Tag Archive | postaday

The Sum of Its Parts

Exploring England #3

Think of beaches and images of never-ending sand, wide blue skies and brilliant sunshine come to mind. But Chesil Beach, on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset is anything but sandy.

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The beach, formed at the end of the last ice age, is 28 km long, up to 12 metres high and completely composed of pebbles. The size of the pebbles varies from one end of the beach to the other. At West Bay in the north the pebbles are tiny while south at Portland they are much larger. It’s said that fishermen landing on the coast at night can pinpoint their location according to the size of the stones on the beach.

Fleet Lagoon runs parallel to the ocean behind Chesil Beach between Portland and Abbotsbury. The lagoon is tidal and at low tide there’s just a puddle of brackish water left. A boardwalk across the tidal flats is decorated with wooden carvings of local wildlife.

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After the bridge crossing, the pebbles begin. It’s an arduous climb to the top of the mound and the slope on the other side, down to the water’s edge, is just as steep.

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The beach may be vast, but each of its parts is tiny.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Tiny

Imaginings

I love London…

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…and when I visit London I like to pretend I live there. In my imagination I don’t have to go to work; I have the freedom to wander day after day, taking in the sights and sounds of the city. If the weather isn’t great, I can stay in because there will always be another day, and my inner city apartment is modern and spacious with a glorious view of the river.

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In reality, we never have enough time in London to do everything we want. We like to stay in Bloomsbury, an area we’ve come to know well. Each time we arrive in Cartwright Gardens, it feels as if we’re home.

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The studio apartment we always book is the size of a matchbox and it’s on the third floor, so we get our daily exercise going down the staircase in the morning and up again that evening. Instead of the Thames, we can see the pretty garden between the buildings if we lean far enough out the window.

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But the location is marvellous. It’s just around the corner off Euston Road, yet the traffic noise can hardly be heard. From Kings Cross tube station in one direction or Russell Square in the other we can go anywhere in the city. We buy our fresh fruit and vegetables from the friendly man at the little stall on Marchmont Street. There are several grocery stores nearby and even more pubs. Our favourite is Mabels Tavern on Mabledon Place, and in the evening we walk around the corner to join the after-work crowd for dinner and a drink.

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I will probably never live in London, but when I visit I like to imagine I’m a local!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Local

On The River

Fondly known as the River City, Brisbane is defined by the broad stretches and tight bends of the Brisbane River. The 76 year old Story Bridge is one of 15 crossings connecting both sides of the city. Many watercraft use the river each day, including the paddle boat Kookaburra Queen: the view from her deck is perfect.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ H2O

PiƱa Colada Coming Right Up!

Garden Photography: July – The Edible Garden

I love the flavour of coconut – in cakes and cookies, macaroons and muffins and cool refreshing drinks.

This palm tree, laden with coconuts, leans out over the beach at Port Douglas in far north Queensland. If only I could grow one in my backyard!

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Visit Jude to see more enticing edible gardens.

Ship Shape

Goin’ Cruising #1

Last week we went sailing – on the beautiful P&O cruise ship Pacific Dawn.

Our seven night cruise began in the river city of Brisbane. We sailed north between the Great Barrier Reef and the Queensland coast to Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas, before heading 450 km east to Willis Island, a tiny speck of land in the Coral Sea. Our return journey took us into open waters outside the reef on our way back to Brisbane.

Our week was one of opposites – relaxation and activity, calm waters and rolling waves, a big ship and little boats.

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Cruise ship, Sailing boats – Airlie Beach

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Sinking, Floating – Airlie Beach

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Opposite Directions – Airlie Beach

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Opposites

A Science Lesson with a Difference

Holiday in Hawaii #18

The Richard T. Mamiya Science Adventure Centre at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu is aptly named. Interactive exhibits take visitors on an adventurous exploration of the Hawaiian Islands, from their violent volcanic origins to the ongoing sculpting of the coastline by the Pacific Ocean.

A lesson in Earth Sciences begins with a walk through the Origins of Hawaii tunnels. Melodious Hawaiian chants complement fluorescent art works created by local school children, and Hawaiian legends tell creation stories of the flora and fauna of Hawaii.

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How movement beneath the Earth’s crust creates change on the surface is demonstrated at the earthquake pool, where manipulating rocks causes mini tsunamis to ripple across the water.

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Molten lava rises up through a lava tube to bubble and pop in the steaming crater of a model volcano.

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All these processes have created the sand that lines the beautiful beaches of Hawaii. Who would have thought there could be so many different types?

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Earth

Telling Stories, One Stitch at a Time

Holiday in Hawaii #17

As a quilt maker, I’m always on the lookout for quilt shops and quilt shows when we travel. In Hawaii, I was lucky to see many beautiful quilts, both old and new.

Missionaries in the early 1800s taught the skills of quilting and patchwork to native Hawaiian women and, along with the geometric designs of traditional patchwork, they incorporated Hawaiian designs and symbols in their work to create a new style – the Hawaiian quilt.

Three antique quilts are displayed at the Baldwin House in Lahaina, Maui. Two of the quilts feature geometric designs and simple hand quilting, while the third quilt is Hawaiian and depicts sea animals surrounded by intricate echo quilting.

Also on Maui, at the Hula Grill in Lahaina, is this striking quilt. The floral design celebrates Hawaii’s beautiful tropical gardens.

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This flag quilt hangs in the Hawaiian Hall at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Dating from the end of the 19th century, it is thought to be a wedding quilt gifted to Marie Ford by Queen Lili’uokalani. The flags placed upside down are believed to show the Queen’s distress at her removal from the throne after the annexation of the Hawaiian Islands by the United States of America in 1895.

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I found more quilted treasures at Iolani Palace, official residence of the last Hawaiian Kings and Queens. While Queen Lili’uokalani was imprisoned in the palace after being dethroned, she created this quilt in the crazy patch style popular at the time. The “Queen’s Quilt” is 97 x 92 inches and is composed of nine large blocks; tiny scraps of fabric are pieced together and embellished with embroidered stitches and inscriptions. This precious quilt, fragile and time worn, is displayed in a large glass cabinet.

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Two modern quilts, featuring beautiful appliqued designs, are displayed more openly on beds in the private suites of the Royal family.

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The tradition of Hawaiian quilting flourishes today, and there are shops devoted to beautiful hand worked pieces made by talented Hawaiian women.

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Their prices are indicative of the hundreds of hours of work that go into each work of art. This stunning king size quilt was for sale for US $3000.

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I spent some time admiring this beautiful quilt but I didn’t buy it. Instead I purchased an instruction book for $15 so I can make my own!

Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Admiration

Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

Holiday in Hawaii #13

The island of Oahu was formed by two massive volcanoes, Wai’anae and Ko’olau. The mountains that remain rise out of the sea, in some places as sheer, stony cliffs while elsewhere the slope is more gentle.

From Yokohama Bay on the dry leeward side of the island,

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to the white sands of Makapu’u Beach on the island’s south east coast, the landscape is spectacular.

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Viewed from Diamond Head Lookout, the city of Honolulu spreads across the coastal plain and up into the valleys and ridges of the mountains.

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Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Landscape