Thursday’s Special

Of the night

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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.

A profusion of water lilies

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Profusion is a lovely word, isn’t it?  And certainly one you can apply to these water lilies.  Right now I’m feeling like I’ve had a profusion of summer days.  I know it can’t last but I love it. Recently I visited Burnby Hall Gardens, in the village of Pocklington in Yorkshire.  Home to the National Collection of over 100 varieties of water lily, it’s all about profusion.  Be prepared to be dazzled!

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In case you hadn’t guessed, this is my entry for Paula’s Thursday’s Special.  ‘Pick a word’, says Paula.  I think she’d probably agree that it’s a ‘brilliant’ display.  And did you spot the heart?

Scampston Walled Garden

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2016 marks the 300th anniversary of landscape artist Lancelot “Capability” Brown, whose designs changed the face of of 18th century England. Born in Northumberland in 1716, he learnt the skills of horticulture and husbandry from the age of 16, as an apprentice on the Wallington estate.  His vision was extraordinary and over the course of 40 years he moved gardens away from formal design to a style that is unmistakably his.

Brown persuaded the rich and famous to invest in landscapes which were beautiful, productive, and would take a century to mature. He designed on an immense scale, moving hills and making flowing lakes that resembled artificial rivers.  His work frequently produced an Arcadian idyll.  Sadly I have never visited Stowe in Buckinghamshire, his best known work, but he was involved in the design of over 250 sites throughout the UK.

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Scampston Hall in North Yorkshire sits beside the busy A64 road.  Wandering serenely across the estate you might never know.  A lazy sheep or two blink, and turn their backs.  The grounds at Scampston were redesigned by Capability in the 1770’s.  They bear all the hallmarks of his work.  A ‘ha ha’, or sunken fence, to confuse the eye, carefully planted trees and an expansive lake that resembles a river running off into infinity.

Oddly enough, I didn’t come to Scampston in search of the Palladian Bridge, but I think that Paula might like it for her Traces of the past.  The lure of the Walled Garden is the ‘new European garden style’, designed in 1999 by Piet Oudolf.  1999 no longer feels new but I did find enchantment in the drifts of Molinia grass.  Here is a small sample of what you might find.

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There’s much more, of course.  You can do some hedge trimming, or even have a cream tea.

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But you can’t beat Capability and a few Marsh Marigolds, can you?

I’m not sure if Scampston Walled Garden fits with Jude’s Garden Challenge, but I know she’ll like it.  That’s reason enough, isn’t it?

Where would you rather be?

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Pounding in to shore,

Wind whipping, shaping the waves.

Power, meet beauty!

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Paula must have known that she was tempting me with this week’s theme.  The weather played its part beautifully.  I know that there are finer seascapes, but this one is mine- my north east of England coast.

Now, please go and be spellbound at Thursday’s Special.

Elusive shadows

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It was hot in the Algarve last month and I spent a lot of time searching for Shadow.  Here on the waterfront at Olhao I found a good vibe.

The island of Armona is one of my idyllic places.  Just a ferry ride away.  Sangria anyone?

The palms don’t offer much shade, and I’d have to dress up for the pousada.  Those cloisters do look inviting though.

Faro is an uber cool place for strolling.  A little arts and crafts.  Maybe even an ice cream?

When evening falls it’s still warm, and those shadows are ever more elusive.

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Is it any wonder I’m planning my next trip?  Thanks, Paula, for giving me another opportunity to share a place I love.

Water nymph

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A leap for freedom.

Tethered to the pedestal,

The lily pad yet lures

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Today Thursday’s Special is all about Mirroring.  I love watery reflections and, just occasionally, I like to play with Lunapic too.

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And then there were two!  Please go and visit Paula for another of her sublime images.

The Palace full of Beauty

How could you possibly ignore such a claim?  I ventured into several museums on my recent visit to Kraków, but none more beautiful. Pałac Pełen Piękna makes no false claim.  More properly known as the Bishop Erazm Ciołek Palace, it was built originally between 1501-1503, for the Bishop of Płock.  Erazm Ciołek, secretary to King Alexander Jagellion, was a diplomat, humanist and a patron of the arts.

The architecture of the building features traditional Gothic elements and influences from the Italian Renaissance.  It was added to down the centuries, including the frescoes which took my breath away.  Austrian occupation turned it rather incongruously into a police station and prison in 1805.  Rescue was forthcoming and in 1996 it became the property of the National Museum of Kraków, and was restored to its former glory.  Today it houses art of Old Poland, 12th-18th Centuries- medieval, Renaissance and Baroque.

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It was the beautiful frescoes and the incredible painted wooden ceilings that captured my imagination, as much, if not more than, the collected art works.  I gazed upwards in awe.  I apologise for the poor quality of my photographs, but I mean only to give you a sense of what I felt.

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The building is as beautiful as its contents in my eyes.  I’m no appreciator of medieval art.  I’m just thankful that it has been preserved so that I can share with you a tiny fraction of its splendours.  The museum is to be found at Ul. Kanonicza 17.

Paula is featuring Traces of the Past again in this week’s Thursday’s Special.  Don’t miss it!