No enthusiasm.

I was going to post a couple of images and got hit with wordPress.com’s new editor which seems to have been lurking in the background since 2018.
I seem to recall this sort of change happening several years ago with the same outcry; can’t be bothered working out how to use the new ‘Block Editor’ so will post some music (still have a link for classic editor from years ago)  and wait for the dust to settle.

Trivia.

I’ve not been doing much photography in the last few weeks; probably just fedup with all the restrictions we seem to have had placed upon us.
Although one bonus is that I have been reading a lot and listening to music on my headphones.

Here is a book that was sent to me by my daughter, a completely unknown authour. ‘Amor Towles‘ who published a novel in 2016 with the title A Gentleman in Moscow .

Click cover for Amazon link.

The story of Count Alexander Rostov who is brought before a Bolshevik tribunal in Moscow: condemned for being an unrepentant aristocrat. Saved from the firing squad by a poem whose sentiments seem to coincide with the revolutionary desire for change. Instead of being shot, he is sentenced to house arrest in his current place of residence: the Metropol Hotel. He returns to the hotel after his trial, determined to make the most of his reduced circumstances. As the reader, we follow the Count in his day to day life within the confines of the hotel.


Two quotes from the book:-

“The principle here is that a new generation owes a measure of thanks to every member of the previous generation. Our elders planted fields and fought in wars; they advanced the arts and sciences, and generally made sacrifices on our behalf. So by their efforts, however humble, they have earned a measure of our gratitude and respect.”
 
“For as it turns out, one can revisit the past quite pleasantly, as long as one does so expecting nearly every aspect of it to have changed.”

A book that I thoroughly recommend,

 

The music was Max Richter:

Late night view – York No2.

Night time view of a York street, mid 1980’s From my negative files, T-Max 400
(old style TMY not TMY2).

Like the previous image, this was handheld using a newly acquired Nikon F401, I uprated the T-Max from 400 to 800 asa and used T-Max developer. If I was making this image now, I would have used a 2 bath developer for more control of the high lights (street lamps).

I mentioned in a previous post, that after my move back to UK I had misplaced my darkroom log book – found !! which was a relief. It has lots of useful and useless information about film and paper development. The useless comment relates to the fact that it has notes about paper and films that are sadly no longer available.

 

 

St William’s College – York.

My files of the late 1970’s: from an Ilford FP4 negative.

St William’s College, a Mediaeval building in York which was originally built to provide accommodation for priests attached to chantry chapels at nearby York Minster.

The college was founded in c.1465 by George Neville and the Earl of Warwick to house twenty-three priests and a provost. While the college was not a monastic establishment, it was affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteries and the college then passed into secular ownership.

The building was bought by the Province of York in 1912 for use by its convocation.

See this link for a full history of the building: York Civic trust St William’s college.

A Distant Mirror by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman.

In the introduction to her 1978 book A Distant Mirror, Barbara Wertheim Tuchman playfully identified a historical phenomenon which she termed:
“Tuchman’s Law”

Disaster is rarely as pervasive as it seems from recorded accounts. The fact of being on the record makes it appear continuous and ubiquitous whereas it is more likely to have been sporadic both in time and place. Besides, persistence of the normal is usually greater than the effect of the disturbance, as we know from our own times. After absorbing the news of today, one expects to face a world consisting entirely of strikes, crimes, power failures, broken water mains, stalled trains, school shutdowns, muggers, drug addicts, neo-Nazis, and rapists. The fact is that one can come home in the evening—on a lucky day—without having encountered more than one or two of these phenomena. This has led me to formulate Tuchman’s Law, as follows: “The fact of being reported multiplies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five to tenfold” (or any figure the reader would care to supply).

Click book cover for Amazon link.

A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century: from the bubonic plague and the Papal Schism to the Hundred Years’ War.

I wonder who will write a similar book about our present troubles?

 

Continue reading “A Distant Mirror by Barbara Wertheim Tuchman.”

Part of Rievaulx Abbey ?

Another old negative: this one from 1987 or 88. I am reasonably sure it’s Rievaulx Abbey
North Yorkshire.

The file sheet said: Abbey – Nikon F4 with Tokina 35-70 f2.8 AIs AT-X / T-max 400. There are 22 negatives in the file sheet and all of the same place.
I remember visiting Rievaulx Abbey in the mid 1980’s and as T-max came on the market in 1986, these were probably made late 87 or 88. That’s the problem going through old negatives, I was not so careful making notes as I assumed I would remember.

Up date: found the receipt for my Nikon F4, so this dates these to no earlier than 1988. 

Rievaulx Abbey was a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1131 by Walter Espec in a secluded valley on the edge of the North York Moors.

The first structures at Rievaulx were temporary timber buildings, intended to serve only until proper permanent buildings could be erected in stone. The first stone structures were begun under the first abbot, William (1132-1145), sometime after 1135.
From these modest beginnings grew one of the wealthiest monasteries of medieval England and the first northern Cistercian monastery. Rievaulx enjoyed the protection of nearby Helmsley Castle, the owners of which provided much of the abbey’s land.

The plan for Rievaulx was to follow the same layout as that of the mother abbey of the order at Citeaux, in France. This consisted of a large church with a cloister range to the south. Abbot William’s church was taken down and rebuilt on a grand scale by the third abbot, Aelred (1147-1167).

The east end of the church was later torn down and enlarged by Abbot Roger II (1223-1239). One unusual feature at Rievaulx is the orientation of the church. Most churches in Britain, certainly established in the medieval period, are oriented loosely on an east/west line. At Rievaulx the layout of the site necessitated a different approach, and the abbey church is laid out on a north/south line.

The abbey was expanded in the period 1145-1165 and again in the late 12th century. Interestingly, though Rievaulx was reckoned the most important Cistercian house in England in the late 12th century, it reached the peak of its power around 1200, and from that point on life at Rievaulx became a struggle. Part of the struggle was the monk’s own fault; an ambitious programme of rebuilding and extending the abbey buildings in the 13th century led to heavy debts.

In the 13th century, a series of epidemics ravaged the abbey’s flocks of sheep, leaving them with far lower income than expected. They did engage in minor rebuilding during the 14th century, but by then the abbey had truly fallen upon hard times.

Parts of the abbey buildings were torn down in the 15th century and by the time of it’s suppression and confiscation by Henry VIII in 1538, it supported 22 monks and 100 lay people. Compare that to the 1160s when, under Abbot Aelred, it had a population of 140 monks and more than 500 lay brothers.
Above taken from: British History on line/ Catholic Encyclopædia & Encyclopædia Britannica.

 

Whitby Abbey mid 1970’s.

Whitby Abbey made on Ilford FP4 from the mid 1970’s

Not a good negative as it was processed by a camera/film store around 1974, well before I did my own processing. But it does show the Abbey before the tourism catchment (money making) ideology took hold. All is not lost because with a little diffusion and printing on semi-matte paper, it gives a nice 8×10 print.

From that Encyclopædia in he sky:

Whitby Abbey was a 7th-century Christian monastery that later became a Benedictine abbey. The abbey church was situated overlooking the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby in North Yorkshire, England, a centre of the medieval Northumbrian kingdom. The abbey and its possessions were confiscated by the crown under Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries between 1536 and 1545.

The first monastery was founded in 657 AD by the Anglo-Saxon era King of Northumbria, Oswy (Oswiu) as Streoneshalh (the older name for Whitby). He appointed Lady Hilda, abbess of Hartlepool Abbey and grand-niece of Edwin, the first Christian king of Northumbria, as founding abbess. The name Streoneshalh is thought to signify Fort Bay or Tower Bay, in reference to a supposed Roman settlement that previously existed on the site. This contention has never been proven and alternative theories have been proposed, such as the name meaning Streona’s settlement. Some believe that the name referred to Eadric Streona, but this is highly unlikely for chronological reasons. Streona died in 1017 so the naming of Streoneshalh would have preceded his birth by several hundred years.

The double monastery of Celtic monks and nuns was home (614–680) to the great Northumbrian poet Cædmon.

In 664 the Synod of Whitby took place at the monastery to resolve the question of whether the Northumbrian church would adopt and follow Celtic Christian traditions or adopt Roman practice, including the manner of calculating the date of Easter and form of the monastic tonsure. The decision, with the support of King Oswy, was for adopting Roman practices and the date of Easter was set.

Streoneshalch monastery was laid waste by Danes in successive raids between 867 and 870 under Ingwar and Ubba and remained desolate for more than 200 years. A locality named ‘Prestebi’ was recorded in the Domesday Survey, which may be a sign that religious life was revived in some form after the Danish raids. In Old Norse, this name means a habitation of priests.The old monastery given to Reinfrid comprised about 40 ruined monasteria vel oratoria, similar to Irish monastic ruins with numerous chapels and cells.

Reinfrid, a soldier of William the Conqueror, became a monk and traveled to Streoneshalh, which was then known as Prestebi or Hwitebi (the “white settlement” in Old Norse). He approached William de Percy for a grant of land, who gave him the ruined monastery of St. Peter with two carucates of land, to found a new monastery. Serlo de Percy, the founder’s brother, joined Reinfrid at the new monastery, which followed the Benedictine rule. Of de Percy’s building the greater part was pulled down and the monastery rebuilt on a larger scale in the 1220s.

The Benedictine abbey was thriving for centuries, as a centre of learning. This second monastery was destroyed by Henry VIII in 1540 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Abbey was bought by Sir Richard Cholmley, It remained in the Cholmley family and their descendants, the Strickland family. The Strickland family passed it to the UK government in 1920. The ruins are now owned and maintained by English Heritage.

In December 1914, Whitby Abbey was shelled by the German battlecruisers Von der Tann and Derfflinger, which crew “were aiming for the Coastguard Station on the end of the headland.” Scarborough and Hartlepool were also attacked.The Abbey buildings sustained considerable damage during the ten-minute attack.

Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula featured a creature, described as resembling a large dog, which came ashore at the headland and climbed the 199 steps which lead up to the Whitby Abbey ruins.