Sunday, 21 August 2016

Leaf patterns against a summer sky

The other day, for no particular reason, I was struck by the variety of leaf patterns on the trees in our garden, especially when seen from below against a clear summer sky. Perhaps it was because we haven't had many of those this year, or perhaps I just haven't had the time to sit and take casual notice.

I spent this afternoon amusing myself, converting the photos to black and white and upping the contrast levels in Adobe Photoshop. The most successful are posted here.






One of the trees is a delightful, late flowering tree, whose name I don't know. Even at this time of year, it has lovely acid green leaves and these large spikes of white flowers with pink centres. It is most definitely not a native tree and was planted around 40 years ago by the previous family to live in our house. If anyone can recognise it, I'd be delighted to know its name and where it comes from. 




Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Rouen and roofs and timber-framed buildings

On our way home from our recent holiday in Western France with our daughter and her family, we broke our journey overnight in Rouen in Normandy. We had previously stayed there briefly in the first year of our marriage more than 40 years ago and were surprised at how little we remembered.

We were therefore taken afresh with the wonderful old timber-framed buildings in the heart of the city and the many churches and irregular the roof scapes. We stayed in the delightful Hotel de La Cath├ędrale, and quirky and hospitable it was, and we ate an excellent dinner in a nearby auberge recommended by madame on the reception desk. It was all a great pleasure.

As we were there for such a short time, I took very few photographs. I hope these give just a hint of our short stay. Both were taken from our hotel bedroom window.



We there for only one night but we will certainly return.

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Kite surfing near La Rochelle

On a beautiful cloudless evening earlier tonight we sat and watched these kite surfers dancing and turning somersaults in the waves on this French beach. It was mesmeric and exhilarating to watch their skill and the shapes their sails made as they finished and came out of the water.
    
           

 
    

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Scotland, Twinning and friendships formed and renewed

The main street in Kincardine O'Neil, Aberdeenshire

We have just returned from an excellent visit to Scotland. When we are up, we stay in Kincardine O'Neil in the Dee Valley where my husband has family connections. My husband has been visiting for over 60 years and I for 45. Still, given the distance from our home in Wiltshire, we are surprisingly involved in village affairs. As I've posted before here and here we take part when we can in Twinning visits, both hosting in alternate years in Scotland and in between visiting the village of Thun Saint Martin near Cambrai in northern France.

These occasions are always great fun and we make every effort to ensure that we can take part. This year was no exception. We played host to a delightful family who relished all that we showed them and even seemed to enjoy my very English cooking (friends indeed!).

It was a busy and varied four days. There was a group Ceilidh, a barbeque and a visit to local gardens and time was spent with mutual friends. The young among us went to Go Ape at Crathes Castle and we took our visitors to the Lochnagar distillery, watched salmon leaping at the Brig of Feuch near Banchory, and walked in Glen Tanar. This latter place is one of my favourite places on earth and it has many, many happy family memories. It was lovely to share it and all the other places we went to with such appreciative visitors.

The photos posted here are a rather random selection of images taken when I had the time to concentrate!

Go Ape, Crathes Castle

Glen Tanar and the Braeloine Centre

Few salmon ... but a very patient heron waiting

The beautiful Crathes Castle

... and its lovely gardens ... at their absolute best

A Twinning ceremony commemorating 10 years of shared friendship

Morris men dancing (our French visitors are used to such displays after 10 years)

The assembled group ... French, Scottish ... and a certain English woman ... watching Punch and Judy

Our lovely Twinning visitors with my husband on the ancient bridge in Glen Tanar

There was little time for stitching, drawing or weaving, though on the long car journeys I managed some of the latter. I always miss it (it's part of me) but it's good to have a real break too. 

And next week we are off again, this time to France to join our daughter and her family on the west coast and to visit Twinning friends who were unable to come the Scotland this year. What a great institution Twinning is!




Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Scotland in the sunshine

We're in Scotland again ... with intermittent internet access that requires us to visit the local library or coffee shops to get online and I'm limited to a maximum of one visit a day. The latter is not a problem except for the waistline!

       

This photo was taken from a favourite viewpoint on the Cairn O'Mount, looking south to the coast.

Today was beautiful - warm and sunny - and we spent the day relaxing on a local beach - more photos to follow. 
   

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Weaving in lines, stitching in circles

I've now finished the latest piece of weaving in my architecture-inspired series. A detail is shown below. The first, for those who didn't see it and would like to do so, was shown here.


I'm moving towards greater and greater simplicity with these and there will be more to come, definitely.