Sunday, November 29, 2015

UP AND DOWN.....

I can`t believe it`s now three months almost to the day when I stood at sea level in Lynmouth taking this photo of the majestic rise of Countisbury Hill.  At just about 1,000 feet it`s Devon`s highest cliff and people tell me it`s well worth the effort to climb up it just to see the view from the top.   I confess to have been perfectly happy to be down there looking up and this view was more than agreeable........


Friday, November 27, 2015

PASSING CLOUD...

It may be some primeval instinct but each time I visit a beach I`m on the lookout for caves.  Perhaps an urge to explore whilst at the same time perhaps seeking a refuge from the world outside.   Anyway, I took this photo in a small cave in the cliffs at Porth Joke in Cornwall.  Luckily the tide was out and I was able to poke around in the cave admiring the `architecture` of the rock formations and the contrast between the darkness inside and the light outside on the beach.   Just at that moment along came this passing cloud which seemed to mirror the shape of the cave and I couldn`t resist snapping away...........


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

SMALL WORLD.....

I like skies.   They always seem to put our tenuous grip on terra firma into some kind of context.   Here`s an example - at the bottom of my photo is Nare Head, one of the glorious headlands on the south Cornwall coast;  and in front of it stands Gull Rock - I`ve lost count of the number of rocks off Cornwall which are named Gull Rock but this one is particularly fine, when seen from one of our favoured holiday retreats at Rosevine.   But the skies ,above even signature landmarks such as these, remind us that it`s a small world.  

(Please click on photo for larger image)

Monday, November 23, 2015

DECISION TIME...

You know how it is.  You`re walking along a nice bit of coast and suddenly you arrive at a point where you have to decide whether to carry on or turn back.   Well, here`s the decision we faced at Soar Mill Cove in south Devon after a long walk along the coast path from Hope Cove.  It sure was a long scramble down to a very inviting beach but, more to the point, it was also going to be a long way back up again.   I`ll leave you to decide ......


Saturday, November 21, 2015

CONTRASTS...

Most of my photos that I have posted on here recently have shown sunny days full of light and colour.   As I look out of my window this morning, it`s snowing, the skies are leaden and winter seems to have arrived overnight.   Brrrrr....and it reminded me that not all my photos are bright and sunny.  So, by way of contrast - and which seems to capture the mood for today - here`s one I took on the Sussex coast at Camber Sands on a day when sunny and bright were very much absent.......


Thursday, November 19, 2015

WHAT LIES BENEATH...

It`s a strange thing but true.  I was walking along the coast path from Trevone to Stepper Point on Cornwall`s north coast.  A lovely day, bright sunshine, a brisk breeze and the fresh Atlantic air naturally drawing my gaze out to sea.   That`s what happens, of course, and so we run the risk of missing what lies beneath our feet.  But something caught my eye and it made me realise that sometimes even the dramatic seascape has to give way to miniature natural wonders like this. And sometimes, it pays to be careful where you tread.........



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

STORM DAMAGE...

According to the weather forecast and the amber warning issued by the Met. Office, we`re about to be hit overnight by Storm Barney, possibly bringing damaging gusts resulting in trees and power lines down.   It all reminds me of two things - the first is our Golden Retriever who goes by the name of Barney who quite likes being out in high winds. 

So do I, to be fair, and the second thing it reminds me of was when we went to Porthcurno on the south Cornwall coast in early Spring.  The tide was up, the winds were high and the beach was just about deserted - ideal conditions for taking photos.  I took this one and just afterwards I was caught by an incoming wave and fell into the sea.  I came up drenched, but Barney was OK although my camera took a few days to dry out.  It was worth it though....possibly.....

(Please click on photo for larger image)

Monday, November 16, 2015

A CONFIRMED POLICY...

My new policy of confining my posts on here to photos and reminiscences of happier times seems to have been confirmed.   My recent posts have proved much more popular than all the rants I used to put on here and the amount of traffic on this blog has increased considerably as a result.  Maybe I`m mellowing a bit in my advancing dotage and I suspect that, given the troubled times in which we live, it might be comforting to be able to turn to a page that helps us escape from all the madness of the world?  So I`ll carry on doing it then.

And, in that spirit, I bring you today a photo I took of a sunset in South Devon with the birds catching the uplifting thermals against the backdrop of an amazing sky.  Maybe it`s a reminder that we should look more at the world around us and be thankful for all it has to offer........


Saturday, November 14, 2015

TO THE ISLAND (PART TWO)...

The first time I ever saw the sea was during World War II when, as a small boy, my mother and I walked from Blackfield, where we were living with my aunt and uncle, to Lepe on Hampshire`s south coast.  It was a long walk for a boy of four.  Prior to the D-Day invasion of June, 1944, Lepe was used for the secret construction of massive caissons which were towed across the channel to form part of the Mulberry Harbours used during the Normandy invasion.   Lepe was also used as one of the many embarkation sites for troops and equipment taking part in the invasion.  I still have vivid memories of the seemingly endless stream of military vehicles roaring through Blackfield on their way to Lepe and the generosity of the American servicemen throwing packets of sweets to us urchins along the wayside.

Back in the Spring of this year we stayed in the New Forest and made a return visit to Lepe.  It always brings back memories of those boyhood experiences but also reminds me of the awe with which I first saw the sea and the infinity of the skies above the water. This is a photo I took last time we were there and shows the skies above the Solent and a lone yacht making its way across to the Isle of Wight.   It was very different in 1944........





Thursday, November 12, 2015

TO THE ISLAND....

No, this is not a critique of Meaghan Delahunt`s novel but a wistful look back to the golden days of late summer, when we happened once again to be staying at Bigbury-on-Sea in south Devon.   And naturally we start to walk the coast path in each direction - to the east lies Bantham, Thurlestone, Hope Cove and Bolt Head but the walk westwards starts off perhaps less propitiously, involving the negotiation of the Challaborough holiday park with its serried ranks of chalets, caravans and assorted `amenities.` 

But keep going and soon the climb towards Ayrmer Cove rewards you with this panoramic view back to the tidal causeway to Burgh Island.  I`ve tried to make my photo have something of a `Lowry` feel to it, with the matchstick figures coming and going before the tide cuts either the Island or the mainland off from civilization for a few hours.  I`m never quite sure which....... 


(Please click on photo for larger image)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A HELPFUL REMINDER....


I`ve lost count of the number of times we have stayed on the Roseland Peninsula on Cornwall`s south coast.  It`s a quiet area with quiet villages, quiet beaches and the kind of place where you can easily spend a fortnight in an afternoon.   And one of the quietest places on the Roseland is Portholland.   Now, I think it was AE Houseman who suggested that "Clunton, Clunbury, Clungunton and Clun.  Are the quietest places under the sun." He was talking about Shropshire, of course, but he evidently never saw Portholland.

There are, in fact, two Porthollands - East and West - with East Portholland being the larger of the two.  But then, there is nothing large about it - a cluster of cottages, an excellent public convenience maintained by local volunteers since the Council washed its hands of it.... and a Post Office.   I was fascinated to see that the Post Office has this helpful notice which gives the rather limited opening times.  Still, this being Cornwall, if you miss one Tuesday morning, at least you know another will be along dreckly.......



Sunday, November 08, 2015

CLOSE TO HOME...

Well it sure is nice to go travellin` but sometimes we don`t always appreciate what`s on our doorstep.   Here in deepest Kent we are surrounded by interesting villages, most of which still retain reminders of Kent`s agricultural heritage and remind us too that Kent has much to offer, especially in its out if the way places, away from the motorways, the high speed rail link and all the trappings and crescendos of modern day life.   Here`s a photo I took of a quiet corner in the village of Trottiscliffe, known locally as `Trosley` or sometimes even Chumley......... 


Thursday, November 05, 2015

WHERE KESTRELS DARE...

A year or so ago we walked the stretch of south west coast path from Trevone to Stepper Point on Cornwall`s north coast.   It`s yet another spectacular cliff top walk, rewarded with sweeping views across the Camel Estuary to Polzeath, Trebetherick and Pentire Point.   Stepper Point on the western head of the estuary is topped by a stone tower, built as a `day mark` to serve as a navigation beacon for seafarers during daylight.   

I can never resist the temptation to step inside the tower and peer through the lookout and feast my eyes on the ever changing seascape.  On this occasion, I was fascinated by the grace and beauty of the kestrel in its flight and I was lucky enough to capture this image as the kestrel hovered in search of lunch.......


Tuesday, November 03, 2015

A DIP INTO THE PAST..

A few weeks ago we had a holiday in North Devon and revisited some of the places we went to when our three sons were still at school - the eldest is now 52!   This is a photo I took of Watersmeet and it brought back fond memories of our sons, one of them in particular, getting too close to the water and falling in, requiring some rescue acts and changes of clothing.  We also remembered the cream teas at the National Trust Lodge, so whilst we didn`t recapture the excitement of the adventures of three small boys, we couldn`t resist recapturing the excellence of the National Trust cream teas.......


Sunday, November 01, 2015

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST..

Just got back from taking Barney for his Sunday morning walkies through the orchards of the Garden of England.   Or it was once.   We came across a man with a chain saw, busily chopping up apple trees that had been grubbed out of the ground.  I asked why.  He said that the orchard was now 15 years old and that the apples were no longer being picked as they did not come up to EEC standards.  

So, the orchard will disappear and go the same way as the cherry orchard, the pear orchard and the Victoria plum orchard, all of which have vanished in the last couple of years. Pity really - I used to enjoy a bit of scrumping.   In all, five orchards are due for the chop and will be replaced by arable crops, which will limit one`s scrumping options somewhat.

Anyway, this is a photo of the doomed apple orchard I took just a month ago - another one bites the dust and another classic Kentish scene will be no more.............




(Click on photo for a larger image)