Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Iceland and Horizons

I am slowly working my way through all the holiday pics and in between have actually managed to finish the Horizons piece which missed the deadline for Festival of Quilts.  More of that in a bit.

Our cruise in July took us via Dublin Bay to Reykjavik, Isafjordur,and Akureyri in Iceland and on to Alesund, Olden and Satavanger in Norway.  The whole cruise was full of new experiences ansd scens only perviously glimpsed in wildlife programmes on the telly.  We left the Uk in boiling hot weather and travelled through two days of fog after leaving Ireland to arrive in another world in Reykjavik.


We saw little of Reykjavik other then the drive through the city to begin our tour of volcanic landscapes, waterfall, geysirs and techtonic plates!


Steam pouring out of the earth in the distance.


Strokkur Geysir spouting forth with much noise and spraying of water.  It gathers force and erupts every few minutes when it's advisable not to be standing down wind.


The people are all waiting for the next eruption.  It was amazing to be standing in this steaming landscape with water erupting from the earth.  The rock underfoot was an amazing colour.


From the geysir we were driven to Gulfoss waterfall which was a deafening cataract, 31 metres high.  Its name means The Golden Waterfall so-called because of its appearance when the sun shines on it.



 We walked down the long path to reach this rock platform in front of the main fall and needless to say we got a good soaking.


The sun did come out briefly and there is a hint of a rainbow in the photo above.

From waterfalls and geysirs we drove further to enter a strange and fascinating landscape.  Thingvellir which lies in a beautiful valley and was the venue of Iceland's open-air Parliament long before 1066.  This is where Iceland is literally being torn in two as the North American and the Eurasian techtonic plates pull themselves apart.  The rate of split is about the same as the rate that your fingernails grow.  Here you can walk through a rift valley.

That cliff in the distance is where the plates are pulling apart.

Here the group were walking down to the valley floor and on the right there had been a recent fall of rock.   You can see the cliff disappearing into the distance.


There is evidence of continuous volcanic activity over long periods of the past all around here. 


Iceland gets much of its energy from the land it sits on and we visited a power station close to Reykjavik.  






The power plants harness the steam that comes out of the earth to provide power and the station we visited had a very futuristic feel about it.  Icelanders do not need to clear snow from their paths in winter as heat is run under the paths to keep them free of snow and ice!

I made several short videos on my camera but I am not sure if they will work here so I'll try and post one and if it doesn't work I'll take it off and have a go at Youtube.

video

More of Iceland next time but I have my finished Horizons 'quilt' to show you.  

Not quite the complete quilt as I couldn't photograph it properly but this is how it would look hung against a wall as it would have if it had made it to Festival of Quilts next week.



And this is a section of it against a window.  When I can get a proper hanger for it and decent light I'll post it again in its entirety.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Happiness

Today is my birthday and I quite often go out for the day but this year I am at home as DH had a cataract operation yesterday so we are keeping things relaxed for a change.  I am pleased to report that the op went well and DH reports some improvement so all is good so far.

Yesterday after the op






This morning




I keep nagging him not to overwork the eye but it's falling on deaf ears!  Actually he has the ability to only use one eye at a time as his left eye is lazy so he is actually resting it while he looks at the screen with the other eye (hope that doesn't sound too gross!).  We have had fun in the past when with friends as he can be apparently looking at one person and actually talking to another.  Bless!

I have never been particulalry religious, especially in more recent years but today the postman brought a letter that may have converted me in an instant.  When my Mum lived in Essex she was a regular churchgoer and supported her church in all their fundraising efforts over the years.  She was part of a great community of friends there.  Last year the church had decided to replace part of an outside wall with a magnificent stained glass window and invited the congregation to make donations to have their names included on the glass.  Sadly I found out way to late about this and Mum was very disappointed that she could not be included alongside all her friends.  Fast forward to today and I received this photograph from the Minister:


My Mum's name is on the purple shard.  The minister had included Mum right at the start and promptly forgotten all about it!  (In the meantime we had sent a donation for the organ restoration instead).  I cannot tell you  how moved I have been by the arrival of this amazing letter and photograph!  My mum always told me it was unlucky to cry on your birthday but there have been happy tears here today.  God or the Cosmos does indeed move in mysterious ways and I can't wait to show Mum the photograph!  Happy Birthday to me :-)







Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I'm back but not quite here yet....

We've just come back from a wonderful two week cruise visiting Iceland and Norway.  We escaped the current steaming heat in the UK and enjoyed the cooler, cloudier climes and amazing experiences that a cruise brings with it.  We took hundreds and hundreds of photos and so far I have loaded mine onto the computer but havn't adjusted them so I will be a bit longer before I can show you them here.






As a preamble to Iceland we stopped off in Dublin Bay and DH had his fix of the black stuff.  


Yes!!!  I think he enjoyed that!

Since we've been home I've made the finishing touches to my quilt for Festival of Quilts and got it into the post today just in time for the deadline.  





The eagle eyed among you may be able to see that my original design got turned on its head, literally and I am pleased with the final result.  





All rolled up and waiting for packaging.  I'm looking forward to seeing it hanging at the NEC in Birmingham, although I think it may be a bit wavy along the vertical edges which is frustrating.  

I'll be back when it's cooled off a bit with some pics of our holiday and the beauty of Iceland and Norway.