Saturday, 24 February 2018

February 2018 - Scavenger Hunt

1. White

A sculpture at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park “Litter” by Leo Fitzmaurice. Cast in bronze and painted white. Fitzmaurice saw what he took to be a field of white rabbits but on investigation they were the bags discarded after having eaten the picnic. These are just two of maybe a dozen "rabbits".

2. Metal

The controls of a 19th Century railway engine in the National Railway Museum.

3. Camouflage

So where we have a picture of a hoarding round a building site. So not really camouflage, merely masking the site from view. But there is an imitation blue plaque on the hoarding.

So who was Norman Wilkinson? 
Wikipedia comes to the rescue: Norman Wilkinson CBE RI (24 November 1878 – 30 May 1971) was a British artist who usually worked in oils, watercolors and drypoint. He was primarily a marine painter, but he was also an illustrator, poster artist, and wartime camoufleur. Wilkinson invented "Dazzle Painting" to protect merchant shipping during World War I.”  So this is an example of Dazzle Camouflage, which works well at sea but not so well on a British street.
I didn't even know that there was a word "Camofleur" .


4. Begins with a...J

Junk generally refers to rubbish, trash or items of little or no value. Junk may also refer to Junk (ship), a type of Chinese sailing vessel

This boat “Sea Song Sang” is moored on the Ouseburn in Newcastle upon Tyne. It looks as though it is falling to bits. It is one of the props of Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children's Books, although I didn’t realise that until I got home.

5. Bud

I had lots of ideas for this and eventually ran out of time and inspiration. This was a friut tree in an old walled garden. It was the one without a name tag. The Named ones were wonderful old varieties of apples. I guess this wasn’t an apple because the buds had not started burst on those.

6. My own choice

In early February I did the classic walk from Malham. When we got to Malham Tarn the closer half of the lake was frozen over and, after a morning of clear blue skies, the clouds were beginning to fill the sky and block the sun. It was a great day out walking

Thank you to Kate at for organising and providing the inspiration.

Links to the other entries can be found at

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Wednesday 7th February Malham

Wednesday was looking as though it would be the brightest day of the week. So I had arranged to make an early start and go to Malham with two friends.

We left Malham and walked over to Janet’s Foss, it was sunny and the ground was still frozen. There was a scattering of snow on the ground.

At the waterfall the splashing water had coated twigs at the side of the falls.

We then walked up the snow covered path to Gordale Scar. We had no intention of climbing up the scar as we thought it would be too icy and there were indeed icicles hanging off the rock faces. Some of them were several feet long.

We retraced our tracks and followed the path up the side of the scar. On the top there was more snow lying than we had seen at lower levels.

 View down to Gordale Bridge,

and to Hawthorns Lane.

 On top there was more snow and some of it had drifted


They say Belted Galloways are hardy and certainly they were getting down to the grass underneath the snow.

As we approached Malham Tarn the cloud was beginning to build up and the crystal clear skies of the morning were gradually being reduced.

At the Tarn itself the ice was covering about half of the lake. There were a few Goldeneye diving in the clear water at the other side, but too distant for a photo.

We then descended by the side of Malham Cove and back to the village for a cup of tea and a tea-cake

Sunday, 28 January 2018

Last summer I wrote a blog post about what I called Brown Plaques. Since then a friend has solved my question as to where these were coming from.

The signature "MB" is Mother (or Mutter) Basilea who was the co-founder of a religious order in Germany, The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary in Darmstadt, Germany. The brown plaques are called Praise Plaques.

Mother Basilea was born Klara Schlink in 1904, in Darmstadt, Germany. On March 30, 1947, she and Erika Madauss founded The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary. In 1948 both the founders and the first seven sisters became nuns. Today, The Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary has 11 subdivisions all over the world, with in total 209 sisters, and about 130 of these are situated in Darmstadt. Mother Basilea was leader of the Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary from 1947 to 2001.

"It all grew from tiny beginnings – an attic room in the Motherhouse where the first little offset printing press stood. In 1952 the Lord gave us a vision for a “worldwide outreach ministry”. In the course of her lifetime Mother Basilea wrote over 100 titles, and translations have been made into over 60 languages. Encouraging sayings in bookmark format bear the signature “MB” and have been printed in nearly 100 languages, reaching people from a wide range of backgrounds and churches."

"The same desire to praise and thank God is behind these plaques. They point to our Lord and Creator who speaks to us in the beauty of nature. Worldwide around 2000 of these plaques remind us to give God the glory." 

So out of 2,000 plaques I have seen very few.

My original post follows:

Brown Plaques

Today I was reading Lisa's York Stories Blog -
At the end is a picture of a brown plaque high up on the wall of The Former Poor Clare's Convent in York. This is no more than 2 miles from where I live and I have never noticed it. There is a quotation from Acts 4:12 followed by what appears to be the first eight lines of a hymn starting "O JESUS, Name of beauty" and finally the initials MB.

I have been noticing similar plaques for some time now. On Whitby pier:

Now when I have been looking on the internet for more information about this I found that there were very similar plaques all over the world. An identical plaque has been placed on Beachy Head. There are very similar plaques at Kynsa Heads and Drakensberg in South Africa, Waterfalls in South America and Land's End in New Zealand. Also at South Karori and at Land's End New Zealand similar, but without the MB initials.
I have also found a Psalm 93:4 plaque at Walton on the Naze but this has no additional line.
Then in the Pinewoods at Harrogate rather different, presumably because there is no sea or running water nearby.

Another quotation from Psalms and again the initials MB. I then found an identical plaque attached to a rock at Shipley Glen near Saltaire.

But apart from the English speaking world, I have found similar plaques in Switzerland and Austria. This one is on the Mannlichen above and between Wengen & Grindlewald in Switzerland.

My Swiss or German is sadly non-existent but using a Computer translation I arrive at something like "Green pastures, high tops, snow-covered paths peaks rise to sublime beauty, praise God who's great works can not be “ruhn” by people, to God give praise and awe."

And this one, with a quotation from Psalms was on the Stockhorn Gipfel in Simmental near Berne Switzerland. 

Psalm 111 verse 2 is "The works of the LORD are great, sought out by all them that have pleasure therein."

I have been unable to find who or what organisation is responsible for placing these plaques,but I just keep finding more and more of them on my travels. They are all placed in very scenic places and most of them contain quotations from the Book of Psalms. They are usually relatively small maybe 8 inches by 4 inches (200mm x 100mm). A lot of them have the initials MB and the typography tends to be similar.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

January 2018 - Photo Scavenger Hunt

I used to take part in a different Photo Scavenger Hunt which, unfortunately, came to and end. Realising how much I missed the chase I have been lookng for another Hunt to join. I have not taken as many photos in January as I ought to have. I like lots of sun to crisp up the pictures and sadly, in Yorkshire, we have had few sunny days although those we had have been very bright. For my Scavenger Hunt pictures I have relied on the photographs I took in the last two weeks of 2017 when I was staying in Benidorm.

1. Yellow

This was a pigeon I found pecking for food on the sea front. I can only assume that it was escaped from a pigeon loft and the owner was breeding for colour or was actually dyeing the birds. I have never seen a pigeon with these colours before.

2. Starts with…..O

I had nothing that started with O so I had to make do with a picture of an Orange Tree. At this time of year the Spanish Oranges are reaching full ripeness.

3. Light

Well here we have the oblique light from the sunset on the promenade at Altea. The lamp standards were not lit, but the sunlight was shining through from the other side and lighting them all. The church on the hilltop is in the Old Town of Altea.

4. Found

When I go away I am trying to find birds and flowers and other wildlife. Usually the photos are poor because I am more interested in trying to identify what I found when I get home. But here is a picture of White Asphodel (Asphodelus albus) growing just above the shore, at least I hope that is what it is.

5. Colourful

Spanish architects revel in the use of colour. Here is a sports hall where very panel has been painted a different colour to its neighbours.

6. My choice

Sunset on the beach at Benidorm. A lovely reminder of a break away from the winter weather of home.

Thank you to Kate at for organising and providing the inspiration.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Some Mountain Railways of the Bernese Oberland

I have just returned from a fortnight in Switzerland, my annual summer holidays. I now find myself faced with a mountain of photos and difficulty in choosing a subject for Five on Friday.

The Jungfraubahn

This is the railway that serves the highest station in Europe. Here one of their new trains sets off from Kleine Scheidegg. It will climb using the cog railway system through a tunnel through the Eiger, the north face of which is pictured behind the train, to a station at Jungfraujoch at 3,454 metres above sea level. In 2015 this fleet of trains took over 1 million of visitors to the station which is at "At The Top of Europe".

The Wengernalpbahn

This is another wholly cog railway which has 2 lines which both run into Kleine Scheidegg to serve the trains taking tourists to the Jungfraubahn. One line runs from Grindlewald. This is photo is taken on the other line at Wengeneralp station. This is on the line from Lauterbrunnen which ascends through Wengen. Here the single tack has a "loop" where the up trains wait for the down trains to pass on a short section of double track. The view from the seats on the open station platform is quite stunning.

The Berner Oberland-Bahn

This is the third of the 3 linked mountain railways. It takes passengers from its lower terminus at Interlaken Ost to the two lower termini of the Wengernalpbahn at Lauterbrunnen and Grindlewald. Here at Zweilutschinen Junction the trains to and from Interlaken are coupled and uncoupled to serve the two valleys of the Lutschinen River. Here the new train (on the right) to Lauterbrunnen has just been separated from the older train running to Grindlewald. It is able to run at a faster speed because it is not entirely cog driven. The train slows noticeably to engage the cog for a few short sections.

The Schynige Platte Bahn

This railway is particularly steep and runs out of Wilderswil (between Interlaken and Zweilutschinen) to Schynige Platte which is 1,967 metres above sea level. Here it serves the famous Alpine Garden and a Mountain Restaurant. The rolling stock is all much older, or has been made to keep the vintage appearance. Like most of these mountain railways it was built solely to serve the tourist market.

Bergbahn Lauterbrunnen Murren

This railway is now 125 years old and here a train waits in the goods terminus at Murren to be loaded. The goods capacity is all in the very small truck visible at the back of the train. This is because the line runs to the cable car at Grutschalp about 3 miles away and all the goods have to be transferred into a carrier under the cable car to be transported to Lauterbrunnen. Until a direct cable-way was built into Murren village in the late 1960's this was the only method of transporting goods to the mountain village of Murren. The railway is almost level and has no need of cog drive. The single rail cars shuttle all day long passing each other at the intermediate station of Winteregg.

These railways together with four related cable-ways are owned by a single company which drives much of the economy of the the region. They provide employment for over 500 individuals, they provide most of the transport into the tourist villages of Murren and Wengen (which are not accessible by car) and to Grindlewald (which is also accessible by car). They drive the local skiing economy by operating ski-lifts. They generated some 36 million Swiss Francs of earnings (before interest and tax) for the Swiss economy. Without them this part of Switzerland would be very different today.

My thanks to Tricky and Carly at FAST for hosting Five On Friday.

Hope you having a great weekend.


Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Walk along the Wharfe

Friday turned out to be the best day for me to go walking this week. So I decided to walk along the River Wharfe from Tadcaster to Wetherby. By the paths it was just over 9 miles.

This is the bridge at Tadcaster which collapsed into the river on 28 December 2015 splitting the town in two. You can see the new stonework on the middle two arches. The bridge took 13 months to rebuild reopening in February this year. The bridge was first built around 1700 so was just over 300 years old when it collapsed. In the rebuilding the bridge has been widened by cantilevering the footpath out over the river.

The river meanders through meadows between Tadcaster and Newton Kyme. Here some Yellow Flag (Iris pseudacorus ) growing in the slow running waters at the river's edge.

Newton Kyme Church stands in a field next door to the Hall. It is only accessible on foot from the field, it must be fairly unpleasant walking through the grass on a wet Sunday. St. Andrew's Church is built in local stone and is believed to date from the 12th Century. Some features are dated to 1220. Sadly the church has been kept locked since the brass eagle lectern and an oak sanctuary chair were stolen some years ago.

The path runs along the riverside in Boston Spa passing the old baths. Here a "No Fishing" sign has been carefully let into the tree trunks. However over the years the wood has grown back over the sign completely obliterating the first 4 letters of BOSTON and the word CLUB.

At Boston Spa my route crossed another bridge back to the North bank of the Wharfe into Thorp Arch, the River being the boundary between the two villages. Thorp Arch Bridge was built in 1770 and replaced a ford. It is narrow and traffic can only pass in single file.

The route ends less pleasantly when it crosses the A1M Motorway on the outskirts of Wetherby and then follows busy streets through the middle of the town to the third bridge over the river, completing my walk for the day.

My thanks to Tricky and Carly at FAST for hosting Five On Friday.

Hope you have a great weekend.