Header Challenge 29th September 2010.

This weeks header challenge has been chosen by Tom-fishing guy. He chose as the topic of our headers: ‘Water Reflection - Inanimate Object’.

Now I’ve shown lots of animate and inanimate objects and their reflections in yesterdays post on our river cruise in France. Today though is meant to be just inanimate objects as the subject matter of the photographs.

So continuing on from yesterdays river cruise post I bring you inanimate water reflections.

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The obvious choice for inanimate objects reflecting in water is of course boats.

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Buildings too give great reflections in water especially when it is as still as in the above photo.

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Another building we saw as we enjoyed the river trip seemed to be all roof. Its roof line extended right down to the water, giving a shelter under its eaves to moor a boat.

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Speaking of moorings for boats this simple post mooring was beautifully mirrored in the river.

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What I found great about the river cruise was the blending of animate and inanimate objects along the river bank, proving that man can work with nature and not always against it.

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The sometimes vibrant colour schemes of the homes along the river helped to add a bit of fun to the banks of the waterways.

Whether animate or inanimate objects as the subject of the view, I’m sure you’ll agree the river bank is certainly a nice place to be.

Why don’t you let me know via the comments what your favourite scene is from yesterdays and today's photos. Animate or inanimate?

You can also check out my fellow headbangers interpretations of this weeks theme. Just follow the links at the top of the right hand column.

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Afternoon of Day 7 of our family holiday to Pas de Calais, France.

Well after our photo session around the church and castle in Arques I posted about yesterday we decided that we would spend the afternoon on a river cruise.

We joined a river excursion around the Saint-Omer marshes in the Audomarois  region. The region boasts 160 kilometres of rivers covering 3400 hectares.

The boat left from the wharf  joining Au Bon Accueil a restaurant near the village of Salperwick  near Saint-Omer in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.

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The boat we had was a long open-topped river cruiser, with big picture windows through which to view the scenery.

I managed to get a seat at the very front of the boat thus enabling me to take some photos straight forward without any glass in the way.

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The views as we journeyed around the waterways were quite stunning.

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The banks were lined with birds…

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and immaculately presented homes and gardens.

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Some of the homes were obviously only holiday homes, though from the looks of this garden they must spend a lot of time here.

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Other property along the banks were more like garden summer houses a place to stay whilst fishing the river, from the looks of the keep net on the right of the photograph.

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Other homes along the banks were much more substantial. A commonality between them all though was that they all had a waterside letterbox.

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Obviously the postman for these home-owners delivers their post by boat.

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It had been a great cruise, the weather was great the view superb and the company brilliant. A perfect way to spend an afternoon. Oh and I got to take lots of pictures too gets even better.

Although the commentary for the cruise had only been in French, and my French is terrible at best, that didn’t detract from the enjoyment of the excursion around the waterways of Pas de Calais.

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Day 7 of our family holiday to Pas de Calais, France.

Day 7 of our holiday  in Pas de Calais, France and we were still having breakfasts bought from the local boulangerie, lots of croissants and pain au chocolate yummy!
The morning broke bright and sunny, lots of beautiful blue skies, perfect weather for exploring and taking pictures.
So whilst some of the family went swimming my eldest daughter and I went down into Arques for another look around and a quick photo session. Our main area that we wanted to visit, was the beautiful white church we had been passing each time we drove into Arques.
Its bright white limestone facade shone in the morning sunshine.
Unusually inside had been painted in quite a modern style with bright colours and crisp paintwork, it looked really good and inviting. 
Miniature relief carvings of scenes from the bible were interspersed around the walls of the church.
The church organ, although not as large a scale as the on in Saint-Omer’s cathedral, was still impressive, filling the rear wall of the nave.
Coming back outside we walked out of the church yard and across the road to take pictures of the neighbouring Arques castle.
The castles origins are said to date back to the roman times, though much demolition and reconstruction has been done since then leaving little if not nothing of the original. It is still quite a striking building standing at the end of the high street with its large octagonal tower.
Arques castle
Arques is quite a pretty place to visit. They have flower displays everywhere and the streets always seemed clean and tidy.
Even the white paint on the little bridges seemed bright and fresh.
Come back tomorrow and we will go on our afternoons adventure a beautiful river cruise.
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Afternoon of Day 6 of our family holiday in Pas de Calais, France.

Continuing on from my Day 6 post, where we visited the abbey and windmill near Watten in Pas de Calais France on the morning of day 6, we drove south from Watten to visit the town of Saint-Omer.

Situated in the Pas de Calais region of France, Saint-Omer is named after Saint Audomar who first bought Christianity to the area.

The Town hall is situated in a large square and is home to a theatre, picture gallery and record collection. The square is surrounded by cafe’s and bars, it was in one of these we stopped for a very enjoyable lunch. We were persuaded by the girls to follow this lunch with cakes from the local boulangerie, also to be found on the square.

Saint-Omer-1-3 Picture courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons.

The main landmark feature in the town though is not its town hall and square but its cathedral.

The Notre Dame cathedral (cathedral of Our Lady) is a classic example of gothic architecture of the 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries.

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Built from local limestone the building shines in the sunlight.

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The inside of the cathedral is just as stunning as the exterior.

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The nave above, and the beautiful arches forming a gracious aisle down the edge of the cathedral interior.

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The high Clerestory windows were all beautiful stained glass.

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As were all the windows and they were quite exquisite.

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Everywhere we looked care and attention had been put into the construction of the building. A marvel when you think that they had no mechanical machines to help them construct it, just master craftsmen and a lot of hard work. The detail was evident in everything including the myriad of carvings all around the building….

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on door panels and indeed on the whole of the pulpit.

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The piece de resistance of the cathedral though must be the ornate organ.

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It stands floor to ceiling, intricately carved with gold and coloured inlays. Truly a work of art I’m sure you will agree.

It had been a really nice day out, exploring the surrounding towns and villages and seeing what they had to offer.

We rounded the day off back at the cottage, with a couple of family games and a DVD, Avatar I think It was. A really great film at the end of a really great day.



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Header Challenge 22nd September 2010 ‘All the Worlds a Stage’.

This weeks header challenge has been set by Gailsman this week and is ‘All the World's a Stage’.

Now being an English Literature student my first thought with that title is verse from William Shakespeare of that name. The verse is in   As You Like It, a pastoral comedy by William Shakespeare believed to have been written in 1599 or early 1600.

It would have been produced at the Globe theatre in London.

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All the World's a Stage

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

William Shakespeare

The stage is open to the elements and could only be used during daylight hours due to there being no electricity lighting.

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The audience would be either down below the stage or stood or sat in the tiers of balconies.

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So there you have it All the Worlds a stage the William Shakespeare way.

Check out the other members of the headbangers team entries by following the links in the right hand column.

For those of you waiting for part two of Day 6 of our France holiday I will aim to post it tomorrow.

Day 6 of our family holiday to Pas de Calais, France.

Day 6 of our holiday broke bright and sunny. We hadn’t planned anywhere particularly to visit today, we thought we would just go out in the car and see where we got to. Looking on the map there seemed to be a ruin of an abbey near the village of Watten situated a little north of Saint-Omer, so we thought that sounded a good starting point.

When we arrived at Watten we called in at a little tourist information office in the village and found there was a windmill nearby too. So, back in the car and up the hill to the abbey first. Typically the ruins are now closed to the public and mostly hidden from view behind a high stone wall and mature trees.

Watten Abbey-1 This was the best photo from our viewpoint that I could get. The original abbey was built in the 11th century. Evidently today only the tower remains of the original abbey, the rest having been demolished and sold during the French revolution. The tower was left as a navigational aid for sailors. I hope they had a better view of it than we did.

The windmill was much nicer and just down the hill from the Abbey.

Watten windmill

We decided to stop and relax by the windmill. The girls went off to explore, Mel and her mum found a bench in the sunshine and I went for a look around with my Canon camera.

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It gave me chance for a few artistic shots of the windmill.

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The  windmill was built from the reclaimed stone of the abbey and is still in working order, although it is only open on Sunday’s, so we weren’t able to view the inside.

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Above is the working mechanism that allows the top of the windmill and sails to be turned to face the wind.

The views from the hill on which the windmill stands are fantastic, although it was a little hazy on the day we were there.

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It was whilst we were here, that I found the frog in the grass that I showed you last week, as part of the macro header post.

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Here's another view of him.

The afternoon was spent looking around Saint-Omer. I will show you more of that in tomorrows blog post.

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Day 5 of our family holiday to Pas de Calais, France.

Day 5 of our holiday, and the swimming pool at our little cottage is still in high demand. Our daughters are still going swimming before breakfast and they are loving it, which is why we chose this particular cottage. Personally rather them than me, too much energy needed at that time of the morning, especially when on holiday.

We decided that today we would venture across to Boulogne, on the northern coast of France. Boulogne is only 25 miles across the English channel to Dover.  When we got there I was surprised to find that the white cliffs of Dover were clearly visible from the seafront.

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We had found, whilst looking in some tourist brochures left in our cottage for us, that there is a Sea world museum called Nausicaa in Boulogne, so we thought we would give it a visit.

Unfortunately it’s not cheap, but, it is big. You will need at least 3hrs to go around it all and that doesn’t count stopping in the restaurant or the gift shop.

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Nausicaa sets out to explore all aspects of the sea. Its aim is to educate about the creatures that live in it…

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and those who rely on it, to survive.

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The exhibits are wide ranging and of course that meant I took a lot of pictures, oh well good job its a digital camera.

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Some fish seemed curious…

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others pretty.

I even found Nemo…

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and friend.

There were lots of these…

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I wouldn’t want to mess with them.

There were tanks were you could stroke the inhabitants though, in the form of various types of rays, they felt very velvety.

There was lots to see and do including hands on exhibits showing what man is doing to the ocean, both to care for it and shamefully, to destroy it. There was instruction on how we can save the oceans and the creatures that live in it and depend on it for their survival.

Coming back out there was just enough time for the girls to play on the beach whilst others of us rested in the sunshine.

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Boulogne had been a great day out, all the family enjoyed it, even the mother in law.

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Come on you knew camera shy or not, I was going to get a photo of you up here one of these days.

Come back tomorrow for more fun from France.

You can also click on the Camera Critters banner to link to more pictures of Critters caught on camera from around the world.

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