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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Mock Battle

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MOCK  BATTLE

When Normans fought
As Normans did
Upon their mighty battlefields
When once upon a medieval time
Warriors vied in combat
Life was hard
Was short
Was brutal
Living was for the nearly dead
And death was bones amongst the grass

Now we are pleased to read our books
Our Idylls
To watch staged tourneys
Of legend
chivalry
of honour
and Medieval Romance
With little sense of cut and thrust
of jab and slash
of block and parry
a jousting game
bereft of passion
foam-tipped swords
and rubber blades
plywood shields
and plastic helms

men of steel
of acrid smoke
and blood-red trenches
barbed wire and bursting shells
we might know how you felt
on the fields of Passchendaele
the trenches of Mons

Verdun and Arras
The beaches of Dunkirk and Guam

If only we
And these toy soldiers
Shared the hurt
And owned the blame
Of those who gave
Their all for victory

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The photographs were taken by me during a mock medieval battle display by modern-day enthusiasts of the period.  This was presented on the top of the giant keep of Arundel Castle, West Sussex, on my recent visit there in October.

 

 

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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Hastings – The STADE – #2

[ Photo Blog #63 ]

Hastings – The STADE – #2

Last week, on Thursday, 16th October, I featured my visit to this unique beach in Hastings, East Sussex, UK, from which fishing boats are launched directly into the sea.  If you have not read my introduction and viewed the photographs on that particular blog, then I would advise you to visit it first in order to gain a clearer picture of this area’s history and current function.  Click on this link to do that . . .  Hastings – The Stade #1 .  My photographs below were taken as I wandered around the beached fishing fleet, showing the boats, some now hardly seaworthy, but the majority still working boats plying their trade in the waters of the English Channel from the Stade Beach in Hastings.

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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.

NET SHEDS

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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Gunpowder Plot – Senryu #2

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Gunpowder Plot – Senryu #2

 

November The Fifth

The story unfolds again;

Will it ever die?

 

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Senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 syllables (usually 5 – 7-  5).   Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often more cynical or darkly humorous than haiku.

Note:  Adapted from Wikipedia

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Gunpowder Plot – Senryu #1

 

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Gunpowder Plot – Senryu #1

Let the fires be lit

Burn the Guy Fawkes effigy

Tell the tale again.

 

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Senryū is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 syllables (usually 5 – 7-  5).   Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often more cynical or darkly humorous than haiku.

Note:  Adapted from Wikipedia

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The SIREN

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An Anderson Shelter from WW2 – c. 1940.

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Click on the link below to hear the siren sound of an ‘Air Raid Warning’, followed by the ‘All Clear’, accompanied by a video with some memories of the 1940s in the U.K.  . . .

Siren Sound

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The SIREN

The Air Raid Warden came to say:
‘It’s best to be prepared;
A little forethought and hard work –
Don’t want to make the young ‘un scared.’

Dad dug a cave deep in the garden,
Covered it with earth.
Our escape in time of stress,
Yes, this is what our lives were worth.

Then in the night the wailing came,
Woke me from my dreams.
Homes haunted by this dreaded sound
Soon learnt to know just what it means.

Escape to shelter in the dark,
All lighting was forbidden.
To hide in dark and musty gloom,
From bombs and fear hopefully hidden.

That siren sound has haunted me,
Its memory’s with me still.
The fear and dread, diminished now,
But yet it brings to me a chill.

All this, for me, was what war meant –
‘Twas hiding in the shadows,
While sounds around brought fear and doubt,
And longed for hopes of new tomorrows.

 

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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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