Summer

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

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?

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

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

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…

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

 

 

Returning to my roots

My life has come full circle.  Many of my earliest memories come from Sandhutton, current population 260, where my mother was head teacher of a two-teacher school which educated all the village children between five and fifteen years old.  These days I visit the village weekly – it’s less than ten miles away.  The school no longer exists, but my Spanish teacher lives there.

There we are. Sandhutton School, c.1951, just before I started there.

When I was five, my life changed a bit.  We went to live in London (current population 8.13 million).

A trip down the Thames: nearly at Westminster now.

I was a student in Manchester (538,000).  Then I went on to live in Portsmouth, in Wakefield, in Sheffield, in Leeds: all cities numbering their citizens in the tens,or even hundreds of thousands.  I loved city life.  I relished the opportunities only a city could usually offer, and the diverse populations living in them.

One of my favourite places in Manchester: The John Rylands Library. Who wouldn’t feel a real scholar in these surroundings?

When we moved to Harrogate, some twenty years ago, I announced we were moving to a small town.  A mere 75,000 people lived there.

Harrogate: one of its many open spaces: the Valley Gardens.

But that was before we went to France.  Laroque d’Olmes has a population of some 2,000 people, and its county town, Foix, has only 10,000. We came to appreciate small town life: its neighbourliness and our sense of belonging – the space to appreciate the countryside and mountains beyond.

The street near the church in Laroque, with the Pyrenees in the distance.

When we came back to England, that small town of Harrogate suddenly seemed horribly large, traffic-infested and in every way untenable, despite its green spaces and lively community life.  So here we are in North Stainley, population 730.

In fact we’re not even in the village, but in a little enclave just outside, with that walled garden I showed you last week.  Population 8.  It’s perfect.

One of North Stainley’s three village ponds.

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #64: Countryside or small towns.

Framing North Yorkshire

There’s an invitation  this week, in Amy‘s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, to consider Framing the Shot.

Walking in the Yorkshire Dales gives so many photo opportunities that I thought I’d stay right here, on my home patch, to give this a go.

Here’s a wintry shot from just outside my own village. Trees provide a traditional frame.

Over in Reeth, I  made use of some less-than-attractive wire fencing to frame the distant hillside.

Harlow Carr Gardens provided its own frame above a pond.

While at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, (in West Yorkshire, this one) Henry Moore  provided a frame through which to view the landscape.

But there’s no need to take framing so literally.  There are other ways of a picture inviting you in.

The Pennine Way, near Gargrave North Yorkshire.

Those fields of rape plot the path we may take over the hills.

While these two suggest the limitless landscape lying beyond the dry stone walls.

And these sheep, this cormorant, highlight the vastness beyond them, just as the tree below, utterly unframed, suggests the famous bleakness of the Top Withens moorland near Hawarth, home of the Brontë sisters

Let’s finish with typical Yorkshire weather.  A view taken in the Crimple Valley one very dismal day in May.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #60– Framing the Shot