Monday, 18 January 2010

Tidebell

A few months ago, I found myself on Bosta Beach, when a group of locals gathered to discuss the installation of a Time and Tide Bell. This device rings in ever changing tones as the tide ebbs and flows around it. Twelve of the bells are to be installed around the coastline of the UK, and sculptor Marcus Vergette is intending to place one on the beach at Bosta.

It is an idea that sits uneasy with many people, and I rank myself among those. Although the sound of the bell is not loud, I do not feel that it would be fitting to place it in the location of Bosta, a secluded beach on the northern end of Great Bernera. Some might find it an intrusion to see an object that is patently not part of the natural scenery, or general environment that one expects to find there.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Bosta Beach"][/caption]

36 comments:

  1. I see that Mr Croft has posted on the same subject, AL. I think it seems like quite a nice idea, but I see your point about it being an intrusive object. A tidebell! What a lovely word that is.

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  2. Its yet again,the case of "i'm not against the idea,but anywhere else,but not on lewis":

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  3. I think its a lovely idea and it will no doubt have a lovely ring to it

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  4. I'm in favour. Let latter day Abbots of Aberbrothock be blessed.

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  5. Probably preferable to an Aeolian harp in your neighbour's garden. I think the sound fits well with the landscape...ask not for whom etc...

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  6. As I said over by, it's quite nice just a bit boring and a bit out of place. If it's to be permanent I'd far rather see something culturally relevant and beautiful by a local sculptor like the Basques got with Chillida and his Wind Combs. Or something temporary and a little more challenging like Antony Gormley's Another Place. Like Arnish I can think of better places on the island for this.

    Anyway, if it goes ahead doubtless someone will have it for scrap or steal the clapper on a drunken Sauturday night mission within a year. ;0

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  7. Just to qualify my objection: I wouldn't mind having such a bell in Stornoway Harbour, e.g. at Goat Island, or any of the other harbours in the island. Bosta carries extra sensitivity due to the presence of a cemetery at the beach.

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  8. Bosta Beach is beautiful. I would love to take a walk along the shore there. I think bells would disturb it's rugged beauty. The sound of the sea and the gulls would be all you would want to hear there. You folks are so blessed with so much undisturbed beautiful shore line.

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  9. No this is a crap idea!

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  10. Sometimes stuff like this works and sometimes it doesn't, I have to say that I'm in two minds about it. I'm sure that for a brief while at least I would like the sound of the tidebell, however, like a wind chime, I think it would eventually invade the the subconcious, become irritating, and detract from the natural music a place like Bosta provides.

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  11. If it goes ahead, let's hope it's better than the one that he installed close to where I live. Big hoo ha about nothing!!

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  12. Bosta is certainly wonderfully, wildly beautiful..

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  13. It would appear that the most vocal voices against the idea come from incomers who have no idea or care even less about the human aspect of life on Bernera. Their contribution to the community of Bernera is to criticise the locals for the short fleeting time they are resident there. Bernera is not a wild, barren, unpopulated and empty place. People actually live there.

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  14. Good to see such a diversity of views, both for and against. Nobody is excluded from having an opinion on this issue. Whether they live in Lewis (or Bernera), or visit here. My impression is that the Bernera people are not enamoured with the Tidebell, which is reflected in my post. I will acknowledge that it is a unique form of art that I am not averse to.

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  15. In reply to the croft - the one thing that won't happen to the bell is it gets stolen for scrap. Have you counted the number of scrap cars behind the Lewis houses? My mother cooked on a metal stove in the NAAFI at Rodel nearly 70 years ago and the stove is till there just next to the hotel on the old RAF site.

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  16. @ Cedric...Bernera is certainly not a barren and unpopulated place, but Bostadh *is* a wild and unspoiled place of great beauty. I am certainly not averse to having the bell on the island...but perhaps somewhere more in-keeping with its industrial appearance and less vulnerable to its aural encroachment...perhaps on one of the quays....or even by the bridge.

    It seems as though planning has now been passed, so it looks likely that it shall go ahead. It saddens me that this has all come about undemocratically...as it certainly doesn't seem to reflect the wishes of many. Perhaps a vote on the island might have been the way to go. Certainly the council have little durisdiction for the recognition or preservation of our wild places. I feel the spirit of John Muir recoil!

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  17. "Bostadh" .. related to the Nordic (Swedish) "bostad" = a home, a place to live?

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  18. Spot on, Barney. There are quite a few "shaders" (corrupted from Norse "stadr" or "bolstadr" in the island. People used to live at Bostadh, but presently, the nearest township is Croir, a mile to the east.

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  19. yes it is bostaidh.........a home......... and i dont care what people say..... this is rather cool that we get something like this and for the ones who hate the idea tough! all the people here love the idea other than those who need something to moan about......all these english incomers to the island...........and they come here and think its theres?and think us locals who have been here many years should live by there ways? who do they think they are? its our island our country if yous dont like it clear off back home and stop trying to cause trouble its simple. if yous remember back in the days of the black houses there was no english to be seen! now you cant move for them

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  20. "unknown" - Can only restate what I heard around the island, which is not a universal approbation for the project. However, it's going to come, so that's it.

    I just can't help feeling that thinly populated areas like Lewis get landed with all the crackpot projects because there aren't the numbers neither is there the power to stand up against them.

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  21. well we have the beauty...... hardly going to stick it it ina city pier? haha

    and for your info........... the bell has now being put in bosta beach and there is a party going on it was unvield at 5.30 tonight stalls burgers...... etc fantastic day. and stunning sunny weather best day for it :)

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  22. Unknown--enjoyed reading your point of view

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  23. Some clarification is needed!

    Two "local" households objected to the bell - generating four objections (two per household). Neither have been resident on Bernera for very long..... Despite doing their best to try to drum up support from as far away as America, less than ten objections were received in total.

    Not one single objection was received from someone actually from Bernera.

    The bell fits in surprisingly well with the landscape and the ring is unobtrusive. The ceremony on Saturday was well attended and the atmosphere and level of support was excellent.

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  24. Thank you "dingdong" for clarifying this subject(although I thought this would have been the case anyway)

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  25. Not all people who object in their minds will bother to object on paper, but I cannot speak for anyone of course. I was not speaking wholly for myself, I was (as outlined at time of posting back in January) reflecting some sentiments that reached my ears in Lewis.

    The bell is there now, and I'm pleased its sound is unobtrusive.

    I may devote a post to white settlers (and no, I'm not English) and whether their ideas converge with those of native Leodhsachs.

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  26. "ding dong"

    i am glad it went ahead. the objections from the incommers i have an idea who they are typical english who always object against everything. but it seems clear that the true islanders wont let them hold back *yay* its our land at the end of the day and has been for many generations.surely by now the incommers should have sussed this?

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  27. What's the point of a bell with an unobtrusive ring?
    'For whom the Bell tolls if you listen hard enough ' doesn't quite have the same ring (sic) to it, does it?
    'Bring out your dead if you can hear this?' didn't echo in the London streets during the Great Plague.
    Let's get this bell amplified so they can hear it in the Vatican when the wind is in the right direction instead of messing about with a 'I can't believe it's a bell'.

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  28. I was there with unknown on Saturday and i will remember the bell and the occasion forever. Those who criticise and complain, go see it, go at high tide, then comment. The only critical person I heard was a second home owner who seemed to think criticism would be his entry into conversation and community. How wrong he was. And lonely.

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  29. I was lucky enough to have been born and brought up in the beautiful Island of Great Bernera, unfortunately I had to leave for work and have lived away for many years....but my heart & soul is still there and I visit as often as possible. I was absolutely delighted to get home for Saturday and was not disappointed! I arrived slightly late but as I walked down the path to the beach I saw then heard the Bell....it was, without sounding whimsical, exquisite....and even more so as I was on my own...my own special moment with a very special place and a beautiful addition to our lovely Island!
    The turnout for the occasion was excellent and everyone went on to have a wonderful day, BBQ'd food supplied by the local Community and ably served up by our lovely local lassies and lads! Liquid refreshment abounded and an impromptu game of football ensued (showing some of these, supposed, footballers how it should be done!) a roaring fire to warm the cockles, and any other part which grew cold, lots of meeting of old friends and making of new and lots & lots of fun and laughter.....what more could our wee Island ask for?

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  30. I agree CMFTCM. Saturday was an amazing event. The bell sits so well in this location and is exquisite.

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  31. I think after visiting this lovely beach I think it is a lovely addition to such a magical setting and should be treasured by all who are lucky enough to live on such a lovely island

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  32. Arnish--what about a photo of the bell??

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  33. When I'm next in Bosta, I'll take a pic. Weather and tide permitting, of course

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  34. Thanks,looking forward to seeing it.

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