The Lake District

[ Photo Blog #48 ]

England, Cumbria, The Lake District

Never far from water in the Lake District

My photographs, taken several years ago on what would now be considered to be an old camera

1AmblesidePier

Ambleside Pierhead on Lake Windermere

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Evening at Ambleside Pierhead on Lake Windermere

3Borrowdale

Bridge crossing the River Derwent in Borrowdale

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The Landing Jetty and Coniston Launch at Brantwood on Coniston Water

5Buttermere

On Buttermere

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The ‘Sentinels’ on Buttermere, the Lake District’s most photographed trees.

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The Steam Yacht on Coniston Water

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Derwentwater at Keswick

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Thirlmere

10SkelwithForce

Skelwith Force

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Autumn colours near Skelwith Bridge, Ambleside

Dartmouth, Devon

[ Photo Blog #46 ]

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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.

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The River Dart – Looking eastwards from the town

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Dartmouth – The Quay

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The Royal Naval College overlooks the town

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The River Dart Passenger Ferry crossing between Dartmouth and Kingswear on the opposite bank

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Dartmouth Castle at the mouth of the river on the west bank

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The car ferry crossing close to the river mouth

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View towards the river mouth and the English Channel

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Cruise ship anchored in the deep water of the River Dart

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View of Kingswear across the river from Dartmouth, with the ruins of  Bayards Castle in the foreground

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View from the South Embankment towards the mouth of the River Dart

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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 . . .

 

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Model of Cardiff Waterfront

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The Norwegian Church

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Commerative photograph of a portrait of Roald Dahl in the Interior of the Norwegian Church

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Commemorative plaque on the naming of Roald Dahl Plass

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The Pierhead Building

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The Wales Millennium Centre

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A bronze of an immigrant couple symbolising the arrival of many to Tiger Bay seeking a better life in Britain.

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Female Beastie Bench – Cardiff Bay, Sculpted bench in brick  ‘My Beautiful City of Cardiff’

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The 2000 Lightship, a Christian centre funded by Associated British Ports and Cardiff council – now re-sited

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Stained glass Portholes on the Lightship

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Sidmouth, Devon #3

To round off my visits to Sidmouth on the Jurassic Coast of South Devon,  I add just a few more of my photographs taken there last month . . .

 

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Railway poster from the early 20th Century

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The annual Folk Festival takes place in the early part of August. Ad hoc groups of musicians can be found throughout the town and seafront – just enjoying themselves

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. . . and throughout the rest of the year too.

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‘The Sidmouth Fiddler’ – reminder of the Folk Festival in Connaught Gardens

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Splendid croquet courts along the sea front – often used for National and International competitions.

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‘When Evening Shadows Fall’ … an elongated cameraman!

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… To the top of Jacob’s Ladder

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Views from the top of Jacob’s Ladder

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The River Sid runs through the centre of the town

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SIDMOUTH and John Betjeman

[ Photo Blog #43 ]

SIDMOUTH and John Betjeman

 I supplement my photographic gallery post of Sidmouth a week ago with a further collection of photographs of this’ jewel of England’s Jurassic Coast’.  The town was beloved of our 20th Century poet laureate (1972-84), John Betjeman.  He wrote a poem as the sound track to a 1962 television film on the town.  In the poem, called ‘Still Sidmouth’, he says of the town :

‘Gothic or Classic, terrace or hotel,
Here does the backbone of old England dwell.’

On my own recent visit there I made a point of looking for what Betjeman describes in his poem as the ‘bright and outsize Devon  flowers’ in Sidmouth’s Connaught Gardens.

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The Betjeman Plaque in Connaught Gardens, Sidmouth

‘Pause on Peak Hill, look eastward to the town,
Then to the Connaught Gardens wander down
And in the shelter of its tropic bowers,
I see its bright and outsize Devon flowers.’

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As befits the Jungle theme of just one part of these gardens, most plants here originate from the Far East.  There is a fascinating bamboo collection, but what, in particular, caught my eye was this exotic plant which reached up tall into the sky and leant at an angle over the pathway.  So far I have been unable to pin down it’s name.  There is a lot of information about these gardens on the internet and on the plants it contains, but nothing I can find which matches the description of this tall, broad-stemmed creature. It has a myriad of small blue and mauve periwinkle-like flowers encircling the massive central stems, which, at the time I photographed them, were covered in honey bees.

The following four photographs give a better idea of its exotic character . . .

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Below I include 4 more of my photographs of Sidmouth flowers, wild ones this time, which John Betjeman would have seen and loved . . .

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Seashore Foxglove

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River Sid Daisies

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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

 

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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.

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David Garrick’s ‘Temple to Shakespeare’

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Garrick’s Temple and his mansion

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Close-up view of the Temple from across the river

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Old Edwardian houseboat – once a floating restaurant

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‘Thyme By The River’ cafe

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Waterfront outside the Molesey Rowing Club

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East Molesey Cricket Ground

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Pleasure craft moored approaching Molesey Lock and Hampton Court Bridge 

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Hampton Court bridge from the West

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Front façade of Hampton Court Palace

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One of the smaller Golden Gates at the Palace

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Looking to the East from Hampton Court Bridge to the River entrance to the Palace

 

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Greenland – Nanortalik #3

For my third and last collection of photographs of this fascinating small coastal town in Greenland, I have eleven miscellaneous photographs from the town and nearby.   The first two are of icebergs and a glacier high up in the mountains viewed on the approach to the town from the sea.  The remaining photographs show views of the town, its harbour, its backdrop of saw-tooth mountains, its proud displaying of the national flag, and of a reconstructed turf house, showing the original homes in which the townsfolk lived . . .

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A Sign Too Far . . . TAKE 2

I have previously (See my blog entry of  February 16th 2017, …   ‘A Sign Too Far’  ) dealt with the modern day scourge which the multitude of signs and advertisements are to the pedestrian and to side-walks and pavements.  At that time I used my own photograph which I use again below to illustrate this different take on the same subject . . .

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A SIGN TOO FAR   . . .  TAKE 2

So often have I been
attacked by signs
Throughout the day
Plethora
Of signals
Face me as I walk
Innocuous one by one
But fearsome in phalanx
Threatening my advance
Discouraging my progress
Terrorising travel
Note to myself –
Beware
Be wary

A sign
Is a sign
Is a sign
I need to tell you that
I need to let you know
To say it loud and clear
Please notice me
Notice my notice
If I say it often enough
You are bound to notice
Allow me to grab
Your attention
And your money
Let me
tell you about myself
I’m not shy
Passer by
I’ll tell you why
Just shout it out
And cry
To the sky
Saying by the by
Please notice me
Please don’t go
You need to know
I’ve much to say
In every way
All through the day

Too much
Too far
I say
Just clear the way
And let me pass
Your sinister intent
Not heaven sent
You need me more
Than I need you
So please take notice
I refuse
To take notice
Of your notice.

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Photographs … WHB – 2017

 

Greenland – Nanortalik #1

Greenland is the world’s largest island – excluding the island-continent of Australia.  The majority of the island – well over 1,000 miles from North to South, is covered in ice.  Human settlements are confined to the coast.  I was lucky enough to be in Greenland in September 2008, when, unusually, the weather was beautiful – the sky clear blue, the temperature just like a British early summer.  I have already published, on March 30th this year, some of my photographs of the icebergs and ice floes in the Ice Fiord.  See:  ‘Ancient Ice’ .  The views were dramatic, but the place which captivated me most was the small town of Nanortalik on the South-West coast of the country.  It is an isolated community, without road connection to other settlements or to the Greenland capital of Nuuk.  Over the next three weeks I shall publish, on Thursdays, some of the photographs which I took in and around NANORTALIK . . .

A generic map of Greenland

Map of Greenland showing NANORTALIK in the South West of the island

 

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Local inhabitants wearing traditional costume – for the tourists!

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The ‘Head Stone’

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Local children atop the Head Stone

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View of part of the town looking inland to the mountains behind

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Approaching the village and its church

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No trees, but plenty of grasses and wild flowers

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Getting nearer to the church

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The town’s Danish Lutheran Church

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Church interior

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Cannon – early town defences

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Setting out on a rowing boat – sunlight shining through the seal-skin hull