Tuesday, 7 July 2009

The trees are singing

To Hereford and the Cathedral Close, to view Jemma Pearson's rather wonderful sculpture of Edward Elgar who lived in the town shortly before WW1.

Cycling attire has come a long way since the de rigeur Edwardian costume of tweedy jacket, plus-fours and boots. One feels that, compared to contemporary Lycra, EE's stylish 'look' has much to recommend it.

In the manner of the new Betjemann sculpture at St Pancras Station, this is very much a 'site specific' work - with the cathedral dramatically involved as Elgar, manuscript notebook in hand, gazes up at its tower.

Pearson has lovingly recreated Elgar's splendid Sunbeam cycle, which he nicknamed 'Mr Phoebus'. Such is the attention to detail that one can identify the saddle as manufactured by Brooks, the ne plus ultra of cycle saddlery.

I'm more than a little excited to discover that, in terms of personal comfort a-wheel, the great composer and I have so much in common.

The plinth carries the inscription: 'This is what I hear all day - the trees are singing my music - or am I singing theirs?'

Later I was delighted to discover that the cycle shop, pictured below continues to flourish close by. This unashamedly old-fashioned establishment may well have been trading in Elgar's day.

It was certainly going strong in 1987 when I purchased from it my Dawes Galaxy (complete with Brooks saddle).

Said bike has just been through its umpteenth service and is girding its bottom bracket for a major ride in 2010. Watch this space.

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