Wanderlust

I’ve always had a wanderlust, from my early teens when I’d hitch hike to the beach, or even walk the ten miles to Exmouth. But it was many years before I was able to really indulge myself. One of my favourite places so far is Ghana, the country of smiles, I’d love to go back.

Cape Coast, three hours west of Accra is a lovely place with miles of beautiful beach,

Cape Coast

The sea is rough and you’d have to be a far better swimmer than I to venture in.


Much better to sit and enjoy the view of Elmina across the bay. Elmina is peaceful now, but has a horrid history, it was one of the places where slaves were sent, before leaving their homeland forever.

Cape Coast fishing port

The port was very lively, I could have spent hours there. But we had to travel on,

Chocolate trees

There were cocoa pods to see, and taste the inside of!

Volta

Maybe three hundred miles north of the coast, Lake Volta stretches a vast distance. From Yeji, the crossing is quote short, but the hour or so it takes can be rough and the lake has taken many lives. When I went, the water was flat, and the air was scorching -n Volta is just a few degrees north of the equator, and very silent.

These homes are on a sandbank, and at risk of being flooded. I wonder if they’re still there, maybe Celestine will know?

Black and White Sunday

The them for Paula’s black and white Sunday this week is ‘through’. The possibilities are endless aren’t they? I love taking photos through garden gates and out of windows, but the view also has to work in monochrome. Hence, I’ve chosen a building, not any old building but Chichester cathedral.

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So there we are, a view through the cloisters, up through the vaults, through a pretty gate and through from outside to in.

Rani Sati

October 2005, I find myself in Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan. It’s early evening and I’ve just had one of the most moving experiences of my life. The elderly lady in the photo below has hugged me, put a red bindi on my forehead, and entered the temple I’ve just left.

I’d seen an Aarti ceremony in the Rani Sati temple, after  the congregation offered puja. The temple is at least four hundred years old and was built in memory of Narayani Bai who self emolliated and became Sati Ji.

The ceremony was incredibly loud, with drums and bells reverberating through every cell in my body. Water was sprinkled around, some of the crowd ran heir hands through flames, before circling the central shrine. We were welcome to take part but there were no expectations. Caught up in the atmosphere and the heady incense, I followed, with thoughts of Rani Sati, who was beloved to be an incarnation of the goddess Durga, running through my mind.

I have no words to describe the feelings, my journal that day had a line, ‘if I have to go home tomorrow, then it’s okay because I’ve had the experience of a lifetime’.

This post is for Paula’s Traces of the Past.

 

In Hope, a poem for Thursday

This Thursday instead of Lazy Poet, I’m re-posting a poem I wrote a few years ago, for International Women’s Day. Yes I know that was yesterday, but you know me by now, the other week that I got the day wrong for wordless Wednesday, and the syllable count wrong for LP!

In Hope

Cast aside your veil

Turn your face to the sun

Gather round the hearth

Your work today is done

Your sisters draw near

Feet planted to earth

They no longer fear

The lone walk on the trail

Your children breathe free

The mountains clear air

Well nourished with plenty

And wind blown away care

Your abundance is here

Take love in your stride

Future perfect and clear

Go forward with pride

Cast aside your veil

And no longer hide

Black and White Sunday, Countryside

The Otter estuary in the East Devon AONB has long been a favourite place of mine. If you park at Budleigh Salterton you can walk along the river up to Otterton, grab a pub lunch, visit a gallery and mill, then walk back down again. The last time I was there, I was too ill to walk very far at all, just far enough to snap a couple of photos.

The clouds performed rather well for a monochrome image, so I hope Paula will like it.

Weaver birds at the Botel

My friend Celestine, a Ghanaian poet, blogger and Mistress of haiku said she’d like to see my photos of weaver birds nests, not far from where she lives. Taken at the Cape Coast nearly ten years ago and with one of my earlier digital cameras, they aren’t the best quality images, but still part of my special memories of Ghana.

Here’s a gallery for you Celestine.

This was the grounds of the hotel, or rather the Hans Cottage Botel, a lovely and unusual resort, set on a lake, with ‘friendly’ crocodiles’. They like their crocs in Ghana, but they are probably my least favourite animal on the planet. We only stayed one nignt at Hans Cottage and I remember it being quite restless for me, dreaming of crocs leaving the lake to stroll along the boardwalk in search of supper! I have no idea how Sylvia copes with the gators in her back yard, she’s way braver than me.

 

Teignmouth Pier

The Grand Pier at Teignmouth was built in 1865, is 696 feet long and is one of only 50 remaining in the UK. It has all the usual rides and slot machines that you would expect in a traditional seaside attraction, and is a lovely place for a promenade to breathe in the healthy sea air.

tei1 Spot the rainbow! These pics were all taken within half an hour on a winter afternoon five years ago.

tei2Look how the sky changed in such a short time.

tei3But that isn’t why I’ve chosen these photos.

tei4

 

How has this splindly structure stood firm for 150 years? Against all the odds I’d say.In 2014, Teignmouth’s pier was badly damaged by winter storms, and  much of it’s floor was washed away. After five months and hundreds of thousands of pounds it re-opened and will no doubt thrill many more people in the years to come.