We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

This week’s Lens Artist Challenge has us going on a Treasure Hunt.  I didn’t think I’d participate at first.  I am, after all, a snapshot-ist rather than a photographer, and I know that the photos I value are weighted with memories rather than  with a photographer’s skill.

But it’s been a grotty weekend (again) and a trip through the archives has been fun, and wakened many memories.  So let’s go…

  • Challenge Items: Sunrise and/or sunset, Something cold and/or hot, a bird, a dog, a funny sign, a bicycle, a seascape and/or mountain landscape, a rainbow, a church, a musical instrument, a boat, a plane, a waterfall.
  • Extra Credit Items:  An expressive portrait of one or more people, a very unusual place, knitting or sewing, a fish, an animal you don’t normally see, a bucket, a hammer, a street performer, a double rainbow, multiple challenge items in a single image.

And now it’s time for bonus points:

If you click on any image that appeals to you, you’ll find a bit of a story about it.  Then more easily ‘visit’ all the photos in that series. Thanks Tina: I’ve had fun hunting through the archives.

 

What Are You Going To Meet ….?

…. if you turn this corner?

An art installation, ‘Around the Corner’,  in the Culture Mile, City of London, by Karsten Huneck and Bernd Truempler, KHBT .

William needed to explore.

This sentence is a a quotation from Virginia Woolf’s novel Jacob’s Room: ‘What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?’

An entry for Six Word Saturday.

 

 

 

A Walk to the Planetarium

I’m in London on Half Term Duty.  Zoë’s at Nursery, but William’s four, and at school these days, where an early encounter with the planets quickly turned into an all-consuming passion.

So I thought I should take him to the Planetarium in nearby Greenwich.  There’s not much he doesn’t know about the solar system (Makemake anyone?),so ‘Moons beyond counting‘ seemed a likely hit.  Twelve thirty, I said, that’s when we’ve got to be there.

At 8.30, William was all present and correct, dressed; rucksack packed with essentials such as a pencil case and an I-spy book of birds; shoes on; coat organised, demanding to leave.  I fobbed him off for a while, but by just after 9.30, we were on the top of a double-decker bus bound for Blackheath and Greenwich.

Not the normal view of Blackheath: a bit of a fairground and a rubbish lorry doing its work.

Greenwich has one of London’s lovieliest parks.  There are wide avenues, trees, green space – hills even – and if you walk to the far end, a wonderful playground.  William was persuaded that this was a good place to spend the two and a half hours before the show.  We trotted down avenues and gravelly paths.  We chatted to dog walkers – William, having given his full address to one, informed him that I was a visitor who didn’t normally live here.

We examined tree bark.

And we reached the playground, where William climbed, chased, crawled, bounced, made new friends and finally announced, round about 11.30, that he was hungry.

We climbed one hill and then another, looking across at the views of Greenwich below, and the City of London, just across the Thames.

And we picnicked pretty much on the Greenwich Meridian line.

Visitors to the Observatory and the Meridian Line enjoy the view.

Finally, it was time for the show.  We sat next to a boy called Jack who turned out to be just as much of a planet geek as William.  The performance over (it was very good thanks, and back home, William gave a far better account of it than I did), Jack and William hurled obscure facts and quiz questions at one another, and were half pleased and astonished, half vexed that each knew as much as the other.

We decided enough was enough, and took a different route back through the park to the bus stop and home.  Where we spent the rest of the day doing – what else?  – a jigsaw of the solar system.

The moon, seen not at Greenwich, but on the Rotterdam to Hull ferry, June 2019.

A walk for Jo’s Monday Walk.

Patterns Through the Window, on the Wall

Look out of that window.  Who wants to go out unless they have to?  Instead, I’m inside and cosy, seeing if I can find photos that fit Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge for February, Patterns.

I decided to go with the built environment.  I looked not for deliberately created architectural motifs, or applied ornamentation, but for reflections, distortion, or for other elements that weren’t intended as the main event.  Except in one case, where reflection and baffling the eye was definitely the main story.  Which one was that do you think?

 

This challenge was provided by Jude, of Travel Words.  

Edinburgh in the Sleet

Yesterday, Malcolm had a Very Significant Birthday. No party, he said.  Definitely no party.  Instead, we travelled by train in style – First Class – to Edinburgh and back.

We nearly missed the train.  Thanks to Storm Ciara, an hour and a half was almost not enough to travel the 18 miles to Northallerton Station.  Our first major diversion was a mere mile from home, and things didn’t get better.

We were at the station in time. Just.  But the train was late.  Never mind. Beyond Newcastle, this is one of England’s finest train journeys.  The coast near Alnmouth, distant views of Holy Island, Berwick-on-Tweed, while enjoying a late breakfast, and unlimited coffee at our table – that stressful journey to the station had been worth it.

Once in Edinburgh, this is what we were faced with.

We put our heads down and made straight for the National Museum of Scotland.  And there we stayed.  All day.  It was no hardship. We had an interesting morning in the fascinating if not photogenic gallery devoted to Scotland’s twentieth century of social change. A very light snack.  And in the afternoon, we followed no plan.  Every gallery had something of interest.  So we each followed our noses, and visited far flung Inuit territory in Canada, plunged into the oceans, watched the Millennium Clock strike three, wondered at unwearable clothing in the costume gallery … We know we’ll be back – so much to see, and it’s so beautifully displayed and interpreted.

Back into the blizzard for the train home. Here’s something to smile at.

And here’s our journey home on the train.

 

 

Pay-As-You-Feel, Eat a Good Meal

Let’s begin at the beginning.  A couple of years ago, Alison and her husband were in Saltaire, looking for a late lunch.  They found it at the Saltaire Canteen, and soon realised it was no ordinary café.  Here, the ingredients used were all past their sell-by dates, and had been intercepted from landfill.  They’d been transformed into appetising meals, mainly by volunteers, and customers were encouraged to pay what they thought was fair, or what they could afford.

‘We could do that in Ripon’, thought Alison.

Actually, that’s not the beginning of the story.  We need to go back to December 2013, when The Real Junk Food Project opened its doors in Armley, Leeds,  as a café offering meals made from food destined for the tip.  People ‘paid’ for their meals with money, by offering skills or even food.

It was the brainchild of Adam Smith, who had a Road to Damascus moment on a pig farm in Australia, where the pigs were eating discarded food he’d have been happy to put on his plate.  Back in England,  The Real Junk Food Project was born, firstly as a café: then as an ever-expanding movement helping others develop their own models; as a Sharehouse sourcing and distributing waste food for those cafes; pay-as-you-feel supermarkets of discarded food; Freegan boxes of intercepted food designed for families; for distribution in a school setting (breakfast clubs, or for families in need for instance); even outside catering.  I’d like to get married all over again for the pleasure of having a Junk Food catering team deliver the party!  You can see why Alison needed to talk to Adam.

She found a co-conspirator in her friend Janet, and between them they located premises at Community House, equipment, cookware, crockery, cutlery, napkins… everything you need to feed the masses.  I’ve dismissed that task in a sentence, but I don’t underestimate the achievement.  They found volunteers too.  I wasn’t in at the beginning, but I’m part of the team now, and I wouldn’t miss my stints for anything.

A year ago, the café opened.  It’s on Thursdays, Ripon’s Market Day.  People start to drop in from 11 o’clock for a coffee, maybe a cake.  From 11.30 they’re eager for lunch.  Seating is at refectory-style tables, so whether you come with a friend, family, or on your own, you’ll be sitting with others and soon be talking to those around you.

Look!  Here are a few sample menus.

The cooks for the day will have been to Wetherby the day before to collect supplies, considered the random collection of ingredients and devised and cooked a varied and tasty menu to suit everyone: there are always vegetarian and vegan choices.  There’s nearly always a soup or two, and good old fashioned nursery puddings are hugely in demand.

The volunteers have been in since 10 o’clock, setting tables, chalking up the menu, getting everything ready.  At 11.30, they become waitresses and waiters: taking orders, collecting and serving the food to the diners, taking turns to wash up, and finding time to chat and be welcoming.  Newcomers become regulars: regulars become friends. We have office workers; young families; elderly people who welcome a hot meal in friendly company; visitors to the city …

At the end, people put what they feel in a box by the door.  The point is to save food from landfill, not to make money, so those who can’t pay don’t need to feel embarrassed.  Some offer services instead – there were some electricians in one week ….  There are costs of course – notably the rent: so far donations have kept us in the clear.  Any profits are re-invested in improved services.

Then, for the volunteers, it’s time to wash up, tidy up, put things away, swab the kitchen floor, pack away the tables and chairs, vacuum … and finally go home for a rest and a nice cup of tea.

Wholemeal has become a real asset to Ripon community life. And look at the food that’s been intercepted from landfill!  Win-win.  Thank you, Alison.  Thank you, Janet, thank you Adam … and everyone else who’s made it possible.

Radio York transmitted its whole morning show from Wholemeal last Thursday.  Anyone who’s super-interested can listen here, on BBC Sounds.

A Line of Trees

I don’t know about you, but I need a break from the world and its vicissitudes.  And I’ve got just the thing.  One of our favourite walks, near Masham, near home.  It offers wetlands with waterbirds, calming pastures of sheep, woodland, a stretch along the riverside – all available in a four mile stroll.

This month, Jude of Travel Words invites us to consider Pattern.  This walk has plenty, starting with the skeins of geese often to be seen designing sinuous flight lines across the sky.

Marfield Wetlands.

I’m going to show you a particular line of trees that I’m fond of, towards the end of the walk.  A repeated pattern, tree after tree after tree.  Sometimes, especially in high summer, these are enough to fill my mental screen.  At other times, I notice the pattern echoed.  A line of sheep, maybe.  A different line – of fencing.  Even – and I never manage to catch this in the same shot – a line of snagged sheep’s wool caught on nearby barbed wire.

Stark winter trees.  Fencing edges the nearby field.
Winter again.  I like the shadowy trees lower down echoing the crisper line above.
Another much longer view of those trees. With sheep below following the same horizontal line. It’s still winter.
That line again. It’s summer now, and other stands of trees draw the eye down to the lower edge of the shot.
Sheep again. They just left their wool behind.

I’ve chosen in many cases to echo the linear nature of the pattern by a spot of judicious cropping.

There.  Did you forget the headlines just for a few moments?