WPC: Masterpieces, man-made and natural.

The photo challenge this week brought to mind the thrill I felt when I first saw the majestic beauty of this man-made masterpiece carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. I just couldn’t imagine how someone could conceive of such a fantastic project. The sculptures are 60 feet high, and the entire memorial covers 5.17 km². The construction of this masterpiece commenced in 1927, and was completed in October 1941 at a cost of $989,992.

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Just imagine how David Livingstone must have felt when in November 1855, he suddenly  found himself face to face with this masterpiece of nature, which he named Victoria Falls, in honour of Queen Victoria. The indigenous name ‘Mosi-oa-Tuny’, meaning ‘the smoke that thunders’, continues in common usage as well, and in this photo you can see why it was so named. This colossal waterfall is the world’s largest sheet of falling water, being twice the height of Niagara falls, and twice the width of Horseshoe Falls.

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To see more interpretations of this week’s challenge, just click here.

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A Whiter Shade of Pale for Ailsa’s theme.

After two colour challenges in quick succession, Ailsa’s pale theme is quite refreshing. I was immediately reminded of that 1967  ‘Procul Harum’ song. It was on their debut album, and I remember it very well. I’ve often wondered what the lyrics mean, as I sit playing it on my piano. Maybe it’s better that I don’t know. 🙂 It’s interesting though, that since that song, the phrase “A whiter shade of pale” has been included in several dictionaries, and I’ve used it myself quite often.

Here are some very well known pale faces. I wonder how many of you can name all four? If you’re American, I’m sure you can.

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Here is a very pale Sulphur Bed at Yellowstone National Park, with the steam continually rising from it. The water which erupts from these geysers is extremely hot, about 95 degrees C, and there were warning signs everywhere telling visitors to stay on the boardwalks and designated trails, as there have been several deaths resulting from people falling into the hot springs. I was extra careful 🙂

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This is the Temple complex at Karnak near Luxor in Egypt. The sun was so bright, reflecting off the dozens of statues and the flagstones between them.This is the largest ancient religious site in the world. What an amazing place.

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Another pale photo I have, is this one of Niagara Falls. I think I’d be feeling rather pale myself, if I had to be on that little boat down there.

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These White Lions are the palest of the lion species, and very beautiful. They are not albinos, but a genetic rarity unique to one endemic region on the globe: the Timbavati region in South Africa.

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This pale photo was taken at the Whistler Ski Resort in Canada. We went up there for the day when our daughter was living in Vancouver. It was so very cold. I don’t think skiing would be for me, but there were lots of people thoroughly enjoying themselves.

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This pale photo was taken in Xian, as we were walking through the outdoor restaurant area. It all looked steaming hot, but we couldn’t identify what was on offer, so we didn’t buy our meal here.

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Whilst I was searching for pale photos, I came across this one of hubby and I inside the top of the Statue of Liberty, and thought it would do nicely for the theme. The flash makes us look like two ghosts, and you don’t get paler than that. 🙂

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I hope you enjoyed my pale pics. To see more interpretations of Ailsa’s theme, just click here.

My Family Hat History for ‘Word a Week’.

Skinnywench’s ‘Word a Week’ challenge is HAT. My sister and I were made to wear hats when we were children, and we absolutely hated them. Our mom was very hat addicted, and looked really chic in her royal blue satin pillbox hat with the dotted lace netting which came down over her eyes, making her look both elegant and mysterious. Her favourite was a gold one very similar, which she wore with a silky blue and yellow dress and jacket. Then there was the one with the long multi-coloured feather on the side, which prompted an old man in our church to loudly remark half way through the sermon, “Oh…… you’ve got your Robin Hood hat on today, have you?” As you can imagine, she was mortified, as the preacher paused and the congregation turned around to have a look. 😀

Mom was the smartest lady on the block, and we were so proud of her. Her obsession with hats did however create a  problem for my sister and I, as we also had to have a hat to match our ‘Sunday best’ outfits. This of course was in the days when kids didn’t have a wardrobe full of clothes and dozens of pairs of shoes. We just had our school clothes, our playing outside in the garden clothes, and our best clothes. The winter ‘best clothes’ were worn from autumn until Easter, and then we got a new outfit for the spring and summer months. Our parents were very sensible with their money,  and realised that children grow very fast, and therefore by the time the shoes and clothes were past their best, we’d outgrown them anyway. The hat and gloves however, were mandatory and non negotiable, and it was during my growing up years that I realized that the words ‘hat’ and ‘hate’,  very closely resemble one another.

Our family were considered quite ‘posh’ for the area we lived in, and when my sister and I ventured out on our walk to Sunday School, we came in for some teasing and ridicule from some of the neighbourhood kids. My mom tried to make me feel more positive about wearing hats, by telling me that I had “a hat face,” whatever one of those is?  I have very unfond memories of our series of hats through the years, and besides the horrid bottle-green school beret, the ones that really stick in my mind are the yellow feather efforts which made us look like a couple of canaries, my sister’s gold-coloured velour bowler hat which was always worn at a rakish angle, and my putty-coloured, blancmange-shaped hat with the gold beads, which was once snatched off my head by the local bully girl and tossed over a shop door’s security gate. It took us quite some time to find a stick long enough to reach it and drag it back through the bars. Needless to say it never looked quite the same after its ordeal, but was unfortunately for me, considered still wearable until the end of the summer.

When I left home, I only wore hats of my choosing, and they have been worn for a purpose rather than as decoration. There was the rabbit-fur bonnet to keep my head and ears warm, which I was wearing when I met hubby one cold November night. He really liked me in that, and we’ve been together ever since.  I mostly wear a peaked cap when on holiday and in the sun. This is my favourite, and I’ve nearly lost it a couple of times.

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In Bali I found a cute straw hat at a market, which served me well for the time I was there, and got left behind when we packed.

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In Ecuador I was cajoled by a very persuasive salesman, into buying a genuine Panama hat which was supposed to be fully collapsible for travel, but when I got it home, couldn’t be coaxed back into it’s original shape and ended up in the trash can. When we visited Mount Rushmore, it was so very cold and windy, that this warm hat was absolutely essential. Those past Presidents don’t look very impressed, do they? I do believe that Abraham Lincoln was trying his best not to laugh. 😀

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My relationship with hats over the years has been a very chequered one. That song, ‘You can keep your hat on’,  definitely isn’t my signature tune, although I really love it. I hope that as I grow older, I can take hubby’s advice when he says “keep your hair on,” as I don’t ever intend to be like the old woman in that poem by Jenny Joseph,  who “wears purple and a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.” Just to end off, no post on a hat theme would be complete without this shot of Princess Beatrice in the hat that launched a thousand Facebook pages. 😆

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

Travel theme: Curves

Ailsa’s new travel theme is “Curves,” and if you click on my link, you will see her 3 amazing photos for the challenge.

I was sure I must have something suitable, tucked away in my trusty laptop, and these are what I came up with:

This is the curve in the road where I first set eyes on the most breathtaking sight of Mount Rushmore. It had been a dream of mine to actually witness this amazing spectacle for myself, and I was so excited.

I just love how the curve of this beautiful arch, contrasts with the straight path through the lovely gardens of the 10th century Alhambra Palace in Granada.

Here are the fabulous green curves of the the hills which line the Li river between Guilin and Yangshuo. The scenery here has been famed as “the best under Heaven,” and I can quite believe it. It was as if I had been transported into an ancient Chinese pen and ink drawing. The elegance was just astounding.

 

Here is the beautiful curve of a rainbow at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I put this one in especially for bulldogsturf, who is an ex Rhodie.


Some of you may have seen this next pic, but it does fit the theme very well. How is this for a curvy staircase? Whilst in Rome last year, we went to the Cabiria Restaurant,where we got the elevator up to the roof deck. After dinner, some of us decided that this was a far more exciting way to get back down to ground level. I counted 186 steps, and although I’d only had two glasses of wine, was quite dizzy by the time I reached the bottom. 🙂

I know that the word “curvy” is often used to describe the well-rounded female figure. When we went out walking along our beach path today, I couldn’t resist taking a pic of this painting for the theme. This artists impression of female curves is quite hilarious, don’t you think? 😀

I hope you enjoyed my curvy pics. If you would like to see what other bloggers have come up with, just click here.