Bench Series

Six word Saturday


In Tavira, it goes like this…


Down at the beach bar we have Santa and a lady friend, and a cute little tree.

Aside from the main town square, not a lot of money is spent on decoration, and Christmas is no worse for that.  A simple crib scene adorns a few street corners.  There is little money to spare, and food banks were operating in the supermarkets in late December.


The council are keen to attract further tourism to Tavira, and they are spending money on infrastructure.  The natural assets and the sunshine are there for all to see, but down at Quatro Aguas major improvements are underway.  Jude might enjoy these brand new Benches.




Maybe she’ll get to sit on them one day.  The view’s not bad….

Meantime, it’s Saturday and I hope you’re not too full of Christmas pudding to take a little stroll with me.  I’m not sure if Cate is playing Six Word Saturday this week.  It’s Boxing Day and that’s confusing, isn’t it?  Hope to see you all on Monday!


Saying goodbye to Autumn


My last post, about Lumiere 2015 at Durham, is a hard act to follow.  I was tempted to just let it ride until I come back to the blog in December, but the Christmas ‘rush’ will be well and truly here by then.  There’ll be no opportunity to bid farewell to Autumn.  It’s been kind to us this year and I’m quite reluctant to let it go.  Just a week or two ago I was wandering through Durham.

On a bright Autumn day the shadows can be as beautiful as the blue sky.  I loved playing with them on my walk at Auckland Castle this week.  IMG_0777


It must have been about the same time last year that I was here, because there’s a poster advertising the Christmas Food and Craft Market on 20th November.  I well remember my ginger wine and mince pie, whilst looking at the palatial dining room, shared with you on this walk.  This year they’re going a step further, with an outdoor skating rink until 3rd January.  I might just have to come back for that.


Of course, it’s no good having a great view without a bench to admire it from.  And one bench invariably leads to another.  Let’s leave the Deer House and go looking for some more shadows, shall we?  I’d better catch up to those walkers too.


I think I’ve just about got Autumn out of my system.  And managed to share a few more benches for Jude.  It’s the last week of Festival of Leaves too and Verena has done a wonderful job.

If you do get the chance to visit Auckland Castle in the near future, don’t hesitate. It’s a beautiful setting and there are plans afoot to make it even more interesting.

That’s all from me for a week or two.  Take care of each other, please.



I suppose this could be a Monday walk, but I really just wanted to share my experience of Glenridding with you, before it fades like the leaves.  It’s many a long year since I spent a night in the Lake District, and I wanted to savour every moment.

If you walked with me this week you’ll know that after my visit to Aira Force the rain hit hard, and I was ‘forced’ to eat cream scones and bide my time.  I should maybe apologise if you were sitting in the Orangery.  Once the scones had disappeared I took to pacing up and down, waiting, not so patiently.  Lake Ullswater needed filling and was supremely disinterested in my desire to be out exploring, so I had to contain myself until morning. Very early morning, so it was really no surprise that I had Glenridding all to myself.

I was staying in a guest house immediately across the road from the lake

I was staying in a guest house immediately across the road from the lake

You may have observed that it was rather misty!

You may have observed that it was rather misty!

But I was optimistic!

But I was optimistic!

And I could see the boats moored at the landing stage, beyond the trees.  Enough incentive to venture further.

I crossed the stream

I crossed the stream

Ad looked back at the sleepy village

And looked back at the sleepy village

And there was the lake! Not much mountain though...

And there was the lake! Not much mountain to see though…

There's the steamer

But there’s the steamer

And two wonderfully curious swans

And two wonderfully curious swans

I imagined it to be brightening a little, and turned from the water’s edge to head back into the village.  I tucked my camera into the comfort of my pocket.  Mistake!  At just that moment the swans decided I was a tad boring and, with a graceful flurry of wing, lifted off from the lake’s surface and glided away to the distant shore.  I gazed after them, bereft!

Back to the village, which was just waking up

Back to the village, which was just waking up

I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere with so many options for walking.  I saw at least 4 signs pointing out different routes, including one for Helvellyn.  Curiosity prevailed and I had to follow the latter a little way, finding a couple of pretty little cafes and a fine letterbox as I did.

I continued a little way along the trail, upsetting a little black dog in the privacy of his morning walk.  My shoes were totally inadequate for the task, and breakfast was calling.  Enough adventure for an early morning.  The rain began in earnest soon after I reached the guest house.

Back via the village 'green'

Back via the village ‘green’

I never did manage that steamer ride to Howtown and the walk back to Glenridding.  I guess that means I’ll have to go back another day.  Let’s look on the bright side- I did find a couple of Autumn benches for Jude.

Thoughts on benches

A little meaningful conversation?

A little meaningful conversation?

Some posts seem to just glide effortlessly onto the page.  Others don’t!  They kick and bite and scratch.  You can’t find just that photo that you wanted, lost in the annals of untidy folders.  Too many thoughts collide in your head, often at silly times like 5 in the morning. And then there are those that miss the deadline by a smidgeon.  Just enough to be annoying.  I’ll leave you to work out which this is.


Rustle and tussle

A backlit ballerina

Twirling in the wind

And whilst I have been known to cheat occasionally, in the interests of a beautiful azulejo or two- can you spot these people sitting on benches?

I’m off out to kick a few leaves now.  You never know- I might spot somebody loitering on a bench.  If I do I may even share it with Jude.

Six word Saturday


Hello, and how are you all?

The 'tents' return to Tavira

The ‘tents’ return to Tavira

What a fortnight, but what to select to show you what I’ve been up to?  In brief, of course.  More by luck than planning, the Mediterranean Diet Fair took place whilst I was in Tavira, which accounts for those little white tents and the variety of goodies within. It marked the end of an extremely hot Summer, in which the evenings were soothed by riverside entertainment.

The floodlit castle walls took on a magic of their own

The floodlit castle walls took on a magic of their own

And the churches opened their doors to show everyone the beauty inside

And the churches opened their doors to show everyone the beauty inside

Including the incomparable beauty of the Misericordia Church

Including the incomparable beauty of the Misericordia Church

With its wonderful azulejo panels

With its wonderful azulejo panels

The days were spent mostly wandering beaches.  I discovered a new obsession with buoys.  And I continued my exploration along the west coast of Portugal, up into the beautiful Alentejo.

Zambueira do Mar in the Alentejo

Zambueira do Mar in the Alentejo

Then there was the excitement that was the Medieval Fair at Castro Marim, with both castelo and mighty fortress an arena for combat, and an array of stalls and distractions.  Plus an evening of sand sculptures at FIESA.

Adding colour to Beethoven at FIESA

Adding colour to Beethoven at FIESA

I even managed to combine Morning Glory for Gilly with a hint of metal bench for Jude!  Yes, it was a fine holiday, and there are many tales to tell.  Gilly is going to the Algarve soon herself, and Jude always extends a warm welcome, so pop in and say ‘hi’ to them both.

A bench at Cacela Velha

A bench at Cacela Velha

I have to decide where to take you walking on Monday, and then I have a wedding in Poland, so I’ll miss Six word Saturday again next week.  I hope you’ve all had a great Summer, and if you’d like to share it with Cate I’m sure she’d be pleased.  See you soon!


Benches with a past

Bench 1In Largo 1 de Dezembro, a busy square near the river front in Portimao, traces of Portuguese history linger.  A series of benches commemorate events from the past.  Some depict the glory years, when Portugal had an empire and her explorers roamed the world. Others, significant turning points, like the foundation of the Portuguese nation, on 5th October, 1143, shown above.

Bench 6Not a peaceful scene to accompany a lunchtime sandwich, this bench commemorates the Battle of Aljubarrota on 14th August, 1385. One of many battles with Spain, here King Joao 1 and his general Nuno Alvares Pereira defeat the Castilians.Bench 5The Portuguese Empire spanned almost 600 years, from the capture of Ceuta in North Africa in 1415 to the handover of Macau to the People’s Republic of China in 1999- the longest lived of any of the European colonial empires.  The scene above shows the fall of Ceuta in Morocco, on 21st August, 1415.

Bench 3Probably my favourite scene denotes the arrival of the Vasco da Gama in Calicut, India, on 28th May, 1489.  Below we have the discovery of Brazil, on 24th April, 1500.

Bench 2

Brazil provided a safe refuge for the Portuguese monarchy during the Napoleonic Wars but all good things come to an end and Brazil finally achieved independence in 1822.

Circle bench

The October Revolution in 1910 resulted in the overthrow of the monarchy, the expulsion of the Braganca dynasty, and and the founding of a Portuguese Republic.   Still, it makes a pleasant bench to sit a while and contemplate history.

Bench 4I hope you can enjoy a lunchtime linger.  Jude asked for Benches with unusual details this month. The condition and situation of these benches means I’ve had to employ a little artful disguise.

Like many people I thought that the name azulejos (the type of tile shown on these benches) came from the Portuguese word azul, or blue.  The name actually derives from the Arabic al zuleycha.  Just one of many delightful things I discovered while reading the online magazine Enjoy the Algarve.  You might like it too.


Six word Saturday


A Bench challenge and an orchid

A gentle day on the north east coast of England

A gentle day, on the north east coast of England.   My friends and I amble along, in search of a bench where we can sit for a while, admiring the view.

A good-looking bench but facing the wrong way

A good-looking bench, but facing the wrong way

This one might just be perfection

Ah, here it is!  Spotlit so we can’t miss it

It’s not a perfect day, but pleasant, in a very English way.  The kind of day when it’s good to be on a cliff top bench, gazing out to sea.  After a while we ease ourselves up and carry on.

The posts frame the bay beautifully

These posts frame the bay beautifully

At this time of year small orchids radiate out from the grass.  Careful not to tread on them, I kneel down for a closer look.  Pretty, aren’t they?

I'm astonished at the colour!

I’m astonished at the colour!

When our walk is done I carry on down to the small marina at Seaham, looking for a sheltered spot where I can read.  There must be a bench or two?


This one might do- no back rest, though

But this one's much more fun, though maybe not so comfortable

This one’s much more fun, but maybe not very comfortable!

Careful not to upset Judge Jude by breaking any rules, I’ve been quite subtle with my post processing of Benches.  But I just had to give Lunapic one more whirl.  What do you think?  All of the images except for the last one were done in Ulead Photo Express, in quite an old version.

It’s Saturday again so it must be time to find your six words.  Pop along and share them with Cate at Show My Face.  Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday for a walk.