Dubrovnik … from the City Walls – # 1

[ Photo Blog  #65 ]
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DUBROVNIK … City on the coast of the Adriatic Sea in the south of Croatia 

Dubrovnik is an ancient city on the southern Adriatic coast of Croatia.  On a visit there in 2006  I took all the following photographs, except the first two, whilst walking around the city’s massive stone walls, which were completed in the 16th Century and which encircle the whole city.
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View of Dubrovnik from the south on the road to Cavtat

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The gates to the city

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Views from the city walls

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I will post more photographs of the city and its surrounding area next week

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Arundel Castle, West Sussex, U.K.

Arundel is an ancient town situated on the River Arun in West Sussex, England.  Its castle, massive and dominant in the landscape, dates from the 11th Century, although considerably altered and added to since that time.

Arundel Castle has undergone many restorations and extensions since it was first built in the year following the Norman Invasion of England in 1066.  It was officially  established by Roger de Montgomery on Christmas Day 1067.   By the grace of William the Conqueror, he was the first to hold the earldom of Arundel.   The castle has remained in the possession of his descendants ever since and is now the home of the Duke of Norfolk, who is the Earl Marshal and Hereditary Marshal of England.  The current duke is Edward Fitzalan-Howard, 18th Duke of Norfolk.

My photographs, featured below, are amongst those I took on a recent visit there in October 2017.

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Arundel, showing its position just a few miles inland from the English Channel and about 65 miles from London.

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Showing how the castle position dominates the town and the surrounding area

 

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Looking up to the massive southern wall of the castle

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The Castle’s Western Gateway

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Part of the extensive castle gardens, looking towards Arundel’s Roman Catholic Cathedral

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The more private part of the castle where the present Duke of Norfolk lives

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Further view of the gardens

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The Root Garden, planted with the upturned roots of trees lost in the great 1987 Storm

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It was pumpkin time in the castle vegetable gardens, and Halloween was approaching

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A medieval montage within the castle keep

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An important 12th Century visitor to the Castle

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A re-enactment of 12th Century knights in battle

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More Norman knights

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A view of the River Arun and its bridge at Arundel after several days of rain

 

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The PIER

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Eastbourne Pier, Sussex, England: Photo – WHB, October, 2017  ©

 

THE PIER

As bravely my finger points to the sea
my peninsular pretences extend
for a while
my efforts at ocean reclamation
enabling land and sea to merge
countryside and shore
to meet and mingle
in mutual admiration

Taking my insatiable
search for pleasure
beyond its brief

Public pleasuring
made manifest
another pleasure garden
to add to nature’s own
another wonderworld
to vie with nature’s gifts

My destiny
Buffeted by wind and wave
invaded by rust and rot
attacked by frost
at risk from fire

I exist
On time borrowed
from the eye of the storm
grateful
whilst it continues
for the ocean’s grace

and so
I continue to proffer my splendours
To the denizens of my retreats
sea anglers and photo booths
Shops and tearooms
wurlitzers and waltzers
penny arcades
mirror halls
ghost trains and dodgems
all beneficiaries
of my daring
my bravery in simply existing

 

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Hastings – The STADE – #1

[ Photo Blog #62 ]

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THE STADE

On the sea front on the eastern side of the East Sussex coastal town of Hastings, I recently discovered this fascinating area.  It is called the Stade, a name dating back to the first millennium and meaning simply a landing place or area from which sea-going boats can be launched. Here, on the shingle beach,  for over 1,000 years, boats have been used to fish the nearby waters of the English Channel.   The building, in the latter part of the 19th Century, of groins along the western shore of the town restricted the movement of shingle towards the east, resulting in the area known as the Stade, which grew out towards the sea as a high bank of shingle.  This eased the once difficult access of the fishing boats to the sea and created a large area from which boats could be beach-launched and later brought back to land with the use of winches and tractors.  The Stade now provides safe harbour for Britain’s largest of all beach-launched fishing fleets.

I am told that, nowadays, because of European impositions of fishing quotas, the boats are only allowed to be launched on two days a week.  As a consequence of such restrictions, many fishermen are finding it difficult to maintain a viable livelihood.  Consequently many of the boats to be found here are used infrequently and they and the accompanying tractors , winches and metal hauling ropes and chains are rusting and in a less than pretty  condition.

Although several attempts have been made to build harbours at Hastings for the boats, these have never been successful, so boats have always had to be pulled out of the sea up the sloped shingle bank.  Because of this, their length has to be restricted, so they are able to carry only a small  amount of tackle.  This means that their range is also restricted.  Every ship, therefore has its own dedicated engine, tractor or winch in order to get the boats into and out of the water, especially at low tide.

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Another unique aspect of the Stade is the Net Sheds.  These are on the landward side of the shingle bank, above the high tide line.  They are very tall wooden weather-boarded structures, all of several storeys and tarred to their full height to protect them against the weather.  They are used to store the fishing gear, including the nets.

Today I am including my photographs of the Net Sheds and the area surrounding these.  Next Thursday I will showcase my photographs of the beach and the boats themselves.

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The Stade Trail

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The Net Shops – 1

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The Net Shops – 2

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The Net Shops – 3

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RX134 and Anchor

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RX134 & Net Huts

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Net Huts

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Fishermen’s Chapel, boats and Net Huts

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Half-Boat House

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Charity Ship

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Sea shore memorablia

BRUGES – Revisited

[ Photo Blog #61 ]

I have previously blogged photographs of the Belgian City of Bruges (q.v.) 3 months ago on August 14th.  I made a further long weekend visit there the following year, and present below a different set of photographs of its stunning views, architecture and history . . .

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A reflective view of one of the city’s beautiful canals

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Another canal view

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… and a third

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. . .  a shop selling – you guessed it – vintage dolls

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another view of a roadside lace-maker

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. . .  with a close-up view of the technique

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The famed artist, Jan Van Eyck, lived in Bruges from 1429 until his death in 1441

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I visited an exhibition of Salvador Dali prints whilst in Bruges in 2004

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This poem had been posted in a closed Bruges restaurant window on a Sunday morning

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Spectacular painted interior walls and decorated ceiling of the Stadhuis, the City Hall in Burg Square

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An imposing canal-side Crucifix

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Another canal-side view

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View to the side of the main market square

 

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Scotland – The Black Isle

[ Photo Blog #59 ]

 The Black Isle lies in North-East Scotland.  It is said to derive its name from the fact that, since snow hardly ever lies there in winter, the promontory looks black while the surrounding country is white.  However, contrary to its name, the Black Isle is not in fact an island.  It is a peninsula, surrounded on three sides by  water, with Cromarty Firth to the north, Beauly Firth to the south and the Moray Firth to the east.  The nearest large centre of population is Inverness.

The area has long been famous for its rich agricultural farming land.  It is also well known as a great place to enjoy wildlife – from dolphins to deer, from osprey to otters, from seals to Scots Pine. The peninsula is steeped in history, with castles, cairns and even a cathedral and three museums.  Wherever you look there are beautiful views – if you discount the many oil rigs which are often moored in the firths for servicing purposes. Ben Nevis can be seen to the west on a clear day, and a network of quiet roads and forest tracks make the area easy to explore.

CHANONRY POINT:   A famous place for spotting the Moray Forth dolphins from the shore. ( the photo of dolphins below was taken here, but it is from a postcard as my own attempt to photograph them just managed to capture a fin!).  On the opposite side of the firth from here is the historic military base of Fort George.

( Notes adapted from ‘Visit Scotland, black-isle.info, wikipedia )

My photographs are from a visit I made to the area in 2003.

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Looking north across the Firth of Cromarty

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Roadside nasturtiums

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Roadside floral display – Rosebay Willow herb (?)

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Oil rig awaiting servicing in the Cromarty Firth

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Oil rig on the Moray Firth 

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Gull on the shoreline at Chanonry Point

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Chanonry Point on the Moray Firth – the ideal spot to view dolphins

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The lighthouse at Chanonry Point

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Dolphins leaping in the Firth

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Oyster Catcher at Chanonry Point

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View southwards across the Moray Firth to Fort George

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A closer view of Fort George

 

 

 

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Stone commemorating the story of the ‘The Brahan Seer’  (click for the Wikipedia reference). 

 

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Table-Talk

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Detail from one of Henry Moore’s ‘Shelter Drawings – ‘Sleepers’ … 1941

TABLE-TALK

In the deep vaults of my musing mind
Where the oldest memories live
There the surest ones I find
Are those which childhood give.

In darkest times, unfelt by me,
When war was at its height
Then what to me was just a fear
For my mother was direst fright.

The siren’s call came late at night,
Always excitement there;
A change of scenery, a new-found bed,
Heralded by its blare.

Under the table I found a haven,
A primitive cave, a thrill,
A nest where I curled up and slept,
Where time and life stood still.

My mother must have been distraught
Whilst I, in raw oblivion,
Enjoyed the change of scenery,
While all around was Stygian.

And then the sound of planes above,
Heading on their mission,
Though stuttering engines sometimes brought
A faltering recognition

That maybe now the time had come
To wish and say a prayer;
No more Messerschmitt and bombs
Why won’t they go elsewhere?

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Detail from one of Henry Moore’s ‘Shelter Drawings – ‘Sleepers’ … 1941

During World War 2 many homes provided themselves with an Air Raid Shelter to protect the inhabitants from bombs being dropped by German aircraft.  Anderson Shelters were those normally placed in back gardens and half-buried in the ground with earth heaped on top to protect them from bomb blasts.  Morrison shelters, named after the then Minister for Home Security, Mr. Herbert Morrison, were introduced in 1941. These were made from heavy steel, and were for indoor use, where they could also be used as a table. People sheltered underneath them during an air raid. 

Before my father built an Anderson shelter in the back garden, we sheltered under the dining table, fortunately never experiencing the heavy bombing which took place over London and many major cities in the country.

 

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Canterbury, Kent, England

[ Photo Blog #58 ]

Canterbury is a cathedral city of great historical importance in the history of the British Isles.  It is situated in the county of Kent in south-east England, and, following the murder of Thomas à Becket in the cathedral in 1170, it has been a highly significant place of pilgrimage.  Ancient walls, originally built by the Romans, encircle the medieval centre of the city, and many cobbled streets and timber-framed houses remain.  The Cathedral, founded in 597 A.D., is the headquarters of the Church of England and the Anglican Communion.  It incorporates both Gothic and Romanesque elements in its stone carvings and stained-glass windows.  The photographs below were all taken by me in and just off the main High Street on a visit in May 2003.

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Queen Elizabeth’s Guest Chambers: The ornamental plaster work on the front of the building was done c. 1698.  The date of 1573 noted on the front of the building refers to the time Queen Elizabeth supposedly stayed here.

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The old cemetery gate of Canterbury Cathedral

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Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – from the High Street Bridge

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Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour

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Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – View

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Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – View

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View on the Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour

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‘Bulkhead’ by Sculptor Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre

 

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‘Bulkhead’ by Sculptor Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre

 

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Plane tree in the Westgate Gardens in Canterbury’.  The girth of the tree, measured at a height of 1.50 m, in May 2013, was 8.83 metres

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Horse-drawn Carriage awaiting passengers just off the High Street, Canterbury

 

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Northumberland – Bamburgh

[ Photo Blog #56 ]

The coast of Northumbria on the North-East of England bordering with Scotland is atmospheric and highly impressive.  It was described by Janet Street Porter on ITV’s ‘Britain’s Best View’ as having ‘a coastline ravaged by nature and steeped in history.  There’s a story round every single corner … you’re not just looking at a view, you’re standing in the footsteps of kings, and all on one of the most dramatic coastlines nature has to offer.’ 

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I have visited many times, usually on the way to or from my tours of Scotland.  For me, one of the highlights of a visit to this part of the country is the small town of BAMBURGH. The following photographs I took there in 2003 on one of these visits when I stayed in this historic town for several days.

Bamburgh is a stunningly attractive small town within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.   In fact it is even perhaps just a village, with a population of only about  450.  It is dominated by its magnificently imposing Castle, once the seat of the former Kings of Northumbria, that can be seen for miles around.  It would be hard not to be impressed by the sheer size of the Castle and there is so much to tell about its long and amazing history.  On the seaward side of the castle and town there are impressive stretches of pure golden sandy beaches with rolling sand dunes and views across the sea to both the Holy Island of Lindisfarne and to the Farne Islands.   The town also houses a museum dedicated to its great heroine, Grace Darling.

To read the story of Grace Darling and of how her heroism caught the attention of the Victorian public, click on this link . . .   The Story Of Grace Darling

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Bamburgh Castle from the North Sea shore

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Looking eastwards towards the castle from the town

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The defensive landward side walls of Bamburgh Castle in the evening sun

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The seaward walls of Bamburgh Castle from the seashore

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Looking north to the castle across the coastline dunes

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The beach of the North Sea at Bamburgh

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Looking eastwards across the North Sea from the sand dunes

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Driftwood marker on Bamburgh beach

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The Bamburgh Sandman (See my earlier blog of October 29th 2016 at: The SANDMAN   )

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This elaborate cenotaph commemorates the life of the early 19th Century lifeboat heroine, Grace Darling, who is buried nearby.

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Bamburgh rooftops and castle battlements outlined against the rising sun

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The Castle at Sunrise 

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Sunrise over the North Sea from Bamburgh

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Bamburgh Castle . . . Pen and Wash – WHB:  2014   ©

 

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Killarney

[ Photo Blog #54 ]

One of the highlights of my visit to the South West of Ireland in 2003 was a tour by horse-drawn Jaunting (or jaunty) Car of Killarney’s Muckross House and gardens and of the world famous Killarney National Park and its lakes and mountains.

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A still extant relic of the reign of Queen Victoria

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This nineteenth century Victorian mansion is set against the stunning beauty of Killarney National Park.

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The jaunty car taxi rank

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By Killarney’s Lakes and Fells

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A pause to take in the view

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The Ruins of Killegy Chapel

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In the graveyard of Killegy Chapel

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Wild flowers in the Graveyard overlooking the lake

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Tree growing inside the roofless nave of the chapel

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The roofless chapel

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Close-up view of a memorial – now open to the sky.

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Return to Mucross House

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