We savoured Scottish summers – both because they were so short, but are also a magical time when you live so far north. The scenery is bursting with life – the grass lush and thick, the trees hanging with fruit and the flowers in bloom. The nights can stay light past 10pm, and occasionally we would catch sight of the northern lights.
What better way to enjoy a Sunday than to pack a picnic and seek out and architectural gem – the Pineapple. The Pineapple is a wonderful testament to British eccentricity. A summer house that has beautiful sloping lawns and fruit trees surrounded by a huge walled garden, it originally looked quite unassuming when first built in 1761 by the 4th Earl of Dunmore. When he was forcibly brought back from serving as the Governor of Virginia in 1771, it was common practice for returning sailors there to put a pineapple on the gatepost to let everyone know they had returned home. A bit of a wag, the 4th Earl built a huge stone pineapple on the roof of the house!
Now owned by the National Trust for Scotland, the Pineapple is a secret gem – we would often be the only ones there, and spread out our refreshments beneath the trees, running and throwing a ball to each other on the well-kept lawns, returning for fresh strawberries, Scottish smoked salmon and iced water. If you ever fancy visiting, you can even stay in the house as a guest. Good times!
This is my submission for the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’.
Bangour Village Hospital is an abandoned mental hospital in Scotland, near Livingstone. It has it’s own church, and many buildings which lie abandoned, boarded up. It would have been prime development land, and was purchased by a large development company, but with the GFC, wasn’t considered worth developing.
I am not usually keen on the over-cooked HDR look, but for the mood I wanted to bring out, I pushed things a bit further.
It was hot. 36 Celsius and no breeze. The summer was coming to an end, and making one last attempt to zap anyone foolish enough to go outside with UV. But my five year-old son needed to let off steam and do something physical, so we headed up the mountain to Katoomba, and took his favourite train ride (the world’s steepest!) down from Scenic World, to the rainforest below.
It’s beautiful down here. We hike and have a picnic together. It’s green and lush and cool beneath the canopy.
Australia Day stirs mixed feelings in me. Most Australians are incredibly lucky, with democratic freedoms and an economy that makes them amongst the best off in the world. However, the wealth and opportunities are not there for indigenous Australians, and Australia Day doesn’t give this hidden Australia much to celebrate.
Australia is changing though. It is steadily becoming more multi-cultural, and most younger people are comfortable with this, embracing the mix of European and Asian cultures that surround us. I work in education, and my employer is intent on taking positive steps to make sure all of Australia is part of what we do.
I choose to take a positive outlook on what Australia Day can be – a mark in time that lets us assess where Australia has been and the progress we are making.
The Blue Mountains Winter Magic Festival is held each year around the winter solstice, and is a community event that brings artists, musicians, drummers, dancers and the wider community together.
The sense of fun amongst people who were gathering for the parade was fantastic, with singers, drummers and a samba group all creating as much noise as possible. The effort people had put into their costumes was tremendous, and I was particularly struck by the drum corp, who managed to keep in character and drum out the beat for everyone to march to.
Stone garden, Maison Européenne de la Photography, Paris.