choc full of amazing art (there's even a Rosetti) and stunning decor.
wonderful portrait of local resident Stewart Granger

Rosetti's Venus Verticordia

we were delighted to see that there was even a painting (The Venetians) by a distant relative of ours, on my father's side, Sir Luke Fildes (1843-1927).  we have always had a copy of his famous painting The Doctor hanging in our hallway - the original can be seen at Tate Britain.  

The Doctor by Sir Luke Fildes

The Venetians by Sir Luke Fildes

on the way back to my parents we stopped at the Rufus Stone in the New Forest which marks the (alleged) spot where King William (nickname Rufus) was shot and killed with an arrow (allegedly) mistakenly by his French archer.  said archer then fled the country, asking a blacksmith to put backward facing shoes on his horse to deter pursuers, but in fact as Rufus was such a baaaa...rbarian and not a popular monarch at all, he needn't've bothered as noone followed, in fact noone even collected the body.  a local took the body to Winchester where a quiet burial was performed and everyone was very happy that the new King Henry was enthroned pdq.

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