Selfie was nominated as the word of the year last year by Oxford Dictionaries, narrowly beating bitcoin and twerk. I’m not really a selfie-taking type of person, or even someone who will ask others to take pictures of me. In fact, I rarely take pictures with any people in them. It has to be quite an exceptional situation for me to think about it. Like this one.
I know, its a terrible picture. You’d barely recognise me from it. You’d barely recognise anyone from it. That’s because the phone I took the picture on was in a waterproof cover, and the rain was so heavy it was running over the screen, over my hand and down the sleeve of my jacket. But as the wind was blowing the rain down my face and neck, and down the front of my jacket, I didn’t notice it too much.
I couldn’t really see the screen either, as my eyelashes were filled with windblown rain. And the wind was so strong, it felt like nails on my skin. Gusts were pushing me off my feet.
Posted a little later than planned, as I’ve been tucked up in bed with the flu this week, this is my contribution to this week’s photo challenge exploring interesting juxtaposition and unexpected pairings.
I like this picture taken from the viewing platform at the top of the Rainforest Biome at the Eden Project, which looks just like an aerial view across the jungle canopy. There’s even a tiny tin-roofed shack hiding amongst the foliage. But the backdrop to this apparently natural scene is a futuristic-looking plastic and steel geodesic dome, which keeps out the English weather.
Depending on where you are, and whether you are looking in from outside or out from inside, windows reveal different things. They are a portal out to the world, or a glimpse into people’s lives. Like on Play School, windows can lead you into a story.
This is the rear window of a Land Rover Defender 110 in the Heritage Motor Centre in Gaydon, Warwickshire; one of several of the vehicles used in the Bond film Skyfall. It still bears all its battle scars, and no doubt could tell a story or two.
The theme of this week’s Photo Challenge is windows.
The Weekly Photo challenge theme this week is Joy.
For me, the things that bring me joy are the things that really make me feel alive, that keep me connected to the natural world around me; often the experiences you only get by getting outdoors and leaving the city behind, finding a wild place and all that it offers.
Under the dome, The Eden Project
Draken at Dawn, Haugesund
These are some of the things that I’ve captured on instagram over this year that have made me feel joyful. If I have any resolutions for next year, it’s to get out and do more with my time, enjoy the little things, and make better connections with the people around me.
Have a happy Hogmanay, and I wish you all the best for 2014. May your year be filled with travels, adventures and joy.
In April 2010 there was only one place that people in Northern Europe were talking about. Or attempting to talk about, as the Icelandic pronunciation of Eyjafjallajökull proved too difficult for all but the most practiced of linguists. Ash from the eruption rose into the atmosphere and entered the jet stream, leading to the cancellation of air traffic across a large part of Europe. Ash falls were recorded in parts of Scotland, Ireland, Norway and the Faeroe Islands.
When I visited in spring 2012, there wasn’t any sign of the eruption remaining around the farms of Eyjafjöll, at the foot of the mountains. However, inland from the Hringvegur (Ring Road) on the Fimmvörðuháls mountain pass two new volcanic fissures opened up, each about 0.5km long. The craters were named Magni and Móði, after the sons of Thor, the Norse god of thunder, who gives his name to the mountain ridge of Thórsmörk to the north.
This summer I spent several weeks as a crew member onboard Draken Harald Hårfagre, a Viking longship, that is the largest ever built in modern times. You can read more about my adventures starting here, but now meet the crew that were the dragon tamers.
Taking the tiller
Viking-style cookery class.
Hiding from squalls in the head
Testing safety equipment
Jöel learning Norwegian
Hendrik and his Hardangerfele
Gunnvar, Tore and Kjetil
Gregors and Lars
Just hold this please…
Karl-Emil demonstrates knots
Breakfast on board
Vicky the Viking
Alexander and Alexander
At the end of a long day
Nis, Carsten and Espen
Hmmm, what now?
The crew members were a diverse group of people, from professional sailors who’d spent a lifetime at sea to others that had only been on one sailing holiday before, from some of the most experienced Viking ship crew to dingy sailors, rowers and kayakers. We came from all corners of the world, Scandianavia and Scotland, Estonia and England, New Zealand and the USA, France and Canada, Malta and Spain (and I’ve probably missed someone out… sorry!), speaking several languages between us (and only a few able to say døde røde rådne røgede ørreder).
The theme of the weekly photo challenge is community.
As a visitor to Iceland, it almost seems like there’s a waterfall around every bend. Dramatic cascading falls, beautiful ribbon-like streams, rainbow trimmed sheets of water, and thundering cataracts. But the grandest of all Icelandic waterfalls is Dettifoss, where the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river drops 45m into the Jökulsárgljúfur canyon. Fed by the Vatnajökull glacier, and frequent rain and snow, the falls are the most powerful waterfall in Europe.
This week’s travel theme from “Where’s my backpack?” is sky. So what better way to show off the sky than a sunset from the end of the world? Or it might be the sunrise, as both happened within 10 minutes of each other.
Just a few days later and neither would happen again for another 2 and a half months, as the midnight sun doesn’t drop below the horizon north of the Arctic Circle.