Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 102: A QUIET MOMENT

  • All around the world people are noticing that their cities and towns are quieter during the pandemic. They say that they can hear the birds in the morning instead of traffic and are more aware of nature’s presence. In quiet moments during the day, I can hear neighbors chatting as they walk past. Children’s voices mingle with the sounds of water sprinklers. It feels like we stepped back to a less hectic time when people stayed at home more.

A Quiet Moment, Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 102, P. A. Moed

Last fall, self was in Ireland. What a different place the world was then!

During her visits to Ireland, she always finds calm and inspiration. These pictures reflect that mood.

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from a cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland

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Just Outside IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art), Dublin

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This beautiful avenue leads from IMMA straight to . . . the Dublin Castle? It is a wonderful walk.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Graffiti & Murals

Self loves this week’s Fun Foto Challenge because there is so much raw energy in street art; graffiti has always fascinated.

All photos: Shoreditch, East London, November 2019

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Here are a few other graffiti galleries to sample:

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

 

 

The Sea, Our Mother

Self has many thoughts about the sea because … well, she comes from one of the 7,100 islands of the Philippines.

When she visited Venice, some years back, she encountered the Maritime Museum (off San Marco Plaza), and first encountered the Venetian expression “married to the sea.”

In the writings about the sea, the sea is referred to as feminine. Also, mercurial.

Perhaps this is why she chose to write her novel. It’s about the sea, of course. And she’s been reading about seafarers ever since.

Two years ago, she was teaching in Mendocino. One of her favorite hangouts was Gallery Bookshop, corner of Albion and Kasten in Mendocino Village (the most fabulous bookstore, with its own resident cat). She found a book written by a retired US Admiral.

She just started reading it (thank you, Corona Virus). Sea Power: The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

The Introductory Chapter is called The Sea Is One:

It is worth remembering that each of us is, essentially, largely made of water. When a human baby is born, it is composed of roughly 70 percent water. It has always fascinated me that roughly the same proportion of the globe is covered by water — just over 70 percent. Both our planet and our bodies are dominated by the liquid world, and anyone who has sailed extensively at sea will understand instinctively the primordial tug of the oceans upon each of us when we look upon the sea.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Reading About Stonehenge

Self saw Stonehenge for the first time in 2014. Her only souvenir from that time was an English Heritage Guidebook she found in the gift shop. All these years later, while dusting her bookshelves (which haven’t been dusted in probably a decade, she’s a very bad housekeeper) she finds it again and sits down to read it.

Stonehenge consists of a ditch, some animal bones (which in some cases pre-date the ditch, by hundreds of years), and a mixture of rock types.

The largest stones, “some of which weigh over 35 tonnes, are known as sarsens … a type of extremely hard sandstone.” The most likely source of these sarsens are 19 miles to the north, in Wiltshire.

The smaller stones, “known collectively as bluestones,” come from Wales, over 150 miles to the west. “There were originally at least 80 bluestones at Stonehenge, some weighing up to three tonnes.”

How did these stones get to Stonehenge?

Start with the sarsens: “… experiments have shown that stones this size can be dragged on a simple wooden sledge by a team of about 200 people. To drag a stone from the Marlborough Downs to Stonehenge, using a route that, wherever possible, avoided steep slopes, would take about 12 days.”

But why on earth — ? This is, for self, the real mystery of Stonehenge: not the origin of the stones, but why people would dedicate themselves to such a project.

It must have been during a long period of peace — for Stonehenge took time to assemble. And the society must have been fairly organized — or maybe they used slaves? The community that built them must have been fairly large, to spare the use of 200 men dragging stones for 12 days. Maybe they had hundreds of slaves?

Not only that, the stones were worked over, shaped into their current forms. Self can’t even. The strength it must have taken. Perhaps they used the equivalent of a wrecking ball. Did any workers die from accidents during the pulling upright of those stones? Maybe if some of them slipped … self’s imagination goes into such strange places!

What about the smaller stones, the bluestones? They were transported from much farther away (150 miles!) There is evidence that the sarsens were in place starting from around 2500 BC, and were subsequently never moved (Ha!), but the smaller stones were re-arranged several times.

Self remembers that she chose very carefully what kind of tour to take: she found a small group tour, led by a retired military officer, which left Southampton at sunset (since she arrived in London only a few hours before, and had to make a mad dash to Southampton after dropping her suitcases off at her hotel, she kept falling asleep on the bus and nearly missed the tour) and arrived at the stones by walking over a sheep meadow littered with sheep dung. She hadn’t slept at all on the plane from San Francisco and it was bitter cold on that tree-less plain. Her first sight of the monument was a very small bump on the horizon that grew ever larger until it began to resemble a claw against the sky. The approach was almost religious in feeling? The last big tour bus had pulled away. And suddenly: the stones! Approaching them on foot was the right thing: it’s how the earliest people would have approached. In fact, there would have been a long procession of people. Since there were no signs of human habitation in the vicinity, it’s clear the site was considered a place for one activity only: worship.

But worship of what?

Hopefully there will be an answer before she finishes reading the guidebook!

Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: PICK A TOPIC, Week Four

You can see the picture on Cee Neuner’s site (Thank you, Cee Neuner, for this series of interesting Foto Challenges!)

Suggested topics: floats, things hanging on trees, rope, fishing items, grass, green, orange, white, blue, numbers, bare branches, or come up with your own topic

Self considered several possible topics (Hanging, Bare Trees, Collections, Displays, etc) before she settled on: GROUPS OF OBJECTS

It was a lot of fun, coming up with a topic!

Thank you, Cee Neuner!

 

In Another Country

Food in this story: chestnuts. In Milan. In the fall. The war is just over (Which war? Self had to google: World War I)

Also, the Café Cova, “next door to the Scala” which “was rich and warm and not too brightly lighted, and noisy and smoky at certain hours” (a tourist trap now, according to Yelp)

We were all at the hospital every afternoon, and there were different ways of walking across the town through the dusk to the hospital. Two of the ways were alongside canals, but they were long. Always, though, you crossed a bridge across a canal to enter the hospital. There was a choice of three bridges. On one of them, a woman sold roasted chestnuts. It was warm, standing in front of her charcoal fire, and the chestnuts were warm afterward in your pocket.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 91: SIMPLICITY

Love this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge!

P. A. Moed:

This week . . . we’re getting back to basics.  Show us what simplicity means to you. 

Is it stepping back to a time when luxuries were scarce and people were content with less?

In these times of self-isolation, self turns back to the comforting presence of her old books:

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There’s a date in self’s handwriting on the flyleaf: February 1984

And she’s planting tomatoes:

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And she vows that as soon as she can travel to London again, she will visit Chez Mamie on Hanway Place, the place where she’s spent so many hours, enjoying Julie’s fabulous cooking:

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Chez Nous (Formerly Chez Mamie), 22 Hanway Place, London: Self has been eating here since 2014.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge # 90: DISTANCE

This week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge is DISTANCE.

These days, everyone’s talking about and hopefully practicing “Social Distancing”. Since it’s something we should all be doing, we thought a challenge focused on DISTANCE might be an appropriate reminder of its importance.

Self visited New Mexico over the holidays. The place still fascinates.

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Cranes in a field near Albuquerque, New Mexico: Late December 2019

Self loves London’s bridges. She loves the view, she loves the bustling river traffic.

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London, November 2019

Finally, self was fascinated by Cornwall, which she visited for the first time last May, to attend the Fowey Festival of the Arts (Traditionally held in May, the festival’s been postponed to late September),

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Sailboat near Fowey, Cornwall: May 2019

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Pick A Topic From This Photo

Cee Neuner: Pick a topic from this photo.

Possible topics: black and white, tree, sky, road, vanishing point, landscape, horizon, clouds, weather, country side, early morning, or come up with your own topic.

Self picked SKY.

All from her first visit to Santa Fe, New Mexico, late December 2019

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Museum Hill, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 28 December 2019

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On the I-25 from Santa Fe to Albuquerque, 28 December 2019

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Still on the I-25, Still 28 December 2019

Check out these other takes:

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Tuesday Photo Challenge: CONNECT

The Challenge:

What the world needs now… No, I’m not breaking out into a Hal David and Burt Bacharach pop tune! During this time of social distance, it is more important than ever that we connect with one another. I thought the theme of Connect might make a lot of sense. So, your challenge is to capture anything that either connects or with which you feel connected. 

Self deliberately searched for pictures that show connection despite absence of people,  as a way to honor Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “shelter in place” order for California, her home state.

We will get through this!

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A London Bridge

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This copy of David Copperfield was read over 60 nights in a cave during Captain Scott’s expedition to the Antarctic: On exhibit in the Charles Dickens Museum, London

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Fowey Hall, Cornwall, May 2019

Stay tuned.

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