Close Up: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is CLOSE UP.

Which is a prompt self finds quite easy to post about, because her camera is always on the macro setting. She loves examining detail.

So, here goes!

While on a “Jack the Ripper” walking tour of Whitechapel, self found herself getting distracted by, of all things, doors! Honestly, there were a number of times self found that the tour group had rounded a corner while she was taking random photos like the one below:

Door, Somewhere Around Whitechapel

Door Knocker, A Street Off Whitechapel

And here is a close-up of a fabulous dessert self had in the town of Rostrevor, in Northern Island. Irish cream (sigh), self could drink it by the bucket!

Dessert! Rostrevor, Northern Island (Self was with poet Csilla Toldy, who was performing at the Fiddlers Green Festival with Irish singer Fil Campbell)

Dessert! Rostrevor, Northern Island (Self was with poet Csilla Toldy, who was performing at the Fiddlers Green Festival with Irish singer Fil Campbell)

And here is a picture she took in St. Stephens Green, last week. She’s always amazed by the water in that lake. It has a very heavy, almost mineral quality. She thought it might have just been a trick of her imagination. But the ripples on that water are so clearly defined. Well, that’s Irish water for you!

It was a sunny day in Dublin (though you'd never know it from the photograph!)

It was a sunny day in Dublin (though you’d never know it from the photograph!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 6: The Lake at Annaghmakerrig (Late Last Night)

A walk always refreshes self. Especially after a day of hard writing.

When self first came to Ireland, last year, her friends in Dublin teased her that she’d likely encounter a banshee.

But self is convinced there are no banshees in Annaghmakerrig. Maybe they’re in some other part of Ireland. But not here in County Monaghan.

Anyhoo, let’s see, where was she? The lake.

How it appeared last night:

Alone on the Lake, 10:30 p.m.

Alone on the Lake, 10:30 p.m.

The moon was gorgeous, full and round, its outlines perfectly crisp:

Full Moon Over the Lake

Full Moon Over the Lake

Whenever self walks to the lake in the evening, she thinks she hears a kind of humming emanating from way up above. In fact, she tweeted about it, and Miss Warby’s Ghost replied: THAT WAS ME! (Love it!)

So, here’s her last shot of the moon last night. This was pretty blurry, but she’ll throw it in, anyway.

DSCN0442

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 5: Still Writing in Annaghmakerrig

Stayed up all night, writing. Well, mebbe self did catch two hours. But at 6 a.m. this morning, she was back at her desk:

Crushing the Writing: Thursday, 2 July

Crushing the Writing: Thursday, 2 July

Self finds tremendous solace in being able to take a walk in the afternoons and evenings:

The Gate to the Meadow

The Gate to the Meadow

So, even though she is not sleeping, she is still in calm, meditative mode.

Of course, it always helps if the surroundings are as lushly green as they are here in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland!

The Meadow by the Lake at Annaghmakerrig

The Meadow by the Lake at Annaghmakerrig

Yesterday, self saw a whole hillside populated with Jersey cows (at least, she thinks that’s what they call those black-and-white-spotted dairy cows). Self is so amused by these animals.

What if she bought her own herd of dairy cows? She loves Irish cream. It is the best cream in the whole world.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Muse 4: Swans! At the Lake in Annaghmakerrig!

Today, after a hard day of writing, self walked down to the lake:

Swan Sighting at the Lake!

Swan Sighting at the Lake!

And saw her first swans! (Actually, that’s not quite right. She was down at the lake yesterday evening, and saw swans then, too)

Self will share with dear blog readers that it was because of the swans she saw in Ireland that she wrote a story called “The Ark.” And, earlier this year, it was published by Local Nomad. Which, self just wants to say, is a really beautiful on-line journal. And it is all done by one woman: Jean Vengua.

Her story begins thus:

There were great stores of food laid up, for Noah knew that the flood would last a long time. The hull began to groan with the weight, intensifying his anxiety.

Two Swans!

Two Swans!

And here are swans, diving for food:

DSCN0430

And now, back to the writing desk!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

ROY G. BIV 2: London & Annaghmakerrig & Banff (And The Year Is Only Half Over!)

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is really interesting.

Self had no idea what ROY G. BIV stood for, but now she does. Each letter stands for a color: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.

The Daily Post prompt says:

You can attack this challenge in one of two ways: share an image that contains all the colors of the rainbow (or an actual rainbow . . . or share a multi-photo gallery, one image for each color.

Today, self is going for the multi-photo gallery. First, the color BLUE (She should have begun with RED, her apologies!)

This is Blackfriars Bridge in London. The sky was amazingly blue that day.

Blackfriars Bridge, London. Self particularly wanted to see Blackfriars because it plays such a prominent role in Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices. The sky was amazingly blue that day.

Next, the color ORANGE:

It was Wednesday. Self's friend Joan McGavin invited self to come along and participate in a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge, asking the government for greater measures to address climate change.

It was Wednesday. Self’s friend Joan McGavin invited self to come along and participate in a demonstration near Lambeth Bridge, asking the government for greater measures to address climate change.

Next, the color YELLOW:

This teapot is yellow (duh). It's in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

This teapot is yellow (duh). It’s in her cottage at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig.

The next color is GREEN:

This beautiful etched glass panel is in the Church of St. Bride's, near Fleet Street (Also known as the Church of Journalists).

This beautiful etched glass panel is in the Church of St. Bride’s, near Fleet Street (Also known as the Church of Journalists).

Next, the color RED:

An Armchair in Self's Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig

An Armchair in Self’s Cottage in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig

Next, the color INDIGO:

Twilight, London: Somewhere Off Great Russell Street, Near the British Museum

Twilight, London: Somewhere Off Great Russell Street, Near the British Museum

Finally, VIOLET:

The Books Self Checked Out of the Library in Banff

The Books Self Checked Out of the Library in Banff

It took self FOREVER to decide on the last photo. She had no idea how little violet there was in the world. Honestly. This entire post probably took her an hour, and finding the last picture probably took her 15 minutes. And now, the book spines don’t really look violet!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

St. Bride’s on a Monday Afternoon: Off-Season 4

It’s a quiet little church just off the hustle and bustle of Fleet Street.

DSCN0161

The church is mentioned in an appendix to Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Prince.

Clare used the church as the setting for the Shadowhunters’ London Institute.

Since self has decreed that this London sojourn will be devoted to examining places that appear in The Infernal Devices trilogy, she couldn’t possibly have skipped the headquarters of the London Institute, now could she?

She was hoping to get to Blackfriars Bridge as well, but couldn’t make it that far. It was a cool day, and self was wearing a sleeveless cotton blouse. Plus she’s going to be watching a play tonight, so rest is required.

The Crypt Beneath St. Bride's -- It's a very interesting exhibit space.

The Crypt Beneath St. Bride’s — It’s a very interesting exhibit space.

In a small chapel off to the side, self found the most amazing altar, and etched glass hanging art.

St. Bride’s is also known as the “journalists’ church”: hence the quill and ink etched on this green glass panel, another of which flanks the altar’s other side.

Two Etched Pieces of Glass flank an altar in a side chapel of St. Bride's.

Two Etched Pieces of Glass flank an altar in a side chapel of St. Bride’s.

The church was practically empty today, so self was free to explore to her heart’s content.

There were photographs all around, and also a memorial plaque to Marie Colvin. Self recognized the name instantly, but for the benefit of dear blog readers, Marie Colvin was a foreign correspondent who was killed in 2012, while reporting from the Syrian city of Homs. On the plaque is a quote: “It has always been a hard calling, but the need for front-line, effective reporting has never been stronger.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

London After Hours, Great Russell Street: Off-Season 3

Self is finding “Off-Season” to be a very interesting Photo Challenge.

She isn’t sure that these series of shots she took last night are really “off-season” — except when viewed in one sense. But she’ll post anyway.

She took these pictures last night, when she was hunting for a cheap place to have dinner.  She was on Great Russell Street. The British Museum, and all the shops along that street, were closed. So she peered in through the iron gates and the barred windows:

The British Museum After Hours

The British Museum After Hours

A Closer Look Through the Barred Gates of the British Museum

A Closer Look Through the Barred Gates of the British Museum

Across the street is an Antiquarian Bookseller named Jarndyce (How very Dickens). When self peered through the barred windows, this caught her attention:

Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, Directly Across from the British Museum

Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers, Directly Across from the British Museum

It was a Sunday evening. She happened to be reading (in addition to the ever-present Clockwork Prince, ha ha ha!) a copy of Dionne Brand’s poetry collection, Thirsty. And here is an excerpt from Poem II:

The city was empty, except for the three,
they seemed therefore poised, as when you are alone
anywhere all movement is arrested, light, dun,
except, their hearts, scintillant as darkness

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

On the Way 4: Banff, From a Bus

Self does enjoy experimenting with blur!

She would never have tried these shots if she hadn’t had the WordPress Photo Challenge in the back of her mind, though.

Thanks as always, WordPress, for the inspiration!

DSCN9864 DSCN9865

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Enveloped: WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ENVELOPED.

Self thought of fog first, so here are the Canadian Rockies as they appeared yesterday afternoon (In contrast, the weather today is all sun), and the last picture is of fellow writer Jami Macarty doing the interactive installation TouchMe by the artist duo Blendid. You press something on the touch-sensitive screen and it takes a picture, which then runs on an endless loop. Cool! So, there’s the silhouette of Jami, enveloped in light as the screen starts to photograph her.

The Weather Yesterday Afternoon

The Weather Yesterday Afternoon

More of the Fog-Shrouded Yesterday Afternoon

More of the Fog-Shrouded Yesterday Afternoon

Poet Jami Macarty Doing the Interactive Installation in the Lobby of Sally Benson Bldg. in the Banff Centre

Poet Jami Macarty Doing the Interactive Installation in the Lobby of Sally Benson Bldg. in the Banff Centre

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Force of Nature 3: Elk Sightings Near Lloyd Hall plus Robert Falcon Scott’s Diary

Self is still in the Canadian Rockies.

The cold isn’t so bad, but it’s the unpredictability, the sheer unpredictability of the weather, that gets to self.

The weather pattern this time of year in the Rockies appears to be thus:

Cold/Wet/Snow/Hot/Chilly/Breezy/Hot/Cold/Wet

All in the same day.

This afternoon, self essay-ed one short walk out, with a group led by geologist Jim Olver, and wouldn’t you know, the day that had been dry as a whistle began to get wet. And wetter. And wetter. The wet building in increments. So it was not a sudden torrent, but a tickle. A reminder. Of the cold that is growing in self’s head.

She said to herself: I’ll be damned if I’m the first person to chicken out because of this rain! I’m staying outside here (despite bare-headed), come hell or high water! Because I am tough! Tough! Tough! I am the woman who endured electricity failure in the month of January in Dharamsala. I had no coat. My teeth were chattering. Do dear blog readers know what chattering teeth sound like? Self was sure she was cracking all her molars.

Today, self was wearing a turtleneck. And a jacket. And jeans. And sturdy sneakers. And knit fingerless gloves. But damn, her hair was getting wet.

This Elk was ambling around in between Lloyd Hall and the Bentley Chamber Music Studio.

This Elk was ambling around in between Lloyd Hall and the Bentley Chamber Music Studio.

And then came ambling along two elk (Is self beginning to sound very Yoda-ish, dear blog readers?), and then someone was asking if self was going for dinner with the Writing Studio group, who were heading downtown, and self wanted to say, seriously? Do you see how wet self’s hair is at this very moment? Need I remind you that my country of origin is the Philippines? Where it is NEVER cold? Even when rainy? And that self’s current abode is listed as CALIFORNIA?

But, anyhoo, ELK SIGHTING! Near LLOYD HALL!

Finally, she gets to post something somewhat related to FORCE OF NATURE, this weeks’s WordPress Photo Challenge!

Just Outside Bentley Chamber Music Studio, Today

Just Outside Bentley Chamber Music Studio, Today

In order to feel less peck-ish, self is reading published excerpts from Robert Falcon Scott’s diary, which he kept all the way till the very end, when he and his party of four other men died in a raging blizzard, just 11 miles from the shelter of base camp. Scott reached the South Pole only to find the Norwegian flag already planted, by Roald Amundsen. Then he and his men had to make the arduous slog back, knowing that they were beaten. Scott’s last conscious act was to make a diary entry. (It suddenly occurs to self that 11 miles is no mere walk in the park. Back in California, self would be hard put to walk 2 miles on a daily basis. And just imagine having to negotiate 11 miles in a blizzard! And weighed down with piles and piles of clothing! Must have felt like swimming through a sea of muck!)

The Canadian Rockies, seen from the 6th floor of Lloyd Hall, the residence of all the Writing Studio participants, including self

The Canadian Rockies, seen from the 6th floor of Lloyd Hall, the residence of all the Writing Studio participants, including self

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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