Sunday 25 July 2010

Walking the Walls of Wareham

We took the train to Wareham this morning. It's only a six minute journey. We wanted to walk around the town walls for the first time.

The little town of Wareham sits between two rivers: the Piddle and the Frome. We crossed a stone bridge over the Piddle on our walk from the train station. Looking over we saw one area of the water with no vegetation. A shoal of large trout (at least I think they were trout) were just basking there in the sun.

Just beyond the bridge we turned right to reach the town wall stretching around the west side of the town. The walls are high earthworks built in the time of Alfred the Great to repel the Vikings. That was in the 9th century so it's a really old town. The walls on the west side are the highest, with the river running below, and the views are fantastic.

We followed the wall round to the quay on the River Frome, pictured above. The photo was taken at a different time of year when it was very quiet. Today it was thronged with people enjoying the sunshine on the water as well as the land. But we moved on to complete the circle of the wall which began again beyond the church and the cemetery behind the quay.

Back at the station, we just had time for a cooling pint in the bar across the road, before the train arrived to take us home. The walk had taken us about an hour and a half, with a few stops to take in the views and consult the map. We hadn't been hurrying, so it was probably less than three miles altogether.

Friday 23 July 2010

Bournemouth's Public Gardens

You can see by the tulips that it's been a couple of months since I took this photo. I was in the Lower Gardens in Bournemouth. This linear park starts by the sea and the entrance to the pier, and ends at the Square where most of the buses stop. I like to get off the bus and walk through them to the sea.

This week for the first time, I walked in the Upper Gardens, which go north from the Square, away from the sea. This park is less formal and an absolute delight. I cursed because I didn't have my camera. I'll make sure I remember it next time I go there.

I've discovered that you can walk for miles through these linear parks. Lots to look forward to not too far from my new home (well, it's one year on now since the move, but I'm still exploring.)

Monday 19 July 2010

Photographing Luxor Temples

The pictures above were taken in the temples of Luxor. The first is at the entrance to the famous Temple of Karnac, while the second was taken inLuxor Temple itself. The two are only a few kilometres apart on the banks of the River Nile, and were once joined by an avenue of sphinxes, which is now partly excavated. You can read more about this in a previous post.

I chose these two from my literally hundreds of holiday pics today because they illustrate two points. First, I think they epitomise this part of Egypt: the ancient carvings at Karnak inside the high external walls, the cloudless sky and the laid back feel of the men presumably there to stop tourists getting too close - note the rope barrier; then in Luxor temple the ancient column, jumble of stone - some old and some not so old, the palm trees and the mosque tower behind.

Second, there's a great feature on the Edit menu in Picasa called I'm Feeling Lucky. If you have a photo opened and click on this, it adjusts the photo automatically in the way that seems appropriate. In the two photos above, I was able to use it for the second one to make it brighter and deepen the contasts made by shadows. When I tried it out on the first one though, I immediately reversed it because I wanted to be able to make out the features of the two Egyptians in the bottom right of the picture. When the adjustments were made the rest of the picture looked great against the bright blue sky, but the two men's faces were so dark, they could hardly be seen.

It's not easy to get exposures perfect in glaring light conditions. In fact I used to prefer taking pictures on cloudy days. But now, in the digital era, it's amazing what editing facilities allow you to do when you have uploaded the pictures you've taken.

Friday 16 July 2010

Cooking Rhubarb

In a comment, chubskulit asked how to cook rhubarb, so I thought I’d tell everyone in case there are others who are not sure about this.

Most important - discard the leaves which would make you ill if you ate them. You can see how large the leaves are in my last post, In the Garden. Just scroll down to the photo of the veg patch and see the rhubarb bottom left of the picture.

Cut the stalks into 2 cm chunks, pulling off any stringy bits. Wash them in a colander. Then you can stew them or cook in the microwave for a few minutes with sugar and not more than a couple of tablespoons of water. Or you can put them in a tart or a pie. Rhubarb crumble is my favourite. It’s so quick to make. We had some last night with custard.

For a crumble, put rhubarb and sugar into a 2 pint deep casserole dish with a tablespoon of water. Rub 2 ounces of butter into 4 ounces of flour till it resembles breadcrumbs, add and ounce of sugar and stir. Cover the rhubarb with this and cook in a medium/hot oven for about half an hour.

It's simple but delicious.

Wednesday 14 July 2010

In the Garden

The Christmas tree has some new friends.

The clematis have survived and are starting to flower.

The veg patch is coming along. We've already started eating the potatoes, carrots and rhubarb. Beans will be next.

The hanging baskets are looking good.

The roses are past their best and are starting to fade, but I think they still look pretty with the white edges to the petals, so I'm loathe to deadhead them. I know I should though, if I want more blooms to form.

Monday 12 July 2010

What the Developers Did

I took this picture on a fine day back in the winter. This is the far end of the shore walk in Hamworthy Park. Note the blocks of flats overlooking the harbour.

When we were trying to decide which home to buy here, we looked at a house on the main road behind these flats. The agent told us that the terrace of Victorian houses used to have that wonderful view all to themselves. Then developers came along and built those apartments behind them, completely blocking their view across the harbour to the islands and the far side. It must have significantly reduced the value of their homes, as well as their own quality of life.

There were several other reasons why we didn't buy there. But I did feel sorry for those home owners.

Saturday 10 July 2010

A Willow

I love willow trees. This beautiful specimen is in Richmond Park's Isabella Plantation in Greater London. I took the picture in April when I spent a day there with my granddaughter. It was a beautiful day and like lots of other people, we had taken a picnic. You can just make out some picnickers on the grass behind the tree.

Wednesday 7 July 2010

Watery Wednesday: A Convenient Perch

I took these pictures five years ago from a coastal footpath in Weymouth when we were holidaying there. I'm not sure if the birds are cormorants.

Check out the for more such pics, then why not post your own.

Sunday 4 July 2010

The English Church in Madeira

This is a picture of the entrance to the English Church in Funchal, Madeira, when we awere there in October 2007.

THis is how it looked on the inside.

After we left, we climbed a flight of steps to the road above, and found this wonderful view of the church and its surroundings, with the sea in the background.

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