Sunday 7 August 2011

Above us only sky

Claire and I have just got back from a week in Lincolnshire. It's not a county that either of us knew, which is exactly why we chose it for a holiday destination. Apart from two seaside resorts of static caravans and amusement arcades, it was virtually devoid of tourists, which was to our liking and meant clear roads and empty sandy beaches. Lincolnshire hosts some striking scenery once you get out of the fens and into the Wolds, as well as some honest and welcoming market towns unspoilt by McDonald's and endless coffee chains. In fact, the most disappointing aspect was visiting the county city. Lincoln, despite the historic Cathedral area at the top of the appropriately named 'Steep Hill', which had our calves aching just looking at the cobbled road we had to climb, appeared to be one big shopping complex full of coffee chains and generic fashion and sports shops. We could have been in Chelmsford!

One of our great finds on the holiday, about 5 miles from where we were staying, was this Cloud Bar at Anderby Creek.

Thankfully it wasn't a beach bar serving cocktails and lager, but somewhere to go and watch clouds from. The Cloud Bar, endorsed by the Cloud Appreciation Society, is part of a project by Bathing Beauties: Structures On The Edge. According to their website, this is… "a new concept to integrate permanent small structures designed by artists and architects for the enjoyment and understanding of the coastal environment, on the extreme edges of the Lincolnshire coast."

Set in sand dunes on the edge of a massive underpopulated beach, the bar is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Don't worry if you know nothing about clouds other than the fact they float above you in the sky, as there are loads of information panels on top of the single story hut.

I was particularly taken with these concrete seats designed for you to lay on and stare up at the sky. I like the fact they look as if they are brutalist clouds that have just fallen out of the sky, too heavy to float.

These sky mirrors are also a neat idea. You can rotate them to pick out and follow your favourite cloud and bring it down to Earth. Unfortunately it was a little too cloudy when we were there for these to work properly—you need it to be a brighter with breaks of blue sky to offset the edges of clouds to create distinction.

I also loved the fact that some of the information panels were printed on perspex panels which visually connected the physical phenonemon of clouds with the scientific explanation.

One panel dubbed cloud watching as a 'theatre of the skies', which is a rather nice phrase that will stay with me. As Lennon said, "above us only sky".


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