This month Paula has given us 5 words to spark our photographic imaginations: dawning, condensed, coalescing, verdant and sempiternal. This skyscape view from our house on Wenlock Edge says everlasting (sempiternal) to me, though that could be wishful thinking on my part – to think the world as I know it will always remain the same. I think, with the different cloud formations, this image also covers condensed and coalescing. No hidden verdant though, for this is a winter scene – the big bare ash tree in the corner of the allotment. And it was definitely taken at sunset and not at dawn.
This was a heartening find outside our High Street florists on Wednesday. I love the blue of hyacinths, though their scent can be overpowering indoors. Anyway, it made me think how lucky we are in our very small and ancient town to have so many independent shops. As I may well have mentioned before, our traders’ roll call even includes two book stores. Also extraordinarily, we have a vicars’ outfitters where men of the cloth can have their cloth, well, customized. Who’d’ve thought…
I’m thinking I may feature more of Wenlock in squares over the next few days. I shall have to schedule same as we’re about to go to the dark side. That is to say, changing our internet provider. The last time we did that we were worldwidewebless for nearly a fortnight. So if you don’t hear from me over the next few days, do not be surprised.
March Square Pop over to Becky’s to get square with this squares and circles lark.
Bishops Castle is another favourite Farrell destination – a sleepy rural town in the Shropshire-Welsh borderland. It is full of quirky and ancient houses, though this one at the top of the town must surely take the prize for being the most smile-inducing. I thought this pared down photo would tick all Becky’s boxes (square ones naturally).
But I was sure you would like to see the full picture too:
And the houses at the bottom of the town, sporting their Michaelmas Fair-Steam Rally banners:
And a taste of the Steam Rally:
You can see more about Bishops Castle at Summer Came Back On Saturday And Took Us To The Fair
It’s snowing again today, but hopefully without conviction: just enough to dust the field behind the house, and coat the roofs of the garden sheds. Otherwise, despite the winteryness, there are more signs of spring everywhere – winter pansies in full fettle in Wenlock gardens, allium leaves pushing up through the soil, buds on the flowering currant, more hellebores emerging, snowdrops and catkins in the hedgerows.
The December snow days were very beautiful, but best remembered now in photos. Some of the following shots were taken in monochrome, and some I’ve converted. The header is a conversion, and it’s only in this format that you can see that the sun is melting the snow from the branches in a mini snowstorm. It isn’t dust on the lens. The photos were taken in and around the Linden Field and I’m posting them in response to Cee’s Thursday black and white challenge: out doors – walks and roads. Follow the link below to join in.
The Shropshire Hills lay in a golden haze on the last day of October. Not only that, it was warm and still, and in Bishops Castle, where we went for my birthday outing, all was drowsing. We were drowsing. Lunch at the Castle Hotel was long and leisurely, and the food unassumingly delicious, and we spent the afternoon drifting around the streets, looking in the windows of shops that were mostly shut. It did not matter. It was Monday, and clearly the proprietors of most of the town’s establishments had better things to do on Mondays. We simply made a mental note to return when we were more alert, and they were more alert, and on the kind of day when it didn’t seem too bothersome to open one’s purse and shop.
Here then are scenes of Bishop’s Castle. It is a town with a very long and steep high street – a handsome church at the bottom, a fine town hall at the top, and ancient hostelries brewing their own ale at either end. And from every quarter, whenever you look down a main street you can see out to the countryside beyond. The best of all worlds then. I’m leaving the photos to speak for themselves, apart from saying, look out for the crocheted fairy cakes: they almost look good enough to eat. Oh yes, and there’s a shot of me with my best and only sister, Jo, in the garden of the Castle Hotel.
copyright 2016 Tish Farrell
I’m linking this to Jo’s Monday Walk. So if you want more than the amble I’ve given you here, pop over there for a proper walk. It’s in Portugal too.
This week in her Black & White series, Cee gives us a free hand, and says we can post our favourite B & W images. Here is one of mine: Dinham Bridge over the River Teme, with Ludlow Castle above. For those of you who do not know England, Ludlow is a scenic market town in South Shropshire. All looks so tranquil here, and the town itself ever has a sleepy air.
Historically, though, Ludlow was an important border stronghold commanding the Welsh Marches to the west, and repeatedly the scene of bloody battles and political intrigue down the ages.
The castle is almost a thousand years old, having its beginnings on the crest of the hill in around 1075. The outer fortifications were added a hundred years later, and the castle continued to expand and become ever more grand over succeeding centuries.
I’ve mentioned before that one of the castle’s claims to fame is that it was here in 1501 that fifteen-year old Prince Arthur Tudor, son of Henry VII and thus Henry VIII-to-be’s older brother, spent his honeymoon with sixteen-year old Catherine of Aragon, and that Arthur caught a fever and was dead within the year, thus leaving Catherine to be betrothed to Henry.
Nearly thirty years later when Catherine was embroiled in Henry’s ugly attempts to be rid of her so he could marry Anne Boleyn (he demanded an annulment on the grounds that it went against biblical teaching for a man to marry his brother’s wife) she claimed that nothing had happened between her and Arthur at Ludlow; that their marriage was never consummated.
So much for Ludlow-past as a honeymoon destination.
But the castle has older more grizzly mysteries associated with it. They relate to the Wars of the Roses mentioned in the previous post. Ludlow Castle was one of Richard Third Duke of York’s key strongholds until it was lost to Lancastrian forces in 1459 at the Battle of Ludstone Bridge – the next bridge downriver from the one in the photo. Three years later in 1461, when his son defeated the Lancastrians and became Edward IV, the castle was restored to the Crown, and it was during Edward IV’s reign that both castle and town grew in political prominence.
And it was in Ludlow Castle where Edward IV’s sons, Edward and Richard, spent much of their childhood, and whence they were taken in 1483 to the Tower of London. Their father had died, and Edward aged twelve had been pronounced Edward V, but was not yet crowned. His father’s brother, Uncle Richard Duke of Gloucester, aka Richard Crookback and soon to be Richard III, was Lord Protector.
Then came news that Edward IV’s marriage had been proved invalid. His young sons were declared illegitimate, and Richard quickly had himself crowned. The boys, thereafter referred to as the Princes in the Tower, were never seen again. Behind them only argument remained – did Richard III have his nephews murdered? Did the two small skeletons, later unearthed in the Tower, belong to young Edward and Richard? When I think of them in the brooding Tower of London, which incidentally was then a royal palace and not a prison, it still gives me a pang. I sense their feelings of loss and displacement, a pining for Ludlow, ‘the hill beside loud waters’**, the forests and wide Shropshire vistas below the battlements; just the place for growing lads.
If Richard did kill the boys in a bid to secure his claim to rule, it didn’t do him much good. He was killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 after only two years as king. His remains were buried in the church of a Franciscan Friary in Leicester, and in 2012 were re-discovered with much fanfare during an excavation of the site, which by this time lay buried under a city car park. Leicester University scientists then set out to prove the identity of the skeleton, an exciting piece of forensic archaeology and genealogy which is detailed at this link.
After Richard came Henry Tudor who won the day at Bosworth Field, the last significant conflict in the Wars of the Roses. So ended the Plantagenet Dynasty, and so began the Tudor Dynasty with the coronation of Henry VII – which is pretty much where this post began.
These days Ludlow Castle is a prime tourist attraction. It is privately owned by the Earls of Powys, and has recently been subject to much restoration work. If you can’t visit in person, then follow this link to do a virtual tour. But if you do get a chance to go there, the town itself is also a treasure. You will not be disappointed.
copyright 2016 Tish Farrell
* “ When I came last to Ludlow…” from A E Housman’s A Shropshire Lad LVIII
** The name Ludlow is said to derive from the Old English meaning ‘the hill beside loud waters’
There screams of delight when Tall Will The World’s Tallest Bubbleologist began his magic. In fact it was rather like a bubble-version of the Pied Piper. As long as Tall Will was making bubbles the children were in hot pursuit. Everyone wanted to catch their own bubble. Of course I ran after him too. Never was more high-octane joy created than from Will’s bucket of agitated soap solution.
These photos were taken at Bishop’s Castle’s Michaelmas Fair last September. There were all kinds of magic there: it’s that kind of place, with or without the fair. You can see more at Summer Came Back On Saturday And Took Us To The Fair.
Paula’s theme this Thursday is ‘inflated’. Please pay her a visit. You won’t be disappointed. Promise!
It could have been summer today – warm enough to sit outside without a coat. Well for heavens’ sake, just look at that sky. And what better place for a meander on a dreamy autumn day than Ludlow. It is one of Shropshire’s loveliest towns, and has more antiquity than you can shake a stick at.
The castle, whose ruins dominate the skyline, was begun over a thousand years ago during the Norman Conquest of Britain. It was built to secure the border with Wales, and was one of the first stone castles in the country. Over ensuing centuries it figured in all manner of political machinations including the York v Lancaster Wars of the Roses. When the Lancastrian side won, the victor, Henry Tudor, shortly to become Henry VII claimed Ludlow Castle. He later gave it to his eldest son, Prince Arthur. In 1501 Arthur and his bride, a fifteen-year-old Katherine of Aragon, came here for their honeymoon. A year later Arthur was dead. Katherine was then betrothed to Prince Henry, Arthur’s brother, but it wasn’t until 1509 that they were married. By then Henry was king. Their marriage endured for 24 years before things went horribly wrong. And we all know what happened next – Anne Boleyn and some serial beheadings.
So enough history. Here are some more views – my treat to you:
Following on my last post about the Bishop’s Castle Michaelmas Fair I thought more bubbles were called for. Because, well, everyone loves good bubbles, don’t they? They are not something you ‘grow out of’. Also the joy on the faces of the children was a pleasure to behold. With bubbles cascading every which way, the kids were in danger of bursting themselves, so brimming with excitement were they. Clearly hi-tech toys and expensive computer games can’t hold a candle to this kind of high-pitch, high-squeal-n-dash fun. Besides, what can be more magical than rainbow spheres filled with sunlight, and all emerging from something as mundane as a piece of soggy netting and a bucket. (My take on the Daily Post’s photo challenge GRID)
Tall Will The World’s Tallest Bubbleologist is the man casting his net filled with soapy water. (He’s six feet ten inches tall by the way). I think he’s a magician. He’s also a mean stilt-walker.