I started Playground Of The Midlands rather a long time back*. Nothing that unusual as anyone who has followed this for some time will testify. But with these two this part of the larger project really is coming to a close. Of course there are some seven boroughs plus the city so, even with two completed, there are six to go…phew – will I get there? Who knows? But at the current rate of completions you’d be brave to predict success!
I just checked and the first From The Earth Wealth canvas was completed back in 2011.
It’s the last trip for the Playground of the Midlands project that started the day in Syston before moving onto Seagrave and lastly Walton on the Wolds (though my estimable partner in crime ducked out of this one). Some might think that we were fairly eccentric in this endeavour though it doesn’t seem to have caused too many raised eyebrows as we, two loud, large, late middle aged, men with cameras, cruised about the Charnwood borough (other than crashing the Thurmaston Parish Church Coffee morning a couple weeks back).
Anyway we are done now. And of course there have been several of these signs dotted about the borough. They have a certain charm and usually feature fairly bland and obvious imagery as above…but hang on a minute…whats that chap doing on the right hand panel above?
I think we should be told…why its Montague ‘Bertie’ Bird. The sometime Vicar of the parish who around the turn of the twentieth century developed (excuse the pun) a passion for photography and…a habit of doctoring his images! Well that is eccentric!
As Simon says…its a hard business but we have been chosen (or at least we self selected). And today I spent the first forty five minutes saying I’d never been here before…until we chanced across this charming scene from King Lear (appropriately in a lake of the same name – well gravel pit) when it became clear that many moons ago (the 80’s) I had passed this way once before…just as the artist was creating the work…he was a young sculptor – David Hunter – from Leicester and he had the opportunity to make a piece on this site…back then a pretty rough and ready location.
The construction of the piece was – I recall – quite a challenge for David, fresh out of college, and a pretty stiff learning curve. It was cold and very wet the day I visited but he persisted and it was good to see that the work has stood up to the test of time pretty well.
We were of course on our Playground Of The Midlands jaunt…the project to mark every entry in the early 80’s Charnwood Borough Guide. Today we took in Birstall, Thurcaston & Wanlip though in truth we pretty much kept to the Watermead Country Park that the three bound on the north side of Leicester. It made a refreshing change to take in plenty of waterside and countryside for a change and on reflection seemed quite appropriate overall. Not least as the River Soar is, as my pal Simon pointed out, the ‘backbone’ of the Borough running from just south of my village Kegworth, above the north boundary, and leaving it to meander into Leicester proper to the south. Whatever our excuse it made for a good walk topped off on our return to The White Horse in Birstall for a damn good pub lunch!