Window Shopping Three

Barcelona, Leeds, London, Ripon

This shopping malarkey’s getting tiring, so this week, I’ll just slot in a few shots that didn’t make it into the previous two posts. Like the header shot, for instance. Who knew that facials, waxing, nails and massage were a prerequisite for returning to school?

The Yorkshire lass in me thoroughly approves of this window, spotted in Leeds.

And this image from Barcelona of a rather up-market grocer, Queviures, with the reflections of the street behind remains a favourite too.

My last one may not be a shop at all – I can’t remember. It comes from a more optimistic time, when we still believed that marching in London in our thousands, and community action might help to save us from the disaster which is Brexit.

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An inveterate food forager

Ariège, Food & Cooking, North Yorkshire

I was brought up foraging. At four years old, I’d get up with my mother at half past five in the morning and go scouting for mushrooms on the now-deserted wartime air-strips near our house. At five years old, I went as part of the autumn school day to gather rosehips for Delrosa. Expert pickers got a tin badge. Smaller fry like me got nothing. Blackberrying of course we took for granted.

Later, much later, Malcolm and I moved to France. There, foraging is a way of life. Nobody leaves the house without their ‘Au cas où’ bag – ‘just in case‘ they find something for the cooking pot. It might be wild asparagus, wild garlic or Alpine strawberries in spring, cherries later, then blackberries of course. Autumn was bonanza time. This was the time to stagger home with sacks full of walnuts, of chestnuts, of sloes, of mushrooms of every kind. Autumn hikes were constantly interrupted by the need to squat down and fill a bag with yet more free food. You can read all about it here, for Fandango’s Flashback Friday, when I described how ‘all is safely gathered in’.

Sweet chestnuts

Now we’re back in England, the custom continues. I’ve discovered that locally, we’re regarded with good-humoured curiosity because of our inability to pass free food by without snaffling it. It starts with wild garlic, sometimes dandelion and nettle leaves in spring. During the last month we’ve picked several kilos of bullaces (wild plums) from Nosterfield; ditto blackberries from wherever there have been good supplies; windfall apples and crab apples from beneath village trees; a magnificent puffball weighing in at more than a kilo, which – thickly sliced and dredged first in beaten egg, then breadcrumbs and grated parmesan and fried in butter – made splendidly tasty steaks. Finally, this weekend, I glanced upwards on a familiar woodland path, and spotted golden mirabelles winking down at me. I summoned reinforcements (Malcolm, with bags, boxes and a useful stick) and now there are jars of tart but tasty mirabelle jam to see us through the winter, as well as plenty more waiting to be made into tarts and puddings.

Simple, but very real pleasures to add interest to our daily walks.

Lighting our way home

Blogging challenges, London, North Yorkshire, Poland, South Korea, Spain

Electric light outside – as streetlights, spotlights, making our streets and subways safer: an undeniable blessing. But spotlights, bright and colourful advertising? The featured photo is of a rainy night in Busan South Korea. Cheery colours certainly, but far more than we needed to find out way round. And look at this. These hotels are out in the country, in a small mountain resort, surrounded by forest. The lights went on as dusk fell, and remained on till morning …

The JaJa, Gyeryongsang

All the same, it’s hard not to enjoy streetlights reflected in the water while mooching round a city. Here are a couple of shots near the river Guadalquivir in Seville.

It’s mood-enhancing to see the city become a playground at night. Here are the fountains of La Alameda, also in Seville. And the neighbourhood of la Viña in Cádiz, where post-Christmas groups relax over a meal or a few drinks in the still-decorated street.

La Alameda, Seville
la Viña in Cádiz

But metro stations and subways need lighting too. Here’s Barcelona, and London.

But the other evening, taking a late walk round the village, best of all was the glow surrounding the houses as families wound down for the day. A cosy, comforting and gentle radiance.

North Stainley: an evening in September

Lens-Artists Challenge #166

Window Shopping in Harrogate

Blogging challenges, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

When Sheree read my post about window shopping last week, where I’d included a stop-off in Harrogate, she was disappointed I hadn’t included the windows of tea shop and bakery extraordinaire, Betty’s. I was in Harrogate again last week, and realised I had to put this right. But the sun was so high, and the light so bright that my camera got clearer views of Parliament Street behind than of the window display. Never mind. Two for the price of one.

My favourite display was in the Oxfam second hand bookshop. Here’s what the signage says:

‘How bad are books? The carbon footprint of reading. A year of driving (average 1600 miles) – 4000 books. Veggie burger – 1/3 book. Cheese burger 3.2 books. Fly to New York and back – 1800 books. 1 pair of men’s jeans – 19 books. It takes 1kg of CO2 to make a book. A second hand book is almost zero carbon.’

Oxfam Books, Harrogate.

I can’t comment on the scientific observations, but I hope it’s true: I’d sooner have a book than a burger, any day. And I liked the reflections in the window too.

I think I’ll leave it at that – or no, let’s just look at this antique shop, where dogs are apparently welcome. Why the bear?

West Part Antiques, Harrogate

Farewell Harrogate, for the time being. Back soon.

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Le Jardin Extraordinaire Revisited

Ariège, Blogging challenges, Gardens

When we lived in France, a must-visit in our diary every September was a flight-of-fancy wild garden, worked on for months by artists, gardeners and imaginative people of all kinds, but open only for a few days each year. Let’s revisit it today, for Fandango’s Flashback Friday.

FOR TWO DAYS ONLY: LE JARDIN EXTRAORDINAIRE AT LIEURAC

September 2010

2009 was a first for us at Le Jardin Extraordinaire. This weekend, we were back, and we’ll be back next year too, and every year.

The members of Artchoum enjoy growing flowers, vegetables, plants of every kind. They relish creating beauty, fun, intrigue, from anything – a discarded table becomes a woodland creature, an ancient trainer a Grumpy Old Man, a few stones in the river a symbolic gathering.  Professional artists work alongside interested members of the public for months and weeks beforehand just for this one weekend in September.

And we all turn up, in our hundreds, to explore this very special walk through woods, or along the shaded river bank, in this normally secluded spot.  Families, couples, groups of friends all come to share the atmosphere –  friendly, fun, joyful, peaceful, reflective.  Have a look at the photos, and enjoy the walk too.

For further visits to Le Jardin Extraordinaire, look here, and here.

A Useful Recipe Book?

Family history

I have a very old hand-written recipe book. Not your usual sort of collection of well-loved family puddings, cakes and stews. This book, handed down from the Yorkshire/Lancashire branch of the family contains not one edible item. Instead, it’s full of tips on how to clean brass, make ink, and cure cholera. It must be very old indeed. Often the letter s is expressed as an f. I think it must date from the days before census entries from the 19th century indicate that many of my family members were involved in trade, or in reasonably supervisory positions in the textile mills. They tended to live in respectable but simple terraces houses in the likes of Batley and Colne.

Oddly, the first few and the last few pages of my little book are blank, but here’s a list of the contents:

Naptha Polish

Crimson Colour for (?) Show Bottles

Deep red

Cure for the Cholera

For Cleaning Brass and Copper Goods

Polishing Paiste (sic) for Brass, Tin, Copper and Plated Goods

For Etching on Glass etc. etc.

Superior Blacking for Boots and Shoes

Red Oils for Bruses (sic) Sprains etc.

Lyth Ung for Burns Scalds Inflammations

To remove Tarter (sic) from the Teeth

Blacking

Witworth Red Bottle

An Efficacious Receipt for the Rheumatism

The Original Family Receipt for a good Stomach Pill

Recept (sic) for the Cholera

For the Dysentery

Liquor of Iron

Blue Ink

Black Ink

Mint Water

Peppermint Cordial

Paste Blacking

Spirit Varnish

Pills for the Tic Debereaux (sic)

Composition for Mounting Frames etc.

Cow Drink for Heifers

Horse Powder

A comprehensive guide for the householder, I think you’ll agree? I’ll publish a few of the recipes over the next few weeks. Now, which ones do you need?

By the way, I took these photos rather quickly, with my phone. I’ll do them the honour of much better attempts for any further posts.

Window Shopping

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire, Ripon, South Korea

Just before winter kicks in and we all hunker down, let’s have a trip to the shops, and spot a few windows.

Are there enough windows here for you, in the featured photo, at the entrance to one of South Korea’s bigger shopping complexes? Once we’ve looked round, it’ll be time for a coffee: who knew that Starbucks had spread its reach so far? Not that we actually went inside here – independent coffee shops for us, every time.

Gyeongju, South Korea

Let’s come back to England now, and stay local, in Ripon. We’ll pop into our favourite bakery, then saunter along to the pie shop. In both cases, reflections will offer us views of the street too.

Let’s go to Kirkgate, and more independent shops: You’ll get a mood-improving slogan at Karma, and if you’re lucky, live music to cheer you along.

A few miles away is Pateley Bridge. I wonder if the shops there still have the displays they had when the Tour de Yorkshire was in town?

We’ll finish off by going to Harrogate. From behind other shop windows, we can get a snapshot of Starlings, the bar where we could finish our day with a drink and a very tasty pizza.

Starlings, Cambridge Street, Harrogate.

Thanks for coming along!

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Voilà! And … What’s in a Name Revisited

Blogging challenges, French language

For today’s Fandango’s Flashback Friday, here are two – yes two posts from previous Septembers – one from 2011, the next from the same day in 2013. One’s a quick and useful French lesson, and the next might already be history. Who knows what first names are doing the rounds in France now?

Voilà!

September 2011

Voilà!  The most useful word in the French language.

Here’s what happened at the baker’s this morning.  Translations appear in brackets.

Me: Oh!  Isn’t the pain bio ready yet?]

Madame: Voilà! (Nope.  Quite right)

Me: So if I call in after 9, you’ll have some?  Could you please save me a loaf?

Madame:  Voilà! (Yes, and yes).  Would you like to pay now, then it’ll be all done and dusted?

Me:  Voilà! (Makes sense.  I’ll do that)

By the way, I was all grottily dressed in my oldest paint-spattered, holes-in-the-knee-ready-to-face-a-morning’s-tiling gear.  This is Laroque after all: no shame in working clothes here.

Madame:  You’re looking very chic today, if I may say so!

Me:  Voilà!  (And don’t I know it).

Why bother to learn more French?  Voilà donc!

What’s in a Name?

September 2013

When I was at school, my French text books were peopled by characters such as Jean-Claude, Jean-Charles, Jean-Paul, Jacques and Georges.  There were Marie, Marie-France, Marianne, Jeanne and Jeanette.

My own classmates answered to names such as Valerie, Jean, Judith, Janet, Susan and Mary while the boys’ school along the road had types like Alan, Norman, Brian, Keith, Bob (not Robert or Rob), Bill (not William or Will) and inevitably, John.

These names identify us firmly as children of the 1950’s.

So over the last week, on our journey through France, I’ve had fun looking for evidence of the latest trends in French first names, via Coca-Cola’s latest marketing scheme of personalising drinks bottles with the current most popular given-names.

Golden moments at break of day … and sunset

Blogging challenges, Spain, Yorkshire

My last couple of posts have not been light-hearted. I took you for a walk across a stark and austere landscape. I invited you to read a number of stark and austere books. Since Jude’s Life in Colour is all about gold this month, I thought I’d hunt out – not very original of me, I know – a few sunrises and sunsets. These can get their golden vibe by being yellowish rather than reddish, but they’re gleaming, resplendent, hopeful, bright.

My featured photo, and the one below come from  L’Albufera de València, a natural freshwater lagoon that is home to thousands of birds – and fish too of course. Its sunsets are a wonder on any day of the year. But I particularly like the understated dirty-golden glow in these two shots.

 L’Albufera de València

Travelling’s tough these days. Better to stay local and get up early, and enjoy the sunrise just near the house. These two shots show our river, the Ure, at daybreak in spring.

Or just a little later, in the parkland of Sleningford Hall …

Sleningford Hall

You’d still sooner be abroad? Best take a ferry then …

Rotterdam- Hull ferry: a view from the deck.

And we’ll head straight for Granada. We might get there just in time for the sunset.

Granada

From Bolton Castle to ancient lead mines and back

Blogging challenges, North Yorkshire, Walking, Wensleydale

The landscape in the featured photo shows the bucolic beauty of Wensleydale, still green and welcoming at this time of year. And look! Here’s Bolton Castle, one time prison of Mary Queen of Scots: where she was obliged to stay for six months with a retinue of 30 servants, permitted to go hunting, and receive English lessons This is where we began and ended our walk last week.

Most of our hike wasn’t in such favoured countryside. We slogged up to the bleaker moorland where once lead was mined, and no farmer could make any kind of living, unless he kept sheep. Here there are no villages, no houses or farms, and few roads.

We’d hardly been going more than a mile when we came upon a shooting lodge, now set up as a resting place for the weary traveller. Here’s the view through one of the windows:

There was buffeting wind, and the smallest hint of rain, so we were glad to shelter for a few moments, and look at the view from inside, through that welcome window . But then out we went again, to the windswept landscape. It’s easy to see traces of the old lead mining industry: the grassed over spoil heaps, the ruined stone sheds, the pits where once a mine was sunk.

Lead was found here long before the Romans came. By the Middle Ages, blocks of land known as meers – roughly the size of a cricket pitch – were leased out to the miners who, if they were lucky, could find lead almost at the surface: or by running shafts below ground. The process only became industrialised, and mining companies developed in the 18th century. The last mine in the Dales closed in 1912, and for the first time in hundreds and hundreds of years, no one quarried for lead.

This is a bleak landscape, austere and unforgiving: open to winds coursing across the Dales, and to lashing rain. I love its ascetic grimness and the beauty to be found in its treeless simplicity. The time of year when the hillsides are cloaked in purple heather – August – is not to be missed. We caught the end of this glorious display.

Though our day had been one of grey skies, at the end the sun came out, as was fitting for the gentler Wensleydale landscape near Bolton Castle

Here’s a video of our twelve mile walk: https://www.relive.cc/view/v8qkk45PxKq

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