Just being ME

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kindness is a heavenly virtue ...

I was one lucky recipient of spontaneous kindness from Diana at Pebbledash the other day, after receiving through the post one of her gocco print notecards, inspired by Cornish hedgerow.

On recycled paper, it arrived along with an envelope to match, with a wrap of lilac paper, string and matching tag.

Cornish Cliffs - by Sir John Betjeman

Those moments, tasted once and never done - Of long surf breaking in the midday sun - A far off blowhole booming like a gun - The seagulls plane and circle out of sight - Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height - The veined sea-campion buds burst into white - And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside - Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide - To where the slate falls sheer into the tide - More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills - A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills - Over these long-defended Cornish hills - A gun-emplacement of the latest war - Looks older than the hill fort built before Saxon or Norman headed for the shore - And in the shadowless, unclouded glare - Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where - A misty sea-line meets the wash of air - Nut smell of gorse and honey smell of ling - Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring - On sunny shallows, green and whispering - The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky - Shrinks at the clang of seabirds sailing by - Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high - From today's calm, the lane's enclosing green - Leads inland to a usual Cornish scene - Slate cottages with sycamore between - Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles - With, as the everlasting ocean rolls - Two chapels built for half a hundred souls.

Louise x


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up, up and away heading west ...

A holiday - time free from work that one may spend at leisure.

We recently returned from our eagerly anticipated short break down West, staying in South Chard in Somerset in recently refurbished outbuildings which provided us with all the mod cons, and a pub which provided us with a hearty breakfast each morning. A great base for exploring the surrounding countryside, towns, and ideally central for the equally appealing bordering counties of east Devon and west Dorset too.

Even though we look on these breaks as a chance to wind down, each day is spent packing in as much as a middle-aged couple possibly can!

Retirement - withdrawal from one's occupation, business, or office.

Can't wait!

Britain has almost as many types of native stone as it has local traditional cheeses! Have you visited Beer Quarry Caves in Devon? If you ever do, make sure you take a fleece, it is extremely cold down there. Infact I developed a really bad headache and stiff neck which fortunately miraculously disappeared once I was back outside in the heat of the day. An ideal place to visit in the midday sun, when only mad dogs and Englishmen will go out.

Local Beer stone was used in the building of many famous buildings and monuments such as Exeter and St Paul's Cathedral, parts of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle.

The photo above shows just one of many carvings made by quarrymen, young and old, who spent long, tedious hours working each and every day in the most appauling conditions. Cold, damp, dark, and the only light being provided by odorous tallow candles. With wages poor, many of these men and their families would resort to smuggling just to make ends meet. With interesting and informative commentary from the tour guide, a local resident of Beer, much of what he said really hit home the fact how easy life really is nowadays.

Our next stop was at the properties of the National Trust, which nestle in the really pretty village of Branscombe, a mile or so from Beer.

The Old Bakery, with open fires and old baking equipment, which is now a teashop. We resisted!

The Forge, the only thatched one surviving in England, which sells locally made iron goods.

You can park the car in the village and take a short walk over land owned by the National Trust to the beach, where if you want to drive down there is a carpark, a souvenir/beachware shop, and a restaurant/coffee shop where we sat for a while with each other, and a cappuchino for company. A pair of swifts distracted us by going in and out of their nest, a residence most tastefully chosen under the eaves of the thatch. We also watched sparrows enjoying leftover crumbs.

We then spent about an hour relaxing on the beach, which was long enough in the heat of the day.

Walking back, we stopped off at the recently restored Manor Mill, which is now back in full working order.

Another very well informed tour guide told us the history of the mill. The grain used for demonstration purposes is provided by a local farmer, but unfortunately because of regulations set by the Foods Standards Agency, the flour produced can only be used as cattle feed. A great shame as it would have made a very tasty loaf!

On the journey back we stopped off at a working farm which just happened to have a tearooms and garden, where I gave into tempation and had the obligatory cream tea, a Devonshire one on this occasion. If you don't already know, this consists of two warm scones topped with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and a pot of tea served with milk.

I just cannot return home from the West Country without having one, and am all for keeping the tradition going!


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the pearl of dorset ...

Lyme Regis, fit for a king, and Jane Austin! She spent a considerable time in Lyme Regis in the first years of the 19th century, and a plaque marks her residence.

A view of the famous stone Cobb, an ancient harbour wall which has sheltered seafarers for centuries and has long inspired artists, and writers like Jane Austen. Scenes from Persuasion and Northanger Abbey are set in the area, and the opening scene from the film The French Lieutenant's Woman, based on the novel by John Fowles, was shot here too.

Overlooking Lyme Bay, from beautiful public gardens created a few years back, and since our last visit has greatly matured. An ideal place to sit, or stand, to take in views of Lyme Regis.

The town is a mosaic of narrow, windy streets rising steeply up from the sea.

As someone who takes photos just for pleasure, I was pleased with the photo used in my last post, (a postcard from Worthing), of how perfect it looks (positioning, colour etc), in an amateur's eyes anyway. In this photo no manipulation was used at all, and it got me thinking, and later tinkering with recent holidays snapshots.

With many packages available nowadays for manipulating photos, often one touch of a button, and thinking back to another post of mine of snaps taken by family of Port Isaac in Cornwall back in the '50s, I decided to save a few snaps in black and white.

Does black and white photography offer a more creative view to the world? Do you prefer black and white to colour? Please leave a vote in my July poll?

Back to colour. Bunting in monochrome just don't look quite the same!