Monthly Archives: March 2015

This is what walls are for!

Flowers, flowers and more flowers! I was happy, happy, happy!

Festival of the Patios, Cordoba, Spain Festival of the Patios, Cordoba, Spain Festival of the Patios, Cordoba, Spain Festival of the Patios, Cordoba, Spain

Festival of the Patios, Cordoba, Spain, 2006

Tantalizing glimpses through wrought iron gates of bountiful patios are all one gets throughout the year until May, when private patios – central open-air ‘rooms’ in houses – are opened to the public.

Originally plants and water features were a way of keeping the patios cool in the hot dry summers but in 1918 Códoba City Hall began sponsoring the patio contests. As you can see the residents go all out.

How would you like a whole wall of flowers?

To view more walls in the photo challenge, click: Wall. That’s all!

Kings, Castles and Wizards

One grey and misty day, long, long ago – at least three months ago – I convinced himself that we should revisit Tintagel Castle, the site of the legend of King Arthur. Since our first visit ten years ago it has lived on in my over-active imagination as a land of mystery and magic.

Tintagel Castle, King Arthur
King Arthur reincarnated in shorts and trainers

Centuries before King Arthur was a twinkle in a movie producer’s eye a tale emerged through Celtic lore and French medieval poetry of the adulterous love of a knight and a princess.

Tintagel Castle, King Arthur
Himself striding off into the Dark Ages in search of his princess

On a windswept strategic promontory with a history dating back 1700 years to the dark ages I felt the presence of King Arthur – a myth that has been perpetuated for 900 years.

The castle once stretched over a narrow isthmus of land but  wild Atlantic weather has swept the isthmus away leaving half of the castle isolated on a jagged island. All that is left of the castle are foundation stones outlining rooms but enough to lure a stream of tourists since the end of the 1600’s. And me. Twice now. The guide book will direct to you to Merlin’s Cave and Excalibur rests in the lake not far from the cafe and the ticket booth.

As I stood on the windy promontory,  taking in lungfuls of salty Atlantic air, legs astride, arms akimbo I could see the Knights at the Round Table. I could hear Guinevere. I could picture myself holding Excalibur aloft, the plastic replicas on sale in town firing my imagination. I felt touched by the presence of King Arthur.

Himself would tell you that I am just touched.

Do you believe in the legend of King Arthur?

Tintagel Castle, King Arthur's Castle
After all those steps we faced this walk back to town and the car. The mainland courtyards are visible in the top right of the picture below the white buildings. The Camelot Castle Hotel, top left, is unfortunately not where we stayed.

B & W Challenge #5 Guess Who?

kids in the snow

How better to finish the challenge than with a photo of yours truly!

I must credit my father with taking this photo. Do you remember the old box cameras? Dad’s had a flap on the top that you lifted for the viewfinder. You held the camera against your chest to steady it and looked straight down into the viewfinder to find your subject with some difficulty with your whole body getting in on the action – was the image upside-down? The film was advanced manually and there were 12 images on your black and white roll. Six to twelve months later when you’d taken your twelfth photo, you’d take the film into a camera shop to be developed and wait two weeks for your photographs, which mostly came as a surprise as you’d taken them so long ago.

Now I take a photo and send it halfway around the world in an instant. Who would have believed that?

Jude of Travel Words and the earth laughs in flowers has invited me to join in with this challenge. Jude is an accomplished photographer/traveler/garden enthusiast so while out and about stays grounded and records everything with wonderfully entertaining results.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
  2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to nominate Cindy Knoke of cindyknoke.com to take part in the challenge. Cindy lives in a mythical place in California she call ‘The Holler’ and travels extensively.  Her photos are just . . .  they’re just so . . . so very . . . . . absolutely . . . . ummm. It would seem they are indescribable. You’ll have to have a look for yourself. Go on.

(Note to Cindy – I shouldn’t have paired you in this post with the faded, scratched, photo of a photo above. But then there is no comparison between your photos and mine.)

B & W Challenge #4 Ponies or Phones?

pony express ponies

Is it difficult to picture these lovely guys as the precursor to your smart phone?

For just 18 months in 1860/61 ponies like these (and their plucky riders) were the only means of communication between the eastern and western United States. Their legendary feat of carrying mail 1700 miles – across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains – lives on in the hearts of Americans. When the Pony Express came to town in Fountain Hills AZ a great lump of unexpected national pride welled up in my chest.

Jude of Travel Words and the earth laughs in flowers has invited me to join in with this challenge. Jude is an accomplished photographer/traveler/garden enthusiast so while out and about stays grounded and records everything with wonderfully entertaining results.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
  2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to nominate Joanne Sisco at My Life Lived Full to take up the challenge. She likes to live her life ‘on the edge’ and has posted some startling photos to prove it. A favourite post of mine is A Winter Day at the Falls. Recently she shut herself in a sensory deprivation tank. Good grief! What’s next, Joanne?

B & W Challenge #3 The Boys in the Band

The boys in the band, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain
The boys in the band, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain

Looking good is mandatory but playing your instrument is optional.

I recently posted photos of Semana Santa – Easter Week – in Spain. Religious processions are solemn occasions but we’ve always been amused by the teenagers who take part in the marching bands.

The above photo was very busy so was heavily cropped to focus attention on the boys’ faces. What you can’t see is that they are all carrying wind instruments. What you can see is that they aren’t playing them.

Jude of Travel Words and the earth laughs in flowers has invited me to join in with this challenge. Jude is an accomplished photographer/traveler/garden enthusiast so while out and about stays grounded and records everything with wonderfully entertaining results.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
  2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to nominate Sue Slaght at Travel Tales of Life to take part in the challenge. Sue has all the energy, enthusiasm and devilment I wish I had for travel. You just never know what she will do next. It’s all documented. Go have a look. You won’t be disappointed.

B & W Challenge #2 Polperro Pub Crawl

Polperro, Cornwall

The scene of our most raucous pub crawl was the tiny unassuming fishing village of Polperro in Cornwall. With a population of 1200 supporting six pubs you can see that these people like to party at the pub! Sadly, I didn’t take photos of the 40-something-year-old ‘schoolchildren’ or the ‘tarts and vicars’ out that night, but we finished the evening with them at The Three Pilchards on the quayside. I hope no-one strayed near the water.

Jude of Travel Words and the earth laughs in flowers has invited me to join in with this challenge. Jude is an accomplished photographer/traveler/garden enthusiast so while out and about stays grounded and records everything with wonderfully entertaining results.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
  2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to nominate James and Terri at Gallivance to take part in the challenge. They’ve lived in five countries and gallivanted around 61 countries in their life-long travels. From scanned photos to artfully crafted digital photos, and an eye for detail, they showcase culture and humanity in their blog posts in a most engaging way.

B & W Challenge #1 Tombstone

tombstone bad guy

Bad guys abound in Tombstone. Some will pose for a photograph, others . . . . you just have to ‘shoot’ them when they’re not looking, pray no one sees you and run for cover.

Jude of Travel Words and the earth laughs in flowers has invited me to join in with this challenge. Jude is an accomplished photographer/traveler/garden enthusiast so while out and about stays grounded and records everything with wonderfully entertaining results.

There are only two rules for this challenge:

  1. On 5 consecutive days, create a post using either a past or recent photo in B&W.
  2. Each day invite another blog friend to join in the fun.

Today I would like to nominate Jo at The Numpty With a Camera to join in.

For those of you non-English English speakers out there, a numpty is one of those quirky English words that doesn’t really translate. The closest I could think of is knucklehead, and Jo is anything but. Visit her site. View her beautiful photography and you’ll see why her title is a self-deprecating one.