Monthly Archives: December 2014

Photo Challenge: Warmth

Back to Yellowstone National Park for the photo challenge of warmth this week:

Yellowstone National Park

Taken just along the boardwalk from last week’s challenge of Yellow steam releases built up water pressure in the thermal basins. It may look inviting but is super-heated above boiling point by underground molten rock.

Yellowstone National Park

Smile for the camera and stay on the boardwalk. Don’t step back!

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Ringing the Changes

Christmas last year:

Siesta Key, Florida

Siesta Key, white quartz sand, azure sky, aquamarine Gulf of Mexico, squinting in the sun, sleeveless!

Christmas this year:

Santa Run, Ipswich, Suffolk, England

Grey, cold, damp, five layers of clothes, tired. What’s not to love about England?

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and the very best for the New Year, wherever you are!

How Many Santas?

A staggering number of Santas turned up in Ipswich Town centre for a 3K ( 3 kilometres, about 1.8 miles) Santa Run (or in our case walk). The weather was kind. It rained before the fun run. It rained after the fun run. It was dry long enough for aging, out-of-shape Santas to walk (swiftly I have to say in my defense) around the town and not have our red Santa suits bleed all over our clothes.

We were running/walking in aid of EACH, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, a charity that supports families of and cares for children with life-threatening diseases – a worthy cause with a light-hearted fund-raising angle.

Of course Santa is cold. He needs a warm up:

We then made our way to the start, the elite runners with the latest running gear on under their Santa suits at the front and the cheaters who pretended to window shop (c’mon, who would believe that? We were in Santa suits) alongside them.

And they’re off! This photo of slightly drunken appearance was taken on the move as we set off at a cracking walking pace:

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Donner? Blitzen? Comet? Cupid? Well, it’s not Rudolph!

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The pack thinned as the culturally-minded amongst us slowed our pace to admire the architecture while Mrs. Claus on the right shouted at her little elves named “Stop-right-there!” and “Get-back-here!”:

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One little elf returned but remained anonymous:

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The finish line soon loomed ahead and it was difficult to rein ourselves in but but we maintained our composure only splitting the Santa trousers a little bit at the crotch in our haste.

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After receiving a well-deserved bottle of water and a medal which should have been inscribed “You finally got here!” I turned to look at the building opposite. I have walked down this street and all the streets of Ipswich hundreds of times, intent on my next errand, and never looked up. ***

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How many Santas? 260 of us!!! A wonderful sum of £7,000 was raised. If you would like to add to that total please press HERE to follow the link.

*** The lovely timbered-framed building above is quite modern by English standards and is of no historical value. However there are, I have discovered to my shame, buildings of great beauty and historical value mixed in with, under the facade of and often above the ugly modern shop fronts and office buildings.

The Great White Horse Hotel dates back to the 16th Century and King George II, King Louis XVIII of France and Lord Nelson have all stayed there. Dickens, after staying there, used the hotel as the setting for a scene in The Pickwick Papers. The timber-framed hotel is hidden under a bland Georgian facade and is now, sadly, a Starbucks.

The Cornhill, the square in front of the Corn Exchange, has been the town centre since Saxon times! Graves unearthed in the town recently date back to the 7th Century. The spot where we danced uninhibitedly in silly Santa suits has been the grim scene of stocks and pillories, people (including a witch) burnt at the stake as well as a priest hung drawn and quartered in the 17th Century.

Shopping will never be quite the same. I will constantly be looking over my shoulder for the Witchfinder General.