Saturday 1 October 2011

Some Travel Pictures, Selected by RDG

That is, travel pictures as selected by Red Dirt Girl, over at her blog, "Through the Garden Gate" These pics, she posted, and I promised to annotate them. The easiest way, for me, is to do it in blogger's editor.
I took the photos on my recent trip over to the U.S. as her guest, where we travelled from Houston, Texas, to Newnan, Georgia, and various places in between. I'd bought a new camera just before the trip, and still haven't figured out the full details of how to use it. So some of my pics aren't as I'd like. Really, I still hanker after my old Canon A1, and Kodachrome.... The camera in question is a pretty neat little thing, a Fujifilm F550 EXR, 16 megapixel, 15x zoom, gps, all the knobs and whistles a boy could want.
The other contenders were a Canon, and a Panasonic Lumix, I'm not sure I made the right choice... The fuji software won't run on my computer, and I hate that it won't recharge its battery via usb, in a car, or on my desk. I have to take the battery out and stick it in a wall-wart.
Enough of all that.
Here we go!

A survivor from a bygone time.
City centre Houston has few buildings built earlier than last thursday. there's not a lot to attest to the fact that the city was incorporated in 1837. Well, walk around a bit, there are a few older buildings, just not so many as I'd like to see. There was a railway here once.... but the station's part of a stadium now.

RDG saw this detail first, she likes dragons, This dragon's not a mainstream sort of dragon, it's actually a wyvern, having only two forelegs, no hind-legs and a serpentine tail. But, interestingly, in the markets of my home-town, Leeds, in England, the same mythical beast appears in the markets...

Leeds Market wyvern

These pipes, stacked by the road, interested me. She was a bit bemused. In part of my life, I'm a plumber, and I'm also endlessly curious. Here in britain, we replace old cast-iron water mains with welded high-density polythene, it's joined end to end with a sleeve joint containing a wire coil. Electricity is fed to the coil, the joint heats and welds seamlessly. So I was interested that these large diameter pipes were just side-together, push-fit, with a bevelled end sliding into a socket, past what looks like an EPDM or Nitrile gasket. You'd lubricate the gasket, which would be shaped in such a way that it would grab tighter if the pipe was pulled. We use this kind of joint in waste-water pipes, but not so much in pressure systems. I'd have expected to see some kind of mechanical locking mechanism to stop it blowing apart. Seems that little rubber ring's all it needs.
Currently experiencing severe drought conditions, Houston's water mains have a dramatic number of major high-pressure leaks, this is partly caused by dry earth shrinkage and settlement. Plastic pipes are better than cast iron at resisting this, as they can flex quite a bit.

South Texas Tack, 
 Brenham, Tx. It was impressive, a vast place, compared with any other horsy store i've ever seen. I'm not a horse person, but it was still fascinating, full of beautifully tooled saddles and harnesses, belts, shoes, cowboy boots, lariats, you name it, it was there. Cowboy territory. Cowgirl territory too. No doubt about it, Texas still has plenty of horses and riders. These coils in the pic were lariat ropes. Very stiff rope, plastic, nylon? almost like cable, which, I suppose, helps in aiming them when thrown, and keeps the noose open. Sorry if you're reading this and I'm using all the wrong words for something you know about. Something I think I know but won't google in case I'm wrong, is that the sliding knot on the loop is called a honda?

We both laughed at this.
A stealth horse! There's something of a fashion for camouflage gear in many people who never go hunting, but it seems it's spread to our equine pals too. Imagine, you have four horses, and on a chilly morning you let them loose to graze in the paddock, dressed in their winter warm coats.... How the hell are you going to find them?
It's like the old question of how stealth pilots ever find their planes?  -they just walk randomly around the tarmac, arms outstretched until they go "Ouch!".
Actually it reminded me of a horse dressed for a mediaeval joust.

A cemetery for broken pots? strange folk, these texans.

Mmmm, rust!

A little bit of older texas, in Brenham. No, we didn't stop for a steak. Maybe next time.

The old Doctor's office in Newnan.

Red Dirt territory, -we're in Newnan, Georgia. Evening time, for a walk around her hometown.
It's a pleasant looking town. Actually, it's a quintessential piece of Americana to us foreigners, I kind of expect Marty McFly  to zoom into shot, on a skateboard. Or see Edward Hopper busy painting that storefront.  What you can't see at this zoom level, is the signs... Upstairs in the Stairway to Heaven antique Mall, there's a sign saying "We are OPEN", and on the door directly below, another, saying "CLOSED". I like that sort of stuff, it makes me smile. I'm a simple creature.

Newnan, Coweta County Courthouse (1904)
A monument to the Confederate dead of the civil war stands outside the courthouse, (or, as she says, "The War of Northern Aggression")... There was a field hospital here. The very fine building is the centrepiece, the pivotal point of the town. Georgian style, in more ways than one, a very nice looking building.

The sun was going down as we walked back to the car, I liked the patterns in the mesh of overhead wires against the sky, the rooflines and colours, ornamentation, those shutters, the spire. On another day, with more time, I could have taken so many more pics. 
Next time, I will.

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