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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Saudade

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‘Saudade’: 2017 –  Photograph used with kind permission of AK  ©

 


Saudade‘ is a Portuguese word which does not have a direct equivalent in English. It is usually described as ‘a nostalgic longing to be near something or someone that is distant, or that has been loved and lost’  or as ‘the love that remains’ after someone or some place is gone. In its wider sense it conveys feelings, of experiences, places, events that once brought pleasure, but which now trigger the senses and make one live again, although often with an underlying sense that the object of longing will never return.

Several pieces of music have been composed which attempt to convey such feelings of nostalgia and melancholy, mostly by the Brazilian composers for the classical guitar. One of my favourite pieces of guitar music is the ‘SAUDADE’ composed by Diermando Reis.  I have used it here to accompany my poem.  It is played beautifully with great tenderness and technique, by the French classical guitar maestro, Frédéric BERNARD (“Cyrloud”).

I encourage viewers to turn up the volume, then click on this YouTube video link to the music which will open the video in a separate window.  If you then return to this main screen window you will be able to read the poem whilst the music is playing . . .

Guitar from Brazil: Eterna Saudade, Dilermando Reis

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SAUDADE

I retain
a longing that never leaves
a love that heeds
neither present
nor future
but clings to the past
as suckers of ivy
cleave to my crumbling walls
as the unceasing tide
embraces
the shore

and, as the guitar’s
velvet fingerings
hold me in their thrall
its mellow notes
take me
to that soft spring time
of my youth
when life had begun
to take on meaning
memory then
had no significance
and zeal and lust
freshly formed
were all

now
those times long past
remain with me
brighter than yesterday
clearer than today
the music returns me
to that other time
that other place
bound by hiraeth
bringing with it
regret
for opportunities gone
for loss of that distant
loved land
and people

enchanted in memory
and now
all too bitingly missed
loved
lost
and longed for
… saudade

 

AmorSaudade

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Ireland – The Dingle Peninsula

 [ Photo Blog #57 ] 

Following on from the photographs of my visit to Killarney and the Mulcross Estate, today’s tour is of the Dingle Peninsular, one of the 3 promontories which jut out into the Atlantic Ocean from the south-west coast of Ireland.
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Map of South West Ireland showing the Dingle Peninsula

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Beach along the southern coast of the Peninsula

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Further along the southern coast with a view to the outlying islands

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Looking eastwards back towards Dingle

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One of the Dingle Peninsula’s many small secluded beaches

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The Dingle Peninsula has many dozens of standing stones such as this menhir beside the coast road.

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. . .  and this menhir further along the coast

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The roadside remains of a one-time occupied croft

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Dingle Slea Head Crucifix – one of many such roadside shrines

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Seagull on the seawall with the Blasket Islands behind

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Sea thrift beside the coast road

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Roadside wild foxgloves at the south-western end of the peninsula

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Inspiration

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Waters of the River Lowman, Devon – Photo:  WHB, 2017   ©

 

INSPIRATION

 

As Lowman meanders
hardly awake
over its pebbled bed
and as clear waters
give back the russet tones
of disturbed sand
of silt-stained rocks
so I muse

Imagination awakes
words flow
with the waters of the stream
transmuting my senses

into visions
of solitude
and silence
of grace in being
delight in life itself

These images
transposed
revisiting me now

with imprinted memories
of awe
of richness

felt in the bones of my youth
replicated now
in the dis-ease of old age

 

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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.’ 

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

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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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The Isle Of Wight

[ Photo Blog #54 ]

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A photographic trip today to England’s delightful off-shore Isle of Wight, set, at its shortest distance, just 3 miles off the southern coast in the English Channel.    In size, the island is approximately 25 by 13 miles, and had a population in 2010 of 140,500.   The photographs below were taken by me some while ago – during the lovely summer of 2003.
The island is known particularly for its beaches and seafront promenades such as those at Ryde, Shanklin, Sandown and south-facing Ventnor.  Dinosaur remains and fossils have been found in several areas.  At the island’s westernmost point, The Needles are 3 huge, white chalk rocks, with a nearby 19th-century lighthouse positioned to warn approaching shipping.

 

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Alum Bay … The cliff chair lift sets off for the beach

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. . . approaching the cliff top

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. . . descending to the beach

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. . . where it ends on a jetty extending into the sea.

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The Needles from the cliffs above Alum Bay

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A closer view of The Needles and the Lighthouse

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The Beach and Battery Inn at Seaview on the island’s East Coast

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Outside the Battery Inn

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Seafront chalets at Puckpool near Ryde 

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The axeman earns his keep at the Waxworks at Brading – now, I believe, closed.

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Queen Victoria’s holiday escape – Osborne House on the island’s east coast.

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View from Osborne House eastwards to the Solent

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On the south-facing beach at Ventnor

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Blackgang Chine – an area subject to frequent coastal erosion.

 

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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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Ode To Mount Felix

(No.52 of my favourite short poems) 

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A community stitch project has recently been completed and put on display to commemorate the centenary of the Mount Felix Hospital which, throughout World War 1 and afterwards for several years served, as a military hospital in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, for soldiers from New Zealand wounded at Gallipoli and in later battles.    The project is in the form of a tapestry of 44 panels stitched by community groups ranging from primary schools to experienced embroiderers.   By the end of WW1 the hospital, in conjunction with another nearby hospital, had nearly 1,900 beds and some 27,000 patients had been treated during the operational lives of these two hospitals.

One of the panels, pictured below, features a lovely poem composed during his time in this hospital by one of the patients, name unknown,  who was stunned by the beauty and tranquility of his surroundings after experiencing the horrors of war.  I give photographs above and below of the tapestry on which this verse has been embroidered.

WoT MtFelix1

 

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North Cape – Nordkapp

[ Photo Blog #52 ]

Nordkapp (English: North Cape) is in Finnmark County of Norway.  It was long claimed as the northernmost point of the continent of Europe. In fact it is the furthest north that one can drive in Europe but, by less than a mile, it is not quite the most northerly point.  The administrative centre of the area is in the town of Honningsvag, where the local population is approximately 3,500.   Nordkapp is a splendid spot, weather permitting, from which to see the midnight sun.  It is normal for about 200,000 tourists to  visit there annually during the two to three months of summer,  the main tourist attraction being the splendid views from the North Cape itself.  The North Cape first became famous when the English explorer Richard Chancellor sailed round it in 1553 while attempting to find a sea route through the North-east Passage. Except for the first photograph, the photographs are from my own visit there in 2002. 

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North Cape itself

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Approaching Honningsvag from the sea

 

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Honningsvag – town and harbour

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Traditional reindeer hide tent – set up for the tourists 

 

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Reindeer and boy in traditional costume

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Reindeer

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View of the summit of Nordkapp

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The summit of the cape has a number of sculptures and statues.

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Pointing towards the North Pole

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Signpost giving the Cape’s coordinates

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View from the Cape to the west

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View north towards Svalbard and the North Pole

Scotland – 4 Lochs in the Southern Highlands

[ Photo Blog #51 ]

Mainland Scotland has 6,160 miles (9,910 km) of coastline.  Including the numerous islands, this increases to some 10,250 miles (16,500 km).  The west coast in particular is heavily indented, with long promontories separated by fjord-like sea lochs.  In addition to these, there are more than 30,000 freshwater lochs in Scotland.  I give below a selection containing a dozen of my photographs, taken in 2001, of just four of these inland lochs – Loch Earn, Loch Fyne, Loch Lawyers and Loch Voil – all in the southern reaches of the Western Highlands . . . 

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Loch Earn – from Achray House

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Sunrise on Lock Earn – 1

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Sunrise on Loch Earn -2

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Sunrise on Loch Earn – 3

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Sunset on Loch Earn

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Loch Fyne – towards Inverary

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Loch Fyne – 2

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Loch Fyne – 3

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Loch Lawyers

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Loch Voil 1

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Loch Voil – 2

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Loch Voil – 3

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