Six word Saturday

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Have you climbed a vertical pier?

The Vertical Pier, at Redcar

The Vertical Pier, at Redcar

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Its setting on the waterfront is quite dramatic

Its setting on the waterfront is quite dramatic at sunset

With only the windmills for company

With only the wind farm for company

And a boat or two

And the odd boat or two

But when the lights come on, there's a hint of magic

But when the lights come on, there’s just a hint of magic

Sadly I wasn’t there long enough to see it fully lit, nor to climb the tower.  At £1.6 million it hardly represents value for money, but it is definitely different.  Part of a regeneration programme to breathe new life into this North Yorkshire town, it’s not so much a pier as a viewing platform, with 360 degree views of Redcar.

Renamed the Redcar Beacon, following a public vote, the tower has free admission and cafe facilities on the ground floor.  What was I doing in Redcar?  Attending an open evening for a friend’s latest venture.  If you happen to be passing, say ‘hello’ to The Clock Gallery.  There are some great photos on show.

What are you up to this weekend?  If you have some spare time, why not visit Cate at Show My Face, and play Six Word Saturday?  Have a good week!

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1Day 1World Project: 9.00-10.00pm

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Approaching Hart Village as night falls

I’ve followed this project almost from it’s beginnings and every week I mean to join in.  We’ve had a couple of lovely sunsets this week but I was bored with my usual ‘back bedroom window’ scenario.  Trouble is, most of my days are pretty busy and I can rarely summon the energy for an evening stroll.

It seems such a waste when those Summer nights will be shortening soon.  So, I grabbed my jacket and off I went, up the hill in search of a sunset.

The sun's last rays were just gilding this statue, at the Golf Club

The sun’s last rays were just gilding this statue, at the Golf Club

I scurried up the hill, which is quite steep (another reason I don’t do evening strolls), desperate to reach the top before the light faded.  Cars swept past me, racing for home, or the pub.

That glow on the horizon lured me on

That glow on the horizon urged me on

I was on the edge of the village- almost there!

I was on the edge of the village- almost there!

But still I couldn’t find the vantage point I really wanted, and those sweeping views I had in mind. I raced up through the village, nodding to the occasional dog walker.  Past St. Mary Magdalene’s lovely church and into Butts Lane, I started to look at my watch. Time in the allotted slot was ticking away.  I’ve never been very good with deadlines!

But then I thought to myself, ‘does it really matter?’  Here I am, out in the world with my camera, doing what I love best.  Lucky to be alive.

And the sheep seemed to concur!

And the sheep seemed to concur!

You’ve seen these sheep already today, on Paula’s Thursday’s Special.  They were very interested in what I was up to, lurking on the outskirts of Hart Village.

I peeped in through the farmyard gates

I peeped in through the farmyard gates

And admired the sign

And admired the sign

And then it was time to head for home, tired but happy.  I had already walked to Hart earlier in the day for a t’ai chi class, and retraced my walk for Christine on the return journey.  Thankfully, my days are not always so hectic.

I glanced in at the village pub, half tempted

I glanced in at the village pub, half tempted

But I didn’t fancy the walk back to town in the dark.  A quiet glass of wine at home would be my reward, and it was all downhill on the return journey.

Admiring the fish-shaped clouds

Admiring the fish-shaped clouds

I cannot claim that this was a typical evening, but I enjoyed it very much.  I hope that you did too. The photos were all taken between 9.00 and 10.00pm.

Lisa’s 1 Day 1 World Project is an interesting one.  Why not follow the links and join in?

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Fortaleza de Sagres

The Wind Compass in Sagres fort

The Wind Compass, inside the fort at Sagres

When we started our epic journey, I had the west coast of the Algarve firmly in mind.  Known for its cooling breezes on warmer days and its wild stretches of Atlantic facing beach, I planned a visit to the Costa Vicentina.  Unfortunately, by the time we had completed last Monday’s walk at the Barragem de Bravura and our sojourn at Figueira beach, it was already mid afternoon.

The uppermost thing in our minds was a drink.  Water, wine, orange juice- almost anything would have done by this stage!  So, what did I end up with?  A tin of Sagres, the locally brewed beer.  I am not, by nature, a beer or lager drinker, but the popping of the can was bliss to my ears. Parking the car on the clifftop at Sagres, we almost ran downhill to the nearest kiosk.  Michael selected his favourite, Fanta orange, and sat, staring vacantly at yet another beach.

The town beach at Sagres, with the Fortaleza in the distance

Mareta, the town beach at Sagres, with the Fortaleza in the distance

I had planned to call at Sagres on my way back from the Costa Vicentina.  The last time I had been, it was a chilly, overcast day, early in the year.  Not today!

The town has an interesting history and is closely linked to Henry the Navigator, who set up a nautical school locally.  He helped to finance the Portuguese voyages of discovery, and by the time of his death, in 1460, landings had already been made at Sierra Leone in Africa.  An amazing achievement for the tiny caravels!  The Sagres link above takes you to Wikipedia, for some details.

Having got a second wind, it was time to stroll through the town and along the Rua de Fortaleza, the approach to the mighty fortress.  Of course, Michael wanted to know why we couldn’t just have parked in the enormous parking bays beside the fort.  Where’s the drama in that?

The Rose Compass

The Rose Compass, or sundial

Inside the simple church

Inside the simple church

The purpose of the Rose Compass is a little uncertain.  It may well have been a navigational aid, or just a sundial.  The setting is undeniably powerful.  Soaring cliffs drop away on either side of you, as you gaze out at the open sea.

Work on the huge battlements is ongoing, and not entirely sympathetic, but I found myself moved my the place.  A path leads out around the headland, with majestic views.

The shoreline crumbles beneath you

The shoreline crumbles beneath you

The canon still poised, ready!

With canon still poised, ready!

In the far distance, Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe

Far distant Cabo S. Vicente lighthouse- the most westerly spot in Europe

The beacon, closer to hand

The beacon, closer to hand

Yellow polka dots strewn among the plummy aliums

Yellow polka dots mingle with the plumy aliums

The view back to Mareta, and beyond

The view back to Mareta beach

The feet were tiring as we headed back through the hefty tunnel entrance.  Tiny Praca da Republica, the main square, has a choice of restaurants with outdoor tables.  ‘A Cabana’ suited us nicely.  I imagined it would be a lively spot on an evening but it was time for the drive home.  It had been quite a day! walking logo

Even as I was taking this walk, I just knew it had to be one of my Jo’s Monday walks.  What I could never have imagined is what took place last week.  On Sunday, 30th June, I received a walk from Christine at Dadirridreaming, back in Australia after a wonderful European holiday.  She and Stuart had taken the walk up Glastonbury Tor one rainy day on their visit to England.   We joked about the weather!

In this virtual world of ours, it’s easy to miss comments sometimes.  Christine’s last comment to me, on 1st July, I didn’t spot.  She was advising me that I should link my walking logo to my Jo’s Monday walk page, as she had done.  I have, Christine.  I have!  How very typical of this dearly loved woman, and I’m in tears again as I share this with you.

http://dadirridreaming.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/glastonbury-tor/

It’s hard to follow that, isn’t it?  But when you have some time, please return here and share the walks of my other contributors last week.  There are some very fine ones.

Drake takes us to beautiful Berchtesgarten  :

http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/on-the-edge-of-the-bavarian-alps/

It was wonderful to have been joined this week by Laura.  And only 3 weeks after back surgery, that’s impressive!  : http://telltaletherapy.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/walkabout-1-st-margarets-to-rye-house-circular/

Jude took me down Memory Lane with a glorious evening stroll around Derwentwater  : http://smallbluegreenwords.wordpress.com/2014/06/30/a-lakeside-evening-stroll/

You will certainly not have ‘the blues’ when you see Elisa’s post!  It made my heart skip  : http://elisaruland.com/2014/06/29/hiking-shorts-the-pacific-blues/

A friend you may not know, Kat, has introduced me to beauty and thrills in Corsica.  It’s one not to miss  : http://www.thecorsicablog.co.uk/2012/09/hiking-la-restonica/

And last, but never least, Yvette has gone on a Summer break, but not without leaving me a great post : http://priorhouse.wordpress.com/2014/07/02/walking-in-rva-street-portraits-3/

It’s been an emotional week, hasn’t it?  I’m off out walking very soon but will catch up with you all this evening.  Have a good week my friends.

Six word Saturday

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Saying goodbye to a dear friend

My lovely friend, Christine

My lovely friend, Christine

Many times I have used Six word Saturday to convey a message.  My ‘six words’ are often smiled at indulgently.  Poetic license, I call it!  This week, there have been more tears than smiles.  The image of Christine smiling among the lotus plants is one that I hope to remember (and thanks Madhu for reminding me).

The news of her sudden death has reverberated across the blogging world, and made us reach out to one another and ‘hold hands’. It’s a lovely legacy, isn’t it?

I wanted to share with you Stuart’s comment on my tribute to Christine earlier this week.

Hello,

This is Stuart.

One day I may be able to tell all about our last amazing day.
I have just spoken with one of our beautiful yoga friends and blasted her with all the details. She said ‘That was a conscious death’.
I can’t quite grasp that yet but maybe someday.

The funeral is next Wednesday at 11 30 our time (at Broulee Chapel and Crematorium).
I have got a plain casket that I am going to paint with red lotuses.

Thank you her beloved blogging friends.
Maybe there is some way we can include you.
One of our clever sons will know.

Toby (middle son) has researched how you can get access to the book which has the first 4 months of her blog in it. She spent a month redoing all the images and text. it is pretty special.
It will appear either on her blog or facebook or both I think.

Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and heartfelt messages.
It really really helps
Love to you all

Stuart

What a lovely family they are, aren’t they?  I had hoped to be online and thinking about Christine at the time of the funeral.  Sadly I miscalculated the time and it will be 2.30 Wednesday morning in the UK, so that may not be feasible.

Have a beautiful weekend, my friends.  I will be spending time with all of you.  And Cate, of course, at Show My Face.

 

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Figueira beach

Figuera beach

Figueira beach

I’m back in the business of lifting spirits this morning.  My own as well as yours, I hope.  It’s what Christine would have wanted, isn’t it?  She loved beaches, too.

Do you remember that I took a walk at Barragem de Bravura, forgetting to take water with me? Stupid, I know!  Back in the car, the plan was to head for the village of Figueira, just 15 minutes away.  The attraction was a short walk to an unfamiliar beach.  I can never resist checking out a ‘new’ one.

The village was very small.  Not wanting to walk too far, when my husband spotted the ‘praia’ sign he turned into the narrow lane that led to the beach.  I couldn’t fault the logic.  If only there might be the tiniest of beach bars!  But I had that sinking feeling as we left the car, far from the village, to follow a winding trail.

Will there be a beach bar? I don't think so!

Will there be a beach bar? I don’t think so!

But there were some interesting looking ruins up on the top

But there were some interesting looking ruins up on the top

And some beautiful rock formations

And some beautiful rock formations

And a man fishing from the rocks

And a man, fishing from the rocks

And water, everywhere!

And water, everywhere!

But you know very well that there wasn’t a beach bar, don’t you?  It just wasn’t that kind of beach. It was undeniably beautiful though, and I had remembered towels!  Michael slumped down against the rocks and closed his eyes.  Are you feeling sorry for him, yet?

I raced off to paddle.  Blissful, cool water between my toes!

I had all those interesting rock formations to explore

Then I explored all those interesting rock formations

Sculpted by the sea

Sculpted by the sea

And dramatic in their beauty

And dramatic in their beauty

Looking back across the beach

Looking back across the beach

And up at the cliffs

And up at the cliffs

This is my kind of beach!

This is definitely my kind of beach!

Yes, I did eventually run out of steam, and slump down beside Michael.  But not for too long.  The need for water was becoming more urgent.  Reluctantly we turned our back on the beach.

You’ll be happy to know that at our next stop, we did find liquid refreshment.  But that’s a story for next Monday’s walk.

It’s July 4th and American Independence Day today, so some of you might be going to the beach. Have a great time, won’t you, but please don’t forget the water!

 

A walk for Christine

Christine and Stuart, happy on their holidays

Christine and Stuart, happy on their holidays

Like many of you, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach, reading Stuart’s brave post this morning.  His lovely wife, Christine, ended their 45 years together in his arms.  Tears are not far away but I need to write this post.  Losing a friend is terrible, but losing a partner, thankfully, is unimaginable till it happens to you.

I know that Christine would want us to celebrate her life, and I’m doing that in the only way I know how.  This morning I took a walk in our English countryside, with Christine looking over my shoulder.  So often she has done just that, here on my blog.  She loved the beauty of nature.

The sheep were indulging their usual antics

The sheep were indulging their usual antics

And against a garden wall, the sweetpeas were climbing

And against a garden wall, the sweet peas were climbing

Following the footpath out of the village

I followed the footpath out of the village

And down the lane, peering in the hedgerows

And down the lane, peering in the hedgerows

For beauties such as this

For little beauties such as this

And this

And this

And gossamer drifts, like these

And gossamer drifts, like these

The elderflowers have been prolific this year

The elder flowers have been prolific this year

There's a farmyard smell or two

There’s a farmyard smell or two

It's not all beauty when you look over the farmer's wall!

And it’s not always pretty when you look over the farmer’s wall

But there's beauty enough if you look for it

But there’s beauty enough if you look for it

And, like Christine, I always do

And, like Christine, I always do

The insects always seem to find it, too

The insects always seem to find it, too

It comes in all shapes and sizes

It comes in all shapes and sizes

And not always easy to capture

And is not always so easy to capture

However could I have imagined, when I woke up this morning, that I’d be writing this post?  Was it only Monday we last exchanged greetings and she left me a link to Glastonbury Tor?  I can only be thankful for her friendship, and regret that we missed each other by just a day on her recent holiday.  I’m so glad that she had that happy time.

Such a wealth of memories Stuart has to look back on.  I know him very little, and of his drawings, only through Christine.  But what a thoughtful and amazing partner to have said goodbye, on her behalf, as he did this morning.  My thoughts are with him and the family she so loved.  She was a warm and caring person, who touched my life and that of many others.  Whenever I take this English walk now, I know who I’ll be thinking of.

Just one last English rose, for Christine

Just one last English rose, for Christine

 

 

Jo’s Monday walk : Barragem de Bravura

The colour of the water delighted me

The colour of this water delights me

Over the weeks I’ve shown you quite a few different aspects of the Algarve.  Today we’re going to what the ‘Rough Guide’, my travel bible, describes as ‘the most picturesque’ of the Algarve’s many reservoirs.  I could find no reason to disagree.

Situated north of Lagos, at the western end of the Algarve, we drove first to the village of Odiaxere and followed signs from there.  It is also signed from Bensafrim on N120.  Unspoilt countryside rolls away beautifully to either side.

I wasn't sure if this meant  we were welcome, or not!

I wasn’t sure if this meant we were welcome, or not!

This sign confused me rather, and I worried for a moment about overt commercialism, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  The restaurant appeared closed and I don’t think we passed more than 4 people on the entire walk.  The car park lay just beyond this point, and from there a pebbly path wound down to the dam.

The dam keeper's cottage?  In a lovely situation

Past what I presumed was the dam keeper’s cottage, in a lovely situation

And there was the dam!

And there was the dam

Crossing over the dam leads to a rough track around the edge of the reservoir.  It wriggles prettily in and out of coves, disappearing into the distance.  An invitation to follow.

Looking back at the dam

Looking back at the dam

And out across the lake

And out across the lake

The eucalyptus forming a screen

The eucalyptus forms a screen

And that alluring water beckons

And that alluring water beckons!

And wispy leaves invite

While wispy leaves disguise

The wider vista beyond

The wider vista beyond

Now is probably a good time to mention that at the outset I had no idea of the length of this walk. I expected to find an information board or two along the trail, as is customary, but none materialised on the stretch I walked.

You might have realised by now that I’m not always a practical, sensible creature.  While full of good intent, I had omitted to bring bottled water with me on this warm Summer’s day.  (In my defence, I did have a map and a guide book!)  There was nowhere around at which a purchase could be made.  Looking across the lake I could see from the many inlets that walking right around it was not going to be an option.  So it was a case of walking to a point at which I could bare to turn back, and then retracing my steps.

This was no hardship, as the views in either direction were lovely.  The additional good news was that I couldn’t possibly get lost.

The path continued to meander

The path continued to meander

Guarded over by the eucalyptus

Guarded over by the eucalyptus

Hiding amongst the tree roots were delicate flowers

Hiding amongst the tree roots were delicate flowers

And Mr. Frog!

Mr. Frog!

These were quite common, too

And little ‘lemon drops’, grabbing the shade

At one point we came upon a couple with a picnic.  Now, wouldn’t that have been a sensible idea? You would certainly have needed insect repellent though.

Still the water was exquisitely turquoise

Still, the water was exquisitely turquoise

Winding back around the lake

Winding around the lake

And back to our beginnings

And back to our beginnings

On my return to the UK I tried unsuccessfully to find a website with a few more details about the trail around the reservoir.  The nearest I came was a German walking site which suggested that a full circuit would take between 7 and 8 hours!  This was not recommended because at some point the trail leaves the water’s edge and crosses higher ground, without benefit of any shade.

My cycling friends would probably be quite happy to make a full circuit.  For the less energetic of us, I would suggest that it would be a grand spot to take a book and just listen to the birds.  And picnic too, of course.

For me the walk was part of a three way adventure.  I’ll tell you more about that next time.

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Now it’s time to share last week’s walks.  I have created a Jo’s Monday walks page, which I hope will answer any queries.  Click on the logo if you need help, or come and meet my lovely friends.

Drake is quick off the mark!  He was first again last week, with beautiful Strasbourg  :

http://ledrakenoir.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/cityscape-walking/

Some wonderful surprises occurred!  Colline joined me, all the way from Toronto, with an expedition to Chinatown  :

http://collinesblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/out-shopping-in-chinatown/

And Sylvia brought the Indian Ocean right to my doorstep  :

http://anotherday2paradise.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/jos-monday-walk-challenge-up-the-hill-and-back-along-the-beach-front/

Remember Amy’s wonderful ‘hacienda’ in Spain?  I bet you’d like to see more!  :

https://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2014/06/23/jos-monday-walk-ronda-countryside/

I was a little scared about the ghosts till I read Sue’s post.  Then, I was gobsmacked!  What a stunner!  Take me to Banff, please  :

http://traveltalesoflife.com/2014/06/23/lake-minnewanka-banffs-lake-of-the-spirits/

Please do join me if you can.  I love a bit of company when I’m walking.

Six word Saturday

Jo’s Monday walk and some scarecrows

It's scarecrow time again in the villages

It’s scarecrow time again in the villages

And the ladybird came to the ugly bug ball

And the ladybird came to the Ugly Bug Ball

'Let us crawl, let us crawl...'

‘Let us crawl, let us crawl…’

It's quite a horsey kind of village

It’s quite a horsey kind of village

Exhausting, at times!

Which can be exhausting, at times!

What a beautiful garden for a swim!

What a beautiful garden for a swim!

And, naturally, we're all set for the Tour de France

Naturally, we’re all set for the Tour de France

A disappointed spectator?

Is this a disappointed spectator?

Or is she keeping her eye on the children?

Or is she just keeping her eye on the children?

I thought that was big sister's job!

I thought that was big sister’s job!

But it wouldn't be an English village without a patriotic gnome

It wouldn’t be an English village without a patriotic gnome, now would it?

The scarecrows ‘speak for themselves’ , but I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce my Monday walks page.  I’ve been posting Jo’s Monday walks since March and they’ve had a wonderful response.  I’m very grateful for all your support, and thought it was time I constructed a page to explain a few details.  A click on my new logo will take you to the page.

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Speaking of logos, you won’t forget to visit Cate at Show My Face, will you?  She’ll be waiting expectantly for your Six word Saturdays.  Whether you’re chasing scarecrows, out walking or just relaxing at home, I hope you have a happy Saturday.

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More Algarve windows

The sight of Barril beach bar always lifts my spirits

The sight of Barril beach bar always lifts my spirits

It’s often the midpoint of one of my walks, or a place to linger when it’s too warm on the beach. Come, stroll with me around a few more Algarve windows.  Just click on a photo and off we go.

I know this isn't purely a windows shot but I love the atmsphere

And as the light fades, the windows sparkle!

Thank you for indulging me again.  There’s nothing I like better than a stroll in my Algarve streets.  I know that Dawn’s windows will be completely different, and it’s time to take a look.