Sunsets & rises ~ travel edition.

Oh what a cliché eh? Sunsets and sunrises are 10 a penny, calendars, postcards, instagram and facebook’s dodgy phone shots. I have succumbed though, throughout the years of taking pictures. If I see a sunset or less often, a sunrise, I will raise the camera and attempt to capture the uncapturable. For remembering where I was and what I was doing at the time, for the swell of emotion I remember feeling as the colours intensify, change, and fade. For the beauty. This post is of sunsets and sunrises I’ve seen on my travels away from the UK.

In 2000 my friend Andy emigrated from Milton Keynes in the UK to Al Haurin El Grande near the southern coast of Spain, he hired a white van to take all his stuff in, and asked me to go with him so I could bring back the van, a road trip of nearly 1500 miles each way. I took Ben with me, and we drove all day and night to arrive in Spain at 7am.

“If I should capture the most beautiful sunrise, only then, will I stop capturing them.”
Danikelii

7am, at Andy’s mother’s home, Al Haurin El Grande, Spain.

“You have to travel far and wide to see a lot of the world’s wonders, but sunsets can be appreciated in every corner of the earth.”
~ Kimmie Conner

Bray, France, 2007

“At sunrise, the blue sky paints herself with gold colors and joyfully dances to the music of a morning breeze.”
~ Debasish Mridha

Monastir, Tunisia 2008

“Let the sea breeze blow your hair, let the sunset bring tranquility to your heart, let the distant places you travel allow you to explore yourself.”
~ Somya Kedia

Zeebrugge, Belgium 2012

“Today was about chasing sun-rays, beach waves, & sunsets. All things beautiful that give you peace are worth chasing. Everything else isn’t.”
~ April Mae Monterrosa

Cyprus 2012

“I just need you and some sunsets”
~ Atticus

Sorrento, Italy, 2013

“…At every sunset, the sky is a different shade. No cloud is ever in the same place. Each day is a new masterpiece. A new wonder. A new memory.”
~ Sanober Khan

Lake Ontario, USA, 2014

The redness had seeped from the day and night was arranging herself around us. Cooling things down, staining and dyeing the evening purple and blue black.”
~ Sue Monk Kidd

Eddy’s home, Poland 2017

“Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.”
~ Richard Paul Evans

The Lion’s Mound, Wallonia, Belgium, 2018

“Softly the evening came with the sunset.”
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Artemino, Tuscany, Italy 2019

All pictures clickable to embiggen.

Horses

Who doesn’t like the noble steeds, the pretty ponies, the Drey’s? I used to ride when I was a little girl, and love to see horses when I’m out and about. Of course they love to be photographed too!

From horses we may learn not only about the horse itself but also about animals in general, indeed about ourselves and about life as a whole.”
― George Gaylord Simpson

Blay, Normandy,France 2007

“The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.”

—Ronald Duncan

Northumberland, UK, 2011

“A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves – strong, powerful, beautiful – and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.”

—-Pam Brown

Tanfield Railway, Gateshead, UK 2012

“A horse is worth more than riches“.

— Spanish Proverb

Bruges, Belgium 2013

“When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have”

—Winston Churchill

Houffalize, Belgium 2013

“Through the days of love and celebration and joy, and through the dark days of mourning – the faithful horse has been with us always.”

—Elizabeth Cotton

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland, UK 2016

“I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a horse.”

—John Galsworthy

Beamish Museum, County Durham, UK 2016

“The horse, with beauty unsurpassed, strength immeasurable and grace unlike any other, still remains humble enough to carry a man upon his back.”

—Amber Senti

Simonside Country Fair, Northumberland, UK 2017

I believe that the value of the horse and the opportunity of the horse in the future is likely to be as great as ever. Aeroplanes and tanks are only accessories to the men and the horse, and I feel sure that as time goes on you will find just as much use for the horse—the well bred horse—as you have ever done in the past.

—Sir Douglas Haig field marshal in the British Army and a senior officer during World War I.

Beamish Museum, County Durham, UK 2018

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and freedom.”

Sharon Ralls Lemon

South Shields, Tyne & Wear, UK 2018

“There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain’t a thing.”

Will Rogers

Florence, Tuscany, Italy, 2019

“Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls, they give us hope.”

—Toni Robinson

Northumberland Zoo, UK 2019

“Horses make a landscape look beautiful”

—Alice Walker

all pictures embiggenable with a click.

Stay tooned for whatever comes next! 🙂

France May 2019 The Watermill part 3

For our final visit to the watermill, I’ll show you some of the interesting things I found walking around the grounds with my camera.

In one of the sheds

A roller in the shed!

 

Yes that was a surprise, here’s a few details of it

There was another one in a lock up, but that still worked apparently. Had a bar in it too!

Garden Feature 😀

Bandsaw Beehive

Tractor No.1

Tractor No.2

Cartwheel

The waterwheels.

Trough

My favourite part was the Water feature.

Water Feature

So that brings me to the end of showing you around the watermill, though if you were interested there’s plenty more to see in the full album (including rusty stuff embedded in ivy and cat pictures) in the full album HERE

All pictures embiggenable with a clickety click.

Oh and finally, it was quite cold in the evenings, and Phil had to pull out his boy scout skills!

Fireman Phil! 🙂

France ~ May 2019 ~ The Watermill ~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

The inside of the watermill was very cozy, so I took a few shots 🙂 Nicola had left us some nibbles and cider for when we arrived.

A cool kitchen

and some natty eggcups in the cupboard!

The snug where we sat to watch DVD’s in the evening

The bathroom and our bedroom had views out into the garden

bathroom window

Around the outside of the mill was lovely too

Our front doors

Bonsai on the window sill

And we made new friends

Marmalade

Fatcat

Marmalade would come for tickles as long as we were outside

and Fatcat stomped indoors whenever we were there and sat on Phils knee at night 🙂

That will do for now, still more grounds to explore with an amazing water feature to show you, so stay tooned!

France – May 2019 – The Watermill Part 1

I’ve been neglecting the Universe Blog whilst doing my 365 on The Other Place and going on holiday, so thought I’d get back to it. Last week we travelled to Normandy, France for a few days visiting historical sites. But before we hop off on a visit I’m going to show you around where we stayed. The place we stayed is called La Houssain, it’s tiny, but in it there’s an old watermill, built in the 1700’s and added to in the 18’s.

The Watermill
The Watermill

 

Should have moved the car but never mind. A river runs along side it (of course- it’s hard to be a watermill without water 🙂 )

rear view from the riverside

 

The mill is nestled in woodlands and forest, and the soundtrack to life is of countless birdsongs, the breeze in the trees and the flow of the nearby river. An escape from the madding crowd, where peace and nature surround and seduce you. 

There is an old building on site that once was a bakers oven, the people in the surrounding area brought their wheat to the mill to be ground, and then took it to the oven to be baked. It was our view from the front door.

Oven house

The Oven house seen from the driveway

Nicola, the owner, uses it to store wood for the range fire in the mill.

Nicola keeps a few sheep on her land too

The sheeple.

Next time we’ll have a look at some of the interesting garden and water features! 🙂

Stay tooned!

Road Trip October 2017 ~ The Model Show

After our visit to Overloon, we then headed for Veldhoven and got to the big conference centre where it’s held, and also where we stayed.  It’s an absolutely huge place with 500 rooms, mostly filled with geeky modellers 🙂 for the weekend. We’ve been here a couple of years ago so I’ve already photographed it inside and out, but it’s always fun to shoot the corridors!

Phil had been asked to judge one of the sections of the model competition, along with a couple of other modellers.  The competition has over 2000 entries, this whole show is vast.  I took a lot of photo’s but didn’t get all 2000!  I’m posting a few of my favourites here but I’ll leave a link to the full album, there’s some great artistry  to be seen.

the quality of the flat figures was also amazing,

Full album of models HERE

The long corridors of the conference are home to various artists whose work is for sale, and thinking of my pal Clare over at Monster Mermaid 

I photographed some of the art work on display

you can see more Here

We had a great time at the show, met up with old pals in the bar in the evenings to have a good chat on,  and on the Monday morning, packed our bags and came home. Phil’s already booked us back in for next year, so there’ll be another road trip next October!

Stay tooned 🙂

 

 

Road Trip ~ October 2017~ Day 5~Overloon

War belongs in the museum. That is the motto of the War Museum Overloon. The War Museum Overloon presents the history of the Second World War. Here you see how it can be that in five years’ time more than fifty million people lost their lives, but also how the oppressed people resourcefully coped with restrictions and shortages. There is attention to the opposition, but also to the persecution. Finally, there is, of course, also attention paid to the liberation, with special attention to the Battle of Overloon.

In September 1944, the British general Montgomery conceived of the attack plan Market Garden. With air landings at Arnhem and the liberation of a narrow corridor through South Netherlands, it would be possible for the Allies to make a further advance to Berlin. However, the plan only partially succeeded. The Allied forces wanted to broaden and strengthen their corridor, but the German opponent in turn tried to cut the Allies off. On 30 September, the two parties clashed in the vicinity of Overloon. German Panther tanks and American Sherman tanks attacked each other continuously. About a week later, British troops got involved in the fight. Ultimately, it took nearly three weeks before Overloon and more the southerly Venray were liberated. The Battle of Overloon is known as the most intense tank battle that ever took place on Dutch ground.
The battle of Overloon ensued as the Allies in Operation Aintree advanced from nearby positions south toward the village of Overloon. After a failed attack on Overloon by the U.S. 7th Armored Division, the British 3rd Infantry Division and the British 11th Armoured Division took over. The U.S. 7th Armored Division was moved south of Overloon to the Deurne – Weert area. Here they were attached to the British Second Army, and ordered to make demonstration attacks to the east in order to divert enemy forces from the Overloon and Venlo areas.

Suffering heavy losses the British captured Overloon and moved towards Venray. The advance on Venray resulted in heavy losses, especially around the Loobeek creek, which was swollen due to heavy autumn rains and was flooded and mined by the Germans. Casualties were heavy here among the 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment which was serving in 185th Infantry Brigade of the British 3rd Division. During the battle, the village of Overloon was destroyed. In and around Overloon, some 2,500 soldiers died, making it one of the bloodiest battles in the Netherlands during the Second World War. Dozens of tanks, mainly American, were destroyed. (info from wiki and the museum website).

I did say in my post from Waterloo, that the underground museum there was one of the most impressive I’d seen, but really Overloon War museum was even more so.  The museum was established straight away after the war, in 1946 and  consists of tanks, vehicles and all sorts that were left on the battlefield, and have been restored. The place is huge, big enough to house a B25 tactical bomber as well as all the vehicles.

I was chuffed to see a spitfire too

Phil was happy to see a Panther G (he’s built a few himself 🙂 )

there were guns

and motorbikes

One of the more poignant exhibits was a Churchill tank and with it a letter from the chap who’d been in it when it was blown up, you can click on the picture of the letter to see it large so to speak, and to do so and read it is an experience in itself.

I also liked how they had old war posters and photographs to go with the displays

The Red Ball Express was a famed truck convoy system that supplied Allied forces moving quickly through Europe after breaking out from the D-Day beaches in Normandy in 1944. In order to expedite cargo to the front, trucks emblazoned with red balls followed a similarly marked route that had been closed to civilian traffic. These trucks were also given priority on regular roads.  The system originated in an urgent 36-hour meeting and began operating on August 25, 1944, staffed primarily with African-American soldiers. At its peak, the Express operated 5,958 vehicles, and carried about 12,500 tons of supplies a day. It ran for 83 days until November 16, when the port facilities at Antwerp, Belgium, were opened, enough French rail lines were repaired, and portable gasoline pipelines were deployed.

As well as all the vehicles, there is the history of the awful conditions that the people of Overloon suffered, and the role of the resistance.

outside there are statues (can’t find any info on them, but I think they depict the starvation of the townspeople)

this next one is Shock Troops of the Command/Limburg Regiment during the Second World War. Monument Shock Troops Command, manufactured by the painter/sculptor Charles Eyck.

they’d even restored a Bailey Bridge

ahem 🙂

Far too many photo’s for one post and I won’t bore you to death with lots of military vehicles, but I did take a shed load of them and for anyone interested

the full album can be viewed HERE

It is such a powerful museum to experience, and once isn’t really enough, there are bits that make you cry, like the letter from the tank guy, but there’s just so much that is fascinating, and you get such a sense of the scale of things.

This was the last visit to museums along the way to the Model show in Veldhoeven, but stay tooned, as well be getting to that next time.

 

Road Trip ~ October 2017~ Day 4~Bastogne

The battle of the Bulge was a German offensive intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to encircle and destroy four Allied armies and force the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis powers’ favor. It was planned by the German forces with utmost secrecy, with minimal radio traffic and movements of troops and equipment under cover of darkness. Intercepted German communications indicating a substantial German offensive preparation were not acted upon by the Allies. The surprise attack caught the Allied forces completely off guard. American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s armored forces, and they were largely unable to replace them. German personnel and, later, Luftwaffe aircraft (in the concluding stages of the engagement) also sustained heavy losses.
By 21 December the Germans had surrounded Bastogne, which was defended by the 101st Airborne Division, the all African American 969th Artillery Battalion, and Combat Command B of the 10th Armored Division. Conditions inside the perimeter were tough—most of the medical supplies and medical personnel had been captured. Food was scarce, and by 22 December artillery ammunition was restricted to 10 rounds per gun per day. The weather cleared the next day, however, and supplies (primarily ammunition) were dropped over four of the next five days.

Despite determined German attacks, however, the perimeter held. The German commander, Generalleutnant Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz, requested Bastogne’s surrender. When Brig. Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, acting commander of the 101st, was told of the Nazi demand to surrender, in frustration he responded, “Nuts!” After turning to other pressing issues, his staff reminded him that they should reply to the German demand. One officer, Lt. Col. Harry Kinnard, noted that McAuliffe’s initial reply would be “tough to beat.” Thus McAuliffe wrote on the paper, which was typed up and delivered to the Germans, the line he made famous and a morale booster to his troops: “NUTS!” That reply had to be explained, both to the Germans and to non-American Allies.

Both 2nd Panzer and Panzer-Lehrdivision moved forward from Bastogne after 21 December, leaving only Panzer-Lehrdivision’s 901st Regiment to assist the 26th Volksgrenadier-Division in attempting to capture the crossroads. The 26th VG received one Panzergrenadier Regiment from the 15th Panzergrenadier Division on Christmas Eve for its main assault the next day. Because it lacked sufficient troops and those of the 26th VG Division were near exhaustion, the XLVII Panzerkorps concentrated its assault on several individual locations on the west side of the perimeter in sequence rather than launching one simultaneous attack on all sides. The assault, despite initial success by its tanks in penetrating the American line, was defeated and all the tanks destroyed. The next day, 26 December, the spearhead of Gen. Patton’s 4th Armored Division, supplemented by the 26th (Yankee) Infantry Division, broke through and opened a corridor to Bastogne. (info purloined from wiki).

Phil wanted to visit two places inn Bastogne, Bastogne Barracks, which has a goodly amount of restored tanks , and the Bastogne War museum.  We arrived at the barracks to find it didn’t open until 2pm, so went off to visit the War museum.  We parked up in the car park and I opened up the back of the car to get my camera, whereupon we were invaded.

After we evicted the cat we walked up the hill. I wasn’t expecting a giant statue of the famous photo ‘The Kiss’ by Alfred Eisentaed,

also outside is the Belgian-American memorial, in the shape of a 5 point star

These words are carved into panels in the memorial like the ones in the photo above, it is worth reading.

We were given handsets to listen to as we walked around the museum, and the story of 4 real people from the time is told as you walk through each section. Robert Keane : an American corporal of the 101st airborne division;Hans Wegmüller : a German lieutenant of the 26th Volksgrenardier Division; Mathilde Devillers : a young teacher from Bastogne school and Emile Mostade : one of her pupils, aged 13. The museum is laid out in 7 sections starting with an overview of pre-war Europe, and ending with the New World order. It’s really well done and worth a visit.

Some of the exhibits.

After the museum we went back to the barracks as it was after 2pm, only to be told that we were now too late 🙄 as it’s a tour with a guide, that starts at 2, and ends at 4.  Didn’t spot that when we looked it up online so we were a bit disappointed.  Instead we had a wander into Bastogne itself, and had a coffee or two.

Belgium of course is noted for it’s chocolate,

but we were good, and didn’t indulge.

There’s a square at the top of the street where every building seems to be a restaurant

and it had a Sherman tank in the carpark

which had been wounded in the war

Even though we missed out on the barracks tour, we had a lovely day again, the weather started off cloudy but turned into blue skies in the afternoon and we stayed in a really nice guest house where we had our own kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, so dined in on microwave meals, from a supermarket up the road. Actually that was a bit of a disaster as the microwave conked out after heating up one dinner and we had to wait 1/2 an hour for it to work again. 🙄

Stay tooned for the next visit which is to Overloon and the War museum there, which is an amazing place.

more about Bastogne War museum HERE

full set of pictures HERE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip ~ October 2017~ Day 3~ Waterloo~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

We emerged from the underground museum to a gorgeous sunny day, so went and had coffee sitting outside of the cafe. The lion’s mound loomed above us, and a couple of times we looked at the (225!!) steps and contemplated getting to the top and decided against it!

(crapola picture here as my exposure was all wrong but I didn’t get a better one 🙄 )

But in the end I just HAD to give it a go, knowing the view would be stupendous.  Phil groaned as he knew he’d have to come with me, but we were heartened by the fact that older people than us had done it :D. We stopped a few times on the way up to prevent death, but finally got to the top!

There was a battle plan on a plinth that showed you what you were looking at

but I couldn’t really get the hang of it, and it didn’t matter to me anyway, the views WERE stupendous!

 

Then we went back down and walked down the road you can see in that shot ^ to some monuments.

LtCol Sir Alexander Gordon was aide de camp to the duke of Wellington and was  mortally wounded at his side, near the square of the 2/30th Foot at the moment of the attack of the Middle Guard. A cannon ball took away his leg. Sergeant-Major Wood of the 30th Foot transported him, probably first to the Mont-Saint-Jean farm, for some first help, and after that, to the Bodenghien inn at Waterloo, Wellington’s HQ (now Wellington Museum), where he died at 3h30 in the morning of 19 June, after the amputation of his leg. This his monument and one of the oldest on the site, built in July 1817 by Gordon’s family.

We strolled back up for dinner at the cafe, more spaghetti bolognese 🙂 and after I took a couple of shots around the place

and to finish the day nicely we saw a gorgeous sunset.

Waterloo is a fab place to visit, the town is quaint and the battle site, museums and monuments of which there are more than I’ve seen or shown, well worth a visit. I think the underground museum at Lion’s mound is my best ever museum. And I’ve seen a lot!

Full set of pictures HERE

Next time we’ll be moving on to Bastogne, so stay tooned!