All week I've been posting little bits and pieces that I picked up at the fair we went to in Fareham last weekend. This is perhaps the highlight. When I bought it I just thought it was a reasonably interesting amateur sketch book with some monochrome landscapes in it. And, indeed, that is what it is. However, nearly all the landscapes are labelled and they are all of Weymouth and Sidmouth in Dorset. What's more, they are very early - I searched for ages to find it but there is one date in the entire sketchbook: the faint words written in pencil on the inside front cover "my first sketchbook 1808". What's even better is that this is not just a series of pictures of countryside - pretty much all the pictures in the book are of places or buildings which are still 'comparable' today. And this is, I believe, what gives this album its special value. This is a local historian's dream. Here, for instance is a double page painting of the sweep of the bay at Weymouth with buildings drawn in, the same at Sidmouth... and so on... I'm looking forward to really getting into the business of cataloguing its contents and trying to place it with the right buyer.
In other news, it's been a busy couple of days. Last night saw the release of the latest Harry Potter film and, for the fan, it's fantastic: grim and unending, but fantastic. If you haven't read the books though, you don't stand a chance of understanding what's going on. And then tonight R and I went with other friends to see Seth Lakeman in concert and, wow! he knows how to perform live. It took a while for the crowd to get themselves pumped up but by the time he got to the virtuoso solo fiddle routine at astonishing speed and with accompanying strobe lighting, and then the two 'ho-down' numbers for the encore the crowd was up and at it! Well worth seeing live but if you've never heard of him then go to the website - which has sound and video - and then head off to wherever you download your music.
Now winding down listening to Tchaikovsky's Liturgy of St John Chrysostom! Perfect!