Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Peripatetic Pianist and a Plot


As can be seen by the clothing this is not an October scene but the middle of summer and a warm day in York (tourist central by York Minster). I can't remember what the peripatetic pianist was playing but he was in prime position as this is a joining of many pathways.  When he gets thirsty for a pint it is possible to call into the pub on the far right  which was built on the site of where a notorious plotter was born, and takes his name -
Guy Fawkes, 
And as the rhyme goes:-   
"Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parli’ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match."
 That was way back in  1605 and everybody still enjoys the bonfires and fireworks that November 5th brings every year.  Fast forward a couple of centuries and a overheated chimney flue meant the whole edifice burnt to the ground anyway (wonderfully captured by JMW Turner who painted the blaze in watercolour sketches from a barge on the Thames). 
Westminster Bridge and Houses of Parliament, London
Look there is still a barge there today ready to prop up an easel if anything catches alight in the Parliament buildings, but that would be to deprive us of Augustus Pugin's wonderful Gothic towers and spires.
So I'll  just keep it to a virtual disaster with a heat map.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet sojourning this week at P

Tuesday, 22 October 2013


Oystercatchers in their favourite place between mud, sand,  rocks and sea. Does it ever open an oyster?  I don't know, but it cleverly forces back the valves of mussels and small bivalves.  It will knock a limpet from rock with ease.  Walking on the Cumbria coast in July they were at their most flighty.  Gathering together at the edge of the sea, pic-pic-pic they chatter,  but come too close and
away they fly skimming the waves,
Showing off the distinctive V shape feathers. Present all around the British coast it is also increasingly found in the summer inland on the moors. I am always a surprise when I hear a slow call, pleee-ah, plee-ah and see a lone oystercatcher roller-coasting low over the land.  Happily when sometimes all one hears are about declining numbers of species the Oystercatcher bucks the trend and numbers have increased in the last fifty years.  Where once there were 30,000 breeding pairs there are now estimated to be 98,000 in the summer, (probably why some move inland to breed) but in the winter they all gather around the coast and estuaries
to be joined by visitors from Norway when the numbers swell to about 320,000.  Watch out bivalves, they're  coming. 

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet -  this week sojourning at O

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Nautical Names

I saw 3 Ships

A nautical 'N' for this week's ABC and here come three fishing boats which helpfully are numbered N.273 (Ocean Harvester), WA.8 (Headway) and N.851 (Temeraire). Two of them have a home port in Newry, Northern Ireland but here were temporarily berthed in Buccleuch Dock, Barrow in the north of England. I like to spot what is tied up here when rolling up to the supermarket for the weekly shop (the car park is by the side of the dock). They look pristine from the front but at the working end
they are not.
Jumping to the other side of the Pennines a narrow boat is navigating down along the River Ouse as it passes through York. Its name is the Spanish response to thank you, Da Nada, meaning 'You're Welcome' but it also implies 'No Problem'.   So I guess the narrow boat's name means you would be welcome aboard but also when its owner is aboard his world has no problems as he putters along the countries rivers and canals.

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a sail through the alphabet, this week sojourning at N

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Mussel In

This juvenile maritime gull could not have posed in a better place for a photograph.  Is it trying to hitch a ride or just waiting for something tasty.
Perhaps some mussels though it would be disappointed in these for they are made of Kerry limestone.  Created by the stone sculptor Graeme Micheson in 2007 they stand on the Conwy quayside and called by their Latin name Mytilus Edulis but the real thing, the Blue Mussel, has many more hues. To the right of the sculpture is Conwy Mussels who hand rake (in wooden boats) the shellfish where they naturally grow on the seabed, and where the Conwy river meets the ocean.  This sustainable fishing make them larger in size than rope grown mussels.  The mussel season runs from 1st September until the end of April when they are sent to the fish markets  in something faster than this
Ye Olde Mail Coach, Conwy
 They are rarely disturbed in summer when they breed so maybe that is when they mail out publicity
Castle Street, Conwy
An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey though the alphabet, this week sojourning at M

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Lets Linger in Llandudno

Glimpse through the buddleia bush where no butterflies lingered on this autumnal day is the seaside resort of Llandudno in Wales.
The seats on the promenade were empty under showery skies and as can be seen by the flag, it was a windy day.  The Victorians dubbed the promenade "The Parade" and I imagine there are lots of old postcards of the era showing people in their finery parading leisurely up and down.   
Anoraks were the apparel of choice on this day whether on The Parade or
on the beach. Llandudno was originally a small village of fisher-folk, farmers and copper miners but all that changed when the idea of turning it into a seaside resort was made and much of the centre of the town and front with its hotels was developed from 1857-1877.  No resort being complete without a pier this one arrived in 1878.
And by the side of the pier is the magnificent Grand Hotel with its view over the bay and the Little Orme.
Pier and Little Orme
 The pier is 2,295 ft (700m) long and from it you can not only see the bay and the Little Orme but also I believe, the mountains of Snowdonia, but not on this day for the entrance was locked.  I had to be content with
 taking a photograph of the outside and the
empty slide, although by this point the rain had arrived so we headed for shelter
but on the way this building caught my eye. It was built at the end of Llandudno's twenty years of construction, (in 1875) and is known in the local lingo as Y Tabernacl but the building inscription is the 'Wesleyan Welsh Baptistery' and its unique feature inside is a "drainage" dressing room for baptismal candidates in the full immersion font.  The building nowadays is used as a heritage and exhibition centre.   I believe it was designed by the prolific chapel architect Richard Owen who it is said built up to 250  in his lifetime.  Time to head indoors;
although a pub called "The London" is not something one would expect to see in Welsh speaking Wales but I suspect it may be because there is a direct train from London Euston to Llandudno which in the past, and still today, brings holidaymakers to the Welsh coast.

An entry to ABC Wednesday a journey through the alphabet sojourning this week at L