Here’s ablast from the past: from November 2012 in fact, when we were hunkering down for winter in France. It was round about now that The Orange Man arrived …
THE ORANGE MAN
Winter has arrived. How do I know? Although the nights are cold, the afternoons are still for going walking or tidying up the garden wearing a tee-shirt, beneath a duck-egg blue sky. So until the other day, I thought we were clinging on to autumn.
But on Thursday, the Orange Man arrived. This is exciting enough news for it to be worth phoning a friend. Every year, once winter kicks in and the orange harvest is well under way in southern Spain, a huge container lorry arrives in Lavelanet. It parks up at a disused petrol station on the main road into town and becomes an impromptu shop.
The man with the lorry, the Orange Man, speaks only Spanish, and sells only oranges. Not singly or by the half-dozen, but in large 10 kilo boxes. 10 kilos, 10 euros. What a bargain. These oranges, though sometimes a little knobbly and in irregular sizes, are the juiciest and tastiest you’ll ever eat, and it’s no wonder that whenever you pass, you’ll see someone pulling up their car and opening the boot for a case or two. Our Spanish friend won’t have to stay long. In a few days the entire container-load will be sold, he’ll return to Spain …. only to return when he’s loaded up again.
When he departs for the last time at the end of the season, we’ll know for sure that spring has arrived.
It’s 7.45. Here’s the sunrise on our way to Studley Royal.
And having met the rangers and our fellow walkers – volunteers on the site, here’s who we’d come to see.
Red deer, but ancient trees too. Cherry trees aren’t meant to last 400 years, but somehow this one is clinging on. Whereas the oak nearby is thought to be more than 800 years old, and dating from the days when the monastic community was at its height in nearby Fountains Abbey.
Come with us as we walk past the entrance to the park, framing the view down towards Ripon Cathedral, before we climb uphill to less frequented parts of the parkland, where deer usually roam free and we could enjoy open views across to Ripon and the North York Moors beyond.
The river down the track from us is a favourite fishing ground for herons. I love to watch them as they patiently watch too, for fish. And I love it too that wherever we travel, we’re likely to see local herons about their business. The one in the featured photo lives on the Guadalquivir in Córdoba, but his routines seem just the same as those of our Yorkshire birds.
This one lives in Kew Gardens, and the heavy rain makes him look a little out of focus:
Here are a few more:
Elke of Pictures Imperfect demonstrates that the black-and-greyness of these birds makes them ideal for Jude’s Life in Colour challenge, as she’s seeking shots that are black and grey this month.
I blame the Church of England. Tomorrow is Stir Up Sunday, the day when all right-thinking people in Britain will dig out their dried fruits and candied peels, their sticky, treacly dark sugars, eggs, butter, spices, zesty lemons, brandy, weigh them out and mix them all together. They’ll bring the family into the kitchen, get everyone to stir the mixture, making a wish as they do so.
And why? Because as they kneel at their devotions in church at Morning Service, those Good Ladies of the Parish will hear the priest intone the Collect for the Sunday Next Before Advent ….
Stir up, we beseech thee, OLord, the wills of thy faithful people….
‘Stir up? Stir up? I haven’t made the pudding yet! Best go home and make the Christmas pudding’
You might not be a Good Lady of the Parish. You might not even be a Good Lady. But you’d better get on with making that pudding tomorrow. I’m telling you today so you can nip out and buy anything you might not have to hand. Go to. Stir Up Sunday is the day. Your Christmas depends on it.
What a good idea Becky had when she began to start her blogging week with a favourite portrait! I’m going to follow suit, and choose to give fifteen seconds of fame to a special bird: a stork, nesting on a church in Tudela in Spain.
Since clock change, I’ve been unable to wake up later than 5 o’clock. So inspired by Becky’s walk at sunrise, and by the clear sky last night, I was out by 6.00 to catch the sun’s first rays. But it was cloudy – thick cross-patch grey. And my phone doesn’t do low light levels. But here’s my early morning photo-diary. With not a sunrise in sight.
What a doddle it must be to erect a modern high-rise building, compared with the difficulties faced by those builders in mediaeval times. Their churches and cathedrals soar dizzyingly heavenwards without benefit of modern scaffolding kits, cranes and mechanical diggers.
It’s the view of Cádiz shown in the featured photo that prompted thoughts like these. The modern industrial hub is visible from the older city centre. Here’s another view:
Let’s go to London, a city so changed from the days when I lived there in the 1950s and 60s. Here’s a gallery of soaring towers, and the cranes that made building them possible. There are even cranes surrounding St. Paul’s Cathedral. And The London Eye makes a useful picture frame for yet another high-rise office.
And here’s new and old, juxtaposed: from Gherkin to Tower of London
Slightly off-topic, I have to include a few shots from the Gasholder development in Kings Cross. From dirty industrial back streets to desirable address in an imaginative few years.
There’s one cathedral still under construction that’s taking even longer to build than its mediaeval antecedents: La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Look.
Did you notice the builder in his hi-viz gear and safety equipment? He’s not the only one who needs to have a head for heights on these modern buildings. Here’s a team of window cleaners in Warsaw:
Tina has invited us, in this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge #173 to choose interesting architecture. I’ve chosen to focus on how the buildings I’ve selected reached such immense heights.
It is a grey Monday outside. And Jude has invited us to celebrate grey and black in this month’s Life in Colour challenge. Let’s go on one of our mini-breaks and see what we can find. We’ll start in London:
Oh, but maybe London’s too obvious as a starting place. Let’s start from Gateshead instead, and join a group gazing out of the window from the Baltic Centre.
We’re off to Spain now. We’ll stop off in Seville. You may need a comfort break by now, so we’ll stop off at the public toilets in Plaza de España, and enjoy the reflections we can see in its glass walls.
Shadows from street lights as evening falls, but we get away in time to see the Alhambra in Granada illuminated at night – it’s the featured photo.
We’ll pop across the next day to see my daughter in Premià de Mar. It’s silhouettes and sunny shadows there.
This is only a mini-break. We’ll go home via Whitby and just have a stroll to the end of the pier. There are always cormorants there. And seagulls on the rooftops.