Even then, with my antiquated Canon S1 IS, I was already photoing goodish photos, or at any rate photos I thought were goodish (and still do). It was just that the success rate then was a bit lower, and the light had to be perfect. That day, it was.
I reckon about a third of those views would look exactly the same now. However, anything with a camera or a map in it is now history. Cameras and maps are now the same things, apart from that tube map on those pants. Mobile phones can’t yet double up as underwear.
Plus, the City of London Big Thing cluster is now … a cluster, rather than just isolated oddities. Who knew then how quickly the Gherkin would be smothered by other Bigger Things? Well, probably a lot of people knew, but I was not one of them.
I have a particular soft spot for photo 6, the one with what looks to me like a thing made of cocktail sticks. It looks to me like a thing made with cocktail stick because I used to make things like that with cocktail sticks. Although, that one in the above photo is extremely primitive compared to some of the things I made, shapes I have never seen since. Memo to self: I must dig out the photos of those, such as the photos were. My stick objects, sadly, predated digital photography.
Castelnou is a small and impossibly picturesque hill town in the lower reaches of the Pyrenees, in the far south of France. GodDaughter2’s parents and I went by car, just over five years ago now, in May 2016, to check it out. And yes, the weather was as marvellous in Castelnou as it has recently been unmarvellous in London.
Nowadays, I find that my expeditions have as their officially designated destination a spot where I have arranged to meet up with a friend and exchange chat, rather than just a particular physical place I especially want to check out. But as my death approaches, not as fast as I feared it would last Christmas but still faster than I had previously supposed that it would, I find that mere Things, in London or anywhere else, aren’t enough to make me get out of the house at the time previously determined. Partly this is because if I fail to arrive at the Thing at the planned time, the Thing won’t ring me up and ask me where I got to, whereas people are inclined to do just that. And partly because the Internet tells you lots about Things, whereas actually meeting people bestows knowledge and pleasures more profound and subtle than you could obtain by any other communicational means.
The point of this Castelnou expedition was that it was with GodDaughter2’s parents, not that it was to Castelnou. Castelnou was just an excuse for us all to spend time with each other, plus it gave us things to talk about.
But of course, once in Castelnou, I photoed photos galore, of which these are just a few:
A few more things to say.
First, there are cats and dogs involved (as well as a bird statue), hence this posting appearing here on a Friday. The cats were very friendly and sociable. The dogs were more cautiously proprietorial, but none were aggressive. Which I think reflects well on us tourists. We all behave well towards these creatures, and they behaved towards us accordingly.
Second, what’s wrong with being a tourist? I am sure that “tourists” have been featured on the popular TV show Room 101. But if I was ever on Room 101 I would want to banish from the world “tourists who complain about all the other tourists”. Tourism is a fine thing, enjoyable for those of us who do it or we wouldn’t keep doing it, and profitable for those who cater to our needs. Many good things happen because of us tourists. Besides all the deserving people who get to earn a living from it, there are the conversations that tourists have with the locals whom they encounter, and with each other, which can sometimes have have wonderfully creative consequences. Many an economic success story has started with a conversation involving tourists. Tourists bring the world, as it were, to particular places, and places into contact with other places, and thereby are able to provoke creative thoughts that would otherwise not have occurred to anyone.
Does tourism “spoil” places like Castelnou? Hardly. I’ll bet you Castelnou is a much happier, prettier and more interesting place than it was before it started attracting tourists.
And finally, Castelnou is a fine example of an aesthetic process that fascinates me more and more, which is the way that when an architectural style first erupts, it is hated, but then when it settles back into being only a few surviving ruins, people find that same style, to quote my own words in the first sentence of this posting, impossibly picturesque. Castelnou began as a castle, which then gathered dwellings around it. And you can bet that the people in the vicinity of this castle hated it and feared it, that being the whole idea. But once the castles stopped being built in such numbers and when the castles that survived began turning into ruins, they then also turned into objects of affection, first for locals, and then, even more, for visitors from many miles away.
Tangenting somewhat, I was yesterday predicting that the next wave of architectural fashion is going to be a lot more colourful. And it is. But, lots of people will, for as long as this new fashion lasts and seems to be on the march (the military metaphor is deliberate), hate that fashion, and regret the passing of the drearily monochromatic tedium that they now only grumble about (because that is now still on the march).
Is Castelnou perchance the French, or maybe the Catalan, for Newcastle? Sounds like it to me.
Many thanks Michael. Michael knows everything about everywhere. But you have to express prior interest in the subject, as I did, which is a good system. If he told you everything about everywhere, all the time, just because he can, that might be a problem. But if he knows the subject interests you, he’s a mine of information. (Some of my best Last Friday of the Month meetings were addressed by him.)
It took me a while to find this place on the Google map of Berlin, but I did find it eventually:
The breakthrough came when, instead of looking only for water, I started looking for lots of bridges.
Like I say, when water does complicated and convoluted things, expect human habitation to be concentrated in that area.
That’s three times I’ve shown that Berlin in 1440 map here. What can I tell you? I like it.
Further investigation of Berlin resulted in me discovering a bridge that I had previously never heard of, namely, this one:
That’s the Oberbaum Bridge. Like I say, never seen nor heard of this splendid Thing until today.
Here’s the same bridge viewed from further above and further away, to give us a bit of the context:
And a pretty boring context it is too, I would say. London, metaphorically speaking, can sleep easy in its bed.
I’m intrigued by what I take to be the updated bit in the middle of the bridge. At first I thought the lower part of the bridge, the road bit, has hinges in it to allow taller boats to go through, but so far as I can make out, this bit is also solid, but the change already made quite a difference to what sort of boats could go through. Basically big river barges, heavily laden all the way across rather than merely with stuff sticking up in the middle. You can see two such boats in the distance. And also another, on the right, which is presumably too big to go through.
I love the internet. Somebody should write a song called that.
But, where in Berlin now is the original 1440 bit, and is there anything now left of it? I don’t see anything quite like those waterways in the map of Berlin now.
However, I especially liked this other story – well, a tweet – about beavers, which was accompanied by a map of Europe:
Many who first glance at this beaver map are sad and angry. Look how the beavers have declined. They used to be all over the place, but are now clinging on in just a few redoubts. Woe. Humanity, bow your heads in shame at yet another crime against nature.
But no. Look at the colour/date info on the left, and you see that the small dark brown bits were where the beavers were to be found in 1900, while the light brown expanses show where they were living more than a century later, in other words now.
The popular rodent, whose dams have been shown to boost hundreds of species of insects, amphibians, birds, fish and plants, is returning to Dorset, Derbyshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Nottinghamshire and Montgomeryshire.
Last year the government allowed free-living beavers unofficially let loose into the River Otter in Devon to remain there, but all licensed releases into the wild in England and Wales are into large enclosed areas. There are, however, other unofficial beaver populations living freely on some river systems.
“Unofficial beaver populations”? I never knew that was a real thing. Makes it sound like the beavers have to apply for planning permission before they can construct a dam.
However, the key words in the above quote are, I think, the ones about this “popular rodent”. Had beavers not be so liked by humans, would they have done so well? I doubt it.
Like the man from the Wildlife Trusts says:
“… people love seeing them and their presence boosts tourism in the countryside.”
The earth is rapidly becoming a great big zoo, and whether there are lots of specimens of this or that creature is going to depend on how “popular” each creature is, with us.
And, as I have been saying here for some while, this trend will greatly accelerate once synthetic food starts to make its presence felt, and the whole raising-animals-to-eat epoch starts to wind down.
At first the only one I was going to stick up here was photo number 15, the one with the bloke holding his glasses in his mouth, because I just liked it. But then, I thought, some of these others are not too bad as well, and one photo led to another … and:
All photoed by me in the space of less than one hour, outside Westminster Abbey.
I love the old little cameras, now all gobbled up by the Mighty Mobile. But most of all I love how much fun we were all having, them photoing and me photoing them photoing.
Also: lots of maps. Also now swallowed up by the Mighty Mobile.
I think, on balance, that I did want Spurs to win, but it would have been fun if they hadn’t. Biggest gap in League places in the FA Cup ever, apparently.
There was a burst of four Spurs goals in the first half, but Marine kept it to five, presumably because, the game having been won, Spurs sent on lots of children, one of whom actually scored their one second half goal.
But what fun it would have been if Marine had actually managed to score a goal. To satisfy me, they would have had to score four goals.
Deprived of such enjoyments, I had to get my fun from the geography of the ground where this game was played:
Yes, houses and their gardens, right next to the touchline, which meant that some of the TV pictures looked like this:
That’s a party in one of the gardens, watching the game through a see-through fence and revelling in the attention of the cameras.
Where is “Marine” exactly. (Another oddity is that it seems to be only football club of any significance not to have a place in its name.) It seems to be in a relatively posh place, name of Crosby, somewhere north of Liverpool. Apparently quite a few football high achievers and managers live around there. I think the ground they played this game was this.
Nowadays, cameras can tell you exactly where you were when you took a photo, as well as exactly when you took it. But I can’t be doing with all that. I prefer taking photos like this one as I do my out-and-abouting, that say, as this one does, “You Are Here”:
And that one says it in French. Excellent.
We’re in the Pompidou Centre in Paris, in the bitterly cold February of 2012. Even remembering how cold that visit was makes me shudder now. But the Pompidou Centre itself was warm enough, and the views in it and from it were most diverting.
I have quite a few Paris postings here now, but have yet to transfer any of the postings from the old blog that I did about that earlier 2012 trip . My favourite, from a more recent and much warmer visit, featured my all time favourite food photo.