Not the Sunny Side of the Street….

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Plaza de San Juan de Dios in Cadiz, with a back drop of the rather grand Municipal Offices was certainly  a very ‘hot spot’ on our visit.  So it is not surprising that the crowds gathered in the shade.

Note the crowd in the far left.  Despite the heat, which even in the shade was hovering just above 37c,  a Flamenco Dancer and Singer was entertaining a large audience.  Nor was in just a 5 minute gig….  Sweat and passion for over an hour.

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It was a great day in Cadiz,  we didn’t want to leave –  apart from the grandeur of the City, its Streets ,  its twin Water Fronts,  Cafes and open spaces, it was unexpected moments, as above, that made it special and added some real Spanish flavour.

We would like to get back to Cadiz….. I do wonder if we will.

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

21st August

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Silent Signal…….

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Broadway Tower, Worcestershire

Is this just a ‘Folly’ or was it constructed to fulfil a vital role as a ‘Signal Tower’ or Beacon.  The Tower was built long before the invention of instant signalling devises.  So I like to think it was  built of practical reasons…but also like the fun idea of having such a dominant building erected…. just because I could!.  You can make up your own minds…. here is the back story of  the most likely of theories and its History…

It was built on the whim of Lady Coventry who persuaded her husband the 6th Earl of Coventry to pay for the design and construction…  Her home was some 20 miles away from this hill on which the tower was to be built. The hill itself had been a “Beacon Point” for signal fires for several centuries.  Lady Coventry was not sure that she would have been able to see such a beacon signal, so two famous names in Landscaping and Architecture were commissioned to construct a Tower.

Capability Brown and James Wyatt collaborated to build Broadway Tower, it was completed in 1798….. and yes, Lady Coventry could gaze upon it from her distant home. . No real surprise as the hill stands at some 1024ft and the tower itself a height of 65ft.

Over the intervening years Broadway Tower has provided a useful function apart from being purely visual and decorative.

In 1822 Sir William Phillipps installed a printing Press from which to publish his catalogues of his large book collections.

This was followed in the 1880’s as a ‘Retreat’ for two famous Artists and Designers, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones.  The Tower seemed to make a great impression upon them as they went onto to establish the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.

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Today the Tower is part of a Country Park and is open for visitors to climb to the Tower and enjoy panoramic views over the Cotswolds, the Industrial Midlands, six counties and to the far-off Welsh Hills. 

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Well worth a visit but as always…..

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

20th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

A Pleasant Reminder……. Up High

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Every so often Facebook throws out an image to remind me of previous events.  The pic above is of Grandson Ewan.  It was taken back in August 2014 (boy he has grown since then).  It is the helicopter that is the other significant reminder.

For it was this weekend 6 years ago that I had a treat of a Helicopter flight.  In truth it should have happened a year previous, and on various other occasions, but as is often the way with pre booked flights the weather has other ideas.

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But this time I was off up and away and Ewan was there to wave me off.  This was not just any flight, this was to replicate the Dam Buster Run up the Derwent Valley, the flight those RAF Pilots took on their training missions prior to the German Dam raids.

The Upper Derwent Valley is a real favourite location of mine, but it is extra special in August when the Heather on the moorlands is in full flower.  At ground level you find it fantastic, from above it does rise to a higher level of fantastic. Sorry the images are not pin sharp or as bright as they could be, but in a moving chopper and through a Perspex window it the best I could do….

Hellic--09911qqq-sharpen-sharpen The water level is low but in 2014 it was soon back to full level.  But also notice how steep and enclosed these valleys are.  The dams are hard to find, just think of the skill those Lancaster Pilots had to execute, just to fly even the training missions.

As a bonus for having to wait nearly a year for the flight, our pilot took a detour.  The detour was over another of my favourite places Chatsworth House…..  always spectacular, but from up here you get to appreciate the true size of the House and its Gardens…. The Palace in the Peak.

Now that really was an added bonus…

So Thank You Facebook for the memory reminder….was it really 6 years ago!

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

17th August

(C) David Oakes 2020

Tough life being an Artist

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A group of local Artists set up for a morning of “Plein Air” painting and sketching in the Hydrangea gardens.  This rather distinguished gentleman had found himself a shady spot.   Now I am not sure, if having his eyes closed meant, he was seeking inspiration, mentally visualising the scene … or simple  enjoying  a short snooze  🙂

Whatever you plan to do….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

3rd August

(C) David Oakes 2020