Monday, 24 October 2016

Shipley Hill

Yesterday, I mentioned the wonderful autumn colours to be found around Shipley Park at the moment. Anyone walking around the woodland on Shipley Hill, can be in no doubt of it.
Under the canopy, the colours are a little muted, but still the view is worth the climb. The ground is littered with acorns, conkers, beech mast and chestnuts, which all keeps the squirrels busy.
On the edge of the hill, overlooking the parkland and the view to the south, one tree dominates the scene at all times of the year, but especially in autumn. It's that wonderful Beech again...
Dotted among the trees are a few Yews, particularly around the site of the Old Hall. Their modified cones, bright red and looking like juicy little berries, are always worth closer look.
Back down the hill and passing the lake, a lone Mute Swan caught our eye the other day. The low sunshine filtering through the trees, gave a monochrome appearance to these pictures.
Practically the only colour was the orange of the swan's bill. All very beautiful!

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Autumn Colours

While Malcolm and I were enjoying the delights of Croatia, it seems that autumn took hold back home and we got back to see some spectacular colour around Shipley Park. This gorgeous specimen is a fine old Beech tree on Shipley Hill.
Looking at the hill from below, the trees are like a distant wall of colour.
The old car parks always provide some lovely sights at this time of year...
and close to old pit head workings, there is one maple in particular, which almost shouts its presence in shades of gold and red.
Worth taking a closer look at this one...
No doubt there will be a lot more pictures like these in the days to come.

Friday, 21 October 2016

End of the Holiday

I thought I would add just a few more, random photos from our week in Croatia just to end this series of posts. We had a wonderful time staying in the peaceful little village of Plat, enjoying its views across the sea...
It's rocky shoreline...
and the lapping waves.
We've seen how the 'other half live'...
And how they spend their money...
We had plenty of 'culture', taking in the historic city walls of Dubrovnok...
And we saw the effects of the war, which devastated these parts in the early 1990's and which resulted in almost every roof in the old city having to be replaced after the bombing.
We've seen churches...
...More churches...
and chapels, hidden among the old streets.
And we've posed for pictures like the tourists we were (well, one of us did!)
We've seen the area from high up...
and from the sea...
From Cavtat in the south...
To the new parts of the city with its modern harbour...
All in all, it was a fabulous week.
Now, its back home to enjoy England in the Autumn.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Sparkling Sunshine

The bright sunshine during our time in Croatia made for some wonderful sea views, not least because of the wonderful effect of the sparkles on water. Here, the waters at Cavtat...
And here at Dubrovnik, as seen from on high at the top of the cable car.
Closer to 'home' the shingle and rocky beaches of Plat proved to be good for sparkles too, especially when the breeze caused there to be a few small 'breakers' on the rocks. With a little 'bloom' we get a nice soft focus effect.
Some interesting effects can be made with a little digital manipulation. Here, the view from the city walls of Dubrovnik, across the sea to St. Lawrence's Fortress.
And here, looking across the old city, towards a cruise liner moored in the bay.
There was no need to mess about with the views we had from our walk around Cavtat. The sea was so blue and the sun so bright, that the colours were just perfect as they were.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Back to Dubrovnik

Our second visit to the old, walled city of Dubrovnik was rather more wet than the first. While the Monday was hot and sunny, by Thursday, it had turned uncharacteristically cold and wet. But we were not to be put off as we travelled by bus along the coast road. Umbrellas were in evidence when we got there and the rain made the cobbled streets shiny.
We stopped for an espresso - something the Croatians do very well indeed - before setting off to explore some of the steep side street.
Everywhere there were hundreds of stone steps to negotiate, which was not always as easy as it seemed as the cobbles and flag stones were wet and slippery and the the steps were heavily worn and uneven.
Soon, as we became chilly and wet, we decided to head back for the bus. It was all a bit different from our hot and sunny visit on the Monday. In the sunshine, the grey city walls were a formidable sight.
The imposing tower of Fort Minceta was originally built in 1319 but, following the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453, the walls were reinforced and the tower was redeveloped.A huge round tower was built around the original, quadrilateral one, with walls 6m thick.
The steps up the tower were steep and uneven, so Malcolm decided not to risk the climb (knees not what they were!) So I set off up the tower alone. The views from the top were wonderful. The keen-eyed observer might make out the figure of Malcolm below...
... Aah yes! There he is.
From Malcolm's perspective, the tower was everything you might expect from a fortification.
From this part of the walls, we had some nice views outside the old city and up some of the side streets of the 'new' town.
And a very colourful sight it was too...
Still a little more to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Boats and Blue Sea

We were extremely lucky to have some fantastic weather while we were in Croatia, with only a couple of exceptions. Mostly it was warm and sunny and as such the views we had across the sea were quite lovely. We were also lucky with our apartment, which had a fantastic balcony looking straight out to sea.
Several small islands dotted the view. The nearest was called 'Supetar' Island and is inhabited - albeit rather sparsely.
From our apartment, it was just a short walk down to the beach although the paths were fairly steep and there was no shortage of steps to negotiate. Once there however, we had the place to ourselves and with the sound of lapping waves and clear blue waters, it was quite idyllic.
Looking down through the water, it was amazing how clear it was, not something you get much of around the coastline of Britain.
Rocky coves and pebbly beaches were great for clambering about on.
We were not the only ones to appreciate the area. A couple of Kingfishers were busy trying to spot tiddlers among the shallows and allowed us to get quite close before flying off.
When we flew in to Dubrovnik airport on the Sunday, we could see from the plane, a large and very impressive yacht, moored in the bay just off shore from Plat. Two large helipads with 'H's painted on the decks gave away the size of the thing even from the air. When we reached our apartment, we were soon informed that the super-yacht in question belonged to Roman Abramovich and was the second largest, privately owned yacht in the world. It is called 'Eclipse'.
Launched in 2009, it supposedly cost over half a billion US dollars and is just over 533ft long. It is equipped with two helipads (as seen from the air), two swimming pools, a disco hall and several hot tubs. It also has three small launch boats and a mini submarine as well as its own missile defence system. All of which needs a crew of around 70 to keep it going! Not your usual little 'run-around'. At night, it was lit up like a Christmas tree, making quite a sight from our balcony.
On our trip by boat into Dubrovnik, we passed a cruise liner called the Star Breeze. Even with a passenger capacity of 208 and a crew of 164, it was still almost 100ft shorter than the Eclipse!
With a west facing balcony of course, you get the chance to see some lovely sunsets and we were not disappointed on this score either.
Its amazing how quickly the sun sets and in a few minutes it had nearly gone...
... leaving behind a beautiful sky and the promise of another lovely day tomorrow.