Messages in the Street

Walk along any street, anywhere, and it won’t be long before you come across a message. Maybe light-hearted, like this one spotted in Liverpool …

… maybe political. You can’t go far in Catalonia, Spain without coming across messages and slogans demanding independence. These shots were all taken in Berga, where the mood of virtually the entire population there was not in doubt.

The next shots were all taken when thousands of us took to the streets, again and again, in 2018 and 2019 voicing our misgivings about the prospect of Brexit. It gives us no satisfaction whatever to see that our fears were entirely justified.

In India, I saw messages that were more like public service announcements ..

And in Edinburgh, in the National Museum of Scotland, this …

Inuksuk, by Peter Irniq, 1998, uses a traditional technique used by the Inuit to convey messages about good fishing grounds etc.

Let’s end though, as we began, with a message, this time in Thessaloniki, simply intended to bring good cheer …

For Donna’s Lens-Artists Challenge #234: Messages

Postcards from 2022

How to summarise 2022 in just a few photos? That’s what the Lens-Artist Challenge demands of us this week. What makes it so hard is that a memory is invested in every photo. My own favourite photos may demonstrate no particular skill, but can transport me – and not you – straight back to a treasured moment. Ah well, let’s give it a go, and see what I can find that we can all enjoy.

Let’s book-end the year with ordinary pleasures: Fountains Abbey in springtime, and in late autumn…

Let’s remember summer with – here – an extraordinary sight: Scar House Reservoir, almost unable to do its job of providing water.

Scar House Reservoir in August 2022.

Let’s have a look at happy moments: Ripon’s first Theatre Festival took to the streets, Masham’s annual Sheep Fair returned after a couple of years’ Covid-hiatus. And my family enjoys one of life’s simpler pleasures: curling up with a good book.

Memorable May: a fantastic few days in the Balkans: North Macedonia, Albania and Greece, to enjoy its wildlife. A very few photos stand in for the whole experience of this area, still in many ways rooted in its traditional past.

Shepherds on the move all day and every day. leading their sheep and goats in quest of pasturage.

… and not forgetting the stars of the show: peacocks at Lake Ohrid.

The header image shows Lake Prespa, and the island of Agios Achillios, where we spent a few days.

In Catalonia with The Barcelona Branch of the family, we had an unforgettable trip to what may be The World’s Best Museum, CosmoCaixa, Barcelona.

We’ll finish off with Christmas lights at Eltham Palace. It was so cold, no wonder my fingers slipped!

On the Tenth Day of Christmas …

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me –

Ten lords a-leaping.

They’ve brought their partners with them. I hope you don’t mind. But lords a-leaping do need their ladies dancing to keep them on their toes.

This is the same troupe of Catalan dancers whom you met yesterday, entertaining us and each other, with their leaping and dancing. I can’t be certain that they’re lords, but some of them look pretty fine to me.

Perfect patterns

It’s been a busy week, and I’ve a feeling I shan’t be blogging again before Christmas, but I just had to have a go at posting a few photos for Ann-Christine’s Lens-Artists Challenge this week : Perfect Patterns. I’m going to let the images speak for themselves this time. We’ll have two galleries: man-made patterns, every one of them from Spain …

And now the natural world, not one of them from Spain, or indeed from outside the UK:

Click on any image to get its label: and only a label this time: no stories, no history, no nothing. Sorry!

The featured image is a ceiling in the Palau de la Musica, Barcelona.

What have diagonal lines ever done for me?

That is the question posed by Patti, for this week’s Lens Artists’ Challenge #228. Well, not done for me exactly, but done for my photos. Have a photos diagonal lines invited us in, encouraged us to explore the picture, or to focus on some detail?

Let’s have a look, and have a bit of a trip out too.

We’ll start off close to home, one cold wintry morning as I went to get the paper. Those rays of sunshine enlivened the scene, and my mood.

Here are two more, from just down the road. A tree which instead of reaching skywards, leans across the woods to demand a place centre-stage for the whole shot. And ox-eye daisies splicing the image in half, showing us there’s countryside, not a garden beyond.

A trip to the seaside? Alnmouth in Northumbria?

This quiet beach looks dramatic when the tide’s out.

Brussels now. A bank of plate glass windows reflects the opposite side of the road to dramatic effect. Monochrome too, for Bren’s Mid-Week Monochrome.

Off to Spain now. All those dizzy hairpin bends in Cantabria invite us to explore.

Then two more scenes – one from Cádiz, the other from Valencia. Those diagonals pull us in to explore the cathedral in one, the reflections in the other.

This shot, from Alicante, uses the ropes on a yacht as a frame for the scene beyond.

Alicante

I’ve hesitated over whether to include this last shot in what is essentially a light-hearted post. But this photo – not a particularly original one as so many others have taken similar shots – has stayed with me. It’s Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland. These are the railway lines that brought so many thousands of Jews on their very last journey. I wrote about it here.

I decided on balance to include it, as the relative optimism I felt when I wrote that post five years ago has disappeared in the light of world events over the last couple of years: and we shouldn’t forget.

Buses and planes, boats cars and trains …

The best way of travelling hopefully? Let’s see.

A bus can be fun, but that’s strictly for local exploring. Unless you can get yourself to India and hitch a lift in God’s Own Palace … Though you’re much more likely to be catching the long-distance bus whose driving seat I feature here …

Air travel has lost its sheen, since Airport Security and Queuing became a A Thing, not to mention those CO2 emissions of which we’re now so horribly aware. Even so, there is something thrilling about watching the changing landscapes of the earth far below, and cloud formations too.

You could take to the water, and sail to your destination near or far…

On the way to Rotterdam

Car travel gives you the opportunity to please yourselves and follow your noses, and even to get off the beaten track, but again … all those emissions.

My own favourite way to get from A to a distant B is by train. I sit, I watch the world go by. I read. If I’m lucky, there may be coffee on offer. And the journey eases the transition from home to away by gradually introducing fresh landscapes, fresh outlooks. There’s something discombobulating about leaving – say – foggy England by plane and arriving two hours later – say – in sunny Spain. Here’s the TGV from Barcelona to Paris. It says it all …

Station architecture may be inspired, whether from the Golden Age of Steam, or assertively twenty first century.

All things considered, I can’t agree with the disconsolate boredom of this particular passenger. By the way, you, get your feet off the seat!

Or … there’s always the motorbike … as spotted in their dozens and dozens outside Mysore Station.

Bike park outside the Station

All the same, modern travel with all its advantages can seem busy, stressful. Sometimes, we might just want to exchange the traffic jam for something rather simpler.

John has provided this week’s LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #215 – Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and the places they take you.

Of Gargoyles, Griffins and other Graven Images

This week, Ann-Christine is urging us, in Lens-Artists Challenge #214 to indulge ourselves and our readers with Favourite Finds in our collections of photos. Well. Where to start? What to choose? I’ve settled on those things that we sometimes notice as we glance up above, or find ourselves gazing at, such as drainpipes or old walls in city streets: we’ll see everything from … well, let’s have a look …

Click on the image to discover where to find it.

The featured image is from the Millennium Clock in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Summer Travel: it’s worth it in the end

This is turning into a Sunday Thing. Experimenting with different types of poetry. But with added photos. Always with added photos. This week, as my contribution to Tanka Tuesday‘s task – to write a 4-11 (the clue is in the name: 11 lines of 4 syllables each – last line repeats the first) I thought I’d focus on summer travel.

Summer travel

was always fun.

But now passport

control (Brexit!);

Covid control;

train strikes and queues;

airport queuing – 

make journeys long

and so irksome.

Worth it though – for

summer travel

And to prove that travel’s always worth it, here’s my photo gallery. There’s just one problem. Most of these photos were taken in January, in February, in March … you get the idea – any month but August …

… Should have travelled by elephant …?

Temple elephant, Thanjavur

PS – the header photo was taken at l’Albufera, near Valencia, Spain.