THE CANAL HORSE

On the Great Western Canal at Tiverton, Devon . . .  Photo – WHB – 2013
 

THE CANAL HORSE

Sedate
And ponderous
He carries his weight lightly
But without pace
It is summer work
Plying the bank
Subject to the weather
And his master
Apparently contented
But perhaps sad
Would he rather be elsewhere
But what would he know
Of elsewhere
This has been his life
His only life
Since brought into this world
Delivered as a foal by a mother
Who knew only this very same life
Tutored on this very canal bank
Learning the towpath’s bends
Its tricky turns
The track ruts to avoid
The necessary manoeuvres
When hitching up
H is purpose in life
Why else was he brought into this world
He knows his master
Trusts and
Respects him
Always by his side
His every command
Gentle but firm
A tug on the lead
A wary grunt
They tread the canal bank
The towpath to pleasure
Other’s pleasure
His Pilgrim’s Way
The daily round
His common task

On the Great Western Canal at Tiverton, Devon . . . Photo – WHB – 2015

Broken only at the terminus
A half-way respite
By the bridge
A brief uncoupling
A hay bag
A nuzzle
A few photographs
Then the return
The narrow boat his carriage
Its passengers his charges
He carries on
Always carries on
Trundling his life
In peace
In tranquillity
His boat
His harnessed heritage
Disturbing the reeds
And the ducks only
Creating a minor slipstream
Before the end
Disembarkation
Then a brief hiatus
Before the ever echoing pattern
Repeats itself
As do the days
And the months
Until
Darkness descends
And time
Ceases to exist

On the Great Western Canal, Tiverton, Devon . . .  Pen & Wash by WHB – 2013

This canal ride is offered during the Summer months on one of the last Horse-Drawn Barges in Great Britain.  Scheduled rides on the canal boat start and end from the point where the Great Western Canal commences, in Tiverton, East Devon.  Details of what is on offer  at this delightful site and timetable of the canal trips can be found on the website below  . . .

http://www.tivertoncanal.co.uk/floating-cafe-bar

A BBC TV Video of this canal barge experience is also made available via this website

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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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 . . .

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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.

 

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Venice, La Serenissima

Yes, I know photographs of La Serenissima, Bride of the Sea, are everywhere. However, I thought, for my travelogue this week, I’d throw in just a few of my own photographs taken on a short visit there ten years ago . . .

Venice

Sea Approach – note the snow-capped Alps in the background

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The Doge’s Palace and the sea landing for St.Mark’s Square

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Doge’s Palace and the Bridge Of Sighs

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San Giorgio Maggiore from St.Mark’s Square

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The rowers in the lagoon operate from a standing position

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Sea entrance to one of the minor canals

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The Grand Canal from St.Mark’s Square

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Front of St. Mark’s Basilica from St.Mark’s Square

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Al fresco entertainment in St. Mark’s Square

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St.Mark’s Square with Basilica and Campanile

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Gondolas for hire on the Grand Canal

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A Venetian Gondola in a side canal

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A canal-side ambulance station … “Aiutami”

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A Jeff Koons ‘Balloon Dog’ sculpture on the Grand Canal

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Just one of the many palaces on the Grand Canal

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