Monster Mash

I have a soft spot for Bologna, probably my favourite Italian city.  It is compact, stylish and there is plenty for the non-Italian speaking visitor to appreciate, not least the 3.5 km walk from the centre to Santuario di Madonna di San Luca.  This porticoed walkway comprises 666 arches and can be seen stretching to the hill top in this first image – an ideal outing come rain or shine.  According to Wiki – ‘built in 1674-1793, it was meant to protect the icon as it was paraded up the hill. A yearly procession from the Cathedral of San Pietro in the centre of Bologna to the Sanctuary goes along this path. Originally the arches held icons or chapels erected by the patron family’.

A view from the tower

Looking down from the towerThe University

A previous visit coincided with the arrival of the Mille Miglia (the much sanitised road rally event, not the real thing) and the following day we made a pilgrimage to Modena, home of Ferrari.  Our next trip will include a much more convenient outing - to Via Antonio Cavalieri Ducati, birthplace of my Monster, the 696, which makes a brief appearance in this Monster 821 promotional video shot in and around the city.  The arched door in the image above can be seen with the 821 at the end of the ‘history lesson’. Divine synchronicity – one day I must be destined to have one ;)

Will you ever grow up Robin? – Hopefully not :-)

 

Travel theme: Purple

These bizarre ladies have appeared on this blog before – here and here.  Mention purple and I immediately think of either Prince or this mad pair.  I have no idea what they were doing, but this strange street theatre on Las Ramblas, Barcelona seemed to involve some highly emotional fly swatting:

PurplePurple

(click on the images to enlarge)

Last of the Summer Wine

Weekly Photo Challenge: Relics – this happy bunch puts me in mind of Compo, Clegg, Foggy and Truly except this is Arzechena in Sardinia, not Holmfirth.  From their mischievous expressions you can believe there is a devious plot in the making.

Last of the summer wine

If truth be told, I never found Last of the Summer Wine particularly funny, I much preferred Dad’s Army. But, neither came close to Open All Hours or anything starring the late, great, Ronnie Barker; they are all, however, relics from a gentler time. (click on the image to enlarge)

Who says …

… nothing much happens around here.  This bucolic scene suggests all is peace and tranquility at Beaufront Woodhead this morning:

Idle sheep

However, start messing around with time lapse and an altogether more frantic world becomes apparent:

I suffer for my ‘art’ :-)  I had noticed that the sheep gather under these trees overnight and then disperse for the rest of the day so I had to be up ‘early’.  Perhaps they would stay longer but for the arrival of the those big bruisers.

Kirkharle and Capability

Kirkharle is about eighteen miles northeast of Hexham and an ideal distance for a Sunday afternoon drive in the country, particularly when my points tally is in deficit - the consequence of playing golf on both Saturday and Sunday – “oh and by the way I am playing on Monday night as well”.

Kirkharle was the birth place of Capability Brown and to honour this connection there is a lakeside walk along a track that he would have used as a boy to walk to school in nearby Cambo.  It is short and on the flat, perfect for the over-exercised golfer.  On Sunday storm clouds were gathering to the west, another good reason for keeping the amble short. Pointing my camera at the country house I managed to capture a dramatic flare – this is either lucky or incompetent depending on your opinion of the outcome:

Kirkharle

The house looks quite grand but is nothing in comparison to the original Hall.  When the Loraine family fell on hard times in the 19th century it was sold to a local farmer who demolished all but one wing which was rebuilt as a farmhouse – a quite imposing construction nevertheless.

Around the lake the light was a little less dramatic:

Kirkharle

(click on the images to enlarge)

The Professor and the Girls

Inscribed on the back of this photograph is a moderately barbed comment – it is in my mother’s hand: The Professor and the Girls, a reference, no doubt, to the ostentatious pipe.  My mother takes centre stage flanked left and right by Aunt Bet and Uncle Ed.  My dad is behind the lens. They were not actually related, just good friends brought together by the bombs that fell on war-torn Manchester; nor was Uncle Ed a professor.  Girls doesn’t quite ring true either.

This is Morfa Nefyn, north Wales in 1956 (finally, the correct year) which puts them in their mid-30s.  In not so many years I will be twice their age but they remain the older and wiser grown-ups.

The Prof

The photographs were printed as contacts from Kodak 117 negatives.  Scanned at 1600dpi, they reveal detail not apparent in the originals.  I am clutching a tennis ball, presumably keen to resume the interrupted game of cricket.  My sister has a half eaten banana in her hand, presumably keen to to resume feeding her face :-).

On the beach

The many-roomed house is where we stayed – a self-catering holiday home with me posing outside.  I have a wooden bat in my hand, part of a Slam! tennis trainer set, a wholly ineffective device which, if inflicted on a young Roger Federer, would have killed his brilliant career from the outset.  I remember nothing of the inside of the house except for vague memories of the attic, a place deemed out-of-bounds and ‘haunted’ just to add spice to the ruling.  I spent quite some time up there.  Looking closely at this photograph I can see no ghostly faces in the attic windows but there are two at a lower level.  I had never spotted these ‘apparitions’ before o_O.

Haunted house
(click on the images to enlarge)

Evening walk

Just an evening amble up the lane from Beaufront Woodhead towards Hadrian’s Wall, that demilitarized zone between Hexham and the empty uplands of Northumberland.  The skies were clear, the light sharp and the fields gold. Far up, a hawk fluttered on the hot rising air:

I bend my stone arm up till the hawk
hovering over the hayfield
perches fluttering
on my wrist.

Norman MacCaig

Field of light

(click on the image to enlarge)