I couldn’t be doing with pink when I was younger. I thought it was an itsy-bitsy sort of colour, suitable to be worn by annoying little girls of the Violet Elizabeth Bott persuasion (You do know who I’m talking about here, don’t you? Violet Elizabeth was the lisping, spoiled creature who tormented Richmal Crompton’s delightfully grubby-kneed and accident-prone Just William, as popular now as when he was first created in 1922).
I declined to dress my young daughters in pink, or to wear it myself. I despised its sugar-sweet prettiness.
These days I’m rather less hardline. I even have a raspberry pink shirt.
All the same, I think pink is happiest in the garden. It’s here that flowers can celebrate the colour in all its variety, from the softest most delicate shades of baby pink through to vibrant, vivacious flamingo pink. Pastel pink. Shocking pink. And pinks that use flower names: cherry blossom; rose; fuschia; carnation; cyclamen; dogwood.
Here’s a picture gallery of May time flowers taken over the last few years. All of them are pink. And I like every single one.
Many of these pictures were taken in our garden; in our village; at Newby Hall; and at the Himalayan Gardens at Grewelthorpe. It’s my entry for today’s Ragtag Challenge: pink.
I’ve never been much good at twiddling with the controls on my camera. I even joined a photography course recently, in an effort to get to grips with apertures, shutter speeds and ISO controls. But it just made my head hurt, and I reverted to ‘Automatic’ as my default modus operandi. I decided I’m a snaphot-ist, not a photographer.
Yesterday, however, just for a bit of fun and having an hour to spare, I turned to the ‘palette’ settings, and took an identical shot using every single one. Here’s the result. Though I forgot to take one on ‘Automatic’, so the tale is not quite complete. Can’t do it now. This little twig of blossom (cherry?), a chance discovery found lying in the road, wilted in the night.
Which do you like best? As ever, click on any image to see it full size. They’re in strict alphabetical order – no favouritism here.
This hasn’t been a week for writing for fun, as while I was having a good day in London on Monday, Malcolm ended up dialling 999, and is now in Harrogate Hospital after a heart attack. I wasn’t told until well on the way home, which may have been as well, as there was nothing I could have done. He’s awaiting transfer to the much bigger James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough. But there’s every reason to assume that all will be well.
So I’ve picked out this post from six years ago, from our days in the French Pyrenees to re-blog. Who doesn’t love a good yarn, spring flowers and spectacular views? It cheered me up, anyway.
Les demoiselles de Caraybat, daffodils and gentians
Once upon a time long ago in Caraybat, when times were hard, the men of this small village had to look far afield for work. And they went to Spain, for the hay-making season. Hawkers came to the village, and pedlars. They found a village with no men. They took advantage. So did the women.
When the hay-making season was over, the men returned, and the women spied them returning over the distant mountains. Suddenly ashamed and frightened, they fled to the hills. God, in vengeful and Old Testament mood, was displeased. As the women reached the summit, he turned each one of them to stone. And there they are to this day, les demoiselles de Caraybat, a petrified reminder of a summer of sin.
We remembered this legend yesterday when I took our Laroquais walking friends to Caraybat and the dolomies to discover those daffodils I’d been shown on Thursday. I was quite chuffed that not a single one of them had previously known this special spot, and we had a pleasant hour up on the rocks, picnicking and enjoying the last days of the daffodil season.
We followed the walk I’d learnt about on Thursday, and then we finished our day by going to the plateau above Roquefixade to see the gentians there.
Sadly, it was by then rather cold and windy, and most of the gentians had sensibly folded their indigo skirts about their faces and tucked themselves away to wait for a sunny day. We’ll wait too. And when the sun comes out properly, we’ll be back.
I can’t get to the bottom of why this photo gallery’s not displaying properly. But click on any image, or partial image, and you’ll be able to see the photos.
It’s not a bad walk either. Would you like it for one of your Monday walks, Jo? And on the theme of challenges, today’s Ragtag Prompt is April. These are pictures taken on a glorious walk in April, so fit the bill.
Older people like coach trips. Allegedly. They sit in a coach, gossip, have a nice cup of tea when they reach their destination, then they go home again.
On Thursday, fifteen people from Ripon U3A (Walkers’ Division) did exactly that. Except that in between the gossip in the coach and the nice cup of tea, they fitted in an eight and a half mile walk along a section of the Cleveland Way.
More herring gulls than people in Staithes.
The centre of the village.
Fishing boats in the harbour.
We started at Staithes, once a busy fishing port, now a picture-postcard-pretty holiday destination. It nestles at the foot of imposing cliffs, and our walk began with a good hard yomp to get from sea-level to cliff top. This was the first of several yomps up steep paths cut into the hillside at an unforgivingly steep gradient.
And what goes up must come down, as we discovered towards lunchtime at Runswick Bay, and later still at journey’s end in Sandsend.
All this would have been arduous enough. But there was a stiff breeze. This developed, as the day wore on, into a searching wind: the sort that blows any attempt at conversation far out to sea, turns pockets inside out, and rips scarves from shoulders. A few forays past farms offered slight shelter.
Bales of hay cut out the wind.
Nobody rested here.
By the time we arrived in Sandsend, the wind was arguing with the sea too, which rose up, roaring and seething and hurling itself against the breakwaters.
Did we complain? We did not. This was scenic walking at its best. Violets and primroses scattered our path, and striking barriers of yellow gorse imposed themselves between us and the cliff edge.
Violets and ….
Eight and a half miles of this kind of treatment was just about enough though. We were good and ready for tea and home-made cake at Wits End Cafe, and continued our gossip in the coach on the way home.
My drawers are stuffed with odd gloves, almost exclusively left-handed. I only buy cheap pairs, because they rarely last longer than a month. One famous winter I lost one or both gloves from eleven pairs. I managed to hang onto the twelfth….
This year, I made a stand. I spent four whole pounds on a pair of leather ones from a charity shop and vowed I would not lose them. Shhhh. So far so good.
So this year, I’m losing hats instead. Three down, one to go…..
This fisherman is trying for his daily catch on Valencia’s River Túria. I found him on the staircase of the Horchateria Santa Catalina.
Horchateria? Yes: it’s a café where you go to drink horchata, a traditional Valencian drink made with dried and sweetened tiger nuts. It’s rather good, if a little sweet.
Anyway, we were just leaving after our break when we spotted this bucolic scene. And it reminded me that we haven’t yet gone for a walk along the Túria, Valencia’s river-that-is-not-a-river. More of that tomorrow.
We travelled to London for Christmas quite late in the day on the 22nd. The moon was all-but full as it rose, at first barely peeking over the tree tops before eventually soaring high above us, in a clear black sky. I tracked its progress. Only my phone was to hand, but rather than lamenting the poor quality of these images, I liked the somewhat abstract quality they had. Here they are.
Then the next day, off we went, with Tom, Sarah, William and Zöe, to the Natural History Museum. More fool us for assuming it would be nearly empty so near to Christmas time. Outside though, was a man with a bucket of soapy water, and a couple of sticks linked with string, intent on play. He made bubbles. Lots of bubbles. I loved the abstract play of soft pinks and blues and sinuous curves set against the clean lines of the museum buildings beyond.
Here then is my contribution to today’s Ragtag Challenge: Abstract.
I’ve got two daughters who have the acting gene: who’ve often performed and entertained on stage over the years. Where did they get this gene from? Not me. I was a servant once in a school play, and spoke two whole lines. That’s my Drama CV.
Yet apparently, Malcolm and I will be part of a troupe appearing on stage for one night only at the Frazer Theatre Knaresborough, to perform an improvised drama about … well, what else?… Brexit.
It was Phil’s idea. He’s a professional theatre director, and he’s one of our People’s Vote team. He thought we needed something to entertain the campaigning troops all over North Yorkshire and bring us and a wider public together for something a little different. Adrian, also part of the team, offered practical and technical expertise.
And suddenly … there we were, rehearsing, about a dozen of us. Most of us had never met each other before. No script. No lines. No clear idea where this might go…. yet. This was to be Improvised Theatre. We played games. ‘Think of one thing you like about being part of Europe.’ (Just one?) ‘Now make a statue of it.’ We’ve made more statues, taught our poses to others, worked with them to make vignettes. We’ve played ball games, word games. We’ve told stories about our own experiences of Europe and of the-Brexit-to-be, and with Phil, woven these into scenes and tableaux . We’ve sung a sea shanty, improvised ‘Question Time’. Phil and Adrian persuaded someone to confect a video. All this weekend, we’ll be working solidly to pull everything together. Well, Phil will. He’s got an eye for when there’s a nugget worth mining for, a gem worth polishing.From the latest North Yorkshire for Europe newsletter.
On my way to yoga last Friday I was stopped in my tracks. There, high above me was that unmistakeable raucous calling that only flying geese can deliver. I watched, as ever transfixed by the cooperative and graceful weaving flight of these birds. They maintained their traditional V shape as they journeyed on, but I realised they weren’t constantly following the same Top Goose. First one, then another would fly forwards, only to be succeeded by another, only moments later. Always, however, they remained connected, a purposeful team.
I saw these geese at Marfield Wetlands exactly this time last year. Disobligingly, they did not formed perfect Vs for me.
Later, lying on my back in the yoga group, I glimpsed a red kite, wheeling and diving directly above the skylight.
A Good Morning.
These photos were taken this time last year. I still have no camera….
Ragtag Tuesday. It’s still there. As is Ragtag-every-other-day-of-the-week. Have a look. But I’ve moved to Saturday’s Ragtag Daily Prompt.