Late autumn is a grand time to be in the Lake District. The colours are rich and glowing and when the sky is blue, and the lakes reflect all the stunning richness, it is a paradise on earth. Yes, the other seasons have their own beauty — freshness, sweetness and crisp diamond brilliance, but autumn is a dying with a promise of resurrection. Already spring buds are forming on shrubs and will remain until the warmth and light of spring awakens them to the joy of birdsong.
Posts Tagged ‘photographs’
Late September Holiday — Coach Tour to Torquay and area.
Who would have believed late September could be so hot! Without doubt, the weather contributed considerably to our opinion of the coach tour.
I rather think the hotel is in the process of restoration because our bedroom, three floors up, seemed to be the only one where the furniture had the appearance of having been in a fight, or maybe thrown out of the window and come out battered and bruised. The bed was reasonably comfortable though and that is what matters. We also had a good view from the window looking towards the town and sea, while just below us were tennis courts.
True we were three floors up but there was a small lift should we choose to take it. We rarely did as walking up the stairs, though at times painful (due to osteo-arthritis), was good exercise.
Meals were always served on time and the food was plentiful and quite good on the whole, considering the cost of the tour and the amount of residents eager to be fed. I rarely eat meat but a fish dish was on the menu every day.
Outdoor and indoor pools, exercise equipment and other health facilities were free to use, and something was happening in the lounge every night. But since every day was a highly active one for us, by the time we had our evening meal we preferred to relax in our own room and read or watch the TV. The first night we had a spectacular, and I mean SPECTACULAR, firework display just a short distance away and, being high up, our view could not have been better. Evidently it had been put on by a wedding party in nearby grounds. Wow, it went on, and on, for ages. What a way to start our holiday!
Our meals were served by a human dynamo of a waiter. Not surprising he was incredibly lean. We were all sitting on tables for six residents and it did not take long to get to know our neighbours. Like all of the guests, oldies like ourselves.
On the Sunday, we spent our free day walking around Torquay and getting to know the area. Later in the week, on a free day, I used my bus pass for the first time when we toured the area on public transport buses.
Included in the tour price were trips to Looe and Polperro, Exmouth and River Exe sail, and a visit to Totness. We also paid to go on an extra one — a Dartmouth Round Robin trip — open-top bus to Paignton, boat trip to Dartmouth, across the ferry to catch a steam train to Paignton and open top bus back to Torquay. There we had another delightful tea with strawberry cream tart before returning to our hotel. By this time the weather was really hot! So we walked up and down hills, visited delightful places, saw black swans for the first time, had a nostalgic ride on a steam train, sailed up rivers, and generally had a wonderful time.
I particularly enjoyed Totness. For me a true gem of a town. We were dropped off at the top of the street, a narrow road running quite a distance downhill to the River Dart and the main area of the town businesses and activities. Not that there was a shortage of interesting activities going on all along the main street. Shops, a band playing jazz and other lively tunes, folk dressed up, market stalls selling all kinds of goods (an opportunity for Bargain Hunt?). Lovely bridge over the water and a magical walk by the river. A light autumn mist hovering and the crunch of leaves and beech masts under our feet enhanced our journey into a kind of paradise! Back in the town we discovered a museum that was once a mill. We did not have time to go inside but my hubby was ecstatic about the rusty old machinery on display outside.
And then he kissed me…
I visited Geoffrey my friend — once tutor, colleague and champion when pitted against Church Authority — again today. The last time I visited the nursing home, I feared he was at death’s door. He had been asleep most of the time and looking terribly weary and ill, so much so that I rang the nursing home today to enquire if it was all right to visit.
I found the residents large sitting room remarkably quiet and noticed many of the chairs were empty. The few who were present were sitting in a circle having toenails clipped.
“Who are you?” Geoffrey asked, when I greeted him with a smile.
I sat down beside him and told him (with many interruptions due to his deafness) my name and how we are connected. While this was going on I noticed a wonderful change in him. His complexion was that of a young man, he was shaved and his hair neatly cut (I could not help but notice the size of his ears!). He was neatly dressed and looked younger than his actual years — well into his eighties. Moreover, his voice was strong and almost authoritative rather like the Reverent Doctor I have known for many years.
He looked around and said that it was a very nice room. Somehow the church was brought into the conversation and he said that some very nice people attended the meetings. I rather think he thought we were at a study meeting, which took place in people’s homes. He said something about various views expressed and I said something about it being good that different aspects of faith could come together. He said, stumbling a little while trying to remember the word ‘Anglican’, that the Church encompassed a wide spectrum of faith — or some such.
I was amazed that he had been able to draw such views from his memory and express them. He was in a cheerful mood, smiling when I smiled — such a charming smile too! Then he suddenly asked me if I was his wife (mentioning her by name). Again I had to tell him his wife had died. And so it happened a few times. Once he said, “Oh yes, I seem to remember being told that.” But then he looked at the women in the chair next to him and asked if she was his wife. He would not accept my answer and demanded to know who the lady was. I could not answer nor could the poor woman being addressed! I diverted his attention by telling him that it was good to see him looking so young and sprightly. My goodness, he beamed! His whole face became radiant. I had been touching his hand while telling him about his wife and likely what was left of his memory bank made him think of holding hands with her. I had often seen them sitting on their little sofa together, holding hands like a young couple in love. He asked me again if I was she. He found it hard to accept what I told him but moved on…
Finally, it was time for me to go. Smiling, he gave me half a wink and said,
“Come on then, give me a kiss before you go.”
I bent over and he kissed my lips. Was I again his wife?
Overflowing with joy, I left the nursing home, so pleased that he could still smile and laugh even if he did spend most of his life in a confusing fog.
I found my hubby waiting in the car, which was parked overlooking the bay. We drove just a short distance and had a little walk by the beach. Holding hands as we always do, and, hopefully, always will.
(Click on photos to enlarge them) The sun shone for Ulverston carnival, making sequins flash as dancers performed and children laughed and jumped for joy!
The colours were truly magical, the costumes superb, the music rhythmical as girls and boys of all ages wriggled and romped or just strode along. Bands played, money jingled in boxes and buckets, and sweeties were handed to gleeful children. Everyone smiled, laughed and applauded the entertainers. Not a frown in sight as Ulverston gave itself to merriment.
Well done all those performers — slim or bonny, short or tall, and all shapes and sizes in-between — who donned their costumes and gave of themselves so merrily. So too the musicians who blew and banged and gave their all.
AND SO THIS POST ENDS WITH A BIG BANG FROM THE DRUM!
Returning again to a time gone by…
Highfields Park at Nottingham University June 2011
As we (my husband and I) entered the café at Nottingham University’s Highfields Park, the theme of the music being played was about ‘going home’. How appropriate! I was visiting once more the ‘playground’ of our youth where so many memories come flooding back.
The only time I met any of our cousins was when they visited our home in Beeston during the war, and we all went to that particular park. The adults talked while we rolled on the sloping grass.
As a teenager I walked there with my brother and youths laughed at the red spot I had on the tip of my nose. (When I reached home, against all advice, I squeezed it until its contents flowed with blood).
At fourteen, on the lake I turned into a Boadicea by fighting boys off with an oar when rowing on the lake. On the little island, under the Wishing Tree, I wished for a first kiss. Under the willow trees I met with a friend who drew boys like bees to nectar (hoping some of it would rub onto me but never did!)
As a family we occasionally walked there on Sundays — my dad was stung on his lip — his lips and face swelled and turned purple. (I was scared stiff!)
It was in the park lake that my brother, celebrating the end of term with his student friends, fell from a boat and lost his glasses. He arrived home dripping water from a suit sodden and quickly shrinking to several sizes smaller.
I saw the little stream where I took my first photo with a box camera. I took a photo of a heron in that very stream — but now with a digital camera.
I looked up at the elegant University building and recalled my brother taking me to a ‘going down hop’ — he’d pressed his trousers with a damp cloth and spent much time scratching at his buttocks!
It was in this park that I walked with my husband to be, and now after 58 years of marriage little had changed, except for growth of trees and loss of paddling pool. Less flowers and more weeds. More students in more university buildings but not affecting the park. One important change, it is now possible to walk ALL the way round the lake AND there is a cultural centre (complete with café) replacing the pavilion.
The huge Nottingham Queen’s hospital has appeared over the years. My mother had an operation there in 1987 to remove a cancer from her stomach.
It so happened to coincide with a conference for Apple computer users. I was able to share a two-bedroomed apartment with my son in the residential buildings within University park. From there I was able to freely visit my mum for the whole weekend. To me, staying amongst the Apple enthusiasts was like going to a ‘Revivalist’ conference — enthusiasm and excitement combined with a friendly welcome and warmth of spirit. In fact I have been to religious conferences far less friendly! Here I was invited to join in with the talks and demonstrations etc but I declined and visited a sister a few miles away. The walk, part of it through the park, did me good. Apart from eating and sleeping, the rest of the time I was with my mother.
Close to (or within?) the Park there used to be Highfields Lido. Alas no more, it went years ago. I never did learn to swim at the Lido but memories of Eric the cad still linger!
You don’t exactly get the sharpest photographs while on the move but sometimes it is the only way! We had a drive up to Windermere a couple of days ago and, since it was sunny with a lovely blue sky reflecting in the water, I snapped a few photos. Mostly of Lake Windermere but one looking through bare trees down Coniston Water.
It was a break from writing and book concerns, and of course, necessary household tasks. Did a bit of pruning later on too. Spring is indeed on the way. Daffodil photos next week? Well, it is Spring Day on Monday and our 58th wedding anniversary. How well I remember the cool dull day… looks like being brighter this year though.
Love, Honour and Obey… And the bride said, “I do.”
Lisa’s choice, her own thought-out decision.
Antiquated? Not relevant in today’s society?
Taking the form of a chattel?
Romantic idealism far removed from reality?
Others will think what they will, but the vows have to be seen in context of the wedding ceremony of EACH receiving a ring and the groom making his promises to love and to cherish. A sharing in all that they are and all that they have. A joining of body, soul and possessions. The groom accepting his responsibility, not as a lord and master but as a loving responsible companion along a road of self discovery for them both. A lifetime commitment. Not a form of musical chairs — changing partners when the romantic music stops.
Two people who saved themselves until the right person came along. Two people in love and desiring the good of each other. A true Christian marriage, with Christian values.
It is over 57 years since I made the same promises. We have lived through some difficult times, things have not always gone smoothly, but we have worked through our problems and those years have been growth. That is what marriage is all about. To love and to cherish… to give and to receive…
We each bring different gifts into a marriage, the blending of masculine and feminine, the gifts with which we are endowed, the skills we have learned, all these form a whole, bound and strengthened by love. To love and honour the man you marry, to be obedient to the demands that love makes on all of us, is not a hard task but one that leads to joy and happiness, a foundation for bringing up a family with which we hope to be blessed.
(Photographs are quick snaps with digital camera. They are not the official ones. My hubby not on any because he had the camera)
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We also saw death in its most horrid form — a small lamb that had been attacked by crows. The sight was so shocking that tears ran down my face. A gentle creature that could not possibly do harm to others. Near by another lamb limped on three legs. Hopefully we saved it the same fate as when we told the farmer of what we had seen, he said crows will attack lambs that show signs of lameness. He intended dealing with both lambs right away.
To me that little lamb stood for all helpless creatures in the world — human as well as animal life — that are brutally treated and murdered by evil forces present in man and beast. The cries of many go unheard. We can only do what we can and pray for change. The farmer told us that the lamb’s fate was just nature. That only made it seem worse. I wanted to get a gun and shoot every crow in sight! Yes, I like to think that I’m a pacifist too!
I doubt I could have done it anyway, unless I saw a crow about to strike.
It set me on a chain of thoughts about wars. Can we stand by and watch murder on a huge scale? It is easy to turn our eyes away — or is it?
At least I had a welcoming Email waiting for me at home. Another great review for Seduction By Design but I’ll be posting that shortly.
Walking Around Ulverston.
A Walk on the Flan footpath and through the bluebell woods
For a pleasant little walk take the Gill footpath and follow it along until reaching Old Hall Road. Cross the road (where we once witnessed a duck, followed by her tiny ducklings, crossing over to the other side) and take the Flan footpath. Here you can witness bonny lambs, guarded by their mums, frolicking in the open fields, Surely one of the most joyful sights that tell us that spring is here. Not all the lambs are alike. Many are part black in differing degrees but all look cute and cuddly. I love the photo here where a lamb’s eyes glow, and especially the one that informs us that both infants are number 43, belonging to sheep 43. It reminded me of being in hospital with my baby tagged Baby Hobson alongside my bed with my Hobson notes hung on the end bedrail. A happy memory indeed.
From the footpath are views towards Morecambe Bay, with a distant view of the Holker estate, home of Lord Cavendish of Furness, (part of the well-known Cavendish family who own Chatsworth in Derbyshire — the home of the Duke of Devonshire).
But you don’t have to look towards distant parts to be impressed by the loveliness surrounding the walker: rich green fields and the approaching deciduous woods are peacefully refreshing,
Having reached the gate at the end of the footpath, you cross the road and enter a gate by a house. A signpost tells you that you are on a path that leads to the Hoad Hill. Soon the woods will be filled with the rich colour and scent of bluebells. At present there are large patches of wood sorrel, shiny-leaved ivy and later-flowering plants covering the ground.
We found the woods utterly delightful when, with clouds drifting, the sun began filtering through branches bearing their young green leaves still damp with morning rain. Twittering of birds and woodland aromas enhanced our vision of nature more than mere words can tell.
At the end of the path a high set of steps takes the walker over a stone wall and on to the path that leads to the Hoad Monument and beyond, with branches off to take the walker back to the main road and town.
For stories — humorous to macabre — set in Ulverston, Furness and Lakeland, with an introduction about each setting, see my book, Still Waters Run Deep, Stories of Hidden Depths. Visit Magpies Nest Publishing for samples and reviews. Can be bought from the publisher, from bookshops in the area, or ordered from anywhere in the UK. (UK post free if bought from MNP.)
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St George and the Dragon
Still fighting the good fight!
In town today there is a Festival of St George going on — brass band, Victoria High School Jazz Band, Morris dancing, entertainers, plus the slaying of a huge dragon — lots of colour, sound and smells. Most of the smells coming from vendors of burgers and such. There are stalls selling just about everything, including cuddly life size toy animals. I saw one small boy struggling to carry a lifelike Collie dog. I wondered what would happen to it. Would it be a hassle-free pet to keep him company and someone to tell his troubles to, or will the novelty quickly pass and it become tossed aside with discarded toys ready for the next table-top sale?
As I write this, people are gathering in town for all the fun and games. Bread is piled high on one stall, cakes on another. There are canopied tables with meat, sausages, sweets, books, handicrafts, toys — you name it, you are bound to find it. Right now, musicians and dancers will be performing with children bobbing around longing to join in — and not only children, oldies like me find it hard to be restrained and ladylike. St George’s Day in Ulverston is mainly for families with fun and treats for the children.
Why celebrate St George? Such strange legends have little meaning today unless we all realise that we have a dragon within us — a mixture of greed, intolerance, envy, hatred — which the St George part of our personality needs to overcome. Surely this is something we should think about as we face hard times ahead.
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