Do you see …

… what I see.  This is a collection of mostly autumnal images taken near home over the last week. My happy place is out and about in Northumberland and then sat in front of my two 19 inch screens dabbling with Photoshop and On1.  The screen on my left produces the brightest and cleanest image whilst the one on my right is slightly fuzzier with a yellow tinge. In other words, what I see and what you see will depend on the devices we use for viewing.  I could calibrate the screens but unless everyone does the same, what would be the point.

All of this is academic except that last night I viewed the fourth image on a Lenovo tablet and it looked like an explosion in a paint factory.  I have a tendency to over-saturate and my Fuji X100s is set up to emulate Fujichrome Velvia which, as it says on Wiki, “many see its high color saturation as unrealistic”. Hence the original question – do you see what I see – we will never know (the motorcycle was taken with a smartphone, there being nowhere convenient to carry a camera on this particular set of wheels):

Rowan berries ... Today is a dull day ... Call of the Wild ... Early morning rain ... Autumn, a time for ... Pots and Paws ...

A week of change …

This is a collection of images from a week of change.  Down the Birkey Burn there are signs of leaf fall and the woodman has been wielding his axe.  In expectation of some autumnal rides, the Scrambler has been fitted with a new FEK (fender eliminator kit) and front indicators to replace the ugly chrome originals.  The sun has emerged but the temperature has dropped so the Elise has got its hat on and walks down the Tyne and Derwent have been illuminated by a bright low sun.  The competitive golf season is near an end for another year – change is in the air.

Messin' about ... Walk along ... FEK installed today ... Woodman spare that tree ... The Birkey Burn ... Perfect morning ... So much neater ...

Style is Eternal

Yesterday was a glorious late summer’s day so we headed south over the moors to Bernard Castle and the Yves St Laurent exhibition at the Bowes Museum. Not exactly a boys day out but fun can be had by pushing the Fuji in the near dark. The results are more sinister than the curator or YSL might intend although not entirely inconsistent with Helmut Newton’s iconic street image of Le Smoking tuxedo. Whilst I was wandering about being ‘creative’, the good lady was entranced by the exhibits.

By good fortune the Mondrian Collection also provides a useful hook for this week’s photo challenge – grid:

YSL at the Bowes Museum ...

... Isn't elegance about completely forgetting what one is wearing.  Or, as in this case, completely forgetting to wear anything at all.

... Transparence

... Spectaculaire

... Transparence

... YSL




1. Having or appearing to have only one colour.
2. Of or composed of radiation of only one wavelength: monochromatic light.
3. Done in monochrome: monochromatic paintings.
4. Exhibiting monochromatism.
5. Unvarying or dull: “the more prosaic and monochromatic aspects of communist life” (Amy Tan).

This is detail from the sea wall at Helmsdale, a town that sits on the edge of the North Sea and the river estuary from which it takes its name (or vice versa).  The major A9 trunk road through the town once took a circuitous route through its streets, crossing the river by an elegant stone bridge.  A concrete bridge that would suit any motorway, anywhere in the world, now swoops across the mouth of the estuary in a single bound, by-passing much of the town.  The peace that has descended on its streets is probably welcome by many of its residents but perhaps not so much by its traders.  The golf course has seen better days and the talk at other clubs was of financial collapse. Its destiny may have been determined by the arrival of the dull, monochromatic bridge.

The first of these images fits the bill but the second, less so. I must learn to stop dabbling with saturation:

Monochromatic ... Monochromatic ...

Beating time …

Alice Pleasance Liddell was the primary inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

The connection between Alice Liddell and this image is temporal but I am not permitted to say how, people get tetchy about time:

The Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’
`Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’
`Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock.

The other connection is that I cannot look at this image without being reminded of Charles Dodgon’s favourite young friend.  But for the vagaries of time and place it might have been Pamela’s Adventures in Wonderland.


I am biased of course – Pam is my wife who grew up to be like this.

Beneath your feet

Beneath my feet on this summer evening, straight lines of stubble leading down the hill from Beaufront Woodhead to the fringes of Hexham. Like me, a field too lazy to shave:

stubble (ˈstʌbəl)
1. (Agriculture)
a. the stubs of stalks left in a field where a crop has been cut and harvested
b. (as modifier): a stubble field.
2. any bristly growth or surface
[C13: from Old French estuble, from Latin stupula, variant of stipula stalk, stem, stubble]

Evening light ...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Symbol

My first bicycle was a BSA and my second a Triumph Palm Beach – foggy damp Manchester was about as far removed from sandy beaches as can be imagined but then the Triumph Smog doesn’t quite have the same ring.

According to various websites, the Palm Beach was actually produced by Raleigh using the name Triumph under licence from the motorcycle company.  There is therefore a long and distant connection between my pedal-powered days and my Triumph Scrambler. Both symbolise freedom, the wind in your hair/helmet and life on the open road.  Toad would understand completely 🙂

... Triumph

My WordPress activity has diminished lately because when I am not hitting golf balls (not very successfully) I am out on wheels of various configurations. By way of explanation here are some more images of the Scrambler from life on the open road:

... but the star of Jurassic World

... on the road from Carrshield - in the background, the Allen Mills chimneys.

... near Birtley

Now spot the Triumph Scrambler (and the golf clubs!) in this trailer – star of stage, screen and Northumberland.

This way …

… to rainbow’s end. The photograph is taken from the crossroads at Branch End, south of Hexham. This ordinary ROY G.BIV image is just an excuse to share this uplifting track from Public Service Broadcasting, appropriately called ROYGBIV. Hope it brightens your day 🙂

... to rainbow's end


In the valley south of Juniper, Devil’s Water runs north east towards Corbridge where it joins the Tyne.  Hall Burn that gently flows down from Dukesfield to join Devil’s Water once turned mighty waterwheels which powered a lead ore smelt mill.  On a bright spring afternoon when everywhere is bright fresh green and dappled light, it is hard to imagine this as the setting for such industry.  Operational from the late 17th century until 1835, it was one of the largest smelt mills in the country.  The Dukesfield Arches are all that remain:

... Dukesfield Smelt Mill

Walk a half mile up the hill adjacent to the burn and you reach Dukesfield Hall parts of which date from the seventeenth century when it was the smelt mill agent’s house. A bothy opposite the main hall once stabled the packhorses which brought lead ore to the site from across the north Pennines. The drovers slept in the loft above the stables.

... Slaley, Northumberland
The bothy ...

The bothy loft above the stables probably offered less than salubrious accommodation for the drovers but much has changed over the centuries. The Grade 2 listed Dukesfield Hall is now a thriving farm and Bed & Breakfast offering “Charming en-suite rooms, guest lounge with a log fire and a friendly atmosphere”. Your average drover would be astonished.

... Dukesfield Hall farm

... Dukesfield Hall farm

... Middle Dukesfield

The last image is from Middle Dukesfield some 400 yards to the east.

Much of the information for this post was gleaned from the excellent leaflet “Dukesfield Arches & Devil’s Water” produced by Friends of the North Pennines.

Finally, that barn roof looks broken to me 🙂
(click on the images to enlarge).

Sea change

These waters are never still.  The perpetual motion of the tides carries drowned sailors south from Cape Wrath to rest on the shores of haunted Sandwood Bay.

I think of Lycidas drowned
in Milton’s mind.
How elegantly he died. How langourously
he moved
in those baroque currents. No doubt
sea nymphs wavered round him
in melodious welcome.

And I think of Roddy drowned
Off Cape Wrath, gulping
fistfuls of salt, eyes bursting, limbs thrashing
the ponderous green. – No elegance here,
nor in the silent welcome
of conger and dogfish and crab.

Norman MacCaig – Sea change, January 1978

Sandwood Bay ...
Sandwood Bay ...
Sandwood Bay ...