Tag Archives: Featured

Red Sky At Night….

Shepherd’s delight!

Red sky in the morning……shepherd’s warning’!

Over the past year we’ve had time to contemplate Nature in all her glory and a beautiful sunset is a sight to behold.

This is a view from my bedroom window – the sky is ablaze – awesome in the truest sense of the word.

I have been on holidays where people have gathered to applaud the sunset – in South Africa on a huge veranda overhanging a river with hippos wallowing in the water below, in Menorca where there is a bar hewn out of some rocks on the coast where you can enjoy a cocktail while you gaze out to sea and watch that golden orb sink below the horizon or in places like Norway where in November sunrise and sunset create a surreal pink glow across the snow on the mountains at 11 o’clock in the morning and 3 in the afternoon – which gives you a very small window of daylight to get your shopping done!

But the sun can be a menacing force – this is Rio – at 8.30 in the morning! already sweltering at 28 degrees

I preferred the clear cold skies over the Andes or the towns in Chile, even with their mad arrangement of electricity cables!

The UK’s climate is fast becoming more extreme but for now we can still enjoy its gentler presence and more muted skies

although they are not without their drama

Let’s hope we will soon have something to lift our spirits and that the Covid pandemic will soon be a thing of the past

Through the Looking Glass

Or to paraphrase Lewis Carroll, ‘Looking Though the Glass’ !

I was delighted to see the other evening while enjoying my glass of Tío Pepe – other dry sherries are available! –  that the image of the tv screen beyond was inverted in the liquid in the glass, with some  interesting results (all to do with how light is refracted through glass – vague recollections are coming back to me from school about refraction and wavelengths and prisms) but, being more of an artist than a scientist,  I am more interested in the effect than the cause!

I wasn’t expecting to see these images and they were whizzing past on different tv programmes so I captured a few on the spur of the moment with my phone – next time I will set this experiment up  properly  – it’s good to have a few indoor photography assignments  up your sleeve as the cold weather approaches! and there are a few ways to improve these shots. Here are some of my favourites from this first impromptu experiment.




Wonky West Country

We have just returned from four rainy days in Cornwall and Devon from St.Austell on the bottom coast to Lynmouth on the top coast. The Eden Project was our main objective. Of course, these days it has little to do with sustaining life on Mars – it’s a tourist attraction, albeit with a message but, that said, it was still interesting. Whoever thought of naming the car parks after fruit had a brainwave! – you’re not going to forget you parked in Lime Parking Zone, are you?

These pictures were taken in October – it was a fairly dank and dismal day but on the plus side there was not the crush of visitors that they must get at the height of summer. We went for a wander outside first while the rain was still only drizzle. The grounds are full of interest: mock ups of mines

Cornish tin mine

bee hives with glass panels so you can see them hard at work

wacky large scale sculptures

Eden Project sculpture

metallic commemorative leaves

and at this time of year a superb display of colourful gourds all ready for Hallowe’en celebrations.

And then you come to the biomes themselves, nestled into the landscape like giant hexagon sided bubbles. Up close you realise the challenge they would have posed for their creators: they must cope, on the outside, with the onslaught from wind and rain, and, inside, maintain the correct temperature and levels of humidity to sustain the incredible range of plants and vegetation and the bird and insect life within their strange translucent ‘domes’. To create the right curvature, there are a few pentagons in amongst the hexagons and each section has a double skin – all very technical!

The building in the foreground is the temporary ice rink which is set up every autumn

It was our intention to do a bit of cycling in Cornwall and Devon and my son did just that. I chickened out of most of it because, especially near the coast Cornwall and Devon are far too hilly for me!! My son cycled from St.Austell, where we stayed for the first two nights, to the Eden Project, and although the short distance between them would imply that it’s not an arduous ride, the hills tell a different story!! The west Country doesn’t appear to have any flat surfaces or straight walls or level roads! It is wonky!

Supper on our first night was delicious, but then you would expect a bowl of moules mariniere and a sea food platter to come up to scratch on the coast!

We travelled north on day three through Bodmin and Bude, where we stopped for a coffee (and a scone – although we ended up with an almond croissant!) We ventured out into the rain to stretch our legs and walked past a big Adventure centre situated down towards the sea. By this time we were being blown off our feet by the wind and were astounded to see a group of tiny children in crash helmets and wet weather gear, standing under dangling ropes and tyres and looking aghast at what they were being expected to do – yes! assault the assault course!!

En route to Lynmouth, our final stopover, we had lunch at the Pig on the Hill in Westward Ho! (drawn probably by the place names as much as anything!) This was our view out of the window!

But i was fortified by the soup

and we were both fortified by the skinny chips! I wasn’t. however, too keen on the sign they had chosen for the ladies’ toilets!

I know! I know! It was a pig-themed restaurant, but you can take things too far!!

We arrived in Lynton, the ‘upstairs’ part of Lynmouth – and it was all very picturesque. And even hillier than St.Austell. Despite this, we decided to go for a spin on the bikes as far as the beginning of the cliff path – just to blow the cobwebs away. And then we came to our senses, put the bikes away, unloaded the car, had a shower and went out on foot to explore instead.

The lane leading from Lynton onto the cliff walk
The funicular which runs from Lynmouth to Lynton
Beautiful sea views from the cliff path
Cliff path leading to the Valley of the Rocks

That white speck is a goat – we saw a number of them along the cliff path. Difficult to appreciate here but that is quite a vertiginous drop down!
River Lyn
Lane from Lynton to coastal path
‘ I see no ships ….!’
Even the trees aren’t straight here!
Valley of the Rocks
Interesting rock formations in the Valley of the Rocks

The vertical stone walls – a work of art in themselves
Trees, stone walls and moss – a combination to inspire fairy tales
Time to go in search of dinner

We went in search of dinner – which turned out to necessitate a walk down through about 4 ridiculously steep hairpin bends and across the bridge where the River Lyn crashes thunderously down towards the sea and into the little town of Lynmouth (well, more of a settlement). I could feel the tendons and ligaments in my legs stretching to snapping point and wondered when they were actually going to snap! We gathered momentum just from our body weight and were in danger of going headlong down this 1 in 4 hill like a couple of bowling balls. There were escape routes for cars at regular intervals on the way down in several different languages – so they have clearly had the odd mishap in the past!!

We definitely felt as if we’d earned our supper that night! Even so we got a taxi home!