Exercise – It’s a walk in the park

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Steering our way towards the local country park on a blue sky January morning gave us the first opportunity in ages for using the camera. Even a fair selection of birds came out to play.

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Here’s hoping the weather stays this clear for a few days. Happy new year to all our readers.

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Behind the Camera 23

Bruton plus

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Finding photographic features in the back of beyond in rural Somerset is something Michael and I seem to do on a regular basis, this time we decided to visit the scenic site of Bruton; just over ten miles east of Yeovil. It has been proposed that this is the smallest town in England something hard to reckon seeing how much new build is happening. We started by climbing a small hill to a dovecote that overlooks most of Bruton’s central area, from here the resulting pictures show how it actually is. But first a closer look at the top of the tower.

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The comparative chunkiness of the stonework in the tower belies the true size of the buzzard watching over us.

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 Taking up a large percentage of the town is an independant 350 pupil school whose main buildings are nearly 600 years old, St Mary’s church shown in the next picture is of even greater age, building began almost a thousand years ago.

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As usual for our jaunts into the countryside we seem to just take any road that looks as if there could be something round the corner, this time it was another church; St Peter’ Redlynch.

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Seen below us on the same road a scene saying autumn is coming.

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Driving on for a few miles we decide to head home to escape the start of rain and its gloomy grey skies, but turning another corner we suddenly strike gold.

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The last picture shows off one of the grandest of folly’s that is just visible at the top of the hill.

Yeovilton Air Show 2013

Met up with Michael for the first time in ages, this time using his contact at Limington village church; allowed up the tower where we had a cracking view across Yeovilton air base and the spectacular displays from the red arrows and others performing at the annual air show.

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Last of all came the surprise of the afternoon as a buzzard came out from the trees below us and started to circle probably looking for his tea.

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 We left the tower before the end of the show to escape the 30C plus temperatures.

Queen Victoria 12 – On Board

The first part of the ship’s interior you see when boarding is the Grand Lobby. Most of the decoration and design is focused on the art deco period highly polished furniture and panelling blending with richly patterned flooring and carpets.

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The art deco theme continues into the arcade where window shopping is a most pleasurable experience.

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This area of the ship on decks, two and three, is also where most of the entertaiment is staged; mainly in the Queens ballroom or the Royal Court Theatre.

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There are numerous bars throughout the ship but the Golden Lion Pub was the largest, also given a fairly big space was the casino.

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Pictured below is the Lido Buffet affording sea views both to port and starboard, this restaurant only closes for two hours between 4a.m. and 6a.m. otherwise food and drink is available for the other twenty-two hours.

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Some good looking passengers could be seen in the Britannia restaurant enjoying the wide range of adventurous and beautifully presented meals all all served with impeccable ‘White Star’ service.

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After dinner the choice of entertainment on the lower decks or watching the passing scenery, or just sun bathing, were only a few of the options available.

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I have included these last two pictures to show just how big this megalopolis is, first in dock at Stavanger and secondly leaving Southampton seen from Hythe pier; that was taken a year earlier so you won’t see us in that shot.

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This is the final post for this particular holiday, hope you have enjoyed the show, but maybe not as much as we relished cruising as a fine way to see the world.

Queen Victoria 11 – See, sea and C Birds

With time to sit and look out to sea and to be in the right place at the right time can be most rewarding; the only problem with photography is whether the camera can cope with the weather. Yes I am boring, yes I always have a camera attached to my hand, but sometimes the captured images make my sacrifice to the art worth the effort. Tell me if you agree or not. The pictures speak for themselves.

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 C what I mean?

Queen Victoria 10 – The Faroes to Southampton

Friday 28th July proved to be a busy day, not only was it the last chance to don the gladrags for a formal evening’s entertainment I also had the opportunity to go on a behind the scenes tour of the ship. The logistics of catering for nearly two thousand passengers and a thousand crew, with a company policy to be as environmentally friendly as possible, really is mindblowing; more of that in the next post.

One day out from Torshavn we had to see our first full sunset since the cruise began, no more chance of any midnight viewings, this one was at 9.3op.m.

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The strange mix of colours over the sequence of pictures is as it happened, refraction does very odd things when twisting the light.

I’ve not included much about the entertainment on board but most was centred in the theatre and the queens ballroom. On the last evening there was something different when a gathering of passengers was led through a singsong of old musichall favourites in a very relaxed, and as can be seen, easygoing way in the Grand Lobby.

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The following morning gave us many different things to look at, oil rigs, wind farms, ships and sea birds. The heat haze dominated the scene but we were still able to get sight of the closer objects.

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The above sailing ship, The Tenacious, belongs to an organisation called J.S.T. (Jubilee Sailing Trust) which began in the 1970s to clebrate the Queen’s silver jubilee. The JST has two ships that were commisioned especially to carry a forty-strong crew most of which have varying degrees of disability; nobody was considered as a passenger. More information can be found about this commendable charity at http://www.jst.org.uk

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In the staits of Dover the haze and the sun’s position gave us a better view of the white cliffs of France so just for change here they are. The sunset was not as spectacular this evening but, as can be seen below, early the next morning we had a view to get up for.

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Yes it’s Portsmouth, nearly there with only an hour to go before we dock and prepare for the land journey home.

Queen Victoria 9 – Torshavn

The final port on our two-week jaunt around a bit of the north Atlantic enabled us to see surprisingly photogenic, almost ‘chocolate box’ landscapes even though for most of the day it was low clouds, misty and damp on the high ground. For the second time this week we had docked fairly early and timing required us to start an excursion at 9a.m. The first part of the tour was intended to be scenic taking us around fjords and lakes on mainly high placed roads. The following few pictures indicate the possibilities of seeing incredible landscapes but the mist did conceal the best of the views.

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Late morning we stopped at a village called Gjagv, pronounced Jack, for a light repast which included  a local dish known as pancakes, pictured below they did look and did taste yummy. The later photograph shows they were appreciated.

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Time was allowed for us tourists to take in the views offered by the bubbling stream and the surrounding Faroese architecture set in a misty, mountain backed terrain. The vivid green flora and the richly coloured houses all came together to give us a very pleasureable hour of sightseeing.

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The shoreline too held more than interesting views, Jane can be seen investigating the corpse of a stripped to the bone fish, a good sized meal no doubt for one of the many terns and gulls observed here.

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Back on the coach it only took a short time for us to see a few more waterfalls and the view acroos the city before we finished the four and a half hour tour.

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The mist had still not cleared by sailing time which, unfortunately meant we never did get a proper look at the high ground surrounding Torshavn, but for that the day would have been perfect.

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Still taking pictures and getting lucky when the schooner passed a sea worn cave. Time now for the two full days and three nights journey back to Southampton; nobody has seen or heard the fat lady yet.