Tate – old school

Having sampled some of the more modern art on offer in the Tate we also had time to wander around some of the older works (or, as I like to call it, the “real” art!!)

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Yes, controversial I know, but I am not a massive fan of “modern” art, Hence the last time I visited the Tate Modern I spent more time taking the mickey than enjoying the displays.

One of which I swear was a bathroom cabinet straight out of an Argos catalogue and just given a deep sounding title.

Probably something like “The futility of consumerism. Part 3. Mirror and chipboard.”

So give me a sumptuous Pre Raphelite any day!! Here’s some gorgeous Rosetti. The Beloved. 1866.

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Or this haunting Lady of Shallot by John William Waterhouse. A print of which adorned my teenage bedroom for many a long year. 1017739_10152682077302353_8155173633405313855_n

The picture illustrates the following lines from part IV of Tennyson’s ‘The Lady of Shalott’:

And down the river’s dim expanse
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Another tragic portrayal, yet a highly beautiful painting, is Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais. Seems like artists can’t get enough of doomed women!

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This time the tragic scene being depicted is from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Act IV, Scene vii, when Ophelia, driven out of her mind when her father is murdered by her lover Hamlet, drowns herself in a stream:

There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

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Above L – R
John Singer Sargent
Philip Hermogenes Calderon

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Sir John Everett Millais,
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Tate walk through

Having a cultural moment now with a very quick whisk around the Tate gallery. It’s crammed pack full of an awe inspiring display of incredible art, from the rich, sumptuous pre raphaelites to uber modern, conceptual pieces.

10636173_10152682073087353_4666509623012620727_nAs we had very limited time we opted for the super quick immersion into all that the Tate has to offer with the BP Walk through British Art.

10903_10152682073677353_1535481112713762366_nAccording to the official blurb “The BP Walk through British Art offers a circuit of Tate Britain’s unparalleled collection from its beginnings to its end.

This ‘walk through time’ has been arranged to ensure that the collection’s full historical range, from 1545 to the present, is always on show.”

Foreground: Rasheed Araeen

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So whether you hanker for Hockney or are mad about Millais, there’s a bit of art for everyone.

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In no particular order, here are some of the snaps I took as I wandered around. Again. all taken on the phone so not best quality I am afraid!! I’ve tried to match up the art with the artist but some are missing. (and the spacing has gone a bit crazy too!)

L – R

in foreground: ??
in background: Walter Richard Sickert
Henry Moore OM, CH
in foreground: Dora Gordine

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Pauline Boty
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Close up of part of the Francis Bacon work

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L – R
Mark Gertler
???
Francis Bacon

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L – R
Henry Moore OM, CH
Family Group 1949, cast 1950–1
Henry Moore OM, CH
Woman 1957–8, cast date unknown
Frank Dobson

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Henry Moore OM, CH
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David Hockney

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L – R
???
John Hilliard

Hockney seen through William Tucker

Anabasis I 1964

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David Hockney

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in background: David Bomberg

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L – R
Francis Bacon

Sir Jacob Epstein

???

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Borough market

Fresh back from a weekend whizzing around London and visiting a few new places. One of which is the Borough Market in Southwark close to the Shard. Apologies for fuzzy pics, they’re all taken on my mobile!!

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Borough has long been linked with food markets and as far back as the 11th century, London Bridge attracted traders selling grain, fish, vegetables and livestock.

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In the 13th century traders were relocated to what is now Borough High Street and a market has been there ever since.

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In 1755, the market was closed by Parliament, but a group of Southwark residents raised £6,000 to buy land known locally as The Triangle and reopened the market in 1756.

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The Triangle is still at the heart of the market today.

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There’s a wide range of stalls including fish, bakery, confectionery, dairy and more.

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Above is a selection of sea food, all artistically arranged for the discerning shopper while below are a colourful array of veggy friendly salads.

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There’s a global food vibe happening with French Duck confit and lavender from Provence along with tasty continental pastries.

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Italian cheeses are piled high alongside a mouthwatering selection of bread and brownies!!

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A favourite photogenic confectionery are the colourful little macaroons in a plethora of flavours including Earl Grey tea and pistachio.

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Or you can just stick to the tried and tested traditional tastes such as chocolate.

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These adorable little tins of liquorice would make perfect keepsake pots for all your useful stuff.

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More colourful snaps of veg and drool making cakies!

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And some intriguing mushrooms (shudder) wrap up our whistle stop tour around Borough market. Well worth a visit if you’re close to the Shard. (and have an obsession with markets like me!!)

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Mercado Central de Atarazanas

Malaga central market is another foodie heaven, crammed to the rafters with a veritable cornocopia of fresh goods, meats and jars of anything you can imagine.

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Malaga Central Market, also known as The Mercado Central de Atarazanas is a gorgeous piece of architecture as well as a haven for nibbles and tasty treats.

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The gorgeous stained glass window portrays the history of the building before its current incarnation as a market.

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The now land locked market was once the city’s shipyard, a place where the ruling Moors used to repair their ships 600 years ago. The water once made it all the way to the market’s entrance

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Whether you’re after a selection of olives or a dollop of greased up meat, this is the place to come.

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Iberian pork loin covered in an oily looking orange grease. Apparently it comes from special, acorn fed piggies!

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There’s lots of by products too. Above is the Chorizo iberico – a cured sausage made from chopped pork, pork fat and paprika. There are hundreds of regional varieties, some containing garlic and herbs.

Lomo Iberico is the cured tenderloin of the pig covered in lard made from the fat surrounding the pig’s kidneys.

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However as a life long vegetarian I prefer to loiter in the less meaty aisles with the amazing piles of fresh produce.

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From onions the size of your head to all types of leafy salads, spices and garnishes. There’s a mouth watering selection to chose from.

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Of course the market would grind to a halt if it wasn’t for the stall holders. Above are just two of the colourful characters we encountered.

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Below are some of the famous Malaga almonds. Almonds were one of Malaga’s major exports, in addition to being highly popular in local cuisine.

They are one of main ingredients in a variety of traditional recipes such as “ajoblanco”, a cold soup with crushed almonds.

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Has it got your mouth watering yet? if so why not head over to Spain and sample of few markets yourself!

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Colourful Capri stalls

Still shifting through the past few years worth of photos in search of favourite market piccies. Here’s a myriad of colourful delights from the gorgeous little island of Capri.

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From the obvious Italian pastas to the island’s preocupation with lemons, there are so many lovely little knick knacks.

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There are also lots of incredible painted tiles decorating all the shop fronts. Below are some of the succulent local produce and my personal favourite trip souvenirs – fridge magnets!

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But far and away the most prevalent item to be found on the island is the lemon! from soap to liqueur, perfume to magnets.

It’s thought that citrus fruits arrived in Capri in the tenth century, and they have characterized the colors and perfume of the island ever since.

The lemon, originally used as an ornamental plant, was subsequently used for its superb juice and the essential oils extracted from its peel.

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Famous throughout the world, the lemon liqueur “Limoncello”, is best served chilled.The lemon of Capri, known as “femminiello”, has a long elliptical form and medium dimensions.

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Another lovely present to bring home are the painted tiles and the little espresso cups for supping the strong Italian coffee.

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If we had more room in our cases we could fit a few of these glorious paintings in there. The shop is barely noticeable beneath a wealth of local scenes.

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Alternatively you could indulge your tastes for all things ceramic!

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Olive oil bottles, utensil trays or even tiny celestial bodies. You can find virtually anything in pot form.

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Silk and worms

Just uncovered a disk of extra photos from our 2013 Thai adventure. A trip around a Chiang Mai silk farm as part of a traditional crafts day! Apologies for the grainy pictures, it was quite dim inside for the sake of the moths!!

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The production of Thai silk begins with the Bombyx mori, a small silk worm that comes from the eggs of a silk moth. Above Neil inspects the icky critters in various stages of growth.

For their first year, they eat the leaves of mulberry trees before building a cocoon from their spittle.

Below you can see the moth cocoons, the moths themselves and the rather cruel method of extracting the silk by boiling the cocoons.

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In its original cocoon form, raw silk is bumpy and irregular. Weavers separate the completed cocoons from the mulberry bush and soak them in a vat of boiling water to separate the silk thread from the caterpillar inside the cocoon.

Here’s a close up of the pale moths and their eggs. It takes around 380 cocoons to produce 90 grams of silk yarn.

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A single thread filament is too thin to use on its own so the Thai weavers combine many threads to produce a thicker, usable fiber.

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Above and below weavers use a reeling machine to produce a uniform strand of raw silk thread.

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The natural colour of the silk ranges from light gold to very light green. The thread is soaked in hot water and bleached before dyeing in order to remove the natural yellow coloring. It can then be dyed a variety of colours.

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It’s then wound onto bobbins and ready to weave into cloth.

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Here’s another set of bobbins ready to go.

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Once washed and dried, the dyed silk is then woven using a traditional hand operated loom

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Here are some colourful examples of cloth being woven by the patient weavers.

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I love this colour combination.

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Below are some undyed natural silk clothes and some hand painted scaves drying before heading to the shop.

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Here’s some of final high quality silk for sale in the factory shop. Every shade and hue you could possibly want.

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These mouth watering shades of lemon and lime are very tempting but very expensive so alas I left empty handed!!

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Thai markets

Thailand is a veritable market heaven and I always get a little bit giddy and carried away with them!

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Apologies to any “regular” readers (!) as you’ve probably seen a fair few of my Thai holiday pics fairly recently . .  . but here’s a bit of a recap of some of my fav market pics from our two Thailand adventures.

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Sweet treats in Chaing Mai, dried mushrooms and crispy duck are just some of items on sale in Bangkok’s China town district.

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Oooh piles of dried unidentifable food stuffs! My favourite!

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Gorgeous splashes of colour from hill tribe crafts in Chiang Mai, fresh greens in Chiang Rai and a patient market seller.

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Peacock finery and real feather dusters are on offer from this street trader on a dusty back street in Chiang Mai’s Warorot Market.

It’s a favourite place for locals to trade and haggle and is very different to the usual tourist orientated night market and walking markets.

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Freshly prepared street food is on offer on every single street corner, under bridges and underpasses and by the side of every road. Even in the darkest, most inhospitable seeming spot you’ll find street hawkers.

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The markers couldn’t function without the tireless efforts of the sellers themselves however. Forever wheeling, carrying, baking, steaming, cooking and freezing their wares.

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Once again I feel the need to share one of my all time favourite snaps – traditional Thai icecreams in a multitude of flavours in these delightful little metal moulds.

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You really can buy anything, including these unfortunate little critters . . . ready marked up for sale.

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A few more seller snaps, from this epic super sized cart, a woman selling what appear to be little boobies and the amulet market close to Wat Po.

Here’s a few more captured creatures all wiggling, squirming and generally trying to make a bid for freedom.

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And a final trio of hard working market traders to conclude this particular romp through a few Thai markets.

Always worth a nice long browse while in the land of smiles.

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First ever Asian markets

My trip to South Vietnam in 2008 marked the start of my love affair with Asia and all its quirky delights. It’s also the first place I encountered some of the cavernous trade markets with their endless produce for sale that I grew to adore.

In Ho Chi Minh the Bin Thay market is a cavernous labyrinth of stalls. It’s not a tourist market, it’s mainly wholesale and all geared towards other traders.

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Ladybird cycle helmets are a cute safety must while dried mushroom and spices spill out in all directions.

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Can Tho riverside markets are a riotous romp of activity, food is so fresh it scuttles out of the baskets after you!

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Rows of conical hatted women chatter as they haggle with tough customers.

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Zingy citrus fruits make your mouth water while tiny mushrooms are weighed up for a punter.

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New and untested produce pique the interest but are not always as tasty as they first appear!

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Above these warty looking things could be Bitter Melon. Also known as Ampalaya or Balsom Pear. Alternatively they might be bitter gourds . .

Here are some tiny pink rambutan. The name comes from the Malay language word for rambut or “hair”, a reference to the numerous hairy protuberances of the fruit.

In Vietnam however it’s called chôm chôm (meaning “messy hair”) due to the spines covering the fruit’s skin

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From the vivid colours of the exotic looking (but rather bland tasting) dragon fruit to the bunches of lemon grass and other herbs it all makes our supermarkets look a little bit tame!!

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