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?

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.

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.