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Tree Squares 1: Serengeti

How many animals can you spot in this rather poor photo?

I’m desperately missing travel, so I’m kicking off Square Trees with an old archive shot from a trip to Africa in 1993 — bringing back memories of the good old days. This is from an ‘overland trip’ that took in Kenya and Tanzania. I think these are Umbrella Thorn Acacia trees. They’re pretty cool, whatever they are!

July Squares are all about Trees

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Washing Lines 7: Valletta, Malta

I was trawling through photos from various European cities, hoping to spot a washing line — when I saw the cluster at bottom left, above, I was thrilled. Closer examination revealed more than just one! I suspect the street is littered with dropped clothes pegs and lost socks.

There are at least four of those ‘bar’-type driers on the left side of the street.

Whereas on the right side, it seems to be “hang the sheets out the window” day.

This may be my last Monday Washing Lines post, unless I find more photos lurking in unexplored folders.

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Washing Lines 6: Venice

I’ve been to Venice only once, at Christmas 1998 (which explains the poor quality of this photo: a scan of a bad print — there are limits to what Photoshop can do!). This was when I was living in London, and I always went somewhere over the enforced break. It was chilly, and frosty, but marvellously free of tourists. I wandered many back streets and side canals, awestruck by this beautiful, endangered, city.

Monday Washing Lines

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Washing Lines 5: after snorkelling

This is my balcony on the stern of Radiance of the Seas (my sole foray into cruising on a white fun palace; lesson learned!). In this photo, we are heading away from the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia, where I’d had a marvellous, hour-long snorkelling session around La Rocher (Sacred Rock).

Monday Washing Lines

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Washing Lines 2: Nepal

I never found out what the very colourful (mostly vibrant pink!) cloth spread out to dry on the ground was. If you peer into the murk, you may just be able to make out another set of hills; and beyond that, up in the sky, you may, if your imagination runs that way, spot some snow-capped peaks. Due to dust, haze and pollution, March/April 2005 did not offer great views for our trek in the Himalayan foothills.

Monday Washing Lines

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Stratford Walk 1: the lake

Perth County Court House in Stratford

The walk begins at the Perth County Court House in Stratford

Are you confused? Do these photos look nothing like the Stratford you know, that lovely medieval English market town that gave the world William Shakespeare? That’s because this Stratford — and this Avon River — are in Canada, 130 km (80 miles) west of Toronto. And it also has a strong Shakespeare connection, which we’ll get to.

From the court house, the path around the lake is about 5km. I like to do this walk when I visit Stratford. My maternal grandparents moved to the town in the 1970s, and my parents in the 1990s, so I’ve made quite a few visits since I was a teenager.

This is a pretty, leafy, landscaped walk with not a hill in sight.

If you don’t fancy walking, there are watery alternatives.

Art in the Park has been a feature for years.

Amusing garbage cans, though I’m confused by the bee theme.

This lovely bridge has been the spot for many, many photos over the years.

Approaching the bridge

Looking back at the bridge

Here is the Shakespeare connection I mentioned. In the early 1950s, Stratford local Tom Patterson drove the establishment of a theatre festival dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare. On July 13, 1953, English actor Alec Guinness spoke the first lines of the first play produced by the festival, a production of Richard III: “Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York.” For the first four seasons, performances took place in a concrete amphitheatre covered by a giant canvas tent on the banks of the River Avon. The permanent theatre that followed (photo below) deliberately echoed the look of a tent. (source)

The Festival Theatre

The festival now runs from April to October and in addition to Shakespeare it presents a variety of theatre including musicals and contemporary drama, in four theatres. (My mother and I saw “The Music Man” in August last year, when I took these photos.) Famous actors who appeared at Stratford include Maggie Smith (1976 to 1980) and William Shatner (seasons 2, 3 and 4). (This short interview with Shatner has some interesting photos of the festival’s early days).

This statue of Shakespeare is in the garden behind the theatre.

Back to the path now. Near the theatre is where you’ll find the largest numbers of swans and geese. They definitely have right of way.

At the east end of the lake you can look back to see the spire of the court house over the trees.

Time to cross over and head back on the other side. There are some inviting spots here for just sitting and watching the world or having a picnic.

This is the path opposite the theatre.

William Hutt was described as “Canada’s great classical actor” when he died in 2007. I remember seeing him as Falstaff in the Merry Wives of Windsor, 40 years ago. (I can’t believe I’m old enough to say that, but according to a review in the NY Times it was indeed 1978.) That’s more of the court house peeping over the trees, and you can see a number of bright orange pedalos on the lake by the shore (something else I remember from 40 years ago!).

At this point, you must walk across the bridge because the path that continues around the west end of the lake has been closed.

Here you can see why it’s “unavailable”: rich people not wanting riff raff walking in front of their houses. I certainly remember walking there in the past. Time for some “reclaim the ancient rights of way!” agitation by the people, I think!

I know Jo likes cake at the end of her walks, but as much as I like cake I do gravitate towards ice cream after a walk. 😉

Stratford Walk 2: history and houses” is now live.

For more walks from all around the world, head to Jo’s Monday Walks.


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Blue Foot Boogie

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

Check out my blue feet, babe!

According to National Geographic, “Blue-footed boobies are aptly named, and males take great pride in their fabulous feet. During mating rituals, male birds show off their feet to prospective mates with a high-stepping strut. The bluer the feet, the more attractive the mate.” I photographed these birds in the Galápagos Islands in 1999. The images are poor quality but you can see those blue feet.

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

Struttin’ my stuff.

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

So I’ve got blue feet. What’s it to ya?

Blue-footed boobies Galápagos Islands

Posted as part of One Word Sunday: Blue