Silly Saturday – Censored Scenes

Films, television and the media are to come under strict scrutiny and indecent images are to be banned. People dealing with lockdowns, social distancing and Pandemic Pandemonium ae finding it very stressful when they turn their television on for escapism and relaxation only to be confronted with scenes of people shaking hands, hugging and even kissing. Seeing a crowd scene is liable to cause a total breakdown.

Here is your handy guide to what pictures you must NOT put on Facebook, Instagram or blogs.

Silly Saturday – Blockdown

So how are you getting on with the blocks? There is a lot you can do with blocks, apparently, I have not actually done much myself yet, so DO NOT use this as an instructional post. This is what most of us have achieved so far. Yes, giving a paragraph a background colour and this seems to be the most popular colour; reminds me of hospital curtains.

But yellow is a bit bright…

…and purple too dark.

and grey too boring.

Perhaps this is more fun and let’s change the colour of the words.

How are your eyes?

Let’s have some pictures. So far I have only made them round and small.

But I could click on to Patterns and see what happens.

Salisbury, Wiltshire

I have just learned how to put three pictures in a row, except I have ended up with six in different sizes. Never mind, Salisbury is a lovely place to visit. If you think you may have seen these pictures before that is because my media library is full and I repurpose most of my photos.

You can click on to patterns for words

and you might end up with this.

Don’t walk down this path.

If this post gets any smaller it might disappear altogether.

Do not try this at home.

Sense of Direction

DSCN0516The first time we went to the cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire we couldn’t find the cathedral. The spire, at 123m from ground level, is the tallest in Britain, visible for miles around and we couldn’t see it from the main square. After wandering around we finally found the signs. We often go to Salisbury, but it is one of many places where I can easily lose my sense of direction. There are five park and ride sites, all completely free at present, to encourage visitors back to Salisbury after the novichok poisoning. We usually go to the one on our route into Salisbury, but one time, against my better judgement, Cyberspouse suggested we go to the main car park near the supermarket. On arrival I was quick to point out how expensive our visit was going to be. We have a purse in the glove box that my Australian sister-in-law gave us, which is made from a kangaroo’s testical; we can get a lot of coins in it and I always put my silver change in. I poured ten, twenty and fifty pence pieces into the machine, but just before we had clocked up the right amount it stopped working. Money gone and no ticket, but at that moment, as if by magic, a car park attendant appeared at my shoulder. We had put so much money in we had blocked up his machine. He unlocked it and the money poured into our hands – we then put pound coins in and got our ticket. Setting off from that car park I had no idea where we were in relation to the Salisbury I knew.

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On our most recent visit we arrived from a different direction and used a different park and ride. The pleasant bus ride brought us to a bus stop in a road where I couldn’t get my bearings. Luckily Cyberspouse has an excellent sense of direction – I did read recently that men have better spatial awareness, so that might explain it. I then worried what would happen if we got on the wrong park and ride bus, the buses all look the same and the park and ride sites probably look similar. Imagine searching for your car, not realising you were at the wrong place and with no hope of getting to the right park and ride because you had caught the last bus of the day.

Read more about Salisbury in last year’s blog.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/09/19/secret-salisbury-september-staycation-part-one

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There are more ways of arriving in Southampton than most cities; by ocean liner from abroad, by ferry across Southampton Water, by train, by bus and by car and each arrival presents a completely different view of the city. In my mind I can never put the parts together. The first time we drove there we went into the West Quay shopping centre car park at ground level and somehow walked out onto the seventh floor of the shops.

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Big shopping centres always present a challenge to those lacking a sense of direction; how to find the way out to the bus station, which level takes you to the high street, will you ever find your way out of John Lewis and where on earth did you leave your car. In Southampton my best landmark is the towering blue and yellowness of Ikea. The restaurant provides an excellent view of the ships and if you came by ferry it is a short walk away. Of course Ikea itself is famous for leaving customers feeling they will never see their own home again, as they wend their way through endless happy home room lay outs.

Take the ferry to Southampton here…

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/02/09/silly-saturday-how-to-cheat-at-travel

Have you got a good sense of direction?

The third novel in my trilogy is partly set in Wiltshire and Salisbury.

Stonehenge – September Staycation Part Three

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 When you are on Staycation you will visit places after breakfast that others have crossed the world to see. We had not been to Stonehenge since the new visitors’ centre was built, out of sight of the World Heritage Site. The A344 which previously enabled motorists to ‘come across’ Stonehenge, but also intruded on the peace of the past, is now used solely by the fleet of buses with destination The Stones on the front.

If you belong to English Heritage or the National Trust entry is free. You can hop on the bus or walk; divert off the road through chalky fields to enjoy the peaceful scenery of Salisbury Plain. There is nothing at the stones now so make sure you avail yourself of the visitor centre toilets and take a bottle of water.

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On a Monday morning, with school holidays over and the website stating timed tickets were not needed, we thought it would be quiet. The lady at the booth issuing our free tickets said it was very busy as several cruise ships had come in; this presented a strange vision.

It was almost a pilgrimage, Pilgrimage Lite perhaps. We set off at a brisk pace, overtaking lots of people and hearing various languages, we’re British, we can walk fast…

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We started to anticipate the moment when Stonehenge would be revealed; round the next copse or over the next brow? Alas, the first view was partially blocked by the ubiquitous buses and queues of people. Queues waiting to have their tickets checked and file between the ropes to the stones, even longer queues waiting to get back on the shuttle bus.

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Only a low rope separated us from the stones, creating enough space inside the circle to imagine how they were when they stood alone. A young Canadian tourist asks to have his photo taken, with the toy penguin that is to accompany him on his trip round Britain.

We ask a tour guide where she’s from.

Portland

USA?

No, Dorset…

She had come to meet passengers who had left their ship at Dover and been coached to Wiltshire.

But the tourists that morning were not rushing and ticking off another place visited, they were in genuine awe that they were really there looking at an ancient construction no one can explain for sure.

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This year marks one hundred years since Stonehenge was given to the nation.

 On 26 October 1918, Stonehenge was offered by Cecil and Mary Chubb as a gift for the nation. Cecil Chubb had bought Stonehenge for £6600 at a local auction three years previously. Prior to 1918, the monument was propped up with wooden poles and some of the stones were in danger of collapse. Increasing numbers of visitors through the late 19th century had led to damage, with people regularly chipping the stones for souvenirs and scratching their names on the monument.

http://blog.english-heritage.org.uk/30-things-you-might-not-know-about-stonehenge

The first guidebook in 1823 claimed Stonehenge survived Noah’s flood. We do know the stones came from South Wales, that is part of the mystery, how they got there. Stonehenge was built between about 3,000 BC and 1,600 BC and its purpose remains under study. What is certain, if you stand in just the right place inside the monument at the summer solstice, facing northeast through the entrance towards a rough-hewn stone outside the circle, known as the Heel Stone, you will see the sun rise above the Heel Stone.

http://earthsky.org/earth/gallery-the-summer-solstice-as-seen-from-stonehenge

A few days later visitors came round and asked how the staycation was going and where we’d been.

‘Oh, that heap of old stones’ was their reply.

 

 

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See more pictures at my Beachwriter’s Blog

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog

Look out for Friday Flash Fiction as the Stones theme continues…

 

 

Secret Salisbury – September Staycation – Part One

Salisbury is a small city where we used to think not much happened. It lies in the county of Wiltshire, where you might think not much has happened since Stonehenge was built. Salisbury is a city because it has a cathedral. It is not large, but it is busy with a hospital, university and many places of interest to historians and tourists.

Since March this year it has been in the international news with the poisoning by novichok nerve agent of two Russians and a local policeman. Just when Salisbury was getting back to some normality there was the bizarre tragedy when two locals were taken ill and one became the first fatality. Two Russian suspects have been named and even appeared on Russian television to explain they visited Salisbury merely as tourists to see the cathedral with its famous spire and the oldest clock in the world.

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You couldn’t make this story up; if these two men were ‘secret agents’ they certainly bungled the whole mission, their target was not killed, though he and his daughter only survived thanks to the National Health Service and skilled care. Before leaving Salisbury they dumped the novichok in a rubbish skip.  Through all these months, parts of Salisbury have been closed off and scoured for any trace of the nerve agent, a nightmare for businesses expecting a busy tourist summer.

We quite often go to Salisbury and went there last week after our morning at Stonehenge. Everywhere seemed busy, but perhaps they were locals.

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I can believe the two suspects didn’t find the cathedral; though the famous spire can be seen for miles around, the first time we visited we stood in the main square and could not see it, we had no idea which way to go.

Through an arch you will find yourself looking at the cathedral green; fine weather shows the scene at its best. This area is full of interesting houses and museums and the expanse of grass is ideal for children to run and play and school parties to let off steam. There is too much for one visit, but whatever your plans just stand by yourself and look up at the spire.

The refectory, cloisters and smart toilets are free to wander in. Do you pay to go in the cathedral? There is a suggested donation. On our visit, late in the afternoon, I was just trying to read what we might ‘kindly be asked’ to pay when I realised Cyberspouse was already inside. We may have accidentally followed a coach party in. The house of God should be free to enter, but cathedrals need constant loving and expensive care. We always buy our refreshments at the refectory and there is a nice shop for tourists.

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Cathedrals can be overwhelming, I guarantee most of us do not remember all the saintly and royal details in the leaflets. Take in the ambience and spend time with what takes your eye. Highlights include the clock, perhaps the Russians wanted to steal our cutting edge technology! Look carefully down the nave and see if you can spot the columns bowed at the centre of the cathedral under the weight of the spire. A model of the spire shows the original wooden scaffold still there. Another  model shows the cathedral being built; I had a nice chat with an American lady as we admired the model and the original builders. The biggest miracle of ancient buildings is the fact they are still standing and I love to wonder if those who built it could have imagined how far into the future their creation would be admired.

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Cathedrals are living places and new art is added. I love the font, sculptor William Pye, consecrated in 2008.

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On our brief stroll around the cathedral Cyberspouse met a woman from Iceland, tourists are still coming to Salisbury.

https://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/salisbury/things-to-do

My Brief Encounters trilogy is partly set in rural Wiltshire and Salisbury also features, especially in Lives of Anna Alsop.