Monday, 31 July 2017

Today's post from Krishnamurti...

"We generally start with the farthest—the supreme principle, the greatest ideal, and get lost in some hazy dream of imaginative thought. But when you start very near, with the nearest, which is you, then the whole world is open, for you are the world, and the world beyond you is only nature. Nature is not imaginary: it is actual; and what is happening to you now is actual. From the actual you must begin—with what is happening now—and the now is timeless"...

The lead-smelting mill at Grinton, in Swaledale...
























Coverdale...


Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Forbidden Corner...

I met Helen, fellow Romahomer, at my favourite campsite in the Yorkshire Dales. We took a trip to the Forbidden Corner, near Middleham. I’d heard about it, but never been… and now I have. The attraction began as a private venture, creating paths, tunnels, mazes and follies within a four-acre garden, which was opened to the public in 1994.

The Forbidden Corner is a bit like a ghost train… without the train. We spend a couple of hours getting lost, being sprayed with water, opening doors that led nowhere and being harangued by spooky voices. It was fun, but claustrophobic, and, at £12 a pop, no bargain.

Yesterday, we had a wander around the lead-mining relics on Grassington Moor, which suited me better. There was more room to move, under big skies and fast-moving clouds. Then I met up with two old chums, Howard and Kev, in Leyburn for an evening like a lost episode of Last of the Summer Wine…

This way to the Forbidden Corner...


Grassington Moor...



Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Rough sleepers...

From an article on the Guardian website I read that homeless people in Oxford are being threatened, by the city council, with fines of up to £2,500. Rough sleepers, according to legal notices pinned to their belongings, are “having a detrimental effect … on the quality of life of those in the locality”. Hmmm... not sure the homelessness problem can be solved by fines and harassment, and I wonder how money can be collected from people who don't have any. What's happened to empathy and kindness?...

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Cricket...

I watched the final of the Women’s World Cup on Sunday, between England and India, taking place at a sold-out Lords. It was quite a game, going down to the penultimate over as the Indian tail-enders tried to score the last few runs they needed, and the England bowlers tried to take the last couple of wickets. Anya Shrubsole bowled the last batter (there’s no better ball to a tail-ender than a fast, straight yorker) and England won. Hooray!

In my favourite Yorkshire Dales campsite today - editing, keywording and uploading a backlog of pix. As if to reward my efforts, a total of 15 pix have been licensed so far today (a record for both number of pix... and price). With four more working days to go, July could be my best-ever month for stock sales.

The parterre at Sledmere House...


Saturday, 22 July 2017

Socialising...

I’ve done a bit of socialising with old friends, in Scarborough, York and Hebden Bridge. I’m glad I left the Fox & Goose in Hebden Bridge last night before having that “last pint” (and then maybe a couple more after that) because that’s what makes for a sore head the next morning.

Instead I woke up refreshed. I didn’t immediately know where I was… but that’s pretty normal for a nomad. It’s surprisingly unscary not to know. As Jon Kabat-Zinn says, in the title of a book, Wherever you go, there you are

Burton Agnes Hall...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Sledmere House...

I was photographing the gardens of Sledmere House when this horse and trap came by...




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The BBC...

What BBC presenters are paid is one more issue that isn’t keeping me awake at night. I haven’t had a TV for 15 years or more, and don’t miss it, though that didn’t stop the BBC sending me letters demanding to know why I hadn’t paid my license fee. The idea that I didn’t watch TV seemed inconceivable.

Oh, and those ‘TV detector vans’ were just a ruse, a kind of urban myth. They weren’t actually able to detect who was watching TV without a license…

Bridlington...




Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Bridlington...

Visited two of East Yorkshire’s stately homes - Burton Agnes Hall and Sledmere Hall - and took plenty of pix. Then I parked up in a lay-by, edited pix and listened to the semi-final of the Women’s World Cup, England v South Africa.

It shouldn’t have been such an exciting game. South Africa only scored 218, and the commentators seemed to think it would be a cakewalk for England. But wickets kept falling, and the last five overs were excrutiating to listen to. One of the pundits left the commentary box, because she “felt sick”; another was dancing a jig on the balcony to calm her nerves. And the two who described those last five overs were so overcome with emotion that they could barely talk. It was getting to me as well. But not to Anya Schrubsole, coming in at number 10, who, needing two runs off three balls, wacked her first ball to the bounday.

India play Australia on Thursday, and the winner of that match will play England in the final on Sunday. Lords, I hear, is a sell-out… which suggests that women’s cricket has succeeded in capturing an audience. C’mon England!

The harbour, Bridlington. The sculpture, the Gansey Girl, by Steve Carvill, is a recent addition to the quayside. It depicts a young woman knitting a gansey, the traditional jumper worn by fishermen...


Monday, 17 July 2017

ATM...

Instead of fretting about the BBC's choice of a female Dr Who, I processed another 100 pix today, in a little campsite near Beverley, North Yorkshire. It’s my kind of campsite: informal, without too many rules and regulations (just a hand-written sign: No kite flying). There was no wifi or bar, but, to be honest, campsite bars tend to be awful in all respects: decor, ambience, beer, food, staff and clientele.

I hear talk of the ‘cashless society’; maybe it’s here already…






Sunday, 16 July 2017

Today's quote from Krishnamurti...

"Why is there, one must ask, this division—the Russian, the American, the British, the French, the German, and so on—why is there this division between man and man, between race and race, culture against culture, one series of ideologies against another? Why? Where is there this separation? Man has divided the earth as yours and mine—why? Is it that we try to find security, self-protection, in a particular group, or in a particular belief, faith? For religions also have divided man, put man against man—the Hindus, the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews and so on. 

Nationalism, with its unfortunate patriotism, is really a glorified form, an ennobled form, of tribalism. In a small tribe or in a very large tribe there is a sense of being together, having the same language, the same superstitions, the same kind of political, religious system. And one feels safe, protected, happy, comforted. And for that safety, comfort, we are willing to kill others who have the same kind of desire to be safe, to feel protected, to belong to something. This terrible desire to identify oneself with a group, with a flag, with a religious ritual and so on gives us the feeling that we have roots, that we are not homeless wanderers"...

Storm clouds over Gloucester Quays...


Beverley...

Saturday night in Beverley, North Yorkshire; unwisely I parked up in the town square for the night. I should have seen the bouncers outside the pubs and drawn the obvious conclusion that Saturdays nights in Beverley might get a bit rowdy.

The noise seemed to have died down by midnight, and I dozed off… only to be awoken by the van being rocked from side to side by unseen hands. I shouted… and the rocking stopped. I thought I might have difficulty getting to sleep after that… but I didn’t.

Sunday morning in Beverley is quieter and more to my liking. This is one Yorkshire town which reminds me of all the market towns I’ve seen down south. I took a stroll, took some pix of the North Bar - the only bar left standing - and now I’m enjoying a mug of tea in a cafĂ© adjoining the square…

Tewkesbury Abbey...




Saturday, 15 July 2017

Alexander Burn...

Drove through Lincolnshire, and over the Humber Bridge. I had notes ready to pay... but it only cost £1.50. I crossed the Severn Bridge a few days ago. It cost £7 and, once across, you're in Wales. Cross the Humber for thirty bob... and you're in Yorkshire. A bargain!

Funeral Director in Tewkesbury, who always recommends cremation rather than burial. Don't know why...


Friday, 14 July 2017

Lower Lode...

I had a very pleasant day and a half in Tewkesbury. I photographed the town in the morning - when the light strikes the buildings in a particular away - and in the afternoon, when the light has moved around and lit up the buildings that were in shadow earlier in the day. I got out the tripod to shoot pix in the abbey, and for night shots around the town. With nearly 2,000 pix to edit, from the past few days, I headed to a campsite.

The satnav lady led me down a long cul de sac, which emerged at a little campsite on the banks of the River Severn, next to a pub, the Lower Lode Inn. Perfect. No wifi, but I got a cheap hook-up. Stopping only for a meal and a couple of beers, later in the day, I processed 112 pix: some kind of record, I think…

The Bell, Tewkesbury...


Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Tewkesbury Abbey...

In Tewkesbury this morning. It’s raining but, of course, that didn’t stop me taking pix in the Abbey. I went at 8am when I thought the place would be empty. There was just a guy moving chairs, and tidying up, after a concert last night. He was fed up. “Look at the shit that people left”, he said. Even as an atheist I wouldn’t say “shit” in church. It sounded like a slap in the face. I always take my hat off too, and try not to break wind on consecrated ground. God knows why…

The abbey...

Monday, 10 July 2017

England v Australia...

I spent yesterday at the County Ground in Bristol, to watch another game in the Women’s World Cup: England v Australia. Since the ground is tucked away in the backstreets, with nowhere to park, I left the van in Thornbury and took the bus.

There are photographs around the ground, featuring some of the notable players who have played for Gloucestershire. Perhaps the most notable of them all is W G Grace, who, over a long career, attracted crowds wherever he played. Though notionally an amateur, he knew his worth and made sure he got paid. Once, when given out LBW, he said "They came to see me bat, not you umpire," and carried on batting!

England women batted first, but, losing wickets, weren’t able to put together a big partnership. It was left to the lower order batters to get the score up to 258 for 8, which I thought was about forty runs short of a decent score. Australia looked favourites to win throughout most of their innings, though they lost regular wickets too. When there were just five overs left, Australia still needed about 55 runs; despite some big hitting and frenzied running between the wickets, they fell three runs short. The crowd - large and by now well-lubricated - went wild...

Every cloud...


Saturday, 8 July 2017

Gloucester Quays...

The moment I turned the corner into the car-park, I was itching to photograph the renovated warehouses overlooking Gloucester Quays. I had a wander in the afternoon, another tour, with the tripod, at dusk, and this morning I was up early for more pix… while the quays were quiet.

Gloucester Quays remind me of Salford Quays, though it’s much more compact; the upmarket apartments, shops and restaurants promote a familiar, aspirational, “you’re worth it” lifestyle. There are bars and restaurants (mostly ersatz versions of international cuisine), but nothing as common as a pub. I had the place to myself when I had a cheapish early evening meal at an Indian eatery. Without any prompting from me (I have a rule never to antagonise anyone who has the opportunity to gob in my food), the proprietor tried to convince me of the superior nature of Islam. He decried the drinking of alcohol even as he brought me a beer!

I nodded politely as he insisted on a Muslim’s right to have more than one wife, if he is particularly “powerful” (I presume he meant highly sexed). I told him I had read the Koran, without volunteering a review, and left without leaving a tip…

The Mariners' Church, Gloucester Quays...


























Warehouses overlooking the canal basin...


Friday, 7 July 2017

Today's Krishnamurti quote...

"You always ask what happens after death. But you have never asked what happens before death, what happens now in your life. What is your life?—working, office, money, pain, striving, climbing the ladder of success. That is your life. And death puts an end to all that. So, is it possible, while living, to end—end your attachment, end your belief? To end, the beauty of ending something voluntarily, without motive, without pleasure—can you do it? In ending there is a new beginning. If you end, there is something, the doors are opened, but you want to be sure before you end that the door will open. So you never end, never end your motive. The understanding of death is to live a life, inwardly ending"...

Man in Chepstow, trying to remember where he left his car-keys...


Thursday, 6 July 2017

Joe Root...

The day started unpromisingly. I popped into a pub to watch a bit of the summer’s first test match - England v South Africa - only to see England subside to 74 for 4. This is Joe Root’s first match as captain, even though he was appointed six months ago (the early matches this season have all been ‘white ball’ cricket). He came in when England were facing another crisis… and stayed all day. I know this because I abandoned all other plans for the day, settled back into an armchair to watch the big screen and stayed till the close of play. What a great day’s cricket! England accelerated throughout the day, with Joe Root reaching 100, then 150, and finishing on 184 not out, ready to start again tomorrow.

He looked tired after his epic innings, but, hell, for a professional sportsman, days don’t come much better than this. I hope he prospers, and not just because he’s a Yorkshireman. He’s obviously got a good sense of humour; emblazoned on the back of his shirt, for the one-day games, is his name and squad number: ‘Root 66’…

Thornbury...




Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Chepstow...

Bored by England’s long tradition of male voice choirs (there are only so many renditions of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot that a non-rugby fan can take) I ventured across the Severn Bridge this morning, to investigate the principality’s unrivalled reputation for fine cuisine. I was in luck: there’s a Greggs in Chepstow.
   
Despite taking plenty of stock pix, and working on my ‘belief’ book, I feel I’m in holiday mood. I’ve been in Wales less than an hour and already I’ve been abused by a local. Let no one suggest that a Welshman has a chip on his shoulder…

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Thornbury...

A frustrating day, despite the warm and sunny weather, as none of my plans worked out. I got lost in Bristol and ended up driving out of the city towards the little market town of Thornbury, where it was easier to negotiate the high street. I’m enjoying a cold beer, while uploading pix, and watching the tennis on the pub TV…

Selfie by the sea...


Weston-super-Mare...

Stayed in Weston-super-Mare last night. If I’d half closed my eyes, and gazed at the sweep of the bay, I could almost have been in Nice…


Monday, 3 July 2017

Cricket at Taunton...

When England women played Sri Lanka women yesterday, the County Ground was bathed in sunshine (unlike Thursday, when Indian Women played West Indies women, and it was so cold that I asked a woman knitting nearby if she could knit me a blanket). Sri Lanka batted first, and never got over a slow start and the regular loss of wickets. Chamari Athapaththu, who had got 178 a few days earlier, was out for just a single. The rest of the batters played straight, like illustrations from the coaching manual, but no one dominated the bowling… or even tried. Sri Lanka struggled to a total of 204. England bowled well, though Anya Shrubsole had to watch at least three simple catches being dropped off her bowling. The best catch of the day was by Fran Wilson, in the gully, who clung on to a fierce back-footed drive (otherwise it would have been a four).

England batted well, and were always ahead of the required run rate. Heather Knight and Sarah Taylor knocked off most of the runs between them, and, towards the end, were hitting boundaries to all parts of the ground. So it wasn’t an exciting finish (which has traditionally been the rationale for the 50-over game). However, it was good to see England playing well. They’re playing South Africa mid-week and I’ll catch up with them again in Bristol, a ground I’ve never visited before, for next Sunday’s game against the unbeaten Australian women… 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Watchet...

Spent a morning taking pix in Watchet, a characterful little port, with a harbour, a quay, a statue of the ancient mariner (with his crossbow and albatross) and not much else. After a few days of overcast skies, the sun is out… and it’s supposed to stay this way for the cricket tomorrow. There’s live music playing non-stop in the West Somerset Hotel today, to raise money for famine relief, though to stay from noon to midnight you’d need to be a tone-deaf philanthropist.

Parked up in Taunton now, close to the County Ground, ready to stroll into the ground tomorrow morning… with my monocular, radio and ear-buds (not just to listen to the cricket commentary, but also to shut out the pop music: there’s only so much Katy Perry a man can take)…

The harbour at Watchet...


Co-operation...