RMW: the blog

Roslyn's photography, art, cats, exploring, writing, life


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The UK – Brighton, Sussex – the big day (day three)

brighton

Six years ago I was on Brighton Pier in Sussex, England for a big birthday. I was staying in London and East Anglia with friends. Then on May 9 I took the train to Brighton, where I was born. Rain was coming down in giraffes and hyenas. I had booked a Hop on Hop off bus tour of the town. I was the only passenger on the bus! But I had a great time anyway. What ya gonna do?

Brighton

So last year, another even bigger birthday (they get huge after a while) came up and I had intended to visit London again with a friend. But I couldn’t get my head wrapped around it.

Brighton

And I gradually came to realize it was because I needed to go back to Worthing, the last place my parents and I Iived the first time we emigrated to the US.

Brighton

So this year I decided to stay in Worthing for nine days to check it out.

Brighton

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my entire life!

Brighton

So on my birthday I took the Stagecoach #700 bus to Brighton. It was a super day. A day I will never forget.

Brighton

I was fortunate to have such great weather on this visit. It rained one afternoon during nine days.

Brighton

I bought my fish ‘n chips at the same place at the entrance to the pier. Found a seat and ate. I don’t have words to express how I feel about this. So many emotions.

Brighton

My view as I ate my fish ‘n chips.

Brighton

The cousin of the seagull who stole my fish ‘n chips on my birthday on Santa Catalina Island (see post here).

https://onegoodlife.wordpress.com/2016/05/15/my-private-island-part-one/

I love piers. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere there was not a pier! How else can you walk out into a serious body of water?

I walked all the way down to Hove and the West Pier, closed in 1975 and destroyed by fires in 2003.

BrightonFrom Brighton, my parents and I (what choice did I have?) moved to Argentina where my mother had happy memories of her childhood. But apparently living there as an adult didn’t quite cut it… at least for my dad. When we returned to England we settled in Hove. Brighton and Hove combined and were granted city status by the queen in 2001.

Brighton Look at that wonderful pebbly beach. I love that more than the sandy beach at Santa Monica. You can wrap your toes around pebbles.

Click below for photos I took as I walked down to Hove and then back to the Brighton Pier.

I stayed on the Brighton seafront this time. I’ve visited other areas of Brighton on previous trips including a tour of the Royal Pavilion. I’d like to do that again on my next trip. You only have one birthplace. Honor it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two afternoon

 

worthing

Upon returning from Highdown, M and I retreated to our respective hotels to freshen up with the plan to meet up in an hour. Neither of us was interested in dinner as the late lunch at the Highdown Teahouse had filled us up.

When I first arrived at the Chatsworth Hotel the previous afternoon I stepped out on to the little terrace outside my room.

worthing

I wasn’t terribly thrilled with the view of the Stagecoach bus depot next door but the idea wasn’t to spend too much time in the room anyway so it wasn’t a big deal.

I heard cats meowing and thought some strays were living out on the roof. I thought it would be a good idea to report this to the front desk.  I looked around for the cats but couldn’t see any felines.worthing

worthing

Is this a plush nest or what?

Thank goodness I didn’t report the cats.

With my zoom lens I noticed on the roof of the building across the way there were several seagulls nesting.

worthing

Dad is on lookout while Mom sits on the nest

The baby birds were quite vocal. “Meow, dinner! Meow, dinner! Meow! Meow!” I would never have lived that down as the crazy American tourist who can’t tell seagulls from cats…

M and I met up and decided to walk eastward along the Worthing seafront. Worthing sits on The English Channel about 60 miles (96 km) south of London and approximately 160 miles (257 km) from the nearest point in France.

worthing

This had been another lovely day but both of us needed to be up early the next morning. M was returning to his home in Chelmsford and I was headed for Brighton, so we said our goodbyes.

worthing

When I’m in England there are certain things I absolutely have to eat. One of those is Cadbury Flakes. Marks & Spencers sold them in packs of four so what could I do? My plan was to eat one a day… yeah, right. So the pack was my dinner. Oh, yum.

I was rather restless and getting my second wind after eating the chocolate so I wandered on down to the lounge area in the hotel. I was in time for Happy Hour so I decided to be happy. I purchased a glass of Merlot and sat by the open window watching the cars go by and some young men playing football (soccer) in the park across the street…. the Steyne.

worthing

worthingLife doesn’t get much better than this. I was determined to suck up every moment and engrave it in my mind, because as much as I would like to return, I don’t know if I will ever have the opportunity to visit Worthing again.

worthing

 


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – day two – Highdown Gardens

highdown gardens

My friend M and I met up on Tuesday morning at the Stagecoach bus stop near my hotel on Marine Parade. The #9 bus dropped us at Northbrook Metropolitan College. It was a short walk along the A259 to the Highdown turnoff and a pleasant trek up the hill to the gardens.

Highdown GardensFrom the Highdown Gardens website:

Highdown Gardens are nestled on the South Downs situated between Ferring and Goring.

These stunningly beautiful chalk gardens on Downland countryside, overlooking the sea, are a tranquil haven for all to enjoy. The gardens are home to The National Plant Collection of the Plant Introductions of Sir Fredrick Stern – a unique collection of plants and trees, with many unusual plants to be discovered all year round.

HIghdown Gardens

Highdown Gardens is one of the hidden gems of the area and home to a unique collection of rare plants and trees. In fact the whole garden has been deemed a National Collection.

The Gardens looks their best in spring and early summer when there is a colorful succession of spring bulbs such as Crocus, Daffodils, Anemones and Snowdrops followed by Paeonies and Bearded Iris.

As we were there the second week in May this was an ideal time to see the gardens at their best.

HIghdown Gardens

The gardens, internationally important because they are home to hundreds of rare and exotic plants and trees uniquely grown on chalk soil, are visited by tens of thousands of people every year.

HIghdown Gardens

Worthing Borough Council owns and maintains the gardens which are free to visitors.

HIghdown Gardens

Sir Frederick Stern created his gardens during a period when many expeditions were going out to China and the Himalayan regions collecting rare and beautiful plants. Many of the original plants from their early collections can still be seen in the Gardens today.

HIghdown Gardens

Sir Frederick received his knighthood in 1956 for Services to Horticulture.

HIghdown Gardens

The 8.5 acres of Gardens were created out of an old chalk pit overlooking the South Downs, where there was little soil and very unfavorable conditions for plant growth.

HIghdown Gardens

I really lucked out and experienced Southern California weather all the time I was in Worthing, except for half a day when it rained. The weather on our visit to Highdown was sunny and warm. Very pleasant for walking around.

HIghdown Gardens

The tadpoles were enjoying a school outing on this beautiful day!

HIghdown Gardens

And this little red fellow came along to say hello.

Click on an image below to enjoy the slideshow!

After such a feast for the senses it was time to fill our tummies so we headed to the Tea Rooms.

HIghdown Gardens

HIghdown Gardens

I chose the Ploughmen’s Lunch and M ordered Welsh Rarebit.

HIghdown Gardens

Such a delightful afternoon. We walked back to the bus stop through the fields.

HIghdown Gardens


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The UK – Worthing, Sussex – part one

Worthing, Sussex

I met my friend M the first evening in Worthing and we walked out on to the pier to see this spectacular sight.

So the burning question is, can you go back again?

I decided to answer that one way or the other.

Fishing area on the Worthing Pier.

Worthing, Sussex, on the south coast of England was the last place my parents and I lived before emigrating to the US the first time. At this point we had already lived in Brighton (Sussex) and Argentina and Hove (Sussex). So it was with relief that at the age of eight I thought we had settled into a good life in Worthing. But not to be!

At the age of twelve I was uprooted once again to move to Florida, USA. We arrived in New York on the Queen Elizabeth. And one day I should write a story about that!

We lived in Tampa and then Clearwater and then Tampa again. After that we moved to Houston and then back to Tampa, or was it Clearwater? I began to lose track after a while!

Looking east from the Worthing Pier. At first I was having trouble with east and west!

Worthing shuts down around 6:00pm. A few restaurants and pubs remain open but shops, forget it!

Then we moved to Los Angeles, California. That was quite a trek and some wild and strange experiences. I should write stories about that too!

We moved around to several neighborhoods which meant different school districts. My dad never seemed to take into account that moving me around from school to school to school to school to school to school would have any affect on my life…

This seagull was just about the only resident we encountered on the streets in the evening.

Then we moved back to England. First to Norwich in East Anglia, then to London.

I was expecting zombies to appear any minute on the empty streets.

Then back to Los Angeles where my parents finally settled. And I graduated from high school. At that point I counted I had been to fifteen schools! Very few people believe me when I say that most of my teenage years are a total fog!

For several years now I have thought about Worthing. What would my life had been like if we had stayed there, or at least in England? I fantasized I would I have attended the University of Sussex and attained a degree in art history. Or anthropology. Would I have lived the life I was supposed to live instead of never knowing who I was?

Who can say? Certainly not me. Maybe I would have been hit by a train and never made it to adulthood. I can never know what my other life would have been. But I am grateful for who I am now.

Stay tuned for the rest of my adventures in Worthing and Brighton!


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Yosemite – part four – my dream come true… SNOW!

yosemite

Sunday night the dark clouds rolled in and made for some dramatic skies.

 

yosemite

Monday morning I opened the drapes and voila… SNOW. Well, not exactly.

yosemiteDuring the night we thought we heard heavy rain beating down. Turned out it was hail.

Yosemite

Walking over to breakfast it was a tad slippery!

yosemite

But it was great to see white stuff on the mountains.

Yosemite

And eventually snow began to fall. This is what I’d been waiting for.

Yosemite

I was actually glad Mother Nature had waited until the last day to present us with snow. I don’t think I would have enjoyed hiking in the snow. I’ve hiked in the snow many times in the past (although not at Yosemite) and now I’m more concerned about slipping and falling.

Yosemite

But it was certainly wonderful to see it dusting the trees and mountains.

Yosemite

I loved the contrast of the greens and browns of the trees against the whites and blues.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Seeing the Yosemite Falls with snow and ice was pretty spectacular.

Yosemite

Yosemite

Yes, we are still in California! This Chevy provided the perfect contrast of colors.

Yosemite

So at last my vision of snow in Yosemite was realized… dreams do come true! Yosemite is splendid under any circumstances. But with snow it is extra special.

Yosemite

I do hope to visit Yosemite again at some point in the future. But now I don’t have to be disappointed if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

 

 

 


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Yosemite – part two – a hike and the Golden Hour

yosemite

Saturday was our first full day at Yosemite National Park. One of our leaders was on crutches and announced she was leading a saunter so S and I decided that was our kind of hike! I walked outside our room in the morning to get the photo above. It was COLD out there!

yosemite

This was the view from our patio. Somebody said this was Cathedral Rocks so I’m going with that!

yosemite

Photographers blocking our view!

We set out on our “saunter” along the Merced River. There was no snow but it was CHILLY! My gloved hands were totally numb and I had difficulty clicking the shutter on my camera.

yosemite

The top of the Yosemite Falls. One of the magnificent features of the park is all the waterfalls.

Half Dome peeking up in the center.

yosemite I honestly didn’t think I had any good photos from this trip. But when I got home and looked at them in Lightroom I realized I had a few. I think there might even be two or three that I can work on to upload to Fine Art America.

yosemite
I enjoy framing a similar view in a different way.

The light coming through the trees was magical and mystical.

yosemite
In the afternoon we visited the Ansel Adams Gallery. What could be finer than viewing masterful photographs by the man himself in the location he shot them in? Ah, life doesn’t get much better!

yosemite

Bridal Falls… think you can figure out where the name came from!

I came back to our room and sat outside in the patio with a little vodka cocktail (well, maybe not so little…). You can see our chairs and table and the beautiful view through our picture window. My friend said when she got back to LA her body had returned but her soul was still in Yosemite. Agreed!

yosemiteIt is so important to spend time in nature and to get out of your usual routine so your brain can fly.

yosemite

yosemite
As evening set in we were fortunate to catch the Golden Hour. The next evening the clouds rolled in and there was no Golden Hour…

yosemite
All day long and all evening long we were fascinated with the plane entrails passing overhead.

So you’ve seen day one and day two. Two more days coming up!


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Yosemite – part one – just a taste

yosemite

yosemite

It’s been three years since I visited Yosemite National Park. Last time the temperature was in the mid 70s and everybody was in shorts and tank tops in February. So this time I wanted to see some snow. But the probability wasn’t very high.

yosemite

But I decided I would have a good time regardless. Yosemite contains so much magnificent scenery it’s hard to look in any direction without being overwhelmed.

yosemite

This was another Sierra Club trip sponsored by the West LA Group. We left West Los Angeles around 6:40 Friday morning.

yosemite

My friend SB came along as my roommate. These shots are all as we arrived in the park late afternoon. Yosemite is about 280 miles (450km) from West LA. We made a few pit stops and a picnic stop on the way. It was a gorgeous California day. yosemite

There’s nothing like being on the road in the comfort of a motor coach. I used to love to drive around California in my own car, but no more. I prefer to leave the driving to the professionals!yosemite

 

I’ll be posting more photos later. We had four beautiful days, and yes, including SNOW!

 

 


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White Sands, New Mexico and an unplanned ode to the Sierra Club

 

white sands

Out of the tour bus at White Sands National Monument

I’ve been a member and supporter of the Sierra Club for almost forty years. Politics aside, the Club has been very good to me. Over the years I’ve participated in hundreds of hikes, events, activities and trips. And most importantly, I’ve made many good friends (including a couple of boyfriends and a husband!).

White Sands

A forensic nightmare: the perpetrator walked across the sand so we can identify the pattern on the soles of his shoes…

The Sierra Club has played an important part in my life. I was a hike leader for many years, editor of various newsletters and a volunteer at many fund raising events.

White Sands

The tenacity of plant life

It has also taken me on numerous wonderful trips around the USA and allowed me to discover the great National Parks of this country that I would never have seen on my own.

White Sands

Waves of sand. You can imagine the ocean in the distance but Santa Monica is more than 800 miles (1287 km) away

I’ve been on cruises, hiking trips, camping and just plain sight-seeing. This is an easy way for me to support the Club while having a good time myself.

White Sands

I’ve lived in Los Angeles continually since 1965. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains, but other than hiking the trails of Griffith Park (which are not to be sneered at) I had never really ventured into the Santa Monicas or the San Gabriels or the Verdugos. Around 1980 I discovered the Sierra Club and that all changed. I became addicted to hiking at least twice a week. One weekend my car wouldn’t start and rather than spend the time to get it fixed I convinced my father to loan me his car so I could go on a hike!

White Sands

The sun was already fading and the contrast between light and dark was making it increasingly difficult to capture the landscape

I can’t trust myself to do any heavy duty hiking anymore. My ankles, knees and hips took a beating with all the running I did for several decades. But that is totally okay. I have fabulous memories of trudging around the mountains in awe of the beauty of Southern California. I look up at the mountains now as old friends and we smile knowingly at each other.

White Sands

The purple flowers in the center stand out in this stark landscape

Sometimes I start writing and I get off on a tangent. So I just let it flow. This post was supposed to be all about my Sierra Club trip to southern New Mexico last year. And White Sands National Monument in particular. All the photos you’ve been looking at are from that area. We had a limited amount of time but as I’ve said before, there is always a trade-off when on a motor coach tour. On the one hand you have no responsibility and all the stress is on the shoulders of the leader. On the other hand, you don’t get to decide where to go or how much time to spend at any given location. But I did manage to take one prize-winning photograph at White Sands and that made the whole trip worthwhile for me!!!

White Sands
From the website: Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening white sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this unique dunefield, along with the plants and animals that live here.

White Sands

As the sun went down the shadows were getting longer which made some interesting photographs

White Sands

On the photo above I liked the way the tendrils seemed to wave around as if the plant was under water and the shadows added extra interest.

White Sands

Hey, we saw some native wildlife! This beetle was making his own tracks over the imprints left by human visitors.

The original photo

White Sands

Playing a little in Lightroom and Photoshop

Although I love the act of taking a photo and making it the best composition I can, I have to admit the real fun begins for me in the post processing. When I saw this tree I also immediately imagined the possibilities. By itself it’s a perfectly acceptable photograph. But in my opinion the trip through Lightroom and Photoshop makes it magical!

White Sands

This leaf also had a little help from Photoshop with the posterization filter. This is my go-to filter to really make the image pop.

White Sands

Got to love those shadows. Although the light was getting a little difficult, it also added a little drama!

White Sands

White Sands

I had wandered off quite a ways by myself to take photos. I came back to see the group having fun sliding down the dunes. Good for them. My fun is in making art. To each their own, yeah?

Click on an image below for slide show.

Original photo

White Sands

A little fun with Photoshop

By now the shadows were REALLY long. I couldn’t resist taking this photo of my shadow. I didn’t even notice the person standing at the top until I played with the image in Photoshop. Totally serendipitous. This won first prize in the member’s theme at the Culver City Art Group Holiday Show. And I think it also helped me win for best body of work. You never know when you are out shooting what photos are going to turn out best and which ones are going to miss the objective. It really is a hit and miss shooting match!

White Sands

Like all the trips I take, I always think I’ll have the opportunity to return and take more time. But I never do. So I have learned to soak in as much as possible whenever possible.


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A quick visit to San Francisco from Coit Tower to Pier 39

coit tower

In July I visited my good friend Judy who moved from Orange County in Southern California to Walnut Creek in Northern California a few years ago. Every year I said I was coming up to visit but you know how that goes. So this year I said this is it, I’m going.

I flew into San Francisco International Airport and took the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train to Walnut Creek where Judy picked me up. Simple! Why couldn’t things be that easy and civilized in Los Angeles? By the time we get a direct connection into LAX I probably won’t still be on the planet! Good thing I live fairly close to the airport so it’s a relatively short ride by taxi.

coit tower muralsI had read about the renovations of the 1934 murals at Coit Tower so I wanted to visit there as part of my trip up north. Fortunately, Judy was willing. So one day we took BART back into the city. I love San Francisco. Although it’s totally different from London, when I’m there I feel the same vibe.

coit tower murals

The bad news was the line for the elevator up to the top of Coit Tower was long. The really good news is that while you are waiting you have the opportunity to see the fabulous murals up close.

coit tower murals

Also some nice views out of the doors at the ground level. Of course, Coit Tower is at the top of a steep hill. So even though you may be at the base, there are still commanding views of the bay.

coit tower murals

So it was a toss up which was more fabulous… the spectacular views or the amazing murals.

coit tower

How often do you have choices like that?

coit tower murals

And on top of everything else, I had the privilege of spending time with my lovely friend Judy!

coit tower murals

From the website: The murals inside the tower’s base were painted in 1934 by a group of artists employed by the Public Works of Art Project, a precursor to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), and depict life in California during the Depression. When violence broke out during the 1934 longshoremen’s strike, controversy over the radical content in some of the panels became quite heated. Some of the most controversial elements were painted over, and the tower was padlocked for several months before the frescoes were finally opened to the public in the fall of 1934.

coit tower murals

The artists (including Maxine AlbroVictor Arnautoff, Ray Bertrand, Rinaldo Cuneo, Mallette Harold Dean, Gordon Langdon, Clifford Wight, Edith HamlinGeorge Albert HarrisOtis OldfieldSuzanne Scheuer, Hebe Daum, Jane BerlandinaFrederick E. Olmsted Jr., Jose Moya del Pino and Frede Vidar) were committed in varying degrees to racial equality and to leftist and Marxist political ideas strongly expressed in the paintings. (Wikipedia.)

coit tower

When you get out of the elevator at the top of the tower there are a few more steps. Then some good views of San Francisco. I was having a little problem with my vertigo but managed to get a few good shots with my point & shoot anyway.

I purposely left my DSLR at Judy’s place that day as before I left LA I read that a 70-year-old photographer had been murdered near Coit Tower recently for his camera equipment and I wasn’t taking any chances! Apparently there are roving gangs of thieves in San Francisco attacking tourists for their photography gear. I have a very basic Canon DSLR but in the moment a thief may not have time to check out my model number!!!

coit tower

We had walked up to the tower but were in no mood to walk all the way down. We saw car after car (presumably Uber or Lyft) arriving to pick up groups of people. But we had already determined we could get back down to the waterfront for just a few cents by public transportation. And pretty soon the bus arrived. I don’t understand why anyone would want to pay taxi fare when the cost of a bus ride is so cheap. Most people are too hung up on riding in cars!

Some info from Wikipedia: Coit Tower, also known as the Lillian Coit Memorial Tower, is a 210-foot (64 m) tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood of San FranciscoCalifornia. The tower, in the city’s Pioneer Park, was built in 1933 using Lillie Hitchcock Coit‘s bequest to beautify the city of San Francisco; at her death in 1929 Coit left one-third of her estate to the city for civic beautification. The tower was proposed in 1931 as an appropriate use of Coit’s gift. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 29, 2008.

pier 39

The bus took us all the way down to the waterfront and we had a nice walk to Pier 39. It was pretty crowded.

I really enjoyed seeing all the sea lions and the crowds of spectators appreciating them too. We had a lovely seafood lunch and afterwards another nice walk to the Ferry Building and back to the BART station.

Along the way we saw these vintage trolley cars still doing their duty.

san francisco

I’ve always loved San Francisco and just wish it was possible to visit more often. It’s just a matter of time and money!


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Photos I’m showing at the Culver City Art Group Show

The first five photos are in the main show:

Lion at the Los Angeles Zoo

 

Tree at White Sands

 

White Sands Landscape

 

Canoes for rent at Avalon, Catalina Island

 

culver city art show

William Jefferson Clinton Pedestrian Bridge, Little Rock, Arkansas

 

Entry for the Members’ Theme: Let there be light

White Sands

My self-portrait at White Sands, New Mexico

These will be on view Saturday, November 11 at Playa Vista.