Pre Christmas day out always reminds me of Waddesdon Manor built by the Rothschild family in 1883. In additional to being famous for its grandeur and the Rothschild’s private wine collection, their enchanting Christmas trees, and in recent years the stunning outdoor light installation by Bruce Munro are all other attractions that makes it a worthwhile visit.
I first visited Waddesdon Manor in 2013 when Munro held his first annual Winter Light residency there. I remember we arrived around 5pm when it was already pitch dark in winter. As we were driving up the hill to the car park I saw a stream of lights flowing down the hill side, that was the River of Light, a display made up of 6500 illuminated glass spheres. The River of Light is a variation of Munro’s more well known creation, the Field of Light which he displayed at Waddesdon the following year. 2014 was the First World War centenary, and that year each light on display represented a poppy to commemorate those who died in the war.
我在2013年第一次到沃德斯登莊園，而當年Munro剛好舉辦他的第一次莊園戶外燈展覽。那天我們傍晚5點左右到達，時值冬天，路上已經漆黑一片。我們開車沿著小山丘到達停車場時，看到一串燈光像河流一般從山坡向下流，很美噢！原來那是River of Light，由6500個照明玻璃球組成。River of Light是Munro從他另外一個更為知名的創作Field of Light變化以成。翌年我們再到沃德斯登莊園，Munro便展出Field of Light。 2014年剛好是第一次世界大戰百週年紀念，那一年他的意念是每一夥燈光正代表一枚罌粟花，紀念戰爭中陣亡的士兵。
The other display that I found really fascinating in 2013 was the Water Towers. Each tower is over 2m tall and made up of 216 2litre plastic water bottles. They were illuminated with optical fibre which changes colours as the music plays. I didn’t count how many towers there were, but it took us a while to stroll around in the pitch dark night, and I did that quite a few times till I found an angle with no other people around so I could take some nice photos.
A lot of Munro’s work is influenced by his experience of previously living in Australia and in recent years in the west countryside in UK. One that I think particularly reflected this was the Harvest Moon. Here he wrapped bales of hay in plastic, and the optical effect created a golden moon which coincides with traditional harvest time.
Munro曾在澳洲居住，現在居住英國西南部鄉郊，所以很多作品都與大自然有關。例如Harvest Moon, 他用塑料包裹了一捆乾草，再用光學效果創造一個個皎潔的月亮。傳統農民豐收日子就正好是月圓時候。
Apart from these fascinating outdoor displays and the interior grandeur of the Manor, the other place well worth seeing at Waddesdon is the wine cellar. Over the years, the Rothschild family have accumulated an impressive wine collection, including the world famous Lafite and Mouton estates. Today, their cellar at Waddesdon holds over 15,000 bottles including vintage wines dating from 1868. Each year Rothschild invites an artist to design the Mouton bottle label for them. I particularly liked all the art labels on display and had a lot of fun finding the years that had a special meaning for me. A few years ago, a friend bought me a bottle of Mouton 1985. It has of course followed me to Taiwan, and I’m still waiting for that special occasion to open the bottle.
Sometime, some friends that you don’t often see will always be remembered for when and how you met, others because of first impressions. Waddesdon falls in both categories – on a pitch dark night around Christmas time. This year I won’t be able to make my annual trip Waddesdon, pre Christmas just doesn’t feel quite the same again.
有時有些很少見面也不太熟悉的朋友不知為什麼，你總是會很記得。可能是初相識的時間地點很特別，亦可能是因為第一次見面他留下極深刻的印象。沃德斯登莊園對我來說也屬於這類朋友 … 在一個伸手不見五指的寒冬傍晚相遇。今年我不能與這朋友見面，聖誕總是好像有點兒不太像聖誕了。