Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Friday 30 May 2014

Thowback Friday

Self-imposed blogging deadlines having given way to a long-buried recognition that some spring-cleaning really needed to be done, these old photos are surfacing today. In 1987, I went to Chicago, where these two American icons were handily placed side-by-side in the Art Institute.

Not far away is the equally well-known Sunday Afternoon on the Ile de la Grande Jatte by Seurat.

At that time, Sondheim's Sunday Afternoon in the Park with George, inspired by the painting, was a big hit and general talking-point.

Which may explain why this hommage had appeared in a nearby lakeside resort, in somewhat less exalted circumstances (click to enlarge):

Thursday 22 May 2014

Throwback Thursday

This is Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. Staying with an outdoors-y sort of a person, as I did in 2000, means being taken on trips I wouldn't have imagined for myself - in this case, not only a long walk around the lake from left to right and across the open ground beyond, but also up to the top of the right-hand peak.

Yes, that's right - right up there.

It's not as alarming as it looks - at the back of the peak, the way up is clearly marked - not so much a path as a route for scrambling over the boulders, but none the less, no special equipment required beyond boots with a good grip, and some sense of balance.

Even for someone with no great head for heights, like me, it felt perfectly safe - though with one final moment where the route narrows between two very steep declines to either side.

Even there, however, there are some boulders to use as a screen from the view immediately down, and to snatch a photo of the more distant panorama.

From the top, the views are spectacular:

Time, before starting the clamber down (somehow harder than the climb up), to look back at where we came from.

And for a touch of cute (and a rare occasion where the wildlife comes out to present itself for photos in the daylight), here's a visitor that stopped to investigate our rucksacks in the hut where we rested our (by now, jelly) legs on the way back. If memory serves, it's a spotted quoll:

Sunday 18 May 2014

I gather there was a big cycling campaign ride in London yesterday, in advance of Thursday's local elections. Apparently it was combined with the London Tweed Run, which doesn't sound quite so serious, though right up my grandfather's alley.

I might have gone (though not for the tweed bit).

If I'd heard about it beforehand.

If my "get up and go" hadn't got comfy on the sofa.

If I hadn't just discovered a broken spoke anyway.

Ho Hum.
Photo borrowed from http://www.james-davis.com

Friday 16 May 2014

Another view of Sydney Harbour Bridge

It turns out that my family has a connection to the famous kerfuffle at the opening of the Bridge in 1932. In the heated politics of the day, with the Premier of New South Wales in fiscal and constitutional conflict with the national government and the State Governor (the Crown's local representative), the right took exception to the Premier's decision (in a spirit of egalitarianism, or egomania, depending on your point of view) to perform the formal opening himself rather than leave it to the Governor. Francis de Groot, the leader of a right-wing paramilitary group, managed to gatecrash the ceremony and charge past the Premier on horseback to slash the ribbon with his sword before the Premier got there.

One of my mother's cousins told me years ago that his brother, who had emigrated to Australia, had been involved in some way. A recent idle search online turned up a biography of de Groot: and, indeed, the brother is mentioned, as a "somewhat mysterious colleague" helping with the preparations, sharpening the sword and driving de Groot to the Bridge. Perhaps I should keep quiet about it if I ever go back to Sydney.

Do they know something we don't?

The German Navy seems to have parked an entire minesweeping squadron at Canary Wharf.

Thursday 15 May 2014

Throwback Thursday

A fair few of the bloggers I read seem to be engaged, as I am, in digitising their old photographs, as they post examples on Thursdays. By coincidence, it was last Thursday that I got stuck into my "trip of a lifetime" photos from Australia, and ended up posting the banner picture above: it's from Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef in 1998 (the ship was bought as a wreck, in order to form a breakwater for the channel up to the jetty).

This Thursday's photo is from my second trip there, to the Millennium celebrations in Sydney. As it happens, I had the luck to be invited to a party on top of a tall block of flats overlooking the harbour, and the fireworks and waterborne display were amazing. Only, as these things will, my camera chose to die on me just as we were waiting for the show to begin - but at least I got to concentrate on the complete panorama, rather than a viewfinder.

And the photo? The framework doesn't show up at its best against the sun, rather than outlined in blazing fireworks, but it's the centrepiece of the display - the word "Eternity". There's a tale attached, to explain its significance to Sydney.

Monday 12 May 2014

It's the bluebell season again, but I haven't actually made a journey to see any of the established swathes this year. Instead, this striking contrast of some escapees with a stray rubbish bin on an ordinary roadside verge,  demanded to be photographed:

Saturday 10 May 2014

Only in London*

In the middle of what passes for Chinatown in London, several morris dancing teams, and a bunch of tourists marching past in pursuit of a guide waving the flag of Slovakia.

*Other world cities are available, I do realise that.

Thursday 8 May 2014

Sic Transit

This cheerful announcement was on a van I happened to be stuck behind in a traffic queue. I'm assuming it's a fancy pseudo-Sophoclean way of saying "No tools kept in this van overnight" or even "If you can read this, you're too damn close,", but who knows?

Tuesday 6 May 2014

Fashion tips for cyclists

Gentlemen, please note the correct attire for cycling 200 miles or so to Land's End: in particular, the complete absence of dayglo Lycra.

According, that is, to my grandfather in 1926 (at the age, as he proudly noted on the back, of 59).

Sunday 4 May 2014

A worn old door, wide open to a sunny day, in an ancient village church.

If the decoration appears a little out of the ordinary, that's because this particular church is where my niece got married on Saturday.

And an excellent day was had all round.