Three Essex Villages, England

[ Photo Blog #47 ]

Just a few of my photographs taken in three beautiful villages in Essex in South East England – to the north and East of London.

Greensted Church, in the small village of Greensted-juxta-Ongar, near Chipping Ongar, is the oldest wooden church in the world, and probably the oldest wooden building in Europe still standing, albeit only in part, since few sections of its original wooden structure remain. The oak walls are often classified as remnants of a palisade church or a kind of early stave church, dated either to the mid-9th or mid-11th century.

Ingatestone is a village in Essex, England, with a population of about 4,500.

Ingatestone Hall is a Grade I listed 16th-century manor house in Essex, some 5 miles (8 km) south west of Chelmsford. It was built by Sir William Petre, and his descendants live in the house to this day.  William Petre bought Ingatestone manor soon after the Dissolution of the Monasteries for some £850 and commissioned the building of the house. Queen Elizabeth I of England spent several nights there on her royal progress of 1561.

The hall represented the exterior of Bleak House in the 2005 television adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel and also appeared in an episode of the TV series Lovejoy. Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s novel Lady Audley’s Secret is set at Ingatestone Hall and was inspired by a stay there.

Orsett is a village and ecclesiastical parish located within Thurrock unitary district in Essex

( Information based on entries in Wikipedia )

OrsettCottage

A timbered and thatched cottage in Orsett

Greensted01

Greensted Church

Greensted02

Greensted Church –  Wooden South Entrance

Ingatestone01

Ingatestone Hall

Ingatestone02

Ingatestone Hall – Clock Tower & Weather Vane

Ingatestone03

Ingatestone Hall

Ingatestone04a

Ingatestone Hall – Roadside slogan – ‘Never Underestimate A Minority’

Dartmouth, Devon

[ Photo Blog #46 ]

map

Map of South Devon, England, showing the River Dart and Dartmouth

Dartmouth is a historic South Devonshire town situated where the beautiful River Dart meets the sea.  It has become a famous tourist destination, but it has a long history, mainly associated with its position as a deep-water port for sailing vessels, giving them easy access to the English Channel.  As far back as the Twelfth Century the port was used as the sailing point for the Crusades of 1147 and 1190.  Since the reign of  Edward II, Dartmouth has been the home of the Royal Navy.  The town was twice surprised and sacked in the 14th and 15th centuries during the Hundred Years’ War.  Following this, the narrow mouth of the estuary was closed every night with a great chain.  To protect the town, Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle were built on opposite banks of the river entrance.  The Britannia Royal Naval College is located on the hill overlooking the town and has been training Officers of the Royal Navy since 1863.

Dartmouth (10)

The River Dart – Looking eastwards from the town

Dartmouth (12)

Dartmouth – The Quay

Dartmouth (14)

The Royal Naval College overlooks the town

Dartmouth (28)

The River Dart Passenger Ferry crossing between Dartmouth and Kingswear on the opposite bank

Dartmouth (29)

Dartmouth Castle at the mouth of the river on the west bank

Dartmouth (30)

The car ferry crossing close to the river mouth

Dartmouth (38)

View towards the river mouth and the English Channel

Dartmouth (39)

Cruise ship anchored in the deep water of the River Dart

Dartmouth (42)

View of Kingswear across the river from Dartmouth, with the ruins of  Bayards Castle in the foreground

Dartmouth (45)

View from the South Embankment towards the mouth of the River Dart

bar-curl1

 

Cardiff

[ Photo Blog #45 ]

Cardiff Waterfront

CARDIFF is the capital city of WALES.  It has a very long and fascinating history.  Today I just want to give a brief mention to its waterfront, an area which in recent years has been developed into an attractive and intriguing area with many new buildings, shops, galleries, sculptures and visitor attractions.

The harbour at Cardiff Bay is situated on the Southern coast of Wales, UK.  It has one of the greatest tidal ranges in the world (up to 14m).  This meant that at low tide it was inaccessible for up to 14 hours a day.  However, the Cardiff Bay Barrage was completed in 1999, enabling the creation of a a vast freshwater lake (500 acres) and the development of what is now known as Cardiff Waterfront.  Here can be found the Welsh Assembly Government buildings, the Norwegian Church Arts Centre, the Pierhead Building, Techniquest Centre, the Senedd or Welsh Assembly Building, Butetown History and Arts Centre, the 2000 Lightship, the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, al-fresco cafes, restaurants, and public works of art, giving a truly cosmopolitan feel to the City.

It was here, in the Norwegian seamen’s church, that Roald Dahl and his brothers and sisters, of Norwegian descent but  born in Cardiff, were all christened.  This central area of the Cardiff Waterfront is now named Roald Dahl Plass and is the site of many of the city’s greatest events.

The links between Cardiff and Norwegian seamen date back to the coal boom when Scandinavian ships brought timber for pit props and returned home laden with coal. Churches like this with its attractive white clapboard cladding and pointy spire were built to serve the Norwegian sailors who docked here. Today the restored church features an interesting gallery and a friendly café.

The photographs are by me, taken on a visit to the city several years ago . . .

 

Cardiff-00

Model of Cardiff Waterfront

Cardiff-01

The Norwegian Church

Cardiff-02

Cardiff-03

Commerative photograph of a portrait of Roald Dahl in the Interior of the Norwegian Church

Cardiff-04

Commemorative plaque on the naming of Roald Dahl Plass

Cardiff-05

The Pierhead Building

Cardiff-06

The Wales Millennium Centre

Cardiff-07

A bronze of an immigrant couple symbolising the arrival of many to Tiger Bay seeking a better life in Britain.

Cardiff-08

Female Beastie Bench – Cardiff Bay, Sculpted bench in brick  ‘My Beautiful City of Cardiff’

Cardiff-09

The 2000 Lightship, a Christian centre funded by Associated British Ports and Cardiff council – now re-sited

Cardiff-10

Stained glass Portholes on the Lightship

Cardiff-11

 

bar-curl3

St Petersburg

1Hermitage Museum

The Hermitage Museum from Palace Square

St. Petersburg is a Russian port city on the Baltic Sea. It was the imperial capital for 2 centuries, having been founded in 1703 by Peter the Great, subject of the city’s iconic “Bronze Horseman” statue. It remains Russia’s cultural centre, with venues like the ultramodern Mariinsky Theatre hosting opera and ballet, and the State Russian Museum showcasing Russian art, from Orthodox icon paintings to Kandinsky works.

Below is a gallery of some of my photographs of St. Petersburg taken during a brief visit in 2004

2St Petersburg

Sea approach to St Petersburg from the Gulf of Finland

3St Isaacs cathedral

St. Isaac’s Cathedral

4Canal

One of the city’s many Canals

5Catherine Palace Facade2

Front façade of Catherine’s Palace

6Catherine Palace Facade1

Front façade of Catherine’s Palace – closer view

8Catherine Palace-Interior1

Interior of Catherine’s Palace

9Catherine Palace-Interior-Staurcase

Grand Staircase – Interior of Catherine’s Palace

10Conservatory-Beethoven

Saint Petersburg Conservatory – Music School and ballet venue

11Conservatory-Tchaikovsky

Saint Petersburg Conservatory – Music School and ballet venue; Statue of Tchaikovsky

12Moscow Truimphal Gate

The Moscow Triumphal Gate

13Monument To The Heroic Defenders of Leningrad

Monument to the Heroic Defenders of Leningrad

14The Bronze Horseman-Eternal Defender of St.P

The Bronze Horseman – Eternal Defender of St. Petersburg

15Sunset over St Petersburg

Sunset Over St. Petersburg

 

bar152

 

The River Thames Around Hampton Court

As well as the beauty of the riverside and its wildlife, there is much history to be discovered in walking the short space of just over a mile  from the west downstream along the tow-path on the south side of the River Thames towards King Henry VIII’s Palace of Hampton Court.  David Garrick (1717 – 1779) the famous English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer, also a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson, built a mansion on the North bank of the Thames here.  Next to it, in 1756, he built a ‘Temple to honour William Shakespeare’.  Further along the river towards Hampton Court Palace are an ancient cricket ground and the famous Molesey Boat Club, who count the Olympic Gold medallist Searle brothers  among their many distinguished rowers.

Thames04

David Garrick’s ‘Temple to Shakespeare’

Thames06

Garrick’s Temple and his mansion

Thames07

Close-up view of the Temple from across the river

Thames08

Old Edwardian houseboat – once a floating restaurant

Thames09

‘Thyme By The River’ cafe

Thames10

Waterfront outside the Molesey Rowing Club

Thames11

East Molesey Cricket Ground

Thames12

Pleasure craft moored approaching Molesey Lock and Hampton Court Bridge 

Thames13

Hampton Court bridge from the West

Thames14-HamptnCrt

Front façade of Hampton Court Palace

Thames15-HamptnCrt

One of the smaller Golden Gates at the Palace

Thames16

Looking to the East from Hampton Court Bridge to the River entrance to the Palace

 

bar-curl1

THE BLACK HOUSE

The Black House By The Beck

‘The Black House’ … This house still stands in a North Yorkshire country town – tarred in black still, as it has been for at least the past 100 years. Photo – WHB 2016

THE BLACK HOUSE

The house stood alone
beside the beck
its walls pitched in black
ebony
against the skyline
tarred
against the weather
cold and dark
somehow so sinister
but housing
a family of seven

Fortunes told
fortunes lost
life’s foragers
five kids
one my age
runny nosed urchins
unwashed
unabashed
‘Throwers of words
As they did stones’

Banned from playing with
such snot- noses
yet,
from time to time
I did
their home a dark place
a cluttered life
midst the family debris
best left undisturbed

Mused
amused
and yet afraid
in such alien space
I shrivelled
and fretted

Only outdoors
in the wood-burn
tarred
air of their yard
there was a happiness
I could recognise
participate in
hiding in the woodpile
humping logs
to build a den
sticks
goading the dog
encouraging
the excitement of his barks
teasing the tangled
knotted
sheepdog blackness
of  his coat
loving the illicit thrills
on offer at
The Black House

Before running
the beck-side wall
to return to
my own good fortune
warm and bright
fire
forge
and furnace –
Red
Not Black.

Beck-side

The Beck

 

Greenland – Nanortalik #2

More of my photographs on the subject of NANORTALIK, that small isolated community in south-west Greenland.   Because of the long hours of darkness during the northern winters and the stark roughness of the surrounding scrub-land and mountains, the people choose to paint their houses in bright colours.  This adds a great charm to the views as well as making sure they stand out against the often dull and grey background.

Nanortalik10Nanortalik10aNanortalik11Nanortalik12Nanortalik13Nanortalik14Nanortalik15Nanortalik16Nanortalik17Nanortalik18Nanortalik19Nanortalik20

Nanortalik22

A small village at the foot of the mountains, just a mile inland from Nanortalik.

bar152

 

 

Greenland – Nanortalik #1

Greenland is the world’s largest island – excluding the island-continent of Australia.  The majority of the island – well over 1,000 miles from North to South, is covered in ice.  Human settlements are confined to the coast.  I was lucky enough to be in Greenland in September 2008, when, unusually, the weather was beautiful – the sky clear blue, the temperature just like a British early summer.  I have already published, on March 30th this year, some of my photographs of the icebergs and ice floes in the Ice Fiord.  See:  ‘Ancient Ice’ .  The views were dramatic, but the place which captivated me most was the small town of Nanortalik on the South-West coast of the country.  It is an isolated community, without road connection to other settlements or to the Greenland capital of Nuuk.  Over the next three weeks I shall publish, on Thursdays, some of the photographs which I took in and around NANORTALIK . . .

A generic map of Greenland

Map of Greenland showing NANORTALIK in the South West of the island

 

Nanortalik01)

Local inhabitants wearing traditional costume – for the tourists!

Nanortalik02

The ‘Head Stone’

Nanortalik03

Local children atop the Head Stone

Nanortalik04

View of part of the town looking inland to the mountains behind

Nanortalik05

Approaching the village and its church

Nanortalik05a

No trees, but plenty of grasses and wild flowers

Nanortalik06

Getting nearer to the church

Nanortalik07

The town’s Danish Lutheran Church

Nanortalik08

Church interior

Nanortalik09

Cannon – early town defences

Nanortalik10

Setting out on a rowing boat – sunlight shining through the seal-skin hull

No Blue Plaque

NO BLUE PLAQUE

No blue plaque here
but
in that house
in that room
I was conceived.
In the same house
in the same room
then I was born.

First child
Only child
Undistinguished house

undistinguished room
undistinguished birth.
But blessed with
the Conquering
Blood and Fire
General’s name.

It had to be that way.
Aren’t all births
distinguished only by their
unglamorous spectacle?
Not something I asked for
nor desired.

No regrets,
but there were
Consequences.
Oh, yes.
Eighty years
of consequences.
My history
My responsibility
My river’s ride
through childhood rapids
to maturity’s turmoil
and turbulence.
Becalmed now
in dispiriting dotage
its stillnesses
its infirmity and nostalgia.

What follows
eventually
as I merge
with the looming ocean

waiting
to receive me?
Memories fade for me
yet I know
some continuity remains
where these same images
 have been handed on

to those loved ones
who will remember.

But now
in moments of tranquility
my responsibility
for my past
presses hard,
until those times when
 my love surges
to outweigh my guilt,
and again
for good or ill
my scarred soul

returns to its past
and wonders.

… and time treads on
as I stare at the window,
blinds shielding its secrets
Now
just as they did then
So long ago.

Sussex-Mar09

All 3 photographs … WHB – Yorkshire (2016) and Sussex (2009), UK

bar1

Dublin, City of a Thousand Welcomes

1Dublin-Georgian Doorway1

Dublin has many such beautiful doorways dating from the Georgian period

2Dublin-Doors

This one photo is from Pinterest – the others are all my own

Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland, is a beautiful city.  It is an absolute delight to wander around the lush green parks and open spaces, especially on a sunny afternoon.  My first visit, many years ago, was in torrential rain.  A lorry driver who generously gave a lift, southwards from the city, to two itinerant hitch-hikers, welcomed us with the comment, “Ireland is beautiful – just needs a bloody great umbrella over it”.  My second and third visits were in delightful sunshine which showed off the city’s exquisite Georgian architecture and its many monuments and statues to great advantage.  I add below a gallery of photographs taken during my last visit in 2010 …

Dublin-Approach from The Sea1

Sea approach to Dublin Harbour

Dublin-Aviva Stadium1

The Aviva Stadium – formerly Landsdowne Road Stadium – venue for major rugby and football matches

Dublin-St Patricks Cathedral1

St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Church Of Ireland.   Founded in 1191, its 43 metres high spire makes it the tallest church in Ireland.

Dublin-Fitzwilliam Square Georgian Houses1

Ivy covered Georgian Terrace houses

Dublin-Bay Windows1

Georgian-style Bay Windows

Dublin-St Stephens Green Shopping Centre1

Front façade of St.Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre

Dublin-O'Donovan Rossa1

Memorial Stone in St.Stephen’s Green Park, to Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa,  (1831-1915) a former Fenian Leader.

Dublin-Statue of Wolfe Tone1

Statue in St. Stephen’s Green Park, to Wolfe Tone a leading figure of the Irish Independence Movement

Dublin-Papal Cross-Phoenix Pk1

The Papal Cross in Phoenix Park commemorates the Pope’s visit to Dublin in 1979  

Dublin-Wellington Monument-Phoenix Pk1

The Wellington Testimonial Obelisk in Phoenix Park.  Arthur Wellesley, ‘The Iron Duke’, general and politician, was born in Ireland.

bar-curl4