Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Lebanese fisherman

A Lebanese fisherman, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Looking here a lot like Novak Djokovic, who won the Australian Open for the second time! Or not? Congratulations to the Serb, who played such excellent tennis and deserved his second win.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The colours of winter

The colours of winter, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The last weekend of January. So often cold and bright (they are giving us a maximum of +1 degree, with a wind chill factor of -5). The first of the winter flowers can be seen in the woods - the lovely winter aconites (right) and snowdrops (not out quite yet).

There is the Australian Open finals to watch in the mornings and this year we have had Kim Clijsters win the women's this morning (great match!) and tomorrow it is 'our' Andy Murray pitched against Novac Djokovic, should be a thriller!

What's more, it is the FA Cup Forth Round and 'my' team Southampton are hosting Manchester United (again) later this afternoon, something to listen to on the radio while taking a bath.

I love the rhythms of the year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Djibouti - water and qat, what pleasure!

A lot has been written here and on the blog about qat and its destructive influence on families, so need to say too much more. Basically, men start on their qat at about midday and spend the next five hours sitting around with their mates chewing the leaves like goats. So not only are they dead to the world, inable to work or earn money, but they spend the money that they have earned (maybe earlier in the day) on their drug instead of their families.

Still, I find this a charming portrait of a young man, posing here with his qat and his bottle of water.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mum!

Happy Birthday, Mum!, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

My mother with a chicken as a young girl. I gave my Mum a chicken coop for her birthday, taking her back to the times as a young girl growing up in the Sussex countryside and as a young mother in Hargeisa, whne she used to keep chickens. Good luck with them, Mum!

This photo was also sent out to my granfather during the War and has been stamped "M-Stammlagar XX A Gepruft 18" to denote that he had been approved by the POW camp authorities.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On the way down from Debre Bizen

Have a look at the blog from 14th September 2005 for the story of this walk!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mother and father of Boaz, Congratulations!

Femke gave birth last night. We were round at their place yesterday afternoon, during our Sunday afternoon walk around town, but they were not in and we were quite surprised to get a call alst night to say the baby - Boaz, had just arrived. Hoping to see him very soon.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Some magic from Africa

Here are some of the photos from Eritrea which we uploaded to flickr, combined with what I consider to be a lovely song from west Africa, called Aun Aun by the Royal Band Thies, as found on our Dakar Sound Sampler 2 CD.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jordan - Wide expanses of Wadi Rum

I am sure I have posted this photo a few times alrteady on this blog. but it really is one of my favourites and I will be saying goodbye to our recent excursion through Jordan befoer we hop across the Red Sea and go south to Eritrea...

Friday, January 14, 2011

King Donkey

King Donkey, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Why King Donkey? Well, he seems to be standing there impreiously, looking down on the rest of the world in a slightly disinterested fashion, probably catching up on forty winks.

The rocks of Petra, the Pink City, are of sandstone and what we are looking at here are columns carved out of the rock by the Nabateans who created the materpiece that is the old city of Petra.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bananas, dates and garlic along the King's Highway

A lovely colourful assortment of bunches hanging in a grocer's shop in Kerak.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Wadi Mujib along the King's Highway

The King's Highway runs from the north of the country to the south, connecting Amman, the Dead Sea area to Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba in the south passing through Kerak with its mighty castle. An impressive road has been built along its path, passing mountains and river valleys, an area of outstanding natural beauty.

It is fascinating to come back to these places, photographically here in flickr five-and-a-half years later and read up about them at one's leisure on the myriad of websites. Of course, we knew thatb the King's Highway had Biblical connectiopns, was not as aware of the details then, as no. For example, the story of Moses bringing his people north. We alo visited Mount Nebo further north which is as far as Moses got!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shepherd with his flock along the King's Highway

Here we see a shepherd with his flock, with behind an olive grove. We were driving along the empty road with the windows open and heard a flute playing and it is this shepherd, it was straight out of a story from the Greek myths. We stopped, of course, and had a chat with the shepherd who continued to play once we left. A magical scene.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Richard

Happy Birthday, Richard, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Here is a rare picture from the photo-less 70's.My Dad had just about given up taking photos of his squabbling kids and all we had was our Mum's instamatic which hardly ever got used, it being very expensive to buy and decvelop film and money being short. My brother and I had paper rounds and we spent opur money buying ourselves a new racing bicycle, a stereosystem, records and books, not photos. So very few photos from 1974 to 1980, when I bought myself a new generation Fuji camera.

This is my father, elder sister, brother, Aunty Nina and myself in our graden in Beaconsfield, where we lived from 1966 to 1980, with a two year break in Australia betwen 1970 and 1972.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Ajloun Castle, tower

Ajloun Castle, tower, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Ajloun Castle (Qal'at Ar-Rabad) was built by one of Saladin's generals, Izzeddin Usama Mungidh, in 1184 AD to control the iron mines of Ajlun, and to deter the Franks from invading Ajlun. Ajlun Castle dominated the three main routes leading to the Jordan Valley and protected the trade and commercial routes between Jordan and Syria; it became an important link in the defensive chain against the Crusaders, who, unsuccessfully spent decades trying to capture the castle and the nearby village.

One of the four original towers of Ajloun Castle, looking out across the pine forests. Ajloun Castle was one of the stopping posts for pigeons, allowing messages to be sent from Damascus to Cairo in 12 hours. Maybe it is no wonder that pigeons are still so popular in the region.

There is a very well presented site on Jordan, organised by Visit Jordan - here is the micro-site relating to Ajloun.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Charles on banks of River Jordan

Here at the Bethany site where they found the remains of lots of old churches which indicate that here is where they think John baptised Jesus. Of course, with irrigation. the River Jordan is more like a series of puddles than a free-flowing river these days.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Charles, Alex and Fred at the South Theatre in Jerash

Continuing a revisit to our Middle East and Africa trip from 2005, bringing some photos which didn't make it the first time round and replacing small versions of the photos with full-size ones. Here we are in Jerash, an impressive Roman site in the north of Jordan, up towards the border with Syria.

All three of us with red headgear, blue shirts, khaki trousers and brown shoes!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Fred lording it in 'his' castle

Going back to our Middle East and Africa trip, we find Fred at 'his' castle in the desert somewhere to the east of Amman in Jordan.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Light and shadow at Nizwa livestock market

Here a couple of brothers from the pigeon market with coloured robes and without the caps, to provide a bit of contrast.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Impressions from Granada

Impressions from Granada, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

This was me ten years ago in Granada.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Pigeon seller from Nizwa in Oman

Pigeon seller, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

From the pigeon souq in Nizwa - for some photos from the dove bazaar in Istanbul, see here:

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Doorways and windows in al-Hamra

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Welcome to 2011, originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Starting 2011 off with a nice quiet moment in the Yemeni souk in Badha in Riyadh. These guys are making henna powder from the henna leaves and selling it to passers-by. It was nice to stop for a chat (hands and feet style) with such people and then to take a snap. I love such moments.

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