Sand Point, North Somerset

North Somerset is beautiful in the sunshine, as evidenced through these snaps taken on a visit to Sand Bay near Weston Super Mare.

I climbed up to the viewing point on Sand Point and took these shots.

You can variously see a distant Clevedon, the Mendip hills, the North Devon Coast, Flatholm with its lighthouse, Sand Bay, Birnbeck Pier and the Ordnance Survey marker.

 

 

Why I’m taking so many photos THIS colour

1-_mg_0226-002Here’s a typical example of my recent photographic output. Monochromes, subdued colours…

Why am I drawn to colours and subjects like this? Maybe it’s because of where I live – on the coast near Bristol, where the water is the muddy water of the Bristol Channel. The water is usually brown because of all the silt it contains and hardly ever blue – only if you catch the perfect angle of the sun and the reflection of the sky. And then it is not the blue of the ocean, but a silvery, metallic blue. There are some sand banks in the channel, but the coast is lined with mud flats. It’s often cloudy so skies are quite often grey.

Does that sound depressing? Well I don’t mean it to because the very nature of the colours makes you aware of the variety of subtle shades within the blanket terms “grey”, “brown” or even – dare I say it? – “beige”. The more you look the more you see shades of pink, green, blue and lavender, to name a few.

The colour palette is even more varied when the sunset is spectacular.

The training of your eye doesn’t stop at noticing colour. There is the not insignificant matter of texture too. The mud flats are lined with meandering water channels, gulleys and creases, that bring to mind the image of the skin under a blue whale’s throat. Even a rolling grey sky above a silver grey sea has textures to delight the eye and the soul.

Throw in some man-made features for a little extra variety and there is always something to tempt the photographer.

There is interest and beauty everywhere – you just have to look.

[Many of my photographs are available to buy from my RedBubble online shop. Here’s a link to the latest Lines and leaves ]

We’re buying shares – in Clevedon Pier

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Aah yes. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and chip in to help the pier.

You can’t come to Clevedon without noticing the pier. There are plenty of other quiet delights in the town, but the pier will be the thing you notice first. It has a long history from its opening in 1869, collapse in 1970 and restoration and reopening in 1989 and work is underway on a fabulous new visitor centre, cafe and viewing gallery. My husband Alec and I have bought season tickets to the pier every year since we moved to Clevedon: that way we are showing our support while benefiting ourselves from being able to take a walk down the pier whenever we want (during opening hours of course). When the community share scheme was announced, we decided that we would have to be part of it and today we have put the cheque in the post.

Have a look online, and if you can afford some shares too – why not? The minimum spend isn’t huge (150 x £1 shares ) and you have bought your little slice of history. Read more here!

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Here’s the view of work today. Amazingly small space to work in, but the lower level viewing gallery now has a concrete roof above it – the floor for the cafe. Which we’ve heard in the news will be run by the people in charge of Tiffins – one of our lovely local cafes.

And a fairly recent plaque added at the end of the pier. (Apologies if it’s been there for years and I’ve only just noticed!!)

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It all adds to the interest. I’ve seen most of these ships myself, so it’s nice to know now what they are.

If you haven’t visited Clevedon before, or haven’t been for a while, there is lots to see. Work on the Marine Lakes approaching completion, the new Loungers cafe open at the historic Curzon cinema, the Theatre Orchard bringing live performance to Clevedon, several other new cafes and businesses and news that the traditional Christmas fair will return to Hill Road. It’s all happening in Clevedon!

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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Now, that’s what I call a low tide!

Great walk along the sea front today and the tide was as low – no, correction – lower than I have seen it in the three years that we have lived in Clevedon.

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I’ve not seen the supports for the struts of the pier before, nor seen the sandbank sticking up through the mud without a covering of water. We were recently told that the metal supports were originally narrow gauge rail tracks being recycled, which explains why they look so delicate. You can also see in one of the photos how the appartments at the old Rock Hotel are still being built. Work has been progressing for at least two full years, so maybe by Christmas…

Things have gone a little quicker on Hill Road, where the new mini-Sainsbury store has just opened. I’m not a great fan of supermarket chains, but it does add to the range of products you can buy on Hill Road. The One Stop store round the corner has just been refurbished too – presumably because of the competition of a new store. I hadn’t realised that One Stop is a subsidiary of Tesco, although the branding in the store is now much more like Tesco’s branding. Very interesting – I had assumed it was an independent store.

Back to the estuary… Lovely to see the marine geography so clearly exposed further down the coast.

A similar low tide yesterday caused some local excitement when some geocachers went out onto the mud and got stuck to some degree. I think it was more panic from observers than a real risk, but the emergency services were called in  to rescue them: we heard sirens steadily throughout the afternoon and wondered what was occurring.

Today’s walk was to show our current Airbnb guest, a student with the Bristol Groundschool, the local sights. It is so nice to meet people of different nationalities, and to hear their stories and how they have become pilots. So far we have hosted students from the UK, Italy, France, Denmark, Hungary, Norway and Poland, and we’ve only been in business for a few months. It’s so nice to hear from the European students that their experience of the UK is far superior to their expectations: the legend of football hooligans, hen and stag parties and nightclubbing holidays in the sun has sadly led to low opinions of the British (or to be fair, the English) abroad.

I do realise that this post is slightly random, but then so is life!

Carry a camera!

You never know when you’ll see something memorable, and when you do it’s good to record it.

This week we’ve had contrasting weather.  On Tuesday (or it might have been Monday) the morning was bright and clear, so I was intrigued to see a bank of cloud lying on the water just visible over the marine lakes.

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So I carried on around the costal path, to see this:

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A solid looking bank of what I now knew must be mist lying across the Bristol Channel. I could see it was just rolling forward towards over the water.  A little further on …

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… I drew level with the mist and could see how thin the bank of mist was.  It was actually more like a long sheet,  billowing out like a sail.  Traces of mist drifted on after the main bulk, and further down the estuary I could see a similar bank rolling in, closer to the Welsh side.  I’m beginning to understand why they call this Poet’s Walk!

It’s something I’ve not seen before.  Glad I had the camera with me!

Yesterday the weather was completely different with a strong wind whipping up what passes for surf locally.  Being a muddy estuary, the foam was a marvellous crispy brown – no white horses here!

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