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Sculpture of Tommy at Seaham, County Durham

Seaham is a town on the North Sea coast in County Durham.

The statue of Tommy is on the seafront in an area known as Terrace Green by Seaham’s War Memorial. It was erected in 2014 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War.

Statue of Tommy at Seaham

Detail:-

Detail of Tommy Statue at Seaham, County Durham

Side view:-

Tommy at Seaham, Side View

Reverse:-

Reverse View, Tommy Statue at Seaham

Its sculptor was Roy Lonsdale:-

Sculptor Signature, Tommy Statue, Seaham

Dedication plaques. The sculpture’s proper name is 1101, to reflect the minute of peace at the Armistice which ended the war:-

Inscription, Tommy Statue, Seaham

Other side view:-

Tommy at Seaham, Side View

There are more pictures of Tommy here.

Kildeparken, Aalborg, Denmark

Taking an underpass below the railway we found a nice park in Aalborg: the Kildeparken.

There were two small thatched buildings there. One seemed to be a public convenience, the other may have been a caretaker’s hut. Pity about the grafitti:-

Aalborg Thatched Building, Baltic cruise,

Aalborg Thatched Building

There was also a walkway with statues along its sides. This one is of the Three Graces:-

Sculpture, Aalborg, Denmark

The park is also home to the Singing Trees. Each performer at Aalborg’s Concert Hall is asked to plant a tree alongside which is a device containing a recording of a sample of their music.

Singing Trees, Aalborg, Denmark

Singing Trees, Aalborg, Baltic cruise

Singing Trees, Aalborg, Baltic cruise

Sadly during our visit none the playbacks we tried were working. Here’s a clip from You Tube where they were:-


Sibelius Monument, Helsinki

It was a longish walk out from Helsinki city centre to this. Unfortunately we arrived just after three tour buses had disgorged loads of Chinese tourists, each of whom wanted a selfie in front of it. It took ages before I could get a people-free shot.

Sibelius, Helsinki

Sibelius Monument, Helsinki

Sibelius Monument, Helsinki

Sibelius, Helsinki, Finland

I must say that face reminded me of weel kent Scottish literary figure Hugh MacDiarmid.

From reverse:-

Sibelius Monument, Helsinki

Sibelius Monument, Helsinki

Some of the other tourists:-

People at Sibelius Monument, Helsinki

So here’s a bit of Sibelius for you. Finlandia, Op 26:-

Catherine the Great Statue, St Petersburg

In Ostrovskogo Square, just off Nevsky Prospekt.

The building in the background is the Alexandrinsky Theatre:-

Catherine the Great Monument, St Petersburg

Monument to Catherine The Great, St Petersburg

A lamppost nearby:-

Lamppost in Ostrovskogo Square, St Petersburg

Planting in Ostrovskogo Square:-

Planting in Ostrovskogo Square, St Petersburg

More planting, between the statue of Catherine the Great and the Alexandrinsky Theatre Building.

Planting Ostrovskogo Square, St Petersburg

St Petersburg Sphinxes and Rostral Towers

There are two Egyptian sphinxes by the banks of the River Neva in St Petersburg. Our tour guide was quite proud of these. They stand on what is known as the Quay of the Sphinxes. It wa sthe first stop on our first tour.

A Sphinx, St Petersburg

Second Sphinx, St Petersburg

Sphinx Ornamentation:-

Sphinx Ornamentation, St Petersburg

The sphinxes are close to the Blagoveshchensky Bridge Over The River Neva:-

Bridge Over The River Neva, St Petersburg,

River Neva Bridge, St Petersburg

Next we stopped to see the Rostral Towers (or Columns) once beacons for St Petersburg’s original port and another symbol of the city:-

Traffic and Rostral Tower, St Petersburg

A Rostral Tower, St Petersburg

More Modern Warnemünde

Rooftop garden:-

Rooftop Garden, Warnemünde

Close-up on rooftop plants:-

Warnemünde, Close-up on Rooftop Garden

Deco-ish style house. It’s mainly the rounded bay window, here:-

Decoish House, Warnemünde

Civic planting:-

planting in Warnemunde, Germany

Planting, Warnemünde

Warnemünde, Planting

planting in Warnemunde, Germany

Just at the ship’s de-embarkation point there was an exhibition of sand sculptures, Sand Welt (Sand World):-

Sand Welt (Sand World) Sculpture, Warnemünde

By Susanne Ruseler, The Netherlands:-

Warnemünde, Sand Sculpture

By Andrius Petkus, Lithuania:-

Sand Sculpture, Warnemünde

Detail:-

Detail, Sand Sculpture, Warnemünde

S S Magellan at Warnemünde. Ferry across River Warnow in foreground:-

Magellan at Warnemünde

Warnemünde Again

In Warnemünde town centre is a sculpture of a man and two women in a boat. It is the Pilot’s Monument for Stephan Jantzen, sailor, harbour pilot and life saver.

Sculpture, Warnemünde Town Centre

A nearby plaque bears information about the sculptor, Reinhard Dietrich Lotsenehrung. It also says, “1976 Beton, Eigentum Hansestadt Rostock.” (1976 concrete, Property of the Hanseatic City of Rostock.)

Sculpture plaque, Warnemünde

In another side street there was this unusual fountain:-

Fountain Warnemünde

Which bore this plaque:-

Plaque, Fountain, Warnemünde

The small park had a pillar containing books acting as a library:-

Book Pillar In a Park, Warnemünde

The children’s play area had this delightful ride a (working) digger:-

Play Digger in a Park, Warnemünde

Art Deco in Liverpool (ii) Lewis’s

An Art Deco department store in Liverpool.

This picture is from Wikipedia:-

Lewis's Liverpool

The building is known as “Dickie” Lewis or “Nobby” Lewis due to the nude statue by Jacob Epstein more properly known as Liverpool Resurgent. Again the photo is from Wikipedia:-

Unfortunately my own photograph (taken from the tour bus) was shot into the sun, hence the two above:-

Lewis's Liverpool

Ferrera Park, Avilés, and Seaside Sculpture

Thee is a lovely park in Avilés, called Ferrera Park. It was well used by people strolling or jogging and had that essential for a park – water; in this case a pond by which there were not only geese but a black swan.

Black Swan, Ferrera Park, Avilés

Off to the side was a nice parterre garden:-

Garden in Ferrera Fark

Complete with fountain:-

garden in park 7 fountain

You know you’re not in Fife anymore when you see a tree like this:-

Tree, Ferrera Park, Avilés

Just behind the parterre garden was this painted building:-

Painted Building by Ferrera Park, Avilés

As the SS Black Watch left we passed this striking sculpture. It’s by Benjamín Menéndez and is called “Avilés”:-

Sculpture, Avilés

Face-on view:-

"Avilés"

This interesting rock formation sticks out into the Ría Avilés estuary:-

Rock Formation, Ría Avilés Estuary, Spain

Further out where the estuary meets the Atlantic we could see loads of surfers riding the waves into Playa San Juan de Nieva but they were a bit too far off to photograph.

Periodic Tales by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

The Curious Lives of the Elements, Viking, 2011, 428 p.

The first thing to say is that, despite its title(s), this is not a Chemistry book. In its index there are eight references to Shakespeare (only one fewer than for the chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius and more than for any individual scientist barring Humphry Davy, Carl Scheele, William Ramsay, Marie Curie and Dmitri Mendeleev) – four to Goethe, three each to Wagner and Van Gogh. Other seemingly unlikely name checks are given to Wilfred Owen and Barbara Hepworth, not to mention Hunter S Thompson’s novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

What it is, is a book about how Chemistry permeates our lives, not just in the biological sense – for without Chemistry our bodies could not work – but in the cultural sphere, in our day-to-day existence. (There is even a reference to Irn Bru! – in a frankly bizarre context.) As such the book ought to appeal to the general reader rather than just Chemists. But the importance of Chemistry in painting, sculpture, opera, poetry, fiction, even architecture ought not to surprise. As the back of the book reminds us, “Everything is made of them [the elements,] from the furthest reaches of the universe to this book you are holding in your hands, including you.” English words for white (apart from snow) are bound up with the compounds of calcium they embody, marble, alabaster, chalk, ivory, bone, teeth. (I object, here, that the “White Cliffs of Dover” are anything but; unless seen from a distance.) The Latin calx yields the Italian calcio for what Aldersey-Williams calls soccer, perhaps because a goal is scored by the ball crossing a chalked line. The word for railway in nearly every language except English reflects the iron from which it is constructed, chemin de fer, Eisenbahn, ferrovia, vía fería, järnväg, tetsudou. Akin to gold in its chemical unreactivity, the valuation of platinum – the only element first isolated by pre-Columbian Americans – over gold is a cultural choice; not due to rarity but snobbishness.

The book contains photographic illustrations every so often but they can at times be a little indistinct as they are reproduced only in monochrome.

Like his Swedish compatriot Carl Scheele (who has a fair claim to have discovered oxygen) Jöns Jacob Berzelius is all but forgotten – despite pioneering laboratory staples like filter paper and (the now superseded) rubber tubing for connecting laboratory equipment together, first using the words catalysis and protein, inventing chemical symbology and coming up with the idea that elements combined in fixed proportions and hence chemical formulae. If his name had been attached to these as Bunsen’s was to his – admittedly splendid – invention that might not be the case. But it seems the Swedes were/are reticent about blowing their trumpets. Due to their chemists’ wielding of an essential piece of technology – the blow-pipe – no less than seven elements – ytterbium, yttrium, terbium, erbium, holmium, scandium and tantalum – were identified from ores that came from a single mine near the town of Ytterby but there is now no trace of the mine nor is there a visitor’s centre. The Swedes may be missing a trick there.

Discovery of “new” elements has always to an extent depended on available technology. Better furnaces and higher temperatures explain the historical progression of metal extraction through the Bronze and Iron Ages and the isolation of zinc in India by the 13th century, the alkali metals, highly reactive and thus resistant to chemical extraction, were only torn from their compounds by the greater power of electricity – not harnessed till just before 1800 – the spectroscope enabled elements to be inferred from the incursion of additional lines in the resultant spectra, transuranics could only be synthesised when atom–colliding machines became available. New liquefaction techniques allowed William Ramsay in the 1890s to conjure new elements out of thin air. (Well, since it was liquefied, I suppose it was really thick air.) Ramsay populated a whole previously unknown Periodic Table Group, the noble gases – neon et al – using this method.

Aldersey-Williams has a tendency to employ the words light or heavy instead of low/high density respectively and to refer to an element when strictly it is the presence of its compounds, atoms or ions that is under discussion. Plus he infers ozone is bonded in a triangle. Its atoms may be arranged in a triangle but its bonds are not. He also says “sodium is now the colour of the city at night” as well as “our principal means of knowing this element.” My local street may be “lit from above by the sodium lamps,” but these have been largely replaced by the blueish white of mercury vapour lights on main roads.

He has however written an interesting and informative, at times quirky, book.

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