Harlequin bugs on NSW Central Coast

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC spent a couple of days on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. This was a while ago. Now I’m on another trip to somewhere else, and thus finding the time to publish some words.

My impressions? Restful prettiness with enough history and natural beauty to occupy the mind.

Word of the day

Bug is the word of the day.  According to the Australian Museum, bugs and beetles are different groups of creatures. They have different mouthparts (beetles chew, bugs don’t),  different lifecycles (beetles undergo a complete metamorphosis from larval stage, bugs don’t), different food choices (beetles eat solids, bugs don’t), and different wings (beetles have two pairs, bugs don’t).

This worm concludes there’s a lot that beetles do and bugs don’t. Never mind, the bugs in this post are pretty. At least they have that going for them.

Travel tip

Look before you sit. The colourful bugs pictured below were roaming around on a park bench. A careless sitter would have squished them.

The book I’m in

Infinity Born, by Douglas E. Richards. Artificial intelligence runs wild in this action-packed, thought-provoking book.

The photos

Me and the rising sun, at the window of the Crowne Plaza hotel in Terrigal:

These two bugs roamed around a park bench. Luckily the TC spotted them before sitting down. I think they’re Hibiscus Harlequin Bugs. Almost as attractive as your faithful bookworm!

The bugs are reasonably large, certainly much bigger than a ladybird. For scale, the TC put her finger next to them on the park bench:

Methinks they’re in love, or one of them is. Play the video to see how one follows the other, occasionally bumping into it by mistake or perhaps on purpose:

Now for a complete change of subject, just because I can. Contrary to appearances, this is not a monster’s gullet. It’s a hollow tree trunk:

That’s all for today, folks.

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Imposing and peaceful Tintern Abbey, Wales

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC travelled from Bristol to the Wye Valley in Wales to see Tintern Abbey, on the recommendation of a coffee vendor we met at the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

My impressions? The mix of fallen and still-standing walls is strangely effective in conveying the grandeur and peace of the place.

Word of the day

Abbey is the word of the day. The word stems from the same root as the Aramaic אבא (‘abbā), the Hindi abbā, and the Arabic ab, all of which mean “father”. An abbey is where the abbot lives, the abbot being the head of a group of monks. ABBA is also the name of a rather well known Swedish pop group. The group’s name is formed from the first letters of the singers’ names.

Travel tip

Pay heed to coffee vendors and other wise folks.

The book I’m in

Alaskan Fire, by Sara King. A good read, although slightly less sophisticated than this author’s other works.

The photos

Me taking in the sights from a window at Tintern Abbey:

The Welsh name for the abbey is Abaty Tyndyrn. The tourist brochure says Tintern Abbey is Wales’s best-preserved abbey. In Welsh, that’s “Yr Abaty sydd yn y cyflwr gorau yng Nghymru”:

Play this video to hear the sounds of Tintern Abbey:

The first buildings that formed the abbey were built in 1130s. Most of the original structure has disappeared, and what we see now was built in the 400-year period leading up to 1536. Then King Henry VIII passed a number of laws that put a stop to monasteries and the monastic life in England, Ireland, and Wales. The abbey fell to ruin:

Flowers and poetry grow from its walls:

Symmetry and sky greet you as you enter:

The pantry has an imposing ceiling:

Do not climb on the walls, written in English and Welsh:

This worm has noticed that the plumbing is often a high point in ruins. The abbey is no exception – the drainage system is lauded in the tourist information:

Me and Peg checked out the bathing facilities:

The view of the hills probably hasn’t changed much in the 850+ years since the abbey was built:

Farewell gracious abbey:

That’s all for today, folks.

Clifton Suspension Bridge thrice crossed

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC crossed the Clifton Suspension Bridge in three ways yesterday. We strolled across it, drove over it, and drove under it. The bridge spans the River Avon near Bristol, UK, and offers heart-stopping views of the city and the river.

My impressions? An impressive work of engineering, surrounded by beauty.

Word of the day

Suspense is the word of the day. Dangling from a suspension bridge makes for a suspenseful day’s work.

Travel tip

If you’re driving, stop the car well short of the bridge and stroll down for a leisurely look.

Recommended coffee cart

A friendly, knowledgeable person offered us a cup of Union Direct Trade coffee and a chat at the Bristol end of the bridge. He’s fun to talk to, and the coffee is good.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. I’m still munching my way through the same book as in my previous few posts. A good Lee Child is a good place to be.

The photos

Me snuggling up to one of the 3,500 load-bearing bolts that hold the Clifton Suspension Bridge together:

This worm does not envy these workers dangling from a maintenance cage under the bridge, more than 245 feet above the river:

On one side of the bridge is a view of the River Avon with the city of Bristol in the distance:

On the other side of the bridge, the river stretches out its muddy banks:

A sobering sign hints of people less happy than we:

Crossing the bridge:

Flowers of the Bristol onion decorate the bridge’s sides:

The Clifton Suspension Bridge spand 702 feet and weighs 1,500 tonnes. The chains that support the bridge stretch 20 miles underground. Here’s a parting shot from the road below the bridge:

That’s all for today, folks.

In search of the Grim Reaper

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC found ourselves in Bristol and went in search of the Grim Reaper by Banksy. This is the tale of our quest from the Thekla to Spike Island in search of the artwork.

My impressions? A vibrant, thoughtful area of Bristol.

Word of the day

Graffito is the word of the day. It’s the little-known singular form of graffiti, and comes from the Italian word graffiato, meaning scratched. In the most common usage, graffiti are words, signs, drawings, or paintings that someone has put on a wall without permission. In art history, graffiti are works of art produced by scratching the surface. Another meaning of graffito is a deliberate mark or sign, such as a mason’s mark.

Travel tip

A good quest is a fine excuse to explore your surrounds.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. I’m still munching my way through the same book as in my previous two posts. A good Lee Child is a good place to be.

The photos

Me at the Thekla. I’d heard Banksy’s Grim Reaper was on the Thekla, so that’s where I started my quest:

At the start of the quest I didn’t know what a “Thekla” was. Then I found the boat. Next, look for the painting. I examined the river walls, the sides of the boat, the nearby buildings. No Grim Reaper.

However, I did come across this striking picture on a window near Welsh Back:

Here’s a closer look. This worm thinks it’s an impressive work of art:

Still, not a Banksy. A quick internet search yielded the vital clue. Banksy’s Grim Reaper had indeed originally been painted on the Thekla in 2003, but it was moved to the M Shed, a nearby museum, in 2015. The water and weather had damaged the work of art, and the owners were afraid it would disappear entirely. They cut out the piece of the boat that contained the Grim Reaper, and presented it to the M Shed as a long-term loan.

So, off to the M Shed we go. First, a pretty view across the River Avon:

The TC found this no-nonsense sign post amusing, particularly as the bridge does indeed present itself as a “weak bridge”:

Wend your way past the evidence of a good night out:

And there’s the M Shed:

Inside, the Grim Reaper at last:

This worm does find it a little ironic that a stencilled graffito, surely expected to be temporary, should be behind glass and locked doors. On the other hand, I’m very glad that I managed to see this work, and that other people will be able to find it too.

That’s all for today, folks.

Winchester Cathedral an unexpected pleasure

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC had a few hours to spare in Hampshire, England, before catching up with some friends. We spotted Winchester on the map, and came across the cathedral almost by accident.

My impressions? An awe-inspiring building with gracious hosts.

Word of the day

Knapping is the word of the day. It’s what you do to shape a piece of flint into a tool or an ornament, by tapping and chiselling until the stone has the shape you need. You can therefore refer to knapped or unknapped flint. The word knapping is related to the Germanic root knopp, meaning to strike.

Travel tip

Chat to the guides in the cathedral, even if you don’t take a guided tour. The guides are kind, enthusiastic and knowledgable.

Recommended restaurant

The Stable, 31b The Square, Winchester SO23 9EX, UK. Excellent pizza, catering also for vegan and gluten free diets. Good cider and friendly staff.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. The story follows on directly from Tripwire and features the same hero, Jack Reacher. The TC is on holiday and happened to have both books in her bag. I wiggled easily from the one to the other, and am experiencing that rare pleasure of reading two sequential books in sequence.

The photos

Me and William Walker, the diver who saved Winchester Cathedral in the early 1900s. William dressed in heavy diving gear and went into the water under the building every day for six long years, shoring up the foundations. He saved the cathedral from collapse.

Being short in stature, I appreciate a good floor. Winchester Cathedral has a good floor:

This heart-breaking memorial for a six-week old baby caught my eye:

Also on the floor is the tomb of Jane Austen, beloved author. It’s interesting to note that the inscription makes no mention of her fame as a writer:

Raising your eyes to the TC’s level rather than this worms, you’d see the thoughtful gaze of Jane Austen:

Here lies Godfrey de Lucy, bishop of Winchester from 1189 to 1204:

The positioning of the three moons is interesting on this memorial stone. To a modern eye, they seem to form a smiley face. This worm wonders what folks thought of them in 1700:

The large book below is a roll of honour to the Rifle Brigade in World War I (1914-1918). The page turner shown in the display is a thin, engraved and shaped piece of wood, for use only with this roll of honour:

Inside the cathedral are a number of inner walls, enclosing tombs and sanctuaries. Many of them are intricately carved, like the one below. There are also caskets atop the wall:

Symmetry in the crypt below the cathedral:

The shot below is taken from the back of the cathedral, looking down the main hall (the nave) towards the altar:

Construction of the cathedral started in 1079. The main hall was built later, in the years between 1350 and 1525.

The stained glass window at the back of the church was rebuilt from pieces of shattered glass in 1660, after English Parliamentary troops (the so-called Roundheads led by Cromwell) destroyed the original window:

The west face of Winchester Cathedral:

Walking down to the right of the west face, you’ll see this view of the building:

Four Norman arches stretch away from the main building:

Pieces of flint embedded in the walls around the cathedral:

That’s all for today, folks.

Telephone booth at Ashampstead full of books

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC were wending our way through the avenues of southern England when we came across a phone booth full of books.

My impressions? A stamp of approval from this bookworm.

Word of the day

Telephone is the word of  the day. This worm wonders how long that word will last. We often use other words in its place, including mobile, and cell phone, or even just cell. The word telephone comes from two roots, tele- meaning far, and phone meaning sound. Nowadays we have a various devices that can transmit voices and sound, using diverse technologies. Mobiles are ubiquitous, and do more than transmitting and receiving sound.

A bonus word of the day: lichen. When I was a much younger worm, I pronounced that word with a short “i” and a soft “ch”, to rhyme with “kitchen”. My teacher corrected me, saying I should use a long “i” and a hard”ch”, as in “liken”. Now I learn that the first is the British pronunciation, the second the American.

Travel tip

Don’t let a good phone booth go to waste. Nor a good book, for that matter.

The book I’m in

The Visitor, by Lee Child. The story follows on directly from Tripwire and features the same hero, Jack Reacher. The TC is on holiday and happened to have both books in her bag. I wiggled easily from the one to the other, and am experiencing that rare pleasure of reading two sequential books in sequence.

The photos

Me at the telephone booth on Holly Lane near Flowers Piece in Ashampstead, west of London:

Liken me to a bit of lichen:

A front view of the booth of books. Careful observers may spot the TC taking the photograph, mirrored in the glass:

This short video gives you a feel for the surrounds: the business of vehicles passing by, interspersed with restful intervals of birdsong:

That’s all for today, folks.

Hobnobbing with high society in Kensington

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me, Peg, and the TC, are in London. We hobnobbed with high society today, strolling along Prince Consort Road and drifting around Kensington Palace. I found the time to grace fans with my presence at the Royal Albert Hall too, hanging out at the stage door with Peg.

My impressions? The British know how to throw a good building.

Travel tip

Beware the traffic. There’s very little distinction between the pavement and the road on Exhibition Road.

Word of the day

Hygge is the word of  the day. It means coziness, an atmosphere where you feel hugged, somewhere welcoming, a feeling of belonging.

The book I’m in

De Zoon, by Jo Nesbø. A gritty tale of good gone bad, and bad gone raw. The TC has chosen to read this book in Dutch, because she wants to brush up her skills in that language, and the original book was written in Norwegian anyway. This worm appreciates the good translation. The quality of the translation is essential to the flavour of the book.

The photos

Me and Peg hanging out at Kensington Palace gardens:

At the start of our route up Exhibition Road towards the palace, the TC inadvertently took these two shots showing man imitating art. The little walking man on the traffic signal is red and stationary. The real man seems to mimic his pose:

The little walking-man sign is green, and…

Well, the TC found that amusing anyway. Bless her cotton mittens.

Here’s the rest of the shot that the TC was intending to take. Hygge in a square on Exhibition Road, near Thurloe Place, Kensington:

The sky photobombed this picture of the Natural History Museum on Exhibition Road:

The Victoria & Albert Museum:

Columns and dormers and spires on Prince Consort Road, Kensington:

We approached the Royal Albert Hall from the backstreets. The frieze around the roof is 800 feet long and covers 5,200 square feet:

Peg and I hung out for a while at the stage door, giving our fans the opportunity to see us in the wild. The TC did a good job of keeping them civilised, though there was one enquiry from a concerned security guard who wondered if we were supposed to be there.

“Is that supposed to be there?” he asked.

“Yes”, replied the TC. “He’s a famous blogger. This is a photo op.”

“Ah,” came the reply. “On the Internet? Right, carry on then.”

And so we did:

I gave my fans another photo op at the Albert Memorial:

Guards on horseback were there to keep the crowds safe:

A trapeze artist arched through the air in Hyde Park:

The clean lines of Kensington Palace sit cosily on the green. Royal hygge, perhaps:

The entranceway to Kensington Palace reminds me of a glasshouse (a gezellig one):

An English country garden, fit for a queen:

Going back to the plebs via Queen’s Gate Terrace:

That’s all for today, folks.

A stroll to Battersea Power Station from Pimlico

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in London. Quite a way from our usual abode down under. This worm has the urge to stand on his head. I wonder if anyone has tried that as a cure for jet lag.

Silliness aside, the TC put on her walking shoes and strolled from our hotel down through Pimlico and across the River Thames to the Battersea Power Station.

My impressions? Potential magnificence, currently masked by scaffolding.

Recommended accommodation

Ecclestone Square Hotel in Pimlico. The rooms are high tech. You can even adjust the transparency of the bathroom walls.

The book I’m in

De Zoon, by Jo Nesbø. A gritty tale of good gone bad, and bad gone raw. The TC has chosen to read this book in Dutch, because she wants to brush up her skills in that language, and the original book was written in Norwegian anyway. This worm appreciates the good translation. The quality of the translation is essential to the flavour of the book.

The photos

Me at the Battersea Power Station:

Early one morning, the TC (bless her cotton socks) peered out of our hotel window. Across the rooftops of Pimlico, her keen eye spotted the well-known towers of the Battersea Power Station. The seagull’s wing points them out in this picture:

Right, thought the TC. Let’s take a stroll down to BatterSea and see what’s what. She followed the map meticulously, as is her wont. Predictably, we ended up in a dead end. The TC is prone to that sort of thing. This fallibility of hers does lead us to see some interesting corners of the world. This time it was the British Transport Police station off Ebury Bridge. The power station beckons enticingly from the wrong side of the rails:

We saw some buildings with pretty frilly tops:

And an imposing parade of horse guards – play the video for the full effect:

The Lister Hospital is at one end of Chelsea Bridge, before you cross the river to the power station:

Chelsea Bridge, pretty in white and pink, takes you across the River Thames:

Looming over the top of the bridge are a number of rather weighty coats of arms topped by golden galleons, a structure which could seem a little over the top (badaboom) but which somehow complement the frilly pinkness of the whole structure:

Here’s a closeup of one of the coats of arms:

This pink and white bridge is the new Chelsea Bridge, built in the 1930s. According to Wikipedia, the bridge has a “starkly utilitarian design” and is not considered ornamental. This worm begs to differ. I find the bridge pretty frilly, and pretty and frilly.

Here’s a view of the old Chelsea Bridge in the distance, seen from the new bridge. The old bridge was built in 1858, and Wikipedia views it as “heavily ornamented”:

We’re getting closer to our destination. Here’s the Battersea Power Station, seen from the Chelsea Bridge:

Across the bridge, down the stairs, onto the riverside promenade:

Round the bend, a few more steps, and there it is! The Battersea Power Station, currently undergoing a face lift:

The power station was built in two phases, in the 1930s and the 1950s. Evidently the interior is famed for its Art Deco fittings. This worm would love to see inside! The power station stopped generating electricity in the 1980s, and the building was sold for £400 million in 2012. It’s currently under redevelopment, opening soon for residential and office accommodation.

That’s all for today, folks.

Georgetown, Washington DC

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in Washington, DC. We took a stroll through Georgetown, a historic area of Washington, DC. It was originally a port and an independent municipality, merged into DC in 1871.

My impressions? Tidy, attractive architecture. Quiet paths along the canal and leafy side streets.

Travel tip

Stroll along the bank of the canal. It’s quiet and pretty, even if it’s empty as it was while we were there. The route offers a good alternative to the  busy shopping streets.

The book I’m in

Pearl in a Cage, by Joy Dettman. An engaging tale of a small village in rural Australia, some distance from Melbourne, in the early 20th century. The book draws a convincing picture of the hard life people led in those times. This worm hopes the TC will find more of this author.

The photos

Me at the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal in Georgetown:

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, also called the C&O canal, is approximately 300 km long, running from Georgetown in Washington, DC, to Cumberland, Maryland. The canal was empty when we were there, because it was being cleaned. An empty canal is interesting:

Colourful Wisconsin Ave, Georgetown:

Zara, in Wisconsin Ave:

The imposing Farmers and Mechanics Branch, on the corner of M Street and Wisconsin Ave:

Classic lines, cnr M Street and Wisconsin Ave, opposite the Farmers and Mechanics building:

M Street, the main shopping drag in Georgetown, offering a variety of buildings:

The Azerbaijan trade and cultural centre:

A leafy row in Potomac Street:

Shutters and dormers on the other side of the road:

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 9 May 2017 at 7:43 am  Comments (1)  
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Kirkland, WA, a little grey in March

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have just spent a few days in lovely Kirkland, on the shores of Lake Washington, WA, in the USA. Kirkland is across the lake from Seattle.

The days were a little grey and drizzly, with a chill around the edges. The TC, bless her cotton socks, was in her element.

My impressions? There’s a touch of colour in everything.

The book I’m in

Dead Man’s Debt, by Elliott Kay. A good military space yarn, with characters to love and cherish. Until they die.

Travel tip

Pack layers. The Kirkland weather is quite changeable, and ubiquitous air conditioning makes the temperature unpredictable.

Recommended restaurant

Milagro Cantina, 148 Lake St S, Kirkland, WA. Tasty comfort food, excellent service, good atmosphere.

The photos

Me cozying up to a gnome on the way to the Kirkland City Dock. He was a little cold and grey:

This squirrel was looking for a touch of colour:

A cyclist’s bright green jacket stands out:

There weren’t many people around at the dock:

This bird looked lonely:

Me chilling out with some young blades at the Kirkland city hall:

The US flag and the State of Washington flag curl in the breeze:

Take heart! Spring is in the air:

Flying out of Kirkland, we saw the first break in the clouds:

And some gorgeous snowy peaks:

That’s all for today, folks.

Published in: on 17 March 2017 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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