Cultural Confusion

For the second successive Saturday I've headed off on the bike in great weather for landscape photography, taken many good shots, and not posted any of them. This is the image I most want to remember from today. I sped by this family at Bolton Abbey and got only 50 yards down the road before impulse took over, which had me stopping and turning around to go introduce myself. I must appear as a strange and possibly overwhelming sight, in my cycling gear, helmet on head, sweat in my eyes! But it seems to work. I stopped by a number of people on the road today and all obliged me with a portrait. Combined with a few walks across fields to catch some wild solitary trees, such as this wonderful hawthorn (the blip I would have posted in the past), it meant that my 54 mile ride took quite a long time. It's just as well it's now staying light until 6pm!

Anyway, there was a little reluctance at first but I managed to persuade Abir here to let me take a picture of her beautiful family. I hadn't expected to get a picture that I would fall in love with so much. To me, every individual is expressing something different and unique. The personality of each almost jumps out of the frame, especially the children. I'm sure the face behind the niqab is smiling. The eyes give it away. Abir was a confident and strong woman and led the conversation, her English very good and much better than her husband's. I'd love to meet these children in ten or twenty years time and see how they have coped with all this cultural confusion. I have a feeling they will do well. They seem to have very good parents.

After taking a photo of the family group I naturally asked if I could take a portrait of Abir. I was very happy when she consented. I see women wearing niqabs quite regularly around Shipley but I've never approached them to ask for a photograph, pretty much assuming that they would say no. I was discussing this with Mr.John in the pub on Thursday and I told him that I was going to start asking. Eventually someone would say yes. I didn't expect that consent to happen quite so quickly. I think the portrait is very compelling. Only seeing her eyes leaves everything else to the imagination. The mystery behind the veil is quite mesmerising.

I had plans to do some odd jobs around the house today and catch up with some of you lovely people on blip but the whole day has now been consumed by cycling and photography and processing the resulting pictures. Thanks so much for all your comments this last week. There are so many I really want to reply back to.

I'm entered in the Ilkley Fell Race tomorrow. Having got rather carried away today I'm not sure how my legs are going to be feeling come the morning. I've also got to go into the office to sort out a final few minor things before going live on Monday. I fear I'm going to have to give that one away this year.

Time has been slipping through my hands recently, my blip virtually the only memory of each day. After seeing this blip yesterday I was determined to savour every second today. I have done. It's been fabulous. And thank you Nanzy.

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