Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Galloping in Ghent

Walking in the outskirts of Ghent on our way from the Museum of Art to the centre one Sunday we approached a square where suddenly the sight of  a gathering of horses galloping in all directions surounded us.  Most pulling carriages but also
just trotting along.  We wondered if it was a gymkhana or a gala but no
the notice by the sand covered square explained it all with the help of my trusty Dutch dictionary. Draught Horse (Trekpaard) Promotion (promotie)  Flanders (Vlaanderen).  It is interesting that the derivation of the word Draught is the Old English 'dragen' to draw or haul which is similar to the Dutch 'dragen' to carry -  but wait I'm getting off the point here.  We usually call them Heavy Horses, the gentle giants. Near where I live in Cumbria there is a Heavy Horse centre where you can ride over the fells or gallop along the beaches on Clydesdales and Shire Horses.
But here in Ghent the farmlands had come to the town.  The light chestnut ones like this (and the first photo) with their white tail and main are the Brabant breed or the Belgium Draft Horse.  The American spelling may be the clue that it is the most popular breed of Heavy Horse in the USA.  They are good-looking horses

as are the white ones here taking a genteel turn around the square

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a ride through the alphabet

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Unknown Family

I haven't done a Sepia Saturday prompt for an age but hopefully I'll get back in the swing of things this week with the theme of the unknown and nameless family.  Those enigmatic photographs whose stories and people we do not know like this one
in the Gardner family album. My father was always prompted his mother in law to write the names in the albums whenever she got books out. Happily she did, under duress, write on some of the photographs but even she did not know all the faces.  I have chosen this photograph because it is the only one in the book which is from Burnley, a place which I have no knowledge of any of the family coming from.  I would guess this is a Grandmother with her granddaughters, a memento perhaps because they do not live nearby.  Apart from Grandmother's fine Victorian posture they look a relaxed group and I think there is affection in the portrait, one girl resting are arm on her Grannie's shoulder.  
The photographer's details are on the back "all negatives are kept", wouldn't that be a thing to find, all neatly catalogued.  Dream on.  I had a look to see what Healey Wood Road looked like and it turned out to be a typical Lancashire terraced house street but I also found someone who was doing some research on David Brooks and discovered, through them,  that the Brooks families lived at 11, 14 and 18 Healey Wood Road for a number of censuses, David Brooks appearing on the 1891 census as a photographer.  This ties in nicely with the back of this card because as can be seen bottom left it is a Marion & Co*  design. These designs for the back of carte de visite and cabinet cards from 1870 onwards were sold to photographers all over England. This particular design and the number on the bottom right dates the card to between 1892-4 so although I still don't know who the family is I do know the dates the photograph was taken. If we go back to the Brooks family their daughters in 1881 were cotton weavers which as Burnley was at the heart of  cotton mills country (at one time having 99,000 power looms) would have been very common but by 1891 the daughter of the family were dressmakers.  I wonder what the girls in the photo went on to do. 


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

In the Frame

The National Trust used a popular part of the Lake District and one of Tarn Hows favoured aspects for their "Framing the View" initiative to encourage people to take one of their Great British Walks and discover wildlife, hidden heritage and of course the views of the area. It also proved popular with families and friends to have their photograph taken in the frame.  It was only a temporary installation from September to November (this photo was taken in October) and provided much fun.  Not too far away there is another frame
near the Grizedale Forest.  I think the idea behind this is probably better than the actuality as it looks rather inelegant in reality but the autumn colour of the tree in the distance improves and boosts it no end
Tree and frame (on the right) are located  by what was Grizedale Hall.. This terrace is all that remains of a 40 room country mansion built in 1903 and sold to the Forestry Commission who demolished iit n 1957 for unknown reasons.  Its claim to fame is that it was a German prisoner of war camp during WW2 and was the setting for the POW film "The One That Got Away" starring Hardy Kruger playing the part of the Luftwaffe pilot and POW escapee Franz von Werra
What was a window in the romantic ruin of Frith Hall frames one of the surrounding views from its hillock in the Duddon Valley,
you could still light a fire in its fireplace and watch the stars.  

Lastly here is a frame in France located in the grounds of the Po├Ęte ferrailleur a museum recreating the "wonder of childhood" which I have shown before  in a previous ABC round, but not this frame.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet.

Beach View

Hodbarrow Point

A run of beautiful sunny days.  Perhaps this person standing on the sea's edge is dreaming of swimming in the warmer waters of summer. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Ewe Looking At Me

Wandering by the Rusland Pool beck this ewe was keeping an eye on me, as I was her
with her embellishment which is a practical identification but also gives her a blue punk style I found enchanting.
Returning back along the trail  she was still there but now taking her ease in the sun and still posing. Despite there being about 3 million sheep in the county I never tire of taking pictures of them, they don't fly or flutter away, hide in the undergrowth or have any camouflage. Of course it depends on the breed but these ones are placid, their thick wool making them look round and plump like this . 
The artist  is Reece Ingram who says he is "fascinated how closely the sheep resemble the landscape they live on. Each sheep looks like a gathering of hills". He too is fond of sheep and has made many representations in stone and sandstone.  This is one is made of oak, the national tree of England, like the sheep it has endurance in all weathers.  It is one of six called "Sethera" in Ridding Wood.  I could only spot four so the other two must be hidden somewhere waiting to be found. Or should I say I could only spot methera and the other tyan are hidden for the artist has used the old shepherds counting system and sethera means six. Long gone out of use its final death-knell I imagine with the 1870 education act providing schooling for all.  Each valley had its own counting system although they had their similarities.  The method may have be been brought here by the Celts or Norsemen in the ancient past.  Today only one (or should I say yan) is used in dialect; yan =1, such as  "can I have yan of them"

Ready to count?   1 yan, 2 tyan, 3 tethera, 4 methera, 5 pimp, 6 sethera, 7 lethera, 8 hovera, 9 dovra, 10 dick, 11 yan a dick, 12 tyan a dick, 13 tethera a dick, 14 methera a dick, 15 bumfit 16 yan a bumfit, 17 tyan a bumfit, 18 tether a bumfit, 19 methera a bumfit and 20 figgot.  In some parts of the county 15 is mimph but the child in me prefers to say bumfit.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet. 


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Heading South

'Union of South Africa'  leaves Appleby in Westmorland after taking on waterSaturday 2 Feb 2013
The Gresley A4 streamliner must be the most beautiful of all the steam locomotives. This high speed machine epitomises the futuristic designs of the 1930s.  I wonder what a space rocket would have looked like if designed by Sir Nigel Gresley.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Dawdling by the Deben

This craft owner was enjoying the day on the River Deben.  Relaxing while watching his line, or perhaps having a doze.
Nearby the craft are chugging out of Woodbridge on the full tide.
Woodbridge is where the River Deben turns into a tidal estuary, in the background is the tidal mill which, as the name suggests, rus off the tide, and happily its water wheel still turns.
 One of our walks followed the river from Woodbridge, the rich mud and salt marsh  means that it is the perfect place to watch multifarious birds throughout the year I'll mention three that include the letter D which would be - dabchick,  shelduck and tufted duck. The treat of wintertime is the avocets who no doubt enjoy
 the mudflats. I'm not sure what this was originally but I liked their curious shape as they stood above the seaweed and mud to be eventually covered at full tide. 
 The docked boats at Martlesham Creek (an inlet to the Deben) that will float one hour each side of full tide.  As we passed the only thing that was floating was the flock of swans in the channel.  Now reaching the end of this

riverside walk I was about to turn inland leaving the sandy path and the  River Deben behind.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a walk through the alphabet which this week is stopping off at D