Oh What a Great Adventure!

Self is still in the Dr. Edward Wilson section of The Birthday Boys. For some reason, she is having difficulty getting out of it.

Dr. Wilson continues to document the youthful derring-do of the group. Such as, on p. 73, when Cherry-Garard (whose book, The Worst Journey in the World, self has read, btw) tries “to harpoon a sea-snake in one of the pools. It was about five feet in length, of a grey colour striped with yellow, and once speared it twisted and bucked so violently that Cherry (that is how Dr. Wilson refers to the lad, because who has the time to write Cherry-Garard in the pages of a journal?) almost lost it.”

Self is throwing in an illlustration by the tremendous artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647 -1717)

Erythrolampus aesculapi (false coral snake), from the collection of watercolours in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle, London

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Birthday Boys, p. 49

Beryl Bainbridge chooses to tell the story of Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed expedition to the south pole in first person, and places each chapter in the mind of a different crew member. Self thinks/remembers that the whole lot die, so this is quite a depressing book to be reading right now. She read it for the first time about 20 years ago, and it’s only now that bits and pieces are coming back to her. Such as: the farewell letters written by the men as they were dying on the ice. The diary of Robert Falcon Scott.

Chapter One (June 1910) is narrated by Petty Officer Edgar (Taff) Evans, whose voice has a certain air of stoicism. Evans describes things like how low the boat, the Terra Nova, sits in the water. How the boat was procured (on the cheap). How the expedition received extravagant attention from the press (Oh the irony). How the voyage is projected to take three years. How the Petty Officer knows not all the crew will make it.

The general impression left by Chapter One is that Scott cut corners. Most of Chapter One is engaged with Scott’s fundraising efforts, and how the amount raised didn’t seem to be quite enough. All these details will no doubt have tragic consequences. Scott was charismatic, but he was talking through his arse, the boat was pretty rickety, etc He’d already made one expedition to the Antarctic, which only made him more ambitious.

Chapter Two is related by Dr. Edward (Uncle Bill) Wilson, who is given to detached observation. For example:

  • The scenery was magnificent; abrupt precipices, wooded hills and crags, tumbling waters and a paradise of mosses, ferns and pink belladonna lilies. One moment the air was polluted with the odour of the black til (Oreodaphne foetens), so named because of its awful smell, and the next filled with the delicious scent of the beautiful lilly of the valley tree (Clethra arborea).

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC): Reflections or Shadows

Self is always glad when she can join one of Cee’s Foto Challenges. The theme for this week’s Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (CFFC) is reflections or shadows.

She has never seen reflections as sharp as those in Annaghmakerrig Lake, in Ireland. She took these pictures one cold March day.

The final picture is from Monet’s garden at Giverny, which self visited in 2017.

Monday Window – 22 November 2021

There is a photo challenge to match every mood. And today, Monday, self is in the mood for WINDOWS!

The front doors of the cottages in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig have this half-moon window. Fascinating.

Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 15: Window Displays, London

Catching up, slowly but surely, in the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) co-hosted by Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao!

Display Windows: Harrod’s, Teatulia, Jenny Kate

Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 14: Christmas Decorations, London, December 2018

Still playing catch-up with the Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) co-hosted by Cee Neuner and Marsha Ingrao. From Marsha’s blog, Always Writes:

  • Public art encompasses any form of art you see in a public place, large or small, statues, murals, graffiti, gardens, parks, etc. The art should be visible from streets, sidewalks, or outdoor public places. Let your imagination and photographic eye show us diverse samples all over the world.

Self has been feeling quite nostalgic about London. She took these pictures December, 2018. Christmas decorations are public art, right?

She took the picture of gold paper chains through the front window of the London Review Bookshop, one of her favorite hangouts: It’s on Bury Place, off Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Shapes and Designs 2

This is self’s second post on the same Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Shapes and Designs. Today, she is focusing on architecture.

The London skyline is endlessly fascinating. She took these pictures the last time she was in London, November 2019:

Self has a friend who lives in Manchester. In November 2019, self went to see her, and her friend drove to nearby Liverpool. What fun to walk along the docks! The Museum of Liverpool had a very unusual design.

Photographing Public Art Challenge (PPAC) # 13: the Robinson Jeffers Tor House and Hawk Tower, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Still playing catch-up with the PPAC Challenge! Self spent last weekend in Carmel. One of the main purposes for the visit — aside from meeting an aunt she hadn’t seen in 20 years! — was seeing Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House, which had just re-opened for tours. Self is a lover of gardens, and the garden of the Tor House has been featured in several gardening books she owns.

To get to it from the north (the San Francisco Bay Area), you take 101 south, then 85, then 17 north, and finally pass through Salinas. Driving the 25 miles through Salinas to the Carmel turn-off will take almost an hour, because this area has perennial stop-and-go traffic. You will see fields, many fields! All in all, the drive took self almost 3 hours. She arrived about 15 minutes before the 1 p.m. tour she’d signed up for.

The tour of house and tower takes about an hour. Our guide was David, and he was really good. It will make you weep when you learn that Jeffers bought his lot for something like $200.

The views from Hawk Tower, right next to the house, are spectacular. Watch your step, the stairs are very narrow.

To think Robinson Jeffers built the house and tower all by himself! Tours cost $12.

The house is truly unique. Don’t miss, if you’re in the area.

November Black or Grey: Carmel-by-the-Sea

Jude from Travel World hosts Life in Colour and this month the colour is Black or Grey.

Self drove south to Carmel yesterday. She was on the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, the sun was shining, and the ocean views were spectacular. Below, some silhouette shots of Monterey pines and a few weathered, grey rocks.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: SHAPES and DESIGNS

Patti is hosting the lens-artists photo challenge this week: SHAPES and DESIGNS. Self decided to focus on shapes. It took her a while to find shapes that were . . . uh . . . shapy. She’s not sure the last picture, of a sign at Pismo Beach, fits?

Cal Shakes Picnic Grove, Orinda

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