Double Dipping into some new challenges

Blogging challenges

This week, for the Lens Artists Challenge, Tina has invited us to explore other blogging challenges, and ‘double dip’ by featuring them here. The Challenge World is a varied and eclectic one where you’re bound to find something that suits your interests: a good place to start is with Blogging Queen Cee’s comprehensive list of challenges for wordsmiths, photographers – anyone who blogs regularly.

So I’ll start with Cee’s own Flower of the Day challenge, because yesterday I saw my very first snowdrops of the season, still tightly budded, but bringing hope and positivity that spring is on its way.

I spotted them when I was on my way to the village to post a letter. North Stainley has three (three!) duckponds – Water, water everywhere, for Jez’s challenge of the same name, and I passed them all, seeing some of the resident water life while I was at it.

Three ponds, three housing estates for ducks, geese, moorhens, coots …

When we moved here in 2014, all Yorkshire was gripped by Tour de France fever, because the organisers had chosen our very own county to begin that year’s race. Traces of North Stainley’s celebration still remain near the local postbox, situated on the wall of the disused petrol station: perfect for Marsha’s Photographing Public Art Challenge.

I don’t remember exactly which roads were on the cyclists’ route. But this road near Kettlewell is pretty typical: and suitable for the Which Way Photo Challenge.

Let’s end our day with an understated winter sunset. Hammad Rais calls for these for his Weekend Sky Challenge. Well, I took this shot on a Saturday, so perhaps it’ll count, even though I’m showing it midweek.

I had fun exploring just a few of the challenges I’ve never, or rarely participated in so far. Who knows, I might be tempted to join them again. Thanks Tina, for pushing me into this!

Mystery stories

Blogging challenges

A single image to tell a whole story. That’s what Ann Christine, in her Lens-Artists Challenge asks us to post this week. Many bloggers have already played along, and many have also told the story that goes with the picture. I’m made of meaner stuff. I’ll give you four photos. You provide four stories. Is that a deal? Your tales may not get much further than your head, but if you want to share them, I’d love to read them.

The featured image seems to be the aftermath of – well – perhaps you know?

And why is there a clock on a hedge in a country lane? Perhaps Alice in Wonderland’s White Rabbit knows?

We saw this scene in Málaga, but never found out more about this apparently appalling crime.

My last photo was also my last of the month, so qualifies for Brian aka Bushboy’s Last on the Card challenge. I don’t know whether there’s a story here, but judging by the racket coming down from the tree, there were plenty of stories being told.

One picture – four pictures – many stories.

Twisted and Squiggly

Blogging challenges

Half term looms. Which means bloggers too need a little down time, and I shan’t be around next week. So here’s a simple post, with just a few twists and loops for Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge, which is this week – Twisted or Wiggly.

The header photo comes from just above Reeth, North Yorkshire. The one below shows a just-harvested field, complete with twisted and wiggly tyre marks, with just-about-to-migrate swallows assembled on the power lines.

Now three shots from Seoul, South Korea: scenes from a rubber band shop (yes, really) a string shop (yes, really) and street electric cables (yes, really).

Finally, a scene from the garden this past winter .. a Past Square for Becky

Street art: a tour of Berlin, Spain, and ending up in England.

Blogging challenges, Catalonia, England, Germany, London, Spain

It was in Berlin that I first really discovered a love of Street Art. Maybe it’s because I got some background understanding by going out for the afternoon with Dave, of Alternative Berlin Tours. I learnt the difference between graffiti, street art, stickers and transfers, and something of the political anger and activism that can inform so much of it: particularly near the former Berlin Wall. This has now been re-invented as The East Side Gallery and I don’t show anything of that here because many of its images are so well known. Here are some examples we saw in Dave’s company, or exploring later on our own.

Having done Street Art Module One in Berlin, I was ready a year or so later to do Module Two in Valencia, It was here that I met an irrepressible type who peoples doorways and random bits of street furniture, painted by David de Limón.

Our tutor introduces us to David de Limón

And it was here too, as we once had in Seville, that we encountered street artists doing their day – or occasionally night – job.

Here are a few more:

I like the way that the windows become part of the fantasy here.

And here’s one just for Past Squares

And we’ll have a whistle-stop tour of Spain and view a few more:

Catalan independence is always the story in Berga …
… whereas relaxing over a drink with a friend is more Seville’s style

Maybe this is my favourite image of all, a bit of fun created from damaged plasterwork in Seville:

Another Past Square for Becky, and worth another outing, I think.

Although – hang on – no. My real favourite has got to be in Manor House Gardens, Hither Green, because the artist appears to have designed this image with my granddaughter in mind.

With thanks to Patti for providing us with a chance to wander city streets this week in quest of images that amuse, provoke and stimulate us. It’s the perfect moment to join the Photographing Public Art Challenge too. As well as Monday Mural. All this and Past Squares and Monday Window too … This is taking multi-tasking to a new level.

The header image comes from the top floor of an apartment block in Málaga.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #170

Monday Mural

Monday Window

Past Squares

Photographing Public Art

Orange you glad…?

Blogging challenges, France, Gardens, Ripon, Spain

This month’s Life in Colour invites us to look at orange. Happy to help. I’ll grab your attention in the feature photo, with a rather orange sky.

When I got my new phone, my not-at-all top-of-the range, bargain-basement smartphone, I discovered that it had a feature called ‘spot colour’. I tried it out in the garden, and in the woods, making orange my spot colour of choice. Here are some results:

Now let’s abandon the gimmicks, and simply go for a walk along Ripon Canal on this early autumn day:

And let’s remember past moments in Valencia, and in Le Jardin Extraordinaire for Becky’s Past Squares:

Shall we end with a single perfect rose ….

… or with a bit of fun – the play food I made for William and Zoë’s kitchen?

An ordinary outdoor café …

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire

… doesn’t look quite so ordinary when viewed in its reflection in the Airstream trailer which multi-tasks as kitchen, serving hatch and till.

And here’s a view as I walked past – for Past Squares

And just to be really cheeky, as there’s not a pane of glass in sight, I’m including it in Monday Window, as it really is a different window on that lunch time pit-stop.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #169: The Ordinary

Photos taken at Paradise Food, Daleside Nurseries, Killinghall

Revisiting A Sheep is a Sheep is a Sheep

Blogging challenges, Festivals, Heritage, North Yorkshire

Somehow, we forgot all about Masham Sheep Fair last weekend. We forgot about the dozens of different breeds of sheep on show; the sheep-shearing demonstrations; the sheep dog competitions; the children, some really quite young, demonstrating their knowledge and prowess as sheep-handlers. There’s no help for it. We’ll have to revisit this post from October 2014 instead. And by the way. Please don’t show yourself up. Pronounce Masham correctly. Mas-ham. Anyone who lets the side down and calls it Mash’em is immediately recognised as an outsider.

And let’s include this blast-from-the-past in Becky’s Past Squares, as well as including it in Fandango’s Flashback Friday, a celebration of past posts which deserve another outing.

A SHEEP IS A SHEEP IS A SHEEP …

… or not.

On Saturday we called in, far too briefly, at the annual Masham Sheep Fair. This is the place to go if you believe a sheep looks just like this.

Saturday was the day a whole lot of sheep judging was going on in the market square.  Here are a few of the not-at-all identical candidates. And yet they are only a few of the many breeds in England, and in the world. There are 32 distinct breeds commonly seen in different parts of the UK, and many more half-breeds.  I was going to identify the ones I’m showing you, but have decided that with one or two exceptions (I know a Swaledale, a Blue-faced Leicester or a Jacobs when I see one), I’d get them wrong. So this is simply a Beauty Pageant for Masham and District sheep.

And if you thought wool was just wool, these pictures may be even more surprising.  Who knew that sheep are not simply…. just sheep?

Past their best?

Blogging challenges

On a morning like this, with rain cascading down outside, and all is gloomy and grey, most things – me included – seem to have seen better days. Let’s go for a walk and see what we can find. A virtual walk. It’s far to wet for anything else.

Let’s start off in the farmyard:

Beyond these farms is a country house, with mossy gates.

Sleningford Hall, North Yorkshire

Perfect for Hallowe’en, don’t you think?

OK. Take off your boots now, and let’s go for a city stroll instead.

Even towns have gardens. Harlow Carr is a marvellous RHS garden near Harrogate. They keep things immaculately … except in the Edwardian garden shed.

Lastly, let’s have a bit of a clean up. Here’s plenty of rubbish from the past found on a recent litter pick near a factory in Ripon. Perfect for Past Squares. Let’s find it by looking through The Square Window today (anyone remember Play School?)

That’ll do for one day I think. Time to go home and stay out of the rain.

The featured photo was taken in Seville.

Lens-Artists Challenge #168: Seen Better Days

Past Squares