“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.” — Elsie de Wolfe

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Same Place, Different Me . . .

"My future starts when I wake up every morning." - Miles Davis

I think that for those of us who moved away from the stomping grounds of our youth. Those local towns that formed the backdrop of our early years, are remembered in various ways. Some remember them with nostalgia, some with a relief at being away from them, and others with indifference.

Over the years I have felt all three. My family still live in the surrounding areas of what was once my local town, and although I visit often to see them, it has been years since I walked around the town centre. In fact the route I took last time I did, just reinforced my preconceptions of it being a little run down and somewhere I was glad I was away from.

Not so this week, when we needed to visit the old town.

In keeping with our new 'tourist days out' ethos, we took a walk around the scenic parts of the town centre and I can honestly say, I was totally wowed. Places I knew, but hadn't looked at for many years suddenly became clear in their splendour! - Especially the Guildhall . . .

It is an amazing building and these few photos don't do it full justice. Many years ago I actually worked in an office there and had the privilege to explore the place from the inside. I've searched for files in the basement and explored the corridors, but strangely it took me until now to truly appreciate and experience the magnificence of the place.

On with our walk. I was pleased to see that they had kept the old phone boxes. So many places have got rid of them these days. I think they are wonderful. They bought back memories of all of the times I stood in them ringing for a taxi.

On to the market square and the new water feature, something I hadn't seen before.

If it had been there in my day, I am sure my lunch breaks would have been spent sitting on the benches watching the water sparkle and listening to it splash!

Do you see the animal profile beginning to appear in this water jet?

Then something I had glimpsed from a distance, but really wanted to see close up. . .

The steel sculpture called Discovery commemorates the life of Francis Crick, (a local man and one of the scientists who discovered the double helix structure of DNA.)

I loved it! Seeing those figures soaring up into the blue sky was wonderful.

So, I came away feeling so glad that I had seen the old place with new eyes, and that like me the place had evolved. Keeping hold of the good old things that gave it structure - but adding a little sparkling water and those joyous figures playing up there in the clouds!

A question for you. - Do you still live in the place you grew up? Do you visit it now? How do you feel about your home town? Nostalgic? or are you glad to be away?

Thought of the week
"Until we can understand the assumptions in which we are drenched
we cannot know ourselves." - Adrienne Rich

So, what did you see this week? Please come and join us and leave a link to one of your blog posts at I Saw Sunday! Click HERE to visit - We will make you very welcome, I promise. :-)

I am linking this post to week 50 of I Saw Sunday

The place is Northampton and all images are by me - Susannah Bec.


Paul Andrew Russell said...

That steel sculpture is beautiful, Susannah, as is the Guildhall.

I've been to Northampton but don't remember it being quite so lovely. How things change!

Susannah said...

Hi Paul, they are lovely aren't they!

I have spoken to other people recently and they still view the town as I used to. i.e. not so lovely! Perhaps it was where I was focusing my lens! ;-)

Good to see you.

Jinksy said...

Your water jest looks like an ice- sculpted angel to me - but I do see the animal head when I take a second look. Fantastic set of out and about pictures all together. Thanks!

Susannah said...

Hi jinksy and thank you. :-)

PS. When I looked again, I could see your angel too!

Good to see you. x

Deborah said...

Gosh, I can't believe how lovely the town looks ... then I remembered it was you taking the photo's (of couse you'd only 'see' the beautiful bits) :o)
Gorgeous photo's, and the sculptures look absolutely AMAZING through uour eyes!! :o)

Harry Nicholson said...

I would not have guessed Northampton - on a few visits years ago I thought it rather dreary (miles of red brick; but these pics have a new awareness. The sculpture is inspired.

Anonymous said...

The sculptures are incredible. They really look as if they are about to fly. I love all of your sights but I love the phone boxes most of all. It did my heart good to see them again. I miss them!

Ann said...

Sometimes we need to step away to see what we didn't see every day as we passed.

What beautiful photos. My dad lived in Northampton. I haven't been there since he died.

I go home every summer. I look forward to the familiar walks and faces!

Anonymous said...

Now I want to go on this same walk. One day . . .

Susannah said...

Deborah, Thank you. ;-)

Harry, I am glad you like the sculpture, I thought it was inspired too. I suppose your description of Northampton still stands, I just focused on the parts that I thought beautiful. :-)

Selma, yes the phone boxes are wonderful, I am so glad that they've kept them. And I loved to see those figures of the sculptures soaring into the air! :-)

Ann that is so true, the needing to step away so we can see things clearly. I should imagine that is keeps your vision fresh moving between the US and Ireland each year, each place would stay fresh. By the way, I am amazed that your Dad lived in Northampton!

SM, yes, it is a lovely walk.

Good to see you all. x

jabblog said...

The sculptures are inspired - very beautiful.
I moved away from my home town when I went to college and never lived there again. The last time I went there, a few years ago, I was astonished at how run-down it all looked.

Susannah said...

Hi Jabblog,

I think it is good for us to move away from our home town, even for just a while. It gives a distance, a perspective that makes a difference.

I too thought that the sculpture, especially when viewed from below like that, was really inspiring and joyful! I'm glad you liked it too.

Good to see you. x

earlybird said...

If I've posted this twice please delete!

I love the water feature and the sculpture is magic. You seem to have captured them beautifully. How inspired of the council to commission such lovely things. And well done them for cleaning up the Guildhall. It is splendid!

Susannah said...

Hi Earlybird. Good to see you. x (There was only the one comment.) :-)

Elizabeth said...

I moved away from my hometown when I was in my twenties and only came back for family visits, which meant a very focused element of time and energy. Now I am back here, exploring a strange/familiar place, and like you finding a new beauty in most of it. Your photos are a wonderful mix of line, texture, and smooth flight. Brava!


Susannah said...

Good to see you Elizabeth. x

vivinfrance said...

Susannah, to my shame, I had missed visiting this week - we had an incredibly busy Sunday and have been on the move ever since! I love your pictures of Northampton, specially that sculpture - it is uplifting. I only was in Northampton once, about 50 years ago, and it was dreary in my memory because my 2 year old daughter was sick in the car, and we went there to get her some more clothes before joining our hosts in a nearby village. We could only find one tatty little shop, and we had no choice but to buy the magenta trousers and a horrible jumper!

Susannah said...

Viv, it is good to see you. x

Isn't it funny how memories can be coloured by events like that. I have lots of places that have been labelled because of incidents that happened there. The Brecon Beacons for one. I drove through in torrential rain and saw dead sheep laying on their backs by the side of the road, every time I hear the Brecons Beacons mentioned I shudder! :-)

Jennifer said...

Susannah, I really love this post. I know, I alway say that (I always mean it) but this one is timely, I guess. I'm going back to my hometown in a week.

There are always mixed feelings - where would I be if I'd had stayed? No place gives me as much comfort as these roads... I left behind these friends...

I don't believe one should ever look back. I cherish what my past gave me and I love it when I'm there, and then I come home. I expect you feel the same (or similar).

That Discovery sculpture is amazing! I feel like I'm flying, just looking at it. And it so captures the image of DNA that I understand.

Susannah said...

It is always good to see you Jennifer. :-)

I hope your visit back to your hometown is a good one. x

Kathe W. said...

lovely post- especailly like the last sculpture!

Susannah said...

Hi Kathe, yes it is a beautiful one isn't it! Thanks very much for visiting, it is good to have you here. :-)


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