Monday, 14 September 2020

A River Stour Scrapbook (part two)

We left it last time with boats scattered along the foreshore and the tide gradually making its way back in.

You may be wondering exactly how to pronounce the name of this river
and the truth seems to be that no one knows for sure.
Some people rhyme it with the word "tour",
others rhyme it with "tor" or perhaps "tower".
And there seem to be various opinions on what the word might mean too.

I was attracted to this little patch of seaweed,
its repeating shapes and unusual colours.

This boat, or half a boat, seems to have been abandoned long ago.
Growing beside it is a young oak, not the kind of tree 
you'd expect to see growing in such a place.

But there are oaks growing all along this side of the estuary.
I imagine they self-seed from acorns washed in on the tide
from the oak woods a little further downstream.

Both Stour Wood and Copperas Wood are managed as bird reserves,
with plenty of oaks and hornbeam trees.

And bracken.

A few birch trees for variety.
In springtime these woodlands are full of songbirds 
singing to defend their territories.

But there are other glories to be enjoyed as Autumn
takes its first tentative steps.
It was incredibly quiet in Copperas Wood in particular,
considering what lies a short distance away.

The ports of Felixstowe and Harwich lie on opposite sides of the river mouth
with their container depots, ferry terminals and refinery.
Those dark splodges on the shoreline are Curlews and
there's a Swan on the water too,
all apparently unconcerned about the industrial scenes
just over their shoulders.
That shot was taken with a long lens,
but even so lets retrace our steps back upstream.

I'm aware that my last post promised "even stranger things"
and to find that you have to take just a few steps inland...

This remarkable house was designed by the cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry
as a shrine to his fictitious "secular saint", Julie Cope, and a tribute
to the much underrated county of Essex.
People just call it "The Grayson Perry House"
and the artist is not at all averse to the self-promoting publicity.

And you can rent it for your holiday home
 should you have the inclination and financial resources.
Be warned though, some have described the experience as akin
to "living inside a migraine".
You can view the remarkable interior here:
We think we saw the person who is renting it at present:
he was sitting outside!

And just a short walk away you will find the perfect restful antidote
to the visual excesses of Mr Perry....

Take care


  1. I would love to see Grayson Perry's tribute house - his 'Taj Mahal' to an ordinary Essex girl called Julie. I did a post a few years ago showing the tapestries that he created recalling Julie's life right up until her untimely death. She was knocked down by pizza delivery scooter in Colchester.

  2. Thanks for the tour along the River Stour. Pronounced any way you wish it has been pleasant to meander along with you.

  3. Living inside a migraine sounds an apt description to me. And, just like a migraine, nausea levels rose (literally) as I scanned the interior.
    I am (I think) glad to have seen it, but love the more peaceful image which follows.

  4. It would feel like living in a hamburger joint almost. But I would love to see it in person. But given the choice between it and seeing the rest of your photos in person, the rest would win...

  5. I love the half boat with the young oak tree John - a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words.
    Dare I say I am also a great fan of Grayson Perry - both him personally and also his brilliant work. I wish I could afford one of his pots!

  6. The house is really something, the outside quite tame really compared to the inside. Migraine inducing indeed.

    Love that last scene, John.

  7. What a house! I think I prefer the nature part.

  8. You turn a patch of seaweed into art, very neat.
    And living inside a migraine is not my idea of holiday, though I like the look from the outside.

  9. I love the photo of the half of boat and young Oak tree by the river. I also like the last view of the river. Very peaceful. That's quite an interesting house, although it's a bit too busy for me. Your photos are wonderful and I enjoy them trremendously. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

  10. That was a surprise of a house! I'll have to go back and look at the interior.

    1. Looks like something out of Alice in Wonderland! Ouch to the eyes!

  11. I had heard Grayson Perry's name but didn't know much about him, and had certainly never seen that house! It's quite a wild creation, isn't it? I looked at the inside photos, oh my goodness, the colours, shapes, textures, all a bit overwhelming. I think I prefer your walk through the countryside, but certainly the house is not to be missed.

  12. Oh my that's quite the garish house! I clicked on the link to see the inside and can see why someone might get a headache.

  13. Beautiful photoes of the hike!

  14. Such beautiful and interesting photos....

  15. Wow that was a delightful peek inside the Perry house John, did like some of the artwork but oh my gosh that's way too much visual stimulation 😁 I think I prefer the serenity in your last shot 💜

  16. Another great walk, John. That house is so wild and interesting.

  17. The Perry house, the interior is insane, at east for me. :) I really like the photo with the tree and half boat. Thanks again for taking us along.

  18. That house certainly doesn't sit comfortably in its environment!

  19. So many different atmospheres in a small area. The woods and quiet shoreline scenes are certainly at odds with the port and the Perry House.

  20. Many aspects of the Grayson Perry House remind me of the work of the Spanish architect Antonio Gaudí, particularly the Parque Güell in Barcelona.

  21. Such a well-written post. I love how you brought us all back to the peaceful pastoral at the end, after a brief romp— so aptly described by Elephant’s Child above as being inside a migraine—through the imagination of artist Grayson Perry. Wheeeee! I want a memorial like that one!

  22. I don't think I could cope with living inside Grayson Perry's house - I would much prefer to be in those wonderful woods.

  23. To my surprise, there are some features in that house that I like. :)
    The nature scenes are much more enjoyable, of course. I liked especially the bracken photos. Yesterday evening I had a walk (it's raining here now) and was surprised to see how the ferns have already started to turn light brown and how they look even prettier than in summer.
    Stay well, John!

  24. Hi John - so pleased you showed us Grayson's house ... looks so interesting - but perhaps you're right ... better out than in, bearing in mind the exterior. Delightful photos though - cheers Hilary


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