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.

Canterbury 001

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.

Canterbury 005

The old cemetery gate of Canterbury Cathedral

Canterbury 006-River Stour

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

Canterbury 007

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour

Canterbury 008

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – View

Canterbury 011

Canterbury’s Historic Tours on the River Stour – View

Canterbury 012

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

Canterbury 014-Bulkhead by Sculptor Rick Kirby

‘Bulkhead’ by Sculptor Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre

 

Canterbury 015-The Marlowe Mask

‘Bulkhead’ by Sculptor Rick Kirby outside the Marlowe Theatre

 

Canterbury 021-Plane Tree

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

Canterbury 023-Horse-drawn Carriage

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

 

bar-green

Advertisements

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.’ 

Bamburgh Map

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

Bamburgh00

Bamburgh Castle from the North Sea shore

Bamburgh01

Looking eastwards towards the castle from the town

Bamburgh02

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

Bamburgh03

The seaward walls of Bamburgh Castle from the seashore

Bamburgh04

Looking north to the castle across the coastline dunes

Bamburgh05

The beach of the North Sea at Bamburgh

Bamburgh06

Looking eastwards across the North Sea from the sand dunes

Bamburgh07

Driftwood marker on Bamburgh beach

Bamburgh08

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

Bamburgh09

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

Bamburgh10

Bamburgh rooftops and castle battlements outlined against the rising sun

Bamburgh11

The Castle at Sunrise 

Bamburgh12

Sunrise over the North Sea from Bamburgh

bar-green

 

BamburghCastle

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

 

banner3b

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.

KillarneyVRPostBox

A still extant relic of the reign of Queen Victoria

MucrossHouse01

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

MucrossJaunty01

The jaunty car taxi rank

MucrossJaunty03

By Killarney’s Lakes and Fells

MucrossJaunty05

A pause to take in the view

MucrossJaunty16

The Ruins of Killegy Chapel

MucrossJaunty18

In the graveyard of Killegy Chapel

MucrossJaunty19

Wild flowers in the Graveyard overlooking the lake

MucrossJaunty25

Tree growing inside the roofless nave of the chapel

MucrossJaunty26

The roofless chapel

MucrossJaunty27

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

MucrossJaunty31

Return to Mucross House

bar-green

Bruges, Belgium

[ Photo Blog #50 ]

I paid the first of my two visits to this delightful city, the capital of West Flanders, in north-west Belgium in 2003.  As will be seen from the photographs, the weather was not particularly kind during my visit, but the rain stopped long enough to enable me to take the following photographs . . .

01Bruges-Markt&Belfrie

The Belfry is a medieval bell tower in the centre of Bruges

02Bruges58Markt

The West Flanders Provincial Court

03Bruges12Burg

04Bruges72HolyBlood

Part of the Provincial Palace, Market Square

05Bruges36CanalTrip

The canals of Bruges are part of the personality of the city. 

06Bruges39CanalTrip

The city’s canals are one of the main attractions in Bruges 

07Bruges42CanalTrip

Navigating through the canals and discovering the most hidden corners of Bruges is essential to enjoying the essence of the city.

08Bruges65Canal

The city has become known as the “Venice of the North”

09Bruges66CanalArtist

Canal artist at work

11Bruges49Statuary

Diverse statuary can be seen all over the city

12Bruges51StatuaryOppAragon

13Bruges61Bourgogne

14Bruges26LaceShop

Bruges is famous for its lace-making and has many shops selling hand-made lace items.  In many streets lace-makers can be watched using their skills to create beautiful silkware.

 

scroll2

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