070714.Bathwick, “Explicit hoc totum; Pro Christo da Mihi Potum”

July 14, 2007 at 12:11 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Bathwick, Columns, Conservation, Corinthian Order, Light and Shadow, Mansion, Museums, people, somerset, University of Bath, Window | 2 Comments

From the archives now: last day of class party in front of the Holborne Museum. The first day of class also ended in the Holborne Museum for drinks. It was quite enjoyable but with cases of champaign, one must remember that the grades aren’t all in yet and to just keep it to one social glass. The faces have been blurred to protect the innocent.
Either way, a nice coda to the end of the academic year, as the above title’s eighth-century manuscript postscript line-inspired suggests:

The job is done, I think;
For Christ’s sake, give me a drink.

I should do a post on this excellent Georgian structure, the Sydney Hotel by Thomas Baldwin, now the museum redesigned and added to during all periods. The last changes occured early in the 20th C and now there is a controversial modern extension that has planning consent.
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A great skit from December 2006 by Rico Galliano of Marketplace from American Public Media (and Public Radio International)

KAI RYSDAAL, HOST:
Cross fragile office politics with the social minefield of a party, douse liberally with spiked eggnog, and voila: [you have] a recipe for disaster, otherwise known as the annual holiday office party.
But not to worry, the Marketplace Players are here to help with an educational primer they call:
[cue Fifties-style music and Fifties-styled Announcer:] “Holiday Party Dos and Don’ts”

ANNOUNCER:
Meet Herbert.

HERBERT:
Hi.

ANNOUNCER:
My, Herbert, don’t you look spiffy!

HERBERT:
I’m off to the Office Christmas Party!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
Ow! You blasted my ears with a foghorn!

ANNOUNCER:
That’s because you just made a big faux pas, Herbert. Never call it a Christmas party; call it a holiday party.

HERBERT:
You mean to show respect to all coworkers of different cultures and ethnic backgrounds?

ANNOUNCER:
You got it!

[At party, sound of background chattering.]
ANNOUNCER:
Boy, this is a swell party but hey, where are you headed?

HERBERT:
The open bar!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
Oww. What now?!

ANNOUNCER:
You’re not drinking on my watch, Herbert. Not at an office holiday party.

HERBERT:
…But…isn’t that the point?

ANNOUNCER:
No, the point is to put in an appearance and leave with your job and reputation intact.

HERBERT:
That’s true. Can I have just one?

ANNOUNCER:
Well alright.

HERBERT:
Bartender, give me a scotch straight up—make it a double!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
…I mean a single.

ANNOUNCER:
That-a-boy. Wow, Herbert, there’s that coworker you’re keen on.

HERBERT:
You’re right! Hey, hot mamma!
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
[angrily] Look, you have no right meddling in my love life.

ANNOUNCER:
It’s your career I’m worried about, Herbert. Now that coworker thinks you’re creepy. If you must flirt, be a gentleman.

HERBERT:
OK, I’ll try with someone else.

ANNOUNCER:
Herbert…

HERBERT:
Excuse me, but…that’s a lovely dress.

LADY:
Why thank you.

HERBERT:
I haven’t seen you around the office. If I had, I would have asked you to lunch.

LADY:
Oooh-la-la.

HERBERT:
What do you do for us?

LADY:
I’m your boss’ wife! [cackles]
[FOGHORN!]

ANNOUNCER:
I tried to warn you, Herbert. Better cut your losses, circulate a little and then high-tail it home.

HERBERT:
OK, right after I finish this shrimp cocktail.
[FOGHORN!] HERBERT: [muffled curse]

ANNOUNCER:
Oops. You got cocktail sauce all over your shirt.

HERBERT:
[angrily] Only after you blew that insane horn in my ear!

ANNOUNCER:
That sauce makes it look like you got stabbed. Leave. Pronto.

HERBERT:
This is the least…fun…Christmas….
[FOGHORN!]

HERBERT:
…h…holiday…party…ever.

ANNOUNCER:
Oh silly Herbert, when will you learn: It’s not a party, it’s work!

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070624.Walcot, Georgian Garden of No. 4 King’s Circus

June 24, 2007 at 2:23 PM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Conservation, Flowers, Gardens & Parks, Light and Shadow, Restoration, somerset, University of Bath, Walcot | 9 Comments

Was going to go down and take picture of the mayoral procession to St John’s Hospital today but because it was raining too hard, I only got halfway down the hill before deciding the rain might not be good for my camera. (I don’t have an umbrella.) So here’s a historic gardens and landscape post to christen the University of Bath’s new MSc in the Conservation of Historic Gardens and Landscape programme. I’ve retyped almost all the plaques to cut down on photos and I’ve included this rare image of a soil leveler.
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Plaque I:

“In 1985 work began on recreating a Georgian-style garden. The existing garden was mainly Victorian, with a lawn and rockery, although a classical pavilion and a fish pond had been added in the 1920s.
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No. 4 Circus was completed by autumn 1761. No illustrations or written descriptions of the original garden survive but excavations by Bath Archeological Trust, the first to be undertaken in an English town garden, revealed three garden plans pre-dating the 1920s alterations.

“There was no grass at all in the first garden here. Most of it was converted with gravel mixed with clay. Three flower beds were placed on the central axis with a large, round-ended bed across the bottom. The garden was self-contained, designed to be seen purely from the house.

“Around 1770 the paved paths were extended across the ends of the bottom bed to provide access, via a flight of steps, to the Gravel Walk, which linked the newly built Royal Crescent with Queen Square.070610.17.SO.Bath.Walcot.BrockSt.d.J.WoodII.1767-1770.GeorgianGrdn

“In 1836 a basement area was added to the back of the house and the surplus soil was spread over the garden. Above this protective clay layer, generally 18” thick, a new garden was created. For the next 150 years the garden saw little change until archaeologists removed the clay in 1986, and revealed the 18th century garden plan. The basement area was filled in and the garden restored to its layout of c. 1770.”

Plaque III:

“The archaeological excavations of 1985-6 revealed the design of the 18th century garden beneath soil spread over the area during work to the basement of the house in the 9th century. The original paths and beds were located but it was not possible to identify the species or location of the plants/ The garden has been reconstructed according to the plan of c. 1770 after alterations had been made to include the steps to Gravel Walk.

“The planting is based on a plan and list of plants prepared by Dr. John Harvey of The Garden History Society. It attempts to recreated the mood of a small town garden of the period as known from documentary sources. The trellis screen and honeysuckle pole are located in positions identified as post holes during the excavations although they are modern reconstruction. The seat is an exact copy of an 18th century original.
070610.15.SO.Bath.Walcot.BrockSt.d.J.WoodII.1767-1770.GeorgianGrdn
“Grass lawns were not easily maintained prior to the invention of mechanical lawn mower in 1832. Rolled gravel or ‘hoggin’ was used here instead. The borders are edged in Dwarfed Box, which together with the clipped topiary of Box, Yew and Holly reflect the lingering formality of earlier garden style. In the late 18th century the plants themselves were the main interest, not as today for their mass effect, but as individual botanic curiosities, often recently introduced by travelers to the New World and Indo-China. Fragrant flowers were favoured, double flowers preferred to single forms and variegated foliage was a novelty. The walls too were used to train fruit trees and climbing plants.

“The size of this garden had prevent the use of any large trees but there are small trees, shrubs, roses, hardy perennials and bulbs, with annuals planted in the central beds each Spring. All the plants used are known to have been available in the 18th century.

“The garden was completed in 1990 and is maintained by Bath Museums Service.

“Excavation of the garden was by Bath Archaeological Trust. We gratefully acknowledge the kind assistance of Bath Preservation Trust, Avon Gardens Trust, The Garden History Society and Dr. John Harvey, and the financial support of The Charles Robertson Trust, Mayor’s Honorary Guides and Bath City Council (Conservation Section)”

Contact: 

Tel: +44(0)1225 477752 Fax: +44(0)1225 444793

Georgian Garden Links: 

Georgian Gardens in Context, Garden Guides, “A Georgian Garden Reborn”by Yvonne Cuthbertson, Georgian Gardens by David C. Stewart,

070518.Claverton Down, 238th BDPPost Spectacular!

May 18, 2007 at 6:37 AM | Posted in Bath, Claverton Down, somerset, University of Bath | 17 Comments

Hi, This has become the unintentional final post for a while. Today, my harddrive crashed and I may have lost some photos — so at the moment there’s no real way to let anyone else upload. Apart from that, it’ll take some time getting everything up and running (besides, I have papers and exams). I hope not to lose the city daily photo listing in the meantime and to be able to return by the beginning of June. Wish me luck or send advice on data recovery (most was backed up but my Bath photos in particular may have been lost, so I don’t want to pay a huge sum for the recovery of a few photos). I’d appreciate either.
070504.601.SO.Bath.ClavertonDown.BathUni.LastDayofTerm
As promised in the 200th post, here is the 238 post. Wow. Who expected that?
Unfortunately, I’ll be quite busy past around the 252nd post. So curb your excitement for a little while.

What are we really celebrating? 11,605 sp.am comments thus far.

I didn’t actually throw this party for the 238th post. It was thrown for the end of term, or the end of classes, which wasn’t quite the end of days but people littered like it was.

070517.Claverton Down, Hannibal and the Hats

May 17, 2007 at 4:11 AM | Posted in Bath, Claverton Down, University of Bath | 7 Comments

070429.##.SO.Bath.jpg 004

This is from the University of Bath’s version of Founder’s Day. It was a giant party with BBQ and local bands screeching out their covers. There were activities everywhere, and with those were speaker systems that amplified the local bands. Worse still, these speakers were set up near the library….
Anyway, doesn’t this guy look a lot like Lecter? Kinda creepy this hat culture, isn’t it?

070430.Claverton Down, “…Goose”

April 30, 2007 at 2:26 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Claverton Down, Ducks, somerset, University of Bath | 8 Comments

or….”My! They grow up quickly, don’t they?”

070425.03.SO.Bath.ClavertonDown.BathUni.Goose...

“As Noah hunted around for animals, he judged them. He wanted to only bring the most worthy aboard his arc. He would stop by a group of rabbits and see who was a hard working rabbit and who was a lazy stupid dummy. Judging the rabbits made him feel a lot like God. He liked that. As he walked away with the ones he had chosen for salvation, he would look back at their brethren and shake his head disapprovingly and say, ‘Goodbye you dead dummies.’ And that was that.”

–Jonathan Goldstein

BDP to the moon!

070419.Claverton Down, Fight Fire with Fire

April 19, 2007 at 8:35 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Claverton Down, countryside, cumulus clouds, Ruins, somerset, University of Bath, Waterfront | 5 Comments

060923.03.Somset.ClavertonDown.Bath.University.University.DuckPond
Currently, I am experiencing some internet issues but I leave you with the most scenic view possible (selectively cropped) on this ugly little campus. Commonly called the University of Bath’s Duck Pond, it is not in fact a pond, nor even a lake. It’s not even an artificial pond or lake. It’s technically a fire-fighting reserve reservoir (for this concrete, steel and glass hilltop world). This is not just a title. Half of the reservoir’s “beach” is composed of concrete slopes and intrusive pipes. Farther left, there’s even a random thingamajig sticking out of the ground nearby covered with the ruins of an ancient column base, reflecting no doubt on the Uni’s ‘excellent’ ranking for its architecture department. Fibreglass in construction, I would have preferred a giant four foot gnome with a T-Square.

070322.Claverton, “More Wright than Wrong”

March 22, 2007 at 3:10 AM | Posted in Architecture, Bath, Chisel Marks, Claverton, Claverton Down, countryside, doorways, Light and Shadow, somerset, towns, University of Bath | 3 Comments

“A doctor can always bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise where to plant a vine.”

–Frank Lloyd Wright

070226.128.Somset.Claverton.Basset Farm House
Basset Farm House, Claverton
070226.127.Somset.Claverton.Basset Farm House
070226.129.Somset.Claverton.Basset Farm House
vs. Bath University Campus, Claverton Down: This blank concrete panel wall faces the only scenic part of the campus, so grow little vine grow!
061123.5.Somset.Bath.ClavertonDown.BathUni.Level1Parade

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