Of the night


I’m not known for my one shot posts, and certainly not for my night photography.  Browsing my photo files last night, I came across a rather wonderful memory.  Lumiere at Durham last November.  Looking at it, I could feel the atmosphere again as the scenes washed across the face of Durham Cathedral.  The crowd stood hushed throughout a powerful sound and light performance.

This week Paula is demanding something Nocturnal, and I’ve rarely seen a more beautiful photo of Belem.  By definition, nocturnal means ‘active at night’.  This is a rare shot I took with my phone because there was insufficient light for the camera.  Go over to Paula’s place and see what makes Thursday’s Special.  You’ll find a beautiful nocturnal creature if you do.

Musings at sunset


Ponte Romana, Tavira

How many times have you seen this image, or one very like it, on my site?  I make no apologies.  It holds for me many happy memories and I hope to return to Tavira later this month to make a few more.  Today’s photo was prompted by Sylvain who asks for something classic and simple- a sunset- for this week’s challenge.  He has some beauties, so do go and look.


It was a beautiful evening

This month is very busy for me.  Today I’m heading to the Lake District.  I thought I might capture a little window of sunshine but the forecast is wet! wet! wet!  So, that waterfall I planned to see will be full! full! full!

Next week Lumiere comes to Durham.  The last show in 2013 was fabulous.  This year I’m excited to see where Stuart’s sea glass wave fits in.

And then Tavira!  No matter what the weather throws at me, I’m determined to enjoy November.  I hope you do too.

Jo’s Monday walk : sea glass at Seaham

The outlook at Seaham Beach

The outlook on Seaham Beach

This week I’m taking you back to the north east coast of England, with a bit of a purpose.  I’ll explain more later but I need you to keep your eye open for sea glass.  The beach at Seaham is one of the best locations I know for finding it.

Between 1853 and 1921 Seaham was home to Europe’s largest glass bottle works, supplying millions of hand blown bottles.  Enormous amounts of waste glass were left at the end of each day, and this was generally thrown over the cliffs and into the sea.  More than a hundred years later, scrubbed smooth by the power of the water, we have sea glass in many shapes and colours.  Are you ready to hunt?

With more pebbles than you could ever want

With more pebbles than you could ever want

And among those pebbles, the precious bits of sea glass.  You can follow the beach round to the small harbour and the lighthouse, if you like, but I’m going in the opposite direction- north towards distant Sunderland.

There's a lot of beach to examine!

There’s rather a lot of beach to examine!

Rusted groynes litter the shore

Rusted groynes litter the shore

Filling up with pebbles too

Filling up with pebbles

Incongruously, some have been mended

Rather incongruously, some have been mended

Overhead, the cliffs menace!

While overhead, the cliffs menace!

Let’s get up close and personal with a few stones.  You never know what you might find.

We're looking for a hint of glitter

We’re looking for a hint of glitter

Unconcerned, a man walks his dog

Unconcerned, a man walks his dogs

What's this?  Look at the shimmer!

What’s this? Look at the shimmer!

I simply love the textures

I simply love the textures

You might remember we did something similar just south of here on Crimdon beach, a while ago, and ventured into some caves beneath the cliffs.  I’m drawn on along the endless beach, intrigued by my surroundings.  Dog walkers pass me by, with a nod and a smile, and occasionally children ferret on the beach.

Mindful of the dangers these crumbling cliffs can pose, still it’s hard not to be lured closer.

The cliff formations fascinate

The cliff formations fascinate

Torn and twisted as they are

Torn and twisted as they are

And here a table, nicely laid

And here a table, nicely laid

You know that I’m not going to be able to resist some close ups, but I treat the cliffs with due caution and the respect they deserve.  So should you!

I know that some of you are claustrophobic so I won’t linger.  The fascination of the shapes and vistas can keep me endlessly there on the shore, forgetting my purpose.  That morning a lady was standing, her dog patiently at heel, gazing out to sea.  After the briefest of smiles, I carried on my exploration.  As I turned to retrace my steps, she spoke to me.  “Did you see the dolphins?”

Crestfallen hardly describes it!  I would have loved to see them and wished she had spoken sooner.  We stood a while, hoping for a return, but they had gone.  And so I climbed, regretfully, back up the steps.

Depending on the tide, this walk can be as long or as short as you want to make it.  If you are free the next few Sunday lunch times, you will assuredly have company on the beach.  My husband, who designs gardens, does most of his work with CAD (computer aided design).  He was more than pleased to be contacted recently by Stuart Langley, a local artist, in connection with a light installation to appear at this year’s Lumiere, in Durham.  It’s an imaginative and exciting event, and Stuart has been a previous contributor with his Stained Glass Cars.  The project he is working on requires a substantial quantity of sea glass, and so he’s hoping for some help in gathering it.

If you can help in any way the Lumiere site gives details.  The event itself takes place from 12-15th November, and if you can be there I can promise you a delightful evening.  It takes place on alternate years, and this was my post for 2013.  It was a magical occasion.

walking logo

No putting the kettle on today!  I will still be in Bristol for the Hot Air Balloon festival when you’re reading this, and not back till very late in the day.  As usual, I will catch up with you all as soon as I can, and apologies to all those who are sitting unattended in my Inbox.  There’s plenty to keep you busy till then because once again I have some wonderful walks to share.  Many thanks to all of you who have joined me and, if you would like to do so next week, details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just hit the logo above.


Gardens with rhodies have always been irresistible to me.  Bogs, not so much!  Thanks, Anabel!

Geilston Garden and Tom na h’Airidh

Hitting the heights with Drake!  Don’t we always?

Mountain high

A revelation for me about Toronto! Totally changed my thinking…  thanks, Jackie!

Monday walk

More city madness with Pauline!  The inevitability of change :

Gold Coast Icons

If you’ve come to expect beauty from Amy, you won’t be disappointed here either!

Monday Walk : Banff Rocky Mountains

One of the best things about blogging is sharing magical posts such as this.  Many thanks, Suzanne!

Killarney x 2

Too good at speaking my mind, sometimes!  Hugs, please, for Jude :

The Levant Mine

A little bit of fairy dust, anybody?  Sure to find some with Violet Sky!

Wishes and dreams 

While anyone seeking inspiration should surely make a visit to Lucile :

The Quest for Inspiration

And anyone wanting to recapture childhood only needs to visit Gilly!

I Wish I was Ten Again

Debbie’s back from exotic Singapore with some cracking good sights!

Arty Stroll along Orchard Road

And to finish, from Laia, what could be better than?

A beautiful, pleasant walk in Abel Tasman National Park

Fantastic, aren’t they?  Nothing more to say than ‘have a great week’.  Hope to see you on the beach at Seaham, or failing that, at Durham in November.



Six word Saturday


Fit to drop!  An apt expression!

This weeks’ Six word Saturday was to have been :

Getting Barcelona out of my system!

but the first is far more appropriate.  I took part in a zumba marathon last night, for the local hospice, and Lumiere at Durham absorbed all of my evening on Thursday.  I thoroughly enjoyed both but the mountain of ironing is giving me baleful looks, not to mention visiting all your lovely blogs.  What’s that saying- “the show must go on?”

Come on- hop on your bike and let's go!

Come on- hop on your bike and let’s go! (El Quatre Gats, Barcelona)

As always, you can click on any photo to set the gallery rolling.  Well, I’m tired but happy now.  Any volunteers to do that ironing?  No, I thought not!

Instead, why not join Cate at Show My Face?  I always do!  See you next week.  Hope it’s a good one for you.


Lumiere 2013 : Durham

IMG_1252Last night I had a fantastical journey around the city of Durham.  It isn’t every day that you find an elephant trumpeting and snorting in a city centre, but this was definitely one of the highlights of Lumiere 2013.  Where do people find the imagination and “know-how” to produce light installations like this?  I have no idea, but I thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle.

From the other side of the bridge, he shakes his tusks at me!

From the other side of the bridge, he shakes his tusks at me!

I thought I was going to be in for a disappointment, because the Park and Ride was already full when I arrived in Durham at 16.30.  No right-minded person attempts to drive beyond the outskirts when an event such as this is taking place.   But not being in your right mind sometimes pays off, and with a bit of frustrating driving and a hike at the end, a suitable slot was found for the car.

Was it worth it?  Of course!  The sight of the Lindisfarne Gospels marching across the face of the Cathedral to rousing music can compensate for a lot!  It was the only feature to be repeated from Lumiere 2011, and in a year when the Gospels had been on a summertime visit to the city, they were wholely appropriate.

My favourite part?  I could have loitered in the Cathedral cloisters endlessly (in fact, I did, and lost my husband for a little while).  Did you ever see anything more magical?

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

The frocks shimmered in the dark and then began to change colour

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I was spellbound!  The setting was perfect, the colours enchanting!  The night was bitter but for a while I didn’t notice.  Overall I think that Lumiere 2011 was more spectacular, but as I ended that occasion with a black eye, I was more than happy to celebrate light with Durham in 2013.

The event runs biennially and the organisers seem to have learnt since 2011, when the crush around the Cathedral was sometimes frightening.  This year there is restricted access to the city centre between 16.30 and 19.30, when you need a ticket to get beyond the barriers.  There is plenty to see elsewhere and maps are provided online, or handed out at the event itself.  (having printed one off, I forgot to take it, but the programme guides were readily available)  I suspect they will run out over the four day festival.

Some brisk walking took place around the city, passing excited groups and families with smiling faces.  There are lots of nice places to eat in Durham and after a meal in Bistro Italiano, it was time to enter the city centre for the finale.

I'll leave you dancing!

I’ll leave you dancing! (courtesy of Michael- his shot is better than mine)

Do visit if you can.  I’ve included links to the programme and the interactive site is full of suggestions for a good time.  It won’t be repeated till 2015!

Water under the bridge

Or stunningly,as part of a "waterfall" light installation

I seem to have done quite a few posts on bridges.  But Jake is back, so how can I say no?   Jake’s Sunday Post is always a cause for celebration.  I might even have to open another of those bottles of wine!

I love the violet hues of this photo.  It was taken in Durham in 2011, during a biennial event called Lumiere.  The light installations over and beside the River Wear were like nothing I have seen before.  If you’re fortunate enough to be near Durham this November, I can promise you a beautiful evening of colour and sound when Lumiere comes to town.

Water flowing under a bridge will always hold me captive, drifting in the current.  Where would it take me, if I let it?  A lifetime has slipped past while I wonder.  All just water under the bridge.

And it wouldn't be complete without my favourite bridge, and we're back with the subtle colour.

You probably recognise this bridge, but I can share a view of it you won’t have seen before.  It hangs on the wall in my favourite cafe, Anazu, on the riverfront in Tavira.  It’s in 3-D, though you really can’t tell from my photo.

IMG_6221Not that I’m often inside the cafe.  The pavement outside has the view that I love.  I have watched so much water pass under the bridge, but some will have seen very much more.  I found this black and white photo in the Galeria Palace museum in the town.  Times may have changed but the water flows on.

Ponte Romana B & WThe evening light fades and the moon rises in the sky on a warm Summer’s night.  I stand beside my bridge and look out to sea.  I’m filled with hope that I might return.  Well, who wouldn’t be?

IMG_6522It only needs me to remind you that Jake’s place is a good place to be, on a Sunday or any other day.  Please click on the logo below or any link to pay him a visit.


Celebrating light with Durham

The Waterfall

The Waterfall

When a city you know and love hosts an international event you just have to be there.  Never mind if the result is a black eye.  It’s called suffering for your art?

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral and the weir

In late Autumn’s fading light we wandered along the riverbank awaiting the moment of revelation.  So many times we had strolled these ancient cobbled streets but this evening something strange was in the air.

Flying man

Flying man

He and his many friends hovered above us, saying little but seeing much.  Slowly the light faded, the sense of anticipation building.

Cathedral spires

Cathedral spires

Durham County Council had worked overtime to provide a festival guide with a route map around the 35 installations.  As 6.30 approached we joined the shuffling crowds on Palace Green to await a spectacle that would stay with us forever.  The street lights dimmed and we collectively held our breath.

Flushed red

The Cathedral face flushed with red

Music crashed into the hush and a flood of red illuminated the front portal of the Cathedral.  Wave upon wave of images followed, their theme the Lindisfarne Gospels.

The Gospels So hard to capture, without specialist equipment, the drama unrolling before us.  “Crown of light” its formal title, had been recalled by popular demand from the previous Lumiere Festival in 2009 and it was very easy to see why.  I cannot begin to do it justice here but maybe you can gain some appreciation from

When silence descended again it was time to set off on a voyage of discovery.  The street lights remained off to maximise the effects, which made negotiating the riverbank a little tricky.  But the views were spectacular.

The snow dome

The snow dome

One of our favourites had to be “I love Durham” in the Market Place.  The Marquess of Londonderry statue was captive inside an enormous snow dome, the like of which I have never seen.  I couldn’t conceive how such a thing was possible and the magic of the whirling snow flakes enthralled the crowd.

So much more was there to see.  We lingered beneath the towering illuminated viaduct as trains slipped across, seeming not to wish to disturb the soundtrack to the patterns created on the side wall of the North Rd Methodist Church.  Up the steps to the Gala Theatre, head swivelling to take it all in.

And then disaster befell.  My eye was caught by “60 second Cathedral”, a Polish projection of skydivers on the Claypath Library.  Triumphantly I gestured to my partner, before tumbling head over heels over a concrete block.

Thank you to the people who scrambled to put me back together again.  Michael looked more dazed than I felt!  I was just gratefull that my fall had come at the end of our  tour and we could go home with the memories intact.