Returning from the market on Monday I was heading down the steps to the underpass where I met “The Man Who Fell To Earth” recently when I became aware of a slight commotion beside me.  Two cyclist had dismounted and were manoeuvring their machines down the steep staircase, apparently with some difficulty.  To my eye the bikes looked heavy, both from a design perspective and I suspect from the materials used in their manufacture.

Despite my bemusement at their decision to take this option when there was a perfectly good cycle ramp opposite us I offered help, which was politely declined by a girl with an accent I didn’t recognise.  There was a third girl there too, shorter than the cyclists, but seemingly with them.

The effort required to remount these ungainly steeds took some time to muster so I found myself outpacing them for a short distance until we reached the Wear Bridge.  I stopped here to look at the Construction Support Vessel, Normand Installer which was dominating the scene as the girls drew alongside and stopped once more to give the third girl to mount up.  She was riding pillion, but being smaller than her friends had gone unnoticed.

All three were Bulgarian students; Yoli who was shy about being photographed, Simona who wasn’t, and Raisi*, the passenger.  I’ve not met any Bulgarians during the course of this project and here were three at one go!  I asked to take a picture of the three (Slavic models are so in vogue you know!) but Yoli held back so I tried to shoot Simona and Raisi together, with Raisi peering from behind her driver.  Unfortunately the shot didn’t really work due to the height difference so I cropped it down to just Simona, and caught a slightly out of focus Yoli in between putting her hands to her face!

As I completed the tryptich with my shot of Raisi she told me that she was studying photography. With a perfect smile and great skin she should be in front of the camera as she is here – just a shame I didn’t get her eyes a little wider.  Hope you like some of the images on the blog Raisi.

*Originally I misspelt Raisi’s name, but thanks to her mother Reni for correcting me.  Ironic after writing this!


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