Exercise – It’s a walk in the park

1

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.

2

3

4

5

7

8

9

6

10

11

IMG_3800

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

Behind the Camera 23

Bruton plus

1

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.

2

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

3

 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.

4

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.

6

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

7

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.

11

8

9

10

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.

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

13

14

16

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.

15

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

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.

1

2

3

4

5

6

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.

9

7

11

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.

12

13

14

16

19

15

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.

17

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.

20

21

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.

25

26

27

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.

Queen Victoria 7 – Reykjavik

Back to the closed sandwiches again as we approach a soggy Reykjavik, Isafjordur was kind but today Iceland will be cruel due to our ‘Ring of Fire’ excursion planning to take in a tour of the high ground outside of the capital city. The coach due to start out before 9 a.m. with no change in the weather seeming to be happening in our favour.

1

3

4

5

The coach left right on time and took a direct route out of the city introducing us to a very rugged and rocky vista which was, as can be seen, mostly enshrouded in a clingy, water filled mist.

23

6

7

8

9

The steaming fumaroles are seen in every direction, meaning no matter which way the wind blows you will get a whiff of sulphur. The pipes carry steam to all built up areas where the heat is used for all buildings and under walkways and roads; avoiding accidents a plenty.

10

11

Seven swans a flying, one ring of fire? And great big crack in the landscape known as a rift, which had been created by an earthquake.  Us tourists even walked along the gap between the ever moving techtonic plates; does that make me sound knowledgeable?

12

13

14

The next picture shows where those  with money have their summer homes, hello, it’s nearly July, summer houses??

15

16

17

20

18

The sign above warns of the dangers to be found where geothermal activity takes place, not only keep to the path but be aware of the out door cooking pots making use of the free heat. Those with fumaroles on their land are seen to do most cooking this way, we are to eat rolls and cakes produced thus for our lunch today. Looks really tasty in these pots, do you agree?

A more economically friendly thing to do with the steam is to make electricity, we visited a geothermal site where most of the islands power needs were being produced very cheaply. Come on EDF, dig deeper.

22

Back in the city mid-afternoon we took in some of the local sights which included a large number of statues and towered buildings. It’s not the wide angle camera making this squarish box look odd, it’s built that way.

24

27

28

26

25

We think we have seen this one with waders on.

29

The QV stayed in port overnight and, as we can see the next days journey started in bright sunshine; we want our money back from the ring of wet tour.

30

To finish we passed the Elday Rock about fifteen miles south west of Iceland which has an area of over seven acres on its top and an unbelievable population of 16000 pairs of northern gannets, look close at the picture and see if you can find them all.

33

Must be off now we have a Faroe way to go.

Queen Victoria 6 – Isafjordur

1

What a difference a day makes? Our second Sunday of this cruise, clear skies, only a gentle breeze and soaring temperatures about to peak at 14 degrees C. No place to park alongside so it was down to getting on shore and back using the lifeboats as tenders; about a hundred passengers at a time. Not that there was so much to see in the town, some were doing excursions and others, like us, hunted souvenirs and admired the colourful landscape.

2

3

4

5

6

7

The local sculpture showed what a delicate hand can produce when carving look alike waders. The large four chimneyed building behind is the old hospital which has now changed its use to being a library; a scenario that possibly suggests reading keeps you healthy and hospitals are not needed?

8

9

The fully flowering daffodils really did take us by surprise as there had been none seen further north in Akreyri.

10

11

12

The amount of traffic seen was quite minmal and the two highly polished classic vehicles being admired here had pride of place in the high street. Only a few shops were open, two souvenir shops, a bakers and a few clothes outlets selling hand made woolen sweaters for at least a £100 each; we noted not many were being sold but most of the locals were wearing them.

13

14

QV looked as if it was time to take the brochure photograph so we duly obliged; then we got tenderised returning back on board for our roast beef and all the trimmings.

15

16

When we sailed back out to clear waters the darkening wall approaching at speed made us wonder if the other side of the cloud may not be reached till the day after tomorrow?

17

18

Will we survive this impending deluge, will we come through to clear skies ever again, was Queen Victoria amused?

Queen Victoria 5 – Akureyri

1

It was midnight but no sign of the sun, we waited to see if it would peep at us from behind the cloud, but no luck. We lost two hours due to time zones as we crossed from Norway to Iceland but still managed to be awake for our arival at Akureyri. The ship had briefly crossed into the Arctic Circle as our route took us north, didn’t see any swimming polar bears though. The sight of the sea, land and sky sandwich below was our first view of the topless island, getting to look quite strange as we got nearer.

2

3

4

5

6

The glacial patterns etched into the mountainsides coupled with the seemingly endless supply of waterfalls made for a more than impressive landscape to remember; too many pictures the same did you say?

78

9

10

14

If you go out in the woods today – Beware the Polar Bears Picnic!

11

15

           Due to the cold taking longer to clear than at home the tulips are still in bloom during June and July. The buildings too reflected a like of  colour in the town.

17

19

21

But Akureyri  saved the best till last. We had been told by the officer of the watch to be aware that a pod of whales had been seen at the entance to the fjord, the prediction proved correct and here is evidence of that fact; we can go home now.

25

27

26

The sun drenched line of rock seen here lets us see what was missing from view when we sailed in this morning; I guess it’s time for an open sandwich for supper.