On The Church Green ~ Willow-Light

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A bit of an odd phenomenon I thought on Monday as we were walking across Wenlock’s Church Green. And not only because we had sunshine – a rare event over the past few months – but also because the willow tree appeared to emitting its own light. The sunshine was also catching the edge of William Penny Brookes’ grave (1809-1896), he who was the town’s enlightened physician and who in 1850 recreated the Olympian Games as an annual town event. These games attracted national and later international interest. Brookes was in correspondence with Baron Coubertin (often given the credit for masterminding the modern Olympics) who visited Wenlock to see the games for  himself. The model that William Brookes had perfected, down to the designing of the medals, was the actual inspiration for the creation of the modern Olympic Movement.

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Brookes was a man who operated on many fronts when it came to improving community wellbeing. He was responsible for the arrival of the railway and the gas works, founded a library and the Agricultural Reading Society for working people, conducted trials on children’s bodily fitness and lobbied for the introduction of physical education to British schools. The link above gives a brief summary of his life and legacy to the town, and indeed to the world at large. The house where he lived stands opposite the church, marked with the requisite blue plaque. He is well remembered.

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http://www.wenlock-olympian-society.org.uk/ for more information on past and present Wenlock Olympian Games

January Light #22

Yesterday In The Garden: Skeleton-Light

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I know – another made-up word, and it’s all Becky’s fault down to Becky’s inspiring January Light squares challenge. Anyway, I am justifying this particular piece of word smithery on the grounds that these hydrangea flowers were indeed a product of summer sunlight, and so what we see here on a frosty January morning is a manifestation of residual light as it gently decays. This is my ‘story’ anyway.

January Light #21

Dubai Desert: Early Morning Strobelight

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It was about 5 a.m. and I had not slept all night. Desert sand is very hard on the hip bone, with or without a custom-made scoop-out beneath it. And our pop-up tent offered no defence against the loud snores of Geoff, our Tanzanian guide, who was sleeping in the open back of his Land Cruiser. But to walk out of the camp alone and up into the high dunes and watch the sun rise over Al Hajar –  instant rejuvenation remedy.

More desert views in the previous post.

January Light #20

Caught In The FogLight – Ghosts Of Cooling Towers Past

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This photo was taken at the end of November not long before Ironbridge Power Station was spectacularly demolished. I’ve always been drawn to the epic quality of the cooling towers, though not necessarily always in a comfortable way.  I’m ever a sucker for earthenware and the smooth curves of the terracotta brickwork, and the way it caught the light, certainly did appeal. I’ve not yet been back to Dale End Park in Coalbrookdale to see what the Severn Gorge looks like without the towers. I’m thinking a loss of grandeur.

The CGI below envisages a complete small town of 1000 houses plus community infrastructure for this riverside cul de sac, though there is the surprising inclusion of a steam railway. You can see the recently submitted plans HERE and HERE. The cooling towers occupied the area above the far left-hand bridge. The bridge on the far right is the Buildwas Bridge. This is the road to Much Wenlock a few miles away. The road to Telford (a new town with massive ongoing housing development, plus well planned existent infrastructure, schools, shopping centres, station, motorway and industrial complexes) runs along the bottom of the photo. Access to it from the Power Station site is over the narrow Buildwas Bridge (???)

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Photo: Harworth Group Ironbridge Power Station Proposed Development Plan

January Light #15

Lamu ‘Roof-light’ And A Room With Many Views

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It’s back to the old Africa album for some rooftop views of Shela village on the East African island of Lamu. The photos are accruing vintage status, taken with a non-digital camera (Olympus trip) many Christmases ago when home for us meant Nairobi.

Many of you will have seen them before. We were staying in the grandly named ‘penthouse suite’ of the long gone Island Hotel, four floors up in the palm thatched rafters. The ‘penthouse’ status meant much empty space, basic cold water shower and loo, a too-narrow-for-two Lamu bed, a couple of locally made chairs, and best of all, windows on three walls. I have never had so many good views all at once. There was a breeze too off the nearby Manda Strait – always a blessing in the sticky hot season.

And of course this open-to-the-elements facility also came with a soundtrack – radios, family chatter, clattering saucepans, babies crying, cockerels crowing, cats yowling and donkeys hee-hawing. And if at night sleep happened at all, then all too soon there came the dawn call to prayer, the sonorous tones of Allahu Akbar  –  all of village life welling in our roof space like sea-sounds in a shell. It was utterly mesmerising. Perhaps we dreamt it.

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Taking a Lamu dhow into Stone Town. Another kind of window.

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Related posts:

A brief introduction to the Swahili culture of the East African seaboard The Swahili

The original post about our long-ago Christmas trip Lamu Dreaming

copyright 2020 Tish Farrell

Lens-Artists: Window with a view

January Light #14

Canine Delight In Stormy Water

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The wild waves on Newborough Beach may look alarming, but this dog was having the time of its life – as dogs usually do. Nothing like a spot of unfettered enthusiasm.

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January Light #11 Pop over to Becky’s to join in her January Light challenge: square format, words ending in ‘-light’ (fudging allowed).

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Moving Water Cee always has great challenges: join her

Over Large Pigeon Alights On Small Crab Apple Tree And…

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…has to do some very serious pondering as to how to pick the apples without falling off the tree. So here we see the thought processes of a problem-solving pigeon as viewed from the kitchen door.

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Success?

Well no. Pigeons can’t chew or swallow  whole crab apples, though this morning I watched one have a darn good try. (Appropriate procedure for dealing with a choked pigeon anyone?)

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Finally, after much deliberation, the hard won prize was ejected. More pondering ensued.

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More gymnastics.

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Better leave it to the blackbird then. He does have the right kit for crab apple harvesting.

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January Light 10

Backlight: Big Tree, Little Tree

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I take  photos of this tree line more often than is necessary. It needs lots of zoom (the hill is on the other side of the town) but it’s a view I see when I’m up at the allotment. Or rather it’s a view I see when I’m leaving the allotment, and turn at the last moment to check what the light is doing over in the Callaughton quarter of Much Wenlock. This version was taken on the last day of November. The large tree is probably an ash, its undercarriage laden with ivy. I’m guessing the small tree is a hawthorn, similary clothed. It’s a feature of our trees around Wenlock Edge – their trunks and branches hung in ivy.

January Light #9

Wildegoose Rooflights

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Discovering Wildegoose Nursery was one of the high spots of 2019 – a plantsperson’s paradise set in an old walled garden on the edge of Corvedale in Shropshire.

We went there first in high summer, wandered through drifts of verbena, phlox, day lilies, cone flowers, alliums, grasses. The place was alive with butterflies and bee-hum. Buzzards mewed overhead and nearby, harvesters throbbed – the Corvedale farmers cutting their wheat. Far away over the wall, Clee Hill lay in a haze. A dreaming day.

We went again in November, and in its way, the garden was no less beautiful, the plants and grasses settled in muted tones, and the 1830’s glasshouse looking as magnificent as ever, the low light glancing off its 12,000 postcard-sized panes. It just goes to show – there’s treasure to be found on one’s doorstep. We’ll be back there in spring.

For now a pot pourri of summer and autumn views:

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Lens-Artists: special spot shots

January Light #8