WordPress challenge – Object

A photo challenge this week from WordPress, “Object”.

This fantastic fella was perched on the wall over our table in a “goffick” pub in central London, the Marlborough Head, just off Oxford Street. The bathroom doors were disguised into a wall sized bookshelf. You looked at the floor for a marker tha tpointed you to where you could approach and push open the doors to where the loos were. Superb!! I don’t know if it’s still there. I hope so!

In the Marlborough Head pub. London.

Travel Theme: Wood

And for the third challenge this week, we have “Wood” from Where’s My Backpack.

Leeds Castle

Food pedalled lathe. Habitation Port Royal, Nova Scotia

Piece of petrified wood from a Roman Pier, dated circa 75 AD, London.

WP weekly challenge – Juxtaposition

WordPress has thrown a real gauntlet down this week, “Juxtaposition” which could be many things, comparisons, opposites, different textures or designs, it’s kind of an all purpose word so I thought some of these photos might work for the theme.

In a restaurant in Amsterdam

Old and new in New York City

Laundry in central Rome

They shopped until they dropped

Highfield Road terrace houses, Salford, UK

A Word a Week Challenge – Undulate

Over at A Word in Your Ear, this week’s challenge is Undulate.

I thought about ripples, flags, water, but came up with this. It’s the  US flag projected onto the ice during the national anthem at an NHL hockey game in Montreal (Montreal was playing Atlanta)

Projection on ice!

A Word a Week – Waiting

Sue’s word of the week is Waiting. There’s lots of ways to interpret that. I spend a lot of time waiting for the bus. I spend time waiting for flights to leave or arrive. Waiting implies a stillness, or an anticipation.

Waiting for the parade to start – Halifax, July 2012

Joe's Scarecrows, nr. Cheticamp, Cape Breton Island

Joe’s Scarecrows, nr. Cheticamp, Cape Breton Island

Waiting patiently to travel

Waiting patiently to travel

Waiting for the face-off. Montreal Canadiens vs. Atlanta Thrashers 2009

Washington Square park, New York City

Waiting for the bus. Lake District just outside Grasmere. UK

Trentham Monkey Sanctuary, UK

Weekly Photo Challenge – Windows

Ah windows. Windows and Doors. Some of my favourite things to photograph.  I’m not sure what the fascination is. Someone once suggested that I was curious about the people who lived behind the doors and windows but just as often, windows show what’s outside just as much as inside. It all depends on your perspective. WordPress’s weekly challenge.

Sarastro, Covent Garden. A very theatrical restaurant

Sarastro, Covent Garden. A very theatrical restaurant

Bath Abbey stained glass window

Bath Abbey stained glass window

Seen in New York City

HMS Bounty

Katherine’s Window. Quebec City

This next photo is from a restored fortress in Nova Scotia, Port Royal, which was founded and established by the French in 1605. The windows at that time were covered in very thin sheepskin as glass was expensive.

Habitation Port Royal, Nova Scotia

Marilla’s Window. Green Gables, Prince Edward Island

Seen in the City of York, UK

St. Paul’s Anglican Church was the first Anglican church established in Canada and is in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was founded in 1749 when the city itself was founded. The church still stands today in the Grand Parade square (what’s left of it) in downtown Halifax, across from City Hall.

Most of the glass windows of St. Paul’s church were blown out after the Halifax Explosion in 1917. This one broke in the shape of a profile of a man, said to resemble one of the first bishops of St. Paul’s in the mid 1700s. The tour guides on the busses and Harbour Hopper say the window has been replaced three times and the broken shape returned. This is bollocks. This is the original broken shape and glass from 1917, fronted by newer glass to protect it.

St. Paul’s window, Halifax

Do you Museum when you travel?

An exhibit in Profundo Rosso,  A museum about the Italian horror movies of director Dario Argento

An exhibit in Profundo Rosso, A museum about the Italian horror movies of director Dario Argento

I came across a link to an article on The Economist about museums and how they’re attracting new visitors. Museums: Temples of delight. The premise of the article is based on how museums are changing. These days, you can find out about pretty much anything on the internet. Why would people want to go to museums to see and learn about things? But they certainly are. According to the article, 3/4 of all Swedish adults visit a museum once a year. That’s amazing! But it doesn’t really explain what the attraction is.

One theory is that as more people are getting better educations, they like to visit museums as an extension of that education. The next two paragraphs, quoted from the article, are the ones I find particularly interesting.

In developed countries museums are being championed by a wide variety of interest groups: city fathers who see iconic buildings and great collections as a tourist draw; urban planners who regard museums as a magic wand to bring blighted city areas back to life; media that like to hype blockbuster exhibitions; and rich people who want to put their wealth to work in the service of philanthropy (“a way for the rich to launder their souls”, as one director put it). For young people they are a source of something authentic and intriguing when their electronic entertainments start to pall.

In the more affluent parts of the developing world, too, museum-building has flourished, driven mainly by governments that want their countries to be regarded as culturally sophisticated (though wealthy private individuals are also playing a part). They see museums as symbols of confidence, sources of public education and places in which a young country can present a national narrative. Visitor numbers in such countries are also rising fast, boosted by a growing middle class. Some hope to use cultural offerings to attract many more foreign tourists. In Qatar and Abu Dhabi, for instance, a clutch of new museums under construction is meant to turn the Gulf into a destination for visitors from Europe, Russia and South Asia. Chinese museums received more than 500m visits last year, 100m more than in 2009.

Tourism, urban development, philanthropy, cultural status and a reality check? These days museums are not just about reading information boards beside the exhibits. They incorporate multi-media, encourage participation, making a visit to a museum an experience. And while I often find the “Experience” more of a tourist trap than a true overall feeling, in many cases, museums especially, it really can add to the visit. In order to keep people coming and attract new visitors, especially younger people, you gotta entertain them to keep their interest and I say, what’s wrong with that? If being interactive and entertained teaches someone about any subject, isn’t that a good thing?

I love museums and when I travel I always plan to take in at least one or more. I may not have the stamina to spend hours and hours in the big ones but I will still take in highlights or areas of it that interest me the most. I like museums, large ones or small, unique ones. Sometimes the smaller and more unique, the better though these are the ones that are struggling to stay open! I like museums because I’m interested in history and art and where it all  comes from and how things evolve to what they are today, in many cases.

One of my favourite museums is the Museum of London that traces the history of the city back to the Romans.  Another similar one is the Glasgow People’s Museum. Social history museums of just one period in history or the history from the beginnings to current day of an area or city are really interesting and also important to help you relate to how the past shaped the present.  What was life like 200 years ago? Are there similarities in how people lived then to how they do now?

In that article from the Economist, there are a few icons for oddball museum topics and at least one of them, ‘dog collars’ is one I’ve been to. It’s in Leeds Castle in Kent, England and is just a couple of rooms of glassed cases but it’s fascinating! Other interesting smaller museums include the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, the Sir John Soan Museum in London and the Fan Museum in Greenwich, London, just to name a couple. I love these odd and unique museums even if just because they can be so bizarre. The Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle was awesome and the Crypt for the Cappuchin Monks in Rome, with chapels decorated in bones of thousands of monks is superbly strange!

British Library, London, with the Victorian St. Pancras Hotel behind it

British Library, London, with the Victorian St. Pancras Hotel behind it

I’ve also been to special exhibits in locations that aren’t strictly museums but which do have displays on a revolving or semi-permanent basis. The British Library has a display of some of their treasures and a few years ago, we got tickets for a fantastic exhibit on Henry VIII. That had many multi media aspects including audio, video, and even a hologram of Henry in his armour. Very cool! It made the hair on the back of my neck stand up to see the letters he wrote and notes he wrote in the margins of books.

On our next trip, we’re going to Paris and I’m hoping to see the Musee Carnavalet which tells some of the story of Paris. We’re also planning to see the Military Museum and Napoleon’s tomb at Les Invalides. We are even doing a day trip to see the Bayeux Tapestry on display and will probably take in something about Joan of Arc in Rouen and stroll through Monet’s garden and house at Giverney.

What’s  your favourite museum? Do you prefer the big ticket ones or small, intimate ones? Do you seek out a particular topic or type of museum?

The Book of Kells for free

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Home of the Book of Kells

Trinity College Library, Dublin, Home of the Book of Kells

A few days ago I posted an entry to a photo challenge about Illumination. I posted a photo of a medieval copy of the Canterbury Tales, which was illuminated. There was a bit of discussion about the Book of Kells, the famous illuminated gospel at Trinity College, Dublin. Lo and behold, today I see a link to the college’s blog and they now have the whole book of Kells online, digitally scanned using the latest technology.

You can see it through this link. Each page is zoomable so you can see the exquisite detail. If you never get the chance to go to Dublin to see the real thing, this is the next best thing. Heck, even if you have seen it, this is pretty awesome since when you see the book, it’s opened to one spread of pages and you don’t get to see the rest of it unless you come on a different day and hope they’ve changed the view. Most excellent!

What I particularly like is that you see the thumbnails down the left so you can scroll to the pages that have more design on them and then zoom in to see the beautiful detail work. Next best thing to being there!

Travel Theme: Illuminated

Travel theme from Where’s My Backpack this week is Illuminated.

Now I could post photos from some of the many buildings and monuments that  are lit up at night. But everyone else will probably do that. Instead, an alternative, the illuminated manuscript. This is a late 15th century Canterbury Tales which we saw in the John Ryland Library in Manchester, UK. While it isn’t as exquisite as, say, the Book of Kells in Dublin (which I’ve also seen) or other similar illuminated gospels, it is one of the only ones I have seen that I could photograph (no flash, of course!).

Canterbury Tales above a non-illuminated copy, both from the late 15th century

A Word a Week Challenge – Yellow

Every week, Sue from A Word in Your Ear has a challenge. She picks a random word out of a dictionary and followers rise to the challenge. This week’s word is Yellow.

Rather than picking photos from various locations from my travels, I’m gathering Yellows from my trip to New York City last May.

Tir Na Nog Eggs Benny

Yellow Hollandaise on the Eggs Benny to start the day



Park the car here!


Rainy yellow cabs

Soho Detail


From the Sea, Air and Space Museum

New York street food!