Wednesday, 3 February 2016

January Favourites

January was not a productive month on the card front, but here are my favourites...






I don't really go for girls with no faces, but I did like how this turned out...




This month's blog header is a photo of a male chaffinch taken in the back garden last February.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Photo Prompts finished

The last of my photos taken for Clare's prompts. 

Neon: hi-vis jackets are mandatory in work. If you forget yours and are lucky, the security guards at the gates have a few. For the purposes of this photo, it was lucky that they did on Thursday. Sometimes they're all out of them - and then you have to contact someone already in the building and ask them to come out with one for you. I took this with my phone and had forgotten that I'd turned the screen contrast way down, so they are super-bright neon. I meant to also take a photo of a pen I bought for C at the Eiffel Tower, it's one of those ones with a light that changes colour and they are neon hues...but I didn't have time.




I didn't have time because we were away for the weekend.
Friday's prompt was inspiration, and as we were travelling I didn't manage to find anything.
Saturday was "Once Upon a Time", and Sunday was "self, so I have sort of combined them.
I was hoping to find a castle that would make a good "once upon a time"picture, but didn't manage that. Instead, here is the archway over a door of a building we walked past in Auvernier.
And me sitting on an old stone bench in front of the church in Neuchatel. If it comes to it - I guess reflections always inspire me, a late double entry for that prompt.




The sign reads something like this: the donjon (keep, inner tower) terrace looks down over a ditch which was dug before the year 1000, to strengthen the defences of the town. The two stone benches date from the 18th century, and were visited by Balzac and Madame Hanska on the occasion of their meeting in Neuchatel in 1833. At that time they were situated on le Crêt, a small hill situated at the end of the Grande Promenade beside the lake.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Photo Prompts #4

More prompts from Clare:  

Sunday was Photo & Quote. 
Cheating slightly by adding an old photo which I took for a challenge a few years ago - I had set this poem as inspiration - so it's my rather lengthy quote. I had something else in mind but couldn't pull it together.

Ars Poetica
BY ARCHIBALD MACLEISH
A poem should be palpable and mute   
As a globed fruit,

Dumb
As old medallions to the thumb,

Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where the moss has grown—

A poem should be wordless   
As the flight of birds.

                         *               

A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs,

Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees,

Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves,   
Memory by memory the mind—

A poem should be motionless in time   
As the moon climbs.

                         *               

A poem should be equal to:
Not true.

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf.

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea—

A poem should not mean   
But be.
I've used this poem in the past both for card and photo inspiration challenges. I had great fun back then finding as many suitable images as possible. Here's one of them - and I also snapped a photo on a weekday morning this week for the moon behind the winter leaves - only the tree is bare. Snapped quickly with my phone because the bus was due in one minute.

Monday: Sky - I took the view down the river on Monday morning. It's not always easy to get good skies in the city! So often it's just grey and dull but Monday morning was better than most. And then on Tuesday I was waiting for the bus along the river instead of at my usual stop, and snapped a couple of rainbow shots. And on Wednesday, stormy light in the morning made for dramatic colour contrasts.



Tuesday: Beer. This was an easy one for me! 
Beer in the making, our Christmas brew, one of the craft beer pubs in town.


And just for fun, a couple of photos from a work project back in December. By the time we broke for lunch, there must have been close to 200 glasses on the table, some stacked up to three high. And not a drop spilled. And oh my, I remember the weather that day - it was atrocious. Even with all the lights on it was still dull and gloomy.


Wednesday: trees. My first thought...

But the light was good as I walked out from town this morning. I've taken similar shots before, I love the red brick wall with the evergreens, and the bare trees added lovely contrast.

Since this is a photo-heavy post, I'll go ahead and publish it now, and finish the last prompts for the month of next week instead of making a weekend post.
Adding the poem seems to have weirded my formatting - sorry!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Photo Prompts week #3

Photo Prompts from Clare's blog: January Photo Challenge

Sunday was "unusual". I admit I took this one later in the week, but it was something I had spotted on the way to work and ear-marked for a photo - but obviously I wasn't in work on Sunday and couldn't take it on the day.
 James Joyce is (not alive and well) in James Joyce House on Usher's Island. I often walk past and I am quite positive I've never seen this head in the window before. Two photos - one with reflections across the street, and one when I waited for a bus to provide a shadow.



Monday - Reaching up/out. I thought of stuff like cranes, but got lucky with a cherry-picker in work.


Tuesday - favourite photo of you. Hmmm, There isn't one, really. Pass.  Though I actually am very happy with my Blogger profile photo, self-portrait a few years ago. And because I was thinking of using dressing up as a childhood memory, here's an OLD photo I still like - me in my favourite dressing-up clown suit (I liked that more than all the lovely evening dresses that were in the trunk), cycling around the garden with my teddybear.




Wednesday - old. I've made a separate post for that, it's HERE.

Thursday - childhood memory.
I can't remember what year this was, I was probably about 7 or 8. I can remember my Dad sitting down on my bed and asking me if I preferred emeralds or rubies. Rubies, I was sure - I've always liked them, and when I lost the original stone from my engagement ring, I replaced it with a lovely garnet. So he asked was I sure, did I not think I'd like emeralds. I was sure - and for Christmas I got this crown with a "ruby" as the centrepiece. I found out afterwards that he had had a green stone, but replaced it when I was so certain I preferred rubies. It's made out of thick aluminium, so it's got a little scratched over the years but it wasn't too heavy to wear.


Friday - snack. I'm not a big snacker. Savoury is better than sweet, but these mangos are a standby; when we are travelling, I always have a pack or two. They're the best ones I've ever found.


Saturday - technology. Well, there is low-tech and high-tech and everything in between. We're fairly techie, I've built two of my computers from scratch and tinkered with all except the last two. Not having a television, we were VERY early adopters of DVD drives when they became available, because at last we could watch films at home. Our first computer didn't even have a CD drive; when we bought Corel-Draw we had no way of installing a lot of the optional extras which were on disc. But my brother, at the time doing a computer science degree, jury-rigged a custom cable which let us transfer everything from his computer, via the serial port. And I read that serial ports are just about dead, these days.
This is my travel card. I remember the old tickets from the days buses actually had conductors; purple print on a thermal-type paper like fax paper. And our ten-journey tickets for the train were thin card, and each time you put it in the machine, it punched a tab out. I love my Leap card - it has a 30-day travel pass for the bus, and credit which can be used on the tram or train. Best of all, if I lose it and notify them straight away, I don't lose any of the "money" stored on it. We had a discussion in work one day on the advantages of registering your Leap card - and that very day, someone lost hers and discovered, on checking, that although she had no recollection of registering it, she must have done so at some time because she was able to claim a refund for it. When I leave the house in the morning, the things I check are my work ID, a hi-vis jacket (mandatory in work), keys, phone and my Leap card.



Thursday, 21 January 2016

A little snippet of history

A separate post for #20 of Clare's photo prompts: old.
 It was prompted partly by Books on day 14, and also by the fact that a friend who was here for dinner a couple of weeks ago asked to see the Bible, and the letter that is normally kept with it wasn't there. I found it within a couple of minutes of looking - after he had gone. So now it's recorded here along with photos. I don't know how this Bible came to be on our family bookshelves. But thirty-something years ago, when I needed to read a lesson in Irish in one of the cathedrals, there was the Bible on the shelf -  just what I needed. We don't, as far as I know, have any connections with the O'Brien family - but I do know an O'Brien with a keen interest in family and history, so a few years ago I sent her a photo of the book-plate and asked could she tell me anything about this particular Charlotte O'Brien. Sure enough, she could...






"I'm most intrigued at your "Irish Bible". Charlotte Grace O'Brien was born 23rd Nov 1845, and was 3 years old when her father, William Smith O'Brien, was transported to Tasmania in 1849. He returned to Ireland, and in 1863 was back in Co, Limerick, and his daughter Charlotte would have been 18. The O'Briends were not Irish speakers but were interested in all things nationalistic, so would have supported Douglas Hyde and the language movement. I have a life of Charlotte O'Brien...
She was a very interesting character, set up hostels in Cork & Canada for emigrant women, and was very interested and knowledgeable about botany and founded the Limerick Field Club etc....

I'll post my other photo prompts at the weekend.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Howth

I had to visit the doctor today, and on the way to visit someone else, took time for a quick walk down the pier in Howth.  Just as I was walking back to the car, a redshank flew in and landed on the shore...
It was a very, very grey day; I had the car lights on both going and coming back home - but the soft muted feel it gave was very atmospheric along the coast.











Saturday, 16 January 2016

Photo Prompts week 2

Photo prompts week two, taken from Clare on her blog HERE

I sort of sneaked a Rust for last Sunday in with my garden bench in front of the greenhouse in Farmleigh.
Monday was guilty pleasure...this was a hard one. I like most things in moderation and don't see the need to feel guilty about them.
Best I could come up with was feeding the gulls. I know that on many peoples' radar, gulls range from a mild nuisance to a major pest. I grew up near a local landfill site AND by the sea; they were certainly a nuisance with some of the rubbish they dropped in the garden. And I would rather feed my bread scraps to ducks - sometimes on the way to work there are indeed mallards and an occasional moorhen, and swans. But every day, come rain or shine, you can count on the gulls. And I'd certainly rather feed my stale bread to them than toss it in landfill; there are only so many breadcrumbs I can use.


Tuesday - Black and White. The obvious thought was a monochrome photo, and the next one was the Black & White whiskey ads - but finding a Westie would be possible, finding a Scottie much more improbable. Then I thought of magpies, and black-headed gulls - but they are still in winter plumage and don't have a lot of black. In the end, I was renewing my work ID and went with the black and white colours of Guinness. As per the information board (inside the gate, where no tourists will see it), it only started being painted in black and white in the sixties.





Wednesday: keepsake. Lots of possibilities here, I ended up with one of my little thimble displays. After filling up three, I more or less stopped collecting thimbles, though if I see an outstanding one I will probably still get it. Some of these come from friends, including the Chester one and the Welsh harpist (but in fact, Chester is where we bought C's wedding ring), some come from the markets in London when I worked there ...and the one in front is my regular sewing thimble, a gift on my 18th, and I still have the stacked origami waterlilies which my sister presented it in, too.


Thursday: books. Where to start...I still remember my total incomprehension when I was once asked, by a removal man who had come to give us a quote, what we did with all our books. And at that stage he had only seen my recipe books and our "coffee table" collection, not all the paperbacks and "reading" books. Well, most of them I read and re-read, and even in this Internet age, I still refer to a lot of our reference books.
For the prompt, I thought I'd go with generations of books! I'm not sure that I have anything belonging to my (Irish) grandfather, certainly nothing from my maternal one who was Scottish and lived most of his adult life in Canada.  But this picture shows some old Babar  books which were my father's when he was a child, and two of the Little Grey Rabbit books which I collected as a child. I can still remember going into the bookshop and picking new ones when I had Christmas or birthday money to spend. One of them is as re-bound by my father, who drew the little hedgehogs on the cover. And the other books came from my great-grandfather; the leather-bound one is a book of Dante's poetry, and I really just keep it for the beautiful binding. The hardback one was a prize presentation to him when he was in college in 1881, and it's "Les Beaux Messieurs de Bois-Doré by George Sand, published in Paris in 1874. I've taken a photo from the side, so you can see how even the edges of the paper (as well as the fly-papers) have a beautiful marbled finish. And yes - I never finished it but I did read a lot of this one.  While on the French connection, we have quite a large collection of French children's books accumulated on our various trips - and here is a beautiful pop-up scene from a book called A Night in the Forest. Most of it I can translate easily but I usually end up having to look up a couple of the birds and animals.





Friday: out and about. Sadly the tide wasn't out, I was hoping for some low-tide photos with birds. Instead, I just snapped these on my way home from work. A sign on the bus, a veterinary surgery sign and some carpets. Also sadly, it wasn't one of the day the carpets were facing right-side out, but that's the way the cookie crumbles. I'm so curious to know who lives in that house or apartment  - do they have a huge dust allergy or what? The carpets are regularly hung over the wall, and this is the first time I've made the time to stop and take a photograph.




Saturday: on screen. For us, that's a varying degree of small screens, we don't have television. And while we went to the cinema twice over Christmas, that's probably the first time in about 5 years.
So, we have a screenshot of the current weather, and then I admit to taking the one that's based on Star Wars in advance, when I was walking into town after renewing my work ID the other day.




And the current wallpaper on my PC is one of the photos from Le Teich.