Visiting Prague, At Last!

View of Prague's terracotta rooftops and the Vltava River

Prague’s rooftops and river, seen from St. Vitus Cathedral Tower

I’ve wanted to go to Prague for longer than I can remember, although I couldn’t have said why that was. Perhaps all travellers to Prague come home transformed into fervent advertising features and I met one of them on a train years ago. That might seem a wild guess, but people on trains have often told me things.   Continue reading

Cheeky Roadside Memorabilia (With A Coulrophobia Warning)

Retro advertising signs and characters

I’m sharing these pictures, taken in the backyard at Austin’s Roadhouse Relics, for the weekly photo challenge, cheeky. I recommend you take a look at the other submissions, if only to see Michelle’s cheeky parrot, shared for our inspiration.

The figures along the roof are the cheeky bit in this picture, although the picture is doubling as a delaying tactic as I know there are increasing amounts of people with a fear of clowns.

I assume quite a few of these are not familiar with the term coulrophobia, which makes me wonder why we give such strange terms to fears. Believe me, if you have a phobia, you want a good clear warning. Obfustication is the last thing you need with danger approaching (that word must have more than a hint of irony in it, surely?).

But, to back to my ~~~warning~~~ if you share this fear, please look no further.  Continue reading

Two Views Of The Isle Of Man

Scenic view, Peel, Isle of Man

We all have our favourite views – the first is one of mine. The couple are taking in the view from Peel Hill on the west coast of the Isle of Man as sun starts to set over the harbour. We’d been hoping to snag the bench ourselves, but, as it turned out, their presence made the view sweeter. When they’d had their fill, they made their way back down, giving us chance to take our turn. Continue reading

Americana: Neon Signs

Broken Spoke sign

Our eye is often caught by things that seem a little exotic. This week’s photo challenge (names) has reminded me to share images of neon branding signs you can hardly miss seeing. The last sign in particular is the kind we don’t often see in the UK.

The first decorates the entrance of Broken Spoke, on Lamar Boulevard in Austin, TX. Dating back to 1964, you’ll see this country music venue variously described as a honky-tonk, the earliest stomping grounds of Willie Nelson or the last of the true Texas Dancehalls.  Continue reading

Bonfire on the Levee

Bonfire on the levee

‘Way down south Louisiana’ it’s an old Cajun tradition to light bonfires along the Mississippi levee to help guide in Santa Claus (Papa Noel) on Christmas Eve. This particular bonfire was lit in advance for guests of The American Queen to enjoy. You can just make out the lights of the paddleboat in the background.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday, with convivial company and all the traditions you hold dear.

Shack Up Inn

Red, White and Blues in The Delta

An old song drifted into my mind when I saw this week’s photo challenge prompt:

As I sit and bathe
In a wave of nostalgia
For an age yet to come.

Pete Shelley

That thought is perhaps best left dangling like a participle, though there is an oblique connection (trust me, there always is) to these oversized branding signs. They’re part of a past that I’ll never fully understand. I don’t know what DX stands for (I cropped the D out). I can’t even date them.

I used to see adverts and film segments on British TV showing American trucks pulling into American petrol stations, or teenagers hanging out in cars, getting soda from a drive-through that looked like a petrol station. In my naivety, I used to think this was nostalgia – that these scenes were retro-styled, hankering back to a loved, lost past. I didn’t realise it’s like that now. In places.

The present looks different, depending on where you are. American trucks really are L-shaped, with bonnets (hoods) like oversized cars. Sonics exist. No need for nostalgia – if a soda float floats your boat, it’s right here, right now.

But back to the signs and their context. Their bold colours and logos were once deployed to promote things, but today they’ve retired to the country. Together with a lot of old, corrugated tin and reclaimed wood, they now reside at one of the world’s most characterful B&Bs.  Continue reading

State of Mind

Royers Round Top

For this week’s photo challenge, Ben Huberman asks us to go a little deeper, to share a picture that reveals a particularly strong connection. I set off all metaphysical, thinking about empty seats: how our state of mind might alter how we interpret the scene.

Well, that’s as may be, but how often do we look at something and not see the blindingly obvious? If my fondness for this picture – not exactly one of my best – means anything at all, it’s that with me, it just don’t get no deeper than I likes me some pie.  Continue reading

Happy Christmas! Sprouts anyone?

Christmas Tree watercolour effect

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quieter than usual. I’ve been travelling, but later today, I’ll be setting off home for Christmas.

I’ve never flown at this time of the year and am wondering whether we can expect more fun than usual on the journey, or mild chaos. In retrospect the timing of our great value flights does seem a little – well – rash. I’m naturally optimistic (hence the ‘mild chaos’) but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see emotions rise if there are any delays.  Continue reading