Sunday, 23 July 2017

The Villages of Laycock and Goose Eye, West Yorkshire

Two miles west of town of Keighley, on the border with Brontë Country lie two old, small and peaceful villages: Laycock and Goose Eye. I love exploring and photographing picturesque villages and was very pleased to discover these two which are only a slight detour on my way to Haworth.

Wandering around Laycock, I was immediately drawn to the sense of slow pace of life and living in harmony with countryside and nature. The villagers were friendly and took the time to chat to us: there was an owner of a beautiful and unusual, very old house doing some work outside, and further up a group of ladies came out of another house after getting together for a morning coffee. There were some gorgeous gardens teeming with colourful summer blooms and attractive tables with chairs thoughtfully placed to enjoy soothing, far reaching views.

We passed through Goose Eye on our way out of Laycock, but I came back to take photos a few days later. Goose Eye sits in a deep hollow below Laycock and it's known for "The Turkey Inn" pub and a small independent brewery. The hamlet has its origins in the 18th century Industrial Revolution when it was developed around two water powered mills.

On the edge of the car park, which is the site of the former mill dam, there is Turkey Mill where high quality paper was manufactured. The mill has recently been converted into flats.

On the bank of a beck, in a lovely woodland setting stands the Rag Mill. The mill was used to grind up rags to a pulp used in paper manufacture. After a long period of disuse it was converted into apartments in 2000 and thus saved from dereliction.

It was a very hot and sticky day, and we were thankful for the charming 19th century pub being within easy reach. The food and drink were very good indeed at the Turkey Inn and we enjoyed the olde worlde decor. The whole experience of the day felt quite special, and we shall remember this village and the pub in future when we want to go somewhere different.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Getty Images Sale, June 2017

Just a quick post to record a little but very special sale of two of my photos I have with Getty Images online photo agency. They are of my handsome partner G who I have always been proud of when it comes to the looks (and not only looks, of course!).

The images are from our very first photo shoot ever (it took all of sixteen years for one to happen!) which I blogged about here. We are both amused, but also pleased that our joint photographic effort has been rewarded. The top photo sold in the U.S.A. and the bottom one in Japan.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Around Ponden, Brontë Country, July 2017

Last week I was back at Ponden Hall. Once a year I like to stay in this marvellous character home steeped in history with many Brontë Sisters connections. I blogged about it in the past here and here. Being situated three miles west of Haworth where the sisters lived and wrote, Ponden Hall is also a perfect place from which to explore and roam that part of Brontë Country. There are important landmarks related to the locations in Emily's "Wuthering Heights" book, the most significant being Ponden Kirk, or Ponden Crag as Emily called it in her novel. This was where G and I headed for on a rather cloudy, but still beautiful, breezy morning. I did this walk last September for a first time.

View of Ponden Reservoir from Ponden Cottage which is right next to Ponden Hall.

Upper Ponden Barn, always a lovely photogenic sight, especially under a dark, moody sky.

Approaching Ponden Kirk. a backdrop to Cathy and Heathcliff's tormented story in "Wuthering Heights". At the bottom of the crag there is a hole named "The Fairy Cave" to which Emily makes reference in her novel. According to tradition, if a young maid passes through the hole, she will marry within a year.

The magnificent view from the top of Ponden Kirk with Ponden Reservoir in the distance. I must admit, much as I enjoyed the view I felt a little uncomfortable with the steep drop below the rock and the narrow, uneven path close to the edge of the ravine, the more so because of the fairly strong wind. I thought of Emily who, being not only used to this landscape, but also inspired and intrigued by it, must have felt completely at home in this spot. I wished I was too.
In mid distance there is a lower path which I checked out when we left Ponden Kirk.

View over Ponden Clough and the path to Ponden Kirk. There had been little rain at the time, so the stream was narrow and low which made for an easier crossing since there is no bridge over the stream.

Ponden Kirk from the lower path.

I was overjoyed to see heather had just started to bloom. Can't wait to go back around the beginning of next month when it will be in its prime covering the moors with huge pink carpets.

I picked some heather, took it back to our room in Ponden Hall  and photographed it lying on the stone sill of the beautiful window. This was my second stay in this room, the Giddings Room. I love this window so much and have used it for still life photography before.

On our first evening we walked to "The Old Silent Inn" for our evening meal, delightful old country pub, perfect for a rest and indulging in some gourmet food. This is one of our all time favourite pubs in England.

We passed Ponden Mill, where there is a cafe and two recently opened bed & breakfast rooms.

We walked back home just after the sunset when the whole countryside was enveloped in a pink and golden glow.

It was so gratifying to end the day taking photos in such beautiful surroundings and light. In fact, for me this is happiness that I cannot find in anything else.