Carcassonne in Carcassonne

The mediaeval Cité de Carcassonne in southern France is quite something to see. It perches on a hill, massive ramparts (partially reconstructed) surrounding an historic town.

Carcassonne basks in the golden dusk light

I first visited this UNESCO World Heritage Site a few years ago, on a whirlwind trip from Paris. (See my earlier post, A Short Detour To Carcassonne, France, which includes lots more photos of the ancient city itself.)

I originally learned of Carcassonne from a board game named after the city. Earlier this year I returned to there, and this time I even got to play the game on the ramparts of the citadel itself, with Rich and our friends Jamie and Griff.

As with all games, it was a transient experience. But still another goal checked off the Bucket List!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Transient from Andrea of The Daily Post and Teddy Bears, Dolls, Toys from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in Europe, Jaspa's Journey, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Sam’s Ses Challenge #20: Sweet

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Sweet.

Here’s my contribution:

Naples is famous as the birthplace of pizza.

But they also have some delicious desserts, too!

The Great Migration (cover)The Pride of London coverExpand your child’s mind (and your own) by travelling the World with the Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

Jaspa's Journey Logo (Bigger Bucket)This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by Decadent from Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?  and Giraffe from Jennifer Nichole Wells.

 

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Focusing on Fernando Alonso at the 2017 Indy 500

I can’t tell you how excited I was to learn that one of my favourite Formula 1 drivers, Fernando Alonso, would be taking part in this year’s Indy 500. His participation in the event changed my whole focus for the weekend.

And ‘focus’ is an apt word, since most of Rich’s photographic efforts featured the bright orange number 29 McLaren Honda Andretti car driven by Alonso.

Photographing an Indy car travelling upwards of 230 miles an hour can be quite a challenge. Your best chances are often when the cars are coming directly at you…

Or moving away…

But, of course, you want to get that side-on shot, while the cars are as close to you as possible. Unfortunately, most of these efforts end up out of focus…

Or behind a fence support…

Or both…

Even following the car with a video ends up blurred at these speeds…

But occasionally you get something halfway decent…

The above set of pictures were taken of Fernando during the final practice for the race on Carb Day. Afterwards, we were lucky enough to get into the garages. I tell you, it’s a lot easier to take photos of the cars when they’re stationary. And in pieces!

I even got my photo taken with Mr Alonso himself… sort of…

During the actual race, with a full grandstand of heads, and cars at their max speeds, Rich rarely even tries to take photos. The results are too often like this (and yes, Alonso’s car is in the frame of view: behind this person’s head, which popped up at the last moment)…

Rich did get a couple of shots during the parade laps, while the cars were circling in formation as they got up to racing speed before the start…

And his favourite is this photo, taken behind the Pace Car (so the cars were going slower), while Fernando was leading the race!…

Unfortunately, in a situation that is all too familiar to Formula 1 fans of Fernando Alonso, his race was cut short when his Honda engine gave up the ghost with 20 laps to go. Perhaps he would have had more luck in this McLaren Honda Andretti team vehicle…

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo themes of Focus from David W. of The Daily Post and Cee’s Which Way Challenge.

 

Posted in Formula 1, Photography, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Sam’s Ses Challenge #19: Inside

Welcome to this week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge.

Every weekend, Sam and I pick a word or phrase as the theme for the week. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to post something Ses-related that you think fits with this week’s challenge.  Don’t know who the Ses are?… click here to find out.

Your contribution can be anything you want, a photograph, a short story… anything. Visit the main Sam’s Ses Challenge page to learn more.

The fun will be focused here on my blog, but feel free to play along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Just be sure to link back to the challenge on whichever media you choose, to be certain Sam and I get to see it.

I hope you’ll join in.

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge theme is Inside.

Here’s my contribution:

Me with some Matryoshka Nesting Dolls in St. Petersburg, Russia

The first Matryoshka, or Babushka, nesting dolls were made in 1890. Since then they have become an iconic Russian tradition.

It’s always fun to take a set of Matryoshka dolls apart, to see just how many are hidden inside, nestled in order, one inside the other. Apparently, the World Record is 51!

Expand your child’s mind (and your own) by travelling the World with the Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This week’s Sam’s Ses Challenge was itself partially inspired by Order from the Daily Post.

 

Posted in Europe, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 9 Comments

Strange Happenings at Roswell, New Mexico

Despite being the 5th largest city in New Mexico, Roswell comes across as a sleepy kind of place. The local economy is based on farming and ranching, and I can’t imagine anything particularly exciting happens here these days. Not the sort of thing that would draw a whole lot of visitors, at any rate.

Bisckits getting into the local spirit of things in Roswell

But of course Roswell does have one claim to fame, although ironically it’s for an incident that actually happened quite some distance outside the town.

In July 1947, strange debris was found on the Foster Homestead, to the northwest of Roswell. The official line is that it was part of a balloon from a top secret operation called Project Mogul. Others claim the ‘Roswell Incident’ was the crash site of an alien flying saucer, and that the craft and its extraterrestrial pilots were shipped off the infamous Area 51 in Nevada.

Flying Saucer display at the International UFO Museum and Research Center, Roswell

Whatever you believe, there’s no denying that 70 years later, Roswell remains synonymous with UFOs and aliens.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by the photo theme of Glasses, Cups, Saucers from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in History, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Greyfriars Bobby

Anyone who has read any of the Jaspa’s Journey books, will know my closest friend is a West Highland White Dogses named Gravee.

Me and my friend, Gravee

Gravee comes from Edinburgh in Scotland. More specifically, he lives in Greyfriars Kirkyard, which was once home to his hero, Greyfriars Bobby.

Statue of Bobby, outside Greyfriars Kirkyard

Bobby was a Skye terrier, which are closely related to West Highland White terriers (aka Westies). This little dog is immortalised in history thanks to the unshakable Friendship and devotion he displayed to his master, Auld Jock, for 14 years, through Hot and Cold, rain and shine.

Bobby’s memorial stone, inside Greyfriars Kirkyard

Below is the story of Bobby’s dedication, taken from the prologue of Jaspa’s Journey 2: The Pride of London.

“Gravee leads them off the gravel path and onto the grass to their right. He heads deliberately for a pair of table-like tombstones set a couple of yards back from the path. Beside them is a simple, pinkish headstone marking the final resting place of one John Gray, ‘Auld Jock’, who died, the inscription proclaims, in 1858. Compared to the splendour of some of the other tombs in the kirkyard, these three graves appear unremarkable. Yet they are immortalised in Scottish folklore, thanks to one of Edinburgh’s most celebrated and unlikely heroes: a scruffy Skye terrier named Bobby.

In a display of heartbreaking loyalty, this little dog watched over Auld Jock’s grave for more than 14 years. In times of bad weather, Bobby would shelter beneath the stone tables next to his master’s burial place. Today, a little further up the path near the entrance to the kirkyard, is the twin to Auld Jock’s headstone. Just one of many tributes, scattered all around the world, to the devotion of Greyfriars Bobby.”

Below is some video shot while visiting Greyfriars Kirkyard to research the prologue of The Pride of London.

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by this photo themes of Friend from The Daily Post and Hot and/or Cold from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.

 

Posted in History, Jaspa's Journey, Travel, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

NASA’s Rocket Garden, Kennedy Space Center

I’ve been captivated by space travel from the moment I learned it existed. So visiting the Rocket Garden at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first time made a huge impression on me.

The Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden from outside the gates

What a view!

Left to right: Mercury Redstone, Mercury Atlas, Delta, Juno II, Atlas- Agena and Gemini-Titan, with Saturn 1B lying on its side behind

Mercury Redstone, like the one flown by Alan Shepard, the first American in space

Mercury Atlas, like the one that carried John Glenn into Earth orbit

Saturn 1B, like those used in the development of the Saturn V rockets, which would eventually carry astronauts to the Moon

Another view of the Saturn 1B

Mercury Redstone at dusk

Mercury Atlas at dusk

Partially out of focus photo of the Rocket Garden at dusk, but I like the effects of the people!

Expand the minds of you and your children by travelling the World with Jaspa’s Journey adventure novels! The first two, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from Speaking Volumes! The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is coming soon. Click here for more information.

Jaspa’s Journey: Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

This post was inspired by this photo themes of Garden from Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Evanescent and Impression from The Daily Post.

 

Posted in Adventure, History, Jaspa's Journey, The World, Travel, USA | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments