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Not The Old Vicarage, Grantchester.

After Newmarket we headed just south-east of Cambridge to the not very well sign-posted village of Grantchester.

“Stands the church clock at ten to three?
And is there honey still for tea?”

As you can see from the church clock in the photo below we arrived an hour too early.

Grantchester Church Clock At Ten To Two.

I looked for the Old Vicarage but even though there was a Vicarage Lane the houses’ identities were being closely guarded. Jeffrey Archer (yes, Jeffrey Archer) bought the Old Vicarage in the 1980s. If he still lives there perhaps it’s a blessing I didn’t find it.

I did find a new(er) vicarage right beside the church. Hardly iconic.

New? Vicarage.
.

I was, however, delighted to see the War Memorial in the churchyard of St Andrew and St Mary.

War Memorial, Grantchester.

I was even more delighted to see Rupert Brooke’s name there.

War Memorial, Grantchester, Close up.

Brooke greeted the Great War with some enthusiasm, in sonnets such as Now, God Be Thanked Who Has Matched Us With His Hour and The Soldier.

Brooke didn’t die in battle. He developed sepsis from a mosquito bite on his way to Gallipoli and was buried on the island of Skyros in Greece. So some corner of a foreign field is forever, if not England, then at least Grantchester.

He was a casualty of the war, though, as he would not have been in the Aegean but for that.

Passing the Green Man pub I saw a sign saying “Grantchester Meadows.” I followed the path down and took this photo.

Grantchester Meadows

This was because Grantchester has another famous son, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. The song Grantchester Meadows from the 1969 album Ummagumma, though written and performed by Roger Waters rather than Gilmour, was, I presume, inspired by this.

Pink Floyd – Grantchester Meadows

J G Ballard

I discovered this morning that the sometime Science Fiction writer and chronicler of the late twentieth century, J G Ballard, whose semi-autobiographical novel The Kindness Of Women I wrote about a few weeks ago, has died. Eulogies are apparently all over the blogosphere.
His early experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese in wartime Shanghai flooded indelibly through his work; images of wrecks, ruin and abandonment abound. An air of the inevitability of decay hangs over nearly everything he wrote. (The word”already” is a Ballardian trademark.) Here it should be noted that as a road map of where as a civilisation we may be headed this aspect of his work may be all too predictive.

Yet to me his writing always seemed to be quintessentially English; it represented a kind of ├╝ber Englishness in the way that possibly only an expatriate could express. His stories somehow embodied the stiff upper lip and also the “hanging-on in quiet desperation” that Roger Waters of Pink Floyd described as the English way. Yet they dissected alienation and elevated its description to an art from.

Having said all that it nevertheless remains true that pretty much all of his works plough a similar furrow. I know this will be sacrilege to his admirers but to read one Ballard novel is more or less to read them all. The crucial affect is of detachment, events are described matter-of-factly, as if they do not really impact on the character whose point of view we inhabit at the time.

His obsessions, Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy assassination, car crashes, the nuclear bomb, urban blight, were those of an Englishman of a certain age. In that respect he was more a man of his time than he was one ahead of it.

He is undoubtedly, however, one of the major writers in English, and of world literature as a whole, of the second half of the twentieth century.

And the novels of his that were published as Science Fiction are indissolubly part of his canon, covering the same concerns, and equally as worthy, as those that were not.

J G Ballard 15/11/1930-19/04/2009.

So it goes.

Scotland’s Art Deco Heritage 8. Tarlair Swimming Pool Near Macduff

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while as I was waiting till I got over to Glasgow to take a few photos, but I was browsing the old internet and came across this.

Tarlair Swimming Pool 1

Click on the photo for the Flickr page information.

Apparently it’s just been listed by Historic Scotland. Good on them.

Tarlair Swimming Pool 2

I remember there was a tidal swimming pool by the Clyde at Levengrove Park in Dumbarton. There’s another at St Andrew’s. Both are silted up/worn away now and neither were anything more than a stone wall in a rectangular shape. No Art Deco building.

This is almost like a lido but the location is surely all wrong. You’d have to be hardy soul to brave the Moray Firth, even with this as a backdrop.

See also this picture and this at Flickr. The second of these reminds me of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here album cover.

The colour photos below show the degree of dilapidation. (But the tide is out.)

Tarlair Swimming Pool

Tarlair Swimming Pool

Tarlair Swimming Pool

Richard Wright

I was sorry to hear about the death of Richard Wright of Pink Floyd through cancer.

He was one of the lesser sung of Pink Floyd’s members but integral to their development.
He’s probably most famous for writing the tune to The Great Gig In The Sky from The Dark Side Of The Moon but I suspect everybody’s going to put that up. (Johnny Walker played it as a tribute on Radio 2 this morning.)

Instead here, from Atom Heart Mother, is Summer of ’68 – which he wrote and which has a great bit of “rock”y piano from the man himself.

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