Archive | June 2014

Drawing Session

At the weekend I had a friend visiting from Derbyshire. Amongst many other activities we popped into the Museum and Art gallery and had a chat with the Second Mouth people. A blog post from Beatrice will be coming soon.

Hello hello,

last saturday was a good day at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery,
We sat at the venue to draw Leon Kossoff’s painting,

it was great to be drawing and talking to people we knew from Artsite, Swindon Dance,
meeting Anjelica from Born Again Swindonian, and others that came to the Gallery that day!



The drawings of the day will be scanned and shared this week,

We will be there again this Saturday at 12 pm until 2:30pm

Come join us!

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Local uncovered

As most marvellous as Swindon undoubtedly is, and as unlikely as it is we would ever want to venture further  ;-),  there may well be the odd time  🙂 In which case this newly launched website about the hidden delights of Wiltshire may just be of interest:

I’m going to write a blog post for it about Swindon in the near future – it’s on my to do list at any rate!

In the meantime though, have a root round  and see what you think. The image below gives you some idea of what you will find on it. Happy rooting!

homepage local uncovered website

homepage local uncovered website

#swindon #wiltshire #swindonblog  #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #whattodoinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian #swindonia #BAS #bornagainswindonian #localuncovered

Cosmic Ordering made easier: local writer nominated for national award

I was at a business networking thing last night – now I’m no longer a student 😦  I’m setting up a proofreading/editing/copywriting business in order to earn a crust. And there I met a local lady Ellen Watts, who has written a book called ‘Cosmic Ordering Made Easier’. Okay, so whilst Swindon is very nearly at the centre of the universe, you can be forgiven for wondering what the town has to do with cosmic ordering and even what cosmic ordering is. To take the first point – well, actually nothing directly except that:

Ellen and her book have been nominated for a national award in the ‘Author/blogger’ category by Damsels in Success, which is, and I quote: ‘the leading transformational network for the female entrepreneur (or any women who works for herself or who wants to). Damsels in Success was founded in Warwick in 2008, expanded nationally in 2010 and is now in multiple locations throughout the UK.’  Visit their website to find out more.

Understandably enough Ellen is mighty excited about this nomination.  And why not? As someone said to me recently, ‘we often don’t celebrate our own achievements nearly enough’. Therefore, as she’s local and enjoying the fruits of her work,  I see no reason not to give her a mention here. And y’know, whatever your feelings about her material, it’s the ‘thing’ that matters. You get my drift I’m sure. 🙂

Should you be interested in Ellen’s work and wish to vote for her you can do so by following this link.  A word to the wise though, voting closes on Sunday 29th June.

Okay, cosmic ordering then. What it’s about? According to that fount of all-knowledge (sometimes) Wikipedia it’s a name given to a version of positive thinking, renamed by a German lady,  Bärbel Mohr. It was her belief that one can simply write down a wish list and wait for it to become reality. It seems though the concept goes back further than Mohr. Similar ideas were popularised in the 1930s by Napoleon Hill.

#swindon #wiltshire #swindonblog  #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #whattodoinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian #swindonia #BAS #bornagainswindonian #books #cosmicordering #writer #damselsinsuccess

Canal Walk & the green walls

15th June 2014

Signpost on Canal Walk, Swindon

Signpost on Canal Walk, Swindon – a relic of a bygone age.

As I’ve mentioned on this blog more than once it’s often the way that we don’t necessarily take notice of what we see around us all the time. And so it  is with Canal Walk in Swindon town centre. My daughter was visiting me a while back, it happened to be the weekend of the fabulous vintage and retro fest that the Brunel management staged, and so we went to town. Not only was she, like me, hugely impressed with everything about the retro weekend but she happened to pass comment on how nice she thought Canal Walk looks now since the paving was re-done with facts about the canal embedded into it, lights installed in it and the trees and the living/green/eco wall. And she’s right y’know. It does look very nice.

And now I’ve come to think about it, the green walls in Swindon are not just really rather attractive but also quite interesting.  They cover the south side of the connecting bridge between the Brunel Plaza and the Brunel Arcade and the north side of the vehicle bridge.

In case you are wondering what a green wall is exactly, they are living, organic structures that alter and evolve as the plants mature within them. Thus large vertical faces on the sides of structures are transformed into a tapestry of plant communities that make for lush green facades. However, these urban green walls don’t just offer aesthetic appeal. As Swindon Web explains, the walls also offer the benefits of sound absorption and carbon reduction making them a useful ecological counterpoint to so much modern construction and pollution.

Among the 25 varieties of plants that the green wall features are: tall plants such as Dryopteris, medium height Hosta Hallton, low growing Vinca Minor ACBA, red and purple flowered Cyrtomium fotunei, medium height, blue and purple flowered Viola Queen Charlotte.

Further adding to the attractiveness of Canal Walk are the trees down there. And some of them I’m told are really rather interesting being Ginkgo Biloba, otherwise known as the Maidenhair tree. It seems this is a unique species with no living relatives. Hence the tree is a living fossil that is recognizably similar to fossils dating back 270 million years.

So not only does Canal Walk have lovely green walls and trees and paving that is both decorative and informative, but there are little bits of history here and there too. The picture at the top of this post is of an old canal milestone still marking the way as it has done for eons. It marks the distance to Semington, 26 miles. Semington, nr Melksham in West Wiltshire, is the point where the Wilts and Berks canal joined the Kennet and Avon canal. Such points of interest as these are marked in the curved paving pattern that meanders along Canal Walk.

As the name Canal Walk implies this was once part of the route that the canal, sadly now long gone, took. I once had an opportunity to go to the top of the marvellous modernist style David Murray John Tower which was a really quite incredible experience. From up there one could clearly see the mark on the landscape from the canal. If you keep walking to the very end of Canal Walk, past the big screen, through the underpass and across the road you come to an old canal bridge. It still bears remnants of decorative friezes sadly now going to rack and ruin. For God’s sake SBC get yer finger out and do something about it!

The Golden Lion statue in Canal Walk commemorates the approximate site of the Victorian pub of that name. As Frances Bevan explains on her Swindon history blog: ‘Brought down to the forecourt of the pub, the original once stood on a parapet on the roof. During the 1960s development of the town centre the lion was removed to a Council yard and stored beneath tarpaulins for safekeeping.  Ironically, the statue that had weathered the elements for so many years became damp and cracked into pieces.  Sculptor Carleton Attwood was commissioned to create a replacement, unveiled during the Queen’s Jubilee Year in 1977’.  On that same blog post there’s lots of great photographs of the area in times past so do check it out.




#swindon #wiltshire #swindonblog  #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #whattodoinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian #swindonia #BAS #bornagainswindonian #greenwalls #ecowalls #urbanwalls #canalwalk #greenwallswindon #goldenlionstatue #goldenlionbridge

10 Swindon fab facts – Did you know?

Okay, following on from the A to Z of Swindon and inspired by the leaflet – image below – picked up in the Thamesdown Transport travel shop I thought it might be cool to have a post about Swindon fun facts/did you know stuff. When I decided to start this blog I conceived a list of 10 things to celebrate about Swindon – some of it still work in progress.  So here is a random list, excluding the items on the leaflet seen below, of 10 fab facts about Swindon:

So what else is there? Well … in no particular order, just as they pop into my head …

1) Swindon is home to some interesting and iconic buildings – featuring the Link centre, the Spectrum or Renault building and the David Murray John tower. The Spectrum building, designed by world renowned architect Norman Foster is now a listed building. It was also used in a James Bond film, a View to a Kill. As was the Motorola building. Read more about that on Swindon Web.

The David Murray John tower is on a list, compiled by architecture writer Jonathan Meades, of his top five extraordinary buildings. The tower was designed by Douglas Stephen, a Communist, who saw architecture as a power for social good.

2) Some of the work of Swindon-born writer Richard Jefferies was illustrated by non-other than E H. Shepard of Winnie the Pooh fame.

3) Swindon has a remarkable art collection in its Museum and Art gallery. It has a reputation of being one of the finest British 20th Century art collections outside London. The collection was established by local benefactor, H J P Bomford during 1944 from a donation of his works.

4) Some random fun facts found on the Twittersphere courtesy of Swindon.UK.Com:

5) Many well-known people either hail from or have connections with Swindon and there has to be another blog post there for sure – but just one of Swindon’s famous offspring is Diana Dors, Swindon’s own blonde bombshell. There’s also XTC, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Desmond Morris and many,many more.

6) Swindon is home to a small but very perfectly formed Museum of Computing.

7) The green/living wall on Swindon’s canal walk was one of the first of its kind in the country.

8) Swindon has been or still is, home to many surprising industries counting amongst them: Pressed Steel/Rover/BMW, Honda, Gerrard record decks and Spitfire planes. See Swindon Web and Swindon Heritage magazine for much, much more on much of that!

9) Swindon is blessed with a great deal of wonderful public art – much of which I have written about on this blog, especially the West Swindon Sculpture trail, and The Blondinis.

10) Virgin airways famous red-lady emblem was painted by Ken White, Swindon’s home grown mural man and painter of industrial scenes.


#swindon #wiltshire #swindonblog  #swindon blog #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #whattodoinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian #swindonia #BAS #bornagainswindonian #funfacts #publicart #kenwhite #spitfire #ehshepard #richardjefferies #bevis #swindonmuseumofcomputing #theblondinis #westswindonsculpturetrail

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