I’ve woken up feeling unaccountably gloomy this morning. Is it the fine but insistent rain? Is it the spike in Covid figures that seems to presage what this winter may be like? I don’t know, but Positivity seem to be called for, and a Virtual Day Out in the Sun.
Let’s go to the seafront in Barcelona, and have a look at a very up-beat window with varied viewpoints.
I’m back volunteering at Fountains Abbey, and every time I’m there, I’ll spend time in the ruined Abbey itself. I’ll gaze up at the voids which were once windows. Any stone tracery has long disappeared, revealing views of the sky and trees beyond. And I wonder what the monks saw, during their long hours of worship – eight sessions a day, the first at 2.00 a.m., when the night was charcoal-black and only smoky tallow candles lit the space? The ascetic Cistercians had no statuary in their churches, little stained glass, so the monks probably glimpsed a barely-to-be-discerned landscape beyond, through water-greenish, slightly uneven glass.
In her challenge this week, Jude has invited us to compare the same scene in colour, and in black and white. I thought it would be interesting to do this in a building in which colour plays little part. Surely there would be little difference? Well, apparently there is. I find the black and white version a little too austere for my tastes. What do you think?
And here’s a view of the Abbey with Huby’s Tower, which was completed a mere 13 years before Henry VIII brought the Fountains Abbey community to an end in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. I’ve tried to show it more as it might have looked then, set in a wilder landscape than the manicured parkland we see today. And when it came to the monochrome version – well, there’s black and white, and black and white. Again, there are choices here ….
August is traditionally Silly Season in the media. I’ll join in. I’ll pretend that it’s the two windows you can just about see that are the subject of this post. We all know it’s really the washing line. And its contents.
Disclaimer: this is not our washing.
These are Silly Season entries for both Monday Window and Jude’s Photo Challenge, which is this week about colour with a bit of zing.
Canary Wharf, Crossharbour, Cutty Sark, Mudchute, Pudding Mill Lane, Royal Victoria, West India Quay, Woolwich Arsenal.
Is it any wonder I love travelling on the Docklands Light Railway in London when I visit, with all those evocatively named stations, speaking among other things of London’s past as a thriving port? A port complicit in many things we’d rather forget, such as the slave trade, but can investigate at the Museum of London Docklands.
The journey is a window onto a watery world of harbours, jetties, watery cul-de-sacs and wharfs: old and new in close juxtaposition. And the windows of the train carriage itself reflects the cosmopolitan society that London has always been.
Back in a Previous Life, a viewing platform on the South Bank in London had me exploring the sights on the other side of the Thames. I liked this juxtaposition of old and new, chaste stonework and bright colour. It might not be glazed, but it’s a window through which to get a new perspective on the more usual views of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
I often pass this window on my walk. It’s in a farmyard outbuilding, and the detritus on the other side of the panes never changes. Neither do the spiders’ webs. They neither grow nor disappear. Time for a spring clean and change of perspective?
These days, weeks and weeks into Life-with-Covid 19, I crave a nice quiet dinner with people I know, tea parties with friends, or a chinwag in town over a good cup of coffee and a fresh-from-the-oven buttered scone. And I can’t have any of them.
Instead, I’ll settle for memories of a tea party from a few years ago, when we met with good friends to celebrate a couple of birthdays. No tea shop for us, but instead a jaunt on the Wensleydale Railway, a Heritage Railway which runs in normal times through the heart of the Yorkshire Dales .
As we rattled along, enjoying countryside views, smart serving staff plied up with elegant little sandwiches, properly fattening cakes, and the all-important scones served with jam and cream. And tea, of course. And prosecco.
It’s not often that afternoon tea with all the trimmings includes an ever-changing bucolic view through the window.
A June walk near Richmond in Yorkshire. Not this June as it happens, but it’s a walk I remember well.
This was the countryside we strolled through.
The banks of the River Swale.
Richmond Caste in the distance.
And this was the abbey we found near the end: Easby Abbey, ruined since shortly after the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, and as atmospheric as ruins generally are.
.. and the still-standing parish church.
The site includes the not-at-all-ruined parish church which is still very much in use. When we popped in, we didn’t expect to find a poor swallow, struggling to get out. Church members were trying to help him, but he was still vying with stained glass angels as we left. Poor swallow.
Birder friends: can you help please? I realise this may not be a swallow, but it doesn’t seem to be a swift or house martin either. Thoughts?
If you go walking in Wensleydale: if you go for a walk from Jervaulx to Jervaulx via Thornton Steward, you’ll come across this tree home, at the edge of a field, commanding views over the valley. It has just one door and, importantly for Monday Window, just one window.
It’s pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but I always like to imagine a doting grandfather, tall and rangy from a tough life’s farming and probably reminiscent of the BFG, lovingly creating a little refuge for his grandchild in this hollow tree.
A first glimpse ….
… a second glimpse …
… and the whole thing.
I couldn’t fit in it, neither could you. Perhaps the grandchild is too big now. But I know a couple of young people who’d love to play there. Perhaps you do too.