Beguinage: Begijnhof, Antwerp

We had visited the Begijnhof in Bruges which was still operating as a beguinage. Antwerp’s is no longer has any beguines but remains a lovely and peaceful place. Click any image to see them larger (you may have to click the post title first if you’re seeing this in email)

Square du Petit Sablon, Brussels

From the Pl Poelaert we walked on to our appointment at the Horta Museum, where phones, cameras, and bags are strictly forbidden and toured the fascinating dual building. Afterwards, we walked past the Palais d’Egmont (Egmont Palace) and into the Square du Petit Sablon. Click the images above to see them full sized and with descriptive captions (you may need to click the post title first to access on the web site if you are seeing this in email).

Farnham Castle

While we have been round the castle keep several times, the palace itself is only open for touring on Wednesdays. We finally took the £5 tour which was quite interesting, covering the long history of the castle and its occupants and architecture. Naturally, I took a bunch of pictures along the way. Click the images to see them full sized (if viewing in email, you may need to click the post title first to open the web site).


After the llama walk we rode into Tavistock, ate a pasty on the church lawn and walked through the pannier market. If viewing in email, click the post title to click into the images and see them larger.

Jane Austen House

The Jane Austen House was mere minutes away. There was a lot to see and a lot of information to read. Here are a few impressions. Click any image to see them all enlarged and captioned.


Next we walked down Church Ln to Stour St. Christopher (Kit) Marlowe was born in Canterbury (for an excellent historical novel, read Anthony Burgess’s A Dead Man in Deptford), passing through Beer Cart Ln by the Marlowe Kit to Greyfriars Gardens. Passing through the gardens we came out into St Peter’s Grove, a street that looks like all those English ’60s movies. Click any of the pictures to enlarge them all.


Our first stop in London was to see a very moving exhibit at Hammersmith Hospital, from an instructor we’ll have on our course next year, Sunil Gupta. I took a few shots out of some incongruous window vistas. Then we walked to the East Acton tube station to get to our next gallery and I shot the window in the upper right corner through a long perspex (lucite) corridor. Click any image to see them all full size (but not if you’re viewing this in an email – you must click through to obBLOGato.

Grasmere to Helm Crag

The next morning we walked out of Grasmere past someone’s lovely garden and hiked up a steeper trail to Helm Crag (about 350 meters). The views were stunning. Another 10-mile day. You should go if you get the chance! Click any image to see each of them enlarged to full size.

Rydal Mount

After a misty walk from Ambleside we arrived at Rydal Mount Gardens. Some of these gardens were designed by William Wordsworth who lived nearby for the latter half of his life. While we waited to tour his house we visited the Grot, a small grotto designed specifically to give a romantic, pre-composed view of the gorgeous nature abounding. We had pre-booked our tour and the guide was a young man with a lot of Wordsworth expertise living in a small apartment in the house who gave us a lively and fact-filled introduction, then let us get on with it. Click any image to see them each enlarged to full size.

St Luke in the Fields Garden

Seeking to whisk my wife away from our ongoing pandemic solitude for an afternoon I consulted Atlas Obscura for something new to see. As a 60-year denizen of the city it’s getting harder to find new things and many venues are, of course closed for the pandemic (and many may, sadly, never re-open). The Atlas recommended the Gardens of St Luke in the Fields, “a quiet and contemplative oasis in the middle of New York’s bustle and riot.” We have, of course passed by on the street many times without realizing there was more to go in and see. From the description there was much to see and many gardens to explore. And while, as I hope these pictures will attest, the Garden is lovely, much of it is not open to see. The area we walked on a raw and chilly Spring afternoon was too small to provide much escape from the bustle and noise of the surrounding streets or the Garden’s many visitors, all there no doubt with the same fond hope as us. I’d still recommend it if you find yourself in the area.

Click any image to see them all enlarged.

Shavian Flowers?

Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

Niagara-on-the-Lake is also the home of the Shaw Festival and in the evening we saw an extremely good production of Howard Barker’s Victory. I was not previously familiar with Barker and read up on him a bit after the play. While, ultimately, I’m not sold on his reported approach to theatre or what I was able to take away from the play, it was certainly an interesting evening of serious drama, well acted, particularly, I thought, by Martha Burns as the widow Bradshaw. In the intermission we sat briefly in a small garden plaza behind the theatre, bordering a meadow, whence this picture.

Chihuly IV (final)

And after the greenhouse you emerge into the gardens where further works of glass art are integrated into the gardens. It’s all quite remarkable. After the gardens, of course, you can’t exit without passing through the gift shop where you can buy an amazing array of Chihuly “merch” as it’s been abbreviated these days, ranging to thousands of dollars for actual glass.

Click any image to see them all enlarged.