Stillness

 

Rydal Water-1991

‘Solitude’: Rydal Water, Cumbria, The Lake District, UK … Pen & Ink – WHB 1991  ©

 

STILLNESS

 

This stillness and the beauty all around me

Bring with them peace and grace for which I yearn;

For here among the lakes and mountains resting

I sense my hopes and dreams will now return.

 

For now I’ve reached a time when life has bitten,

Reminding me of pleasures once enjoyed;

Since lost in cares and daily obligations

How Nature can supplant and fill the void.

 

Its healing powers I know and cannot question;

They bring delights I cannot bear to miss.

They sing to me of other loves and places,

And speak to me of other times than this.

 

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Walking With Ducklings

In 2004, one of my daughters lived on a farm overlooking the Exe Valley in Devonshire, England. The ducklings which I write about below had imprinted themselves on her shortly after their incubated birth, and they would regularly follow her as she walked around the farm and on to the farm duckpond.

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WALKING WITH DUCKLINGS

Ducklings,
greet my world,

meet your world,
sometimes mild;
oft times wild –
do your best to love it.
Now let’s go for a walk
… while I talk

No, don’t duck out of my suggestion,
just follow me and I’ll show you life,
you’ll take to it
like a duck to the waters;
pretend you’re my daughters.

For you are Devon ducks,
yes, Drake Country, I know,
but every drake needs a duck,
as they say in these parts;
not your Cockney ducks
they’ve very hard hearts.

Don’t believe them when they say
“out for a duck”;
don’t take it personally;
it means Nothing –
just innocent banter,
small-scale sledging,
they know you’re a fledgling.

No, “out with the ducks”,
now that’s more like it.
So don’t be glum,
think of me as your mum,
and follow me to the pond
there’s a duck house down there,
painted duck-egg blue,
just the home for you.

You’ll like it there
even though
and I do know
when you grow up
you may lose a few eggs
shell shock they call it
all in good cause
because
we humans enjoy them
try not to condemn
it’s just
nous les adorons
ces sont si bon

and when at the pond
just watch out for Jethro
our farm dog you know
he’s a bit of a barker
a real nosey-parker
duck down when you see him
or go for a swim

and, talking of duck down,
better put your coats on
it’s going to get chilly
no, not chilli hot
chilly cold
so be good as gold.
now, will you be told!

Let’s pause for a selfie
no, don’t make that duck-face
pouting doesn’t suit you
the camera will shoot you

If you are good
then later
as your mater
i’ll let you loose
on the web
you’ll learn so much there
but please do beware
best avoid Mr Blumenthal
all duck and waffle
your feathers he’ll ruffle
he’d feed you too well
making you swell
for his ‘Fat Duck’ menu
I’d better not continue
… but remember …
it’s not yet December
I could get 250 pounds for you there.

that’s 500 for the both of you
so don’t annoy me
I’m not your employee

Just follow me
and remember
i’m your funny mummy
just imprint that on your
duck brains
just remember you’re mine
and we’ll get along fine.

DevonDklings04c

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The Double Rainbow

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Photograph:  ‘Double Rainbow near Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England’  – WHB – July 2009   ©

 

The Double Rainbow

 When the double rainbow comes
In all its lustrous splendour,
Then will I sing of my true love,
How sweet and kind and tender.

Her beauty sings the sky’s delight,
Gently she shows her grace;
I love the light within her soul
Which permeates her face.

For me fond Nature’s miracles
Cannot describe suffice
The beauty which I find in her,
My love from Paradise.

 

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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.

Black Isle (1)

Looking north across the Firth of Cromarty

Black Isle (2)

Roadside nasturtiums

Black Isle (3)

Roadside floral display – Rosebay Willow herb (?)

Black Isle (4)

Oil rig awaiting servicing in the Cromarty Firth

Black Isle (5)

Oil rig on the Moray Firth 

Black Isle (6)

Gull on the shoreline at Chanonry Point

Black Isle (7a)

Chanonry Point on the Moray Firth – the ideal spot to view dolphins

Black Isle (8)

The lighthouse at Chanonry Point

Black Isle (9)

Dolphins leaping in the Firth

Black Isle (10)

Oyster Catcher at Chanonry Point

Black Isle (11)

View southwards across the Moray Firth to Fort George

Black Isle (12)

A closer view of Fort George

 

 

 

Black Isle (11)

Stone commemorating the story of the ‘The Brahan Seer’  (click for the Wikipedia reference). 

 

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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.
01.Dingle-Map

Map of South West Ireland showing the Dingle Peninsula

02.Dingle

Beach along the southern coast of the Peninsula

03.Dingle

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

04.Dingle

Looking eastwards back towards Dingle

05.Dingle

One of the Dingle Peninsula’s many small secluded beaches

06.Dingle

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

07.Dingle

. . .  and this menhir further along the coast

08Dingle

The roadside remains of a one-time occupied croft

09.Dingle

Dingle Slea Head Crucifix – one of many such roadside shrines

10.Dingle

Seagull on the seawall with the Blasket Islands behind

11.Dingle

Sea thrift beside the coast road

12.Dingle-W to the Blasket Isles

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

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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.

Bamburgh10

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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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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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 . . . 

LochEarn1-FromAchrayHse

Loch Earn – from Achray House

LochEarn2-Sunrise1

Sunrise on Lock Earn – 1

LochEarn3-Sunrise

Sunrise on Loch Earn -2

LochEarn4-Sunset

Sunrise on Loch Earn – 3

LochEarn5-Sunset

Sunset on Loch Earn

LochFyne3-Inverary

Loch Fyne – towards Inverary

LochFynne1

Loch Fyne – 2

LochFynne2

Loch Fyne – 3

LochLawyers

Loch Lawyers

LochVoil01

Loch Voil 1

LochVoil03

Loch Voil – 2

LochVoil04

Loch Voil – 3

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Structure – ‘Daily Post’ Photo Challenge

Structure

In response to the recent ‘Daily Post’ PHOTO CHALLENGE,  outlined as follows . . .

“Today, take a moment to notice the structure of everyday things around you. Note the lines, freckles, and tiny hairs on your arm, and imagine the biological blueprint that created them. See the bricks of a building, and realize that they were individually placed there by another person. Then, share with us a photo of the structure of something wonderful. We’re eager to see details through your lens.”

I submit the following two of my photographs of a scanned leaf skeleton, taken some while ago …

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Leaf Skeleton – Photo WHB  ©

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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

2AmblesidePier

Evening at Ambleside Pierhead on Lake Windermere

3Borrowdale

Bridge crossing the River Derwent in Borrowdale

4BrantwoodConistonJetty03

The Landing Jetty and Coniston Launch at Brantwood on Coniston Water

5Buttermere

On Buttermere

6Buttermere

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

7ConistonGondola

The Steam Yacht on Coniston Water

8Derwenwater@Keswick

Derwentwater at Keswick

9Thirlmere01

Thirlmere

10SkelwithForce

Skelwith Force

11FromNannyBrow

Autumn colours near Skelwith Bridge, Ambleside