The colours of Clevedon…

There’s lots going on in Clevedon just now, thanks to The Theatre Orchard and their Theatre Shop.

We got to the pier too late to enjoy the ballet, but I love this shot: slightly misty and nostalgic. It really looks suitably Victorian to me!. You’ll need to imagine the music and the appreciative applause of the crowd…

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It’s fabulous to have so much extra going on locally, and it’s already clear that lots of people are visiting. I’ve seen Living Spit – who will be performing during the theatre season – before, and really enjoy their shows, and there is much more going on besides. So good to have performances in the community, as it really brings people together. Something, as they say, for everyone! Just have to make sure I get my tickets before everything sells out…

And, if there weren’t already enough reasons to grab your camera and mooch around the village and it’s environs, the shows add an extra buzz to the place.

In the sunshine, the colours of Clevedon really stand out. Here’s a small selection of my photographs, which I have just uploaded to my RedBubble shop – and if you really like them you can buy them on cards, prints, posters, phone cases, mugs, and even duvet covers and scarves!  Please feel free to browse!

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The things you see on a walk…

I’ve always believed that walking is equally beneficial to your mind, body and indeed your soul.

Physical benefits – heart, lung and muscle work- surely we all know about those. Blood flowing through your veins; fresh air and exercise. Marvellous stuff – helps keep the weight down, and more importantly helps keep you healthy too.

But here are three examples of the mind and soul benefits from my early morning walk around Poet’s Walk and the Marine Lakes in Clevedon.

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Soul-food. Not my finest photograph – I had an all-purpose lens on the camera – but maybe you can just see the sunlight catching the lower mandible of this wren, singing for all it’s worth. You can certainly see it’s distinctive tail sticking up. A fabulous sight and sound. I just stood and listened for a while – set me up for the day.

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A bit of brain fodder – certainly food for thought. When you walk, you have the chance to notice things that you’d never see if you were in a hurry. You wouldn’t notice this old gateway if you were jogging around Poet’s Walk, I bet. But if you wonder while you walk, you can easily work out that this is a left over from the days when there was a lower path on the hill: maybe even a path down to the water. They are gradually replacing the fences along Poets’ Walk, and one day this gateway will be gone. A hint, a clue, about the changes going on quietly around us will have vanished.

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A rarely seen spectacle. Well, water regularly fills the Marine Lake as the tide rises, but the sun doesn’t often turn the cascade into quite such a silvery curtain as this. Maybe the calm of the sea added to the sight, but it was worth a photo.

So there you have it: just three of the things I saw that made my walk special. And the truth is, there is always something worth seeing: you just have to get our there! Walking for pleasure, indeed.

Mugs!

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Just taken delivery of my new mugs, and I wanted to share. It’s amazing how tea or coffee tastes different when it’s in a mug you like, and I am really pleased with these!

You won’t see them in a shop, because they are my design and only available from me through RedBubble. They have a nice grip (in other words, they are comfortable to hold), a high gloss finish and a good quality print. Our new favourite mugs.

I do like to check out the products RedBubble print my designs to, as only when I have seen them for myself can I confidently mention them to potential customers. This design of mug is fairy new, so I wanted to see how they came out.

Other designs are available, and indeed other mug shapes, as you can have a standard cylindrical mug, or a travel mug.  I went for the more subtle design on the right, and my other half for the one on the left.

I’m thinking these could be great for a house-warming or birthday gift – even an attractive and useful wedding present – or a gift to yourself. After all – you’re worth it!

Now, I never shop early for anything, but…

… sometimes I really think I should! I do hate getting very close to the date of a celebration or festivities (do you see just how hard I am trying to avoid mentioning Christmas in mid-September?!) and then find I am shopping at the last minute, and buying things that are either frankly too expensive or just a panic purchase and not what the gift-receiver wants at all.

And to continue the being frank theme, I have lots of lovely products available in my RedBubble shop that might make a unique and thoughtful gift for someone you love.

Just to offer a very small selection of the sort of images I produce, have a look at these.

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RedBubble reproduce the images onto a wide range of products: including cushion/throw pillow covers, tote bags, phone and ipad cases, calendars and of course prints, posters, and cards. Cases for iphone 6 are available now too. They handle all the payment and shipping, and as a growing multinational company they are efficient and reliable. I’ve ordered a few different products just to check the quality, and I can vouch for the quality of the reproduction and the materials they use. I have in fact just bought a batch of my designs as greeting cards to send through the year, and you get 30% off if you buy 16 or more.

If you want a calendar, then early ordering in time for Christmas would be very advisable. As a final suggestion, RedBubble also sell gift certificates, if you want to leave the choice to the recipient.

Please do have a look at the shop, and I’d be happy to read any comments that you care to leave on any of my designs. It’s always good to know what people think!

Thanks for reading this blog, checking out the shop, and supporting an independent artist!

Red squirrels and the Lake District in September

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What a fabulous few days up in the lakes with lovely company and beautiful weather. There were so many photo opportunities, as the low, golden September light and still conditions made all the textures stand out and the colours sumptuous. I’m now sorting masses of material, and will be offering my favourite shots for sale through alecarte.com.

The good weather meant there were still plenty of tourists about, but the crowds of high summer have passed, so it was relatively easy to find parking places and secluded spots. And of course there are lots of opportunities to get right off the beaten track.

A particular high spot for me was seeing red squirrels in the wild around the charming little town of Cockermouth. I have seen them before, but only in wildlife parks. Recent efforts to support these natural British mammals seem to be working, and local people are making sure they have a habitat and can thrive. So lovely to see them running around, feeding up and preparing for the hard winter months! I didn’t even try for a photograph: I didn’t have the right kit with me, and I didn’t want to waste a moment of just enjoying the sight. We were too late to see osprey as they head for Africa once summer is over, and you have to try a bit harder for otters, I think, but maybe next time! We stayed at Rose Cottage guest house, and it was scrupulously clean, very comfortable and the breakfasts were excellent value. We will go again.

There were firsts for visiting some historical places too, and I really enjoyed Beatrix Potter’s house, Hill Top, and William Wordsworth’s childhood home on Main Street in Cockermouth. Hill Top was very busy – well, it’s a small house on a small plot and Miss Potter is eternally popular – so parking is limited, but it was well worth the visit. The atmosphere is exceptionally homely and warm, and the house looks just as it did when she lived there. We were able to park in the hotel car park next door – their tea room is busy with visitors to the village, and the view from their terrace is wonderful.

I don’t need to tell you how varied and exhilarating the opportunities for walking and cycling are. Miles and miles of stunning walks, and plenty of people taking full advantage!

Some of the roads need a confident driver and a suitable vehicle – Wrynose and Hardknott passes anyone? Steep (very), bendy (very) and narrow – single track with plenty of cars with nervous drivers comng in the opposite direction. A white-knuckle ride indeed, and I think we’ll consider hiring a 4×4 next time. And there will definitely be a next time!!

Capturing a season of mists on camera

 

Interesting conditions for photography around Clevedon in the last few days. There have been pearly skies like this …

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Atmospheric, misty vistas like this …

 

 

 

 

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.. which you really wouldn’t believe was taken at 4 pm in the first week of September. On the same day and just 20 minutes earlier, in fact, than this little view of the pier, which with a little editing would be in the middle of a heart shaped gap in the bushes. We certainly do love Clevedon, and there’s the proof!

 

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It’s all a bit of a challenge to get the camera set up to get the best from the conditions. Still, no one said it was easy to get a great photograph!