Saturday, 14 November 2009

Remembrance Sunday.

Last Sunday I had the priviledge to attend the Remembrance Day memorial service and parade in my home town of Woking. The service was conducted in the open air in the town square in front of the war memorial for the fallen of the First World War.

There was an amazing turnout with attendance from all branches of the military, the police, the fire service and local civic dignatries as well as the public. I was particularly impressed that there were many young people there to show their respects and wearing their poppies with pride.

I suppose that the death of our soldiers in Afghanistan keeps reminding people of the futility of war. At 11 am there was a minutes silence for reflection followed by the playing of the last post on a solitary bugle. I found the whole experience very moving.

The impressively attended Remembrance Day service in Woking Town Square in front of the First World War Memorial.

The Lady Mayor in full regalia arrives for the service.

The poignant inscription on the War Memorial in Woking town square.

The various wreaths of poppies laid at the foot of the memorial. My son Josh in air cadet uniform is in the background immediately to the left of the memorial.

Woking and H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds.

My home town of Woking has long been associated with H G Wells. Wells lived in Woking for several years, during which time he wrote his classic novel of alien invasion, The War of the Worlds (1898), much of which is set in and around the town. For the 1998 centenary of the publication of The War of the Worlds, the Borough Council chose to mark Woking's connection with both author and book by commissioning a sculpture representing the book's most striking image: the Martian Fighting Machine.

The Martian Fighting Machine - The Tripod.

The Woking Martian sculpture was created by artist Michael Condron and unveiled in April 1998. It consists of three elements: the Martian Fighting Machine, the Martian Cylinder and the Bacteria.
The Martian Fighting Machine sculpture represents one of the vast metal tripods from which the invading Martians wreaked havoc with their deadly Heat Ray. The chrome-plated stainless-steel sculpture is 7 metres (23 feet) tall with legs 17 centimetres (7 inches) in diameter. It is depicted advancing from the direction of Horsell Common, the landing site of the first Martian Cylinder. As you can see, the detail on the underside of the tripod is amazing.

The underside of the Martian Fighting Machine.

The detail is extraordinary.

The Martian Cylinder.

The Martian Cylinder represents the first of the projectiles that carried the Martians to Earth, landing on Horsell Common which is just outside Woking town centre. The cylinder element of the Woking Martian depicts the cylinder embedded in the Common, with multi-coloured bricks representing layers of soil thrown up by the impact.

In The War of the Worlds the Earth's bacteria proved the downfall of the Martians. The concourse between the FIghting Machine and the Cylinder features a number of inlaid mosaics depicting the bacteria. The final one, fittingly, shows a microbe slithering up a leg of the Fighting Machine. I think overall that this is a superb sculpture telling in detail the story of the Martian landings. However, i'm sure that many people who have never read the book or seen the film (not the Tom Cruise Hollywood version) walk by and have no idea what they are seeing. Anyway, if you have cause to visit Woking and come across this, you now know the story behind the sculpture.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Wanted. Another collective noun.

The aftermath of a triathlon at Porthcawl.

My obsession with collective nouns continues apace! We came across these athletes after they had finished a Triathlon. My question is what is the collective noun for a large group of bicycles? My humble offer is a "spoke" of bikes or bicycles. If you can come up with a better expression leave a comment. I am still looking for additional collective nouns for lifeguards and blondes.

Nature's architecture.

Concluding my visit to South Wales (honest) we came across this tree in the grounds of Margham Country Park. It had the most unusual trunk that I have ever seen.

Over time it had, for some reason, divided itself into five separate smaller trunks (trunkets?) to form a beautiful dramatic natural wooden sculpture that for me conveyed movement and the fight for light, space and survival. What do you think?

I just love the natuaral curves of this tree.