Ese’s Weekly Shoot and Quote #9: Ugly

For Ese’s ‘Shoot and Quote Challenge’ this week, I’ve chosen a quote from John Howard Payne’s song ‘Home Sweet Home’, written in 1823.

“Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

My photo was taken in China, on the Li River. This houseboat may look really ugly and ramshackle, but it was someone’s home, and very likely their most prized possession. Click on image for an enlarged view.


To see more entries for Ese’s challenge, just click here.

Sunday Stills: Shorelines from my travels.

Ed’s Sunday Stills challenge this week, is ‘Shorelines’, and the rules are that the pics must have the sea, ocean, lake or pond and land. Quite simple really, and of course there is always my blog header, which is the shoreline of the idyllic island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. 🙂

Here are a few more shorelines that I’ve enjoyed on my travels. I’ve tried to include something interesting on each shoreline. You can click on the photos to get the bigger picture.

Elephants on the shoreline of lake Kariba in Zimbabwe.

Elephants on the shoreline of lake Kariba in Zimbabwe.

Pelicans on the shoreline of San Diego.

Pelicans on the shoreline of San Diego.

The windswept shoreline of San Pedro, Belize.

The windswept shoreline of San Pedro, Belize.

Windmills on the shoreline of Kinderdijk, Holland.

Windmills on the shoreline of Kinderdijk, Holland.

The fabled Lorelei Rock on the shoreline of the Rhine River.

The fabled Lorelei Rock on the shoreline of the Rhine River.

An Aloe 'candelabra' on my home shoreline in South Africa.

An Aloe ‘candelabra’ on my home shoreline in South Africa.

The shoreline viewed from the cliffs in Cornwall, England.

The Atlantic Ocean shoreline  viewed from the cliffs in Cornwall, England.

The shoreline of New Jersey, as we flew home this week.

The New Jersey shoreline, as we flew home this week.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on Ed’s theme. To see more entries, just click here.

A lovely autumn day in Brooklyn

Just a week ago, we were with our New Jersey family on a visit to Brooklyn for a modelling shoot which the grandchildren were doing. It was a beautiful autumn day as we headed into the Lincoln Tunnel.


Then it was across the Brooklyn Bridge, towards the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, where the photo shoot was to be.


We parked right underneath the bridge.


The Brooklyn Bridge, which spans the East River between Manhattan and Brooklyn, was completed in 1883, and is the oldest steel-wire suspension bridge in the US. When it was opened in 1903, it was the longest in the world, with a main span of 1,595.5 feet (486.3 m).


Around the corner is the popular ‘Ice Cream Factory’, which was opened in 2001 shortly after 9/11. It sits at the Brooklyn end of the bridge, in a landmark fire-boat house on a ferry landing, which is the oldest one in the city.


The hibiscus were blooming beautifully in the autumn sunshine.


From this boat landing, there is an impressive view of the Manhattan skyline. There are many padlocks on the fence along the dock, and I read that the pop cultural phenomenon that turned the Ponte Vecchio in Florence into a locksmith’s paradise, has jumped across the Atlantic and is threatening to cover the Brooklyn Bridge in lovers’ padlocks. Many couples come to this area for their wedding photos, and to fix an engraved padlock onto the bridge, before throwing the key into the East River.


From here, you can see the 104-storey super-skyscraper, which is the ‘1 World Trade Centre’, formerly known as ‘Freedom Tower’. This is built on the site of the original ‘6 World Trade Centre’.


The Statue of Liberty is also visible in the distance.


We had a very interesting time, dressing the three children for their photo shoot. The two littlest were very excited.


Sienna wasn’t quite so enthralled with the outfit she had to wear.


After it was all over, we were rather hungry, so went across the road for pizza.


Then it was back to the Ice Cream Factory for dessert. Extremely serious business. 🙂


We really caught the traffic going home, and had to take a detour through the Brooklyn Tunnel, instead of over the bridge, which was now closed over the weekend for maintenance.


We so enjoyed our lovely autumn day in Brooklyn. I hope you did too. Have a wonderful weekend.

Michelle’s Pet Challenge: Meet Roxy

Our son and family have recently adopted a gorgeous rescue dog, and we met her for the first time when we went to visit last week. Roxy is an adorable three-month old, black and white English Pointer.


She’s such a sweet little puppy, and everyone wants to make a fuss of her. She just laps up all the affection showered upon her.


It is said that Pointers are habitual “couch potatoes” who enjoy relaxing on the family’s chairs or sofas, and Roxy is no exception to the rule. In the evenings, she loves to snuggle up next to the family. She’s going to be a big dog when she grows up; just look at the size of those paws!


She’s shows a great interest in what’s going on around her, and doesn’t like to be left out of anything.


Although she’s such a friendly and happy little dog, she can sometimes look rather serious, and has the most soulful eyes.


She’s very energetic, and a few days ago, several rather large holes mysteriously appeared in the lawn. She enjoys exploring the garden, but I think what she loves most of all, is being inside the house with the family, which is apparently a natural part of this breed’s desire to feel part of the pack. Grooming her isn’t at all time-consuming, as her coat is  very short, so just a quick rub with a soft brush is all that’s needed. I’m sure that she’s going to have a very happy life with the three grandchildren to play with.

I hope you’ve enjoyed meeting Roxy as much as I did. To see more bloggers’ pet pics, just click on the badge below.


A Very Happy 8th Birthday Party

“There are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents, and only one for birthday presents, you know.” ~ ‘Through the Looking Glass’ Lewis Carroll

It’s been quite a hectic weekend here in New Jersey, with hardly a moment to open my computer. Today is Sienna’s 8th birthday, and yesterday was her party.

Here’s the birthday girl, showing off her lovely warm coat from Granny and Granddad.


In the morning, there was a trip to ‘Party City’ to choose some balloons. As you can see, there was plenty of choice.


The weather was perfect, and the children had lots of fun out in the backyard.


There were quite a few contenders for a ride in the car,


and cousin Rilee showed some of her hula-hooping skills.


The adults seemed more interested in the barbecue, and we had lots of delicious food.


What a beautiful birthday cake!


Three puffs were needed to blow out all the candles.


Lots of presents were waiting to be opened, and her brother and sister were most interested to see what she’d got, as the loot will no doubt be shared with them.


I also bought her these two books by Suzanne J. Rogers, who blogs at  ‘A Window into the Woods’, and in a short while, I’m going to school to read the story of Bob the horse, to the children in Sienna’s class. I’m sure they’re going to absolutely love it.


Tomorrow we fly back down to Florida, but I’m sure this lovely little family interlude will be remembered for years to come.

Capture the Colour Competition, 2013

Georgia of ‘Rainbow Bakery ‘ blog, nominated me to take part in the Capture the Colour competition. The idea is quite simple. You just have to publish a blog post showcasing five of your favourite travel photographs which best capture the colour of these five categories: red, blue, green, yellow and white.

I think the deadline is tonight, so here goes with my entry.

My red photo was taken by my somewhat incredulous husband when we were on holiday in Thailand last year. Yes, that’s me up there. I don’t know quite what got into me, but I just had to do it.  🙂


My blue photo is a close-up shot of a female Cassowary at the Kuranda Bird Park in Cairns, Australia. “Here’s looking at you, mate.”


The rice terraces in Bali are the brightest green you could possibly imagine.


This yellow Orchid  was one of the many gorgeous specimens at the National Orchid Garden in Singapore.


For my white photo, I chose this one taken from the pristine deck of the  boat which took us out on a scuba-diving trip at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.


Sunday Stills: Landscapes from The Great Barrier Reef to Machu Picchu.

Ed’s Sunday Stills Challenge this week, is ‘Landscapes’, which is a pretty all-encompassing subject. It can be anything from mountains and hills, to rivers, lakes and oceans, as well as indigenous vegetation, and even human elements, such as buildings and structures which help define the self-image of a region, and make it unique.

My first pic was taken from the Kuranda Skyway, overlooking the lush, tropical, World Heritage-listed rainforest in Queensland Australia.


Here is a view from ‘Cook’s Look’, the highest peak on Lizard Island, a national park on the Great Barrier Reef. Captain Cook named the island when he visited it in 1770  and remarked, “The only land animals we saw here were Lizards, and these seemed to be pretty plenty.” It is said that he climbed the peak to help him chart a course out to sea through the maze of reefs which confronted him.


Here is the stunning landscape that we saw whilst cruising past Hinchinbrook Island, one of the world’s largest island national parks. With its myriad of natural vegetation such as lush rainforest, rugged mountains and mangrove swamps, it’s considered to be the jewel of Queensland’s national parks.


Hopping across to Bali, the most famous of Indonesia’s 17,000 islands, we see the beautiful rolling landscape of the lush green rice terraces. Balinese rice cultivators are famed all over the world for their efficient use of irrigation water, and the rich volcanic soil also contributes to consistently high yields of their crops.


One of the most truly awe-inspiring landscapes I’ve ever seen, is Machu Picchu, which you may have noticed, I have used as my blog background.


This 15th century Inca site is situated almost 8,000 feet above sea level, and was built on a mountain ridge overlooking Sacred Valley, some 50 miles northwest of Cusco in Peru.


Well, that’s all the landscapes I have time for today, as I must now go and pack for our trip to see our family in New Jersey. We leave tomorrow morning, and get back late on Tuesday.  It’s Sienna’s 8th birthday party on Sunday, so all very exciting. I may not be around much, but you can be sure I’ll have some pics for you when I get back.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my landscapes for Ed’s Challenge. To see more entries, and perhaps join in, just click here.




WPC: Good Morning – Cockadoodle doo

When we lived in Johannesburg, I did not have such good mornings. After a few years of really enjoying living in our home, the house next door to ours was sold. Our new neighbour kept Silkie cockerels in her front garden, right on the other side of the fence from our main bedroom. This was in a suburb with half-acre stands, so as you can imagine, when those roosters started crowing at the crack of dawn and more often than not, even earlier, it was impossible to stay asleep. There was hardly a moment during the day, when one or other of them wasn’t crowing, and it used to drive me nuts, especially as I’d been woken up at some ungodly hour. Their owner gleefully told us that she had been brought up on a farm, and absolutely loved the sound. She even gave a home to their friends’ Silkies whilst they were away on holiday. Now, whilst I love birds, I came to not love roosters one little bit, so when I was in London, and saw this sculpture of a giant blue rooster, by Katharina Fritsch, which had been erected on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, it brought back rather unpleasant morning memories.



We decided to sell our house and move down to the coast. Our neighbour saw us as we were driving away for the last time, and said somewhat sardonically, “Goodbye. I do hope that there are no roosters where you’re moving to.” Thankfully, the only sound as we awoke in our new home, was the soothing sound of the Indian Ocean. We have very good morning walks along the beach, as the fishermen silently wait for the fish to bite.


Our good morning breakfast is often eaten at a restaurant overlooking the ocean.


The service might be a little slow, but no-one is in a hurry there.


It’s always definitely worth waiting for. Yes, the mornings are very good there, and even though life here in Florida is wonderful, I have to say that I’m rather looking forward to getting back to those good beach mornings.


I do hope I haven’t upset any rooster lovers. The neighbour across the road was much more considerate. He had a big Koi pond, and as you probably know, fish don’t crow at all. 🙂

To see more entries for the WordPress Photo Challenge, Just click here.