Window Shopping in Keswick

Window Shopping in Keswick was a nice way to round off our recent trip to the Lake District.  The first picture is for Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge : Open. It shows that the Cumberland Pencil Museum shop is open, even though due to devastating floods in the winter the museum itself is still closed. The idea of a Pencil Museum has always intrigued me, though never enough to actually go for a visit, even in the wettest of weather. So I’ve never  seen “the longest colouring pencil in the world” or “the world’s most secret WW2 pencil”, though I have imagined them…often. The museum featured in a BBC Guide to “the oddest days out in the UK” and I read a rave review recently where a visitor enthused :”It’s got everything you need in a Pencil Museum!”.  Ah well, to each his own.     The rest of the pictures show a few of the things for sale in the town. They were all taken and edited on iPhone.        

The Glorious Mellon Udrigle Beach

When I saw  Hugh’s Photo Challenge : Glorious,  I immediately thought of the many wonderful beaches in Wester Ross in the North West of Scotland. If you like beautiful deserted beaches there can be no better place on earth. If, however, you also want a guarantee of blue sky and sunshine, then head instead to the Mediterranean where you’ll also get rows of sunloungers, beach cafes and thousands of sun worshippers. But if you’d like to share your dream beach with only perhaps a couple of sheep and maybe a highland cow, then head up the West Coast. This beach at Mellon Udrigle is one of my favourites:      

Vintage in Bronte Country

Haworth is the epitome of Emily Brontë’s legendary Wuthering Heights. There’s an enchanting mystique to the wild and rugged moors that surround this beautiful village – you can practically hear the echoes of Catherine and Heathcliffe around every cobbled and heather strewn corner. Prepare to fall in love with Haworth and its living, breathing past. Haworth’s heart is its stunning Main Street. In summer it’s a buzzing hive of activity with shops, crafts and tea rooms, and magnificent moorland views that compel visitors to pause for a photo opportunity practically every other step. During the winter months the wonderful rolling mists cloak the landscape, making easy to lose yourself in the famous Brontë Parsonage and immerse yourself in the history of its historic graveyard. – (Haworth essentials) Haworth is a beautiful village in West Yorkshire in the Pennine Hills about an hour’s drive from where we are in Lancashire. On a visit there a couple of years ago I spotted this gentleman driving down the Main Street in his wonderful vintage car. He was just going about his business as usual and was totally oblivious to the attention he was getting from visitors. For the locals he and his car […]

The Eagle has Landed (you just can’t see it)

Thanks Hugh, for your Photo Challenge Week 26 : Distance as its given me a chance to post something I never thought would see the light of day on this blog. Distance? Oh I know all about that in my pursuit of THE wildlife image. When I had a 50mm-270mm lens, I kept trying to take birds that were just too far away, whilst ignoring those that were within easy reach.  So……I bought myself  a Canon100-400L lens ….and……again ignored what would have been a good capture to focus even further away to something on the horizon, always  knowing at the back of my mind that when cropped to show the bird, it would be so full of noise and so pixellated that I wouldn’t consider posting it on any of my wildlife groups. But I couldn’t resist firing away in continuous shoot mode which I sometimes think now  I did  because (a) I loved the noise it made and (b) everybody else was doing it. On a trip to the beautiful Scottish island of Mull, renowned for its abundant wildlife – especially White-Tailed Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles and Otters – I did indeed see the most amazing sights (Through a powerful […]

Margarita Pracatan at Manchester Pride 2016

The Fabulous Margarita Pracatan

Well, Hugh, I hope you don’t mind a second posting for this week’s Hugh’s Photo Challenge: Music  but when I remembered I had a few photographs of the fabulous Margarita Pracatan at Manchester’s Pride 2012, I couldn’t resist sharing one. For those of you who are already fans she needs no further explanation; for those of you who are not yet familiar with her unusual approach to music, please have an open mind; for anyone (is there anyone ?) who does not find her totally entertaining, please do not click on the YouTube link as it would be wasted on you! You could always go to see the Florence Foster Jenkins movie first to prepare yourself. Margarita appeared every week in the 1990’s at the end of the weekly Clive James show to end the programme with a song. In the YouTube clip below it is Hugh Laurie who is losing the battle to stifle his laughter.  

Tickle the Ivories

In response to Hugh’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Week 25: Music I took this picture in Liverpool in 2011. I’ve just found out that Tickle the Ivories has been an annual event in the city for the past five years and it is the world’s only street piano busking festival! What it involves is half a dozen brightly coloured pianos placed around Liverpool City Centre for people to play, be they professionals, amateurs, classical , jazz, blues, rock …..anything goes. Timetabled slots can be booked and there are also “free play” sessions. There is a  tin bucket chained to each piano and performers can keep any money they make . The ivories can once again be tickled in Liverpool this year from  1st July to 4th September 2016. I’ll be there (to watch and listen, enjoy and appreciate but, sadly, not to play as I don’t know how). More information about  “Tickle the Ivories” can be found on the Liverpool One website. Free play sessions Tickle the Ivories is open for free play sessions on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, where the pianos are not booked and any member of the public is free to play any tune they know. These sessions are […]

Jesters and their Caps

Thank you, Hugh, for inviting us to post pictures of Hats for this week’s Hugh’s Photo Challenge .       When I found these images tonight I just had to Google Jesters. So, thank you, Hugh, if it hadn’t been for your challenge I’d never have lost myself in the history of Jesters, Fools, Buffoons, Clowns, Dunces and all the other variations on the theme.  I’ve learned that jesters were popular in Ancient Egypt and entertained the Pharaohs. Jesters were also popular with the Aztecs in the 14th to 16th centuries. King Charles the First employed a very small jester to jump out of a giant pie. I’ve followed links to Japanese male Geishas and, nearer home, to Punch and Judy. The court jester is a universal phenomenon. He crops up in every court worth its salt in medieval and Renaissance Europe, in China, India, Japan, Russia, America and Africa. A cavalcade of jesters tumble across centuries and continents, and one could circle the globe tracing their footsteps. But to China the laurels. China has undoubtedly the longest, richest, and most thoroughly documented history of court jesters. From Twisty Pole and Baldy Chunyu to Moving Bucket and Newly Polished Mirror, […]

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