Sunday, 16 September 2012

Following the Go Bustard Trail - A follow up post

Having recently waxed lyrical about Buttons, the Bustard (September 7, 2012 post), one day last week, when the autumnal weather was at it’s best - sunny, but not too warm, but above all - dry)  I decided to give the toy-making a rest for a few hours and set off, using my trusty Free ‘Bus Pass to get me to Warminster, in order to follow what is known as The Go Bustard Trail.

First place of call was to “Think Outside the Box”, where Buttons resides.  There I was given the official form which lists all twelve entrants in the competition - which I now find actually ends with the prize-winner being announced on Saturday, October 6 - the first day of the Warminster Festival.   The entrants all have their names in one column and their Post Code (Zip) in another.  Great, if one knows how to decipher Post Codes.

 (October 6 also happens to be the day that the ColdhamCuddlies will be exhibiting at the Craft Fair being organised as part of said Warminster Festival - the biggest event so far in which we’ve taken part ).  
Thus, once off the ‘bus from Heytesbury, my first port of call was to the local Tourist Information Centre.  Whilst very willing to help, they did not have as much information as my next port of call, the Warminster Library, conveniently located on the other side of the Central Car Park.  As I was one of the first people in that morning, the staff were not as rushed as they can be later, and one was kind enough to put all the 12 postcodes into her computer and I was thus given most of the likely spots where  the Great Bustard statues could be found.  Some are located outside Warminster itself, so I decided that all within walking distance might give me an idea about Buttons’ competition  - so off I set.

The first one did not require too much of a hike:  he was located just next to the computer from which the post code locations were spewing forth.  He is called Percy and looks like this.

Green and Gold  is the theme of this Great Bustard entry:  green background and signatures of library customers and their friends (for which a small fee was levied - this being the  Library’s fund-raising venture.)  Destination of the funds raised were not divulged, but could well be for the Bustards re-introduction project I mentioned in my previous post about Buttons.

Percy from a different angle
Just a few steps away, in one of the small shopping malls in Warminster, I came across “Jigsaw”.

His picture is somewhat blurred because he is located in an empty shop window, and the only way I could photograph him was through the glass window.  We all know what happens when one does that - and this is no exception.  However, you can get an idea of what he looks like - and there was a helpful notice placed nearby which says:

Jigsaw, The Great Bustard, is a result of a project involving Warminster Police Community Support Officers, Youth Development Centre (YDC) and W.A.V.E.   (Sorry, but I don't know what this acronmym stands for, but a Community Support Officer forms part of the local police force, but without the full powers of a qualified police officer).

The Warminster Area Board were approached for funds to purchase the bird and they readily approved the grant application.  Coates and Parker (publishers of The Warminster Journal, as well as the only Stationers in town) contributed some of the paint for the project and two local artists assisted in overseeing the painting. 

Members of W.A.V.E  and the YDC were asked to submit designs for Jigsaw and were then given the opportunity to paint their designs in the puzzle piece.  All designs are relevant to Warminster and the exciting year of 2012.” 

(In the UK, we’ve had the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, as well as the Olympic and ParaOlympic Games in 2012, not to mention various local projects as well, so to call 2012 an exciting year is a fair enough description, methinks!)

Just a short distance from Jigsaw I came across Cordath.

He was placed on the pavement, outside the Town’s ironmonger (a wonderful shop  - a veritable Aladin's Cave - where one can get everything but the kitchen sink, including supplies for D.I.Y. and sugar craft, to name but two items).  He’s on the pavement, closely padlocked to a convenient lamp post  - which may be useful to keep him in place, but makes photography a somewhat difficult undertaking, especially when the lamp post is next-door to scaffolding.  However, I did manage to get a couple of pictures of him.

He, too, had a convenient notice giving some interesting facts about him -

Artist:  The Frostick Family.  Sponsors:  SL. Cordons (the ironmongers), Le CafĂ© Journal, Warminster and District Film Society, Athenaeum Limelight Players, Kumon Study Centre, Athaeum Masqueraders, Warminster Philatelic Society, The Athanaeum Friends and the Athenaeum Trust.

 (The Athanaeum is the local Theatre - a historic building - which is the venue for many town activities, some of whom are included as Cordath’s sponsors.)

The next port of call found me looking for the Minster (one of the four Anglican churches in Warminster) Primary School, which was somewhat further towards the “other end of town”.  Having remembered the location of the street where the school is situated, (The Tourist Centre had kindly shown me a town map) I eventually found it, and then had to find my way in.  Getting into schools can be quite difficult, if one does not have a connection, but fortunately my visit coincided with the morning break, and the children were haring about in the courtyard getting rid of surplus energy. (Wish I had some of it, these days!

Going up to one of the adults supervising this energy, I was told I’d have to ask the Head Mistress if a photograph could be taken, because Emwell spends all his time in the School Assembly Hall.  The helpful adult kindly took me towards the Head’s office, but we met  as she was on her way out.  Having established my credentials and requested her permission, she was kind enough not only to let me in to see Emwell, but was also prepared to have her photograph taken beside him.  (Is it just me, or are Head Mistresses getting to look more like their charges than I ever remember any of mine ever doing?)

Anyway, here is Emwell in all his glory - he will be returning to live in the Hall once the competition is over - and is the product of the childrens’ designs, which were converted into how this Great Bustard now appears by a local artist, Hilary Jackson - who often just happens to sit behind me in St. George's R.C. Church (so, perhaps this one could also be described as an Ecumenical project?)!  I think the children did a great job, as did Hilary in preparing Emwell for exhibition.  (The school is situated in Emwell Street, so, presumably, hence his name?)

By this time, it was getting rather close to the time for me to catch my ‘bus home to Heytesbury.  All the walking round town had got my appetite going and it was getting a bit close to lunch time!  However, the next destination was on my way to the ‘bus stop, so it was no hardship to call in at the Civic Hall and make the acquaintance of Bertie Bloomer, the Great Bustard.

He is the product of an artist named Maureen Lakey and he has been decorated to raise funds for MENCAP and Gateway - two mental health charities:  one national (the former) and the other, a local one.

Here are another two views of Bertie.

 I have to say, even though my support still remains firmly behind Buttons, Bertie Bloomer does run him a very close second. If there were to be a third place, I think it would go to Emwell.    I’m just glad I don’t have to make the ultimate judgement.

Buttons - just as a reminder!
Wonder what your thoughts are on these splendid artistic creations?  I’ve managed to find, and visit, six out of the twelve.  The others are either not visible at times that I am in Warminster, or are located in premises in the surrounding villages which are not accessible by my local ‘bus service, and thus require a car to reach them.  However, six out of twelve is a sufficiently representative selection for me to make up my mind, so I shall be submitting my vote before the September 30 deadline.  They have to be placed at either Coates & Parker (see above - in Jigsaw‘s descriptive paragraphs) or the Library, where Percy reigns supreme.  Indeed, if you look at Percy's portrait, there is a box on his plinth, where some folks have already deposited their votes.  There is also a prize for the member of the public who both picked the winner and saw the most entrants.  The actual prizes are a Family Day Out either at The Hawk Conservancy (as the name suggests, a local tourist attraction) and seeing the real, live Bustards in their habitat on the Salisbury Plain.  A "family" is defined as two adults and two children, so that rules me out!

The competition result will be reported after October 6 - and will probably feature in my post about the Craft Fair on that day at which, hopefully, some of the ColdhamCuddlies will be finding their Forever Homes.

This is a monster post - but it's difficult to see how it could be presented in serial form.   Normal service - latest on the toys, both old and new, and  less voluminous content - will be forthcoming shortly.  Meanwhile, cheerio for now!  Isobel