Photo Challenge: Blur

This is a lethal combination: 135bhp in a car weighing just 740kg in the hands of my middle son, Matt. He spent too much of his upbringing in the company of a madman behind the wheel (:-)) to be trusted with such exotica. More relevant and nearer the truth, my bank balance would not stand the premiums if he were added to the insurance.

Consequently, in this image, both man and machine were stationary and the blur added retrospectively – a much cheaper, virtual solution:

Matt and Elise...

(click on the image to enlarge)

Ephemeral …

… adjective
  1. lasting a very short time; short-lived; transitory: the ephemeral joys of childhood
  2. lasting but one day: an ephemeral flower

… along with youth, fashions, heroes and life.

David Purley raced in Formula 2 and Grand Prix events between 1972 and 1977.  He is best remembered for his desperate attempts to save Roger Williamson from a burning car at the Dutch Grand Prix in 1973. For this he was awarded the George Medal; the video footage is too harrowing, too sad to watch. In 1977 his brakes failed in practice for the British GP – his car went head-on into sleepers and came to a stop within a car’s length from 110 mph. He eventually recovered and took up acrobatic flying, the sport that finally claimed his life in July,1985.  One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name – Sir Walter Scott

In this picture, taken at  Brands Hatch in 1972, he sits contemplating the racing line. My reflection is fleetingly captured on the side of his car and a series of terrible events are practicing their lines in the wings.

David Purley ...

(click on the image to enlarge)

The future’s bright …

… the future’s orange; and wire-free or so they said in 1994. Yet, still I cannot get a worthwhile 3G signal at sunny Beaufront Woodhead.  Not so much Everything Everywhere, more Not Very Much, Anywhere 😦

The future's bright ...

Yesterday we walked from Stonecroft to Settlingstones (still no signal 🙂 ) and came across this magnificent engine house which formed part of the Stonecroft and Greyside mine, once used for the extraction of witherite. I was hoping to find some connection between the mineral and orange dye but had to settle for this: By using rhodizonic acid or sodium potassium rhodizonate, witherite is stained to an orange-red. Why wouldn’t you 🙂

The Engine House ...

(click on the images to enlarge)

Rule of three …

There is no direct connection between the image, the music and the poetry other than I became aware of them over the last forty eight hours.  The picture is from a walk to the aptly named Crow Wood near Newbrough on the southern Tyne.  The music was brought to my attention by my eldest son, Patrick – @smallhours2 – it pays to take notice of junior. The poetry is an extract from Norman MacCaig’s Close-ups of Summer – I am slowly working through his entire works. Poetry should not be rushed:

Hens sloven. But the cock
struts by – one can almost see
the tiny set of bagpipes
he’s sure he’s playing

The sun’s the same – pipemajoring
across space, where the invisible judges
sit, wrapped in their knowledge,
taking terrible notes

Above the south Tyne ...

This is all a reward for keeping the mind open to new things.
(click on the image to enlarge)

Rule of thirds …

Photo Challenge – The Rule of Thirds: a literal and almost literary ( 🙂 ) interpretation, taken by chance, earlier in the week (Thursday).

This door leads into Beaufront Castle grounds from the road between Beaufront Woodhead and Sandhoe – I doubt it has been opened in years.

It was not me
Who carved his name upon this once proud tree

For one thing, I support MUFC, not NUFC 😀

Not guilty ...

(click on the image to enlarge)

Photo Challenge: Symmetry

A short walk from home there is the remains of a kitchen garden which has been in a state of redevelopment for as long as I can remember. We occasionally walk down there to see how things are progressing, or not, as the case may be.  It is a fascinating site with a rabbit warren of tunnels and old hothouses, so much so, that as a listed site, it is hard to imagine how it could ever be developed without compromising the underground structures. I think I would prefer that it stay in a state of arrested decay. The first symmetrical image brings to mind Philip Larkin’s High Windows, except there is little glass to comprehend the sun:

Rather than words comes the thought of high windows:
The sun-comprehending glass,
And beyond it, the deep blue air, that shows
Nothing, and is nowhere, and is endless

Boarded up ...
This second image is from the same location, below ground level and not so symmetrical:

MJB 1976 ...
(click on the images to enlarge)

In depth …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Depth – You can live somewhere a long time and still find hidden places near to home that you never knew existed. It is my constant challenge – the good lady likes to walk and I am happy to join her except I don’t like to cover the same ground too often.  Consequently OS Landranger Map 87, Hexham & Haltwhistle is a well-thumbed reference.

On Sunday, Magical Mystery Tours Inc headed for the Military Road to discover the delights of Black Carts, Green Carts, Low Teppermoor and Sharpley – no, I had never heard of them before either. In truth, there was not much to discover ‘just’ a wild open landscape, a lot of sheep, snow and ice, all north of the Roman Wall. At Sharpley we were joined by an extremely friendly collie for a mile or so (yes, another) who, on reaching the main road obediently turned for home – remarkable.

Three images that contrive to demonstrate depth: the first relating to the depth of snow; the second to depth of vision – just what happens to that road as it abruptly disappears; the third to the depth of water – is that a lake a pond or a puddle.

Drift ... Road to nowhere ...
Lake pond or puddle ...


Unconnected with this challenge – we also met a friendly sheep at Sharpley – he or she is here.

And by popular demand, here she is 🙂

Friendly face ...

House Guest

I am that love-struck teenager again.  She came into my life for a weekend and was gone just as suddenly.  With the hair colouring of early Debbie Harry she stole my heart – Jenny is an eight year old Collie.  She reminded me how good it is to have a dog about the house and particularly this one – unlike the dogs I have owned (red setters) this one had perfect table manners (she slept while we ate) and could be trusted not to empty bins or go rummaging in food cupboards.

Outdoors she was a little less the perfectly behaved hound – other dogs, sheep and any moving vehicle would be stalked, chased and barked at given half a chance.  She was never let off the lead.  Who would have thought this serene animal capable of such things.

House guest ...

The first dog I shared my life with was Kerry – in my dark drinking days she was the perfect companion. She could work a bar like a professional; outgoing, flamboyant and just plain nosey, nobody was hard-hearted enough to ignore her. She was the perfect foil to my shy reserve. Strange how dog-fashions are unchanged whereas the flares and hair place this image perfectly in time – I would guess 1974 and Kerry not quite fully grown.

008-Kerry in Scotland-wordpress

This post partly inspired by Harrie Nijland’s, Without my Friend.

One winter …

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!

The Mad Hatter – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Twinkle is a too twee word, much better things that sparkle.

One winter, many winters ago, the morning silently sparkled (and twinkled a bit):

One winter morning ...

One winter morning ... One winter morning ... One winter morning ...

Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar
Your dad drives a rusty car
Press the starter
Pull the choke
Off he goes in a cloud of smoke.


Gone …

but not forgotten.  This is an unusual image, unique among the family archive for its outward display of affection. Their emotional roles were reversed; my dad was the soft place to fall, my mother the disciplinarian. My upbringing was unbalanced – “just wait until your dad gets home” held no perils for me.

They could argue enthusiastically and, frequently, I was the subject of the disagreement. My dad was a constant voice of reason but his exasperation could, in extremis, set him afire. Ultimately though, he was always fiercely loyal to mum and I learned, too early, not to depend on anyone.

And yet, I still miss them both.


Jonathon Meades captures this generation perfectly in An Encyclopaedia of Myself :

Two world wars, economic depressions, genocidal dictators, material privations, the ominpresence of death … enduring such stuff is not propitious for the embrace of affective ostentation, for the desire to get in touch with our inner entitlements, for the infantile need to share our pain, for the comfy validation of our self-pity, for the slovenly annihilating of our restraint, for the quashing of our shame.

For the public exposure of our past, for the tortuous excuses we make 😉