A long weekend in Dorset, England

The Purbeck railway line transports the nostalgic voyager along the 12mile track through English countryside and past the magnificent Corfe Castle sitting high on its hill above its quaint village to the seaside town of Swanage. There, we took a tall ship out along the coast to witness, from the sea, Harry Rock and the white chalk cliffs that are so typical of the south coast. Returning, on the train, to the car park, the other half was thrilled to find a car park full of vintage racing Bugatti cars. An excellent first day.

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Purbeck railway train guards smartly dressed in their traditional uniforms
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Steam Train
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Tall ship in Swanage Harbour
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Sailing the high seas.

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White Chalk Cliffs
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Swanage from the sea.
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Memorial plates on Swanage pier.
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A whole car park full of Bugatti racing cars.

We stayed in a little farmhouse just up the road from Lulworth Cove from which, cliff top footpaths offered beautiful coastal panoramas to include the famous arched peninsula of Durdle Door.

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Durdle Door
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Lulworth Cove
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Sea Thrift
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East side of the Durdle Door peninsula

Of all the drama of this stretch of coast, one of the most bizarre things we saw in that small area was the grey stone beach, and therefore foreboding grey waters, but yet the multi-coloured seaweeds of Kimmeridge Bay.

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Grey stones made this bay feel very hostile.

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Yet, the multicoloured seaweeds were mesmerizing.
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Known as the Jurassic Coast, people love to collect fossils from this stretch of coastland.

Tyneham village, commandeered by the military as a strategic location during the war is still in the hands of the military and therefore the village and Worbarrow Bay are only accessible on certain designated days. We were lucky to see them.

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A whole village commandeered for military purposes during WWII
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Has become a tourist attraction

 

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Tyneham village remains
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Nice to see natural history was much more important in those days.
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Worbarrow Bay
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Incredible translucent colour which must be the chalk sea floor reflecting light.

We spend a pleasing day on the National Trust Brownsea Island. Pleasing firstly because it required 2 ferry rides to get there and secondly because there were no vehicles and few people about but mostly, because we saw a rare red squirrel. Red squirrels are indigenous however, they were virtually wiped out when the larger, more aggressive grey squirrel got introduced from Nth America in C19.

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The coastguard cottages at the entrance to the island
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Whole flocks of peacocks roaming free.
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My first red squirrel – and I should never have seen it if it hadn’t thrown an acorn at my head – haha.

The bridge at Wareham was very pretty

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Swan in bridge shadows
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Duck leaving bridge shadows
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Kayaks for hire.

And, after a thorough lovely few days, for the grand finale, which happens to be my favourite place ever, and happened to fall on my birthday… we visited Monkey World. We had been once before when the boys were young and I do try to catch the daily dramas on the TV series but there is nothing like spending time watching these apes and monkeys that have had such difficult lives – many rescued from the pet trade and some from the tourist trade. This place does a great job in giving them back some dignity and allowing as natural a life as they would ever be able to enjoy. They have an excellent breeding program with some of the rarest of species whose young can end up getting transported back to the wild. I think it’s a great cause.

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Gordon, born at the centre, has grown into a fine young man.
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Golden Cheek Gibbons mate for life. I love to hear their morning song.
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Many come to this sanctuary with psychological scars that will stay with them forever.

 

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Strategies to make feeding more stimulating
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One of the orang-utans from the nursery
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She has mothered 3 young and contributed to the breeding program for this species.
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Oshine was rescued from being a household pet where she was feed a diet of burgers and sweets. She has done much better than me on her healthy eating regime.
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Hastings Pier Wins the 2017 RIBA Stirling Architecture Prize for the Best Building in the UK

Wow, that’s quite an accolade for the structure that locals either love or hate, and regardless of opinion, colloquially call ‘the plank’. The 2017 RIBA Stirling architecture prize for best building is, according to some, excessive for a space in which there is ‘nothing to do’ and well deserved for others who love to promenade to the end and enjoy the huge void above the waves. Hopefully, these photos on, off and of the pier, taken over a period of time in the past couple of years, may prove this open space, that is adaptable for a range of events such as music, yoga and…. a car show room…., is well worthy of the prize.

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In extreme weather
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Hastings and Ore Photographic Club stall out at the Health and Hobbies fair
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These heraldic, colourful flags went up again this summer.
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Choir practice
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Car Sales Room. Really?
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The Plank
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I managed to get a photo in the camera obscura before it was blown across the pier and broken during Storm Brian
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Accessible for most.
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Sunsets from here
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Storm weather
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From the beach at low tide
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With sunset behind me.
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Simon Robert’s Pierdom exhibition
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reflections in glazing panels
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The community space
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Moon rising
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A cafe with a sunset
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Zombie Walk
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Yoga
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Yarn bomb decor
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Eating space on upper deck.
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Where the sun sets
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In the rain
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Dramatic location

 

 

 

 

 

Hastings’ Pier Health and Hobbies Fair

I surprised myself yesterday by having a thoroughly enjoyable day promoting the camera club at Hastings Pier Health and Hobbies Fair. DSC_9328We pitched out with a display of photos taken by club members and received a lot of interest and then, after lunch, things got quiet so I went for a walk and practised asking people if they wouldn’t mind having their photo taken – that’s quite hard for me but everyone was very nice.

I love these images as records of social history and a mindset that seems to be disappearing. I hope you enjoy them too.

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Wildflowers on Winchelsea Beach

Every summer, these wildflowers astound me with their ability to exist on…. nothing. Where do they get their nutrients from? All these photos were taken within a 1km stroll along the pebbles at Winchelsea Beach and the wildlife around them (butterflies, moths, bees…) was abundant.

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Thistle
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Viper’s buglos
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Teasle
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Ragwort
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Hawk’s beard?
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Wild Carrot?
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Thistle
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Viper’s bugloss
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Sea kale
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Rosebay Willowherb foregrounding the old Mary Stanford lifeboat station.
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Rosebay willowherb and sea kale framing Dungeness nuclear power station
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six spot burnet on viper’s bugloss
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Thistle seed head
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Teasle

 

Mayday 2017

Posts are pretty random at the moment as we have had a disjointed house move that saw us sell one without having secured another and therefore spending a couple of months in temporary accommodation. However, we have now completed the purchase on a new home and are expecting Open Reach to come and install our phone line and therefore our internet at the end of the week – we will have only had to wait nearly 4 weeks. Ggrrrrrrr!!!!!

Anyway, just because I have only been posting randomly from various open Wifi spots across town, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been out and about, taking photos.

This first set were taken at daybreak up at Lady’s Parlour near Hastings castle on the West Hill where some of the dancers, the bogeys and some members of the public gather to watch the sun come up and have a jolly good dance about.

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Then, from 10am, starting at the Fishermans’ Museum, the procession passes, loudly and joyously, through the narrow roads of the old town and back up the hill towards the castle where Morris Dancers from all around the world perform in some sort of Folk dance off before the Jack is slayed around 3pm.

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New Kit

After quite a few years of photographing with my trusty Nikon D5300, this week I took the plunge to spend some money (that I possibly shouldn’t have – but hey) on the new Nikon D500. I’ve been doing some live music photos and some sport and this camera is supposed to be excellent for high shutter rate and dealing with low light.

I’ve yet to test it in low light but today I tried it out on the kite surfers at St Mary’s Bay in Kent. The camera performed excellently… Now to bring the user up to speed 🙂

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