Saturday, 31 October 2015

Still blooming through Halloween ...

We've come to stay with my parents in South Tyrone. My mum's a Halloween baby, and we're helping her celebrate with a birthday weekend to wrap up Emi's half term holidays. One of the many amazing things to impress us over here in Ireland is how her garden is blooming late into the autumn.

I am deeply envious. I garden on not-very-wonderful London clay, where I have to work really, really hard to get the good things to flourish. The weeds seem to do just fine for some unfathomable reason, but I struggle to produce all the wonderful colours that seem to appear almost effortlessly over here.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

The Gothic Temple at Stowe ...

As it's almost Halloween, and, as I'm getting into a really spooktastic vibe, I thought I'd share some photos of one of my favourite Gothic buildings, the Gothic Temple at Stowe. Isn't it a gem?

Gothic architecture and Halloween go together like Fred and Ginger or crackers and cheese in my book. And this little beauty from the 18th century looks like it was created as the backdrop to some blood-chilling tale.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The haunting of Corfe Castle ...

Have you ever visited a place, and come away with the view that it really ought to be haunted? Well, for me, Corfe Castle down in Dorset is just such a place. The splendid ruins of a once grand royal castle look like the perfect habitat for a legion of spooks from the other side of mortality. Now I'm not saying that I totally believe all of this stuff, but I do enjoy a good ghost story for entertainment's sake if nothing else.

Just feast your eyes on the romantic ruin, and I think you'll agree that it takes very little imagination to conjure up a host of ghostly goings on that might take place here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Fungus fetish ...

It's been a good autumn for Fungi down here in the not-always-so-sunny South West of England.

Yesterday morning I spent a happy hour out in the garden taking macro shots of all the fungal goodness nestling in the grass. Now I'd be lying if I pretended to know the names of these beauties - or, even more importantly, whether I can eat them without poisoning myself. So it's probably just as well that my interaction with them remained one that was channelled exclusively through the lens of my camera ...

Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween tombstones ...

As Halloween draws nearer I've been enjoying some macabre tomb carvings. The carving below used to adorn a grave in St. Lawrence's Churchyard, Exeter. Today it lives in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter. It dates from the 1600s when such tomb ornaments were very much the vogue. They lived through some pretty tough times back then. There was the English Civil War (1642 - 1651), followed by the religious excesses of Cromwell's Commonwealth and Protectorate, the Black Death raised its deadly face in 1665 and, after the Restoration, there was considerable apprehension as to the direction in which the House of Stuart was leading the country. It was a time of intense religious debate and radical politics. And normal folk, convinced that they were living in the last days, and that the end of the world was nigh, took to the macabre to underline their own fragile mortality ... .