About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I am co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Putchers and Kypes on the Severn

There was a bit of joining up to do on our winter walk along the estuarine section of the Severn Way, so we headed for Littleton-on-Severn and Whale Wharf, where a couple of months ago I saw a Beluga (A300-600 Super Transporter). 

It was another brightish day, but this time much more spring-like.

This is the view down to the old Severn bridge ...

... and up to Cowhill Warth and Oldbury Nuclear Power Station.

We were headed for the old bridge - or at least as far as the tide would permit. Luckily, it was low. 

It was an uneventful walk. It helped that the flood defences weren't slippery, so I didn't do any falling over. 

We did come across this former railway wagon-come-salmon hut, now very decrepit. 

I did a bit of research about how the fish were caught when I got home. 

Here you might just be able to see wooden staves driven in to the river bed, to which were attached specially made baskets that trapped
the fish. And here are some others I saw earlier this month on the other side of the estuary at Goldcliff ...

... and some more on the farther side of the old bridge, at Aust. 

This type of fishing is called Putcher fishing after the type of baskets used. (Other baskets, called kypes, were used to catch shrimp and eels.)

There's some interesting information about the practice and its history here and here

We maundered on down towards the bridge ...

... and the start of the cliffs at Aust. 

The dog and his boy clambered up to a viewing point, while I sat and watched.

A heron was doing its best impression of a 2D bit of plastic from the garden centre. 

After our breather, we headed back.

Muddy dog

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A birthday trip to Devon

It was Son the Younger's birthday, so we decided to go to South Devon together for the first time since the loss of caravan rights. We parked by the old site in the village of Holcombe, which, instead of luxury park homes and lodges, is now advertising retirement homes.  

We got on with making the most of our day out and set about walking into Teignmouth.

It was misty, and there was an end-of-days feeling to the place.

The tide had done its usual scene-shifting and deposited a load of sand in unwonted places.

On the back beach we waited for the ferry.

Ted loves the ferry.

It was a bit too murky and chilly to eat outside, and it took us six attempts to find somewhere to eat in Shaldon that was a) not no longer a pub; b) open; c) not renovating its kitchens d) not completely full up in its dog-friendly areas (although completely empty in other
rooms); and e) not completely full up in its dog-friendly areas (although completely empty in other rooms) apart from some ridiculously high, bar-type tables and chairs which are completely inaccessible if you are disabled. 

But then we did, and it brightened up, and by the time we hit the Ness beach, it was almost sunny.

Even though it's the school holidays, the beach was pretty quiet. 

The busiest things were the inhabitants of rough cockles and common otter shells, marching up and down the tideline, which was fascinating and creepy all at once.

Devon in spring is violets, primroses and bluebells.

By now it was misty blue ... 

... and time to head back on the ferry so that the birthday boy (and the rest of us) could get an ice cream in Gay's Creamery in Dawlish before they closed.

It would have been lovely to have stayed for longer.