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August on Ullswater takes some beating when the weather’s fine. The lakeside and the nearby villages of Glenridding and Pooley Bridge took a severe clobbering though, in December 2015, when torrential rains caused major flooding and disruption that included the loss of a bridge, several hundred years old – the effects of which are still being felt. Repair and restoration works are still ongoing in homes, businesses, riverbeds and bridge building throughout the county of Cumbria. It’s all the lovelier to see the lake en fête this year



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Holborn in London is full of surprises, including some great eating houses and proximity for pedestrians to Covent Garden, The Embankment, Theatreland, and Westminster.

This photo captures something of yesteryear. This is where you headed if you were a fashionable gentleman in need of a new swordstick, or a lady about to travel somewhere hot out there in the far flung Empire for whom a tropical sunshade would be an absolute must.

Highly polished brass and a host of colours, I’m sure there’s a novel or at least a short story in James Smith & Sons somewhere


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At each returning
senses highly attuned
Big Ben solemnly
announces hours to
boatmen and barbers
Covent Garden Apple
cabs and cafés
cosmopolitan cacophony
falafel or fish and chips to
spaghetti bolognese

halves and quarters are
Westminster Chimes over
houses of card in doorways
betwixt happier hotels
elegant architectural heights
museum and mausoleum and
millennium wheel
patisseries and palaces
picnics in Royal parks
seagulls over Leicester Square’s
theatres and cinemas and
Tower Bridge walkways

unquantifiable wealth and
poverty and pavement art
umbrella emporium
Underground rumbling
weary workers
shuffling distractedly
bicycles in bus lanes
smoking and drinking in
streets outside bars
these are our London days


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A seagull circles the tower of the sixth century Euphrasian Basilica in Poreč, Istria, Croatia. A UNESCO world heritage site, some of the fine mosaic paving dates back to the fourth century.

The Adriatic Sea can just be seen through the rooftops at the upper left of this image, the basilica’s bells woke us gently, and the rusty skylight in the lower centre of the photo appears in the poem Tower that was inspired by this scene

elytra filament


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The John Madejski Garden at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum was a veritable sun trap today.

Their website describes ‘a newly-commissioned Garden installation by architects and engineers at the University of Stuttgart – inspired by the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra and constructed using a novel robotic production process’.

The perfect spot for rendez-vous with an old friend and an ice cream cone beside the pavilion lake



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Just after 8 o’clock in the morning. This was the view from our window at Rydal Hall as I wondered what the day would bring to inspire my contributions to a writing retreat. Everything about the place was inspiring of course. This is the land of the Lakeland Poets. But this has become a favourite image. It’s full of the promise of the day



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A trip into Lanzarote’s Montañas del Fuego (Fire Mountains), or Timanfaya, towards sundown is spectacular on a huge scale. Here the effect of a bucket of cold water poured quickly into a bore hole is graphically shown. The water hardly hits the rock at the bottom before it is expelled with huge force and a very loud shoosh. Elsewhere atop this particular volcano chicken legs and sausages were being cooked to perfection in a shallow lava pit. So: plenty of hot water and a natural barbecue. Sorted!