Spots and dots and dots and spots

Blogging challenges, London, Spain, Weather, Yorkshire

Spots and dots. That’s the Lens Artists Photo-Challenge this week, as requested by Ann-Christine. What to choose?

I thought immediately of the year we came back from France, 2014. That was the year too when the Tour de France came to Yorkshire. We went Tour de France mad, and some people even decorated their houses in red spots in honour of the King of the Mountains.

I remembered Brian, the dog my elder daughter had. No dog is spottier than a Dalmatian.

Brian.

I thought of a bubble-producer extraordinaire we met in London once, delighting children of all ages.

There was that extraordinary murmuration of starlings that took place over our house. It’s an annual treat round here. Thousands and thousands of starlings polka-dot the sky. And afterwards, leave the car spotted and dotted.

Or what about Seville orange trees with glowing orange fruits brightening the winter Spanish streets – and then lying discarded as the season ends: until we come along and bag up a kilo or two to transform into marmalade back at home?

But then I thought about spots and dots in the here and now. Spots and dots in England mean rain on the window, rain on the windscreen. So I begin and end my post with weather, English style.

A frequent view from the bedroom window

But … one more thing. No rain = no welly-boots. No welly-boots = no cheery whimsical feature in a garden just down the road.

‘How Wonderful Yellow is. It Stands for the Sun’. part Two

Blogging challenges, France, Yorkshire

This is the post that illustrates Van Gogh’s words, rather than my last one. We’ll showcase all the wonderfully optimistic flowers of spring next time. Let’s just pass directly to summer, and enjoy the over-pungent fields of rape; the gorse rollicking over the coastal parts of the Cleveland Way in Yorkshire; a painted lady enjoying summer yellow; fields of sunflowers in France, forever turning their faces to the sun; and finally, yellow’s final fling – harvest season. Just before the bad weather sets in – look at that last foreboding image. Luckily, Jude provides the opportunity for us to hunt down all our yellow-rich images, in her challenge Life in Colour.

Click on any image to view it full size.

Finding another uplifting companion

Blogging challenges, Walking, Yorkshire

Some of you may remember my first post this month, when I announced my plan to acquire a Virtual Dog to make sure I went walking every single day, come rain, come ice, come mud. My chosen companion was Dilys, shown in today’s feature photo, but she already walks miles every day with her own family. Much as I love her, I think I really do need a Virtual Dog.

Then I remembered Ai Wei-We’s Circle of Animal Heads at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Surely that featured a dog’s head? Up a pole? It did. Here is my Virtual Dog. Sadly, it’s my least satisfactory photo from there, so I’ll include a small gallery of some of the others to give you a better idea of this circle of mainly Zodiac figures up above your head.

My Virtual Dog

I’ve completed 116 miles this month. I felt this was a decent number – nothing to upbraid myself with here. But then I discovered that Jo of Restless Jo and Jo’s Monday Walk fame has upstaged me. She does eight miles a day. Almost every day. I’ll have to up my game.

Square Up

Thank you, Becky, for cheering up a particularly long and dismal January: for giving us the opportunity for uplifting friendships in the blogosphere, and for making us crank our brains up a gear as we tried to measure up to the skills, humour and ingenuity of our fellow participants.

Summer

Blogging challenges, Yorkshire

Summer.

Fields of wheat and barley stretch endlessly beneath the bluest of skies.

Sutton Bank, Yorkshire.

And in late summer, harvest.

Sutton Bank, Yorkshire.

It’s the season for seascapes.

Filey, Yorkshire.

For exploring the beach.

Whitstable, Kent.

And for wonder, as one small person changes her ideas, moment by moment, about a day on the sands.

Zoë on the beach in Catalonia last year.

It’s the season for outdoor theatre.  Here’s the end of an evening in the Dales.  The unmissable Handlebards – all four of them – have just finished performing Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with Wensleydale as their backdrop. This summer – no show.

Castle Bolton, Wensleydale, Yorkshire.

There’s entertainment in town too.  Impromptu sessions on the Regent’s Canal in London.

Word on the Water, Regent’s Canal, London.

Followed by a walk through an urban garden at Coal Drops Yard…

Gasholders, Coal Drops Yard, London.

…and, back at home, fields of poppies.

Poppies in West Tanfield, Yorkshire.

 

Summer, in its simplicity.

 

Lens Artists Challenge #104 Summer

Square Perspectives

Top Withens

Blogging challenges, Yorkshire

If you’re a Brontë  fan, particularly of you’re a Wuthering Heights fan, you’ll know all about bleak, cold and windy Top Withens, where Catherine Earnshaw, love interest of tortured anti-hero Heathcliff is said to have lived.

The last time I was there it was a sunny and cheerful day, perfect for striding out on the moors.

But even on a day like that, Top Withens still looks starkly austere.  Enclosing it in a square makes it less so, so I include the original photo too.

#Squaretops 20

Sea Creatures?

Blogging challenges, South Korea, Spain, Yorkshire

You want sea creatures for this photo challenge?  I live nowhere near the sea, so you won’t get a single live specimen here.

I’m British, so we’d better start with Fish and Chips.

Fish and chips and mushy peas and tartare sauce.

For the rest, I’ll take you to museums…

To Leeds City Market …

Outside the fish market, Leeds.

To the fish market in Cádiz  …

To Jagalchi fish market in Busan, South Korea.

Click on any image to view the caption.

Friendly Friday :Sea Creatures.

 

 

Car Light Through the Soapsuds

Blogging challenges, Politics, Yorkshire

I thought I couldn’t let January end without a final entry for Becky’s Squares: January Light.  So here we are at the car wash.

 

Frankly, though, I’m not really in the mood.  Not the day that the UK leaves the EU.  I’m looking forward to this evening though, when North Yorkshire for Europe is holding two parties, one in York, and one in Harrogate, where we’ll be.  The group’s invited EU nationals who’ve made their home in Yorkshire, so we can say ‘Thank EU 4 being here‘. We’ve already been mentioned on the Today programme, and …. well, we’ll just have to see.

The Consolations of Winter

Blogging challenges, Yorkshire

Winter’s not all bad.  The day begins well for us.  Winter light. If we push breakfast just a little bit later than usual – just before 8 o’clock say – we can watch the sun rise, and the sky lighten and brighten in Neapolitan ice-cream colours as we sit near the kitchen window and chomp through our cereal.

Go outside in the daylight, and we can enjoy the snowdrops, and watch green shoots thrusting through the soil.

The trees are handsome, statuesque as they thrust their naked branches skyward.

Long shadows reach across the fields in the thin, clear January light.

 

And back in the house … there’s still some Christmas cake left in the tin.

 

 

#January Light

The Big Red Bus for Remain…

Harrogate, Politics, Ripon, Yorkshire

Last Friday night was the first real winter’s night.  Temperature of minus four.  Saturday morning saw intrepid members of North Yorkshire for Europe climb into every bit of warm clothing they could round up, and head for Harrogate …..

The Big Red Bus parked up in Harrogate.

…. and the Big Red Bus for Remain.  For one week only – this week – if you live in Yorkshire you’ve a chance of seeing this re-badged Routemaster bus parked up in a town square near you.   Parking place secured, members of the Yorkshire Remain Choir, plus assorted brass instrument players (with a tuba, a euphonium, a saxophone to name but a few) and guitar-players clamber off the bus, secure a vantage post, and sing.

Getting all that brass back onto the bus in Richmond.

It’s the Christmas period now, so in addition to all our tried and tested favourites:

  • What shall we do with this Rotten Brexit? (What shall we do with a drunken sailor)
  • We’ve had quite enough of Brexit, it’s a con. (She’ll be coming round the mountain)
  • Glory, glory, what a helluva mess we’re in. (Battle hymn of the Republic)

and about thirty other numbers –

we have adapted seasonal fare:

  • Away in Westminster, where Johnson resides….
  • The Twelve days of Brexit.
  • Hark the Leavers shout and wail…

Goodness, we were cold as we sang in Harrogate.  We were freezing in Richmond, 37 miles north.  And by the time we reached Ripon at sunset, 26 miles south, we’d lost all sensation.  Only singing warmed us a little.  That and having raucous sing-songs on the bus between venues.

Twilight in Ripon.

We were generally well received.  Obviously we weren’t always appreciated.  But in Ripon, a dyed-in-the-wool Leaver approached us with a huge box of shortbread:  ‘I don’t agree with you at all.’ he said. ‘But that’s no reason why we shouldn’t be friends.’

A Leaver’s generous gift.

Hardly any photos of course.  1.  I was busy singing. 2.  Nobody in their right mind would want to take gloves off, just to take a photo.  Brrr.

At this late stage, most of us have difficulty in believing we’re making a difference.  But it takes our minds off the prospect of being led into an uncertain future by a serial liar with no moral compass, or interest in anything beyond his own ambition.

Read all about Saturday’s visit to Richmond in The Northern Echo, and about today’s visit to Leeds – sadly we weren’t there – in Leeds Live, and in Yorkshire Voice, where you can actually hear a few moments of song