Here are my photos for this week’s challenge. See Sue’s website for lots more.
It is now one hundred years since the publication of D H Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers and those wishing to learn more about this remarkable novel – or to relive the pleasure of reading it or studying it, would do well to read Blake Morrison’s article in the Guardian and listen to the Guardian podcast part of which discusses the novel. Morrison’s article is particularly insightful, quoting a range of reviewers and writers who identify Lawrence as one of the greatest English writers (and writers in English). The novel was censored by the publishers in parts, mainly because of its sexual content. The cuts made seem trivial to today’s readers e.g. a scene where Paul Morel, the novel’s protagonist, goes up to Clara’s room and puts on a pair of her stockings was cut totally. This was an Edwardian society where sexual acts and fantasies were not to appear in print – for a variety of social and religious reasons. I studied Sons and Lovers (free ebook available) as an undergraduate and found it engrossing.
A recent visit to the National Gallery in Edinburgh to see an exhibition by the 19th century north American painter Frederic Church. The first example on display is a huge painting entitled Niagara from the American Side which shows the artist’s skill in displaying not only the action of the falls but the range of colours to be seen. The other paintings how Church’s ability to paint rural scenes. One of the highlights for me was Church’s paintings of clouds and the exhibition’s notes comment that cloud painting is often found very difficult by most artists. A very enjoyable visit and well worth repeating, as the exhibition is on until December. If you’re not near Edinburgh, then check out Church as an artist.
Last week, a nostalgic trip for my wife and me to Kemnay in Aberdeenshire, where we lived for 9 years from 1978 to 1987. We stayed with friends with whom we have kept in touch over the years and whose sons were great friends with our sons. One of the iconic places to which we took our boys, as they were then, was the Easter Aquorthies Stone Circle. Photo 1 shows the information display at the site and notes that the stone circle was built between 4000 and 5000 years ago. The stones are large and I always find it interesting to lay hands on the stone, in the knowledge that people 5000 years ago also lay hands on these stones. Photo 2 shows the circle in full and Photo 3 is a close up shot of one of the stones, which appears to contain marble. You can let your imagination fly at this stone circle and try to picture the construction of the site, the possible reasons for building the circle and the relative poverty of those involved. By modern standards, these people would appear primitive, but their vision in erecting these stones in this way, can be seen to surpass many modern constructions.
Here are my entries for this week’s challenge. Check out Sue’s website for much, much more. I was surprised how many photos I had that has orange in them.
Nicosia is a divided city, with the more prosperous Greek Cypriot side in the newer part of the city and the Turkish Cypriot side in the old part of the city. From 2003, people have been allowed to cross into the Turkish part of the city. However, actually doing the crossing is a bizarre experience for most people, as it represents a step back in time. Firstly, you have to fill in a small piece of paper, giving your name and passport number. When you get to the head of the queue, you hand over your passport and form, and the man/woman then manually inputs your details on a computer, stamps your piece of paper and returns it to you. When you return, you have to show both passport and paper. The Nicosia divide is a very complicated issue and no doubt my criticisms of the process would be contested by some in the Turkish part of the city. It is a strange experience nonetheless. The old part of the city (see photo 1) is historically very interesting and the highlight is the Selimiye Mosque - a magnificent piece of architecture to be admired whether you have religious beliefs or not. The mosque was a former cathedral - interestingly, there is no mention that I can see of this fact in the first link to the Mosque. This reminds me of my teaching and writing about website evaluation. We also went to see the impressive Buyk Han or Great Inn. When you enter the courtyard and look up, you could be forgiven for thinking that you were in a former monastery, but it is a 16th century building built as an inn for travellers. Today, it is a busy restaurant/cafe.
I’ve seen geckos in many parts of the world and I love watching them. Photo 2 shows a larger gecko on a limestone wall in Cyprus. Geckos have ability to cling on to rock surfaces and you often see them soaking up the sun on the rocks. They are fairly tame creatures and will willing sit and pose for your camera shots, ony daring into crevices if you get too near. You can also spot geckos in rocks as they often leave their tails sticking out of the crevice. They dart about very quickly and have great acceleration for their size.
In my garden recently, a dozen double headed tulips appeared. I had forgotten that I had planted them in the autumn, so this was a pleasant surprise. What is fascinating about these flowers is that they change colour, being brighter and predominantly white, with pink lines, during the day when the sun is out. However, when the sun goes down or it’s dull, they become more predominantly pink. Photos 3 and 4 show a close up and a group of these charming flowers. It is thought that tulips – so often associated with Holland – originated in Turkey, thus giving a nice symmetry to this posting.
If you’ll forgive the pun, Sue’s weekly challenge caught me napping last week, as I hesitated over putting the photo belong in the “Worker” category. I’ve taken it out now and put it in for this week’s challenge, as it’s more appropriate.
No blog last week as a) my wife and I were on holiday in Cyprus and b) I left my laptop in security at Newcastle Airport. I was on the plane and about to go through photos when I discovered that my laptop was missing. You can see my wife’s comment here. In Cyprus, we spent 4 days in Paphos and 3 days in Nicosia. We stayed in a hotel overlooking Coral Bay (Photo 1) which is12k from the town of Paphos. In Paphos itself, the undoubted highlight was a visit to the World Heritage Site containing extensive mosaics. The range and size of the mosaics are amazing and the photos on the website show the detail of mosaics which covered whole floors of large rooms. When you think that each piece of mosaic was hand chipped from stone and then laid by hand, you realise the extensive work which went into making these mosaics. The houses on the site were owned by wealthy Roman or Cypriot people and they show an amazing level of sophistication. We also went to the Tomb of the Kings, (Photo 2) where you can see an extensive range of burial chambers which date back to 300 BC. It’s worthwhile doing your homework before this visit, or buying the book, as there is no signage at any of the catacombs.
The main purpose of our visit was to attend a Greek Cypriot wedding party in Nicosia. Our friends’ daughter Fiona married Costa and the were married in Scotland on the previous Sunday. The Scottish wedding’s meal was followed by speeches from the bride’s father, the groom and the best man, another Costa. the best man stole the show as at the end of his speech, he asked the bride and groom to look into each other’s eyes. He then said that he had been studying statistics of marriage. to the newly wedded couple he said “You are now looking at the person (pause) most likely to murder you!”. In the evening , there was traditional Scottish dancing including Strip the Willow. The Cypriot wedding party had an excellent meal but no speeches, but it did involve us in traditional Greek dances such as the Syrtos. This was danced properly by a group of guests but then everyone else was invited to join in. (Photos 3 and 4). It was a great evening and an introduction to a different culture. More on Nicosia in the next posting.
Here are my suggestions for the Weekly Challenge – see Sue’s website for more. The first one is not a great photo technically, with the sunspot in the middle but the contrast between the piper’s kilted uniform and what he’s playing was striking. The 2nd photo was taken in Florence, where this man used to serenade the world from the window of his flat. He graciously agreed to have his photo taken.