Wednesday, December 30, 2015

"GOOD MORNING - HOW ARE YOU?...."






.......this Robin seemed to be asking and bowed its head as we passed it on our walk from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard.....

Monday, December 28, 2015

A CLEVER SOLUTION...

It`s a bright sunny day for a change and my mind wanders to those bright sunny days on the Cornish coast.   One of the most memorable was the walk westwards towards Gwennap Head from the hamlet of Porrthgwarra.   I remember it was very windy, but I guess it always is where the Atlantic hits the coast, and I was fascinated to come across these strange looking cones, which I managed to photograph whilst standing close to the cliff edge and hoping for the best.

These two navigation markers were erected by the Corporation of Trinity House and they provide day marks to warn vessels of the very real hazards of the submerged Runnel Stone and a series of other submerged rocks nearer the shore.   Mariners at sea should always keep the black and white cone in sight - if it becomes completely obscured by the red cone, then the vessel would be directly on top of the Runnel Stone.   These daymarks provide a clever solution to a serious problem which, between 1880 and 1923, accounted for the loss of over thirty identified steamships either wrecked, stranded or sunk in the area.   There have been none since..........




Friday, December 25, 2015

AND SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS...

Just a quick note to wish you, dear reader, a very happy Christmas and all good wishes for 2016. Here in my Kentish enclave, the day began with a brisk walk with our Retriever under cloudy skies and with every prospect of the day becoming wetter and windier as the unseasonal mild weather continues.   There was a time, in the mists of my younger days, when Christmas used to produce snow, which seemed right and proper then, but there`s little prospect of snow, ice and freezing cold weather in today`s forecast, thank goodness - I could do without all that.   But anyway, here`s a photo I took in our local woods the last time we had some proper snow........Jingle Bells!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

SEA AND SKY...

I think I must have a thing about skies.  I`ve noticed whilst looking back over my photo folders that a lot of my pictures are of the sky;  in its different moods, different colours, textures and `architecture,`  And perhaps more so when the photos I have taken have been by the sea - maybe just standing on a cliff watching the elemental and ever changing sea and sky is a reminder of the forces and the beauty of the natural world when unencumbered by the hand of mankind.  So, before I get carried away in a wistful reverie, here`s a photo I took standing on the cliff at Hope Cove in South Devon when the sea and the sky seemed to come together rather well.........


Monday, December 21, 2015

AN EVENING HALO....

Some times when you`re out and about, you just get lucky.  And on this, the shortest day of the year, it`s good to look forward, as well as back, to the long evenings of mid-summer.   Here`s a photo I too whilst taking an evening stroll on the top of the dunes on the south west coast path between Daymer Bay and Rock on Cornwall`s north coast.   I got lucky when spotting this halo as the sun went down over the opposite bank of the Camel Estuary.

Interesting things, halos.   They are a sign that high cirrus clouds are drifting 20,000 feet or more above our heads.   These clouds contain millions of ice crystals and the halos are caused by both refraction, or splitting of light, and reflection, or glints of light, from these ice crystals.  But, like rainbows, halos are personal.  Everyone sees their own particular halo, made by particular ice crystals and which are different from the ice crystals making the halo seen by someone standing next to you.   Anyway, this is my very own personal halo on that wonderful mid-summer evening.........



Saturday, December 19, 2015

MIND HOW YOU GO...

Here and there across the country there are loads of misplaced or simply daft signs.  One that always intrigues me can be seen on the M20 motorway as you approach Ashford in Kent. There`s a huge sign which says `Sign Not In Use.`   Here`s one that caught my eye on a visit to my boyhood home at Hythe on the shores of Southampton Water.   Well, the surface looks pretty even to me but I guess it can get rough so, if you`re ever tempted to walk across Southampton Water to the Weston shore or Netley, just mind how you go.......


Thursday, December 17, 2015

A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE...

I`m not sure why but over the years I have cultivated a genuine interest in the cleanliness, standard and `acceptability` of public conveniences.  Maybe it`s an age related thing but these facilities seem to grow in importance in direct relationship to one`s advancing dotage. And I have come across some truly dreadful ones as well as some which are quite outstanding.    One of the worst was at Sennen Cove in Cornwall, whilst that same county produced at least two of the very best - at Camelford and especially Portholland.   Anyway, this one in Hampshire proved to be extremely convenient, as can perhaps be judged by the quality of its informative notice..........


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A REDEEMING FEATURE....

The Kent coastal town of Margate has very few claims to fame - the misplaced Turner Gallery, the unfathomable Tracey Emin, financially struggling Dreamland, immortalised by Chas and Dave and, of course, Hartsdown Park, home of Margate FC where, once upon a time, I was linesman in the Kent Youth Cup Final.   Small wonder then, that Margate is a prime contender for having inspired the phrase `the last resort.`   

But most places have at least one redeeming feature and in Margate`s case it`s Minnis Bay, which is actually closer to Birchington than Margate itself but Margate will no doubt claim it as its own since it`s within the Thanet District Council area.  On a good day, Minnis Bay, where we had our very first ever family holiday 50 years ago, looks like this.......





Saturday, December 12, 2015

CATCHING THE WAVE...

I was well impressed by a report yesterday that a guy from Devon had `conquered` the 50-foot wave known as Jaws.  This is a monster wave off the coast of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands and the film of this event shows Adam Amins from Sidmouth successfully surfing the wave - a feat that has been achieved by just a handful of surfers since surfing began off Maui.   So, in an effort to encourage other UK surfers to follow in Adam`s footsteps, it`s obvious you`ve got to start them young.   Here`s a family encouraging their youngsters to take their first steps into the surfers` paradise of the north Cornwall coast......


Thursday, December 10, 2015

KEEP LOOKING..

For amateur bodging snappers like me, the winter months can make it hard to find things worth photographing.  I miss the long days, the sunlit evenings, the coastline and all the sights that summer brings.  Things are different at this time of the year, when the days are short, daylight in short supply and the chance to find things worth snapping might be slim.   But if you keep looking it`s surprising what`s out there to be seen.  This was close to home yesterday........


(Give it a click for a larger pic)

Monday, December 07, 2015

A FAMILY GATHERING....

Christmas is coming and this is the time of the year when families get together.   Here`s a photo I took of a different kind of family gathering - one deep in the New Forest of my long ago boyhood. To be fair, I didn`t really have to go searching for these deer because, each day around lunchtime, the herd arrive at Bolderwood knowing that goodies will be put out for them to enjoy.   We certainly enjoyed the spectacle and I hope you do too.....


Saturday, December 05, 2015

UP WITH THE RETRIEVER...

Some mornings I grumble a bit when our Golden Retriever wakes up and it`s still pitch dark and he wants his breakfast.  But this morning, just as it was getting light, we had another in a recent series of spectacular winter dawns.   So maybe it was worth being up with the retriever this morning?.........


Friday, December 04, 2015

INCOMING FLIGHT...

In marked contrast to the bright, dazzling light at Place (see my last post) there is always a different kind of magic to be found when the weather is poor and the light dulled.  For me, there is endless fascination in being at the edge of the sea, where the waves and the skies are forever changing..........(click on the photo for a better image)


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

BRIGHTENING THE GLOOM....

So, December has arrived and with it the gloomy, short days of winter when, like today, it`s dark around 4.00pm.   For years now, I`ve `suffered` from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - it`s not so much suffering, more simply missing the long, sunny days of summer.  So, to cheer me up, even if no-one else, here`s a photo I took at a place called Place, where the St. Mawes ferry arrives on Cornwall`s Roseland Peninsula.   It was one of those magical days, when we managed a long walk along the coast path, down to the Percuil River and back along Froe Creek and among the many things that made it special was the crystal clear, almost dazzling light bouncing off the water and the white buildings on the opposite shore.   Ah well, only 19 days now to the shortest day.........