The carousel that made people happy

The carousel that made people happy

Once upon a time there was an amusement park on the edge of a beautiful lake where people came to be happy. They arrived from far and wide to ride the roller coaster and fly in the space rockets. They loved getting scared in the Laff in the Dark, laughing with Laffing Beulah and having their fortune read by the gypsy Esmeralda.

At the very centre of the park the best of all the rides was a carousel of beautiful horses that rode round and round to the sound of the Wurlitzer organ. The horses wore flowers and feathers and armour, their manes flew and their nostrils flared as they pranced and jumped.

The man who owned the park had a daughter. This little girl loved being at the park and going on the rides that made people happy. Most of all she loved the carousel. Every day she visited her favourite horse, the one with the golden rosette and flowers on her blue harness, and rode her to the sound of the organ music.

After many years the park closed its gates and the rides that made people happy were shut down. All except the carousel, which was placed in a city park where it continued to be ridden and to make people happy.

Many, many years later, when the little girl had become an old woman, her daughter took her to see the carousel and ride on her favourite horse. The carousel did its job once more and made them both very happy.

My mother’s family owned Meyers Lake Park in Canton, Ohio, for over 50 years. When the park closed in 1974, the historic Stein and Goldstein carousel was moved to Bushnell Park in Hartford, Connecticut, where it continues to be ridden by generations of children and adults. My mother had not seen the carousel for 40 years when we went to visit it last week. You can see more photos of this beautiful carousel here and find more information about Bushnell Park here.

Manhattan Bridge at sunset

Manhattan Bridge at sunset

I have just come back from a big family gathering in Boston and a brief trip to New York where we spent the day walking for miles around the city. It was exhilarating, despite the penetrating cold and grey skies. We ended the afternoon by crossing the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.

The setting sun came out from behind dark clouds and cast crazy shadow patterns across the pedestrian walkway. It was a good thing, too, because walking through this dazzling view distracted me from thinking about my fear of heights and how high up we were above the East River. You can see more of my photographs of New York City and other townscapes here.

A city bursting with colour and pattern

A city bursting with colour and pattern

I was in Lisbon for a few days recently. Every summer of my childhood I spent a month in a small town nearby so I know the area very well, but it had been over 30 years since I had been there. This time I went with my teenage daughter, and together we (re)discovered the joys of this incredible city. Much about it has changed, but so much of it hadn’t as well. I found myself continually accosted by the beauty of this place.

It is a city bursting with patterns and colours. Whole building façades, entire squares even, are covered in the typical tiles called ‘azulejos’. Some streets run straight up and down the steep hills, lined at regular intervals with balconies, windows and doorways. Others slowly wend their way around ancient squares. The famous yellow trams offer a fairground ride of a journey through the vertiginous narrow alleyways of the oldest parts of the city. I can’t believe it took me 30 years to return. I definitely won’t let it be that long next time. More photographs of Lisbon can be found here.

A rainy Southend Pier, Essex

A rainy Southend Pier, Essex

I give you a moody shot for this week’s photo. It was taken while travelling the length of the longest pleasure pier in the world, which happens to be in Southend, Essex. This elevated platform extends 1.34 miles out into the middle of the Thames River Estuary. It is so long that, as an alternative to walking to the end of the pier,

you can also take a dedicated railway line, where this photo was taken. In fact, we were forced to take the train because the walkway was closed due to the adverse weather conditions that you can see outside the window. Unfortunately, we missed the train back and had to (illegally) run the length of the pier in the rain. You can find more townscape photos here, and more of my travel photographs here.

The boats of Lindisfarne

The boats of Lindisfarne

A recent trip to Northumbria took us to Lindisfarne, an island joined to the mainland at low tide by a narrow causeway. On the beach of this remote and barren place was an extraordinary sight. The edge of the harbour was lined with large whale-like structures.

They were overturned fishing boats that had been cut in half, doors added across the flattened ends and repurposed as sheds. The graceful shape of the boats was accentuated by evenly spaced wooden struts that ran their entire length, making them look even more like beached whales. More photographs of Lindesfarne can be found here.

Happy new year!

Happy New Year!

I felt we needed a bright and breezy photograph to start the year off right and Florida can do that in bucket-loads. I am sure I could find some metaphor about clean fresh beginnings, but really, I just love

the photo. This was my laundromat experience on Key Largo while travelling with my mother and my daughter in the Florida Keys. I wish all laundrettes could be this colourful. Happy New Year to you all! You can find more Florida photographs here.

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