A blot on the landscape.

A blot on the landscape.

Barry Cruse and his wife getting rid of the tarpaulin.

Barry Cruse and his wife getting rid of the tarpaulin.

I have to say Barry Cruse – chairman of the Bath in Bloom committee – is an agile man with a steady hand!

I caught him stepping gingerly between a newly-planted circular flower bed in Bath’s Parade Gardens to remove the tarpaulin covering the latest sculpture to be unveiled in this riverside garden of floral delights!

The story of its official unveiling – and the artist who designed it – is covered elsewhere on the Virtual Museum site.

The reason l am featuring these images here is as a result of a conversation with Barry this morning.

Whatever your views on contemporary art l was applauding the fact that – at this rate – the gardens could soon be classified as a sculpture park!

A blot of the park landscape?

A blot of the park landscape?

As someone who wants to see more public art in this city – that is not a bad thing in my humble opinion.

Then both of us turned to look at the ugly block of a structure at the bottom of the ramp onto the gardens – and directly behind this new sculpture.

I think it is an electricity sub-station. It is certainly something that must not be covered in any way so is an obvious eye-sore.

What a shame a way cannot be found to remove the ugly structure completely from the gardens.

It is a blot – however necessary – on the landscape!

At last – a tarmac coating for cycle route into town!

At last – a tarmac coating for cycle route into town!


The surface has been scraped ready for tarmac to be laid.

The surface has been scraped ready for tarmac to be laid.

I am pleased to say that at least part off an unofficial cycle route into town is getting upgraded.

I am talking about the muddy pathway that leads from the London Road onto the Grosvenor bridge across the River Avon and under the main London rail line up onto the towpath of the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The route from the Grosvenor Bridge leading to the canal towpath.

The route from the Grosvenor Bridge leading to the canal towpath.

Seems cyclists are being asked to take another route during Wednesday daytime as tarmac is being laid and the contractors  don’t want our tyre-marks in the soft, pre-set surface.

Passing that way today – Monday, June 30th – l was told things should be firm enough for use by Wednesday evening.

This is great news for everybody using that route – including people who may be persuaded to walk up onto the towpath and then turn right across the rail footbridge to locate the Cleveland Pools. Bath’s open air Georgian lido which is currently hoping for a Heritage Lottery grant to help with restoration costs.

Great to see that pathway is being improved – as it was for too long just a mixture of broken stone and muddy pools for pedestrians and cyclists alike.

It’s also good to know that the route up onto the towpath is being left alone. It is teeming with wildlife and should be left in its natural state.

Parade Gardens unveiling

Parade Gardens unveiling

A sculpture designed and made at City of Bath College has been unveiled today – Monday, June 30th – to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Britain in Bloom.

The 150 cm stainless steel sculpture takes pride of place in Parade Gardens to help make this year’s entry into Britain in Bloom as strong as possible.

The new Xylem sculpture

The new Xylem sculpture

It has been designed by 68-year-old Maureen Hosier who has been taking part-time sculpture courses at the college for around 14 years.

Bath in Bloom asked the college’s art students to design a 50th anniversary sculpture to represent community participation, horticultural achievement and environmental responsibility.

Bath’s Deputy Mayor Lisa Brett unveiled the sculpture entitled ‘Xylem’

Six students submitted their ideas to the Bath in Bloom committee and Mrs Hosier said she was “shocked but extremely proud” that she had the winning design.

The retired art teacher said: “I live quite near Parade Gardens so for inspiration I looked down at the empty space where it will go.

“I kept thinking of growth, I wanted something that was moving or reaching up and the bulb idea hit me.

“I think it also represents the different layers associated with horticulture and looks to the future of Britain in Bloom.”

The sculpture was made by the College’s 3D design technician Stephen Handley and will be placed in the centre of a flower bed on a Bath Stone plinth.

Parade Gardens

Parade Gardens

Mrs Hosier added: “It’s a real collaborative effort. I hope people are drawn to it and it grabs their imagination.”

Xylem - by Maureen Hosier.

Xylem – by Maureen Hosier.

The public were given a sneak preview of the sculpture at the college’s end-of-year Art and Design Show last week.

Barry Cruse, Chairman of the Bath in Bloom committee, said: “It was great to get an early indication of people’s reactions.

“It is quite different and isn’t the type of sculpture you’d expect to see in Parade Gardens as it’s so contemporary.

“But everyone has been so positive and supportive; they’ve said it’s very eye-catching.

“It definitely represents growth, plants and all things green which sums up Bath in Bloom perfectly.”

Mr Cruse said the city was hoping for success in the 50th year of Britain in Bloom and were going all out to win when Royal Horticultural Society judges visit.

He added: “We’re so excited about the unveiling as it’s such a wonderful way to mark the milestone anniversary in such a prominent place.

“It’s definitely a first as no other city is going to have anything like this.”

The sculpture has been sponsored by Bath Building Society.


New Batheaston cycle route now open!

New Batheaston cycle route now open!

The new Batheaston cycle path finally opened this week after work on its construction was delayed by bad weather.

The new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians at Batheaston.

The new bridge for cyclists and pedestrians at Batheaston.

The new route – links with the Kennet and Avon canal towpath into Bath – and also involved building a bridge over the River Avon at Batheaston.

This led to the construction of a cycle / pedestrian path running through the meadows and linking to Mill Lane. It was started on 30th September 2013.

Following heavy rain and flooding during the winter months, work to complete the cycle-path resumed at the end of May.

It’s hoped there will also be landscaping and tree planting to follow.

I am hearing an official opening and photo-call is being scheduled for 9.30am on Tuesday, 15th July.




New national ‘word’ memorial goes on line

New national ‘word’ memorial goes on line

Across the UK, 3,000 people are together creating a unique war memorial made only of words – and it’s all part of a national World War 1 commemoration project jointly led by Professor Kate Pullinger of Bath Spa University.

Professor Kate Pullinger Bath Spa University

Professor Kate Pullinger
Bath Spa University

bath spa universityLETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER is a new kind of ‘word’ memorial that invites the public to write a letter to a soldier. Not just any soldier, but the soldier who inspired the famous Charles Jagger war memorial on Platform One of Paddington Station in London.

More than 3,000 letters have been received so far and are published for the first time today (Thursday 26 June).

Letters have been submitted from schools, groups and individuals, by writers including Stephen Fry, Andrew Motion, Sheila Hancock, Andy McNab, Lee Child, Lesley Pearce and Malorie Blackman, and by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Sajid Javid.

The project was created by Bath Spa University Professor of Creative Writing and Digital Media, Kate Pullinger and Novelist and Theatre Director, Neil Bartlett. It was commissioned by 14-18 NOW, as part of the official cultural programme for the First World War centenary commemorations.

Kate and Neil are working with a group of editors at Bath Spa University to present a daily selection of featured letters. All letters will be searchable by name, theme and geographical origin.

Kate Pullinger said: “Neil and I set out to create something original and inspiring, a memorial that would give everyone a voice. It’s clearly struck a chord with people and the kind of themes and stories coming through are fascinating. We’ll be featuring many of these as the memorial builds over the coming days.”

Neil Bartlett said: “We are delighted that so many people have already felt moved to write their letters to the soldier. Over the next 37 days we hope that many more – from all over the country – will join them.”

Young people are encouraged to take part and offer their own voice to this memorial.

Teachers can download easily adaptable lesson plans for schools, relevant to English, History, Citizenship, Creative Writing and Drama curriculum areas. LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER will create a snapshot of how we view the First World War, one hundred years on.

At the end of the project the entire collection will be archived online at The British Library for generations to come.

Letters are being published on the website now and until the anniversary of the declaration of war on 4 August. Everyone can contribute their letter by submitting it to the website www.1418NOW.org.uk/letter or posting it to LETTER TO AN UNKNOWN SOLDIER, PO Box 73102, London EC1P 1TY.

Gone with the wind?

Gone with the wind?

You know l like badgers – l also like public art. I enjoy discovering it in my adopted city. Bath hasn’t been blessed with many examples from the past that are easily accessible.

A younger Peter Logan © Fi Mcgee

A younger Peter Logan
© Fi Mcgee

nails One more recent piece that should be rescued from the overgrowth that is consuming it is Peter Logan’s ‘Nails’ – which was commissioned by Homebase in 1987 for the riverside edge of their site near Greenpark Station.

Peter, who was born in 1943, has made kinetic sculpture since 1968 – using wind, electricity and solar power to provide movement for his works.

Nails is a wind mobile structure made from lightweight aluminium.nails

The lower nails rotate on a central pivot allowing the sculpture to face into the wind.

The upper four nails have been balanced to rest horizontal in still air and the pressure of the wind upon the surface of the nails causes them to turn.

In a good breeze the sculpture will reach a height of 41 feet and will come to rest at 31 feet if the wind completely drops.

This work is lost in the bushes.The whole site is due for development. Let’s hope this sculpture is both protected and given pride of place.

It leads on to other more recent riverside art work being installed as part of the Western Riverside development.

We want more, more and more!

Get reading with mythical maze challenge!

Get reading with mythical maze challenge!

Bath & North East Somerset Council libraries are aiming to get children reading this summer by inviting them to find their way through the Mythical Maze Summer Reading Challenge.

And there are a host of events over the summer taking place at libraries from mask making to mini beasts and including a visit by a renowned children’s author.

To take part in the challenge children collect stickers to fill a Mythical Maze poster. The challenge is completed by reading six books, then children receive a certificate, a unique Reading Challenge Medal and a wristband. Children can also go on the website http://www.mythical-maze.org.uk to create a profile, chat about books, and play games.

Cllr David Dixon, (LibDem, Oldfield) Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Last year more than 2,000 children in Bath and North East Somerset signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge.
“My own children have enjoyed the summer reading challenge over the past years, so I have seen at first hand just how engaged with reading children become through this great scheme. We hope that this year more children than ever will be inspired to join their local library and get the most from the great range of books and other resources available.”

Bath Central Library.

Bath Central Library.

Bath & North East Somerset Council libraries will be welcoming children to take part in the Challenge from Saturday July 12 until Saturday September 13.

There will be free events in Bath Central, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham and Bath Moorland Road libraries on July 12 to launch the Summer Reading Challenge.

David Almond, world famous author of Skellig, The Boy Who Swam With Pirhanas and Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf ( shortlisted for this year’s Greenaway Award ) will be visiting Midsomer Norton Library at 10.30am and Bath Central Library at 2pm to talk to children and parents about his work.

There will also be mask making at Keynsham Library and face painting at Moorland Road Library 10 – 12
Other events for all ages take place throughout the summer in all Bath and North East Somerset Libraries. You can find out more about all Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Libraries events from: Facebook: Bathnes Libraries; twitter: @bathnes #bathneslibraries; email: Councilconnect@bathnes.gov.uk; telephone: 01225 394041; website: http://www.bathnes.gov.uk/libraries