Birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is one of Britain’s finest stately homes. It’s surrounded by landscaped parkland, the handiwork of Capability Brown, and elegant formal gardens which make it an ideal place to explore on a sunny day. A triumph of romantic architecture, the palace is a World Heritage Site.
Hi. Sorry to take you back to Pitch, but can I get #6 "...under the stars"? Thanks so much - I love and miss your Pitch writing.
Aww, you’re so sweet, don’t apologize! I don’t think I could ever be away for Pitch. I’m a bit rusty but I hope you enjoy this!
Under The Stars
They’ve spent numerous evenings under the night sky, lush
green grass under their feet. Playing in the National League, they’re no
strangers to open air stadiums. With the first female player on the team,
they’re also no strangers to the coveted Sunday night game time, nationally
broadcasted on ESPN. The Padres have seen their fair share of inky black skies
over bright perfect grass.
But the skies are starless, so close to the city lights, and
the grass is manufactured to perfection by the grounds crew. Not like this place – a lake house outside of
San Diego that Stubbs rented for a team party to celebrate a hot start. Here,
the sky is brilliantly lit by twinkling stars and the grass is the perfect spot
to lie down and contemplate life.
Which is where Mike finds Ginny, one hand balancing a red
solo cup on her stomach and the other tucked under her head. The moonlight
gives her an ethereal glow that stops Mike in his tracks, the breath caught in
“You just gonna stand there old man, or are you going to
help me find Ursa Major?”
Her voice jars him into action, a smile hidden behind an
indignant huff as he squats next to her (the groan he lets out at the movement
is not politely ignored, and he expects nothing less from his pitcher) and
stretches out on the cool grass. He leaves a respectable foot of space between
them, ever conscious of the growing thing
“There,” he points with the hand not holding his beer, “the
handle of the big dipper is the tail.”
She’s confused at first, straining to look up at the starry
sky in the general direction of his finger. Shifting closer to him, she tracks
his path and he holds his breath against the warmth of her presence. Finally,
she manages to spot the cluster of stars he’s indicating. The look she shoots
him, eyebrow cocked and a smirk tugging the corner of her full lips, begs for
an explanation of his astronomy knowledge.
With a shrug, he continues, “When there was nothing on T.V.
and the batteries for my Game Boy died, sometimes I’d go into the backyard and
star gaze. Didn’t matter where we lived, the constellations were still the
Mike wonders for a brief moment when it became so easy for
him to blurt out words and stories he used to safeguard deep within himself.
(The answer comes easily, and it all has to do with the
wonder lying next to him, her brown eyes capable of pulling his emotions right
out of his body.)
She seems to understand the vulnerability in his statement
as she responds, “It’s funny, I spent so many nights outside throwing pitch
after pitch, and I never took the time to look up at the stars.”
Making the mistake of looking over at her, Mike gets
mesmerized by the reflection of light in her eyes, the shape of her mouth, the
glow of her skin. It gets hard to remember why they need to keep a certain
distance when their guards are down like this. But he needs to be her captain
and her teammate, and she needs to focus on being a trailblazer. There’s no
room to flirt with anything else right now, and the strain of that wears on
“Don’t worry Rookie, when the season is over, I’ll teach you
all about astronomy.”
It sounds like the cheesiest pick-up line since ‘Are you
from Tennessee?’, but the tone of his voice betrays something deeper than that.
Because at the end of the season, he’s going to retire. At the end of the
season, they’ll no longer be teammates.
They can just be two people, laying in the grass, wasting
The earlier house was rebuilt circa 1683 by William Cleare. The porticos (one now demolished) were added from the 1720s to 1730s by Vanbrugh and William Kent. Robert Adam added the colonnades in the 1770s.
The gardens have structures by William Kent and James Gibbs. Capability Brown created much of the landscape seen today.
I need to ask - is Seward Johnson the inspiration for Bloody Stupid Johnson from Discworld?
Oh dear me no, he’s not famous enough for that, though a bunch of people have asked.
BS Johnson is a gentle parody of the great 18th century “landscape architects” like Capability Brown and various renaissance men of the period – he’s meant to be the sort of inept black sheep of that august brotherhood. In Maskerade, Pterry calls him the world’s first counter-renaissance man, in that he was bad at practically everything. :D
250 THINGS AN ARCHITECT SHOULD KNOW - MICHAEL SORKIN
1. The feel of cool marble under bare feet. 2. How to live in a small room with five strangers for six months. 3. With the same strangers in a lifeboat for one week. 4. The modulus of rupture. 5. The distance a shout carries in the city. 6. The distance of a whisper. 7. Everything possible about Hatshepsut’s temple (try not to see it as ‘modernist’ avant la lettre). 8. The number of people with rent subsidies in New York City. 9. In your town (include the rich). 10. The flowering season for azaleas. 11. The insulating properties of glass. 12. The history of its production and use. 13. And of its meaning. 14. How to lay bricks. 15. What Victor Hugo really meant by ‘this will kill that.’ 16. The rate at which the seas are rising. 17. Building information modeling (BIM). 18. How to unclog a rapidograph. 19. The Gini coefficient. 20. A comfortable tread-to-riser ratio for a six-year-old. 21. In a wheelchair. 22. The energy embodied in aluminum. 23. How to turn a corner. 24. How to design a corner. 25. How to sit in a corner. 26. How Antoni Gaudí modeled the Sagrada Família and calculated its structure. 27. The proportioning system for the Villa Rotonda. 28. The rate at which that carpet you specified off-gasses. 29. The relevant sections of the Code of Hammurabi. 30. The migratory patterns of warblers and other seasonal travellers. 31. The basics of mud construction. 32. The direction of prevailing winds. 33. Hydrology is destiny. 34. Jane Jacobs in and out. 35. Something about feng shui. 36. Something about Vastu Shilpa. 37. Elementary ergonomics. 38. The color wheel. 39. What the client wants. 40. What the client thinks it wants. 41. What the client needs. 42. What the client can afford. 43. What the planet can afford. 44. The theoretical bases for modernity and a great deal about its factions and inflections. 45. What post-Fordism means for the mode of production of building. 46. Another language. 47. What the brick really wants. 48. The difference between Winchester Cathedral and a bicycle shed. 49. What went wrong in Fatehpur Sikri. 50. What went wrong in Pruitt-Igoe. 51. What went wrong with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. 52. Where the CCTV cameras are. 53. Why Mies really left Germany. 54. How people lived in Çatal Hüyük. 55. The structural properties of tufa. 56. How to calculate the dimensions of brise-soleil. 57. The kilowatt costs of photovoltaic cells. 58. Vitruvius. 59. Walter Benjamin. 60. Marshall Berman. 61. The secrets of the success of Robert Moses. 62. How the dome on the Duomo in Florence was built. 63. The reciprocal influences of Chinese and Japanese building. 64. The cycle of the Ise Shrine. 65. Entasis. 66. The history of Soweto. 67. What it’s like to walk down the Ramblas. 68. Back-up. 69. The proper proportions of a gin martini. 70. Shear and moment. 71. Shakespeare, etc. 72. How the crow flies. 73. The difference between a ghetto and a neighborhood. 74. How the pyramids were built. 75. Why. 76. The pleasures of the suburbs. 77. The horrors. 78. The quality of light passing through ice. 79. The meaninglessness of borders. 80. The reasons for their tenacity. 81. The creativity of the ecotone. 82. The need for freaks. 83. Accidents must happen. 84. It is possible to begin designing anywhere. 85. The smell of concrete after rain. 86. The angle of the sun at the equinox. 87. How to ride a bicycle. 88. The depth of the aquifer beneath you. 89. The slope of a handicapped ramp. 90. The wages of construction workers. 91. Perspective by hand. 92. Sentence structure. 93. The pleasure of a spritz at sunset at a table by the Grand Canal. 94. The thrill of the ride. 95. Where materials come from. 96. How to get lost. 97. The pattern of artificial light at night, seen from space. 98. What human differences are defensible in practice. 99. Creation is a patient search. 100. The debate between Otto Wagner and Camillo Sitte. 101. The reasons for the split between architecture and engineering. 102. Many ideas about what constitutes utopia. 103. The social and formal organization of the villages of the Dogon. 104. Brutalism, Bowellism, and the Baroque. 105. How to derive. 106. Woodshop safety. 107. A great deal about the Gothic. 108. The architectural impact of colonialism on the cities of North Africa. 109. A distaste for imperialism. 110. The history of Beijing. 111. Dutch domestic architecture in the 17th century. 112. Aristotle’s Politics. 113. His Poetics. 114. The basics of wattle and daub. 115. The origins of the balloon frame. 116. The rate at which copper acquires its patina. 117. The levels of particulates in the air of Tianjin. 118. The capacity of white pine trees to sequester carbon. 119. Where else to sink it. 120. The fire code. 121. The seismic code. 122. The health code. 123. The Romantics, throughout the arts and philosophy. 124. How to listen closely. 125. That there is a big danger in working in a single medium. The logjam you don’t even know you’re stuck in will be broken by a shift in representation. 126. The exquisite corpse. 127. Scissors, stone, paper. 128. Good Bordeaux. 129. Good beer. 130. How to escape a maze. 131. QWERTY. 132. Fear. 133. Finding your way around Prague, Fez, Shanghai, Johannesburg, Kyoto, Rio, Mexico, Solo, Benares, Bangkok, Leningrad, Isfahan. 134. The proper way to behave with interns. 135. Maya, Revit, Catia, whatever. 136. The history of big machines, including those that can fly. 137. How to calculate ecological footprints. 138. Three good lunch spots within walking distance. 139. The value of human life. 140. Who pays. 141. Who profits. 142. The Venturi effect. 143. How people pee. 144. What to refuse to do, even for the money. 145. The fine print in the contract. 146. A smattering of naval architecture. 147. The idea of too far. 148. The idea of too close. 149. Burial practices in a wide range of cultures. 150. The density needed to support a pharmacy. 151. The density needed to support a subway. 152. The effect of the design of your city on food miles for fresh produce. 153. Lewis Mumford and Patrick Geddes. 154. Capability Brown, André Le Nôtre, Frederick Law Olmsted, Muso Soseki, Ji Cheng, and Roberto Burle Marx. 155. Constructivism, in and out. 156. Sinan. 157. Squatter settlements via visits and conversations with residents. 158. The history and techniques of architectural representation across cultures. 159. Several other artistic media. 160. A bit of chemistry and physics. 161. Geodesics. 162. Geodetics. 163. Geomorphology. 164. Geography. 165. The Law of the Andes. 166. Cappadocia first-hand. 167. The importance of the Amazon. 168. How to patch leaks. 169. What makes you happy. 170. The components of a comfortable environment for sleep. 171. The view from the Acropolis. 172. The way to Santa Fe. 173. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. 174. Where to eat in Brooklyn. 175. Half as much as a London cabbie. 176. The Nolli Plan. 177. The Cerdà Plan. 178. The Haussmann Plan. 179. Slope analysis. 180. Darkroom procedures and Photoshop. 181. Dawn breaking after a bender. 182. Styles of genealogy and taxonomy. 183. Betty Friedan. 184. Guy Debord. 185. Ant Farm. 186. Archigram. 187. Club Med. 188. Crepuscule in Dharamshala. 189. Solid geometry. 190. Strengths of materials (if only intuitively). 191. Ha Long Bay. 192. What’s been accomplished in Medellín. 193. In Rio. 194. In Calcutta. 195. In Curitiba. 196. In Mumbai. 197. Who practices? (It is your duty to secure this space for all who want to.) 198. Why you think architecture does any good. 199. The depreciation cycle. 200. What rusts. 201. Good model-making techniques in wood and cardboard. 202. How to play a musical instrument. 203. Which way the wind blows. 204. The acoustical properties of trees and shrubs. 205. How to guard a house from floods. 206. The connection between the Suprematists and Zaha. 207. The connection between Oscar Niemeyer and Zaha. 208. Where north (or south) is. 209. How to give directions, efficiently and courteously. 210. Stadtluft macht frei. 211. Underneath the pavement the beach. 212. Underneath the beach the pavement. 213. The germ theory of disease. 214. The importance of vitamin D. 215. How close is too close. 216. The capacity of a bioswale to recharge the aquifer. 217. The draught of ferries. 218. Bicycle safety and etiquette. 219. The difference between gabions and riprap. 220. The acoustic performance of Boston Symphony Hall. 221. How to open the window. 222. The diameter of the earth. 223. The number of gallons of water used in a shower. 224. The distance at which you can recognize faces. 225. How and when to bribe public officials (for the greater good). 226. Concrete finishes. 227. Brick bonds. 228. The Housing Question by Friedrich Engels. 229. The prismatic charms of Greek island towns. 230. The energy potential of the wind. 231. The cooling potential of the wind, including the use of chimneys and the stack effect. 232. Paestum. 233. Straw-bale building technology. 234. Rachel Carson. 235. Freud. 236. The excellence of Michel de Klerk. 237. Of Alvar Aalto. 238. Of Lina Bo Bardi. 239. The non-pharmacological components of a good club. 240. Mesa Verde National Park. 241. Chichen Itza. 242. Your neighbors. 243. The dimensions and proper orientation of sports fields. 244. The remediation capacity of wetlands. 245. The capacity of wetlands to attenuate storm surges. 246. How to cut a truly elegant section. 247. The depths of desire. 248. The heights of folly. 249. Low tide. 250. The Golden and other ratios.
Broadway Tower is a folly on Broadway Hill, near the village of Broadway, in the English county of Worcestershire, at the second-highest point of the Cotswolds (after Cleeve Hill). Broadway Tower’s base is 1,024 feet (312 metres) above sea level. The tower itself stands 65 feet (20 metres) high.
The “Saxon” tower was the brainchild of Capability Brown and designed by James Wyatt in 1794 in the form of a castle, and built for Lady Coventry in 1798–99. The tower was built on a “beacon” hill, where beacons were lit on special occasions. Lady Coventry wondered whether a beacon on this hill could be seen from her house in Worcester — about 22 miles (35 km) away — and sponsored the construction of the folly to find out. Indeed, the beacon could be seen clearly.
Over the years, the tower was home to the printing press of Sir Thomas Phillipps, and served as a country retreat for artists including William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones who rented it together in the 1880s. William Morris was so inspired by Broadway Tower and other ancient buildings that he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings in 1877.
Today, the tower is a tourist attraction and the centre of a country park with various exhibitions open to the public at a fee, as well as a gift shop and restaurant. The place is on the Cotswold Way and can be reached by following the Cotswold Way from the A44 road at Fish Hill, or by a steep climb out of Broadway village.
Many great landscape gardeners have gone down in history and been remembered in a very solid way by the magnificent parks and gardens that they designed with almost god-like power and foresight, thinking nothing of making lakes and shifting hills and planting woodlands to enable future generations to appreciate the sublime beauty of wild Nature transformed by Man. There have been Capability Brown, Sagacity Smith, Intuition De Vere Slade-Gore…
In Ankh-Morpork, there was Bloody Stupid Johnson.
Bloody Stupid “It might Look A Bit Messy Now But Just You Come Back In Five Hundred Years’ Time” Johnson. Bloody Stupid “Look, The Plans Were The Right Way Round When I Drew Them” Johnson. Bloody Stupid Johnson, who had 2000 tons of earth built into an artificial hillock in front of Quirm Manor because “It’d drive me mad to have to look at a bunch of trees and mountains all day long, how about you?”
Th Ankh-Morpork palace grounds were considered the high spot, if such it could be called, of his career. For example, they contained the ornamental trout lake, one hundred and fifty yards long and, because of one of those trifling errors of notation that were such a distinctive feature of Bloody Stupid’s designs, one inch wide. It was the home of one trout, which was quite comfortable provided it didn’t try to turn around, and had once featured an ornate fountain which, when first switched on, did nothing but groan ominously for five minutes and then fire a small stone cherub a thousand feet into the air.
It contained the hoho, which was like a haha only deeper. A haha is a concealed ditch and wall designed to allow landowners to look out across rolling vistas without getting cattle and inconvenient poor people wandering across the lawns. Under Bloody Stupid’s errant pencil it was dug fifty feet deep and had claimed three gardeners already.
The maze was so small that people got lost looking for it.
But the Patrician rather liked the gardens, in a quiet kind of way. He had certain views about the mentality of most of mankind, and the gardens made him feel fully justified.
the introduction of B.S. Johnson |
Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms