A Window on a Prehistoric Playground

Blogging challenges, National Trust, Nidderdale, North Yorkshire

Brimham Rocks. A must-visit destination near where we live, simply to marvel at the unlikely tottering piles of fantastically shaped rocks gathered there, or, if you’re athletic and in touch with your inner-child, a challenging climbing frame.

These sandstone blocks were laid down and formed during the last 100,000 years – before, during and since the last Ice Age. Glacial action, weathering and water erosion have fashioned the rocks, leaving some apparently precariously balanced, as wind blasting continues to sculpt their contours.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, many believed that Druida could have been responsible for carving them. It was only in the 20th century that their origins became well understood, and we also came to recognise the wealth of natural life flourishing here: it’s now a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Not that William and Zoë cared when they visited last week. For them, this visit was an adventure. William climbed and Zoë looked for natural windows to gaze through. And asked to come again next time they visit.

Monday Window

British Summer Time: the Final Days Revisited

Blogging challenges, Wales

This post from August 2016 reflects the melancholy I always feel at this time of year: that summer is departing, and with it the long days and short nights whose absence so depresses me each winter. So I’m choosing it for this week’s Fandango’s Flashback Friday, particularly because it brings with it memories too, of the beauty of Anglesey in Wales.

BRITISH SUMMER TIME: THE FINAL DAYS

August 2016

We’re more than half way through August.  It ought to be high summer, but autumn’s on its way.  As we walked down the road yesterday, a few crisp brown leaves blew across our path.  Mornings start later, night comes sooner.  The combine harvesters trundling round the fields seem almost to have completed their work.  The shops are full of neat school uniforms and bright pencil cases ready for the new academic year.

Before it’s too late, here are some summer time views, from Moelfre in Anglesey.  And because it’s British Summer time, the sea isn’t always blue and nor is the sky. But that’s fine: we expect that here in the UK.

It’s all about the light

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire, Walking, Weather

Tina’s asked us to consider light, in Lens-Artists’ Challenge #162. I decided I could do worse than wander about our own home patch, and go for a stroll that lasted from early morning to evening, from summer to a snowy day and watch how the light changes as the day wears on.

I got into the habit, during lockdown, of getting up bright and early to watch the sun rise. Here it is, over the River Ure.

And here we are, never more than ten minutes away from home, in the morning, at noon, and at sunset.

The last two are taken, firstly on one bright morning when there’d been so much rain the fields had flooded, and then later, one evening just as the sun had set.

A Very Old Post Box

Blogging challenges, England, North Yorkshire

See this little window? It’s not very spectacular, being at one side of the old cottage shown in the featured photo, in the nearby village of Studley Roger. But I think it’s quite privileged. It’s just above one of the oldest post boxes in the area, one of the diminishing number of post boxes still to exist from the reign of Queen Victoria. Its design means it can’t have existed before 1857, and it’s certainly 19th century in origin. So the window earns its fifteen minutes of fame as a Monday Window, and the box itself as a bonus for Jude’s Life in Colour, which this month celebrates the colour red.

Monday Window

Butterflies: Half an Hour of my Life Revisited

Ariège, Blogging challenges, Wildlife

It’s time for Fandango’s Flashback Friday. I’m taking you to France, to a gloriously sunny day – 20th August 2013. Happy Memories.

Butterflies: Half an Hour of my Life

August 20th 2013

There we were at Roquefixade, showing our favourite walking destination off to two of our Harrogate friends, when a butterfly discovered me.  Then another.  These two creatures played round my wrist for more than half an hour before finally dancing off into the sunshine.  They made our day.

I’m thinking they’re the Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).  Any dissenters?

Toes and trainers, boots and shoes

Blogging challenges

For this week’s Lens-Artists’ Challenge, Ann-Christine’s invited us to consider feet and shoes. Neither my knobbly feet, nor my not-quite-smartly-polished shoes are things I care to show off. But children? That’s a different matter.

Anaïs discovered her feet not so long ago.

And Zoë some time ago knew that boots were a must-have item of clothing.

Though there again, mummy’s shoes are better …

And what trip to the beach would be complete without burying someone in the sand?

When my daughter taught for a year in South Korea, the first thing she and every single pupil did each day was remove outdoor shoes and place them in a rack, in favour of indoor flip-flops.

Let’s finish with two photos featuring adults. Watching the annual Cavalcada de Reis – Procession of the Magi – in Barcelona one year, one spectator discovered a use for his motor cycle helmet to give him extra inches.

And here’s a group of young women watching the annual Tour de Yorkshire go by.

The featured photo is a memory of a day out in Whitstable, when I went with my son and William to explore the beach.

Multi-tasking windows

Blogging challenges, Spain

Was it a month ago that we left Spain? Apparently so. Let’s relive our last day, mooching round Santander before catching the ferry for the long journey home. We could catch lots of images of the city in a single photo, in this building just alongside La Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción.

But nearby, there’s window-shopping …

…and then a picture postcard view of the multi-windowed Plaza Porticada.

Later, on board ship, there were windows on deck, designed to shelter us from the buffeting breezes. But something had gone wrong with one, and early in the voyage, it was being repaired.

But whether on land or at sea, we could spot the coastline near Santander, as shown in the featured photo.

Monday Window

The Devil’s journey from Ireland to Stiperstones Revisited

Blogging challenges, England

Last week we were in Shropshire, visiting good friends Perhaps soon I’ll take you with us one one of our trips but today, because it’s Fandango’s Flashback Friday, I’ll revisit a post I wrote last time we stayed with them.

Our road from Church Stretton to the start of our Shropshire walk.

The Devil’s journey from Ireland to Stiperstones

August 2016

Shropshire’s one of England’s forgotten counties, and full of secret landscapes for the lucky traveller to discover.  We found a few ourselves this week, when visiting ex-Riponian friends Hatti and Paul.

Here’s our route, as shown on the OS map.

They took us on a walk along one of those characteristic long, narrow scenic ridges which offer easy walking, and wonderful long distance views to east and to west.  So there we were, rambling from Wentnor to Bridges along the ridge for a rather good pub lunch, and then back to Wentnor along the valley floor.

To the right of us was the Long Mynd, a gently sloping plateau.  To the left, and higher above us were the more rugged Stiperstones.  Both hillsides were covered with an intensely purple carpet of flowering heather.

You’ll want to know how the ridge of Stiperstones came to be covered with an untidy tumbling of large and rugged boulders.

It was the devil who dropped them there.  He’d once noticed an old crone carrying her eggs to market by holding them before her, nursing them in her apron.  That was the way to do it! That was how he carried a large bundle of rocks all the way from Ireland to Shropshire, where he planned to drop them in the valley called Hell’s Gutter.  It was heavy work, and he sat for a rest at the very top of Stiperstones on a rock known since that day as the Devil’s Chair.

The Devil’s Chair (Wikimedia Commons)

As he stood up again, his apron strings snapped.  Out those rocks tumbled, all over the ridge.  He didn’t bother to pick them up.  They’re there to this day.

Look carefully, there on the skyline are the devil’s carelessly-lost rocks.

Climatologists and geologists have a different explanation, more credible but less fun.  If you get the chance, go to Shropshire, savour its varied and delightful landscape, and decide for yourself.

For more on this story, look here.

A Red Letter Day?

Blogging challenges, England, Germany, Spain

This month, Jude is inviting us to hunt for red in her Life in Colour challenge. So let’s go on a Virtual Day Trip and hunt for red. I think we’ll travel in the bus that was conveniently parked in the next village when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. West Tanfield is also where we see the poppies in the featured photo.

We’ll whip over to Bradford first, call in at the Bombay Stores, and get some headgear for you chaps.

Still in Yorkshire, we’ll pop in to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see Damian Hirst’s Virgin Mother.

Berlin next. We’ve only time to wander down a handsome street …

… before arriving for a quick visit to the Berlin Wall.

Right. That’s Germany done. Straight off to Spain. Are you peckish yet? Seeing all these peppers, tomatoes and pots of Moorish-style tea has made me think of food.

Where next? We could catch a wedding in Seville …

… and please don’t tell me we’ve come to Córdoba just to see this garage door.

We’ll forget that by visiting La Concepción Historical Botanical Gardens, Málaga.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve nearly had enough for one day. Time for a glass of wine, I think …

Then there’s just time to write a few postcards, and post them in that perky pillar box I know in Buxton.

I’ve realised that Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge is also about the colour red. Let’s make this post multi-task!