Le Petit Train Jaune

Also known with affection as The Little Yellow Train, Le petit train  travels through stunning alpine scenery via small villages frozen in time. With the track twisting and turning between mountains it plunges into the inky darkness of a tunnel when no other paths are available. Several times throughout the journey, the train travels over high viaducts and bridges over the heavily wooded valley floor.

Named after its yellow and red colours, derived from the Catalan flag, the narrow gauge electric railway running from Villefranche-de-Conflent to Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg in the French Pyrenees, was constructed in 1903 and finished in 1927.

It was built to provide an all-weather route from the high Cerdagne valley to the coast, but the adjacent N116 road – running below the tracks in my photograph – has progressively improved. Things change and with the loss of population in the Cerdagne, the rail link is now chiefly a tourist attraction. Despite it being one of the most beautiful trips in France, its long-term future is sadly in doubt…

Big Brother is Watching…

A little way from Avignon’s Palais des Papes featured in my post of two weeks ago, are some Trompe L’oeil wall paintings of historic French people gazing out of what would-have-been blank windows. Realistic figures keeping a friendly “eye” on the passing young lad. While a 21st century street camera is also watching street activity…

Shipwreck

The “Samson” was a floating crane-ship under tow from Liverpool to Valetta in Malta. On 11th December 1987, when the towline snapped in a south easterly gale just off the Welsh coast, the crew of two were rescued by R.A.F. helicopter and the vessel was left to drift.

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Spiritual 1

Sunset falling over the Rock of Cashel, just like my first glimpse of it back in 1979 and still etched in one creative corner of my brain. It took a while, 30 years, before I could recreate that first impression. The Rock, also known as Cashel of the Kings or St. Patrick’s Rock, in County Tipperary, Ireland, was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion in May 1169. ..

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Wild Beauty 2

One man and his dog on a stormy beach next to Bunmahon, a coastal village in County Waterford, Ireland. During the 19th century, it was a mining village with copper and lead mined there between 1827 and 1877. Its deepest shaft located just inland from the headland in the pic’s background dropped some 1,000 feet and extended out to sea.

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Morning Walk

…in Dunmore East, a fishing village situated on the west side of the entrance to Waterford Harbour on Ireland’s southeastern coast. The area lies within the barony of Gaultier, aka Gáll Tír in Irish which translates into “foreigners’ land”, a reference to the influx of Viking and Norman settlers there.

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Everybody Razzle Dazzle

In January 2015, a Mersey ferry was selected as a “dazzle ship”; with a unique new livery inspired by First World War dazzle camouflage. Designed by Sir Peter Blake and entitled “Everybody Razzle Dazzle”, seven ship painters spent 10 days covering “Snowdrop” in a myriad of colour.

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River Crossing 1

Constructed in the 14th century, the elegant Pont de Saint-Étienne d’Issensac rises to 13.35 meters and was intended for the passage of pedestrians, carts and animals, not automobiles, due to its narrowness and its steep inclines. Despite some damage, it didn’t deter the passage of German tanks during World War II.

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The Copper Mines….

The Waterford coast between Fenor and Stradbally has been sporadically mined since ancient times. When the commercial exploitation of copper deposits near Bunmahon began in 1824, the tiny village grew into a town of 2,000 people with shops and 20 pubs.

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