Family

Festive

Fizz!  Bang!  Whoop-whoop-whoop!  I know they’re a dreadful waste of money, but I can’t help the excitement I feel whenever I see fireworks.  The child in me claps it’s hands, and beams at the sky.

When my Polish family invited me to Norfolk to join their New Year celebrations, I knew there would be dancing, vodka- of course!- kissing, and more food than I could reasonably be expected to eat in a week.  I wasn’t disappointed on any of these counts, but the promise of fireworks at Cromer on New Year’s Day was the icing on the cake. (and yes, there was plenty of that, too).

Impatiently, we waited for the lights to dim and the show to start, gazing across the water for signs of activity on the pier.

And then, finally, the count down.  5-4-3-2-1- whooppee!

Impossible to replicate the sounds, the colours and the pure joy.  This week Paula has asked us to Pick a Word in Thursday’s Special.  I’ve picked an easy word, Festive, to stave off the January blues.

Jo’s Monday walk : Loving Lagos

It’s not often that I venture to the western end of the Algarve but, when I do, the city of Lagos is a particular favourite of mine. I knew that my daughter loved it too, from a fleeting visit about 10 years ago.  What better excuse did I need for a bit of footloose and fancy free?

The old side of town is a warren of twisting and turning switchback streets, with fleeting glimpses of interest as you whizz around a harepin bend.  Lisa commented that she was glad not to be in the driving seat, but we put our faith in my valiant other half, and eventually we found parking, way up beyond the castle walls.  I had not realised that they were so extensive.  Following our noses led us to an interesting wall or two of graffiti.

Truth be known, these days some of Lagos is a little bit tacky with touristy shops and restaurants- a victim of its own success and having some of the Algarve’s most inviting beaches.  But I can overlook a street or two that resembles Albufeira because this is a very engaging place.  It has history and beautiful churches, and it has character in spades, if you go looking.

Peeping between the narrow streets, the spires of several churches catch the eye.  I knew Santo Antonio by reputation, but was a little disappointed not to be able to share the astounding architecture and elaborately gilded wood with you.  Photographs were forbidden, but I did manage to find a link.  On the main square, Santa Maria was much less elaborate, but still beautiful.

Lagos has a history stretching back over 2000 years.  Originally a Celtic settlement, it was colonised by the Romans (as Lacobriga), valuable to them for its fine harbour.  When the Moors arrived in the 8th century, they added fortifications of castle and walls, and established trading with North Africa.  Henry the Navigator made Lagos the centre of Portuguese maritime explorations in the 15th century, the caravels venturing further and further south along the west coast of Africa, hoping to find a route to India.  In 1434 Gil Eanes succeeded in rounding the cape but sadly, within 10 years, the slave trade was established.  Lagos has the dubious distinction of having Europe’s first slave market.  Prince Henry received one fifth of the selling price of each slave, helping him to fund further expeditions.

With the death of Henry, Lagos continued to receive shipments of goods and slaves but its role was gradually eclipsed by the rising star of Lisbon.  A string of forts was constructed along the coast to defend from pirates and neighbouring Spain.  Among them, Ponta da Bandeira Fort, which sits so picturesquely on the headland.  From 1576 to 1755, Lagos was capital of the Algarve, but the earthquake of 1755 destroyed much of the old town.  Some of the castle walls remain but many of the current buildings date from 17th century.

Knowing my tendency to linger by the sea, I was allowed only the merest glimpse of the fort before being whisked away to lunch.  The lure of white sangria just about did the trick.  Over lunch we discussed ‘where next’ and Lisa made it a mission to find for me the landmark ‘green building’ which appears in many images of Lagos.  We were, of course, permitted to dawdle by the odd shop.  Ingenious use is being made of cork these days- everything from tiny purses to sandals, with jewellery and even clever fans.  Eye catching balustrades and tumbles of flowers were duly noted.

Lisa was following Google maps (isn’t technology a wonderful thing?) in a haphazard sort of way.  There were simply too many distractions.  Crossing Praça Gil Eanes I could see just a snippet of Ribeira Bensafrim, the river that pours out into the ocean.  We climbed gently and found ourselves in a square looking at a very colourful building, which proved to be the living science centre. ( Centro Ciência Viva de Lagos)

A restaurant terrace looked out onto the marina and busy river.  No sign of the desired ‘green building’ but, as we retraced our steps downhill, there it was in all its glory.  How had we missed it?  ‘Azulejos e postais‘- Tiles and postcards, as it is now known, on Praça de Luis Camoes.

Close up the tiles were very beautiful, and the owner was delighted to discuss the restoration of his building.  Mission accomplished, it remained to find our way back uphill to where we left the car.  I hope you loved Lagos too, and enjoyed our ramble together.

I’m back in the UK now, so hopefully ‘normal’ service will resume, but I may be a while catching up.  Thanks so much for your loyalty, and for staying with me.  Once again I have a bumper bundle of walks to share, so do please find time to visit these lovely folk.  And if you’d like to share a walk with me, just follow the logo.  Many thanks!

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Everybody should see this place once in their lifetime, so thanks, Lady Lee :

Santorini

While nobody does spectacular better than Debbie :

Slow and exposed walk along the Thames

Drake treated me to the warm glow of Autumn in a place that I love :

Colorful Autumn

And Elaine took me to her pretty home patch, too :

Early November walk by the canal

While Jill took me to a place that I’ve long wanted to visit :

Come explore Cadiz with me

And Cadyluck Leedy took me to an area that I don’t know at all!

Jo’s Monday Walk : Dinan, France

Liesbet has some spectacular photos, taken between house sits :

Southern Utah’s National Parks

And Violet takes me waterfalling

Inglis Falls

I did think Silly Back Lane an odd place name, but then I looked again.  Cheers, Jude!

Siblyback Lake

But then Woolly made me sad all over again :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk43_Gibraltar-Bunker

There’s something so distinctive about French windows and shutters.  And about Tobias; style :

Beynac, Part One

Beynac, Part Two

I’m really enjoying  Carol’s ‘close to home’ series, with their wonderful details.  Just look at these trees!

BYO Birdseed

Becky’s cheating a little bit with this one :

Glass, iron and steel at Kew

But on Friday morning I was sitting right here, waiting for the ferry to the Ilha.  Sunny memories :

A short stroll at Quatro Aguas

I have a gazillion photos to sort, including those from Lumiere in Durham last night.  Amazing stuff!  It’s forecast a damp week so it looks like I’ll have time to spare.  Whatever you get up to, I hope it’s a good week for you.  Take care!

 

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Ruswarp to Whitby (and back)

Memory is a strange thing, isn’t it?  I was sure I’d walked this walk with you, from Ruswarp to Whitby and back again.  I even remember telling how I was like a drowned rat when the skies opened on the way back.  Sitting in a puddle, eating a cheese sandwich and looking out of the pub window at the rain is not my idea of fun.  The Guinness was good, but it was a sunny riverside setting I had in mind.  Apparently my memory lies.  Nowhere could I find that original post!  Nor photos to accompany it.  Strange tricks memory plays!

I walked this way again recently, with a sunnier ending, and this time I’m determined to share it with you.  It’s tinged with sadness today, because it’s a year ago that Dad died.  There was nothing he liked better, if he had company, than to whisk them into his car and off over the Moors to Whitby.  Fish and chips and a pint and he was happy with life.  He couldn’t walk far but was always fiercely independent (in a soft, gentlemanly way).  The last time we were there together he parked the car on the cliff top.  Somehow we ended up down at street level, and then were faced with the challenge of getting back up there again.  I seriously doubted we’d ever make it but, with many pauses, we did.

Ruswarp is a charming village, a little over a mile inland from Whitby, along the River Esk.  The Esk Valley Railway runs through the village and sometimes you’re treated to the sight and sound of steam.  By the riverside you can hire rowing boats and canoes, and take canoeing lessons.  This gentle walk is signposted off the main street and follows a stone pannierway, known locally as Monk’s Trod.  Watch out for a bit of an uphill haul as you leave the river and approach Whitby, on the Esk Valley Walk.

You have a couple of choices for leaving the walk to enter Whitby.  Last time I followed the Cinder Track but this time I opted for West Cliff.  Either option will bring you close to Pannell Park and from there you’re close to the seafront, and the monument to the bombardment.

This is where Dad parked, close by the monument to James Cook, looking across to Whitby Abbey and near to the whalebone arch.  I remember the relief with which he subsided onto a bench when we made it back up that cliff.

I was lucky to be heading downwards, admiring the views on the way.  Into the ‘Screaming tunnel’, alleged to have been used by Dracula to frighten his victims, and out the other side.  Best done in daylight.

Down on the harbourside the seagulls are in raucous control, while St. Mary’s church looks down with the serenity of centuries.

The swing bridge remains locked in position, while Whitby is full of its usual bustle.  To escape the crowd for a while we duck into our favourite little eating place, tucked away in the quiet of Sander’s Yard.  Healthy food, you’ll note! (I won’t show you his chips)  And  I only looked at the cup cakes.

Leaving the bucket and spade brigade behind, it’s time to carry on, past the marina and down to the very end of the car park.  There you will find a footpath that runs between the railway and a boatyard.  Hold on- you’re in for a treat!  Look what’s coming!

It’s always a sight to gladden the heart, and I watch it disappear into the distance before turning my gaze back to the river.  At this point we have lovely views back to Whitby, while ahead lies the 120 foot high viaduct, built to carry the Whitby-Scarborough railway.  The route was closed in 1965 and the Cinder Track walking and cycling path I mentioned earlier now runs across it.

The River Esk was used to power corn mills in the village of Ruswarp, though the last closed in 1962.  The weir built to channel water into a mill-race has been adapted to power a hydro-electric project on the south bank.  As I follow the river, suddenly I can hear a whooping and a hollering.  Looking over the hedge I’m amused to see what looks like a scene from ‘Swallows and Amazons’.  The schoolkids are having a whale of a time.

I’m almost back to my start point when there’s the hoot of a whistle behind me.  Spinning round I’m delighted to see the engine racing along, black steam pouring from its funnel.  Steam trains don’t stop in Ruswarp, but slow at the level crossing where our trail ends.

Five minutes later and we’re back on the riverbank, where we began.  I hope you enjoyed coming along with me.

Yesterday we did what Dad would have wanted.  The family got together in a pub that he liked, and we talked and we laughed.  It was easy to imagine him there with us.  Today it’s all just memories.  God bless, Dad!

 

Thank you all for your company.  I hope you can find a little more time to visit these walks that people have kindly contributed.  If you’d like to join in, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  I’ll make you very welcome.  Time to put the kettle on now.

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Let’s start with an introduction.  Melodie lives in Manchester and she loves tea :

Hike around Edale, Peak District

You’ll enjoy Jude’s stroll in the YSP.  I certainly did!

Yorkshire Sculpture Park : Part Two

Maybe you should bring a blow-up boat for this walk with Violet :

The Fishing Islands

Jackie’s raring to go, as ever!  And well supplied :

Chuck Wagon

Fitbits are all the rage, aren’t they?  Marsha has it under control!

How to Get an Easy 10,000 steps in Sedona, AZ

Sometimes you can simply overdo it.  Believe me, Liesbet, I know!

Day Trips around Santa Fe, NM- Sandia Mountains, Albuquerque

Petroglyph National Monument, Albuquerque

Janet shares some fascinating details of this National Park :

The Badlands 1

The Badlands 2 

While Lady Lee is living the good life!

Being pampered in Das Kranzbach

You have to get up early for peace and quiet in Singapore, but you’ll be welcome to join Ju-Lyn :

Running to stillness on Orchard Road

Kathrin’s planning on some physical hiking in Yosemite.  I’d love to join her :

Places in California : Q is for…

While Woolly has some fun with the birds :

Jo’s-Monday–Walk-Wk38_Balyang-Sanctuary

I’m ending today with my lovely friend, Gilly, showing us yet another side to beautiful Firenze :

A walk in the Oltrarno

Many thanks to you all, and wishing you a great week!

Six word Saturday

In memory of a lovely lady

It’s hard to post today.  My head is full of thoughts, but I don’t want to upset the family or share things that are not mine to share.

My friend Vron was never happier than when she had her family around her.  I never knew her as the powerhouse she was, before an aneursym 18 years ago left her partially disabled, but I’ve heard the stories and seen photographs.  To me she was a kind and gentle soul, who accepted her situation with grace and without any trace of bitterness,  From the moment I stepped into her household, in my capacity as a carer, I was accepted as a member of the family, and she became very special to me.

Vron was surrounded by love.  They say you reap what you sew, and that was never truer.  Her beloved husband took on the role that she could no longer manage and she put her whole faith and trust in him.   She adored her two girls and her son, and the grandchildren, as one rapidly followed the other.  All were very precious to her.  Brothers and sisters were held close to her heart.

Whenever there was a cause for celebration, this family knew how to celebrate. They put their heart and soul into it.  The last time I saw them all together was for a special birthday last November.  Family and friends joined them and the laughter and memories flowed.  Hard to believe that I will never again join Vron at another family gathering.  I know she’ll be there in spirit.  Vron, we will always miss your lovely smile.  It was a privilege to know you.  God bless!  Rest in peace.

For Six Word Saturday.  Share Debbie’s wonderful perspective.

Six word Saturday

Her Mum can’t paint for toffee!

Following my Thursday’s Special post I had many requests for more of Lisa’s artwork.  I cannot do justice to her lovely home but this is a small sample of it’s beauty.  Alternative six words- Is it any wonder I’m proud?  Take your pick!

I won’t be here next Saturday.  Poor me, I’ll be languishing in the Algarve heat.  Take good care of yourselves, and don’t forget to keep the six words going.  Debbie’s relying on you.

Goldfinch


I spy, with my eye,

A goldfinch, sweetly gilded.

Pure labour of love

Hand-painted, on my daughter’s living room wall.  He seems to be looking Over his shoulder, rather wisely, I think.  Join Paula in this week’s Thursday’s Special for a totally incredible look at the moon.

Jo’s Monday walk : Rufford Abbey and Country Park

Rufford Abbey in Nottinghamshire looks very inviting on a warm Summer’s day.  Nestled on the edge of Sherwood Forest, in Robin Hood territory, the abbey dates back to 12th July, 1147. Founded by Gilbert de Gant, it was populated with Cistercian monks from Rievaulx Abbey in Yorkshire, a place that I know well.  They were known as ‘white monks’ because their habits were made from undyed wool, and they lived an austere life of prayer and hard work.

When my daughter suggested that I would love these abbey ruins, now part of a large country estate, I was more than happy to accompany her. She always makes excellent company.  Why don’t you come with us?

Did any of you ever hear of a heliochronometer?  That’s what Lisa was studying in the rose garden.  According to a complicated explanation in Wikipedia, it is a precision sundial first devised by Philip Hahn around 1763.  We struggled to set it, rather unsuccesfully.

Only the west wing of the abbey remains.  The rest was demolished in the 1670s, following the Abolition of the Monasteries.  The pink-tinged stone has a delicacy I love.  A country house replaced the abbey, alleged to be haunted, most appropriately by a skull-bearing monk.

The formal gardens have a lovely hint of playfulness, entrancing to children large and small. Had it not been so hot we could have navigated the fortune maze for much longer.  Spinning the wheel to choose our destiny.  The metal gates and sculptures were intricate and beautiful.

Shade was a valuable commodity, with Lisa fluttering her fan and wishing she’d brought the delightfully dilapidated parasol I’d managed to poke another hole in the previous day. Accidentally, of course.

The Oil Patch Warrior, a sculpture by Jay O’Meilia, a Navy artist in World War II, commemorates American oil workers who drilled over 3 million barrels of oil in the heart of Nottinghamshire, between 1943 and 1945.  He is one of many varied and interesting pieces throughout the grounds.

Hidden in the depths of leafy shade we find an immense ice house.  Sadly, the ice is long departed.  Hoping to catch a breeze over by the lake, or maybe even an icecream, we saunter down through the trees.

There’s a small cafe, but it’s melting hot inside, so we opt for that icecream- tangy lemon for Lisa, pistachio and almond for me.  Lovely!  The path winds on around the lake and we follow it back to the start.

Time to twirl that imaginary parasol homewards.  All good things come to an end, and it was beautiful while it lasted.  I hope you enjoyed it too.  Rufford Abbey is now managed by English Heritage, and full details of how to get there are on their website.

That’s my couple of days in Nottingham accounted for.  Thank you for your company, and for the many and varied walks I’ve received this week.  Join me any time.  You’ll be most welcome. Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Time to put the kettle on now and settle in for a good read.

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I was delighted to be introduced last week to Theresa, by Becky.  Another birder, of course!

Little Orme Level 1

For a glimpse of breathtaking beauty, you often can’t beat Drake :

Nowhere highland

One I missed from last week!  Please have a catch up with Denzil :

The Valley of the Hermeton

A beer by the Spree and/or a bit of wall?  Nice choice from Debbie :

Walking the Wall

A look at a place Jackie knows well- street art and stairs! :

Bonjour Montreal!

A bit of sadness with Woolly :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk25

But Geoff stays determinedly cheerful :

Cake not Hate – a walk and some thoughts

Meg gently meanders, looking in crevices, twice!

Two wordless walks

While Jude is mildly disenchanted with walking in Truro.  Can anyone help?

Truro – the UK’s most southerly city

Lady Lee offers a superb look at another of those places I’ve always wanted to visit :

Our Malta experience

A good friend has been to the falls at Plitvice and Krka.  They look magnificent!  Here’s proof positive from Paula :

Transience of Water

Do you know Ting?  She’d love to escort you around these beautiful gardens :

Exploring RHS Gardens, Wisley in Surrey

Becky just knew I’d love this post!  Distinctive boats, canals, sunshine… can’t go wrong!

Exploring the many canals of Aveiro

While Carol takes me somewhere very familiar indeed.  I do like a Shambles!

A Walk Around York

You might need a bit of stamina for this long walk, with Eunice :

Ambling round Anglezarke

I am enamoured with Savannah.  Take a look at Cady Luck’s post and you will be too!

Jo’s Monday Walk : Savannah, Georgia

Sssh, but the sun still seems to be shining a little bit up here, and I’m off out for a walk.  Catch you all soon.  Have a great week!