Saturday, 22 February 2014

Sojourn on the Severn

Working on the premise that if it's not raining, you need to get out quick because it will be soon, we headed for Severn Beach this morning.  Which - if you haven't been there - isn't exactly palm trees and cocktails (despite the t-shirt).  


It was, however, looking its best in bright sun and with lots of turbid water rather than mud flats (although I think they're beautiful too, if not to everyone's taste.)



In olden times we were taught that the Severn Estuary had the second highest tidal range in the world after the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia. These days it's more often described as having one of the highest and I have seen mention of Ungava Bay as being higher, which does seem a bit greedy of Canada.  Whatever, it's a powerhouse and quite intimidating up close ... 

... and I still find it staggering that Dru and poet Jo Bell travelled up it in a pair of narrowboats.



Beyond the new bridge, the rocks were splotched with lichen that looked as if it should be on a pair of dodgy 1970s curtains.
We soon reached New Passage, where - a local story goes - Prince Rupert was chased over the river during the civil war, and the Methodist hymn writer Charles Wesley nearly died in 1743 when the ferry he was travelling on foundered in  a storm.

Beyond New Passage lies Northwick Warth saltmarsh, haven to birds, and up ahead, the ethereal grace of the old Severn bridge.  









Back by the new bridge it was clear that the tide had already receded a fair bit ...  



... the mud so deeply carved, it was hard to tell it from rock in places.  

I ventured out to get this shot of both bridges ... 
... while Ted barked me back to the bank. (He likes his herd together.)












Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Another Inking Bitterns business trip to Somerset.  As we whizzed through Glastonbury, we noticed, alongside the hippy paraphernalia, a profusion of green wellies, Barbours and umbrellas.  Maybe this is why.


This the view south from Walton Hill, just outside Street. 




Glastonbury Tor in sunshine

Looking west towards Brent Knoll  
We ventured as far as Somerton.  On the return journey, Nythe Road from High Ham to Pedwell Hill was all but under water.  So strange to see, up close, the fields turned to seas.  Through the car windows the ripples on the water seemed almost to have frozen, as if they were shifting in a different time.  

At Shapwick we popped into the church but it had been restored to within an inch of its life and lacked quirk or much of interest at all.  Outside in the lanes there were rainbows.  
At Westhay Dru popped into the Peat Moors Visitor Centre.  The staff mentioned how quiet it had been there lately.  I suppose it's because it's difficult to work out, simply from watching the news on telly, which parts of the Levels are navigable and which aren't.  

We diverted to Meare, which stands on the site of pre-historic lake dwellings.  This is the 14th century Fish House, which was where the Abbey fishermen lived and worked.  
Sharp-eyed Dru spotted the towers of Wells Cathedral nestled in a cleft in the hills.   
There was another rainbow arcing over the flood ... 
... but that's not much cop when it's still raining.
We stopped at the signpost on Mudgley Hill, outside Wedmore. Last October, it looked like this. 
Now it's somewhat wetter.   
One last stop on Dundry Common, with its grand view over Bristol that includes both Severn bridges and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. Then home, thankfully, to the warm and dry. 


(Can't spot the bridges?  Here they are.) 





  








Friday, 14 February 2014

Glass Workshop in Holt


Cathy and I braved the storms and floodwater to go to Holt a couple of days ago for a glass workshop with Jan Lane, who is more usually pottering about, and Helen Bousfield, who plays bass, flute and concertina with The Orient Express.  It was so good to be cosied up in Helen's kitchen while the wind marauded around outside.




  














I still have two firings of my little kiln to go before all the things we made are finished, but here's some evidence of the day's creativity.

These two lovely pieces are awaiting firing.






 





  




Sunday, 9 February 2014

Photography and the Significant Loveliness Ratio

I have a new camera and it's a digital SLR!  (If you don't know what SLR stands for, it's Significant Loveliness Ratio.)  (And it isn't exactly new, it's new to me. But it kind of feels like an old friend already.)


Here is my first attempt at taking photo.  Somewhat out of focus.  Hmmm. Maybe Dru was a little too close.



Delia's looking grand, though.  


And Mr B has scrubbed up well.  


The next thing to do was to go up onto the Downs and try it out properly. Whereupon it rained.  


And hailed. 


And the car windows steamed up.



There was a brief respite - just long enough for an ice cream at the Sea Walls ...


... secure in the knowledge that I'll be forced to go on a jaunt very very soon to give it a proper try-out, eh, Ted?