Tag Archives: Isle of Wight
Lens Artists Challenge # 155 – On the Water
I’ve been tempted to submit to this challenge after looking at Ann-Christine’s lovely photos, not that I think mine come up to her standard, but it has pushed me to look through my own folio and see what I could come up with. Too many, it turns out, but here are a few of my favourites, mostly here because they remind me of some long gone precious days.
Elephants need water for washing and, if possible, a mahout to do the work with a scrubbing brush, which they love. Here is one I took in northern Thailand at a time when elephants were still used in farming.
While with the animals here’s one from Cambodia where the water buffaloes were enjoying the water.
Next we move on to canals and to the very first summit level canal built in Great Britain. Built in N. Ireland in 1742, it is the Newry Canal which pre-dated the more famous Bridgewater Canal by nearly thirty years and it was built to link the Tyrone coalfields (via Lough Neagh and the River Bann) to the Irish Sea at Carlingford Lough near Newry.
And still with canals, my favourite canal trip of all time, the 6-day journey on board a historic ship along the Gota canal, from Gothenburg to Stockholm across one river, eight lakes and two seas. The ships have scarcely been altered since they were first used to take immigrants from Stockholm to the departure port for America and few concessions are made to tourists, i.e. no en-suite rooms, communal showers only and, it must be said, rather cramped quarters (so luggage must be kept to a minimum). Yet what a magical journey that was, across a black lake and a dark sea with stops along the way to visit historic sites. I went in midsummer, almost permanent daylight and that had its own magic, eating cherries and wild strawberries and drinking hot chocolate at 3.00 am on deck as the beautiful Swedish landscape glided by.
Just a few more watery memories and then I’m done:
Rivers, Oceans, Lakes and Marshes.
Walking Towards Autumn
Today I changed my walking route, left the sea behind me and turned inland. I had no plans, no set route to follow and no idea of what I wanted to photograph.
First, I meandered through Los Altos Park which was deserted: it was eerie having this space all to myself. Normally a place full of dog-walkers, chattering children, and elderly folk sitting on the benches reading, today it was empty despite a temperature of 16 degrees, blue skies, warm sun and no wind. Covid space? Too late in the day? Who knows, but the place was all mine.
Not far from here was what used to be one of the area’s oldest hotels but unfortunately, it closed this year due to a series of misfortunes. The grounds are now deserted, the building, once a grand manor, now stands forlorn its windows no longer shining a light to welcome visitors. There was no one to disturb me or chase me away and I felt a terrible sadness at the loss of this great mansion, its tennis courts now a coach park, and its grounds being overtaken by nature.
Further into the gardens I came across these seats looking so forlorn as they sat amid the falling leaves. Nearby a couple of palm trees, stretched towards the light, valiantly fighting to survive. They were definitely in need of some TLC.
Although I felt sad that the bracken (or was it fern) was now running rampant over the garden wall I cheered myself up with the thought that this would provide a cosy home for the winter for the wildlife I’d seen on my walk (a couple of hedgehogs, lots of spiders and odd creepy-crawlies and I’m sure there were lots more keeping out of my way).
And then I came upon the sunken garden and this splash of colour, a glorious cascade of scarlet leaves, Virginia Creeper I think, that must have migrated from the wall of the old house and settled here to decorate these steps. And just a bit further on, the brilliant red of the Holly berries – a dazzling display of colour amid the dying of the year. It seemed the autumnal red of the Virginia creeper led me to the winter of the Holly.
What I saw on my walk today
It’s not just Covid-19. The weather forecast influences people’s decisions but often the meteorological office gets it wrong. And so it was today. The temperature was supposed to be around 17ᵒ with cloudy patches but we had wall-to-wall sunshine and it felt like mid-20s. The result was that only a handful of people were walking on the esplanade and fewer still on the beach.
One lonely figure sat wrapped in a blanket on the beach guarding the clothes of the two boys fishing by the pier who were wearing only swimming trunks so at least someone was benefiting from this burst of sunshine.
The Bay sands, once golden, are now less so, and many blame this on the 7 – 9 liners and tankers that used the Bay during the Covid outbreak when they couldn’t get into Portsmouth or Southampton harbours to unload their cargoes of people and goods. For some weeks they sat on the horizon, their engines pumping away to keep the ships ventilated and facilities ongoing. The noise from this was so great that a complaint was made and the harbour masters requested to speed up the entry into port.
Sandown has a new Premier Inn due to open soon on the Esplanade and it was good to see this finished at last. The Covid outbreak had stopped building work earlier in the year and we wondered if it would open for business at all this year. Now it’s looking smart and new and ready to welcome autumn and winter visitors to the town, where the winters are mild and pleasant and the temperature usually about 5ᵒ above that of the mainland.
The High Street was quiet with only a few shoppers hunting souvenirs and tea-rooms. But I noticed that one of our closed-up Banks (a few years ago 3 of the big five operated here) has been graffitied but a theme is not discernible. Intriguing yes, and from what I can see it is a community venture and they are appealing for donations. I wonder if the Bank has thought to donate something to improve the boarded up look of their building? Or am I being naive?
Pick a Word – Sept. 5, 2020
Linked to Lost in Translation’s Thursday’s Special: Pick a Word
I’m a newbie on this site but love having an excuse to showcase my images by linking them to a word provided by Paula. Hope you like them.
To me this photographs is summer writ large. It’s a 3-year-old member of my city dwelling family on her first morning on holiday on the Isle of Wight. The sheer delight on her face as she ran towards the sea, without fear, was wonderful to see.
The Bridge at Mostar
We arrived at Mostar to find the town packed with divers who had come to take part in the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships, their friends and managers. At first I was annoyed as the crush prevented us from doing the sight-seeing we’d planned but we soon became fascinated onlookers at the event. We were lucky to find a restaurant with balcony overlooking the river from which to view the diving so we settled in for lunch and watched the proceedings for most of the day. The boats in the water are there in case of any accidents (they have been known) and as you can see, some dive from the top of the tower and some dive from off the bridge.
We did manage most of the sightseeing later, after the crowds had gone and it was worth waiting around and getting back to Split much later than planned as history came to life as we wandered alone through the back streets in the early evening.
Sculpture Saturday is hosted by Mind Over Memory
As my sculpture of Dionysus uploaded a couple of few weeks ago only showed part of the work I thought I’d add a few more pictures to show the whole carving. It shows some members if the family of Bacchus.
Father: Zeus (supposedly the face of Robert Stigwood who commissioned the piece).
Some of the symbols of Dionysus are also found in the sculpture.
The Grapes and Goblet: The symbol of the Grapes and Goblet relate to his role as the god of wine. He taught mortals how to plant and tend the grapevine, press the juice and make it into wine.
The ram signifies more the decadent side of Dionysus and is more often associated with the Roman version of the myth in which Dionysus is called Bacchus.
Ivy: Ivy or holly vines were a symbol of immortality and decadent indulgence, Dionysus was often depicted wearing this type of wreath which was associated with merry making and celebrations
Link to Mind Over Memory to add Post.
A sunny, hot, Sunday afternoon and the beach should be full of families with children playing on the sands, buckets and spades, and the sounds of bat hitting ball. Beach cafes closed, ice-cream parlours boarded up, and the pier locked up. How are the families coping who have no access to outdoor facilities, no gardens, no nearby parks? We who have must be grateful – we are the lucky ones.
Link to Words Visual and Lucid Gypsy
COWES WEEK – The Regatta
It’s called a Regatta, but that’s an understatement if ever there was one, for this yachtfest is Cowes Week, the time of year when the inhabitants of the English town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, rent out their houses, kennel the dogs and cats, and disappear. The ‘yachties’ are about to descend on the Island for what the glossy magazines call ‘the week of the year in the sailing calendar.’
Although the town will never again play host to the reigning monarchs of four countries as they did in 1909 when King Edward VII of England, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, the Tsar of Russia and the King of Spain visited with their yachts, there is consolation in the whiff of serious money that comes with today’s royally rich. Oil barons and City whizz kids crowd the pavements of the narrow streets and swig vintage champagne from bottles as they stagger from one party to the next. Old salts and wannabe ‘yachties’ dressed with impeccable regatta cred. stroll the narrow streets with polished brass telescopes under their arms, as the bemused local population looks on in wonderment.
During the Regatta, over 800 boats and around 9,000 crew members will descend on this small town in the south of England. Cowes is not just for international yachtsmen, however. Non-sailors also flock to the island to enjoy the atmosphere, to sit on the beach and gaze at the coloured spinnakers that dance on the waters, to join the pleasure boats that sail around the competitors, and to gawp at the great, glossy yachts of the world’s billionaires, anchored offshore. Nor is boating on the stretch of water that separates the Island from mainland England, the Solent, confined to just these few highlighted days in the year: the number of sailing clubs tucked away in every harbour and cove has led to the south coast being dubbed Marinaland.
For the visitors who decide to join in the spirit of Cowes Week, dressing to look the part is easy. Stalls line the pedestrianised streets during the eight days of the Regatta and are on hand to sell overpriced tee-shirts, navy sweaters sporting capstans and anchors, and peaked caps festooned with enough braid to satisfy a Ruritanian General. Blue and white are still the colours of choice, but wannabe sailors should beware of the striped matelot look much favoured by minor celebs.
The genuine articles are available in the somewhat old-fashioned local shops that make no effort to look stylish or enticing, favouring instead a turn of the century faux ‘ships chandlers on the quayside’ look as befits Queen Victoria’s island.
But Cowes Week is about more than dressing up. It is an exhilarating mix of world-class sailing, jazz, rock n’roll, and brass bands, clowns, unicyclists, and street theatre. For the people who want to take a break from watching the more than 200 races during the Regatta, there is constant entertainment in the Yacht Haven where there are food stalls, a huge beer tent, and music from live bands that play day and night.
‘The diamond in the Solent’ is how this 23×13-mile island has been described, not only because of its shape but because of its safe, sandy beaches, great pubs and restaurants and a range of resorts to beat anything Continental Europe has to offer. And with an excellent transport system, everything is within easy reach.
The beauty of the Island as a venue for sailing events is that there is so much to see and do away from the coast. There are a wealth of activities on offer and whether by car, bike, public transport or on foot over the miles of bridle paths and downland walks, the island is easy to explore. With ultra-fast catamarans and jet-propelled boats making the crossing to the mainland in 10 and 25 minutes respectively, if the need for a faster pace should arise, day trips can easily be made to places like Portsmouth, Brighton and the great cathedral cities of Winchester and Salisbury.
Away from the main yachting town, messing about in boats is best indulged on the six-mile stretch of sands at Ryde or the glorious crescent of golden beach between Sandown and Shanklin. In the classic villages of Bembridge and Seaview you will still see and hear the sights and sounds of long-forgotten English summers as children play cricket, tennis and deck quoits, for this is an island where families with children feel comfortable, where the swimming is safe and the beaches are clean. It boasts not one, but two, dinosaur museums (it’s not called Dinosaur Island for nothing and fossil hunts are a regular occurrence), Blackgang Chine claims to be the oldest theme park in the country, and there is a wonderful zoo at Sandown where rare tigers are bred and the cubs are a great hit with children.
The Island from the Sea at Sunset
The Isle of Wight has now firmly established its reputation as the venue for the premier pop Festival which takes place in June. It was the venue in 1970 for the first major pop festival in Europe when, for a few days, 600,000 young people with bells around their necks and flowers in their hair lived the dream of the dawning of Aquarius. They had dance-ins and love-ins to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Kris Kristofferson, The Doors and just about every other rock and folk musician who could get to the Island. It is said that this was the final break with the influence of Queen Victoria who spent a large part of her life on the Island at her Osborne House home, from 1851 until she died in 1901.
Modernity is found in the indoor and outdoor swimming pools, fitness centres, surfing, canoeing and body-boarding at many beach venues. For the adventurous, there are hang-gliding schools, bungee jumping and flights in small ‘planes around the island. Half the island is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty and its 80 miles of trails and 60 miles of coastal paths are perfectly laid out for walkers. There are forests, downlands, medieval villages, valleys and shady creeks, and enough museums, Roman villas, castles and manor houses to keep culture vultures happy for weeks.
But if you come for the sailing and to mix with the ‘yachties’, if you want to be considered one of the sailing fraternity you should be wearing a team shirt – preferably one of last year’s. So, if you are thinking of coming back for the celebrations in 2019, make sure that you get hold of one of this year’s shirts.
And if you manage it right this week, if you manage to look the part, to walk the walk and talk the talk, you might get invited to one of the yacht clubs to watch the fireworks on the last night. But if not, you can watch them from the beach with the rest of the happy holidaymakers, join in the last night celebrations which may go on until the wee small hours or just sit it out in one of the great eateries on the Island. For despite its social cachet, this yearly celebration of England’s sea-faring heritage is for everyone.
Lendy Cowes Week 2018: August 4th – 11th. Official website: www.lendycowesweek.co.uk/
Weekly Photo Challenge,Life Imitates Art
Perhaps not the greatest interpretation of the challenge but I’ve lately been wanting to use one of the interesting tools in my imaging programme and thought this might be my opportunity.
This sculpture was done by marine woodcarver Norman Gaches, from a tree that was destroyed in the great storm of 1987, outside Barton Manor on the Isle of Wight, the then home of Impresario Robert Stigwood, who commissioned the work. At that time Barton Manor was producing wine and he wanted something to represent the grape. The result was a magnificent carving showing the family of Bacchus and these are just two of the photographs my husband took at the time. We followed the progress of the work with the sculptor over the months it took to finish it, and then did our best to interpret the art with camera and prose. A resultant article appeared in Woodcarving magazine and was subsequently syndicated in two other magazines.
© Bacchus – Mari Nicholson
Photo of Bacchus as Lithograph
And Zeus as a pencil sketch.