Snapshot Saturday: ending where I began

This is the last Snapshot Saturday.  WordPress has decided to discontinue its weekly photographic challenges.  I’m a bit sad about this.  It’s been fun tussling with choosing images for each week’s idea, and through it, I’ve ‘met’ fellow-bloggers and made virtual visits to all parts of the globe.

This week, we’ve been invited to bow out by posting our all-time favourite shots.  That’s far too difficult.  Instead, I’m taking you to the Ariège in France, where my blogging journey began when we lived there for some years, and offering you some favourite shots from there.

 

Click on any image to view full size.

Snapshot Saturday: a vigorously twisting doorway.

Last November, in Valencia, the building which first grabbed my attention was this one, and day and night, I always paused to enjoy its energetic entrance and attention-seeking windows.

This ebullient building now houses the National Ceramic Collection.  Once it was the family seat of the Rabassa de Perellós – title-holders of the marquisate of Dos Aguas.  Dos aguas: two waters – the nearby rivers Júcar and Turia which flow plentifully, twisting and turning, from the statue of the Virgin Mary which tops off the doorway.  I’ve forgotten the rest of the story, and Google can’t help.  Just enjoy this wonderfully rococo statuary, twisting round this exuberant doorway.

A contribution to this week’s WordPress photo challenge: Twisted.

 

Snapshot Saturday: an unlikely pie

We’d never heard of Coniston Pie before. Best head over that way then, and find out all about it.

Coniston’s a tiny village in North Yorkshire, wedged into the glorious limestone scenery between Kettlewell and Grassington. We couldn’t go there without exploring a bit and working up an appetite for that pie.

The rocky path lies between those two trees.

We began with a bit of a scramble, a bit of a climb before hitting a steadily climbing path leading us upwards between dry stone walls and statuesque and wind-shaped trees. Sheep were our constant companions as we continued to plod ever upwards, 1000 feet in all.

Wind-stunted trees tucked behind dry stone walls.
Sheep. Always sheep.

We rested at the top. We had a snack (just a biscuit, no pie for us), before taking the winding turfy track downwards towards the valley bottom, then turning sharp left to join the Dales Way back to Coniston.

Our view as we trecked downwards.

And that’s when we saw it. Coniston Pie. It’s not hearty fare to be tucked into after a hard day’s lambing apparently, but this: the view the shepherd sees as he does his daily round.

Coniston Pie.
Coniston Pie.

Still, it does look exactly like a pie, filled with good things and topped off with a thick pastry crust, doesn’t it?

This week’s WordPress challenge asks us to post something unlikely.

Snapshot Saturday: lines of stone

We were walking on Thursday, near West Witton, Swinithwaite and Redmire.  Because it was April in Yorkshire, it was bitterly windy and cold with occasional hail: that was after we’d confidently started off in deceptively warm sunshine with a light breeze.

The final slog was along a long ridge, with a just-as-long line of dry stone wall keeping us on the straight and narrow every step of the way.  Here it is.

 

Earlier though, while the sun was still managing to shine, we passed a different sort of line.  Solid stepping stones crossed the river in a gentle curve, inviting two of our number to take the challenge and leap from boulder to boulder to the other side, then back again.

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is ‘Lines’.

Snapshot Saturday: Prolific plastic

It was on a day out in Sitges near Barcelona that I had my light-bulb moment.  It was a gloriously sunny January day, and we had the beach almost to ourselves: a clean, sandy and utterly unpolluted beach.  Here it is.

Sitges, one bright January morning.

And yet …… I took it into my head to spend just five minutes having my own personal Plastic Litter Pick on this apparently plastic-free beach.  Here is my haul.

From the beach in Sitges, one bright January morning.

When we got back to Ripon, we found that a new group had been formed.  Initially a group of two, it quickly grew.  These are  local people  looking for a Plastic Free Ripon.

Plastic is part of all our lives (you try eliminating it and see just how hard it is), but single-use plastic doesn’t have to be.   We’re 60 miles from the nearest beach, but it’s coastal communities who have perhaps woken up to the threat that plastic in our oceans represents, and Surfers against Sewage who have provided Ripon, and dozens of other communities with a toolkit to help us begin eliminate needless plastic from our city.

Thanks to a small group of foot-soldiers marching to local businesses and spreading the word,  neighbourhood shops have committed to discouraging customers from having plastic bags.  Some takeaways have invested in compostable food containers.  There are bars that have decided against issuing plastic straws.  Commit to taking three decisive steps to eliminate plastic, and your business in Ripon can be awarded plastic free-status.  Many have eagerly responded to the challenge.

There’s much else to do.  Hotels and bed and breakfast establishments are still providing little single-use plastic bottles of shower gel and lotions.  School dinner providers still issue single-use bottles of water.  Garden centres sell their wares in single-use plastic plant pots. Residents and passers-through who should know better sling bottles and packaging from car windows or outside take-aways.  So that’s why there will be regular community litter-picks.

I wish I could say I was in the vanguard of all this action.  I’m not, though I’m a small part of it.  There’s a small gang working utterly indefatigably, and already they’ve made a huge difference.  All the same.  Like so many others, Malcolm and I have gone old-fashioned and eschew the plastic milk cartons in the supermarket.  The early-morning milkman delivers us our early-morning pinta in a glass bottle for us to rinse out and return.  Just like the good old days.

Drinka pinta milka day. (1959 slogan from the Milk Marketing Board)

‘Prolific’ is this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge.

Snapshot Saturday: the awakening garden

Originality has gone out of the window as I enter Day Twelve of the Great Coughing Virus.  I’ve found some pictures from last year’s much more clement spring.  This is a walk round and about the awakening garden, exactly a year ago.

This week’s WordPress photo challenge is ‘Awakening’.  Click on any image to view full size.

Snapshot Saturday: the happy bookworm

I’ve been smiling a lot this week, and it’s all thanks to Lucy Mangan, and her new book ‘Bookworm: a memoir of childhood reading’.

Bookworm. And underneath it, another excellent read. Any guesses?

I’d thought that as a child, I was bookworm too.  Compared with Lucy Mangan I wasn’t even trying.  She resented the time wasted in eating a meal, and as for playing with friends – she never even considered doing that.

Yes, I can remember that Christmas when I was 10, when I was given 19, yes NINETEEN paperbacks, and had finished the first one before we’d even cut into the Christmas cake.

I can remember the row when my father, getting up for a night-time toddle to the bathroom, found me happily reading my way through another installment of ‘Jennings and Darbishire‘ or ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe‘.  Did it never occur to my parents to wonder how I could have got through a book a day any other way?

Lucy’s mother must be a few years older than me.  Lucy herself is only a couple of years older than Tom, and was brought up only a a mile or two away from where he lives now.

Because she was such a redoubtable reader, Lucy Mangan not only read the books that I enjoyed reading with Tom, Ellie and Emily, and now with grandchildren too: but she also discovered the treasures familiar to me as a child of the 1950’s.  I know she wrote this book just for me.

I was born before the Golden Age of the picture book.  Luckily my children weren’t.  ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’? Judith Kerr’s ‘Mog’ booksShirley HughesQuentin Blake?  How had I managed without them?

 

 

I’ve wallowed this week in memories of ‘My Naughty Little Sister‘; ‘The Church Mice‘; John Burningham; Raymond Briggs; Roald Dahl; ‘The Secret Garden‘ and all those 19th century classics by – largely female – American authors.

 

 

You couldn’t keep the smile off my face if you tried.

This post is in response to this week’s WordPress photo challenge, ‘Smile’.  It’s a total cop out on my part.  I don’t think my photo of a book jacket is exactly rising to the occasion, do you?

Click on any image to view full size.