Dover via Canterbury

The White Cliffs of DoverAt Dover Cliffs
Scarce hear the surge that has for ages beat,
Sure many a lonely wanderer has stood;
And whilst the lifted murmur met his ear,
And o’er the distant billows the still eve
Sailed slow, has thought of all his heart must leave

― William Lisle Bowles¹

Take a walk at the White Cliffs of Dover (Map from the National Trust)

Note: My Flickr album is organized sequentially.

Dover as a tourist destination is a little like the Poconos circa 1980 something. It’s heyday has long past and there are placards everywhere promising redevelopment. It doesn’t have the shopping of Brighton or the history and dining of Bristol. It’s a port city you pass through. Who knows though what places like Dover (and the Poconos) will like be post-pandemic as the cost/inconvenience of international travel changes domestic tourism.

As a gateway to the Cliffs of Dover the city is fine (even IF the relationship seemed badly neglected). My first afternoon was spent ambling around the town centre (getting my bearings) and probing the approach to the infamous cliffs. I’m not a typical traveler and don’t depend on guide books or countless hours of research on the internet. My trips are usually centered around an event (e.g. football match) or a place and the rest is just freeform exploration and discovery. The absence of an agenda makes it very easy to whittle the hours away at a coffee shop.

Ambition
The eastern approach to the cliffs via the Athol Terrace/Coast Path was kind-of-maybe-sort-of-closed because of falling rocks (chalk in this case) so I found an alternative route via Castle Hill Road. The site of Dover Castle from any vista is impressive but dominates the horizon as you make the climb up Castle Hill Road. My adventure for the day unfortunately ended at Upper Road due to overambition². On my way back to the hotel I took a picture of St. Martin’s Guesthouse because of its promise of ‘tea and coffee making facilities’ (plus it’s the surname of the pastor at my church).

Miracle of the Feet
It was a fast start on Sunday morning after my feet (and legs) had a couple of hours to rest. My approach to the park (national trust) was via Upper Road. There’s a church on the route that was damaged in WWII and is now preserved as a Grade II listed building. I stopped for a photograph on the top of Connaught Road and a sign post for Burgoyne Fort (for Bear). There was NO sidewalk/trail/path on Upper Road but it was SO early that cars only passed sporadically.

I finally made it to the visitor centre and my first vista of the White Cliffs of Dover! I had NO idea HOW big the park was so my decision to “call it quits” the day before was just lucky. On Saturday night, whilst subjecting my feet to a recovery regimen that was some Mr. Miyagi style stuff, studied a map of the park. The walk to the lighthouse is about 50 minutes, BUT I stopped to explore every nook and cranny SO it was well north of that number. My return trip included a descent into Fan Bay (feets of strength™) before climbing down to sea level to explore the ribs of a wreck on Langdon Beach.

I left the park via the aforementioned eastern approach (the one with the signs about falling chalk). This route gives you a nice birds eye view of the port and takes you under the A2. I’m not a very good writer because this post omits the absolute majesty of this amazing space but if you’ve ever wanted to live in a Turner painting visit the White Cliffs of Dover. I think English skies are so beautiful because all that chalk acts like a filter when it’s picked up by the breeze.

IMPORTANT: There are few times when my feet and legs have been so tired/sore so IF you plan on traversing from sea level to lighthouse to bays and holes (the latter is inappropriate) wear something more durable than Vans (and bring sunscreen).

¹Sonnet: At Dover Cliffs, July 20th 1787 by William Lisle Bowles (poetry.com)
²Overamition in my case is a combination of NO food, a very early start, and poor footwear

Weekend 389.0 (Cosmos ‘Versailles Tetra’)

“Envision the extraordinary brilliance and effects of the light in sun and moon and stars, in the dark shades of a glade, in the colors and scents of flowers. Then there is the grandeur of the spectacle of the sea as it slips on and off its many colors like robes. All these are mere consolations for us, not the rewards of the blessed. What can such rewards be like, then, if such things here are so many, so great, and of such quality?” – St. Augustine

Weekend 315.0 (79.45%)

“In Him we live and move and exist.” ― St. Paul

How many of your conversations this year started with, “it just seems like yesterday?” Projects that mark the passage of time are difficult because you realize (very profoundly) how precious time is. It seems like every three months #YOLO is trending on twitter, and while I used to recoil in disgust, PLAYMOBIL365.com has given me a new respect for HOW quickly time passes (and how short life is).

Year long projects also bring into focus the people, places, and things that have become sources of inspiration. There’s always a story behind every picture on PLAYMOBIL365.com and while I don’t want to be be smarmy and overly introspective (some mysteries should remain mysteries), there are always some fountainheads worth sharing.

In case you couldn’t tell from surveying the content on this site, I have nurtured a lifelong obsession with Walt Disney. And NOT the crap they do now; but the city-planning, architecture, engineering, story-telling, mass-transit, attention-to-detail, respect for history and tradition, and rampant innovation envisaged by Walt Disney and his coterie of imagineers.

#278 10.5.2014 is inspired by this padlock at the Main Street Station AND this sign from the Hollywood Tower Hotel.

#282 10.9.2014 is a tribute to Walt Disney and inspired by a toy bird he found in New Orleans. The DigiBird also reminds me of Disney’s favorite song “Feed The Birds” by the Sherman Brothers.

#286 10.13.2014 is inspired by the Land Pavilion at Epcot.

Related
(1) Architect Michael Graves on Design Hits and Misses (WSJ)

(2) A Flower Arrangement Inspired by a Helen Frankenthaler Painting (WSJ)

Weekend 312.0 (Le mal du pays)

Train crossing between mountains.A couple of days off from work (a much needed extra long Labor Day Weekend) so I’m doing some housekeeping, biking, and drinking gratuitous amounts of coffee. I also finished Murkami’s book less than twenty-four hours after it arrived.

(1) A quote from Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

“The only real interest he had was train stations. He wasn’t sure why, but for as long as he could remember, he had loved to observe train stations—they had always appealed to him. Huge bullet-train stations; tiny, one-track stations out in the countryside; rudimentary freight-collection stations—it didn’t matter what kind because as long as it was a railway station, he loved it. Everything about stations moved him deeply.

Like most little boys he enjoyed assembling model trains, but what really fascinated him weren’t the elaborate locomotives or cars, or the cleverly designed dioramas. No, it was the models of ordinary stations set down among the other parts, like an afterthought. He loved to watch as the trains passed by the station, or slowed down as they pulled up to the platform. He could picture the passengers coming and going, the announcements on the speaker system, the ringing of the signal as a train was about the depart, the station employees briskly going about their duties. What was real and what was imaginary mingled in his mind, and he’d tremble sometimes with the excitement of it all. But he could never adequately explain to people why he was so attracted to the stations. Even if he could, he knew they would think he was one weird kid. And sometimes Tsukuru himself wondered if something wasn’t exactly right with him.”

(1a) Le mal du pays – The groundless sadness called forth in a person’s heart by a pastoral landscape. Homesickness. Melancholy.

(1b) Hearts Linked by Pain: The plainness of Murakami’s writing accentuates a story of finding things to live for after traumatic loss. (WSJ)

(1c) Haruki Murakami Bingo

(2) An excerpt from The Bermudian by Nathaniel Tucker:

The guava flourishes, the myrtle grows,
Upon the surface earth-born woodbines creep,
O’er the green beds the painted ‘sturtians peep,
Their arms aloft triumphant lilacs bear,
And jessamines perfume the ambient air.
The whole is from an eminence display’d,
Where the brown olive lends his pensive shade.
When zephyrs there the noon-tide heat asswage,
Oft have I turn’d the meditative page,
And calmly read the ling’ring hours away,
Securely shelter’d from the blaze of day.

(3) Oh, Come On. Marigolds? Seriously? (WSJ)

(4) Francis Ford Coppola Talks Travel (WSJ)

What makes a hotel great is: sort of like what makes a great wine; it’s much more than the fruit you drink, and the bottle and the label. It’s the story connected to it; the context and the history. A hotel is made great by the guests who stayed there 100 years ago, and all the detail and personality that developed over that time.”

(5) Eurailing Around Europe—As an Adult (WSJ)

*Train crossing between mountains. Scan is from The Art of the Wind Rises: A Film by Hayao Miyazaki.

Weekend 283.0 (You’re the bloody barrister!)

Model Building Lobby(1) Miniature City Models Around the World: From the Panorama of the City of New York to Miniatur Wunderland in Hamburg, Germany, downscaled versions of real places (WSJ)

“Why do tiny things delight us so? From early childhood we’re captivated by model train sets and dollhouses, miniature worlds that can inspire flights of imagination. We needn’t relinquish those pleasures just because we’ve grown up: Meticulously crafted models of real-life landscapes await discovery around the globe. One of the most intriguing, the Panorama of the City of New York, built for the 1964 New York World’s Fair, reopens to the public today, as does its home, the Queens Museum, fresh from a three-year overhaul.”

(1a) Panorama of the City of New York

(2) Icon of a Fair, a Borough, the World (WSJ)

(3) 101 Airports (Dwell)

(4) When Being Alone Turns Into Loneliness, There Are Ways to Fight Back (WSJ)

“Researchers at Brigham Young University studying the correlation between social relationships and mortality did a 2010 meta-analysis of 148 studies encompassing more than 300,000 participants. They found loneliness was as strong a predictor of early death as was alcoholism or smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and it was a stronger predictor than obesity or a sedentary lifestyle.”

(5) Artist Do Ho Suh Explores the Meaning of Home (WSJ Magazine)

(6) GIANT tyre/tire

2 from the ‘Son of a Florist’ files…

(7) 101Florals – a collaborative pattern project by illustrators Lindsay Nohl & Llew Mejia

(7a) A Thanksgiving Centerpiece Inspired by a Cy Twombly Painting (WSJ)

(7b) Patterned paper flowers @ Folksy

Weekend 280.0

I always post lists without any context so this post concludes with some [context]. And highly experimental since pronouns are rubbish.

(1) ‘Mars Attacks’ again, 50 years later (USA Today)

(2) The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival Ends

(2a) Chris Ware: ‘There is a magic when you read an image that moves in your mind’ (The Guardian)

(3) What Do Pedestrian Traffic Icons Say About Your Culture? (WSJ)

(4) On Paper: The Everything of Its Two-Thousand-Year History (Publishers Weekly)

(5) Iconic Airports: Where Are They Now?

(5a) This Weekend, Your Last Chance to See Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center at JFK (The Daily Traveler)

Limestone Roof Bucket List

(5b) Standard Hotel Heads to the Airport with Plans to Takeover TWA Flight Center

(6) Why All the Fuss About Proust? (WSJ)

“After all, the story couldn’t be simpler. It’s about a young man of an unspecified age who enjoys reading, who is shy and introspective, but not necessarily awkward or antisocial, who likes his mother, who wants to travel to Venice but, because of poor health, never quite manages to do so until later in life. Marcel, the hero of Proust’s autobiographical novel, loves nature, music, restaurants, hotels, beaches, churches, art, theater, Paris, fantasizes about friendships and girls, dissects the grown-ups around him with no less unforgiving irony and acuity than when he studies himself, and ultimately worships the good and beautiful things of life, hoping one day to craft the story of his maturation as a human being and as an artist.”

From the ‘Son of a Florist’ files…

(7) A Flower Arrangement Inspired by Balthus (WSJ)

*Illustration by Herb Ryman, 1959

Context
(1) My friend was cleaning her desk at work and gave me a pack. They are very reminiscent of the Bowman: Jets, Rockets, and Spacemen set from 1951.

(2 and 2a) Biked to the festival last November in search of an autograph from Chris Ware. Met Mr. Ware BUT the highlight of the show was the discovery of a little comic by Jen Tong called Find My Light. This was a great show and sad to see it end.

(3) Unhealthy preoccupation with icons and signage.

(4) A complement to Paper: An Elegy by Ian Sansom.

(5, 5a, 5b, and 5c) Missed the tour because of the Con but one day in the not so distant future it will be a hotel! This article from the Wall Street Journal on September 13 on Eero is a must read.

“The structural and rational cannot always take precedent [sic] when another form proves more beautiful.”

(6) Found Proust via Alain de Botton (A Week at the Airport and The Architecture of Happiness) and In Search of Lost Time is worth a gander (use your library card). I also like A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by Joyce

(7) My beautiful mum is a gifted florist.

Amphorae

(1) A Flower Arrangement Based on a J.M.W. Turner Painting (WSJ)

(2) Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God:
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it, and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware
More and more, from the first similitude.

(3) A quote from Henry David Thoreau:

“You never gain something but that you lose something.”

Weekend 276.0

Nice weekend in the northeast (weather-wise). Was able to bike a bit and noticed that the abandoned Free Spirit at the train station has been robbed of its tyres.

My home office is in shambles but slowly being reconfigured/reassembled. One of the most amazing things about moving is uncovering and re-discovering “stuff” packed and forgotten in bins and boxes. There is NOW a serious backlog of ephemera waiting to be scanned and posted.

(1) Rose Pogonias by Robert Frost

“For though the grass was scattered,
Yet every second spear
Seemed tipped with wings of color,
That tinged the atmosphere.

We raised a simple prayer
Before we left the spot,
That in the general mowing
That place might be forgot;
Or if not all so favored,
Obtain such grace of hours,
That none should mow the grass there
While so confused with flowers.

(2) Office-Friendly Bike Clothing: Don’t Sweat the Commute (WSJ)

(2a) Bike Pron: Bianchi Metropoli

(3) Rethink Chrysanthemums (WSJ)

(3a) Detailed Digital Flowers Radiate with a Magical Glow

(4) All Lift, No Weight (WSJ)

(5) Explore Britain…From Post to Post (WSJ)