070724.Bath, “Each Drop Fat With Purpose and Spite”

July 24, 2007 at 5:34 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Dogs, somerset, stairs | 3 Comments

07016.08.SO.Bath.ParadeGrdns“There is going to be a great flood, and all shall drown except you and yours, and the chosen animals.… I shall bring a flood that will wipe out the world. The whole thing was a bad mistake—except you, you I like.”
“Who are you?”
“I’m the creator of the universe.”

070717.7.SO.Bath.Walcot.GeorgeStreet“I was just talking with the Lord and you know what? He regrets having made his children too. He says it like this: ‘I will blot them out’”
“What does that even mean?”
“It means he’ll blot them out, smush ‘em into the ground like ladybugs. He’s going to flood the place and drown everyone with his tears of rage. And guess who he picked to spearhead the operation? That’s right, me. Also, you virginal dummies will have to get married so we can re-seed the Earth. Stop waxing the rimrod and clean your togas. Get out to work.”

070305.01.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.BathwickHillRd“From what Ham had heard about God, he was a lot like his father: tough, stubborn and prone to yell right into your face for no reason. To Ham, a flood wouldn’t have been out the question. And God would have chosen his father because his father felt just like he did: He hated his kids and was going to teach them the meaning of righteousness by killing them dead.”

“Is it right to listen to the voice in one’s nose? Maybe I am sick in the head. But if I am wrong that means the dummies are right. There is nothing left for me to do but persist.”

070704.262.Rome.Parrione.Cloister.SMariadellaPace.d.Cortona.1656-57Ham: “You know, we could empty out the alligator cage and make some more room for people. The world could do without alligators.”
Noah: “And disobey God, you dummy? …And you try reopening that door. Do you know what a pain that would be? No thanks.”
–Jonathan Goldstein

Left: Rome’s Cloister of S. Maria della Pace, designed by Cortona, 1656-57.

070331.Bradford, Turning Away from the View

March 31, 2007 at 2:08 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bradford, somerset, stairs, Towers | 6 Comments

061021.092.Somset.Bath.Bradford.Landsdown Hill.Beckford's Tower

This is not a window nor a ghost, it just represents the presence of both.

(Sighted in Beckford’s Tower, Lansdown Hill)

-posted but not created by JC

070212.Cardiff, “Pa, I Lost my Balloon”

February 12, 2007 at 1:59 AM | Posted in Architecture, Cathedrals and churches, Hot air balloons, Overcast, people, stairs, Waterfront | 3 Comments

Copy of 070210.257.SGlam.Cardiff.Senate
OK, lame title. There’s O2 written on the lost balloon, which suggests that H2 might be written on the heart-shaped balloons(?) Please, DPers, help me: compete to caption this properly! This is just like a New Yorker contest, and the winning entry will be published…as will all other entries if left on the message board. (I will not delete.)

This was taken from the porch of the Welsh Senate looking south out into Cardiff Bay. The church is the far distance is St. Augustine’s. Not pictured, but a few hundred feet to the left is the Norwegian Church, where Roald Dahl was christened. There is Rohl Dahl Plas somewhere nearby, perhaps this was it. OK, get to work: I have faith in you.

Copy (2) of Untitled-1

070201.Bath, CHEAPSKATES!

February 1, 2007 at 12:01 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bathwick, Chisel Marks, Gardens & Parks, Overcast, Peephole Views, people, river, River Avon, somerset, stairs | 9 Comments

061125.03.Somset.Bath.GrandParade.Watching the Sat Game.accross Avon

The nerve of people watching football (soccer) for free from across the River Avon when they could just as easily cross nearby Pulteney Bridge and walk into the stadium for free! This is an unusually packed shot of the recreational grounds in Bathwick, which clearly demonstrates Bath propper’s higher ground. The recreational grounds were originally to be incorporated into housing as part of Bathwick New Town. However, the start of the Napoleonic Wars and an embargo led to local banks going bust in 1793, which put an end to all development in the city. The recreational grounds would have been built up like bordering Great Pulteney Street (one of the only areas of the development constructed), since it is on a flood-plane.

061119.Bath, King: “I Had a Dream!”

November 19, 2006 at 12:32 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bath Abbey, Cathedrals and churches, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Crowns, cumulus clouds, gargoyles, Ladders, Light and Shadow, Olive Trees, Preservation, Restoration, Ruins, Sculpture, somerset, Stained Glass, stairs, Towers, towns | 7 Comments


Then he [Jacob] dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the Earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

–Genesis 28:12

Firstly, don’t even think of looking up the skirts of these angels: they’re genderless…and God will know if you try. Weekends typically kill viewership so I was going to play it easy but here’s the story on the west façade (although it was briefly mentioned back in the first Hokusai post):

When the former secretary to Henry VII, Bishop Oliver King, came to his new diocese he found the old large Norman Church in a state of grave disrepair and so endeavored to get the King to pay for a new Cathedral.

Owing his ecclesiastical office (See earlier “Investitures Conflict”) to his former secretarial duties and far from being concerned with civil rights in 1499, King had a dream in which angels ascended and descended a ladder from heaven and a voice spoke to him proclaiming: “Let an olive establish the crown and a king restore the Church.” (See the built image here.) I should add that by King, I mean Bishop King. And that the actual king probably responded by having an equally vivid dream in which God told him to let his former secretary pay for it. Anyway, the royal master masons (Robert and William Virtue) were used, which explains the similarity between its fan vaulting interior and that of Cambridge’s King’s College Chapel. It is the last large scale medieval cathedral constructed in England.

It’s all very confusing since not only is there a King, king, Oliver, and olive in this story but the actual king, Henry VII, was eager to shore up his “crown” image since he had just established his dynasty. This Tudor dynasty was born out of overthrowing the “evil” Yorkist Richard III* and ended the War of the Roses (dynastic civil war) by “uniting” the families of Lancaster and York. (Actually, he just married a York and then the happy couple spent their Honeymoon and subsequent marriage executing the wife’s entire family on trumped up charges.) His son was Henry VIII so you can just imagine the mother-in-law jokes of the Tudor Court!

Clearly Bath Abbey wasn’t just a dreamed folly (built) but part of God’s divine plan. God willed a Cathedral there, or rather a new cathedral there (3rd on the site!), or rather a new bi-cathedral there (since the “cathedra” is split with Wells, making it the diocese of Bath and Wells.)

Or as Bishop Jocelin would put it: “…the folly isn’t mine. It’s God’s Folly. Even in the old days He never asked men to do what was reasonable. Men can do that for themselves. They can buy and sell, heal and govern. But then out of some deep place comes the command to do what makes no sense at all–to build a ship on dry land; to sit among the dunghills; to marry a whore; to set their son on the altar of sacrifice. Then, if men have faith, a new thing comes.” (Excerpt from William Golding’s The Spire, 1964…pick up a copy, much better than Lord of the Flies)

And new things did come: Reformation, which made this structure redundant and caused it to be sold at auction a mere three decades after King’s dream.

060927.07.Bath.Abbey.WestFacade.Angels Climbing Jacob’s Ladder to heavenMy favorite aspect of the Jacob’s Ladder is its uninterupted spanning of the windows. And despite their stone wings, the angel’s share a valuable safety lesson with us mere humans: NEVER CLIMB A LADDER WHILE HOLDING ONTO THE OUTSIDE RAILINGS SINCE IF YOU SLIP YOU WILL SLIDE DOWN. (Somewhere on this facade must be the equally famous Nilda instruction: NEVER EVER SHAKE A BABY) God bless the angels and fundamentally basic safety procedures.

There’s a feeling I get when I look to the west
And my spirit is crying for leaving
In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those who stand looking

Woe oh oh oh oh oh
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven

Led Zeppelin

 *Please note Paul Trevor Bale left a concerned comment on this ironic characterization that is well worth reading.

061026.Bradford, Lansdown Hill, Looking Up Beckford’s Tower

October 26, 2006 at 1:09 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bradford, somerset, stairs, Towers | 5 Comments

061021.086.Somset.Bath.Bradford.Landsdown Hill.Beckford’s Tower

Popularly called “cantilevered stairs,” these are in fact “hanging stairs (?)” since the heavy stone treads are not set into the wall deep enough to provide an adequate cantilever. Although I could be off on these particular stairs since they are set in a square tower (see thumbnail sectional), structurally, no one quite knows why “hanging stairs” remain standing. They were popular from the Georgian on to the Victorian Period (mid 18th C-mid to late 19th C). Medieval variations exist in turrets that were not cantilevered or hanging, but all connected to a central spine, which took their weight. Here, each step would break under its own weight, if not supported by the step below it! Load testing reveals these are stronger stairs than many contemporary decorative structures, functioning like a spring against the foundation. However, the one flaw in placing the fate of an entire spiral of stairs on each “step vertebra” is that if one fails, the entire staircase collapses. Typically, fires quickly cause catastrophic failure (and progressive collapse) to these structures after a single step overheats and cracks, making the beautiful form obsolete and dangerous without modern material safeguards.

061021.085.Somset.Bath.Bradford.Landsdown Hill.Beckford’s Tower

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