Henry VIII and Elizabeth I in Enfield

Elsyng Palace was a family home for Henry VIII and his children, probably as large as Hampton Court.  Each summer the Enfield Archaeological Society excavate a bit more and then cover it up to prevent weather damage.  The patience and skill of those who trowel and brush are just amazing.


Forty Hall Elsynge roots edit


It is lovely to see how roots spread.  Trees connect to each other by their roots using their own internet , Mycorrhiza.  You can read about it in a superbe book “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben.


Forty Hall Elsynge roots 2 edit

One of the local oral histories is that Sir Walter Raleigh laid down his cloak for Queen, Elizabeth I to prevent her getting her feet wet at Maiden’s Bridge. Elizabeth lived in Elsyng Manor from time to time and Raleigh lived in nearby Chase Side so I feel it is a credible story.

Forty Hall Maiden's Bridge 2 edit




This image is of what is probably a Victorian bridge but I like it and,  it is called Maiden’s Bridge.



Some more images; it is a delightful spot.


and one of a tree:

Forty Hall tree edit

All the above are in the Forty Hall Estate which, for a while, was owned by the Parker-Bowles family.  Thinking about it all a poem came to me.

Maiden’s Bridge
Here, five hundred years ago,
Raleigh laid down a cloak for his queen.
It was rich-velvet, patterned with fine jewels.

Half a millennium later,
A son of the family who came to own around here,
Laid down his willing wife for a prince.

Raleigh was beheaded,
The man divorced.

© Anthony Fisher July 2018

About five miles from Forty Hall, just over the boundary in Essex,  is Waltham Abbey.  It has a connection with Elsyng through Henry VIII.  It was the last Abbey to be taken over by Henry during the Reformation which he had planned whilst staying at Elsyng.  The abbot was  a very learned man and Henry enjoyed conversation with him.  I have a tenuous connection too.  The last Saxon king, Harald, was buried there some time after he was killed by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. One of the Knights that fought with William was Robert-with-a-beard. and of the 850,000 ancestors I have of that time, he is the only one I know!  The U of my initials is for Umfreville which is derived from the village in Normandy he came from.

Enough of that! Waltahm abbey is delightful and we had in interesting visit.  There are faces carved into the exterior stone and this is one most venal:

The ducks are more beautiful on the river near the mill race.  They arranged their pose and waited for me to take the photograph quacking their impatience.

Waltham Abbey Ducks edit

Inside the ceiling is beautiful with Victorian paintings of the zodiac.  The magnificent organ is being restored so there is bright shiny scaffolding as you enter.


Waltham Abbey scaffoldng edit






Waltham Abbey scaffoldng 2 edit










My sign is Capricorn the sea or mergoat. I feel that it is older than Greek mythology and it has its origins in Oannes.  Perhaps, but here is the Capricorn panel.

Waltham Abbey Seagoatc edit

There is a lovely freeze behind the alter and a mediaeval wall painting in the Lady Chapel (I did not photograph the painting).

Waltham Abbey instruction edit

All in all, two good places to visit.


Reflections and photos in France – and Torbay

Cameras today are mini computers with a lens fitted; the software is amazing and something I have not yet got to grips with.  Making taking photographs easier has created another problem of being able to use very complicated systems to fully utilise what is on offer.  During our trip to France this month, I resolved to try to get to understand some of the sytems available.  The scene options I soon discarded as they seem to ruin an image and Photoshop can reproduce the effects anyway.  The exception is perhaps the black and white setting which gives a good photo.



I used a polarising filter which organises light and this is why the reflections are dramatic.  In addition I learnt how to use manual focus which gives better control over the shot.




This is fuzzy at the edge as I used an effect but you can see how clear the colours and reflections are due the polarising filter.




The left image below is looking upstream and you can see the fish-viewing windows on the left the right hand photo looks down stream so they are on  the right.  The clarity of colour can be seen.

A polarising filter also cuts out reflections on water but, fool that I am, I did not use it for the following shots.  Some of the carp are over 50 cm. long.

Though I think that not all reflections are bad, they can add an ethereal quality to the photos such as in the one below which is of a sunken dinghy outside of the kitchen window.  You can just see one of the ten carp investigating.

2017 sunken dinghy and carp at Epron

The telephoto lens is great fun and for the following shot I used it with manual focus. The spider was only about 5mm long and I was about three metres away.  It hangs around the balcony on one of the railings.


The railing he – or she – inhabits is to the right, out of shot.  It was our coffee break.


Writing this, looking at the images made me think of how it was 15 years ago.  One of my first A/Vs, Epron,   starts and finishes at our house a decade ago and you may care to watch it.  It is not too long  and it gives an idea of how it was after a couple of years renovation.  In the beginning there were no doors, roof or windows.  Just 200 year old stone walls.

Niort is a biggish town nearby.  It has a food market and some odd shops such as this Broccante.  It must have been 75 metres long altogether.  The proprietor sat reading at a table in the entrance and was taking no notice of what was going on.  It is near the river featured in the headline image.

2017 Bricante Niort

Reflections fascinate me and I spotted a good one in the glass front of the food market.
The colours and contrasts the slight confusion caused by the reflection intrigued me.

Niort Reflections

I then noticed the figure on the left so I zoomed in.  She was about 250 metres away but the camera telephoto coped very well.

2017 Meditation Niort



I like the vertical lines and the different blues.  Even though it was a long distance photo I was able to crop it and still have a reasonable and fascinating image.



2017 Niort Meditation crop 2

Even if the image is poor good old Photoshop can transform it as this profile shot, which I cropped from the main food hall image above, demonstrates.  I used an ink outline function.  Again it is the vertical lines and blues I find interesting.

Time came to leave and we made our way to Roscoff via Quimper where we stayed the night and what a lovely town it is.  Beautiful, gentle, creative and the hotel, Best Western Hotel Kregenn was fabulous, quiet, welcoming and we both had a good nights sleep.  Quimper is well worth a visit.








Here is a night shot taken with my ever-present iPhone










and here a day shot taken with a camera.





The street with a single woman walking down seemed an evocative shot; a slope, clean and no litter with the bollards at the end.  I like roof tops as well as reflections.  The roofs were taken from our hotel window.

We set off for Roscoff but first Valerie wanted to see Brest as it was such a strategic town in World War II.  We didn’t stop so there are no photographs.  We were amazed as to how many large factories there were along the coast.  Every thing seemed new.  We then headed towards Brignogan-Plage .  The tide was out but the beach looked so interesting with rocks, the boats and trees.  I tried out the panoramic setting; I am still amazed by this feature of modern cameras.

2107 Panoramic beach Brittany Brignogan-plage

We had a picnic of bread with goose rillet, cheese and tomatoes with tea made with water from our trusty Thermos.  It is not mentioned in Wikipedia but I believe it was invented in Enfield




The bench was too wet to sit on but was a lovely blue





2017 red boat and tree Brittany




and the red boat looked very pretty.




The wind was getting up as we set off for the ferry and I was not looking forward to crossing in the tail end of hurricane Ophelia.  I sailed a lot with my Dad, in the Thames Estuary, but was never a good sailor.  Fortunately I was OK  I suspect that the hardening of the bristles in my inner ear which causes my age related deafness, afforded me protection to this dreadful condition.

After a night in a noisy hotel room in Torbay we went to hear our friend Jennifer Johnson read at the Torbay Poetry Festival.  This is one of the first such festivals in England and is a well known event on the poetry scene held in the Livermead Cliff Hotel with a wonderful view over the bay.  I like to hear Jennifer read.  Her poems have an honest, well observed quality and are sensitive and heartfelt.

Jenny Torbay

As I was listening I spotted yet an another interesting reflection with commere and organiser Patricia Oxley and one of the audience so out came the iPhone again.

Reflections Torbay

A final look at the fish at Epron.  As the wall of the house is the bank of the leat, we can watch them from our kitchen window.  As the leat or millstream, is surrounded by private land the fish are safe from fishermen so it is a form of sanctuary.  This year there were ten large carp and myriads of little fishes about 10cm long.  It is lovely to watch them, both a beautiful and calming experience.  Here is a short clip of a couple of meandering carp.