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…


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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Wild Beauty

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 mostly for copper and hard to believe but just inland from the headland in the pic’s background the deepest shaft dropped some 1,000 feet, before extending out to sea.

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Tales of Hadrian and Robin

Climbers on the craggy escarpment below Hadrian’s Wall, a former defensive fortification of the Roman province of Britannia – that’s England by the way. It originally ran a total of 73 miles (117.5 kilometres) across England from Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east, to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.

Built near the border with Scotland, it was probably planned before Hadrian’s visit to Britain in 122 AD, part of a wish to “keep the empire intact”. On Hadrian’s accession to the throne in 117, there was unrest and rebellion in Britain and in various conquered lands across the Roman Empire. And to cut a long story short, like all empires, the logistics of maintaining it proved too much and the occupiers gradually retreated back to their homeland, leaving the wall abandoned.

The edifice came back to life in Medieval times when the Sycamore Gap Tree, standing next to the wall by Crag Lough, featured in the 1991 Kevin Costner film ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’, when Robin travelled an oddly circuitous route from the White Cliffs of Dover to Nottingham. The maps weren’t too reliable in those days!

Much of the wall has now disappeared with long sections of it used for roadbuilding in the 18th century. The remnants were declared a World Heritage Site in 1987, and in 2005 Hadrian’s Wall became part of the trans-national “Frontiers of the Roman Empire” World Heritage Site.

Apart from climbing, there’s also the Hadrian’s Wall Hike, a long-distance trail measuring 84 miles (135km), normally completed in 5–10 days. It’s a beautiful and relatively easy wander through history, heritage, and some of the most famous landscapes in Northumberland.

But all is not well with Hadrian’s legacy; despite signs pleading with visitors not to clamber over the wall, sections have collapsed after being repeatedly climbed on by sight-seers looking to take the perfect photo.

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

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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