As dense as granite

Dartmoor granite was used to build the old London Bridge, the one that’s now a tourist attraction somewhere in the Arizona desert. Luckily there’s still plenty left to scramble on, and take photos of!

This is Bonehill Rocks, a couple of miles from Haytor. I went at the weekend, and had a bit of  scramble myself. In fact I had to bump my way down on my derriere, holding on to absolutely nothing except my breathe.

Do you think granite is dense enough for the weekly photo challenge?

Close to Home 2

This photo of Exeter Guildhall shows the date AD80, but I’ve never known why. There is some evidence that there was a settlement here as early as 250BC, but the Romans named Exeter Isca around 55 AD.
The visible structure of the guildhall itself dates from the late middle ages and the building has been a guildhall for more than 800 years. It’s possible that even earlier Medieval halls are concealed below ground.

Castelling, a human tower

Castelling is an ancient Catalan tradition, first documented in the early 1800’s, it began in Tarragona, but has since spread throughout Catalonia. I first saw it courtesy of the pink trousered one, Michael Portillo, in one of his tv programmes, to which I am addicted. As I was in Barcelona for ‘The Dia’ last September, I knew there was a fair chance of seeing it.

The Centre for Cultura i Memoria in El Born was one of the places it could be seen, the one that was easy to find, and close to a favourite little café!

After a croissant filled with coffee flavoured mascarpone, it was time to go out into the Placa Comercial,

Where preparations were underway.

And then it began.

In the background, you can see the first layer climb on the shoulders of the base level, or Pinya as it’s known. The Pinya is wide and formed by the strongest of the group, to make a base that can support the weight of the rest and be a safety net should anyone fall.

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Several more layers are added, the Tronc, and finally, the littlest one scrambles atop, zoom in to see her nearly there, but I didn’t capture her with the camera, I was too entranced!

Once there, she gives a very quick wave, the crowd cheer and she’s back down the six layers beneath her, in just a few moments. Three troups performed that day, in competition, and each time I saw the wave, but my camera didn’t.

Hanging on through winter

These agapanthus are drained of all colour, just six months ago the flowers were a beautiful blue, surrounded by lush green foliage. They look very wintry now don’t they?

But I won’t worry, they’re very tenacious and will be back in July. By next year some of those dark seeds may even have spread new plants around the garden.

This post is for Paula’s Thursday Special, this week it’s ‘Wintry’.

As Graceful as a spring flower

Ben over at the daily post has chosen ‘Graceful’ for this weeks photo challenge, this is what he said.

Gracefulness is a tricky quality — it manifests itself as an effortless, subtle harmony between a subject and its environment.

Personally, there are few things I find more graceful than spring flowers. During the dark months of winter, I long for little signs that they are beginning to emerge from the earth, or burst from seemingly dead twigs. It makes my heart sing when I spot new growth.

grace2Of course there are always the hellebores, generous and voluptuous as they parade in the shade.

grace3Some tilt their heads to any flash of sun they can, while others, more shy, make you bow down to greet them.

grace5A little later, the wonderfully graceful Acers arrive at the ball, stylishly clothed in tropical pink and lime green, effortlessly attracting attention.

grace4Tulips are so cheerful and bold, this one looks excited, like it’s waving it’s arms to the world, shouting ‘look at me, look at me, I’m doing my spring dance!’

grace1Anyone who knows me would guess that this last pic, of the first flower of the year isng flower my favourite. Faithfully, every January the snowdrops reappear like little virgins in tutus, surely the most graceful of all!

Are you posting something graceful this week?

 

 

Thursday Special, Traces of the past

The El Born area of Barcelona is home to the Centre de Cultura i Memoria. The building was created on a site that was previously a fruit and vegetable market, opened in 1876 and the first cast iron market in the city. Sadly the market closed in 1971 and was unused for many years. Fast forward to 1994 and an archaeological excavation began, revealing traces of streets and houses from before 1714, when the city was sieged at the end of the war of Spanish Succession. The city surrendered to Philip V’s troops on September 11th that year, a date that is now Catalunya’s national day.

Some of the ancient streets that have been uncovered are on display in the cultural centre.

It was fascinating to see the roads and foundations of houses, imagining the lives of those who lived, worked and traded there.

This post is for Paula’s traces of the past, in colour this month.

Haveli harmony

A haveli is a townhouse or mansion, a traditional style found in India, Pakistan and Nepal. Build with an inner courtyard space, rather like the riads found in Morocco, but with a more attractive exterior. There are very many in Rajasthan, particularly the Shekhawati area. It’s possible to stay in a haveli, some have been converted in hotels and guest houses. Like a riad, they would be a calm haven shut away from the bustle of the towns.

haveli2This one wasn’t a hotel unfortunately, but it was possible to look around and they also sold antiques, some very expensive and some accessibly priced.

Homes like this aren’t created in a hurry, they have to develop their ambience over time, don’t you think?

 

Ascending luminosity

Paula has given us a list of five words to choose from for her Thursday special this week. I’ve chosen two, ascending and luminosity, in one photo.

ascending-luminosityTaken with my i phone 6, I think the graininess adds atmosphere – that’s my excuse anyway – from the 6th floor of Hotel Casanova on the Gran Via in Barcelona.

The other words on Paula’s list are idleness, jaunty and whiff in case you’d like to join in, you have until Thursday.

Happy Sunday!

 

 

A Hoya for Tuesday

Jude, the Macro Queen, quite approved of my house leek photos on Sunday and said that I should take macro shots more often. I used to try occasionally, but get irritated by the persistent Devon breeze and getting the right light. This evening I had a try in the garden, but failed and then I remembered the wax flower is blooming. Well it has one little bouquet of very tiny flowerlets.

hoya 1

It’s really interesting to see them close up, they look like fur fabric, who knew?