Sunshine, scenery and surrealism at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park – Gail Bond writes

Sunglasses and T-shirts had certainly not made our list of essential items for an autumn day out to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, and yet as we roasted gently on the suntrap balcony restaurant, we must have wondered whether it really was October or whether the surrealism of Miró’s sculptures had swept us all away on a time-shift journey to summer.

Turning our cheeks and noses to the welcome sunshine, we enjoyed our unexpectedly alfresco lunch before somewhat reluctantly returning indoors to visit the Joan Miró exhibition. Kitchen stools painted in primary colours rubbed shoulders with eggs, blackened bronze statues sported a variety of head-scratchingly obscure protuberances, and colourful paintings gave us an insight into the dream-like world of this celebrated sculptor and artist.

Keen to take advantage of the blue sky and sunshine, we emerged from the exhibition gallery with heads still spinning from this immersion into surrealism. The rolling green hills and tranquil lake beckoned, whilst cows, sheep and geese blended perfectly with the carefully-positioned outdoor sculptures to become part of the artistic landscape.

Our walk took us via sculptures as diverse as trees made from wheelie bins and toilet pans, a giant rabbit made from chicken wire, and bronze hay bales arranged so authentically in a field that they could easily be mistaken for the real thing from afar. We learnt that old books make perfect homes for solitary bees, that the former 18th century landowners had a penchant for creating grand follies out of simple features such as a well, and that the functional yet aesthetic Seventy One Steps installation was designed to blend so seamlessly into the landscape that it will eventually disappear.

Although we split off into groups, we sporadically bumped into each other throughout the afternoon; even converging at one point near two bananas arranged artistically on the path that inspired us to express our own aesthetic critique of their fruity beauty, even debating whether the Fair Trade logo could be inspired by a Miró painting. Then, having decided that they had probably just recently fallen from someone’s rucksack and were unlikely to be of major artistic significance, we unceremoniously ate them.

With tired legs and heads full of swirling images of incredible sculptures, we made our way back to the main centre for welcome cups of tea. Conversations covered back-up systems, the advantages and disadvantages of being permanently contactable via smartphone, and the horrors of being our own IT department. Husbands and partners of translators found common ground on the topics of football and Bob Dylan whilst lamenting the constant requirement for washing up and other menial tasks to lighten the load of the busy translator.

As we pulled away from the car park, the first drops of rain fell. Expert weather forecasting by Charlotte, who had clearly pre-booked the perfect conditions for a fabulous day of culture, fresh air and unbeatable Yorkshire countryside.

Professional Conduct & Ethics Workshop – Gwenda McManus writes

Despite heavy rain and flooding in some parts the previous week, York was still open for business on Saturday 29 September. A number of us gathered for lunch beforehand at Plonkers which, like a number of other properties on the riverfront, was pumping out the lower ground floor – access was literally only a couple feet from the river. Happily, the food preparation and serving areas were upstairs and were not affected.

Lunch gave us an opportunity to catch up and also to meet Sue Leschen informally before moving on to the Friends Meeting House for the workshop. This was attended by 11 members, both translators and interpreters. Although there were more translators, many points were common to both disciplines. Sue had provided a list of potential issues as a starting point, but she threw the session open to the floor and ultimately there were several points raised. These included establishing our own terms and conditions – very strongly urged by Sue in a business where the client seems to be in the driving seat – and checking clients’ terms and conditions before accepting a job. This led on to helpful pointers by Sue about what to do in the event of slow or even non-payment, and a general discussion of experiences. Another area discussed was ownership of translations and acknowledgement of published work, with Sue again providing some very practical advice. She also emphasised the increasing importance of CPD and gave some examples of personal experience in this area.

It was very much an interactive session, with helpful guidance by Sue. The time passed all too quickly, and since we didn’t actually refer any of the prompt scenarios provided, there would seem to be scope for further discussion, especially as she provided some very comprehensive notes for further consideration.

Thanks again to Charlotte for organising this event – and for negotiating a discount!

Meal at The Deep, Hull – John Holmes writes

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A party of 14 gathered for an evening meal in the unusual setting of The Deep, which proudly claims to be “the world’s only submarium”. Once daytime visitors have left, some areas of the attraction are transformed into a restaurant with an extremely impressive, if occasionally distracting backdrop.

We met up in the cafe/bar area for a pre-meal drink, where as a first-time attendee at a YTI event I was pleased to be able to put some faces to names (with apologies to those I didn’t quite get around to meeting, must do better next time…). The extremely friendly waiting staff busied themselves taking drinks orders, which were allocated impressively to the various individual names, thus avoiding our ending the evening with the awkward “separate bills please?” scenario.

Our table ready, we were led into a large display area and seated next to a vast tank containing a recreation of the flooded forest of the Amazon. With various giant catfish, rays, turtles and imposing Pacu (large vegetarian piranha that live on nuts and seeds) looking on, we enjoyed an excellent meal and the buzz of animated conversation echoed around the room. Later on, as the lighting in the tanks was dimmed to recreate nocturnal levels, coffees were served, Paul said a few words to congratulate Charles on passing his MITI exam and all too soon the party dispersed.

Many thanks to Charlotte and Catherine for organising this most enjoyable evening.