velithya and I both got sick the day after we came home from Kalbarri.|
It could have been worse: It could have been the day before, or we could have both come down with it on the Tuesday, and been nastily sick on Wednesday, the day we had to drive 600km to get home.
As it was, we didn't, and so we came home via Hutt River Province and the Pinnacles in a non-sick fashion. I was still quite exhausted, mind you, because on Tuesday we walked to Nature's Window and back. It's only about a half-kilometre walk each way, but some of it is quite steep paths, and some of it, well.
This is a picture of part of the last section of the trail:
If you look at that jumbled pile of rock and want to know where the trail is, no, that is the trail. There is a certain amount of clambering up and down the rocks involved. There are a couple of places where you can avoid a little bit of climbing if you go along the edge of the cliff, but... that is the trail you have.
And just to show off the ugly-beautiful majesty of the western coastline, a shot from our stop at Pot Alley, outside Kalbarri:
Just below this, in the cut tag for this post, there is going to be a warning. I cannot stress enough how much I mean it, so I'm also going to say it in the actual post:|
If you are squeamish, particularly about injuries, bruises, cuts, stitches, or anything like that at all, I advise against looking at the photos in this post. At all. Just don't do it, you don't want to see it. I used my phone to take pictures of my broken leg when the cast and stitches were removed, and they are pretty appalling, as far as legs go.
However, if you are not squeamish, and are interested in looking at the effects on the outward appearance of a human leg caused by breaking bones and surgical repair, then click away.
( No really I mean it if you are squeamish do not look at the contents of this cut. I'm serious. Don't. )
I now have another cast, a proper all-the-way-around one with the higher grade of plaster. It's even blue. I keep this cast for a month, and then it gets removed, everything gets checked, and then I get some kind of boot cast that's even removable so I can wash my leg and stuff. In the meantime, I'm to keep my foot elevated, so... yeah, I still live on the couch.
Seriously. Haven't read anything in weeks. There's stuff.|
I'm only really posting to propagate this.
The people holding hands are Christian Egyptians, forming a shield to protect Muslim Egyptians while they pray. This happened on the most violent day of the protests.
So, time to start working on going through pictures and displaying some.|
Today's photo: the gateway into Arbroath Abbey. Now in ruins, Arbroath Abbey was founded in the twelfth century by William the Lion, consecrated in memory of the English saint Thomas Becket, and fell into ruins after the sixteenth century. The buildings were raided for stone for the building of the town.
The Abbey was the site of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, and was where the Stone of Destiny turned up in 1951 after it was stolen from Westminster Abbey.
Realistically, I have material to do Photo of the Day for a good couple of years now, so I will continue, I think, to put up more photos than I get around to posting on journals, and highlighting, and I also have a massive backlog of photos to annotate and put keywords etc on on my gallery. (I have finally enabled ratings for photos, though, so my gallery can get ever more interactive for the zero people who go to look at it...)|
Anyway, because I'm tired, though I'm uploading more than this to my gallery, I'm posting one picture here.
This is a small bridge over the Leithen Water, in the town of Coldstream.
So, the Highlands to the west are really quite phenomenally beautiful.|
( More pictures below. )
A few more pictures are in the set here.
Interesting thing: they have two of the dudes from Dragon's Den on the Top Gear I'm watching. One of them, Peter Jones, has taken an interesting approach to being tremendously rich and still wanting his children to make something of their lives: A trust fund, rather than direct inheritance, which pays them an amount equal to their earnings that year.
Unless they do something worthy but underpaid, like nursing, in which case it triples or quadruples their income.
I don't know anything else about this guy to speak of, but I think he's probably a better parent than a lot of mega-rich folk.
He also apparently managed to impress the Stig as a driver.
Meanwhile - and this sort of thing is why I watch Top Gear occasionally - they're setting up a hunt - as in, a foxhunt - wherein the prey is Jeremy Clarkson driving a small off-road car.
If you have time to kill and wish to look at photos, then here: 350 photos of Scotland, once they finish uploading.|
They were batch-resized, so only one of them has actually been renamed (Macbeth's Hillock, because the name is part of what makes it interesting), and some of them haven't resized flawlessly, but if you want to see pictures of Scotland: go to.
At some point I'll be posting highlights and selections and more carefully resized versions of my favourites, but this is the whole lot, absent various photos that feature family things and the like.
Current Location: Inverness, Scotland
Today is a day for hygiene: I washed my hair and I'm doing my laundry.|
I wanted to go to Edinburgh Castle today, but I really don't feel up to it; this is the problem when you start your holiday with a spoons deficit.
Anyway: I've put up a bunch of pictures from yesterday, when I drove up Arthur's Seat with Mary and then took a walk up the Royal Mile by myself. Album here.
ETA, forgot to mention: Full set of photos for today here.|
This morning I trotted off to Hungerford, after a leisurely chat with my uncle, to go to a bank before I headed on for my day's main adventures.
In Hungerford I discovered that Barclay's Bank didn't open until 9:30am, Lloyd's TSB didn't open until 10am, and Natwest got my custom because it was actually open at quarter past nine, when my wandering down the high street got me that far.
What the hell.
A local I chatted to commented that he supposed they were lucky to have a branch in such a small town; I feel this is not quite the attitude.
Still, Hungerford is a very pretty place, and in addition to getting hold of some actual cash, I got some snacks for the day's travels, too: strawberries, blueberries, and some gluten-free chips. I also bought copies of the Times and the Guardian, though I've not yet had time to read them.
A brief digression on my accent: Apparently, my tendency to absorb accents has not abated. Around my uncle's house I find myself using occasional South African-isms; amongst the English, I've had an odd progression in people commenting on my accent. The first was a woman in the bank, who heard it from their back offices and came out to ask me what time it would be in Sydney. The second was a woman in the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth, who detected no Australian in my accent but picked up the American touch I don't seem to be able to lose.
The third was another gentleman in another part of the museum, a couple of hours later, who thought I sounded entirely English.
Anyway, after I left Hungerford I headed for Portsmouth. Quite a long drive, but Radio 4 continues to be highly entertaining and the English countryside continues to be beautiful - and their's something heart-stoppingly wonderful about seeing castles perched on hillsides in the distance.
Finally I reached Portsmouth, and I even found my way to the Historic Dockyards carpark, and then to the Historic Dockyards themselves. My booking on the tour of the HMS Victory was fairly soon, but on the way to it I had the chance to stop in one of the musuem galleries and see the honest-to-goodness actual, genuine Enigma Machine.
As a history buff of the period I follow, I assure you, this was terribly exciting.
After that, I took the tour of the Victory. Note: The Royal Navy still owns the Victory, and forbids photography, so I have no pictures of this. But I do have a picture of me, standing in front of the great ship, taken by the best photographer ever.
Apparently the best estimate is that about 25% Trafalgar materials remain in the Victory; in addition to the extremely heavy damage she took in the battle itself, it's been an awfully long time, and since she's now being kept in dry-dock, a number of the original cannons have been removed because she can't take the weight, and replaced with fibreglass replicas.
That said, I saw, and touched, one of the cannon she carried at the Battle of Trafalgar. (As historic artifacts go, several tons of painted cast iron are on the list of those I do not feel it inappropriate to touch. I'm not sure I could damage it with a hammer beyond maaaybe chipping the paint.)
Walking on the lower deck where the original boards remain, I felt almost light-headed, thinking that my twenty-first century boots were tramping the same decks trodden by the crew - that I was walking where Admiral Nelson once walked.
We stopped in the area of the lower decks where the wounded were taken, and where Nelson himself died. The famous painting of Nelson's deathbed scene is woefully inaccurate; it features people standing around, instead of hunching, because the ceiling is about five feet high there, and one of the men pictured standing tall with space above his head to spare was in fact six foot seven.
The low beams and the dim, windowless area give the deck a very claustrophobic feel, and the footsteps of people walking on the deck above are loud. It's hard to imagine what the scene must have been like at the time he lay dying, with the cries of the other wounded, the battle still raging above, the thunder of footsteps amid the deafening blasts of the cannon fire.
After the Victory tour, I went to the museum, and saw the Battle of Trafalgar Experience, and checked out the display of figureheads and the miniature exhibition on the Royal Navy's role in the ending of the slave trade; I noted that they do, at least, also acknowledge the Royal Navy's role in the establishment of the slave trade.
After that, it was time to hustle down to the waterfront to board the ferry for the harbour tour. My photos from the tour are limited, as what I mostly did was video the whole thing - at some points the picture from the video gets terrible, because I was taking pictures with my still camera, but the tour speech from the driver was really good and I didn't want to miss it.
Some highlights -
The white cliffs of Portchester Downs:
Roman fort turned English castle, Portchester Castle:
I disembarked from the ferry at the Gunwharf Quays, and went up the Spinnaker Tower. I'm not sure it would be at all worth it on a day with less clear skies, because for all that you can see for 27 miles, the tower is not that well-designed for good viewing. Nonetheless:
Finally, I wended my weary way back to my car, and drove back to Wiltshire. My plan was originally to have a nice bath and rest a bit before going out this evening to get petrol and do some shopping for winter clothes, but apparently I'm not quite over jet lag yet, because I've found myself feeling very, very tired and completely unfit to drive.
So, though it's only a quarter past eight here in England, it is bedtime for Samis.
Current Location: Ramsbury, Wiltshire, UK
So, I've been substantially improving the functionality of the gallery page for my website, and this includes having set up RSS functionality. You can now get RSS feeds for each album, which I haven't set up syndication for, but I have for one that syndicates *all* photos I post (as opposed to the selection I tend to post to my journal).|
Pictures on my gallery can now also be rated, commented upon, and sent as eCards. (That last one being primarily for my benefit, so I can send my holiday photos as electronic postcards to people.)
The rest of the functionality I've added is pretty much back-end stuff for my own convenience.
So, on the 10th of September (so says the file dating), Chas and I were passing through town when I spotted an odd sight. As I exclaimed to Chas: "There are mans on the building!"|
So I pulled out my camera, and then my telephoto lens, to take pictures of the mans.
In case anyone's wondering at the tendency for my pictures to have the slightly odd dimensions of 475 pixels in one direction and 713 in another: that's a 15% resizing/resampling from the base image size my camera takes.
The Sun Bear is a representative of an endangered species.|
So, I finally got around to pulling some recent shots off my camera and uploading a couple. (I'm also working on going through the images already in my gallery and tidying up titles, keywords, etc.) Here are today's selection for you:|
( Cut for your reading non-interruption. )
As is becoming very much usual, there are and will continue to be pictures on the gallery page I don't post here, as well; really I generally only post my favourites, for the time being.
Because I like these, and apparently, so do some of you.|
Today's pictures include a slight literary theme.
One of my favourite poems begins: The moon was a ghostly galleon, tossed upon cloudy seas...
I always think of that line when clouds are scudding across the still-visible moon.
When the moon looks like this:
( Other images below. Duck photo dedicated to theducks@LJ. )
At some point I have a whole pile of images to go through, resize, and upload, but at the moment I have a vast quantity of uni work to do.
Current Location: Destiny; couch
I haven't posted pictures in a few days, so here is one, including my story of how I apparently do a good terrorist impression.|
( Image! )
This is the "I look like a terrorist" picture. While I was getting set to take it, several station guards came over to me and asked if I had a permit to take photos. I raised an eyebrow and said no.
The guard explained that people aren't allowed to take pictures in the station without permission from the station manager - it "makes people nervous". I could feel my eyes narrowing slightly, and then he hastily finished his explanation with: "... unless you're a tourist."
"I'm a tourist," I answered, deadpan, and he smiled and said that was all right then.
Apparently the only people we're worried will be taking pictures of the train station for nefarious purposes are locals.
I'm pretty sure they're not even allowed to do that, so.
Over on my gallery I put up a few new peacock photos in the Animals section, if only because I finally got one of the peacocks while he was doing a tail fan.
Time for me to get going - another day of trying to get really a lot of uni work done is ahead of me.
Note: I've fallen behind on LJ again, and it's way past my bedtime so I'm not catching up now.|
The possibly-owner dude at the camera shop today pointed out an external hard drive to me and told me that they were really good.
I had to admit I have three of them. He was approving - the issue at hand being people who don't back up their data, and end up losing all of it.
I do backups. The only time I've ever lost serious data due to backup fail was when my father reformatted the shared family hard drive, and backed up all of my stuff... except the stuff he didn't.
It looks like I'm going to have to talk to the service folk for the manufacturer of my computer, because the audio jacks are malfunctioning and periodically the display freezes up for a second or so, which: no. So, before they put their filthy hands on my beloved computer, this will include me backing up my data thoroughly.
Anyway. Today's photo is one of my relatively successful peacock shots (peacocks, as I mentioned, being hard to photograph due to the whole iridescent feathers thing). I think what I love most about this one is that you can see the buildings reflected in his eye:
I took that one at uni, of course; the peacock was standing on the stage of the
Dolphin New Fortune Theatre (a Globe-style outdoor theatre) (edited due to pointing out of mis-theatre attribution by theducks, and I was walking along the path next to it, which is about a metre lower. My 17-85mm lens was at full extension, and I took a series of pictures, getting gradually closer with each one and seeing how close I could get before he walked off. I was thereby able to get this extreme closeup - that picture isn't cropped, just resized, and on my screen it looks about the actual size of his head.
I find it pleasing. If nothing else, taking pictures of peacocks you can't really just crop the image to get a bigger version of part of it; scaling the image down significantly is the only way I've found to keep them from looking horrible due to the weird visual artifacts iridescent feathers produce.
Which is, of course, why I've been so much more successful at this with my new camera. My compact can zoom, but it can't get as much magnification as my Real Lenses can, and of course, the difference in how much you can scale down a 15.1 megapixel image and a 5.0 megapixel image is rather substantial. (My default rescale for DSLR images for posting online is 15%.)
So, more pictures from the weekend. Scenery, animals, and the efforts of an extremely amateur photojournalist.|
( Images below. )
I'm also adding a whoooole bunch of animal photos to my Gallery, taken at the Zoo, but I'll pick selections to post some other time.
With the exception of this one, because it's crying out for a caption:
What is this pygmy marmoset trying to tell me?
Today has kind of sucked, but I took some fantastic pictures, I think.|
(No postprocessing has been applied other than resizing.)
Okay. Time to throw pictures at you. These are the highlights of my photos yesterday. Pictures link to their gallery pages which have shot information, and my general gallery has a fair (and ever-growing) number of images I've never posted to my journal.|
( Part 1: en route to the prison. )
Part 2: The Prison
Fremantle Prison was built by convincts in the mid-19th century. Despite being condemned in 1900 as "unfit for human habitation", a description it frankly deserved, it remained open and in use as the state's maximum-security prison until 1991. The main building is the largest intact convict-built structure in the world; though it narrowly avoided destruction at the time it was closed, it is now listed on state and national heritage registers.
It is amazingly intact. The gallows is still there, with a genuine (but unused) noose hanging from the notched crossbeam. (The notched jarrah crossbeam. For those of you not from around here, jarrah is a hardwood that takes its "hardwood" status seriously. If you try to hammer a nail into jarrah, the nail will break first. Early explorers who stopped in Western Australia and tried to cut down jarrah for timber and masts learned the hard way that this wasn't going to work - their axes were blunted, and the trees were unaffected.
Despite this, the crossbeam from which the noose depends is notched where executions took place.
In slightly less grisly fields of fascinating sites, some of the cells retain artwork on the walls, put there by prisoners; some of the art is seriously beautiful. The "escape-proof" cell built to hold Moondyne Joe is still there - a small room with hardened, studded walls, a tiny, heavily-barred window, where he was kept with an iron collar around his neck, chained to the floor.
He escaped from that particular stint in prison, but not from the cell - he was put to heavy labour, breaking rocks. He let his rubble pile build up high enough to block the guard's sight of him, and broke a hole in the wall, whereupon he remained at large for two years until some amazingly bad luck got him caught again.
( Pictures. )
And finally, we get to:
Part 3: The nominally ghost photographs.
Fremantle Prison is, allegedly, one of the most haunted buildings in existence. The torchlight tour is a mixture of ghost stories and the occasional scare, like when the guide has just finished explaining that the mesh overhead is suicide netting, installed in the 20s, to prevent prisoners jumping - or being thrown - from the upper floors.
At which point, far overhead, you hear a man scream, and then something the size and shape of a human body slams into the netting overhead.
It is, of course, a dummy, but many people scream.
Some of the ghost stories are chilling. A couple of them are just kind of sad. A couple are sort of unsurprising, like the tendency of doors to unlock themselves. Some of the guides have quit the night tours because of creepy experiences.
A place that was in active use as a prison for 140 years, a place of violence, where people were executed or just died, often brutally, violence and other bad things happened, and even children were imprisoned, and which looks like every hideous Dickensian nightmare you ever thought of - it's a place that's going to attract a lot of ghost stories.
It isn't a happy place. It's actually kind of horrifying, when you think of how *recently* it was in use - people tend to assume it's been nothing more than history for much longer than it has, because it seems unthinkable that in the modern era such a medieval-seeming place could actually be used to lock up actual human beings, but it's been in use in my lifetime. The first time I went there it had only been closed a couple of years.
So various mediums and so on have also visited the place, and all agree it's haunted, and people take various photos they think show ghosts (our guide has some, which we were encouraged to e-mail her about, and she'll send them to us), and so on, and many stories are told by people who've worked there.
And while I was there I took two photos which are the kind of things that show up on episodes of Supernatural and ghosthunter websites. (The guide was very interested in them - she's into ghosts, I think.)
( You know you want to see them, obviously. )
Do I believe it's ghosts? I am putting it in the same category as I put all ghost-related things, which is: I Don't Know. On the one hand, a lot of ghost-related stuff is pure crackpottery and people seeing what they want to see. Virgin Mary In My Toast-type stuff.
On the other hand, not all of it is like that. Some of it is stories from what I can't help but call credible sources. Sometimes it's innocent comments or actions from small children who don't know what the adults are perceiving, or why it's significant.
A cousin of mine was the source of some of these, commenting blandly for some months on the actions of "the man in the dress", who no-one but him could see. The man in the dress would be around - watching, sitting in chairs, that kind of thing. Once my Nanna was brightly informed, after sitting down, that the man in the dress was already sitting there - but it was all right, my cousin assured her, he didn't mind. The adults around him were slightly weirded out, but concluded that my cousin had a really odd imaginary friend.
Some time later, Nanna and a couple of her siblings, I think it was, were looking through photo albums. My cousin was on someone's lap, watching them do this, until suddenly he pointed at a picture and exclaimed that that was the man in the dress!
Or, as was worked out after careful questioning, an uncle in his often-worn dressing gown, the one he died in. Who my cousin had never met, or seen pictures of before that moment.
There are more things in heaven and earth, and all that. I don't know if ghosts are real. I cannot categorically say that they are not, because there is too much I can't quite explain away, but I can't say with certainty that they are, so. Most of the time, I'm not really concerned.
I ain't scared of no ghosts.
Hence, I present the photos with as much relevant information as I can think of. Be as skeptical or as convinced as you choose.
And if you are in Perth, take the torchlight tour at the prison, it's really interesting.
Current Music: the boys playing Fallout 3
Current Location: Destiny; couch
I'm going to start trying to remember to link the images to their gallery pages, for those who want to see the camera shot information.|
( Perth, across the river, from Matilda Bay foreshore, and the Irwin Street Building. )