- Heavy, heavy rain
- Hereford Stones
- Rockin’ Pigeon
- Four Ships
- Ferry, and Warning
- A Hengistbury Variety
- Cars and Pumpkins
- The ‘Waitrose’ Horses
- Beautiful Car Park
- Good Work, Councillor Hilliard
- A Very Friendly Cat
- Now For a Dog
- A Video From Yesterday
- Even More Surfing
- Additional Surfing
- Two Sad, One Pleasing
- Smoothing the Path
- Just Enjoy It
Tonight will be an interesting and possibly controversial one – after the defeat of the BCP Council Leader, Vikki Slade a few weeks ago, there is an election for a new Leader tonight.
To ease your understandable anxiety, therefore, there are a few light-hearted pictures taken today. They mainly involve our feathered friends, though there is a rather worrying gentleman who has a lamp-post growing from his head!
Best wishes to everyone for a happy October.
In the series below I would have preferred to get closer, but I was concerned that the swan might peck the lens, causing irreparable damage. It might only have been a friendly peck, of course, but the effect would still have been disastrous!
Click for larger here. Despite the fluttering and hullabaloo, I felt safer with these: They were only interested in the food.
I Asked For it!
This morning the rain was torrential and my morning was not pleasant. After leaving Highcliffe Medical Centre after my ‘flu jab, ouch (joke – it didn’t hurt at all!), I decided to venture down the road to see the flooding. It was impressive. Of course, Rothesay Drive is guaranteed a flood, and I was not disappointed. Click below for much larger images (remember View Full Size, bottom right when you’re in the gallery).
So, having photographed this from a safe distance, I foolishly decided to stand next to the road. Ah well, sometimes you have to suffer for your art. I was drenched when one motorist sped past, though I was a little distance away from the road. It was a nice surprise, though, when he actually drove back and stopped to apologise! He hadn’t spotted me until it was too late, and driving through that deluge I was not surprised.
Stones from Herefordshire
As it has been a day of more persistent, though perhaps less heavy, rain today, here are some images taken on October 1. As I was passing the War Memorial near to Christchurch Town Quay I stopped for a closer look and saw, perched on top, the stone shown in the gallery below. A lady I spoke to said that there were others around Christchurch, but I admit that I have not seen them, so I will keep looking.
This stone had been painted, and there was writing on all sides: it was from Hereford Cathedral School. The first picture was taken on the Memorial, but I then had to remove it to photograph the other sides, as it would not balance. Don’t worry – I did replace it afterwards!
Click to go through the slideshow below. I have not set it to auto-scroll, so that you have time to read them.
On the right is a link to something about them on the Hereford Cathedral School website. Click to go to that site, which opens in a new window.
Finally, to give some context to the stones above, it had stopped raining today, 5 October (hooray, though it has started again now!), so I photographed the complete war memorial. Click below for a larger image, back to return. It really is a pleasant spot, with Town Quay just yards away.
Call it poetic licence, but it seemed appropriate to the subject; apologies to any robins which may be reading!
The other day I had tried to get a photo of a pigeon perched on a man’s hand. Sadly, it failed, so imagine my delight when this morning the said birds (different ones presumably) had chosen to completely trust an onlooker. Call it cupboard love, but they genuinely seemed to be relaxed – or perhaps they were just very hungry. The picture below gives a general idea of the scene. The lady was as impressed as I, and the nice man was kind enough to put up with these budding Beatons clicking away!
And now two pictures of the nice man with the equally nice pigeons. Click to view the gallery for a much larger image, and remember View Full Size (bottom right of each image). Very large versions (around 6Mb) are on SmugMug. These open in a new window: Click for the left-hand one, see the right-hand one.
Then came a great surprise – The Christchurch Health Walks have returned. This was in Saxon Square, about to set off.
Finally, on the way back to the car I saw some cows strangely grouped near the Stony Lane roundabout. I do not know why they were so close together, though the ground was quite wet and it was fairly windy. Notice that the gentleman cow (for I assume that is what he is) is sitting down with his harem around him!
Then I turned to move on, and guess what? An even more interesting bird than a pigeon (sorry, pigeons) was in the field? An egret. The flooded field is evidence of the rain we have had recently.
I Saw Four Ships
The heading here does perhaps lack authenticity, for there is one more ship than the three of the famous song, and these were definitely not sailing, unlike those in the song. However, this update from yesterday shows four of the cruise ships anchored because of Covid. Goodness knows when they will be able to sail once more. Regrettably I am unable to identify the ships, even a pair of binoculars yielded no certainty. The pictures are below.
Finally, a slideshow of the ships. No larger images available here.
My Technical Difficulty
I am trying a new program I bought some months ago – Capture 1. Literally millions of people recommend it, but it has a steep learning curve, so today’s is a very brief update. I had previously stuck with good old Lightroom, but so many have been recommending Capture 1 that it has to be done.
So this is a very brief update. This morning on impulse, while on Mudeford Quay, I decided to go across to Hengistbury Head on the ferry. The picture below was rapidly prepared on Capture 1. This young man is undoing the rope at the end of the walkway on the Head to allow the return passengers, of which I was one, to board for the journey.
Then, walking back to the car I saw this new warning sign aimed at inconsiderate or simply frustrated motorists. You may remember the summer queues!
The aim of this journey was to obtain more material for another video (don’t hold your breath!), this time about ways of moving on the water – boat, ship, paddle board, and so on.
Now That Is What I Call Photography!
No, I don’t mean me! Today being sunny again, I decided to go once more to Hengistbury Head, to re-take the pictures of the ships. They were decidedly uninspiring the other day, so I took them, without great hope, and moved on from Southbourne towards the summit of the Head.
Almost at the start of the walk I spotted today’s first example of exercise. This was followed a few minutes later by the second example, considerably more energetic. A reminder of this activity appeared at the very end – see later in this update.
Now we get to the photography. I all too rarely venture away from the paths and easily-accessible viewpoints, but this photographer was scrambling over rocks, together with model. Now that is what I call a real photographer. Click for a larger image (remember View Full Size, bottom right of each picture in the gallery), go to SmugMug for (relatively) massive.
As I walked I had been intrigued to see a small marquee and flags in the distance. A couple of hours later I discovered they were actually near the cafe, and it was the end of a run.
As you can see, there was careful social distancing. It was the Race to the Sea ultra-marathon and the runners had set off in groups. So there was no thrilling sprint and jostle to the finish, but I was lucky to arrive just as the winner of the men’s and ladies’ competition got home. See the gallery below, and much larger versions are available on SmugMug.
Notice that the two finishers here looked both happy and hardly out of breath. As you can see, they did take anti-virus protection seriously. These may not be the winners of the whole race, as they were started in staggered groups.
Cars and Pumpkins
Today the Pick Your Own farm was very busy in the beautiful weather. The car park was packed and there were people queuing to get in. Fortunately I had parked a little way away, so I was able to walk straight in after a brief but pleasant chat with Nigel, who was one of the friendly ‘guards’ at the entrance.
There is a much higher resolution one here, for Nigel’s benefit! This one opens in a new window.
So, here are two general views. Again, click for larger. Remember View Full Size at the bottom right of each image. These do open in a new window.
As you would expect, it was a real family occasion, the kind of day you remember when you are much older and telling your grandchildren how great things were in the old days!
Of course, today was not just about pumpkins, it was a chance to admire some fantastic cars, and even get hints about their purchase, though I am sure those below are not entirely true!!
Finally, some actual cars. Classic car shows have been regular events in the past. always drawing large crowds, but of course Covid has put paid to many of those. So there are only a few pictures of actual vehicles – many many more can be found if you scan through the Events Index.
It’s a Horse’s Life!
Today Christchurch was very quiet, and after a visit to M&S and the bookshop, I started the walk back to the car. As I passed the fields by the A35, on the other side of Waitrose car park, I saw two horses beneath a tree (you may know them, they always seem to be around there). They were standing in very muddy ground, and perhaps unsurprisingly looked totally miserable.
So I decided to get a photograph and walked down the entrance to the fields. Fortunately they did not stay there, they galloped at high-ish speed towards me, looking excitedly for something to break the monotony, so they posed for photographs! It was good to know that I was possibly the most exciting thing that happened to them that day.
7pm: No apology! I was quite pleased with the horse pictures from this morning, so here is another one (below). Go to SmugMug for three really big ones, too.
There have been a few problems with crashes on updating the website in recent days, so this morning I telephoned the host and they have moved it to a new server. They said it would take a couple of hours, so what better to do with that time than have a walk along the prom at Highcliffe?
It was worth it, though sadly I didn’t have a posh camera with me. I was surprised to see five ships visible from the beach, perhaps even more clearly than at Hengistbury Head, and one of the ships has been used as the new header on the home page. That is below. The ship looks enormous, though actually it is one of the smaller ones.
Then I stopped looking at the ships and turned round:
Beautiful Car Park!
Yes, really. On a visit to Christchurch this morning I walked through the Pit Site Car Park and was impressed by the light on the trees – it really was glorious. The picture below was taken with a mobile phone, so it gives an idea and does not do it full justice. No larger version available.
It’s Not Just Dull Meetings!
Well done, Councillor Hilliard. On my way home from Sainsbury’s, Councillor Paul Hilliard was approaching. He was fully equipped with a high-vis jacket, a rubbish bag and a litter-picker. This is not, of course, his official role: he even had to inscribe the jacket himself. He was doing this as part of the community, and while he was going about his business. It is not only useful, but great exercise and a chance to enjoy the sunny chill of a bright October morning.
A Friendly Moggy
As today has been rather busy, and the website is now functioning on its new host – it was remarkably quick to update – today’s is only a very simple update (there is also lots of football on later!). As I was returning from the Quay this morning I spotted the friendliest cat ever on a driveway. I went to it (it was a long driveway) and it was very fussy. Here it is looking up at me, claws safely sheathed, its head just about to nuzzle up to my camera bag (bottom left). Click for a larger image below (back to return), or to to view a very large one on SmugMug. Warning – it is a large image, so may take some seconds to load properly.
Two days ago it was a cat, and this morning I was walking around the old golf course near Two Riversmeet and an exceptionally lively and excitable dog raced past with its owner. It veered right to the fallen tree-trunk on the mound, ascended it and stood there, like the Hound of the Baskervilles, monarch of all. Of course a photographer like Cartier-Bresson would have taken it straight away with his mechanical Leica, but by the time my camera had come to life, the ‘decisive moment’ had gone, and so this picture is a poor substitute. Ah well …
In case you had not have heard of it, the Decisive Moment was used by Cartier-Bresson as the title of his – and European photography’s – most famous book, published in America in 1952. This is what HCB meant by the term:
Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression.
In fact, since then there has been discussion about whether some of his pictures had elements manipulated in some way, though I am sure that most of them weren’t. As he was one of the four founders of the famous Magnum Photo Agency, I have decided against breaching their copyright. Instead, click on the very tiny image here to see a website of some of them. and there is a video showing some of his most famous photos. This link opens in a new window.
As you could see, above, unlike Henri I definitely missed the decisive moment!
A Day Late
Yesterday I very quickly produced a short video of the windy conditions and predicted high tide at Christchurch and Mudeford. The video has now been improved, and some music added – a Chopin Prelude.
So the old video, and links to it, have now been removed. Here his the final, still imperfect, version:
Hardy, Brave Souls!
If you looked out of the window this morning – as I am sure virtually everyone does! – or have even ventured outside, you will be aware the it is very windy and very blustery. A good day for staying in and watching the football?
Definitely not for the people below. A ten minute drive to Mudeford Quay and Avon Beach revealed s profusion of surfers. This was literally the first picture taken, and you couldn’t go wrong. Click below for a larger version, or here for a really big one in a new window.
Here are four more, in a gallery. The first two are part of a sequence, but I have not published the rest, as they are all similar – though still very impressive on the board – he did land safety. Click for larger (remember view full size, bottom right of each image) and even bigger versions (around 6Mb) of all of them are on SmugMug.
It Was Brilliant Yesterday …
…though I didn’t think so, and many others did not, either. However, on the way from Mudeford Beach today, after taking more pictures of the surfing, I chatted to some intrepid gentlemen preparing to surf. I remarked that there were fewer in the sea today, though the conditions today were ‘nicer,’ and was met with the comment in the title above. Apparently yesterday the conditions were perfect for surfing. It was not just surfing, though: there were two ladies with a bucket, collecting for the lifeboats, and as I turned the corner to head up Bure Lane there was a stall fundraising for the Macmillan charity. Usually I would ask collectors and supporters to pose with their buckets or tins, but in view of the virus I just snapped them as I passed.
More pictures of the water sports today. Click for much bigger (remember view full size), and massive copies are once more available on SmugMug. Remember that the latter ones will appear blocky at first. They are sharp, but may take up to a minute to load properly, as each is around 7Mb in size. A new page will be created tomorrow giving information about the use of SmugMug – I do wish it was called something else, but apart from that it is excellent.
Bikes, and Two Old Friends
Today it was a long walk around Burton, the opportunity not to be missed as the weather forecast is not a good one.
I know that you have seen a profusion of Beryl Bikes, they are now a common sight which hardly merit a second look. Obviously very popular, I asked a young lady who was wheeling hers over a footbridge, what they were like to ride. ‘Brilliant,’ she said, ‘I live in a flat and can’t keep a bike there, so these are perfect.’ There is a hint of their popularity in the picture below, on the way to Burton. One parked, and another just a hundred yards away (that tiny shiny thing in the background). Click for a larger version, back to return.
A little further on, the famous teddy was still on the signpost. The weather has been wet and dreary recently, so it is not surprising that he looks rather bedraggled. Sorry about the furniture can in the background: it was parked, so I couldn’t avoid it!
Finally, you may remember the bedraggled horses near Waitrose -see 12 October, above. They were there again, looking if anything even more fed up than they were before. In each case, click for larger.
Working Already, Despite the Weather
They had started at 8am, and as I glanced through my window, I saw some workmen (yes, they were men, not persons!) taking up the pavement to level it. This has been needed in Highcliffe for a long time.
It is interesting to watch them. The workmen are levelling the bed (technical term, impressive I think!) and carefully cleaning each stone. You sometimes see grumbles about road works, where the workers don’t seem to be doing very much, or there are very few of them. Well, there are five here, and they have been working solidly. No tea break for them for now, though I suppose the heavy rain might have made it too watery even before the cup reached their lips!
Being an intrepid soul, having arrived at Sainsbury’s the rain seemed reluctant to persist, so I decided to go for a long walk. Along the footpath (Watery Lane) by Sainsbury’s, then Ambury Lane – the ford is flowing now, it has been dry for weeks, and the potholes have returned, full of water.
Then, with still no signs of serious rain, it was foolishly up Hawthorn Road. All fine until the junction with Summers Lane, when the downpour started, and I mean a downpour. I sheltered, as well as I could, near a tree, and then noticed a couple sheltering near a bigger tree a few yards away. Every storm cloud has a silver lining, so I joined them and enjoyed a very wet chat for ten minutes or so. Then it started to ease and we said our goodbyes and set off home. The two pictures in the slideshow show my new friends during the downpour, then rushing off home shortly afterwards in fantastic sunshine. Ah, the English weather!
Apologies for the unsharpness in the first picture, the rain was so heavy I rushed it to keep the camera dry! No bigger versions of these photos available.
10.15pm: Very impressive. It is now after 10pm, and the hairdresser’s opposite has been cleaning and spraying all evening. This happens regularly, so well done to them.
Any Port in a Storm
Not actually a storm, but damp and miserable, though considerably better than yesterday! Some people were determined to enjoy it. I presume those dressed in waterproofs and having a drink on the Quay were holidaymakers. Come on, we’ve all done it!