Building a Skyscraper: Crane required

Barcelona, London

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:

Cádiz

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.

The London skyline seen from Greenwich

Black Monday? Or Grey Monday? Or Out-and-About Monday?

England, London, Spain

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:

We’re walking down the South Bank here. That’s the Oxo Tower in the distance.

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.

Plaza de España, Seville

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.

Shadows in Seville

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.

Time for home now. Goodnight!

Just one day along the Thames

London

London last week was a time for me to enjoy the grandchildren’s company in museums and in parks during fine autumn weather, and in making a Christmas cake. On Friday though, the weather forecast was foul. We planned to go to Greenwich briefly to buy things we couldn’t get locally, then hole up at home. We bought pumpkins which, closely supervised by the children, Tom later translated into faces (‘Happy face’, said Zoe: ‘Scary face’ said William. Tom seems to have wanted a face with a head full of gnashers.)

As we finished our list of jobs, the rain unexpectedly stopped, and we decided on a jaunt to the Thames Barrier, which I’d never seen. A walk though an industrial estate offered us gravel raining down from a conveyor belt …

… and soon we were on The Thames Path. I’m always thrilled by the river in the city. I love the juxtaposition of new and old – the airy skyscrapers filled with office workers, and city types wheeling and dealing: on the water below them, rusting rusting barges plodding up and down like Dirty British Coasters, as they’ve done for centuries.

Ahead was The Thames Barrier, a buffer against the threat of flooding in London and which I think of as being rather new. It’s not. Its fortieth birthday is next year. The header photograph was our first sighting. And here’s a gallery of views as we approached, passed it, and came back the other way.

Then we were on our way back, as clouds turned dirtier, greyer, and the rain started once more to fall. Here were the buildings of Canary Wharf and Central London, viewed across ancient wooden jetties.

The promised rain had returned as a deluge. We scurried home, had lunch, and turned our attention to making Horrid Hallowe’en Biscuits and Perturbing Pumpkins.

Amy asked us to share just one day from our week for Lens-Artists Challenge #172. I chose last Friday.

The past meets the present along the South Bank

London

Enjoying grandchildren and blogging simply don’t mix, so I haven’t been part of Becky’s Past Squares lately. But old and new meet beautifully in London, so let’s finish the month by strolling along London’s South Bank.

I took this picture of my grandchildren because it reminded me of an iconic advert for Start-rite shoes which I can’t show because it’s under copyright. Instead I’ll show you a blast from the past: their dad’s first pair of shoes – yes, I still have them.

And later, as day became evening, here’s the London skyline: St Paul’s Cathedral, built after the Great Fire of London by Sir Christopher Wren, with a forest of cranes showing the continued growth of this city.

Thanks Becky, for yet another month of fun and squaring. Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in Portugal.

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

Window Shopping Three

Barcelona, Leeds, London, Ripon

This shopping malarkey’s getting tiring, so this week, I’ll just slot in a few shots that didn’t make it into the previous two posts. Like the header shot, for instance. Who knew that facials, waxing, nails and massage were a prerequisite for returning to school?

The Yorkshire lass in me thoroughly approves of this window, spotted in Leeds.

And this image from Barcelona of a rather up-market grocer, Queviures, with the reflections of the street behind remains a favourite too.

My last one may not be a shop at all – I can’t remember. It comes from a more optimistic time, when we still believed that marching in London in our thousands, and community action might help to save us from the disaster which is Brexit.

Monday Window

Lighting our way home

Blogging challenges, London, North Yorkshire, Poland, South Korea, Spain

Electric light outside – as streetlights, spotlights, making our streets and subways safer: an undeniable blessing. But spotlights, bright and colourful advertising? The featured photo is of a rainy night in Busan South Korea. Cheery colours certainly, but far more than we needed to find out way round. And look at this. These hotels are out in the country, in a small mountain resort, surrounded by forest. The lights went on as dusk fell, and remained on till morning …

The JaJa, Gyeryongsang

All the same, it’s hard not to enjoy streetlights reflected in the water while mooching round a city. Here are a couple of shots near the river Guadalquivir in Seville.

It’s mood-enhancing to see the city become a playground at night. Here are the fountains of La Alameda, also in Seville. And the neighbourhood of la Viña in Cádiz, where post-Christmas groups relax over a meal or a few drinks in the still-decorated street.

La Alameda, Seville
la Viña in Cádiz

But metro stations and subways need lighting too. Here’s Barcelona, and London.

But the other evening, taking a late walk round the village, best of all was the glow surrounding the houses as families wound down for the day. A cosy, comforting and gentle radiance.

North Stainley: an evening in September

Lens-Artists Challenge #166