VENICE


Venetian Sunset – from Piazza San Marco … Pen & Wash – WHB … 2013

City of Islands
City of dream
Inscribed with colour
 Every line.

City of History
City of deeds
Imbued with story
Every step

City of Passion
City of pride
Engorged with fashion
Every stride

City of Clamour
City of bells
Ringing with meaning
Every knell

City of Turmoil
City of strife
Threaded with suffering
Every hurt

City of Mansions
City of graves
Instilled with ardour
Every shrine

City of Titian
City of art
Awash with beauty
Every part

City of Merchants
City of trade
Echoed by Shakespeare
Every shade

City of Conflict
City of strife
Turbulent city
Every vice

City of Water
City of flood
Sea taking over
Every surge

City of Magic
City of spells
Present in each pile
Every shell

City of Revels
City of fun
Carnivals rule life
Every fete

City of Intrigue
City of masks
Sophistry renews
Every day

City of Drama
City of sin
Would I were there now
Let new life begin.

Venice . . . Pen & Wash – WHB: 2013

THE INTERIM FIRE ESCAPE


Found behind my hotel in Somerset, UK, in 2010 … Photograph – WHB

For want of a staircase a ladder will do,
Perhaps when the fire starts there won’t be a queue.
Such was the thinking by those in the know;
For a four star hotel this came as a blow.

To all we old codgers who can’t climb up stairs
This came as a setback, to add to our cares.
To find our retreat cut off in such fashion
Was a palpable blow that sent us all ashen.

So we went to reception describing our plight.
We were told not to worry, things would fast be put right.
A new lift had been ordered to be installed soon.
When I asked them just when they said ‘Maybe next June’.

But don’t worry sir, we’ve got adequate cover.
Our waiter’s a big lad and so is his brother.
Between them they’ll see that you come to no harm,
And besides we’ve just installed a new smoke alarm.

Bridge Over The Atlantic

Clachan Bridge (‘Bridge Over the Atlantic’ – Scotland … Photo: WHB

There is a bridge 
Across a stream,
An inlet of the sea.
I see it as
Much more than that –
A link ‘twixt you and me.

It spans the gap,
It binds the space
Across the fearsome oceans.
It joins our thoughts,
And culls despair;
Intensifies emotions.

It’s name it claims 
Describes its task –
To link our worlds intact;
And that it does,
But here’s the rub,
It cannot ease our hurt in fact.

A grandiose name; 
A claim to fame.
If I were being pedantic,
I’d cry with shame,
And take the blame
For being so Romantic.

The Clachan Bridge is a simple, single-arched bridge spanning the Clachan Sound, 14 miles south-west of Oban in Argyll, Scotland.  It links the west coast of the Scottish mainland to the island of Seil.  The bridge was built in 1793 with a single high arch, designed to allow the passage of vessels of up to 40 tonnes at high tide.

Because the Clachan Sound connects at both ends to the Atlantic Ocean, and might therefore be considered part of that ocean, the bridge came to be known as the

‘Bridge over the Atlantic’. 

LONDON Strolls … #3. Waterloo

Waterloo Walk

On Revisiting the gentle London strolls of my Youth . . .

 

  1. WATERLOO

I set off excitedly, without trepidation, from Waterloo Station.
Via Hungerford Bridge, I briskly traverse the Thames.
At a jaunty pace, I cross The Embankment,
before enthusiastically undertaking the short climb of Villiers Street.

Swiftly crossing The Strand,
I tread vigorously into St Martin’s Lane.
Almost strutting into Charing Cross Road,
I pause to browse the books in Cecil Court’s shops,
soon afterwards  cutting through Garrick Lane.
I drift back now to St. Martin’s Lane
to take a welcome break in Goodwin’s Court Georgian Tea rooms.
 
Then on to plod the length of Long Acre
before lazily cutting through James Street to reach Covent Garden.
Ambling sluggishly, I pass the Royal Opera House,
from where I step out with determination,
although somewhat less purposefully now.

Thus I return to the Strand,
following it along into the length of Fleet Street until,
visibly wearying, I reach St. Paul’s Cathedral and turn right
to cross the Millennium Bridge over the Thames.

Now, heading languidly westwards,
I sluggishly wend my way upriver,
along the South Bank of the Thames,
past the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern Gallery,
Oxo Tower Wharf and the Royal Festival Hall.

Meandering now, very slowly and decidedly weary,
until, much relieved, and decidedly thankful,
I find myself back at Waterloo Station.

 

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LONDON Strolls … #2. Hyde Park

 

Gloucester Rd Walk

On Revisiting the gentle London strolls of my Youth . . .

 

  1. HYDE PARK

On foot from Gloucester Road
I step out briskly and with soaring expectation along Cromwell Road.
Striding forcefully then up Queens Gate,
I shortly find myself, almost trotting now, beside the Royal Albert Hall.
Soon afterwards, I am jauntily following Kensington Gore.
Slowing a little, I meander now, across the width of Hyde Park.
Pausing frequently and sauntering to take in the scenery,
I haltingly cross over the Serpentine.

Slackening my pace again, I keep heading North to Lancaster Gate.
Then, at a relaxed pace, I drift into Sussex Square,
from where, slowing even further,
I tread the hot pavements along Sussex Gardens.

Working my way sluggishly along Westbourne Terrace
I then trudge the length of Praed Street
to reach Paddington Station.
Thence, struggling increasingly, I head to Edgware Road. 

Continuing south to Oxford St and Marble Arch,
I move, almost idling, and with the occasional stumble,
along the exacting side-walks of Monopoly Land.
Then through Mayfair, plodding now, 
down Park Lane.

Slowing even more, (Is that possible without actually stopping?)
I traipse across Piccadilly and round Hyde Park Corner.
I turn, unsteadily, into Grosvenor Place,
heading towards Buckingham Palace,
but, after taking a breather,
and deciding to simplify my intended route,
I make a right turn through Belgravia.

Treading heavily, I work my way through Embassy Land.
I stumble across Sloane Street
to Cromwell Road and the V&A Museum.

Thus, at last, weary and definitely plodding now, 
my failing feet drag my exhausted body
back to Gloucester Road, to relaxation and
the sought after assuagement of the aches in my trembling limbs

 

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Shaftesbury and Sherborne

[ Photo Gallery # 101 ]

Shaftesbury (in Dorset) and Sherborne (in Wiltshire) are towns only about 12 miles apart in South West England – in the area formerly part of Wessex. Both are charming historic towns with much to offer the visitor. Perhaps the best known features of these two market towns are the picturesque Gold Hill in Shaftesbury and the magnificent Abbey in Sherborne. I include just a few photographs of these two features in my Gallery below.

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Gold Hill is a steep cobbled street in the town of Shaftesbury. It is famous for its picturesque appearance; the view looking down from the top of the street has been described as “one of the most romantic sights in England.” The image of this view appears on the covers of many books about Dorset and rural England, as well as on chocolate boxes and calendars and Television advertisements.

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Gol Hill, Shaftesbury

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The Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin at Sherborne is usually called Sherborne Abbey. It has been a Saxon Cathedral (705–1075), a Benedictine abbey (998–1539), and now, a parish church.

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Scotland: The Fife Coast 3

 

[ Photo Gallery # 98 ]

The Fife Coast: 3

Kellie Castle, Cambo Gardens and Hew Lorimer

Kellie Castle is situated near Arncroach, about 5 kilometres north of Pittenweem in Fife on the Scottish East coast.

The castle is one of fairytale stone towers and stepped gables.  The oldest parts are 14th century, but much of the rest of was refurbished and added to in the late 19th century by the Lorimers, a famous artistic family.  Indoors can be found elaborate plaster ceilings and painted panelling, together with fine furniture designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who spent much of his childhood at Kellie.

Not far away, near to St.Andrews, is the Cambo Walled Gardens.  This Victorian walled garden has been brought up to date with the introduction of lovely woodland walks leading beside a sparkling burn down to the nearby sea.

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Kellie Castle, Fife

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The Hew Lorimer Studio

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Hew Lorimer

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Sculpture by Hew Lorimer

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Sculpture by Hew Lorimer

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Sculpture in the castle grounds by Hew Lorimer

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In Cambo Walled Gardens

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In Cambo Walled Gardens

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In Cambo Walled Gardens

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Scotland – The Fife Coast: 2

[ Photo Gallery # 97 ]

The Fife Coast: 2

Elie, Anstruther, Crail, & Fife Ness

 

Continuing my journey along the Scottish East Coast, my Photo Gallery today displays more views of some of the delightful coastal villages along this  seaboard. . .

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Elie is a small coastal town and former royal burgh in Fife, on the north coast of the Firth of Forth.

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The shoreline and jetty at Elie

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Anstruther is a small town in Fife, Scotland, nine miles south-southeast of St. Andrews. The two halves of the town are divided by a stream, known as the Dreel Burn.

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The harbour at Anstruther

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View seawards to the harbour entrance at Anstruther

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 The stout harbour wall at Crail, a former royal burgh in the East Neuk of Fife.

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A gull’s nest viewed from the cliffs at Crail

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The harbour at Crail

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Two views from Fife Ness, a headland forming the most eastern point in Fife

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Cadiz

 [ Photo Gallery # 93 ]

Cadiz – Spain

Cádiz is a city and port in south-western Spain. It is the capital of the Province of Cádiz, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia.  In my Photo Gallery today I include just a selection of the photographs which I took whilst wandering around the city on a visit there in 2006.

There are narrow streets, beautiful tree-lined plazas, a magnificent seafront promenade adorned with wonderful fountains, paved with colourful majolica tiles, and surrounded by a variety of trees and flowers.  Alameda Apodaca is a beautiful spot in the city of Cadiz, ideal for a stroll and to cool down on hot summer days.  It is a broad avenue with cobbled streets, and a variety of cobblestones and majolica tiles forming geometrical designs.

 

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View of the city from the sea with Cadiz Cathedral dominating the skyline

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Monument of the Spanish Constitution (approved in 1812)

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Blossoming Jacaranda tree

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Arbol del Mora, giant Moreton Bay Fig Trees (Ficus macrophylla) planted around 1900

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Fountain and tiled majolica paving in the Alameda Apodaca

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In Park Genoves

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In the amazing Park Genoves, a botanical wonderland filled with over 100 species of trees and shrubs

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 On one of Cadiz beaches, below the statue bust of Paco Alba, composer and creator of the  Carnival comparsa of Cádiz.

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A Cadiz Roofscape

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Cadiz street entertainment

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RYE, East Sussex, England

[ Photo Gallery # 90 ]

RYE is an English town near the coast in East Sussex.  It was one of the original Cinque Ports and parts of the original walls and town gates, once built to guard against invasions from the French, still remain.  Over the centuries, however, the sea has receded leaving Rye Harbour and the coast of the English Channel about 2 miles (3.2 km) downriver from the town.  In the town centre, cobbled lanes like Mermaid Street still exist lined with medieval, half-timbered houses. The redbrick Lamb House was once owned by writer Henry James. Nearby, the tower of the Norman St. Mary’s Church overlooks the town. 

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Low tide on the River Rother at Rye

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Ancient Rye Mill, reconstructed in 1932 after a fire destroyed much of the superstructure

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Fascinating weather-worn textures in part of the ancient town walls

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Looking uphill along the cobbled Mermaid Street to Lamb House at the top right

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View across the roofs of the town from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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Another view across the roofs of the town from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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View towards the River Rother from the roof of St. Mary’s Church tower

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A Burne-Jones stained-glass window in St.Mary’s Church

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A lovely corner window in the town

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House front near St.Mary’s Church

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One of the ancient town entry gates

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The green plaque is inscribed ‘Radclyffe Hall (1880 – 1943), Novelist, lived here.’

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