Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Friday, 29 July 2016

Caverns Measureless

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to the sunless sea.

I don’t have any photos of sepia caves and caverns, as per this week’s Sepia Saturday prompt, so once more I am delving into my inherited postcard collection. There is a motley selection of well-known English caves and a couple from Yugoslavia and Gibraltar. No exciting messages, just souvenir postcards from various relatives’ travels. Some of the older ones looked pretty boring (the cards, not the relatives), a blurr of stalactites and stalagmites - until I scanned them and zoomed in - then all sorts of details were revealed. The first batch are from Cheddar Caves, on the southern edge of the Mendip Hills in Somerset and formed by underground rivers following the Ice Age. Gough’s Cave is a sequence of chambers with names such as Solomon’s Temple, Swiss Village and Cox’s Caves with the equally enchanting names of The Pagoda, The Marble Curtain, The Curtain Chamber, Transformation Scene and Home of the Rainbow (below).

 Next we visit Wookey Hole, a series of limestone caverns, also in Somerset. Here at last I actually find a boat to answer the call of the prompt image.The occupant appears to be standing alongside, perhaps the better to appreciate the scale of his surroundings.

In the next card shows the Escape of the River Axe, but no boat party.

 These rather dull sepia cards are enlivened by the a visit to the ‘Witch of Wookey Hole’. Go on, you know you can see her!

 And the boat makes another appearance in the kitchen of the aforementioned Witch. I can’t make out any occupants of the boat; perhaps they had a spell put on them.

"Double, double, toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.”

At last we find an occupant of a cave. This is St.Michael’s Cave in Gibraltar. It’s a so-called Neanderthal Man, who apparently sat out the last Ice Age in these caves. A skull was found in 1848. All he needs now is a Rock Chick and the party can begin.

Ok it’s not that sort of party in the prompt picture. At the end of our cave journey we finally spot a party of people enjoying the Postojna Caves in Slovenia, or as it was then, Yugoslavia. They aren’t in a boat though; this is a train, and the link shows that these are much more modern than the one shown here.

Why not join other troglodytes for this week’s Sepia Saturday? Here’s the prompt: Party in Boat, Speedwell Cavern, Castleton. 


  1. Isn't it awesomely amazing what a little water on rock can create given a bit of time!

  2. I've made several visits to Cheddar, and enjoyed them very much. My first was unforgettable. We went on a family day trip with my paternal grandparents. As we entered the caves, my grandmother collapsed, narrowly avoiding a protruding rock. I remember a kind lady who distracted me and my sister while grandmother was attended to. We continued our tour while she sat quietly, sipping a cup of sweet tea. Not sure what caused her to faint, but it might have been a bout of claustrophobia.

  3. Postcards were the bookmarks of the holidays of our youth and those of the generations that went before. We don't send postcards now. OK, we send Facebook messages and selfies but they are somehow transitory and shouting "I was here" rather than "look how nice/interesting/magnificent this place is". I remember having to recite Kubla Khan as a child and thinking "how strange to call a rive Alf"

  4. Caverns are so mysterious. They make me wonder what else is going on down there. It is fascinating how some formations look like familiar things. In the Luray Caverns in Virginia, there are some fried eggs -- rock, of course.

  5. A perfect set of postcards to match the prompt! I like the imagination people have used to name the formations too.

  6. Thanks for a wonderful tour. The faded images of the caves look like movie sets for old science fiction films.

  7. Perhaps the Neanderthal Man and the Wookey Witch can get it together...

  8. I'm pretty imaginative, but can't discern Madam Witch. Unless the big dark rock is supposed to be her. Thanks for some great images, and of course the caves themselves are amazing. I have become claustrophobic in my later years, but used to enjoy visiting caves.

  9. According to my DNA test I get about 2.5% of my dna from Neanderthal ancestors. I found the one in this post to be one of the best looking I've seen.

  10. These caves look like locations from sci-fi movies!