Inspirations 2: Yorkshire Landscapes

More for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: INSPIRATION

From The Daily Post:

What is your inspiration? What moves you? What is it that never fails to motivate you, to get you going, or make you happy?

Self will focus on inspirational landscapes. Such as these from Yorkshire:

Yorkshire, July 2015

Yorkshire, July 2015

And more of the same:

DSCN0899

And still more of the same:

DSCN0891

Honestly, the landscape of Yorkshire is so amazing. Green and hilly and full of eccentric rock placements. Sort of like the towns of Yorkshire themselves, with abbeys and cathedrals and Haworth coffee shops and Shipley punks and Bronte parsonages and cemeteries and Salts Mills and David Hockneys and Yorkshire teas and Victorian Steampunk and 1940s Festivals.

Self hates that they won’t let you take any pictures in the Bronte Museum in Haworth. Inside as well as outside, according to the young woman who was the first tour guide she encountered, standing by the front entrance. The guide had watched self taking a picture of a yellow flower by the front steps.

But self felt she really had to get to Yorkshire, not just because of the Brontes, but because of Will Herondale and the events in Clockwork Prince, book 2 of The Infernal Devices.

There is a very crucial plot twist that takes place in Yorkshire but, in the meantime, we have:  Balcony scene, Demons Ball, Chiswick. Herondale, what else can self say. Tessa being all encouraging (p. 292): “Will, you need not be so careful. I will not break.” And then, you know, Wuthering Heights, Heathcliff, Tessa saying Will is like her Heathcliff, the moors, whatever.

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is!

So brooding and romantic, Yorkshire is! July 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Close Up 4: Street Signs, Birds, Roses

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, CLOSE UP, is all about the details.

Street signs are so fascinating. This one's in York.

Street signs are so fascinating. This one’s in York.

Self can never get enough of those birds in Russell Square:

Russell Square, London

Russell Square, London

These buttery yellow roses were in full bloom when she arrived at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in June:

Roses near the Farmyard Cottages at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig: June 2015

Roses near the Farmyard Cottages at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig: June 2015

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Close-Up 3: Joan and John, Abigail and Pigeons

Dear Joan and John McGavin, are you ready for your close-up?

Here, dear blog readers, is a portrait of the hip-pest couple in England, on their wedding day:

Joan and John: We are the Cool-est!

Joan and John: We are the Cool-est!

Dear Abigail: Are YOU ready for your close-up? Because you are the most entertaining eight-year-old in all of England:

Abigail sang for us Sunday. Oh my goodness! Paging Simon Cowell!

Abigail sang for us Sunday. Oh my goodness! Paging Simon Cowell!

Russell Square is a beautiful little square with a café and benches and a fountain. Self has taken many pictures of it. But this was the first time she zoomed in on the birds. Thank you, WordPress Daily Post, for providing the prompt! Here are pigeons, ready for their close-up:

A Confabulation of Birds at the Russell Square Fountain

A Confabulation of Birds at the Russell Square Fountain

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Close Up 2: The Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, London

Today, dear blog readers, London was actually crammed with people. Tourists, mostly. It was not so fun.

Nevertheless, self summoned the necessary mojo to go exploring, and she found herself in another leafy square, confronting the great splendor of Hertford House, in Manchester Square.

And here are three photographs she took in the museum housed within, The Wallace Collection. She considers them suitable for the theme this week — CLOSE UP — because she had to go closer than she normally would, and left out the frames.

All three subjects are rather risqué, if the museum guide is to be believed. Especially the first one: Fragonard’s “The Swing.”

Fragonard's

Fragonard’s “The Swing” Originally, the lady was to have been pushed by a bishop. But this was evidently too much. So, instead, we have an elderly gent sitting on a stone balustrade, in the shadows behind.

But the lady is swathed in layers of clothes! Where, self wonders, is the provocativeness?

Next, a marble bust (Bad Pun?) of Marie-Louise Thérese-Victoire, daughter of Louis XV and aunt of Louis XVI, who was, according to the museum materials, “noted for her piety and appetite.” Rather an odd combination of words. When you look at this marble bust, and think that this lady must have been middle-aged when it was executed, well holy smoke, just look at that shelf she has!

Marble Bust of Maria-Louise Thérese-Victoire, Aunt of Louis XVI

Marble Bust of Maria-Louise Thérese-Victoire, Aunt of Louis XVI

Finally, a beautiful oil painting, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, of Margaret, Countess of Blessington (of which self has much to say, for this painting has a prominent place in the novel she is currently reading — no, not Clockwork Prince, the other one: Howard Jacobson’s wonderful and satirical The Act of Love, which is about an antiquarian book dealer who haunts Great Russell Street and museums.)

Margaret, Countess of Blessington, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence

Margaret, Countess of Blessington, painted by Sir Thomas Lawrence

More, later. Self is famished and needs to hunt up dinner.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Books Self Is Interested After Perusing The Guardian’s Summer “Text on the Beach” Issue, 23 July 2015

Self used to do this. A LOT. Post about books she was interested in reading after picking up a copy of The New York Times Book Review (which she used to subscribe to. Until last year), The New York Review of Books (which she also used to subscribe to), The New Yorker (which she still subscribes to, but hasn’t read in six months) and The Economist (which she no longer subscribes to)

Anyhoo, after that very lengthy introduction, here is self with The Guardian’s Summer Reading issue, and after going through the whole thing, self has culled just three books. She must be in some kind of slump?

Here are her three:

  • Grey, by E. L. James — What what what? Self actually read the first two pages in Hodges Figgis in Dublin. And what do you know, she liked it! But The Guardian review is so silly. “Come again, if you insist . . . ” Self still wants to read it.
  • My Brilliant Friend, by Elena Ferrante — “The first part of the Neapolitan trilogy in which almost nothing happens.” (OK, these reviews are one-note and boring. Sorry, Jim Crace, Reviewer. Self will read in spite of)
  • The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins — Let self dispense with the utterly dispensable: i.e., the review. And let’s just say, if this novel is indeed a riff on Gone, Girl, she likes. So “Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl, Girl On the Train” is a barrel of laughs.

Just for that, self is popping over to the London Review of Bookstore (Hey, last AWP Book Fair, in Minneapolis, she actually saw a table for the London Review of Books! She’s not sure if they’ve been coming every year, but this year was the first time she noticed them)

Side Note:  Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is in every bookstore window, all over Dublin and London. So happy for her. Promise to read the book, at least five years from now.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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.

Half and Half 4: Views of Rostrovor, Northern Island

Further pictures for this week’s Photo Challenge, HALF AND HALF: “. . . take a  photo with an explicit dividing line, either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal.”

This picture has two distinct sight lines:

Rostrovor, Northern Ireland

Rostrovor, Northern Ireland

And this one has those “two different visual planes” thing going (though it is not neatly split in two, this picture)

Growing by the side of a path in Rostrovor

Growing by the side of a path in Rostrovor

Again, WTH, this last picture is NOT split in half! But — visual planes, dear blog readers. Definitely, two planes!

To keep out -- ? In Rostrovor

To keep out — ? In Rostrovor

Why can’t self just live in Rostrovor? She WANTS to live in Rostrovor!

Can wishing make it so?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Half and Half 3: London and Northern Ireland in High Summer

It is high summer in London. Streets awash with tourists. Self is walking around, trying to find pictures for this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge: HALF AND HALF (“This week, share an image that has two distinct halves”)

Incidentally, self was very inspired by this blog today, which has a very long name, in French.

Around Great Russell Street

In Front of the British Museum, Great Russell Street

Tea Life, Museum Street, London

Tea Life, Museum Street, London

And this is a picture she took when she was in Rostrevor:

Park Next to The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Park Next to The Narnia Trail, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Half and Half 2: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, HALF AND HALF, is about “splitting” your canvas “into two.”

The prompt is about composition. Oh how self loves those kinds of prompts.

From The Daily Post:

This week, share an image that has two clear halves, literally or figuratively.

So, here’s what self came up with today:

2nd Floor, The Plough, off Great Russell Street, London

2nd Floor, The Plough, off Great Russell Street, London

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

So, this last picture, self wasn’t sure what she was trying to do here, but she definitely sees two sight lines, two visual planes: foreground and trees. She’ll just go ahead and post it:

Near the Start of The Narnia Trail in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland (C. S. Lewis loved Rostrevor!)

Near the Start of The Narnia Trail in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland (C. S. Lewis loved Rostrevor!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Half and Half: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

The last two WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges have been really interesting. Last week’s was SYMBOL. This week’s is HALF AND HALF:  “. . .  try to focus solely on the visual plane of the photo.”

The prompt is from Ben Huberman, who included a shot of the imposing Devils Tower in Wyoming:

“There was rock, there was sky, and both were stunning.”

Here’s her first post on this week’s theme: three separate shots of special Irish places.

Inchicore, from the Blackhorse stop on the Luas

Inchicore, from the Blackhorse stop on the Luas Red Line

The Irish Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Square, After a reading for the anthology LOST BETWEEN: WRITINGS ON DISPLACEMENT

The Irish Writers Centre, 19 Parnell Square, After a reading for the anthology LOST BETWEEN: WRITINGS ON DISPLACEMENT

Saint Stephen's Green on Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Saint Stephen’s Green on Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Self loves the wide-angle of her Nikon Coolpix. That’s because, in fiction as well as in her photo-taking, she loves playing with perspective. Most of her favorite shots involve splitting a landscape in two.

And that, come to think of it, is also what happens in her writing: she likes working off contrasts, splitting a landscape into two.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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