Waterford Winterval

December

Waterford

Something exceptional happened, worth to mention. We have got a snowfall in Waterford.

It didn’t last long though. When I finally got downstairs and limped out in the street, there was almost nothing to see. I had to use a slow shutter speed to make the falling snow visible in the pictures.

Waterford

Aoife and Strongbow endured the snowfall well, despite their old age. Their marriage took place in August 1170, the day after the capture of Waterford by the Norman forces sent by Henry II and led by Strongbow who at that time was called Richard fitz Gilbert de Clare.

Waterford

But the Vikings came here first. They arrived in the 9th century and created a town in 914. The history of their reign is very complicated and violent, but so where the times.


As we are speaking about the Vikings – here is a link to the blog run by hamsters   of amazing author who wrote one of my favorite books  – The Viking and the Courtesan. Shehanne Moore, thank you for your fantastic books! Please visit Shehanne’s blog!


A local artist John Hayes envisaged a giant Viking sword carved out of a whole tree.  John Hayes is a well known carver, and I have already posted photographs of some of his other work: Greenway train  and   The Angel of Fenor.    You can read about the  Viking Sword     and here is a video I found on YouTube. You can come to Waterford to marvel at the carvings as the work is completed and the sword has been placed on Bailey’s New Street, in so-called Viking Triangle. The street starts from the Reginald Tower where you can find the source of inspiration – a Viking sword made in the 9th century in Norway.

 

 

And this is the sword itself. It is 20 m long and carved out of a single Douglas fir. A viking house in background is the place of the virtual reality show King of the Vikings. Don’t miss it on your visit to Waterford. You will find yourself  barely escaping arrows and axes, fire and deep waters, right in the middle of the Viking Invasion. Very fun 🙂

Waterford

Hopefully, John’s sword will be recognised as a world record.

Waterford

By the way, John Hayes also built this giant post box for the letters to be delivered to Santa. The box stands under the mirror roof of the Apple Market.

Waterford

I am not sure what I think about this roof, but I do love the reflections in the mirrors.

Waterford

The days are very short in December. In early hours of the morning when the lucky people were supposed to watch the Geminids, I was driving through the slashing rain to pick up my prescription. As much of an optimist as I am, I took my camera with me. To my surprise, outside the city the sky was clear and the thin waning crescent  Moon was so pretty with Jupiter below and Mars on the right. I had to crop Mars out because it was quite far and didn’t add to the picture, but I included the Waterford bridge. It was at about 6.30 in the morning. I saw two shooting stars while driving, but nothing major, no balls of fire or anything like that. I wish I had more time so that I could stand there until the dawn.

Waterford

This picture was taken 12 hours later.

Waterford

Last night I ventured out again to see if I can get some more pictures for this blog. There was a charity event in the Holy Trinity church and the gates were open. I used the opportunity and took pictures of churchyard and tombs.

The horse ride must be fun. Except, I think the carriage full of people is too heavy for two horses. I remember there were four horses in the previous years.

I set up my camera to take pictures of the Waterford Eye. I am not sure if I should take a ride. I might, but may be another day 😉 I am playing with the shutter speed – don’t want to get just a monochrome blurred disc. This picture was taken at 10 seconds, as the wheel is quite slow. The light show gives me the opportunity to get very different patterns which is really fun. The passing cars leave a red line in the picture.

Last December I took pictures of the smaller Vintage Ferris wheel. I might try out a ride on that one 😉

I walk to the other side of the wheel and take more pictures. Then I start experimenting with zooming the lens with a slow shutter speed after every three seconds ( shutter speed minimum 5 seconds; I didn’t want a completely blurred disc). I like the results 🙂

But what about Christmas? I didn’t see a single item that could be attributed to Christmas… until I looked down… wait, what is it there, under the porch, way lower than the pavement? A Nativity set! Tiny figures hidden from the people’s eyes, with the background made of garbage bags. Merry and bright it was. Sort of.

Political correctness is frowning at the use of the C-word, but I have never cared of anything political. It is the holiday I celebrate. What do you celebrate? Awesome! I already love your holiday, and your recipes 😉 Let’s celebrate together, and let’s hope your holiday will never get into the Political Correctness Naughty List 😉

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful week!

Looking back – and forward

I always pay attention to what Chinese Lunar Calendar says in general: year of Rooster – check. Fire, gold and red – check. As to the details, they are sometimes contradicting each other, so they have to be approached critically. Like, in some sources I have read that the year of Rooster is always the worst of all the years of the Cycle, with which I totally disagree.

(I thought about roosters and cycles when walking the streets of Waterford during Winterval festival)

Lets go back and see what the years of Rooster were like. I will start from 1957, for a particular reason 😉

1957

The Treaty of Rome was signed by six countries establishing European Economic Community – the future EU.  Yay for that. Soviet Union sent a dog Laika into Space. Federal Troops were sent to Arkansas to enforce anti-segregation laws. Yearly Inflation Rate USA 3.34%; UK 3.3%

1969

Richard Nixon was inaugurated. Apollo 11 astronauts took first walk on the Moon. The US had the greatest number of troops in Vietnam. To compare with turbulent 1968,  1969 seems to be quieter, but the same problems remained.

1981

Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. First flight of Space Shuttle Columbia.  Yearly Inflation Rate USA 10.35%; UK 11.9%. Margaret Thatcher’s Government began privatisation of nationalised industries that revived economy ( I think it worked).

1993

Bill Clinton was inaugurated. Islamic Fundamentalists bombed World Trade Center. Earthquakes and floods happened all over the world. The US and Soviet Union signed Start II Treaty ( bilateral reduction of nuclear warheads). The World Wide Web was born.

2005

Hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes all over the world. London bombing, terrorist attacks in India and Egypt. Natural disasters and terrorist attacks are typical features of the past decade, not only of 2005.

So, in general, the years of Rooster most definitely were not the worst years ( not the best either…) For me personally, 1981 and 1993 were both tragic, but 2005 was all right, so I see a trend of improvement 🙂

I think that we sometimes have to get off the carousel, sit back and contemplate for a minute. It helps put things into perspective and illuminate priorities. We might even re-evaluate our ‘bad years’ after all.

This Christmas tree is a part of a charity project.  It was displayed during the Winterval festival in Waterford. Soft toys remind me of a furry friend whom we lost this December.

I took this picture in May. In July my daughter wrote me that Grishnak was dying, and all family members spent some time with him saying goodbye.  Yet, he miraculously recovered after a few days, and I saw him again in August. He lived to welcome another baby in the family, but after that his health started to deteriorate again, and on December 11 he was gone.

This picture was taken in September. Now the empty box symbolises the emptiness he left behind. I didn’t realise that it would be my last picture of him.


This year I lost a relative and several former schoolmates. It was a sad year of losses for all of us as we said goodbye to David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Carrie Fisher (dang it, I had to edit this sentence twice before posting this blog! What a horrible year!)  and many others who were part of our life. The last, and the most painful loss that still hurts so much, is the death of beloved blogger friend, the finest Poet and amazing Human, Cynthia Jobin. Here is a link to her last poem she posted just a week before she left us. I keep coming to her blog, like an orphan – I just cannot move on.


Soon we will leave this sad year behind, and I look forward to the New Year’s arrival and the start of a new calendar. I don’t know what this year will bring, I just hope I will do my part and bring something good myself, regardless. The year of Red and Gold Fire Rooster – it will be spectacular if nothing else 🙂 But I do hope it is also kind and gentle on all of us – please, no rooster fights!

Happy New Year to all!

Thank you for your friendship, and for your wonderful blogs that made my 2016 a better year!

rooster

There are links from my previous Christmas – New Year posts:

https://inesemjphotography.com/category/happy-new-year/ https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/12/13/year-is-running-out/ https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/12/06/christmas-story/ https://inesemjphotography.com/category/christmas/

www.inesemjphotography.com