CBBH Photo Challenge: In the Pink

Well it’s the last day of the month and I decided I’d better get my skates on and do Marianne’s ‘Pink’ Challenge.

In Italy, I wore my pink sun hat almost every day. It goes so well with gelato, don’t you agree?

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Outside Starbucks, we spotted this sparkling pink Jag. I wanted to hang around to see if the driver was a woman or a man, but hubby wasn’t as curious as I was, so we’ll never know.

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I wonder who is wrapped up so warmly in this pink doggy bath towel. Can you guess?

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It’s none other than my sweet little granddaughter Taylor, who undoubtedly loves the colour pink.

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I’ve found out over the years, that some of the nicest things come in pink packages.

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In Great Grandma’s pond, there floated the most beautiful pink water-lily.

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Sultry Bali nights can be a really magical pink,

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but at the end of the day, there’s nothing quite like a pink Florida sunset.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my pink pics. To see more, click on the badge to hop over to Marianne’s blog.

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The two blogs which I would like to share with and recommend to you this time, are:

Babsje Heron, who posts about her marvelous experiences with the Great Blue Herons in her neighbourhood. I love seeing her photos, and reading about her encounters with these beautiful birds.

Lynne Mayhew  is a writer, who travels “on and off the beaten path” with her photographer husband Ron. Her posts are both fascinating and educational, and I always look forward to the next one.

Do pop over to see them, and tell them I sent you.

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WPC: My Saturated Phuket Boat Trip

When I saw that this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is ‘saturated’, I was reminded of a boat trip we did last year when we were on holiday in Phuket. We expected to have the same great weather we enjoyed whilst there in 2006, but unfortunately, Mother Nature decided otherwise. On this most memorable day, we were booked on a cruise, which was to take us across the Phang-Nga Bay in a traditional Junk boat, from where we would transfer to a long tail, to see the Grotto Cave, Sea Gypsy village and James Bond Island, supposedly arriving back at 5-30 in the afternoon.

After an early breakfast during which we  dubiously surveyed the deep grey skies and dripping rain through the dining room windows, we clambered into our minibus. As we approached the marina, the boats all looked very sombre against the grey water and even darker sky. When I saw the photo, I wondered why it was in black and white, but then realised that this was exactly how it had looked.

I hurried towards our boat, hoping to beat the rain which was starting up again.

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By the time we got on board, it was teeming down, and I was already quite saturated. The leaking roof had been patched with  sticky tape which was coming apart, so that water was dripping onto the table in front of our seat, and splashing all around. I wasn’t too happy about that, but as it turned out, this was to be the least of our problems. As you can see, plastic sheeting was rolled down at the sides of the boat. This obscured our view somewhat, but rather that than get drenched. Beach towels were handed out in case we wanted to go swimming later, which wasn’t going to happen, but they came in very useful to wrap around ourselves against the wind and rain. We soon got under way, and it wasn’t long before the islands loomed up in the grey rainy mist. Even on such a gloomy day, they were still spectacular.

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We sailed up to take a closer look at the caves formed by the sea’s erosion of these amazing limestone formations.

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How many images can you see clinging onto the side of this cliff? My imagination can make out  so very many strange and tortured-looking creatures.

Before we reached the Sea Gypsy Village island, we were each given a thin plastic raincoat with a hood, and told to put it on, together with a life jacket. I realised why, when we transferred to our long tail boat which was absolutely open to the elements. As we cut through the waves at quite a speed, we all got a thorough drenching. One young couple had brought along their small child, who was obviously scared witless, and wouldn’t stop screaming. I felt really sorry for them, but more so for myself, as they were sitting right behind me.

As we disembarked, we looked like a band of soaking wet, green plastic apparitions. My clothes were saturated and clinging to my body, but I was past caring. I just wanted to get inside and out of the rain.

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Alas, there was no escaping the wetness, as this medium-sized market was absolutely flooded out.

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We waded ankle-deep through the rivers of water which gushed along the walkways, whilst rain ran in waterfalls from overhanging tarpaulins.

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I couldn’t have been wetter if I’d been swimming the English Channel. The understandably glum-faced stallholders were not in luck that day, as none of us was in a ‘retail therapy’ frame of mind as we paddled doggedly past the displays of T-shirts, swimwear and souvenirs.

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The only sales they made, were half a dozen pink plastic raincoats at less than a dollar each, to replace the green ones, some of which had torn already, and were leaking badly.

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Most of the houses here were mere hovels, but we did see quite a contrast, when we came upon a rich man’s house, alongside his poor next door neighbour’s  leaky cottage.

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It was the most unenjoyable shopping expedition I’d ever embarked upon. We stood in a soddenly saturated group on the jetty, impatiently waiting for our longtail to come pick us up, to take us to view the Grotto Cave. These longtails, or ‘Rua hang Yao’ are so-called because they are long and slim. They have a long rod in the back of the boat, which holds up the motor and the propeller, and are extremely noisy, sounding more like dragster racing cars. No wonder the air was once again saturated with screams from the terrified baby, as we gathered speed.

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We gratefully waved goodbye to the saturated Sea Gypsy Village, and I wondered what it must be like to live there all the year round, especially in the monsoon season.

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We were all hungry, and soaking wet as we journeyed to view James Bond Island, made famous by the 1974 movie, “The man with the golden gun,” starring Roger Moore as Bond, and Christopher Lee as Scaramanga the world’s most expensive assassin, who charged $1m per hit.

We skirted the tall thin island,

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and carried on to the Grotto Cave, Our boat sailed right through it, next to several people out canoeing in the pouring rain. They seemed to be quite enjoying the rain, so I thought I’d better just learn to like it too.

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Finally, we met up with our Junk boat again, and clambered aboard. Oh the luxury in spite of the leaky roof, to be reunited with our towels which we could wrap ourselves up in, as well as dry off our feet. A buffet lunch of fish, chicken, rice and salad was served, together with a couple of bottles of Thai wine, which did warm us up a little.

It felt good to know that we’d soon be back at our resort, and able to have a hot shower before dinner. Unfortunately, we caught up with another boat which had left the harbour at the same time as us. They’d completely run out of diesel, and it was still a long way back to port, so our crew had to set about fixing up a tow line, and we started off once more, amidst much hilarity and joking between the two crews.

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Of course it was now going to take us much longer to get back with the extra load on, but we could hardly leave them stranded, could we?  We’d been towing them for about half an hour, when we noticed something was banging against the side of our boat, and a head popped up over the side. No, it wasn’t pirates, just the other boat’s motor dinghy, with two of its crew carrying a large plastic container. They were hauled aboard, and up came the trap door, so that diesel could be syphoned from our tank into the container, as they needed to be able to maneuver their own way into the harbour. Once they had the required 20 litres, off they went back through the extremely rough waves to their own boat.

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We were all watching this exercise with our fingers crossed, as it was really very tempestuous out there. They made it back on board, but as they were trying to secure the dinghy, the rope slipped out of the one guy’s hands, and off went the little craft, bobbing merrily away through the waves. Once more, our captain came to the rescue, rounding up the dinghy, almost like herding cattle, and pushing it over to the other boat, until a man could jump in and tie it up. It was quite an expert bit of seamanship, and I was most impressed.

The adventure ended well, I suppose. Once back on ‘dry’ land, the rush hour traffic was made even worse by the pouring rain, but we eventually arrived at our resort about an hour late, to be greeted by the staff, who wrapped us up in thick towels and handed us cups of hot chocolate. What a day it had been, and a never to be forgotten trip.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my saturated tale, even though it’s maybe not quite what Michelle had in mind. I did saturate some of the more colourful pics, which makes them look more cheerful. 🙂

To see more bloggers’ interpretations of the theme, just click here.

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Meet Lucca and friends.

This week, for Michelle’s pet challenge, I thought I’d feature my sister-in-law’s beautiful black standard poodle, Lucca.

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What an elegant doggie she is, and so friendly too. There’s no way you can pay a visit, without receiving a warm welcome, as she rushes to greet you, almost knocking you over in the process. She doesn’t look so big here, but when you’re sitting on the sofa and she comes to inspect you nose to nose, you realise just how tall she is.

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One of her favourite pastimes is chasing the rabbits in Great Grandma’s garden. She’s never actually caught one, but the enjoyment of the exercise is all in the anticipation, and she will sit for ages, just watching and waiting for the right moment to take off after them. Of course they are much too quick for her, but there’s always next time. 🙂

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Lucca, having lived for so many years with her artistic family, is quite musical and sings beautifully. This was demonstrated one evening when we came back to the house after dinner, and her mom brought out a small concertina which someone had brought as a souvenier from their holiday abroad. Great Grandma was enthralled, as were we all.

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She’s a very sociable and generous dog, and when she has her friends, Polly and Pippa around for a sleepover, she will even give up her own bed, so that they can be comfortable.

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Lucca is well aware that she’s no ordinary dog,. She has so many fans, that to avoid too much attention, she occasionally has to travel incognito.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting my gorgeous niece. Just click here to visit Michelle’s blog, and maybe you can also join in the fun challenge.

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Thursday’s Windows # 37: Who has the greenest fingers here?

For this week’s Lingering Windows Challenge, I just have two photos taken In Heidelberg, Germany.

The first one has a really stunning display of flowers, which are obviously lovingly tended by the owner of the apartment.

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The second one, just a few yards along the street, probably started out with good intentions, but ran out of steam somewhere along the way.  😦

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To see more Thursday’s Windows, you can visit Dawn’s blog.

Ed’s Sunday Stills: Creepy Things

Ed, “a truck driving photographer from Tennessee” has come up with ‘Creepy Things’ for this week’s Sunday Stills Challenge.

I guess there are quite a few things in this wide world that creep me out. Some of you might find it surprising, that I can’t bear to look at the garishly made-up faces of clowns. I know they are supposed to be great kids’ entertainment, but they have always really scared me. I also steer clear of those people dressed up in funny costumes, who wander around shopping malls, giving out lollipops and wanting to shake your hand, or worse still, give you a hug. Not so surprising, is the fact that I don’t enjoy seeing pics of body builders on steroids, especially female ones, and of course, large hairy spiders and those really obvious fake eyelashes that resemble spiders crawling out of the eyes, really freak me out.

I’m also not that keen on being greeted by this guy when I walk into my local pharmacy.

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Placing a ghoulish figure next to the bread stand, is guaranteed to be very good for my waistline. 🙂

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I know it will soon be Halloween, but wouldn’t this display in the front garden, keep even your best friends from visiting?

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Maybe the people who live here are just plain mean, and are really trying to scare away those little Trick-or-Treaters. What do you think?

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I hope my spooky pics haven’t frightened you away, and if you would also like to share yours, just go to Ed’s post.

WPC From Lines to Patterns: At Green Cay Nature Reserve.

On Saturday we decided to visit one of our local Florida nature reserves. I was looking for alligators to show Phil, but they must have all been sleeping in the reeds, for we didn’t see even a tiny one. We did however see some wonderful birds which I’ll show you in another post. I was thinking about the ‘Lines to Patterns’ challenge as we set off along the boardwalk. As we walked along the lines of the wooden boards, I could see the pattern of what looked like rain clouds in the sky.

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A fellow nature lover was coming towards us, and as we drew level with one another, she stopped and pointed at something in front of us. “There’s a lion right there,” she announced. Now. a lion was certainly not something I was expecting to see in Florida, but sure enough, right at our feet was a knot in the wood which closely resembled a lion’s face. I’m sure I would have just walked right on over that lion if she hadn’t told me it was there.

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I loved the pretty pattern of these wild flowers amongst the lines of the surrounding grasses.

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The majestic palm trees had many lines on their trunks, leading up to the lovely pattern created by their fronds.

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This one even had an extra bit of pattern.

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We enjoyed a bit of welcome shade inside this Chickee hut. As you can see, the dried palm fronds have been made into thatch to create this interesting roof pattern. These huts have quite a history. They were invented in the early 1800’s, when the Florida Seminole and Miccosukee tribes were chased into the Everglades by American troops. As they needed to be always on the move, they required shelters that could be easily constructed and taken down at a moment’s notice. Chickee is the Seminole word for ‘house’, and these huts consisted of thick cypress posts which supported a thatched roof, and had a raised wooden platform. In 1990, the Seminole tribes were granted the right to build these huts wherever they could find business, regardless of zoning and without special permits. They are now a reliable source of income for the Seminoles and can be found at some of the finest Florida resorts and private homes.

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As we neared the end of our 2km walk, i noticed how the straight lines of the roof on the Interpretive centre, contrasted very nicely with the pattern of fluffy clouds above it.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my lines and patterns for this week’s challenge.

Ese’s Shoot and Quote Challenge: Bare, from Shakespeare to James Bond.

“That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin’d choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.” ~ William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73

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Just for fun, here is a snatch of conversation from the James Bond movie ‘You only live twice’.

“You know what it is about you that fascinates them, don’t you? It’s the hair on your chest. Japanese men all have beautiful bare skin.” ~ Tiger Tanaka

“Japanese proverb say, “Bird never make nest in bare tree.”” ~ James Bond

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See more entries for Ese’s Weekly Shoot and Quote Challenge.

A Word a Week Challenge: Arches – Spain and Morocco

Sue’s challenge this week is to post photos of arches which we have admired enough to capture on camera. Here are some of mine.

There are many arches at the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

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Here is a very leafy one in the lovely gardens there.
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Look at the intricate workmanship surrounding this beautiful arch.

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Taking a furtive peep through a doorway in Morocco, this is what I saw.

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They really do have the best arches in Spain and Morocco.

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The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, has the most stunning arches I’ve ever seen. The red and white double arches consisting of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch, rest on 856 columns, which were crafted from jasper, onyx, marble and granite.

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Of course we can’t think of Spanish architecture without mentioning Antonio Gaudi. A giant mirror cleverly reflects this arch on the roof of the Casa Mila in Barcelona.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection of arches for Sue’s theme. To see more bloggers’ pics, just click here.

Michelle’s Weekly Pet Challenge: Grandma with ‘Spot’.

Here’s a new challenge from Michelle. At first I thought I couldn’t participate, as I don’t have any pets, but she assured me that any pics of animals, birds, and I suppose even reptiles will do. I found this sweet pic in our family album. It’s of my grandma on my mom’s side of the family. Here she is on her back door step, cuddling her little dog, ‘Spot’. I think this photo must have been taken in the 1930’s.

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