‘Wish You Were Here’

Summer used to be a time for postcards.  Sending them.  Receiving them. Receiving was better.  What to say to your friends and relations with only such a small space to play with?  ‘Wish you were here’ maybe?

The views were standard, wherever they came from.  The castle.  The cathedral.  The fisherman’s cove. The crowded beach.

Today I’m reviving the tradition, but with a different angle on the standard shots.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, seen reflected in Angel’s Wing (2000) by Thomas Heatherwick, Paternoster Square, London.
The Leeds-Liverpool Canal passing under a bridge near Gargrave.
The Port Olímpic area of Barcelona seafront, reflected in nearby buildings.
Hull Minster, as seen in a nearby office building.
An honest view of a British holiday? The countryside near Penrith on a soggy Sunday.

This is my contribution to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #59, Angles. Leya so often joined in when I was contributing to the Ragtag Daily Prompt that it seems only fair to return the compliment.  Thanks, Leya!

 

Dirty Dutch Coaster and Other Ships

Travelling from Rotterdam to Hull the other week, on a grey and breezy North Sea crossing,  I spent hours on deck, enjoying the busyness of the cargo vessels puttering back and forth, back and forth across the steel-grey waters.  I was reminded on John Masefield’s ‘Cargoes’ – the last verse of it anyway:

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rail, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

My memories of our trip are of grey seas, grey skies, grey industrial coastal landscapes, grey wind turbines.  With red highlights –  those busy ships: the cargo of lorries on our ferry: and an almost lurid sunset.

Click on any image to view full size.

Linked to Debbie’s Six Word Saturday, which I’ve been following for a while.  Time to join in!

And also an entry for the Which Way Photo Challenge.

A new angle on a ferry trip

Coming back on the overnight ferry from Rotterdam to Hull last week, I had a lot of fun playing with my camera.  Most shots celebrated the sea, the shipping, the grungy industrial shore side, and I’ll share some of those soon.

But as the sun was setting, my eye was caught by these passengers on the decks above.  They didn’t know it, but I thought they made quite fine silhouettes set against the angled railings of the deck.

My response to today’s Ragtag Challenge: Angle.

Click on any image to view full size.

The rapacious stillness of the heron*

Herons seem to be a part of our lives.  It’s a rare week when we don’t spot one flying languidly along the river, or waiting on an exposed rock for the next snack.

Wherever we travel, we can go heron spotting.   We’ve seen them in Dordrecht in the Netherlands, Córdoba in southern Spain, l’Albufera near Valencia, and Busan in South Korea.  Town and country: herons are there.

We see them as we walk along the path towards West Tanfield, and spot them on the garden pond.

The other day after a stressful week, I needed a bit of space.  Nosterfield Nature Reserve just up the road was the answer.  I walked along the wetland paths watching water birds courting, feeding, simply being there, standing motionless or swimming peacefully.  Quiet fields formed the backdrop.

Nosterfield Nature Reserve, spotted through a hide.

I went to the farthest hide.  I became transfixed by the under-stated drama being played out between a heron and two or three egrets.  They were fishing.  All plodded gracefully in and out of what humans might see as each other’s personal space.  They didn’t care or even seem to notice one another. They simply co-existed, fishing.

This is what first caught my eye….and then I zoomed in closer…..

This series of pictures might not seem that different one from another.  They’re a record of a simple afternoon in the lives of a heron, three egrets ….. and me.

Click on any image to view full size.

* The Crow Road: Iain Banks

 

A window of opportunity

I’ve always loved looking at the contributions to Thursday doors, where bloggers from around the world share images of their favourite doors. Somehow, I’ve never got round to joining in.  But looking through my photos for something or other yesterday, I realised that I had the makings of a post about windows. Here it is.

Here’s an image from the last March for Europe in London in June.  I’ll be there again, probably as you read this, marching for a People’s Vote on the Final Deal.  I’m not sure how much I believe in another referendum, but what other hope have we got to turn the tide against the national disaster that is Brexit?

Happier times, happier pictures.  I started off by including images from Europe too.  But I’ll do England today, and maybe travel further afield another time.

Hull Minster, as seen from the office buildings opposite.

And Ripon Cathedral glimpsed through a camera obscura in early 2017.

There’s an osteopath in Ripon who always has a delightfully quirky window display.  Here’s winter.

Through the car window, a snowy winter landscape near Kex Gill in Yorkshire.

Train windows:  a view of Canary Wharf through the windows of the DLR line.

And the more rural landscape from the Wensleydale Railway.

I’ll finish with the photo I found that started me off.  This was the view I took outside our house on Christmas Eve morning last year.

The road north……

We left Barcelona.

Past Monserrat….

We drove north through the Pyrenees, both in Spain and in France…..

Used the mirrors to glance back and back till we could no longer see the mountains……

Through the edge of the Lauragais, south of Toulouse…..

….reaching Cahors by the evening.

Much of the next day was spent in the flatlands of central France, in the Touraine…..

And now we’re with friends in Normandy, on the border of both Mayenne and Manche.

Which landscape would you choose?

Ragtag Tuesday – and Wednesday! A feast with orange accompaniments

I let myself off posting yesterday, Tuesday, because we were concluding a drive all the way from Yorkshire England, to the Limousin, France – all but 800 miles in two days.  You’ll hear why in my next post.  Just now, I’ll tell you about our Monday stop-over.

Les Hayons is a transport caff in Normandy, pure and simple.  We love it.  Truckers from all over this part of northern France aim to end their working day here.  They’ll have a quick wash, a drink, then head for the restaurant – refectory style tables where they can sit down among old friends and new and talk over the events of their solitary day pounding along the motorway.

I’m justifying an out-of-focus shot by hiding behind data protection. No trucker can be identified I think.

They’ll help themselves from a buffet-style first course, then there’s a choice of about a dozen home-cooked main courses – copious, traditional tasty food washed down with as much wine or cider as you want.  After that, a cheese board – local unpasteurised cheeses from the farms down the road, and finally ice cream or some such for pud.  The cheery noisy atmosphere, the decently cooked if simple feast puts us in holiday mood every time we eat there.

With so much food on offer, it seemed wisest to begin the meal with a simple bright orange carrot salad.

We stayed the night there too.  Maybe that wasn’t quite such a good plan.  The truckers stay in their well-appointed cabins built into their lorries.  The days of their needing a trad. bed in a trad. simple hotel room are over.  So, lacking a bed in a truck, we chose their former hotel instead.  Which was fine.  But though the truckers were all tucked up for 9.00 p.m.  or 10.00 p.m. that was because they were ready for the off at 4.30 a.m.  or 5.00 a.m.

Our alarm call was the sound of revving engines and heavy tyres crunching across gravel. We too were ready to roll at 6.30 a.m.  And barely a truck was still there.  Look at the scene the evening before.  Scores of trucks, neatly lined up in auditorium sized parking lots, protected by the orange glow of sodium lighting.

And we shared breafast in the bar with men in orange: workmen ready to go on shift and face the rigours of the day in their hi-viz clothing.  Life at our next destination is very different.

The RDP challenges for Tuesday and Wednesday this week were ‘orange’ and ‘feast’ respectivly.  Two birds with one stone.