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
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
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 . . .
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 . . .
A reflective view of one of the city’s beautiful canals
Another canal view
… and a third
. . . a shop selling – you guessed it – vintage dolls
another view of a roadside lace-maker
. . . with a close-up view of the technique
The famed artist, Jan Van Eyck, lived in Bruges from 1429 until his death in 1441
I visited an exhibition of Salvador Dali prints whilst in Bruges in 2004
This poem had been posted in a closed Bruges restaurant window on a Sunday morning
Spectacular painted interior walls and decorated ceiling of the Stadhuis, the City Hall in Burg Square
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 . . .
The Belfry is a medieval bell tower in the centre of Bruges
The West Flanders Provincial Court
Part of the Provincial Palace, Market Square
The canals of Bruges are part of the personality of the city.
The city’s canals are one of the main attractions in Bruges
Navigating through the canals and discovering the most hidden corners of Bruges is essential to enjoying the essence of the city.
The city has become known as the “Venice of the North”
Canal artist at work
Diverse statuary can be seen all over the city
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.
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 . . .
Sea Approach – note the snow-capped Alps in the background
The Doge’s Palace and the sea landing for St.Mark’s Square
Doge’s Palace and the Bridge Of Sighs
San Giorgio Maggiore from St.Mark’s Square
The rowers in the lagoon operate from a standing position
Sea entrance to one of the minor canals
The Grand Canal from St.Mark’s Square
Front of St. Mark’s Basilica from St.Mark’s Square
Al fresco entertainment in St. Mark’s Square
St.Mark’s Square with Basilica and Campanile
Gondolas for hire on the Grand Canal
A Venetian Gondola in a side canal
A canal-side ambulance station … “Aiutami”
A Jeff Koons ‘Balloon Dog’ sculpture on the Grand Canal