Saturday, 21 January 2017

A DIFFERENT VIEW - Mini-series Part 1 - AMSTERDAM

Whether I'm looking for subject matter for a travel article or a piece of fiction, I like to keep an eye open for fresh viewpoints. 

As well as writing notes, photos are a useful tool (and essential for travel features).

Take Amsterdam. 

We expect to see those iconic images... canals and bicycles perhaps?









Or how about a cheese shop?


















Or an establishment in the famous Red Light District?


















The last thing you might expect to see is a heron.




Or a boat complete with its own private floating sun deck and garden.






Or one with a rooftop garden.














And yet I took all these photos in Amsterdam.




Okay, so this was on the edge of the city...














As was this bee on a flower, but these photos show Amsterdam from a different, fresh view that you may not have seen before.



I hope you've enjoyed this first post in my new mini-series: 'A Different View'.

I'm away in South America right now, hopefully gathering lots of material for my writing. 
In the meantime, do please leave a comment and I promise I'll respond on my return in March.







Wednesday, 4 January 2017

BEING LOST... IN VENICE - Part 2

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND HERE'S HOPING 2017 LIVES UP TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS!


To continue with my Venice trip...

One of the joys of exploring this city was the constant surprises.

Who could have dreamt what was hidden at the end of this fairly dreary looking street?

































And never mind the well worn tourist trail - I'm more interested in looking at normal Venetian life.










In the lead up to Christmas, these Venetians hadn't got around to decorating their Christmas Tree.
































Walking the dog takes on a new meaning as I observed this owner clambering out of his boat while his dog patiently waited.




I loved this wonderfully 'untouristy', slightly beaten up looking cafe.





I did ask this Gondolier's permission, so I think his expression is due to the cold and not from me taking his photo.




I hope you've enjoyed this post and would love to hear your thoughts.

I'm going away on a fairly long trip to South America in a couple of weeks, so I'll leave a few scheduled posts to pop up during my absence. 

It's going to be a low-tech trip because I want to concentrate on being in the moment instead of obsessing over whether I can find a wifi signal! So I won't be responding to any comments or visiting any blogs until I return in March. I hope you understand.





Saturday, 17 December 2016

BEING LOST... IN VENICE - Part 1

Since I was a teenager I have hankered to see this iconic city. For reasons I can't explain, it just never happened. 

I have a couple of Australian friends who I haven't seen for several years and when they told me they had booked a trip to Venice, it seemed like serendipity.








We spent a great deal of time simply exploring and getting lost. It was often cold, it was sometimes foggy, it was always magical.














I'll tell you more about Venice in the New Year.











In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful festive season.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS





Saturday, 26 November 2016

Best of Café Lit 5

I was delighted to discover that three of my stories have been chosen to go in the latest anthology from the Creative Café Project. 

The book is available in paperback and Kindle version.

The Amazon link is HERE 


In the meantime, here are some photos loosely relevant to the three stories for your entertainment…


Hibiscus, Fiji






Great White Shark, South Africa



















Great White Shark, South Africa















Shark Cage Diving, South Africa



Entertainment, Fijian Style




























Fiji 

























Bangkok


















Patpong, Bangkok

Do let me know if these photos have whetted your appetite/curiosity.


I'm off in December to explore a European city that has been on my wishlist since I was a teenager. Can you guess where I'm going? 
All will be revealed in my next post. 
See you in three weeks!





Thursday, 10 November 2016

SWAN SONG - A Poem

Earlier this year we decided to get a puppy. She has been the perfect excuse to go for daily walks down to my local beach.



Every day is different. The light on the water changes all the time. Sometimes the bay looks dramatic and foreboding, sometimes soft and gentle. Whatever the season, it is always beautiful.




The swans are returning to spend the winter here and watching them on my dog walking escapades is a joy. 

Now, I would never describe myself as a poet, but I do occasionally dabble with poetry and enter the odd poem in a monthly online competition. 



How could I not feel inspired by these glorious birds?

Aren't they poetic?












My poem is not strictly a haiku, even though it follows the syllable 'rule'.









SWAN SONG


Day dawns pink, and clear
across the bay swans breakfast
on sedges and weeds



Do let me know if you've enjoyed this post and I'll see you in a couple of weeks.











Friday, 28 October 2016

BARCELONA - Part 2


In my last post about Barcelona, I focused on Gaudi's remarkable architecture. 

In this post I thought I'd focus on some of the sights that brought a smile to my face. 


In front of the cathedral we were delighted to find a brass band playing and circles of people dancing. 










The steps were sedate and I was somewhat surprised at the serious expressions of the dancers.





I learned that they were dancing La Sardana – the Catalan National Dance. This Barcelona Catalan dance is a symbol of Catalan unity and pride. Perhaps that was why the dancers looked so serious.


In one dancing circle, the ladies all wore traditional footwear.









In another group, this elderly man's deep concentration caught my attention.










On another visit to the cathedral we encountered some entertaining buskers. 




I'm a sucker for live street music and these guys were very talented.









I sat and people-watched in the Plaza Catalunya. The City Tour buses were busy with tourists queueing. 





Everywhere you look these days you see people taking Selfies. The manner in which some of them take their Selfies often give me a chuckle. 






So there you have it - a small snapshot of the wonderful Spanish city of Barcelona. Do let me know if you've enjoyed this post and I'll see you in a couple of week's time.
















Friday, 14 October 2016

BARCELONA - Part 1

What does the city of Barcelona conjure in your imagination? For me, Gaudi features high on my list.




The Sagrada Familia - Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece - attracts visitors in their thousands. The building is certainly extraordinary.




I was in Barcelona this week on a city break to enjoy a little sight-seeing. Whilst I knew that the Sagrada Familia is still a work in progress, I was slightly disappointed by the amount of scaffolding and builder's accoutrements which adorn the facade.

But there's no denying the complexity and uniqueness of Gaudi's imagination.













If you don't want to end up in a long queue, or even find the tickets are sold out, it's necessary to plan your visits to the big attractions in Barcelona in advance. This became a major obstacle for me. I didn't want to plan my visit that carefully. Spontaneity is very Spanish and something I prefer to embrace. Thus, I only saw the Sagrada Familia from the outside! 






I hope you'll join me in a couple of weeks for more Barcelona images.