Taken at Norwich Cathedral, Norwich, Norfolk
'Dame Julian of Norwich'
The life of the 14th century Christian mystic, Julian of Norwich, is celebrated this week and having visited Norwich recently, I wanted to share her inspiring story with you. We visited Norwich to discover more of her life as the last piece of Dreams of Peace and Freedom is a setting of her words. Dame Julian is most famous for her book, Revelations of Divine Love, which she wrote after a long illness where God revealed his love to her. When she recovered, she became an anchorite, or hermit, and dedicated her time to prayer and reflection. Today, centuries after her death, many people meet in 'Julian groups' up and down the country to continue her tradition of prayer. On our visit, we saw her cell, or anchorage, where she lived which is attached to St Julian's Church and Norwich Cathedral where she is remembered in stained glass and statues.The stained glass window I took this picture of depicts her in 'civilian' clothes, holding her book and with a cat at her feet. This is significant as the only animal that an anchorite could keep was a cat to keep the number of mice at bay. Finding out about Julian of Norwich inspired me, as it continues to inspire many, with her extraordinary story of God's love and her work is as important today as it was six centuries ago.
Taken at Buckingham Palace, Central London
'They're changing guards at Buckingham Palace'
By pure luck and chance I caught the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace on Saturday, never having seen it before despite being in London. The Palace has been in the spotlight a lot recently due to the birth of HRH Princess Charlotte and the 70th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe) day. Having got the tube to Green Park, I walked from the station and through the park heading for the Palace, admiring the luscious greenery in the trees and carpet of emerald grass. I had originally planned to sit on a bench, however everyone seemed to be gravitating towards Palace so I had to find out what was going on. I followed the crowd and found myself surrounded by tourists 4 or 5 deep ready to watch the traditional British event, the Changing of the Guard. I was amazed at the turn out of people which brought to mind the footage of the VE day celebrations. Although the numbers were fewer, the spirit of the crowd was full of anticipation and as the show of pageantry got underway with red velvet soldiers marching in polished black boots and furry bearskins. Cue an eruption of joyful applause! For a moment, traffic halted and tourists and spectators clambered to see what they could of this very British celebration. I called this photo 'They're changing guards at Buckingham Palace' after the AA Milne poem which comes to mind when I think of this particular event...
They're changing guard at Buckingham Palace -
Christopher Robin went down with Alice.
Alice is marrying one of the guard.
"A soldier's life is terrible hard,"
Taken outside Theatre d'Atelier, 1 Place Dullin, 18th arrondissement, Paris
'Actually, Paris is most beautiful in the rain'
This time last year, we took a trip to Paris to take photographs for my project - On Location: Les Miserables. Although I have passed through and stayed in 'the city of light' many times, only on this visit did I properly appreciate its magnificent glory. This is in part due to the amount of 19th century literature set in and around Paris that I have read in the last couple of years. From The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas to Les Miserables by the great Victor Hugo, my mind is now populated by the characters they created, and I was fascinated to be surrounded by their landscape. On the first evening, we ventured out to get our bearings around our hotel in Montmartre. It was raining and a line from Woody Allen's charming film, Midnight in Paris, came to mind 'Paris is most beautiful in the rain.' In the film, Gil meets his literary heroes from the 1920s, and the silhouettes in front of the Theatre d'Atelier brought to mind all the notable Parisians, real and imagined, that have roamed the starlit streets. The streets of Paris once covered by 'a little fall of rain' become a mirror to reflect all the action that happens above it. That night, in Place Dullin, in the shadow of Sacre Coeur, I sensed the whole history of Paris beneath my feet.
Taken at the Birthplace of Freedom, Runnymede
'Hazy Summer Days'
Last Saturday we took the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather by revisiting the birthplace of Freedom, Runnymede, which is getting ready for the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta in June. Despite the upcoming celebrations, there were only the odd group of tourists - mainly young families with their dogs visiting the monument, and most of the action was happening by the river where there were boat trips up the Thames every hour. After a picnic lunch in the sunshine, we set off towards the monument. The seasonal landscape had changed since our last visit as buttercups now line the path giving it the appearance of the yellow brick road in the Wizard of Oz. Among the buttercups, were stems of wispy grass swaying in the breeze and lucky clover hiding amongst the carpet of mown grass. With children playing amongst the butterflies and bees and more colourful clothing on display, it felt for the first time like a British summer's day. This is why I named this photo 'Hazy Summer Days' Casson's song which incidentally we are working on for this year's English Cabaret Hour...
Then we sat in the sunlight
By the murmuring stream
And long days stretched before us...
Hazy summer days and lazy summer ways,
Buttercups shine in your eyes