Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Ancient and Modern 3


Not the best of my 'Ancient and Modern' efforts but I still find this shot quite interesting. More plate glass (the window of the new M&S store, to be precise), more reflections (of the Victorian Post Office building) and a distant glimpse of another old place, rendered and painted white - an unusual sight in Bradford as most buildings are the original stone. It used to be a pub called The Ring O'Bells (being in close proximity to Bradford Cathedral) but the pub has closed and it looks like the building is now used as offices.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ancient and Modern 2


Well, we've seen William Forster before on this blog (here and here) and I thought he might fit well with the 'Ancient and Modern' theme. His authoritative finger is certainly directing the Superdry man's gaze - though all they can see is the entrance to the shopping mall!

Monday, 22 August 2016

Ancient and Modern 1



Theme of last month for my online photo group was 'Ancient and Modern'. There is no shortage of opportunity for that subject round here. I decided to take my camera into Bradford one day and, on my way home from work, I shot a few reflection pictures. I always enjoy the way the Victorian stone buildings - no doubt exciting and 'fashionable' in their time - are showcased in the now fashionable plate glass of the most modern constructions around the city. This is an elegant old bank, its cupola reflected in the newest addition to Bradford city centre, the Broadway shopping mall.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Me and my stick


This is my younger granddaughter. She'll soon be two and is growing up fast. She is a prolific 'signer', having benefitted from the baby-signing lessons she has been to with her mum, but is now learning lots of words. Sometimes I just wish I could bottle moments for posterity... like the moment recently when we were all having lunch together and she gave me the most adorable smile and simply said: 'Happy'. She is a contented little soul. She is also a stick-gatherer extraordinaire. I think stick-gathering must be some atavistic human trait but maybe we grow out of it.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Messing about in a river


I had a few days off work (using up all my leave prior to retirement!) and it coincided with some very pleasant weather, so when I was visiting my daughter we decided to have a picnic down by the stream. It's such a pretty spot, called Jack Bridge, where the Pennine Way long-distance footpath crosses the River Colden over an ancient stone bridge. There was a cotton mill here at one time but it has been demolished and little remains to hint at the industrial past. The river bed is flat and shallow in parts, ideal for little ones to paddle and skim stones.


Friday, 19 August 2016

The calm of the evening


Wales -  As I said yesterday, our accommodation overlooked a busy spot with lots to watch but the real beauty came in the evening, at least on those nights when it was sunny and still. The sun set behind the apartment and the long golden rays of light lit the moored boats beautifully.


There was only one night when the sunset sky showed any colour but it was pretty and delicate, even though the tide was out and the reflections thereby somewhat limited.


Thursday, 18 August 2016

The view from within


Wales - Our holiday apartment had a small conservatory on the front that overlooked the tidal Teifi estuary, right at the spot where there is a small park with seats, a jetty and slipway. When we weren't outdoors exploring, we spent hours just sitting in the sunshine there, watching the endless sideshows that revealed themselves. The tide ebbed and flowed, boats came and went. The deepest navigable channel was just in front of the jetty, so we saw small fishing boats making their way from Cardigan to the sea, as well as all the leisure craft. A flotilla of kayaks came past every day, people being trained to use them under the watchful eye of two or three instructors. We spotted waders, gulls and ducks. Three tractors danced in the fields across the river, just muck-spreading but doing so with such grace and artistry. People sat on the benches gazing at the view, walked their dogs, waited for the bus, parked their cars to go to the excellent local pub... But the best were the fishermen and the little children crabbing from the jetty. This family (below) caught lots and then emptied their buckets out onto the jetty so there were crabs everywhere, all scuttling sideways to splash back into the water!



Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Mwnt wildlife


Wales - We climbed Mwnt's hill, descended to the beach to pick up shells and sea-worn pebbles, refreshed ourselves with tea and ice creams in the café and then decided to follow a short walking trail around the headland. There is a coastal path along the whole of Cardigan Bay but it was a warm day and we decided to take it easy... a good decision, as we were stopping every few minutes to enjoy the views and watch the wildlife.

The little bird was hopping around the bracken fronds. It's a stonechat.  They are not uncommon in the right areas, though you wouldn't see one in Saltaire! I also saw a rare chough flying past, a black crow with a distinctive red-orange beak.



Cardigan Bay is a Special Area of Conservation because of a thriving population of bottle-nosed dolphins, as well as the porpoises and seals that frequent the bay. The only other sizeable British population of dolphins is in Scotland's Moray Firth.  We'd been told you can sometimes see them from the cliffs, though many people take special tour boats that go out to search for them. We sat watching the lobster fishermen and the tour boats cruising up and down and were eventually rewarded by the sight of a couple of dolphins quite close to shore, occasionally almost breaching the water. At least, we were pretty sure they were dolphins, though dolphins and porpoises can be hard to tell apart at a distance. Dolphins are bigger and have a scythe shaped dorsal fin. These two were a long way away but with my lens on its maximum telephoto and then cropping the picture drastically I managed to achieve the shot below, which I am extremely proud of!
  


Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Look at that sea...


Wales - Mwnt

'Look at that sea, girls - all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn't enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.'
L M Montgomery - Anne of Green Gables  

(one of my all-time favourite books)

Monday, 15 August 2016

Mwnt beach


Wales - Mwnt beach is simply gorgeous. It's a sheltered inlet of golden sand, surrounded by cliffs that, at low tide, allow a few rock pools to be explored. Down one side a little stream flows out to sea - ideal for children (and dads!) to splash about in, diverting and damming the water. All construction is wiped out when the tide comes in, of course, so the next day's visitors can start afresh. It has been listed top of Europe's 'ten best hidden beaches' and is safe and sheltered for swimming, though there is no lifeguard here. I'd love to have brought my granddaughters here. Maybe one day....

It's a steep climb up and down to the beach from the lane and car park but there is a nice little café and shop at the top, where we had another ice cream!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Mwnt



Wales - The best day of our holiday week, weatherwise, saw us visiting Mwnt, whose name might be unpronounceable to a Yorkshire woman but whose beauty we certainly appreciated. It's stunning! Cared for by the National Trust, this area of the Welsh coast, around Cardigan Bay, centres on a curious conical hill, Foel y Mwnt, that has at its base both a sweet little whitewashed church and an attractive, sheltered beach of golden sand. The 76m high hill is easy to climb and gives wonderful views up and down the coast (see top picture). Sadly, the Church of the Holy Cross was locked so we couldn't peep inside. The Grade 1 listed building dates back to the 14th century and is a medieval sailors' chapel of ease; that is, not the main church in a parish but one built for convenience for those who might not be able to get easily to the main parish church.




Saturday, 13 August 2016

Romantic Cilgerran


Wales - After visiting the Welsh Wildlife Centre, we walked up the River Teifi, through a spectacular gorge to Cilgerran Castle, a fine - though now ruined - example of a Welsh castle. Originally a wooden structure on a rocky promontory overlooking the Teifi Gorge, construction of the stone castle was started in 1224 at the command of William Marshal, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. It passed through many hands and saw many adventures in the turbulent battles between Welsh and English forces in the medieval period. It was eventually abandoned in 1400 and left to become a rather romantic ruin.

It is a place where my imagination can run wild. I was particularly taken by the story of Nest, the wife of Gerald of Windsor, who first built a castle here. She and her children were kidnapped by her second cousin, Owain ap Cadwgan, after helping her husband to escape through the privy hole. It doesn't sound as though she minded being kidnapped... She became the mistress to a number of lovers including King Henry I. I suppose in those days a woman had little except her sexuality to ensure that she and her children were taken care of.

The magnificent willow sculpture is of William Marshal and was being repaired by its creator, ( the aptly named) Michelle Cain, with the help of a student. The same lady had also created the badger sculpture ( see Thursday).



Friday, 12 August 2016

Teifi Marshes Nature Reserve


Wales - I really enjoyed exploring this nature reserve. We stopped off in various hides around the circular boardwalk, though none of us had any binoculars. I guess you really have to be there early (and have the proper equipment) to spot the most interesting sights. By the time we arrived there were quite a few other folk about but we still saw enough birds and beasts to make it an interesting and enjoyable visit. Horses graze to keep the vegetation down. 


A herd of water buffalo is an unusual sight in this country!


We had only just arrived in the first hide when we saw this fox. I had to be very quick with my camera as it walked quickly into the long grass and then it soon scented us and was off.


 A common Meadow Brown butterfly but it posed quite prettily for me.


View from a hide - though all we saw here was a mute swan.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Welsh Wildlife Centre


Wales - This spectacular modern building, near Cardigan, is the visitor centre for the Welsh Wildlife Centre, on the Teifi marshes nature reserve. We walked the circular route around the reserve, stopping off in various hides and then rewarded ourselves (again!) with tea and cake in the very nice café on the top floor, which has great views over the reserve.


There were some lovely examples of artwork: this mural showing some of the various species that can be seen on the reserve, and then this magnificent willow sculpted badger.