Photographs

A day late but I’m hoping my wifi connection lasts long enough to link up with Hawthorn Spellweaver’s Photo Scavenger Hunt!

1. The setting sun. Harvey and Riley are somewhere in the foreground of this photo I took on an evening walk in the field behind the caravan site; totally oblivious to the beauty but not to the wildlife smells.

2. Local wild place. This private lake in a hidden location in a village I used to live in really does feel like a local wild place. Home to all kinds of wildlife, I’d love to set up a night camera here.

3. Mug of your favourite drink in the garden. Well not quite the garden but as close as I can get at the moment. It’s a tin mug of Rooibos which I’m very glad I discovered when I wasn’t well and felt I should cut down on the caffeine. The first cup tasted awful but I stuck with it and now I prefer it to normal tea.

4. My kind of beautiful. Always coastlines.

5. Look to the skies. One of the small pleasures of caravanning in a woodland setting is being able to open the skylight windows and see this view. Weather permitting of course!

6. Mini beasts. Beautiful close up but I really don’t like them in the house. Or anything that flutters really.

7. Rain. Something you get used to when you live in the UK. I never mind rain as long as I’m cosy indoors (with crochet).

8. Something summery. Sussex strawberries on Bexhill beach during that recent heatwave.

9. Urban wilderness. I always think of this phrase when we are driving somewhere at the crack of dawn and there’s little traffic on the roads and somehow you notice the infrastructure so much more and particularly how ugly it all is. That’s more than likely what I was thinking when I took this photo on the way to some random city earlier in the year.

10. My own choice. The same beach as no. 8 but definitely somewhere I’d choose to be a lot more often if I still lived along this piece of coast. I’m really hoping for a family holiday there before University begins for E and A Levels begin for J.
http://livelovecraftme.blogspot.co.uk/2017/06/junes-scavenger-hunt-link-up-party.html

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Sussex

My trusty vintage suitcase has barely been left unpacked lately. I tagged along on a business trip to one of the courts in the South this week. I’m pretty sure M wouldn’t normally travel a few hundred miles for work if it wasn’t the place I come from. The journey down was hot and stressful due to delays and a need to be there at a certain time. We’d left two and a half hours contingency and still only made it with twelve minutes to spare. Needless to say M did not worry in silence.

I spent a few hours in Lewes browsing junk/antique and charity shops with several breaks for cold drinks or coffee. It was over thirty degrees and not even a whiff of a breeze. A fair trade shop owner was offering cold water which was a very thoughtful touch. There were dog bowls outside a lot of places too. H and R were no doubt laying sprawled out on our hall tiles at the time.

On our way to stay with my Uncle and Aunt we stopped over at Eastbourne because M said he wanted to experience a traditional promenade stroll. I totally took these for granted when I was younger. The well kept flower beds and the architecture didn’t really occupy my thoughts at all back then. Now of course I look at the four storey Victorian buildings and realise they are the essence of this stretch of coast.

We did a slow walk to the end of the pier and back too. The water looked impressively blue and inviting. Seafood seemed like the thing to have here so we found a local restaurant and had a bite to eat, sitting outside at 8pm at night in a T shirt! Go Britain! On our drive along to Bexhill I had the strong sense of going back in time (we lived a bit further along the coast). Sometimes I feel sad I don’t live here anymore and sometimes I’m just happy to be visiting. It’s when I come back to Lincolnshire that I feel absolutely no joy or connection whatsoever.

It was nice to spend some time with family but also great to carve out a bit of time to be child, dog and husband free for half a day. This is becoming very rare now! I picked up a secondhand paperback, sandwich, strawberries and a much needed straw hat from one of the cheap beach shops and headed to the beach. Had I known it was going to be so ridiculously hot I think I would have packed a towel and costume too. I was rather envious of those who were cooling off in the sea. A seagull took a little bit too much interest in my strawberries. He kept sidling closer and closer and I’m not a fan of anything with a beak since an incident with a black swan when I was small. I told him, in a soft voice, no I don’t think I really want to share these (lest anyone should hear me talking to a bird and think I was slightly odd). He just shuffled over a bit closer and looked out to sea as if just casually keeping me company. Against my better judgement I did eventually give him my last strawberry, he tossed it a few times and then gulp, it was gone and so was he. Thank goodness. Off to find some tasty chips no doubt.

From the beach it is walking distance to see my Grandad. He was doing a good job of keeping his place as cool as possible by letting the breeze in through the door, keeping the sunny side curtains closed and using a small fan. It was a welcome respite from the heat. His patio thermometer read 50 degrees! A sun trap he couldn’t possibly sit out in this week at least.

Strangely we hardly ever walk down to our village pub for a drink because M would be forever chatting to people I don’t really know. It was enjoyable to walk to and from a pub one evening, sit in the beer garden and have an ice cold gin and tonic. We also had an Italian meal at Sovereign Harbour one evening too which felt very civilised. Later M conceded that maybe the South wasn’t so bad after all. I think it’s gradually winning him over.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about ‘dreams’, as in those which seem impossible to achieve. I’ve come to realise that I need to define what my dream actually is rather than having a random selection. Location will no doubt have a part to play and it is possible that compromise will too.

For now though, home is this flat county and I must make the most of things. I’m not sure how we will make progress with the teardrop trailer that would allow me to tow it to the Lincolnshire coast since we have sited our caravan somewhere for twelve weeks. Still, all good things come to those who wait and I am prepared to wait. The caravan might not be a rustic wooden cabin in the forest but it’s not a bad substitute. We really didn’t use it enough to justify having it last year so this year we will be making up for that. The dogs are already getting used to the idea. They seem to settle down quickly for the journey and know exactly where the meadow is when we get there, not to mention Riley has a favourite half of the seating area and Harvey likes to be where he can see anyone walking by, just like home!

Wales

A quick look at my photography locations facility on iPad tells me that I have taken similar photos of the highest motorway in England before. No doubt I’ve already mentioned that little fact here too. I find it fascinating. One minute you are gazing out at horrible factories and industrial chimneys and the next you have beautiful snow capped hills. There’s a little farm that is wedged between north and south bound lanes somewhere round about here too. I’m not sure of the story but it looks a lot like they refused to be bought out when they built the motorway. I can only imagine what the pollution levels must be like for them and their livestock.

Anyway, it’s a great stretch of motorway for woolgathering (daydreaming) which I found myself trying hard to do with M’s relentless running commentary about other drivers invading my thoughts. I did politely suggest he refrain but alas that only served to provoke more of the same. Music worked in the end, though it’s always a toss up between the driving rants and M singing along to Cat Stevens, I’m not sure which is worse.

Colwyn Bay was a pleasant surprise, a whole lot of perfectly preserved Victorian architecture. Just look at that WHSmith architectural canopy! So wonderful that it hadn’t been pulled down and modernised at any stage. It’s even got stained glass portraits of WHSmith and Son (presumably!) on one side and literary greats on the other. It was foul weather the half day I spent here. After battling the wind and rain along the coast towards Rhos I had to admit defeat and head back to the hotel for tea and towels.

Luckily M finished work in good time and we headed off to Llandudno. After salty chips from a paper cone and a reassurance that the four mile marine drive wasn’t high up at all (the fish and chip shop man lied) we set off for the scenic ride. I can imagine this is even more stunning in the middle of summer and I’d love to do it on foot one day but with only one afternoon at our disposal we had to make the best of it. We stopped half way to take photo’s; you can see the road we’ve taken. Even though there is no chance of surviving the car going through the low stone wall and over the edge it’s very unlikely to happen accidentally and it helped enormously that it was all one way, unlike in Italy where you just want to hug the solid rock side of the road and not the tiny little inadequate wall with the sheer drop the other side.

The Station in Colwyn Bay was in a good spot for us. Lovely people and good food and it had sympathetically retained its railway station architecture. Even though the children are teenagers now it always feels like such a novelty to be sitting in a pub on our own. M inevitably messages them both to make sure everything is ok even when they have grandparents spoiling them in our absence. He readily admits he doesn’t ever want them to leave home whereas I just view it as an inevitable next stage of parenting. It’s been a shorter journey, by eight years, for M so I can understand where he’s coming from. Somewhere along my parenting journey I really lost a sense of who I had been, who I was now, and who I wanted to be. Not in a dramatic way, just in those few times I actually stopped to think in those full on years with small children. Mentally, these days, I seem to be preparing myself for regaining that sense of self, aiming for a healthy balance.

These coastal views and the sea air really were chicken soup for the soul. Just what I needed after two months of bedroom diy, the disappointment of not travelling south to my home territory and awful coughs and colds (these are ongoing!). It was short but sweet. On the way home today we stopped at a small town called Abergele, at a tiny little wool shop called Snowdonia Wool. I could have chatted all day to the wonderful owner who was very likeminded about British Wool and ‘wool miles’. I’ve added to my yarn stash considerably but I don’t feel at all guilty. It’s my main passion or hobby and we really don’t have much in the way of local places where you can ‘squidge’ good quality British yarn before you buy it. I’ll take some photos of my new supplies soon.

(There are a couple of short videos clips of the Llandudno coastal drive on my instagram feed.)