BB1839 : The Grand Tour

Wednesday 5th December 2018

It's not all about storming up hills and drinking beer.  Even on a good day we like to have a little bit of culture.  And on a bad day its not all about culture and drinking beer, as today proved.  Not a drop of alcoholic beverage passed our lips.  But we did get a good fill of culture.  Indeed, an extraordinarily good fill.

One good thing about a bad day that threatens to do nothing but pour down, is that there is no need get up early, especially when there is so much culture more or less on our doorstep.  So at the civilised time of 10:45 we assembled in Abbot Hall's Bakestone Café, the intention being to visit the Grayson Perry exhibition.  I had always thought him a bit weird and I suppose he is.  But when I saw his Vanity Of Small Differences exhibition in Liverpool a few years ago I woke up to the fact that he has amazing talent in a very quirky way.

Stylistically, Julie Cope's Grand Tour, is quite similar but, in just two tapestries, records the major stages of her life in a remarkable way.

A Perfect Match:
From a flooded island to a concrete city, discover Julie's childhood,
teenage years and first marriage to an odd long-haired boy.

In Its Familiarity, Golden.  
Travelling further North, follow Julie as she takes control
and builds a new life for herself with second husband Rob.

I won't begin to describe it.  You have to see it.  And hear it.  Alongside the tapestries is an epic ballad written and narrated by GP himself.  There is a detailed explanation of the tapestry at The Story Of A Life By Grayson Perry.  Sadly it doesn't include the The Ballad of Julie Cope.

Downstairs, Tony was acting as unofficial tour guide around the Lady Anne Clifford tryptich, pouncing on unsuspecting visitors as they entered her chamber and telling them the tale of his heroine.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Martin, Mike and I discovered another and quite different display.  At first sight, Alison Watt's pictures just seemed a sequence of monochrome pictures of mundane objects. However, the more you looked at them, the more you began to appreciate their remarkable three dimensional appearance.

The Shadow on the Blind formed quite a fascinating contrast to all we had seen before.

Back downstairs, Tony had found another customer and had to be prized away from his muse.

Next door to Abbot Hall is Kendal Parish Church, Holy Trinity.  

The present building, one of the widest churches in the UK, dates back to the 13th Century and is thought to have been holy ground for 300 years previously.  

There is a lot to see, much of it recorded on the church website.  Tony thought there might be a relic of a Knight's Templar but we weren't able to find the connection.

Culture was now giving way to stomachs. Tony took us alongside The Ring o'Bells to show us the 1824 New Year inscription in the window.  Or was it to show us the Triumph Owners Motor Cycle Club shield inside?

Then a strange thing happened. Rather than entering, as one might have expected, he continued on a few yards to the Union Jack café.

They certainly know how to fill a plate with traditional offerings.  And then how to do likewise with puddings.  Mike had his with ice cream.  I had steamy, hot, runny custard; just how I like it.  However I also like ice cream.  Mike took one look at my custard and decided he wanted a side jug of the same.  Naturally I then had to have a large scoop of ice cream added to my bowl of delight.

Well stuffed, we reverted to history- round the back to the recently refreshed Museum of Lakeland Life, although the main difference I could detect was the reversal of the direction of rotation.  Either way round, it is an interesting and well displayed collection of what it says on the cover.  Lakeland Life as experienced over the last few centuries.

Cultured out, the remarkable non-event then took place.   In terms of statistics, I reckon we must have consumed at least 3,000 calories and burned off maybe 100 of them in the couple of hundred yards we had walked.  In terms of culture, we were at overload and our brains too exhausted even to manage a pint at the Ring o'Bells. After all, it would have meant walking another 20 yards. And more calories.  Our Grand Tour was at an end.

Don, Wednesday 5th December 2018

Christmas Competition

Margaret's favourite picture at Abbot Hall is Peploe's Still Life with Tulips and Oranges.  Sadly it is not currently on display, languishing in the storage room.  I have offered to give it a good home but so far without success.  However, in the children's corner there are sheets for colouring-in an outline of the picture.

I thought it would make a nice Christmas competition for our readers and their young ones.  

So for a modest and yet to be determined prize, why not click on the outline, print off the picture, complete it in whatever festive style you want, then scan it and send your entry to to arrive not later than Friday 21st December.

If you want inspiration from the original, enlarge the picture in the right hand column.  See if you can spot how I have made it more Christmassy!



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Comitibus:  Martin, Tony, Mike, Don


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BB1839 : The Grand Tour


Wednesday 5th December 2018


Abbot Hall, Grayson Perry, Alison Watt,
Kendal Parish Church, Union Jack Cafe,
Museum of Lakeland Life


Don, Martin, Mike B, Tony


If you want to know which BOOTboys reports refer to having visited any particular Wainwright or certain other hills, see BOOTboys Hill Log.  Warning- it might not be fully up-to-date!

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