Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Wittenham Clumps

Last Saturday we had a show in Oxford so we made a short detour on the way to the Wittenham Clumps, the much beloved Beech-capped chalk hills 10 miles south of the dreaming spires.

The Wittenham Clumps are also locally called Mother Dunch's Buttocks, no comment!

Dead Sheep Please?

On the top of the middle clump, aka Castle hill (due to it's ancient hill fort origins), you can find 2/3rds of Bomber Jackets and a tree with a poem carved around it's trunk engaging with the hidden, quasi-mystical origins of the clumps.

Someone had left an offering at the poem tree in the form of some scattered tulips, from this vantage point we could see the first clump, hiding a barrow under it's stark cluster of trees.

Walking around Castle hill, we come full circle and head down the bank over to Round hill, looking every bit like the mysterious clumps captured in so many of Paul Nash's paintings from the area throughout his life. It's 100 years since Paul Nash first visited the Wittenham Clumps and sketched their strange shapes for the first time. They certainly add a surreal air to this largely flat yet serene landscape.

As we walk anti-clockwise around Round hill we come across a keen group of remote control glider enthusiasts who seem transfixed in their graceful, slow-motion world.

As the glider's tap the thermals rushing up from the side of the steep hill we notice a Red Kite using the same thermal elevator and wonder at what it makes of today's huge benign birds answering to the flat-capped ants below.

Please note - If you're in Dorchester (probably post-Ploughman's, necking a cold beverage outside their Co-Op) and you've found a small black necklace of round stone beads, there is a reward going!

In Oxford, Adventures Close To Home kindly set up a show for Way Through and Bomber Jackets in the basement of the Modern Art Oxford gallery which was a lot of fun. Upstairs there's a brilliant exhibition curated by George Shaw of more Graham Sutherland paintings than we've ever seen. Perfect.

After the show we drove via Aylesbury homewards, stopping off occasionally to toast stomping grounds of old and a number of past schools, under the cover of darkness.

A play about a man with a desire to acquire a personalised numberplate fills our heads courtesy of Radio 4.

No red lights until Dalston.

Sunday morning.


No comments:

Post a Comment