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Posts tagged ‘Morning’

A Windsor Weekend, Part III: The River

We are not the most social pair, my partner and I. When it comes to the choice between a crowded room or an empty field, we will always go for the latter, finding beauty in the tranquility of nature, rather than the bustle of a hyperactive grouping. Perhaps it is the after-effect of city life – I remember sometimes feeling the opposite living in Mallorca, when the loneliness of the stark mountain scenery had us wishing for civilisation and the safety that comes with being one of a crowd.

Given that it was the bank holiday weekend, Windsor was pretty packed, and when it came to that same choice between a crowded high street and the contemplative remoteness of nature, we embraced the latter to the strongest possible degree, even when it took real efforts to do so.

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Chief amongst those endeavours was our determination to rise early and enjoy the town, and more particular the banks of the River Thames, without the interruption of crowds. And so by 7:30am, we were already to be found down by the mirrored surface of the water with only swans for company. And what a lot of swans there were. At one point, when we wandered under a bridge onto a tiny peninsular literally loaded with swans preening themselves, sleeping and feeding, we empathised perfectly with how Edgar Degas must have felt, when he walked into the dressing room of the Opera Garnier in Paris, with countless ballerinas preening themselves in preparation for their stint on stage.

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The River Thames was very much the perfect swan lake for us that golden early morning, and with very little else to disturb the silence, we enjoyed a walk of utmost tranquility before the imposing silhouette of Windsor Castle. Gradually, as the hours ticked on, more people appeared: jogging, walking the dog, and getting ready for the day. But having had our fill of nature enjoyed in the quiet peace of daybreak, we were once again ready to face those burgeoning Windsor weekend crowds.

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

A walk one early Tuscan morning: Vineyards and poppies

Florence, Siena, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, Grosseto… Tuscany plays host to more stunning cities than you can even begin to list, let alone visit on a single trip to the region. Full of art history’s jewels, quaint little streets and magical churches, these are the cities which inspired a golden age of travel. Yet the cities are only one facet of Tuscany’s charm. All along the length of the region, there are beaches so sandy that they can rival the very best of Spain’s costas. In its restaurants, the Tuscan people will tell you that the very best food of Italy is served up, from wild boar to Sopa Della Pescaia. But above all things, Tuscany is characterised by its iconic landscapes. Who hasn’t salivated over the picture postcard views of undulating hills truncated by a cypress-lined winding road? And it is this landscape, punctuated by vines and olive trees and pine-perfumed air that I like to enjoy above all things.

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I’m lucky. I have family living in the region. And that means proximity. When we visit them my favourite thing to do is to get up early, as the sun is just starting to make its ascent, and walk. Walk in whatever direction my feet take me. For all roads in Tuscany lead to a lovely landscape, as countryside paths take the earnest visitor through those perfectly ordered vineyards, across freshly ploughed fields and amongst wild flowers.

These photos are from one such morning walk when the hour was perfectly peaceful and the light a creamy tone of reflected gold. But despite the sun’s fast ascent, there was a tangible sleepiness to the air, as poppy heads drooped delicately along grassy verges, snails curled up in snoozing groups on deserted street posts, and the birds, slowly awakening, heralded the start of a sunny new day. Pure. Bliss.

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© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. 

New Horizons / Goodbye to Loved Ones

There is a very good reason why moving house is said to be one of, if not the most stressful experiences in a person’s average life: because it’s true. What looks on paper to be a simple event, with just a little effort and a few cardboard boxes thrown in, quickly becomes a herculean effort with as much cardboard and bubble wrap as would be required to encase your average skyscraper. Or so it was with my move that is, the second in just 12 months, across from one end of Palma de Mallorca to the other. The move marked a clear inconvenience, but for many reasons was both necessary and desirable. And it was with these many positives in mind that we maintained our resolve as we heaved suitcases full of books and paintings across the cobbled streets and many stairs which fill the centre of Palma.

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Almost 8 weeks after the moving process first began, we have finally began to settle in our new abode; a modern apartment which is reminiscent of our comfortable London home, except that here we benefit from a sizeable terrace and a wonderful view of palm trees and cypresses – one view you are sure not to get in Blighty. And now with the comfort of settling in finally upon us, the time to contemplate our new space and surroundings has also arrived, and in these first photos, I wanted to share with you some of my first shots, not within the new flat, but outside it. For as I awake in the morning, or gaze at a sunset upon the onset of the night, it is the views from this new home which enchant me… new views to get lost in; new horizons to explore.

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But the time of our acquaintance with a fresh start in a new home coincided with the time of the year when people tend to direct their minds backwards; to a past in which a loved one was by their side; to a time when a person’s presence made their lives very different. For in the world outside of our new home, Spain was marking its day of the dead, and in La Rambla, the sprawling flower market lining the entire central avenue of one of Palma’s principle boulevards, flower arrangements created to newly embellish the gravesides of lost love ones overflowed onto the pavements, so that down this road of some half a kilometre in length, it was like a single wave of bounteous colour had erupted across the ordinarily grey road.

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As with the cemeteries I love, the Day of the Dead is undoubtedly characterised by a sense of pathos and loss, but none can deny the beauty which accompanies this annual day of remembrance; when from the bleak monotony of sadness, colour erupts in a floral feast to mark a fresh adieu to lost loved ones.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Appreciating the everyday: Waking up to Palma

It’s all too easy to be complacent, to get used to the good things in life and stop appreciating them, and here in Palma de Mallorca, where we are literally surrounded by the utmost of urban and then rural beauty at every stretch I am constantly reminding myself just how lucky I am. Such complacency resides more than anywhere else in the home, where we enjoy the same stunning surroundings every day, but the constantly changing beauty of our immediate environment provides a frequent reminder that it should be appreciated afresh every day.

Such were my musings when I got up one early morning a few days ago, and looked out of the window onto the multi-coloured panoply of old town streets which surround our apartment. Radiant in warm yellows, terracottas and greens, the nearby streets are archetypally Mediterranean, and look simply resplendent under the golden morning and evening sun rays. But what enchants me even more is the length of the early shadows, adding fresh stripes to an already linear landscape which move across the facades with the sun.

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This small set of photos was snapped quickly before work, when in a sudden moment of realisation, I was made to stop and appreciate my daily views afresh. Even my sculpted model, made during my first ever sculpture attempt in London back in 2011, appears to be captivated by the view she now enjoys on a daily basis. And who can blame her.

All photos and written content are strictly the copyright of Nicholas de Lacy-Brown © 2015 and The Daily Norm. All rights are reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.