This first picture sums up perfection for me, especially when Mediterranean sunshine is added into the equation:
Happiness is ….. a camera, a smiley coffee and a donut. (although my coffee was an espresso with no facial features whatsoever).
A photoshoot on a local beach is always fun too, even without the Mediterranean sunshine! :
I took this next picture on a photography course I did a few years back. Whilst I enjoyed learning about studio lighting, still life and portraiture, I came to the conclusion that all that faffing about with light-meters, flash-guns, lightboxes etc is not for me. I definitely prefer to be out in the open air.
To each his own. I’ve always maintained that people enjoy doing what they’re good at: I wasn’t much good at studio photography.
I love old cameras. This isn’t mine though:
And so do these enthusiasts at a weekly local market:
The Kyles of Bute in Scotland’s Cowal Peninsula is one of my favourite places in the whole world.
In Glasgow when I was a child (in the olden days) it was a tradition to take summer day trip on “The Waverley” paddle steamer. This annual treat was called “goin’ doon the watter“, though my English mother never allowed such Glaswegian dialect to be spoken in her presence!
The steamer left from the Broomielaw dock in the centre of Glasgow, sailed down River Clyde out to the Firth and over to the Kyles of Bute. A kyle (in Scottish Gaelic, a “Caol” or “Caoil”) is a narrow strip of water; this one separates the northern end of the Isle of Bute from the Cowal Peninsula.
When I was teaching, we used to bring kids here for a week’s field studies trip every year for about 10 years. We stayed in an education centre, formerly a Victorian millionaire’s house, in the village of Colintraive. When I look at this photograph I can pinpoint exactly where it was; it’s tucked in behind the trees on the shore of the bay on the left, by the wee white buildings you might just make out.
The house was called “Caol Ruadh” which is Gaelic for “Red Kyle” as legend has it that the waters once flowed red with the blood of warring Scottish clansmen.
This photo was taken from Queen’s View looking down the Kyle.
This second photo was taken from the cenotaph outside Clitheroe Castle in Lancashire, not too far away from where I live now.
It’s back up to Scotland for a view of the interior of The National Museum of Scotland:
Lastly, over to my home city of Glasgow for a picture of the the entrance hall of Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art.
You’ll always be assured of a welcome here
I’ve enjoyed sharing this post as it contains some of my special memories.
Looking down seems to have turned into looking back.
All these places can be visited again, so I think I’ll lookforward instead!
Why am I thinking of an unused title? No particular reason other than how many combinations of words can there be? And will we ever run out? Probably not in my lifetime!
The graves and the tea bags are closely connected as we saw both of them within half an hour of arriving in Heysham on a day-trip last year. It’s only 40 minutes up the road.
Heysham is a large coastal village on the Lancashire coast. Whilst it is a ferry port for ships to Ireland and the Isle of Man, and has a nuclear power station nearby, the old part of the village is very quaint and set apart from the newer developments. It could be the setting for a 1950’s TV drama.
Around St Patrick’s Chapel are the remains of eight rock-cut graves hewn from the headland, several of which are body shaped and have rock-cut sockets, possibly for wooden crosses. It is thought that the graves were created around the eleventh century and were used for burying very high-status individualsHeysham Coast, National Trust–
In googling these graves I’ve found various theories about when they were built and who they were for.
Some experts suggest that they are too small for corpses and perhaps held bones and artefacts. They can’t be carbon dated as there were no trace elements in or around.
Nettle Tea Bags
I also googled “Nettle Tea, Heysham” and was totally surprised to find that it’s fame has spread around the world.
I knew that it was a localised speciality, but since the owner of Bells Cottage Tea Rooms had the idea of putting it into bags its sales have gone from strength to strength (pun intended).
The Tea Room sends tea-bags to Alaska, Barbados and China…….ABC….. don’t know about the rest of the alphabet…only those three were mentioned in the article “Selling Tea to China” which I read here.
This charmingly old-fashioned advert was outside the tea-room.
It’s only in looking for oddities in my archives for this post, and doing a bit of research, that I’ve discovered this worldwide thirst for nettle tea !
Had I known that it was so internationally sought after I might have been tempted to try some.
I definitely will next visit. Perhaps along with a “Hidgy-Pidgy” scone. “Hidgy-Pidgy” is an old name for nettle. Yes the cheese scones have nettles in them too!
Hmmmm….I wonder if Granny Bell also makes ice-cream……..
Getting a different perspective on familiar things for me usually involves some kind of physical contortion.
I approached this iconic Scallop on Aldeburgh beach with camera already set. Since I could see people approaching, and wanted a shot without them in it, I flung myself down flat on the pebbled seashore in front of it and clicked the shutter. It was an “all-in-one” sequence of actions. One second I was on my feet, next second I was splayed flat out, clicking.
I did this so quickly (I’d been rehearsing it in my mind on the walk towards it) that the others nearby thought I’d collapsed. I did feel a bit silly but it was good of them to check out that I was OK. Getting back up afterwards wasn’t quite so easy. It never is these days.
This shell is dedicated to composer Benjamin Britten . It is almost 5 metres high and is made of stainless steel.
It was designed by Suffolk artist, Maggi Hambling, and bears the words :
I hear those voices that will not be drowned (from Britten’s opera “Peter Grimes”)
Getting the next couple of shots involved me cricking my neck:
For this one I supported myself on a slimy bit of concrete :
And for the last two I was down on my knees :
How I suffer for my art (?)! Ha! And what fun I have doing it.
Although the weather forecast threatened rain and poor visibility, we took ourselves up to Leighton Moss mid-week. Its about an hour’s drive away.
We had to return a bird-feeding station for the garden we’d bought there a couple of weeks ago. It was a very nice one in natural wood but would have been far too big for its allocated space. The hangers for bird food look just fine where they are now on the trees. The garden birds aren’t complaining at any rate, judging by the rate they’re getting through their suet blocks and peanuts.
So much for the weather forecast! It was a lovely day: quite warm and sunny. And that’s not a usual combination for NW England in February.
Leighton Moss is an RSPB reserve (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). It is situated on the edge of Morecambe Bay and in the Arnside and and Silverdale AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty).
The reserve contains the largest reedbeds in North-West England and is home to some rare birds such as breeding bitterns, bearded tits and marsh harriers. All of which we have seen at various times.
On this visit we took the path from Lillian’s Hide along The Causeway and through the woods to the Lower Hide:
We saw marsh harriers, cormorants, herons, teal, shovelers, pintails, gadwall and loads of coots. Once again we did NOT see an otter . Otters seem to appear whenever we leave the hide. Maybe next time……